DEAR READERS: Some readers have asked my opinion about the recent slaughter of popular wildlife park lion Cecil in Zimbabwe. The lion was first shot with an arrow, but he was not killed until much later, when Minnesota dentist Walter J. Palmer shot him with a rifle. Beyond despair and disgust for my own kind, which seems incapable of evolving into a more humane species, I can only say that the worldview and mindset of big-game trophy hunters confirms what biologist Charles Darwin termed, "The Descent of Man."
Many scions of industry and princes of oil, some being members of the Safari Club International, have rationalized that big-game hunting -- where they kill various species as trophies, legally and illegally, for pleasure -- helps the local economy and conservation efforts. Well-armed poachers are pushing elephants, rhinoceroses and other species into extinction. They treat animals as objects, exploitable commodities, like whale-harpooners of Norway and Japan and trappers and fur-ranchers of North America.
The worldwide outrage over this selfish killing is perhaps a sign of change, but without the equivalent of a well-trained, well-equipped internationally funded United Nations environmental and animal protection military force, wildlife will have no future outside of zoos and small reserves. As Albert Schweitzer advised, "Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace."
DEAR DR. FOX: We have another dilemma with our 3-year-old Shih Tzu. The weather here in the Northeast has been exceptionally stormy this summer. She refuses to pee when I take her out first thing in the morning after it's rained. She has gone 18 hours without urinating when it's rainy.
Our 6-year-old rescue Shih Tzu doesn't share that problem, thank goodness. Should I be concerned? I've checked all over the house to see if she had broken training, but haven't found any puddles. -- J.P., Fort Myers, Florida
DEAR J.P.: Urine retention is not good for any animal. Your dog's genetics could be linked to the development of urinary calculi or stones, which can make urination painful and actually lead to urine retention, with or without bladder inflammation and infection.
This may call for a veterinary examination. Additionally, be sure your dog is well-hydrated. Give her plenty of water, and do not hover over her while she's on the leash, encouraging her to urinate. She will pick up on your tension, which could only make matters worse. Time out to run, play and be active off-leash will help restore normal functions if there is no medical reason behind her urine retention.
BRAVO & NATURE'S VARIETY FROZEN PET FOOD RECALLS
Several varieties of Bravo Pet Foods are being recalled after salmonella contamination was discovered during routine testing. Affected brands include frozen chubs and patties of Bravo Blend Chicken diet for dogs and cats and Bravo Blend Chicken Dinner for dogs. If you have questions about the recall, you can call the company at 1-866-922-9222 or visit bravopetfoods.com/consumerrecall.html.
Possible salmonella contamination prompted Nature's Variety to recall its Instinct Raw Chicken Formula for dogs. Affected products bear a best-buy date of April 27, 2016, and include Instinct Raw Chicken Formula Bites for Dogs in 4- and 7-pound sizes, as well as Instinct Raw Chicken Formula Patties for Dogs in 6-pound packages. Consumers with additional questions can call their Consumer Relations team at 888-519-7387 or visit naturesvariety.com/news/70.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.net.)