GOT BEAGLES ON THE BRAIN AFTER WESTMINSTER? CONSIDER ADOPTING ONE FROM A RESCUE GROUP
By Kim Campbell Thornton
When a particular breed wins Westminster or stars in a popular movie or television show, fans consider the exposure a double-edged sword. Of course they're proud that their Whiffenpooch is in the news, but they also know that too much publicity can bring unwanted attention from high-volume commercial breeders (also known as puppy mills) or pet owners who decide to make a quick buck by breeding their little Missy or Max, who may be adorably cute but doesn't necessarily have proven health or temperament.
"I see it all the time," says Westminster Kennel Club spokesman David Frei. "The phone will start ringing in the home of the parent club secretary the next few days because everybody sees them on television."
Beagle breeders are currently facing this situation. They first experienced it in 2008, when Ch. K-Run's Park Me In First (Uno to his fans) became the first beagle to take Best in Show at Westminster. Now Uno's great-niece, Ch. Tashtins Lookin for Trouble, whose nickname is Peyton, or Miss P, has followed in his paw prints, taking home the coveted title. Beagle people are prepared for the onslaught.
"Uno's win was unprecedented and caught much of the beagle world by surprise," says Julie Wright, president of American Beagle Relief Network. "Many of us were not prepared for the heightened interest in the breed, but we stepped up our efforts and used it as an opportunity to educate people about the breed, which is not the easiest to raise or live with."
You heard it here first, folks. Beagles are charming and totable, but they also bark and howl, will run off in search of an interesting scent (or a bunny) in a New York nanosecond, and will find and gobble anything that might be remotely edible.
If you are interested in acquiring a beagle -- or any other breed of the minute -- look beyond the puppy lust occupying your mind and check out dogs available through your local rescue group. Choosing an adult dog can give you a better experience with a breed, especially one that's new to you.
Rescue volunteers are a great resource for people interested in a certain breed. They are familiar with the breed as a whole and have spent time with the individual dogs available for placement. It's their job to match the dogs with just the right "forever" homes so they don't end up back in rescue.
"Rescue dogs are already spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated and have been checked out by a veterinarian," Wright says. "The adoption fees are usually less than the cost to obtain these services and a fraction of the expense to purchase, raise and train a puppy."
The dogs available through breed-rescue groups are often there because owners have died or divorced, or for some other reason unrelated to the dog's behavior or health. They have usually been living with foster owners who can help you determine if the dog is a good fit for your family. They may already be trained and have a track record with kids and other pets.
Although she recognizes the problems it can bring, Wright welcomes the renewed attention to beagles.
"As a community, we are happy for those involved with Miss P and looking forward to another opportunity to showcase the breed we love," she says. "I am anticipating a positive effect for the many rescues who rely on us for funds to aid their efforts to rehome needy beagles."
Does 'butt scoot'
mean pet has worms?
Q: My dog drags his butt on the carpet like he's trying to wipe it. I always heard that means he has worms, but he takes monthly medication that is supposed to prevent them. What else could cause this behavior? -- via Facebook
A: Pets who "butt scoot" could be trying to relieve the itch caused by tapeworm segments, which can irritate the anal area as they pass out of the body. If your dog is on a good flea-control program and takes medication to prevent intestinal parasites, this likely isn't what's causing him to try to scratch that uncomfortable itch.
More often than not, dogs (and cats) who perform this behavior are trying to relieve the pressure of fluid buildup in their anal glands. The anal glands produce the scent on feces that lets your pet tell other animals "I, Smoky, own this territory, so stay away." Every time they poop, some of that scent is excreted with the feces. If the anal glands become infected or inflamed, that scent can't get out and fluid builds up. The area is sore and irritated, so they scoot.
Another possibility is that when your pet poops, maybe a little piece of stool gets stuck in the fur around his rear end. He may be scooting in an attempt to remove the clump.
If your pet scoots a lot, take him to the veterinarian. His anal glands may need to be expressed -- a stinky job that is best left to the professionals. If closer examination indicates that the cause is a fecal tag, give him a trim yourself (careful with the scissors in that sensitive area) or talk to a groomer about a sanitary cut.
Do you have a pet question? Send it to email@example.com or visit Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker.
-- A dog collar. It seems like such a simple thing. But in many parts of the world, collars are made from whatever is easily and cheaply at hand: chains, wire, rope and other materials that can be painful or injurious for animals to wear. A collar drive by World Vets, which provides aid for animals, has distributed more than 1,000 adjustable nylon collars to animals in need in Nicaragua. The organization wants to spread the love further and is continuing its "Every Dollar Buys a Collar" campaign for more animals around the world. New collars or financial donations can be sent to World Vets, 802 1st Ave North, Fargo, North Dakota (ND), 58102.
-- A two-year online study may help keep dogs in homes after adoption. Led by Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman at Tufts University and Dr. James A. Serpell at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, the Animal Ownership Interaction Study is designed to help reduce the risk that people will give up dogs to shelters. Any dog owner can participate by anonymously completing an initial online survey and being willing to answer additional questions every six months for the duration of the study. The goal is to help predict which owner personality types are most compatible with a particular dog they plan to adopt. Register to participate at centerforcaninebehaviorstudies.org.
-- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration still doesn't know what's behind approximately 5,000 complaints over several years of illnesses and deaths in pets (including more than 1,000 deaths of dogs) who ate jerky pet treats made primarily in China. What they do know is that the rate of complaints has decreased significantly since their update last May, from 1,800 between October 2013 and May 2014 to 270 between May 2014 and September 2014. If your pet has any signs of illness that appear to be related to jerky treats, see your veterinarian and report the problem to the FDA so it can be added to the record. -- Kim Campbell Thornton
ABOUT PET CONNECTION
Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet-care experts headed by "The Dr. Oz Show" veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and award-winning journalist Kim Campbell Thornton. They are affiliated with Vetstreet.com and are the authors of many best-selling pet-care books. Joining them is dog trainer and behavior consultant Mikkel Becker. Dr. Becker can be found at Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker or on Twitter at DrMartyBecker. Kim Campbell Thornton is at Facebook.com/KimCampbellThornton and on Twitter at kkcthornton. Mikkel Becker is at Facebook.com/MikkelBecker and on Twitter at MikkelBecker.
CAPTIONS AND CREDITS
Caption 01: Beagles are popular dogs, but they aren't right for every family. Position: Main Story
Caption 02: Collars identify animals as owned and provide a way to attach a leash or identification. Position: Pet Buzz/Item 1