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December 2008

It's 10pm, Do You Know Where Fluffy Is?


Can you imagine your beloved pet in a cold, impersonal kennel with no way of coming home? It is a sad fact that only 15% of dogs and 2% of cats will go back home once they reach a shelter. With over one million lost or stolen pets every year, what can you do to assure their safe return?  A well identified pet has a better chance of returning home.

Pets can become lost or stolen when their surroundings remain unsecured; an unlatched gate, an open window or a door left ajar. They can disappear when left unattended; in a car while you shop or left in a yard by themselves. The electronic fence or collars are not operating properly, allowing your pet to leave your property. Thunderstorms or fireworks can cause your pet to panic and run away. Winter snow storms can challenge your pets’ sense of direction causing him to lose his way. In an emergency or natural disaster, your pets can get lost in the confusion.

There are 3 ways to identify your pets; tags, tattoos and microchips.

Tags have the advantage of an instantaneous return if the tag information is current. I recommend using 2 phone numbers on the tag. A landline and a cell number greatly improve the chances of immediate contact. Tags can become worn and the information illegible. A good quality tag is worth the investment.

 Tags can fall off a collar. Collar tags are an alternative to hanging tags. They cannot fall off or become caught on something. A source of good quality tags is  In the event of theft, tags can be removed.

A tattoo is a series of numbers and/or letters in ink. It is a permanent identification.  Common areas tattooed include the ears, groin and belly. A tattoo is useless unless the number is registered with a national database. Once registered, you need to keep the information current. There are 2 registries. The first is the American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery. Their website is The second is the National Dog Registry. Their website is What I like about the NDR is that you can empower them to authorize emergency medical care in case contact with you is not immediate. Bernie Rogers of “S-Keemos Kennels” has this to say about NDR, “NDR was the Ruckus photo crucial link to the safe return of my Staffie, Ruck. She was tattooed and registered with them, as were all my dogs. There was an occasion when I left the dogs in the care of a pet sitter and Ruck “managed” her way out of my yard. The sitter was afraid to call me, and still searching for her, when Ruck was hit by a city bus. A Good Samaritan transported her to an Animal Emergency Hospital. The hospital proceeded to contact NDR, and received permission to initiate treatment. NDR, not only contacted me immediately, but both of my back-up contacts as well. Ruck and I were reunited with-in hours, before I had even grasped the full situation. She recuperated 100%. ”

The problem with tattoos can be visibility.  If the groin or belly is furry, then the tattoo may go unnoticed. The area needs to be shaved. Laboratories cannot accept branded animals. Tattoos are a brand. Unscrupulous people interested in selling your pet to an animal testing laboratory will remove the tattoo, along with the ear.

Microchipping is the implantation of a bio-compatible glass encased RFID microchip. The RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification Device. The chip is embedded in the upper neck region. A microchip scanner reads and decodes the radio transmission. The code is specific to the pet and to the microchip company. The microchip cannot be removed without surgery.

The problem with microchipping is no standard exists in the United States. There are 3 frequencies; 125 kHz, 128 kHz and 134.2 kHz. A universal microscanner is needed to identify all microchip frequencies. Too many animal shelters and Animal Control Officers do NOT have one. The Coalition of Reuniting Pets and Families reports less than 25% of microchipped pets are reunited with their families in the United States. In Europe, where they have adopted 134.2 kHz as a standard; the rate of reunited pets is at 47%. The cost of a new universal microscanner is around $400 and would make a useful Christmas present for your local shelter. The other problem is people who do not register the microchip or keep up the yearly renewal with the company. Craig Simone of the Danbury Animal Control Office says, “I hate to tell you how many times we find a microchipped dog and could not return it to its owner because they did not register the chip.”

There is no one fool proof method for identifying your pet. A well identified pet has a better chance of returning home. So the answer to the question of “It’s 10pm, do you know where Fluffy is? “should be, “Yes, Fluffy’s home.”



I would like to thank the American Humane Society, the Humane Society of the United States and the AKC for all their valuable help.





Pet First Aid, CPR and Care Seminar for February 22, 2009

Beth and I are announcing our collaboration with Jenny Aurora of the CT School of Dog Grooming. Jenny is integrating the Pet Tech Pet First Aid, CPR and Care seminar into her curriculum. We commend Jenny for her committment to excellence and continuing education. The first class of 2009 will be Sunday, February 22nd at the CT School of Dog Grooming. Anyone interested in attending should contact Jenny at 203-234-1116.

Ct school of dog grooming

Got Woof!


Woof is the heart and soul of a dog. Woof is compassion. Who’s got woof? Planet Dog’s got woof. In 2006, the Planet Dog Corporation founded the Planet Dog Foundation. I encourage everyone to visit them at Planet Dogs’ core philosophy centers on social responsibility. They want to provide for those organizations that enhance the lives of dogs and their people. The foundation funds programs in which dogs serve and support their best friends. Their motto is “Think Globally, Act Doggedly.”

Storefront Planet Dogs’ home is in Portland, Maine. All the Planet Dog toys are proudly made in the USA. They are available in many sizes. The chew-o-meter rating system makes it easy to choose a toy for aggressive chewers. My golden retriever, Ricky; is an aggressive chewer. As his mom, I appreciate the ease of finding an appropriately sized and rated toy. Toys not properly sized and rated can pose a choking hazard. Planet Dogs’ toys are “Ricky Tested, Pet Safety Moms Approved”.

Orbees_07thm Planet Dog has created an impressive line of toys for dogs of all ages.  The Orbee-Tuff for Puppies has added softness and pliability. An innovative feature of the baby blanket fabric toys is that it takes on the scent of the parents. Planet Dog for Old Souls takes on the needs of the older dog who still wants to play. They have accounted for reduced vision and snout strength, weakened jaw muscles and brittle teeth.

PDFBalls_06 2% of all sales help fund the Planet Dog Foun

dation. The signature fundraising toy is the Glow in the Dark Orbee-Tuff Glow for Good ball. The cost is $9.95 and 100% of the proceeds go directly to the grant program of the foundation. To buy this toy, please visit

Since its beginnings in 2006, the Planet Dog Foundation has totaled more than $400,000 in grants and in kind donations. The grants awarded for 2008 will be $112,000. As Stephanie Volo, Planet Dogs’ Top Dog has said, “Planet Dog, as the leader in the pet industry, has prioritized giving back to the community that sustains us. Through the work of our charitable Foundation, we can support service dog users throughout the country. We also increase awareness and help the industry to learn more about all the amazing skills dogs can share with people in need. It is the Planet Dog Foundation that sets us apart, allowing our customers to help us spread the woof!”  They have several programs in place to fulfill their mission.

 Planet Dog was instrumental in pre-selling the required 2,000 license plates for the Specialty License Plate Initiative to benefit the Animal Welfare Program for Maine. The Animal Welfare Program is a state funded division of the Department of Agriculture. They are responsible for puppy mill seizures and animal neglect and abuse cases.

They are also a proud sponsor of the Humane Society of the United States Shelter Partners Program, which builds awareness about the unacceptable number of animals in shelters due to puppy mills. The program advocates adoption when choosing a pet. Planet Dog provides adoption kits to shelters to promote adoption days. They have provided more than $100,000 worth of toys to shelters.

Officer_Spike_Protecting_A_Great_City The Planet Dog Tribute program allows pet lovers to make a donation in their pet’s memory. The donation goes directly into the grant making program. The tribute to Officer Spikes starts, “Spike lived from February 7, 1994 until January 19, 2008. Spike was a Portland Police Dog from July 1996 until his retirement in 2001.”  To read more about Spike and the other Tribute dogs, visit the Foundations’ website.

Any qualifying non-profit organizations that support people and dogs that support them can apply for a grant through the Planet Dog Foundation. Grant eligibility criteria are available on their website. This is a partial list of the 2008 grantees.

1.   Children’s Hospital Boston Pawprints Dog Visitation Program. They have therapy dog visitations for hospitalized children and their families. Their website is

2.   Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota. The Autism Assist Program trains dogs for children with autism spectrum disorder. Their website is

3.   Working Dogs for Conservation Foundation. Dogs are chosen from shelters. They are specially trained in conservation efforts. Their website is

4.   Gabriel’s Angels. They train therapy dogs for abused, neglected and at risk children. Their website is www.

5.   International Hearing Dogs. They train dogs for the hearing impaired. Their website is

6.   People. Animals. Love. They train therapy dogs to visit care facilities. Their website is

7.   Service Dog Project, Inc. They train large breed dogs to work with people with mobility issues. Their website is

8.   NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans. They train dogs for people who are deaf or physically disabled. Their website is Sheila O’Brien, Executive Director of NEADS said, “The Planet Dog Foundation is an active and enthusiastic supporter of NEADS. We are deeply grateful for their support. They were instrumental in helping NEADS develop a unique harness for our Assistance Dogs. The dog wears the harness as they help with the balance and mobility challenges of our clients. Both our civilian and military clients use this harness. This is just one example of their support of our programs, mission and our clients; who are the beneficiaries of canine assistance.”

Both paws up and a hearty woof woof to Kristen Smith, the Foundations’ Director; and everyone at Planet Dog. I applaud the heart and soul you have given to the Planet Dog Foundation.