Blog Number 11 -- Winter Tips and Incredibly Cute Pictures



We got an e-mail from the wonderful people at Tualatin Valley Cable ( asking us to do some PSAs (cool media lingo for Public Service Announcements) about holidays, winter and pets.

For me, it meant another "Take My Dogs to Work Day!" YEAH! My argument (at least to myself) was that my dogs are trained, and we could show things like holiday hazards with my trained dogs perfectly holding ornaments while they did sit-stays like adorable little robots.

We won't go into detail about the fact that the "kids" weren't quite as perfect as I had hoped. (Sprite, it is NOT GOOD to bark every time someone comes into the shelter, and Pogo, you will NEVER be allowed to go back and play with the cats. I mean it!) Sigh.

I do feel some sympathy for my dogs. Being the pets of the Animal Services manager has got to be a lot like being the preacher's kids: everyone expects perfection, and it often doesn't work out that way. We can't always predict just what even the most trained dog will do – much less what a cat will do.

And that brings us to the importance of being cautious with our pets during the holidays and the cold weather! We can't expect them to manage themselves. So here are the tips that will be running on TVCTV – and some great photos of my dogs to illustrate the points. (These great pix were take by Les Ico on our staff.)


 Christmas Tree Dogs (Small)


Did you know your Christmas decorations can be hazardous to your pets? Cats and Dogs can be tempted to swallow tinsel and ribbons – and may need emergency surgery if they do.

Strings of lights and electrical cords are also hazards. Spray them with a product such as Bitter Apple – which is non-toxic and doesn't taste good to pets at all.

Keep breakable ornaments away from where pets can reach.

Decorate with battery-operated candles rather than ones with real flames.


Decorations (Small)


Baby, it's cold outside. Our pets feel the freeze just as much as we do.

Cars don't offer a lot of warmth when the heater is off. If in doubt, leave your pet at home when you run errands – just like you do on hot summer days.

Speaking of cars, did you know that cats will often curl up on care engines to keep warm? Open up the hood and look, or at least knock on the hood before you start your engine.

Be careful of antifreeze. This poisonous stuff tastes sweet and as little as a teaspoon can kill. Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has even licked some.



 jacket dogs (Small)

There is nothing more bonding that walking your dog – it's healthy for both of you. Still, there are some things to keep in mind during winter walks.

If your dog is old, sick, small or has short fur, he will need more than the "fur coat" that nature gave him. Invest in a warm winter coat for cold days.

Make sure to have a leash that reflects light, so traffic can see you more easily on dark mornings and evenings.

Rinse off your dog's paws when you get home if you've been walking somewhere that has been salted after ice and snow.




(This beautiful kitty isn't mine. She's Cally, a wonderful cat available for adoption at our shelter.)

Are you thinking of adopting a pet over the holidays? Think about your lifestyle.

If this is a busy time for you, or if you're traveling or going to a million activities, then wait until a quiet time of year. However, if you've got some time off and don't have a lot of commitments, it can be a wonderful time to bond with a new pet.

Giving a home to a homeless cat or dog can be a special joy, especially this time of year.

Never give a pet as a present – but it can be terrific to give a loved one an "I.O.U." or gift certificate to your favorite shelter to pay for the adoption fee of a pet.

And that brings me back to thinking about my own pets. Maybe they don't always behave perfectly, but to me they are absolutely, totally, completely perfect. I wouldn't change a hair on the fuzzy bodies of my dogs and cat. If you want to experience the same level of joy, think about adopting a pet. If the time is right, and the match is the right one, your new family member will bring you immeasurable joy.