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October 24, 2011

Time to Mark Calendars for Dog Pictures with Santa!

Fourth Annual Santa/ Dog Photo Shoot!
December 10th from 4-7pm at Crate. Christmas tree, pointsettias, Santa and your pup! We print one, 4X6 photo for you for $10. We then put the photos up on Snapfish, where you may download them, etc. ALL proceeds are matched by Brad and Stephanie and go to the MSPCA.
It’s really fun; join us!

Are you ready for a pet-safe holiday?

If you dress up your pets, do all you can to make costumes as stress-free as possible:

Consider a special pre-Halloween dress up day.
Post pictures of them in all their costumed cuteness, and let them spend the actual night of Halloween enjoying their normal nakedness.

Do not leave pets unsupervised in their costumes.
At the very best, they will respond like our friend Oscar Dog (who was not unsupervised, but was fast) who took his Darth Vader cape off and peed on it. At the worst, they may ingest parts of their costume or become trapped or choked trying to wiggle out of it.

Make sure your pets’ costumes are comfortable and do not obstruct their vision or ability to potty.

Even if your entire stash is officially “pet-safe,” an entire night’s earnings of high sugar treats and their wrappers are bad news for any pet. The following treats are not pet friendly in any amount, so be extra careful…
Chocolate – This one is so well known, it has almost become a cliché – no chocolate for dogs or cats! So no one feeds their pets chocolate on purpose, but if they can, pets will often help themselves. The three biggest determining factors of the severity of toxicity are:
• the size of the pet
• the type of chocolate ingested
• the amount ingested

Check out this great toxicity calculator that National Geographic created. If your pet does happen to get into your Halloween candy, this chart can be very helpful in quickly determining how dangerous a situation it could be. Each pet may respond differently – if your pet is acting sick or you are at all concerned, call your veterinarian right away. Better a false alarm than a toxicity not treated early.
National Geographic Chocolate Chart: (this cannot be posted, the amounts of any one item changes depending on the dog’s weight) Here is the link:

Raisins – These are a great healthy candy alternative for kids, but not for dogs and cats. They contain a pretty serious kidney toxin, so make sure these are out of reach.
Gum – Some sugar-free gums (and other products) contains an artificial sweetener called xylitol. This can cause dangerously low blood sugar and liver damage in dogs (but not cats or people).
Toys – Gastrointestinal obstruction is a risk if dogs eat the toys that are often in with the Halloween candy and may smell like Halloween treats. Keep the bag out of reach and spend the rest of the year picking the cute little pumpkin and ghost toys up off the floor as soon as they get left there.

Between the weird sounds and weird lights and strangers at the door – dressed like scary monsters no less – Halloween can be anywhere from annoying to terrifying for pets. On Halloween day, take the dogs for an extra walk and give them a safe place to which to retreat for the evening. You may even want to have them rest in a closed back room or kennel so they do not get scared and bolt.

ok, Ms. Ernestine, Wrap It Up!
I would like to dedicate my post today to my friend, Calvin who died a year ago. He was the best! He never challenged me or stole my toys or anything. RIP dear, labby boy, we miss you!
Later, Ernestine

October 14, 2011

Autumn time and the living is easy. Fleas are jumpin’ and the cotton is high. Heh.


Flea season is no joke to dog owners. And when your furry friend is subject to flea-bite dermatitis, it’s a double whammy. Scratching. Biting at skin. Hotspots. It makes a dog’s life miserable. And by extension, you’re miserable too.

With the very wet spring New England experienced and the very hot temperatures we have endured on and off, mosquitoes have become a big problem for us two-leggers. Similarly, fleas are out in abundance, which can cause problems for our four-legged friends.

How do you protect your dogs?
1. First, discard all over-the-counter flea products like Frontline. Likewise flea and tick collars. They don’t stop fleas from biting and they may be harmful to your furry friends. Think about it. If the neurotoxin used in these products is so powerful that humans cannot touch it for 24 hours, what will it do to your dog or cat who absorbs it through their pores?

Will Falconer, DVM and homeopathic veterinarian examines the mounting evidence against flea-control products:
Unfortunately, most of the flea control products are directed at the bothersome adults, and most of these are toxic chemicals that are poisonous to the pet and its person. The end result of bombs, sprays, dips, “spot-ons,” and the like, is resistant fleas and sick people and pets. Why? It’s the same story that happens with any antibiotic, pesticide, or herbicide: a certain percentage of every population of “pest” is resistant to any given chemical. When the chemical is used, these resistant microbes, parasites, or weeds breed and begin a new strain that simply ignores the chemical. New chemicals are sought that are increasingly less safe to the humans and animals they contact, and resistance develops at each new turn.

In case you’ve had only good experiences putting these topical pesticides on your animal, your neighbors have not, and the Environmental Protection Agency is investigating:
This from the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association’s newsletter:
In response to more than 44,000 potential adverse reactions to spot-on flea and tick products reported in 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency is intensifying its evaluation of these products. No recalls have been issued at this time. The AVMA will continue to maintain contact with the EPA and monitor the situation, and updates will be posted as they come to our attention. To see the EPA’s statement, including a chart of products, go For information about reporting adverse events, go to

Your ongoing flea program consists of protecting against further infestations. Vacuum and clean your pet’s bedding frequently, using flea products as needed. You might also need to spray your yard to keep pests at bay.

Certain viruses are able to cause the growth of small round skin tumors commonly referred to as warts. Everyone who has every seen a drawing of a fairy tale witch knows what warts look like so when the family dog develops small round skin growths, many people assume these, too, are harmless warts. It is important to realize that viral warts are a specific condition and that a growth on the dog’s skin may or may not represent a viral wart.

Human warts are round, somewhat flat, and relatively smooth. Viral warts in dogs tend to possess frond-like structures creating more of a sea anemone or cauliflower-like appearance, though they can be smooth as well. The classical canine viral wart patient is a young dog with warts in or around the mouth or eyes.

In dogs, we do not call these growths “warts;” we use the more formal term “viral papilloma.” As in people, viral papillomas are caused by a papillomavirus though dogs and people have very different papillomaviruses and cannot transmit their viruses across species lines.

Viral papillomas are round but often have a rough, almost jagged surface reminiscent of a sea anemone or a cauliflower. They occur usually on the lips and muzzle of a young dog (usually less than 2 years of age). Less commonly, papillomas can occur on the eyelids and even the surface of the eye or between the toes. Usually they occur in groups rather than as solitary growths.

The infection is transmitted via direct contact with the papillomas on an infected dog or with the virus in the pet’s environment. The incubation period is 1-2 months. This virus can only be spread among dogs. It is not contagious to other pets or to humans. To become infected, the dog generally needs an immature immune system, thus this infection is primarily one of young dogs and puppies. Dogs taking cyclosporine orally to treat immune-mediated disease may also have an outbreak of papilloma lesions. Beyond this, transmission details are sketchy. It is not known whether the infected dog must actually show visible lesions to be contagious, nor how long after regression of lesions contagion is still of concern.

Not really. They should go away on their own as the dog’s immune system matures and generates a response against the papillomavirus. There have been two cases published where viral papillomas progressed to malignancy but this is extremely rare and by no means the usual course of the infection. Typically, it takes 1-5 months for papillomas to regress with oral growths tending to regress sooner than those around the eyes. Occasionally some papillomas will stay permanently. It appears that lesions on the eyelid, heat and feet may be caused by a different papilloma virus than those in the mouth.
Sometimes oral papillomas can become infected with bacteria of the mouth. Antibiotics will be needed in such cases to control the pain, swelling, and bad breath.

In most cases, treatment is unnecessary; one simply allows the papillomas to go away on their own. Occasionally an unfortunate dog will have a huge number of tumors, so many that consuming food becomes a problem. Tumors can be surgically removed or frozen off cryogenically. Sometimes crushing several growths seems to stimulate the host’s immune system to assist in the tumor regression process. In humans, anti-viral doses of interferon have been used to treat severe cases of warts and this treatment is also available for severely infected dogs though it is costly and yields inconsistent results.

More recently, a topical medication called imiquimod has been used in both canine and human infections to help boost immune-mediated inflammation and thus facilitate destruction of the virus by the body. Imiquimod is being prescribed increasingly for dogs with viral papillomas.

Thanks for tuning in!
Be sure to read the last blog about:
December 10, 2011, 4pm – 7pm
Save the Date!

October 11, 2011

The Crates want to be 1st on Your Holiday Calendar!

Saturday, December 10, 2011, 4-7pm, SAVE THE DATE!
Join us for our 4th Annual, Holiday Party, at Crate Escape in Belmont. Now the big news! Bring your pup to have a photo taken with Santa! The photos are $10 each and all of the proceeds go to the MSPCA. Refreshments too, of course. RSVP to

Crate Escape
More, better changes to ‘the lobby’ area! Isn’t it great with the desk facing you as you enter? And with the ‘easy’ chairs in front of the window, we have a great view of the exciting parking lot! (kind of kidding, but it’s exciting to us because we get to see dogs coming!) The new pen, on the right as you enter, is multipurpose. We can use it for senior dogs, dogs who have minor injuries, dogs wearing a cone, dogs waiting to be picked up from grooming, and on and on! Our groomer, Carina, had to leave, due to a shoulder injury. We are sad to see her go, she beautified and handsomized our dogs for 3 years! Our new groomer, Katie, is very talented. She is known for her poodle cut – one of the hardest to do.. Welcome, Katie!

Crate Escape too
The Renovation Celebration last Saturday evening was wonderful! Our neighbor, the Village Kitchen, prepared a special menu for us; we shared dog stories, memories and updates with some of our oldest and bestest customers. Bradley’s parents, who have been a big part of the creation, development and growth of the Crates were there, checking out the new digs. Thanks to our employees who attended. Holiday stuff coming soon!
Here’s a photo of one of CE2’s special dogs: Princess Chloe,

The Princess

Bouncing back
This article is from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
September 30, 2011 : 9:22 AM ET
By David Dickson
(photos on the way!)

It would be hard to imagine a more pitiful set of circumstances than those in which Liberty the dog was found not long ago. In the heat of the desert, wandering alone, Liberty was skin and bones, dehydrated, pregnant and shot in the head. Poor thing! The person who found Liberty brought her to a local rescue group known as Ivins No-Kill Animal Supporters (INKAS).

The folks from INKAS rushed Liberty to the shelter in Ivins, Utah, where a vet discovered the bullet had traveled through her head and lodged behind her jaw. The vet decided not to try and extract the bullet, as it wasn’t doing further harm or causing pain, and trying to remove it could have caused additional complications and damage.

As a result of her injuries, Liberty is now deaf and walks with a slight head tilt. In a way, however, she could be considered fortunate. The damage could easily have been much worse.
One thing about Liberty, she has an iron will. Considering her condition when she was found, it’s amazing she was still alive. “She’s a survivor,” says Connie Butterfield of INKAS. Staffers at the shelter took one look at Liberty’s belly and thought she’d recently had puppies because she was producing milk. Yet they never suspected she might still be pregnant. She was that skinny!

In short order, Liberty began gaining weight and ended up having five adorable, healthy puppies. She stayed for a brief time in foster care before coming to Best Friends, along with her pups, to get a brand new start.

It’s obvious cruelty from humans has played a heavy role in her past. Despite that, Liberty doesn’t carry grudges. “She loves people,” explains Best Friends puppy caregiver Analia Gutierrez. These days, when she’s not with her puppies, Liberty spends a lot of her spare time hanging out with caregivers in the kitchen. There, she soaks up pets and scratches while trying to coax as many tasty snacks out of them as possible!

On that count, she doesn’t have to try very hard to earn a treat. She’s still so skinny her ribs are showing, so the caregivers hope to help her gain weight any way they can. “She loves peanut butter!” says Best Friends puppy caregiver Keith Cliver. All the extra goodies have paid off. Liberty has already gained 2 pounds in one week. While not normally something most people would be excited about, in Liberty’s case it’s great news.

At just 4 weeks old, the pups are social and smart.

Even with all she’s been through, Liberty pays very close attention to her puppies. “She’s a really good mom,” says Keith. Her five adorable puppies, Lionell, Link, Loki, Lacy and Leia, keep Liberty plenty busy, and she’s a great sport with them. The irresistibly cute pups, at 4 weeks old, still have a little ways before they’ll be ready to attend puppy socialization class. Once they do, however, expect hearts to melt on sight!

The vets at Best Friends have examined Liberty top to bottom and feel she needs no surgical attention, nor any special medical care beyond the norm. This trooper is in good health, and has a good quality of life. Likely less than 2 years old, Liberty has plenty of time ahead of her to make up for the rough start she’s had.

With such a playful personality and big heart, it shouldn’t take long for Liberty to find that happy ending she so deserves. No doubt about it, she found herself in a tough spot a little while back. But Liberty hung in there for all she was worth, and now things are looking up from here on out. “She’s a lucky girl,” adds Keith.

From Ernestine
OK, that’s some story! Hey, Liberty, my Mom always talks about adding another female to the Hastings pack; and she’s a sucker for sad stories! I will work on it. (and for me to even CONSIDER another girl is huge, just so you know!)

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