Life's Abundance | Makers of premium health products for dogs, cats and pet parents, too!

Our Foundation Awards Funds To Rescue Group

Butters

We’re pleased to announce one of the latest recipients of financial aid from The Dr. Jane Foundation. This month’s featured beneficiary is a committed group of rescuers dedicated to improving the lives of abandoned, abused and neglected dogs and cats in New Jersey and surrounding areas.

New Jersey Aid for Animals, Inc., is a no-kill animal protection charity striving to end the suffering of animals through advocacy, fostering and adoption. In continuous operation for over a decade, this committed non-profit group has fought to improve the lives of dogs, cats and other domestic animals in New Jersey. Without state or municipal financial assistance, they rely on individual gifts, community events and private foundation support to cover the costs of day-to-day operations.

This rescue has made a phenomenal difference in the lives of hundreds of dogs and cats. At any given time, they have the capacity to accommodate nine dogs at a time and approximately a dozen cats. Because they are small, they can devote all necessary resources to each creature in need.

NJAFA envisions a not-too-distant future absent animal cruelty. Their stated mission is no less than to “enrich the life of every animal we touch, provide programs for domestic animals on wellness, humane education, spay and neuter with a focus on impoverished communities; and to report abuse and pursue justice for abused animals”.

Their day-to-day activities are many and varied. Whenever they encounter animal abuse, they report it. They follow such cases and work to prosecute animal abuses. Of course, their primary efforts include rescuing and aiding abused and abandoned animals. NJAFA works diligently to keep families together by providing affordable veterinary care to low-income communities. But that’s not all, they also educate pet parents on all kinds of companion animal care, including the importance of curbing pet overpopulation. As you can see, no task is too small, or too big, for this determined organization.

New Jersey Aid for Animals has big plans for their financial award. Funds have been allocated to a low-cost veterinary care clinic scheduled for next spring, benefitting low-income families in the Camden City area. Participants will qualify for highly reduced rates for common veterinary procedures. Our donation will specifically make possible flea treatments and necessary vaccines for the low cost of $10 per companion animal. As this group has witnessed firsthand, providing affordable medical care for the fur kids of impoverished households can mean the difference between keeping animals at home with their pet parents and painful, unwanted abandonments.

Additionally, remaining funds not allocated to next spring’s event were used to cover flea treatments for a group of cats who were recently rescued from a hoarding situation. The infestation was so severe that rescuers worried some of the felines might die. However, thanks to our award, these kitties are now flea-free!

Thanks to this group’s diligent work and top-notch planning, the Board’s choice to support this application with a sizable donation was a straightforward, happy one.

4 Pets
Some of NJAFA’s happily adopted animals.


If you or someone you know would be interested in adopting a rescue animal in or near Camden, we encourage you to stop by New Jersey Aid for Animals (njafa.org). You never know … you could end up finding your new best friend!

As the charitable arm of Life’s Abundance, The Dr. Jane Foundation provides financial support to small and medium-size rescue groups who work to prevent animal homelessness, abuse and chronic neglect. Every time someone purchases a Life's Abundance product, a portion of the profits are contributed to the Foundation’s operating fund.

And there’s more good news … we are still accepting applications for funding. If you know of an animal rescue organization that deserves special recognition and financial support, please encourage them to
fill out an application.

Check back next month for more good news from The Dr. Jane Foundation. Together, we’re making a difference!

The Inside Scoop On Homemade Pet Food

Girl thinking about what to cook

If you’re reading this, chances are it’s not the first time you’ve given some degree of thought to the concept of a homemade pet diet. Whether you regard this topic with interest or with repulsion, a series of pet food recalls combined with the ‘foodie’ movement have resulted in growing discussion among pet parents about the costs and benefits of becoming a personal chef for one’s pet kids. 

So, what are some of the reasons pet parents turn to making their own pet food? While motivations can be deeply personal, they commonly fall into these categories:

1. Your veterinarian prescribed food that your pet kid won’t eat
2. You have made specific dietary choices and want to extend them to your animal family members
3. You only trust food which comes out of your kitchen
4. You are hoping to alleviate the symptoms or severity of a medical diagnosis
5. You are ambivalent about commercial pet food and curious to see if you could get better results
6. A belief that you could save some money

While these questions provide some food for thought, motivation alone is not an assurance of health and wellbeing for pet kids. When deciding what to feed their companion animals, pet parent’s choices must be backed up by expertise and solid knowledge. So, what actually does go into the decision to take the plunge into homemade pet food?

Pet Parent Education: Intensive

In the era of Pinterest, there are loads of DIY pet food recipes and enthusiastic testimonials. Some of these recipes give the appearance of being well-balanced and reasonably easy, and may even have a cute name.

But chances are that the vast majority of these will not provide pets with the nutrition they need. In an independent 2013 study of 200 homemade adult dog food recipes gathered from the internet, cookbooks and veterinarians, only five (2.5%) of them were nutritionally balanced. All five balanced recipes had come from veterinarians with advanced training in nutrition.

The takeaway here is that it is critical to involve a holistic or integrative veterinarian and/or a veterinary nutritionist to ensure the nutritional needs of your furry kid are being met.

Cost Analysis: Moderate - Intensive

If the financial bottom line is a priority, time should be spent doing an analysis of the daily cost to feed pet kids a balanced diet. With a quality recipe in hand, pet parents can take to the internet and local grocery stores to estimate the cost of the homemade meal before ever investing in buying the ingredients. The cost of any special equipment, like a meat grinder or food processor, and food storage containers, should also be factored in.

Ingredient Sourcing: Intensive

A balanced recipe from a qualified Veterinary Nutritionist is sure to include proteins, carbohydrates and a list of added vitamins and other nutritional supplements. As with any consumable product, there is great variation in the quality of all of these ingredients as well as variation in what is appropriate for different species. What many fail to realize is that improperly balanced nutrients can actually lead to a host of disease states, essentially creating toxicity within the body. To ensure maximum benefit, be certain that your nutritionist is explicit about cuts of meat and which supplements to purchase, and ensure that all of these questions are addressed:

1. What form should each supplement be in; liquid or powder?
2. What source is okay for each supplement; synthetic, natural, purified, etc.?
3. Are there certain varieties of supplements that should be avoided; Cod Liver Oil or Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil?
4. Are your personal dietary requirements being met; grain-free or vegetarian?
5. Which cuts of meat are optimal, acceptable and should be avoided; white meat, dark meat, lean or fat?

Food Preparation & Storage: Moderate – Intensive

If you’ve ever done batch cooking for your human family, you’ll have an idea what it’s like to make your own pet food. This exercise takes advance planning, time management, practice and possibly endurance depending on how large a batch is being made.

This time commitment will vary by recipe, quality of equipment being used, size of the batch being prepared, and with fine tuning over time.

Food Serving: Minimal

Home prepared foods are refrigerated or frozen and may require warming to room temperature to serve. At issue here is the commitment to the frequency of this task more so than the amount of time required.

Given the level of difficulty in preparing home meals, and the expertise to get the formulas right every time, this probably isn’t a viable option for most pet parents. If you’re seeking holistic nutrition plus convenience and value, I urge you to consider the premium nutrition offered by any of our Life’s Abundance pet foods.

Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place for companion animals.

Dr Jane Bicks  Dr. Jane Bicks, DVM

Feline Food Fun

Who among us hasn't started munching on a bag of chips to suddenly and unexpectedly find the bag empty? Just like us guilty humans, cats will often overeat due to boredom or stress. In this month's episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah provides fun and simple ways to tap into your cat's innate problem solving skills while helping avoid the behavioral and physical consequences of sedentary living.

These DIY toys will both keep kitty's body busy and let her use her predatory instincts to exercise her brain. So, get ready to dig into your recycling bin and replace some of those feline snack habits with fun and games!

Be sure to share this video with friends and family, especially if they are cat lovers. And, please leave your comments if this Pet Talk episode is helpful to you.

Our Foundation Awards Funds To Rescue Group

Cocker-Spaniel

It is our great pleasure to tell our readers about one of the latest recipients of financial aid from The Dr. Jane Foundation. This month’s featured beneficiary is a committed group of rescuers dedicated to improving the lives of abandoned, abused and neglected Cocker Spaniels in California.

The Second Chance Cocker Rescue is run by an all-volunteer staff which oversees more than 80 dedicated foster homes that care for their rescues. In continuous operation for over 13 years, this committed non-profit group has fought to improve the lives of Cocker Spaniels across the state of California. Without governmental financial assistance, they rely on fundraisers, adoption fees and the generous donations from their community of Cocker Spaniel aficionados to cover the costs of day-to-day operations.

This rescue has made a tremendous difference in the lives of hundreds of Cocker Spaniels. In any given year, they foster more than 150 dogs and locate forever homes for more than 200. Doing an excellent job of promoting their favorite breed, the average time a dog is in foster care is only 30 days before finding the perfect adoption match.

Their most innovative program is HALO, a service which provides a safety net for care should a pet parent enter Hospice care or pass away and no obvious caretaker remains for the pup. A modest fee ensures that these Cocker Spaniels will be fostered by caring pet parents until they are placed in a new adoptive family. In addition to HALO and their day-to-day rescue services, Second Chance also provides sanctuary homes for elder and chronically ill dogs with little hope of adoption.

Second Chance plans to use their financial award to help achieve their goal of increasing the number of rescued dogs by 30%. Because their work is so outstanding, and the need was so present, the Board’s decision to fund this application was a simple one.

Here are just a few of the sweet, loving Cocker Spaniels who are currently in foster care awaiting their chance to become someone’s new best friend …

Zoey
Zoey

This little girl is a gentle soul. Zoey loves everyone she meets, including other dogs, and is a delight with children. By all accounts, she is "an amazing dog" that will make a welcome new family member. Her current caretakers guess she's approximately nine years old. Right now, she's living in Encino with her foster family.

Harry
Harry

This handsome fellow is a purebred Cocker. Sweet and oh-so-mellow, Harry is happy to go along for whatever ride's in store. If you want to throw a ball, he's ready to fetch. If your speed is more Netflix and chips, he's your ready companion. Harry is easy going with other pups and loves to meet new people. Do you have the perfect quiet, mellow home to match his personality? He's in Romoland and needs a foster, or better yet, an adopter!

Nina
Nina

A petite and intelligent girl, Nina is the consummate "people dog". Plus, she's a bit of an attention hound, so she would prefer to be the prized only dog so she can monopolize all the attention and cuddles. Sweet, fun and playful, Nina's got the zest for life. Even though she's a bit shy with strangers, she's a true "velcro dog" with her caretakers. Like Harry above, she too is currently in Romoland looking for a foster home while awaiting her forever family.

If you or someone you know would be interested in adopting a Cocker Spaniel in California, we encourage you to stop by Second Chance Cocker Rescue (secondchancecockerrescue.org). You never know … you could end up finding your new best friend!

As the charitable arm of Life’s Abundance, The Dr. Jane Foundation provides financial support to small and medium-size rescue groups who work to prevent animal homelessness, abuse and chronic neglect. Every time someone purchases a Life's Abundance product, a portion of the profits are contributed to the Foundation’s operating fund.

To learn more about the organizations who’ve received funding from us in the past, visit our web page today. There, you’ll find summaries of our previous grant recipients.

And there’s more good news … we are still accepting applications for funding. If you know of an animal rescue organization that deserves special recognition and financial support, please encourage them to
fill out an application.

Check back next month for more good news from The Dr. Jane Foundation. Together, we’re making a difference!

Biking with Your Dog

Have you ever seen someone biking with their dog and thought, “Wow, that looks like fun … but where did they learn how to do that?” If so, this month’s episode of Pet Talk was made just for you!

In this short video, Dr. Sarah will help you to gain a basic understanding of how to safely enjoy this outdoor activity with your dog. Our Staff Veterinarian explains exactly what gear you’ll need (a minimal investment), plus all the necessary steps to train a dog to become comfortable near a moving bicycle. Trust us when we say that wheeling around with your dog really is loads of fun!

Be sure to share this video with friends and family, especially if they love pursuing new and exciting leisure pastimes. And, please leave your comments if this Pet Talk episode is helpful to you.

The Special Bond Between Cats and Women

Girl playing with cat on rug

Have you ever wondered why women and cats have such strong relationships? Specifically, why some women (a very few, mind you) tend to collect large numbers of cats? While you’ve heard the term “crazy cat lady”, you never hear of “crazy gerbil ladies” or “crazy ferret ladies”!

In fact, some behavioral researchers wondered the same thing. A recently published study in the journal Behavioral Processes indicates the answer lies in a special bond that exists only between cats and women. Scientists from the Konrad Lorenz Research Station and the University of Vienna took a hard look at the behavioral interactions between 41 cats and their human companions, using individual personality assessments of both their human and feline subjects. Their findings might very well cause a paradigm shift in our understanding of these relationships. 

Rather than being standoffish and selfish (as cats are often portrayed), the study showed that there was real attachment between cats and their pet parents. Of course, any cat parent will tell you these findings are not surprising in the least. As expected, the cats demonstrated food-seeking behavior, but the researchers also noted that cats and their people signaled each other when they wanted to receive or even give affection. Cats also demonstrated that they were able to keep track of how their physical and emotional needs were being met. Further, felines were more likely to remember kind gestures and respond to their human companion’s emotional needs if the human had previously responded to their own.

While these interactions were noted with both women and men living with cats, cats clearly approached women and initiated contact (i.e. jump in laps) more often than with men. In fact, a cat’s relationship with a woman mirrored that of a human-human bond more than a human-animal bond, in that cats could tell their humans when to feed and interact with them and the humans would do it! Like a human infant, cats were seen to control when they were being fed. It is interesting to note that a cat’s mewl for food sounds eerily like that of a human infant.

The results of the study showed that cats and their pet parents, particularly women, influence each other strongly. In some ways, they can actually control one another’s behaviors. "A relationship between a cat and a human can involve mutual attraction, personality compatibility, ease of interaction, play, affection and social support," said co-author Dorothy Gracey of the University of Vienna. "A human and a cat mutually develop complex ritualized interactions that show substantial mutual understanding of each other's inclinations and preferences." While I wouldn’t go so far as to say cats can manipulate women, the results of this study certainly provide food for thought.

Knowing that cats have a much shorter evolutionary history of living with humans than dogs makes these findings even more astounding! Is it possible that women who provide homes for many cats simply cannot help themselves? There are so many new questions! Obviously, this study only scratches the surface of the complexity found in human-cat relationships. So, the next time you interact with your cat, I challenge you to ask yourself who is really running the show.

Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place for companion animals.

Dr Jane Bicks  Dr. Jane Bicks, DVM

References

Wedl M1, Bauer B, Gracey D, Grabmayer C, Spielauer E, Day J, Kotrschal K. Factors influencing the temporal patterns of dyadic behaviours and interactions between domestic cats and their owners. Behav Processes. 2011 Jan;86(1):58-67. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2010.09.001. Epub 2010 Sep 15.

Our Foundation Awards Funds To Rescue Group

Dog laying in the grass

It is our great pleasure to tell our readers about one of the latest recipients of financial aid from The Dr. Jane Foundation. This month’s featured beneficiary is a committed group of rescuers dedicated to improving the lives of abandoned, abused and neglected animals in Wisconsin.

The Green Lake Area Animal Shelter is run by a small, paid staff lead by Janine Rubeck, Shelter Manager, with more than a dozen dedicated volunteers regularly lending helping hands. In continuous operation since 1993, this committed non-profit group has sought to enhance the lives of both companion animals and people through education, adoption and compassion. Without governmental financial assistance, they rely on fundraisers, adoption fees, as well as donations to cover the costs of day-to-day operations.

This rescue has made a tremendous difference in the lives of more than 12,000 animals! Their “Open Door Policy” means that no animal will be turned away due to age, health, behavior or lack of space. The group treats every dog and cat with care and respect, and aims to find each pet kid the perfect forever home.

Green Lake Area Animal Shelter sought financial assistance to further the vital work of its low-cost spay-and-neuter program. This program has been integral to its operations, offering these services to local Wisconsin residents. While the scale of the efforts depends largely on funding, their dedication to this cause is unwavering. They have seen firsthand the positive impact that these surgeries have in controlling overpopulation and reducing the number of euthanized pets. It was our non-profit’s great pleasure to fund their grant proposal. For their meticulous work on behalf of their community, all of us here at Life’s Abundance salute the hard work of this amazing group.

Green Lake Animal Rescue

If you or someone you know would be interested in adopting a dog or cat in Wisconsin, we encourage you to stop by Green Lake Area Animal Shelter (glaas.org). You never know … you could end up finding your new best friend!

As the charitable arm of Life’s Abundance, The Dr. Jane Foundation provides financial support to small and medium-size rescue groups who work to prevent animal homelessness, abuse and chronic neglect. Every time someone purchases a Life's Abundance product, a portion of the profits are contributed to the Foundation’s operating fund.

To learn more about the organizations who’ve received funding from us in the past, visit our web page today. There, you’ll find summaries of our previous grant recipients.

And there’s more good news … we are still accepting applications for funding. If you know of an animal rescue organization that deserves special recognition and financial support, please encourage them to
fill out an application.

Check back next month for more good news from The Dr. Jane Foundation. Together, we’re making a difference!

Six Steps to Fear-Free Vet Visits

For some pet kids, trips to the veterinary clinic can be quite traumatic. Some dogs and cats even seem to have a sixth sense, trembling in fear when an appointment approaches.

Fortunately, we have an inside voice to give us tips for calming vet-visit fears … our very own Staff Veterinarian! If your companion animal experiences mild-to-severe apprehension when it comes time for a check-up, you will not want to miss this episode of Pet Talk! In this video, Dr. Sarah reveals six measures anyone can take to ensure fear-freeTM visits to the veterinarian.

Thank you so much for watching and check back next month for a new episode of Pet Talk with Dr. Sarah. And be sure to submit your comments below.

A Closer Look at Pet Anxiety

Jack Russell

As pet parents, we’re all vaguely aware that we should minimize the stress our pet kids experience. As a veterinarian, I think it’s important that we also comprehend the health risks of prolonged anxiety, too. The fact is, living in a fearful or anxious state for long periods of time can take a dramatic toll on the health of a companion animal.

Any time your pet feels endangered, whether the threat is real or imagined, the body prepares to defend itself by unleashing a torrent of stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, that have far-reaching effects on the whole body. These hormones release energy, increasing respiration while inhibiting digestion, the immune system, growth, reproduction and even pain perception. These hormones also decrease blood flow to areas of the body that are necessary for movement. This is appropriate for survival in a real crisis, but when fear, anxiety or stress continues More...

Simple Tips To Detox Your Home

Cute dog staring

Most consumers know that the majority of cleaning products on the market can be toxic for companion animals. Compared to previous generations, we worry a lot more about “sensitivity”, “allergies” and “toxicity”. Shockingly, Americans use at least 62,000 chemicals that haven’t been adequately studied for safety, much less even tested by the EPA![1]

Much of that dizzying array can be found in any grocery store’s cleaning aisle. It’s hard for even conscientious consumers to know the level of toxicity they’ve unwittingly invited into their homes. More...