June 2016

Canine Communication & Kid Safety

Zach & Brody

The first time he came to our house, my son’s friend Joey announced he hated dogs.

Given that we have a dog - and a cute one at that, a goofy Golden who loves any and all people - this is a bit of a problem. Joey was nonetheless fearful, so I had my dog in the yard for a bit. When I asked Joey why he hates dogs, he said it was because every dog he had ever met, starting with his own min pin when he was younger, bit him.

To be fair, if every dog I met bit me I might be nervous around them as well. But it’s indicative of a much bigger problem.

Joey is not a rare case. In the United States, 900,000 people a year require medical attention due to a non-fatal dog bite; half of them are children, whose small stature and lack of inhibition make them more prone to these sorts of incidences. We all hear about the tragic cases in the news of dogs killing people who were minding their own business, and it is horrifying and heartbreaking. But it is also, thankfully, rare. The vast majority of these bites are preventable.

My fellow veterinarians like to joke that we have a harder job than MDs because our patients can’t talk, but that’s not entirely true. Dogs may not speak our language, but they sure as heck communicate. It’s just that we aren’t listening properly.

If you want a perfect example of what a distressed dog looks like, just hit up your local veterinary clinic. All those picture memes of dogs going to the vet are a perfect list of all the things dogs do to broadcast when they are feeling uncomfortable …

• Hiding behind their owners
• Shaking
• Lip licking
• Yawning
• Tail tucked
• “Half moon” of the eye showing
• Turning away from you

And take growling, for example: how many times have you seen a dog get scolded for growling? We should be rewarding them! This is them shouting, loud and clear: “I am really unhappy right now. Whatever is going on here, please stop. Don’t make me escalate things.” It’s scary when you see it, especially when a dog is growling at a young child, but it is an immediate signal for you to intervene and make the situation safe.

Some signs are more subtle than others, and can be easy to miss if you don’t know how to look for them. It is extremely rare for a dog to jump right into bite mode without giving at least one or two of these signs ahead of time. We just don’t recognize it.

Time and time again, I see people - often kids - go right up to a dog exhibiting these behaviors and start patting them and talking to them. Do you remember when women in department stores used to walk up and spray you with perfume without asking first? They stopped because too many people were snapping at them. It’s kind of like that.

I imagine most people on the Life’s Abundance site know a lot more than the average bear about doggie body language, and if you have kids they probably do as well. From the time my kiddos were toddlers, we worked (and worked and worked, because it takes time) to teach them about respecting animals’ space. In some respects, kids comfortable with the family dog are even more at risk for bites, because they are used to approaching dogs who are very comfortable with being handled and may be overly familiar with strange dogs.

So we practice, and just as importantly, we make other kids practice with us too. When my dog is showing classic relaxed body posture (wiggling, leaning into people for pets), I take this as an opportunity to show kids who may have never been taught how to approach a strange dog …

1. Use your EYES to see if the dog wants to be approached
2. Use your MOUTH to ask for permission
3. Use your HAND to hold it out and let the dog approach you
4. Only then can you pat the dog, gently, on its side … not its face!

So many times when a dog bites, the owner says, “We never saw it coming!” That doesn’t mean the signs weren’t there. I’d encourage every pet parent out there to make it part of their daily life to teach those they encounter about how to approach a dog. You just might save them some trauma down the line.

As for Joey? Over time, he began to feel empowered as he understood how to evaluate dogs and when to walk away. The last time he came over, he asked to take Brody for a walk. It doesn’t take much to keep people dog safe, just a little time and effort. Are you in?

Doggie Language
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Photo by lili.chin / CC BY

How Not To Greet a Dog
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Photo by lili.chin / CC BY

Dr V Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang is a graduate of the prestigious UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine with experience in both emergency and general practice. Quickly recognized as an entertaining and informative voice in the pet world, Dr. V is one of the most widely read veterinarians on the web and has become a much sought-after contributor in print, television and radio. Not only that, but Dr. V is one of a small group of veterinary and journalism experts to have earned the title of Certified Veterinary Journalist through the American Society of Veterinary Journalists. Dr. V is currently featured in the series "Animals Gone Wild" on Nat Geo Wild on Friday nights at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Three Simple Recipes to Fuel Your Summer

Summer Recipes

In this season of warm weather entertaining, finding a way to offer guests Pinterest-worthy refreshments minus hours spent laboring in the kitchen can feel like a high-stakes wager. But this summer you’ve got an ace up your sleeve with this bundle of perfect recipes to dazzle party goers, drop-in visitors and even your kids!

So, if you're tired of snacks that come with their own pre-packaged soundtrack, like the air-tight seal on a jar of salsa being broken, then you’re in the right place!

With a modest shopping list and just minutes relegated to preparation, you can stock your fridge and freezer with healthy and delicious treats that are guaranteed to impress. And the best part is that each recipe comes complete with a remarkable nutrition boost from premium Life’s Abundance supplements for indulgence of the highest order.

What are you serving this summer? Send in your own favorite recipes that use our nutrition supplements and you just may see your culinary creation featured here on the Life’s Abundance blog!

Summer Berry Salsa

This recipe is definitely a staff favorite. It’s fruity, yet savory and so delicious … truly a summertime must-have at any get-together.

Summer Berry Salsa

Yield: about 1.5 cups

1.5 cups fresh blueberries
5 medium strawberries
1/4 medium red onion
1 teaspoon lime zest
juice of two limes
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 scoop Life’s Abundance Greens Blend
1 small avocado, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Combine blueberries, strawberries, onion, lime zest, juice, Greens Blend and cilantro in a food processor or blender and pulse 5 times, or until you reach the desired consistency. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Transfer into a bowl and fold in chopped avocado once ready to serve. Serve with pita, baguette slices or corn chips, or on top of fish or chicken.

Mango Tropcicles

Having these yummy, yet healthy frozen snacks in the freezer will make it easy to pass up the ice cream truck summer frenzy.

Mango Tropcicles

Yield: 10 two ounce popsicles

1 1/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
8 oz can pineapple chunks, undrained
2 oz orange juice
1 small-medium mango, cubed
1 small banana
2 scoops of Life's Abundance Minerals & Antioxidants, Tropical or Cherry Flavor

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into molds and freeze 4-6 hours.

Superfruit Mocktail

There’s nothing like a few bubbles to brighten your day and this Superfruit Mocktail is a healthy way to embrace the spirit of summer.

Superfruit Mocktail

Yield: 1 serving

1 scoop Life’s Abundance Minerals & Antioxidants, Cherry or Tropical Flavor
2 ounces cranberry juice (or your favorite fruit juice)
6 to 8 ounces of sparkling water
ice cubes
fresh mint or lemon for garnish

Directions:
Place 2 ounces of cranberry juice into a glass and add 1 scoop of Minerals & Antioxidants powder. Stir thoroughly. Slowly pour the sparkling water into the glass and allow the mixture to settle. Add ice cubes and garnish with lemon and/or mint.

Funding Awarded to CA Cat Rescue

Cat Rescue

This month, we’d like to highlight another financial award given by The Dr. Jane Foundation, this time to MeoowzResQ, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to the rescue of cats and kittens in Southern California. What began as a personal experience rescuing and caring for abandoned kittens, quickly became the established rescue organization we honor here today.

A small, tightly knit organization, their focus is on saving felines from euthanasia at high-kill shelters, while also taking in stray, abandoned and surrendered cats. Over the years they’ve created a thriving network of caring individuals working in tandem to save as many cats as possible, placing them in loving, permanent homes. Astonishingly, MeoowzResQ saves more than 2,000 felines every year! In their many years of dedicated service to their community, more than 15,000 cats and kittens have been saved. Incredible!

MeoowzResQ operates based on a three-part mission statement: (1) to rescue and rehabilitate abused, abandoned and neglected cats and kittens and provide temporary homes; (2) to facilitate adoptions to safe, loving, permanent homes; and (3) to help reduce pet overpopulation through spay/neuter programs.

Their workers embody the very spirit of can-do rescue attitude. Taking the long view in what amounts to one crisis situation after another is challenging, but it’s exactly what this committed rescue has done. Feline overpopulation isn’t a problem that can be solved in a day. But, with grit and determination, they are making significant progress!

Their rescues come from all manner of bad situations, such as devastating fires, abandoned at airlines along with luggage, stowaways on big rigs during interstate travels, as well as more typical abandonments. All too often, litters of kittens are simply left in boxes on the roadside. Many of these can’t be cared for by the local animal control, whereupon MeoowzResQ swoops in and saves the day.

Their kittens are handraised in foster homes, and many of those enter the rescue as bottle-fed babies. These kittens grow into sweet and people-oriented cats thanks to the amazing foster care they receive from pet parents who are dedicated to raising and finding good homes for these abused, injured and abandoned cats.

They routinely hold feline adoption events in numerous cities, and operate an extensive foster network spanning even more locations throughout Southern California. All of their adoptable kittens and cats have been spayed or neutered, dewormed, treated for fleas and have received all necessary vaccinations.

The funds supplied by The Dr. Jane Foundation went towards covering medical expenses associated with the care of their rescues. In a statement from the group, they conveyed their immense thanks to our foundation's grant. "Because of your kindness and others like you, we can continue our life-saving work. Due to your kindness more lives can be saved."

Here are just some of the felines who’ve had the good fortune to be rescued by MeoowzResQ, all of whom are currently available for adoption …

Miss Kitty (born 2009)

Miss Kitty

Miss Kitty is a regal, seven-year-old, spayed female. Further, she's a Shaded Gray Persian with a gorgeous coat. Miss Kitty is blind and has high-blood pressure, which means that she will be best suited for a calm and serene home where she can learn her environment and move about without stress. Her high blood pressure is a condition that is easily managed with inexpensive medication, but it's a treatment she'll always need. The medication is only one dose per day, sprinkled over food. Miss Kitty recently had surgery to address an injury and had to have two of her back toes partially amputated. Despite her lack of vision and the prior injury, she has no problem moving about and simply loves to be doted upon! She gets along well with both other cats and gentle dogs. She would be best suited for a home with adults only, or a family with older, mature teens.

Mavis (born 2015)

Mavis

Mavis is a seven-month-old female tabby. A Domestic Short Hair with a super-soft coat, she's sweet, playful and gets along well with other cats. Mavis loves to cuddle, burrow and play with toys. She's equally mild-mannered and loving towards both people and other felines, and is described as an "angel" by her caretakers.

Aramis (born June, 2015)

Aramis

Aramis is pretty shy and skittish when he isn't with his mom, Marie Antoinette (see below). Together, they enjoy taking in the scenic views, playing and sleeping. Aramis can be a crafty little kitten, as he can find his way into cabinets and even under covers! He loves to chase laser dots, climb cat trees, run amok through the house, and finally curl up in his favorite chair when exhausted. Full of personality, Aramis is ready to meet his new, lifelong companion!

Marie Antoinette (born May, 2014)

Marie Antoinette

This petite gal grew up fast, as she had three tiny ginger babies at the tender age of one. Only two years old, she's still kittenish in her play. Marie Antoinette is highly dignified, always polite and her coat is remarkably soft and fluffy. She loves to idle hours sitting quietly and gazing out the window (Aramis obviously inherited this curiosity). She's even fond of sitting innocently on open laptops. Her best friend in the world is her son, and they would love to be adopted by the same guardian and stay together.

To learn more about these and other adoptable cats, or to find out more about this amazing group, visit MeoowzResQ.org today. For any residents of Orange or Riverside County, CA, this rescue encourages interested adopters to contact them right away, as they have many available kitties.

The motto for the group is, "Saving one cat may not change the world, but it will change the world for one cat." In light of their outstanding work on behalf of so many felines in Southern California over the years, one can easily make the case that they're ACTUALLY making the world a better place.

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 you purchase a Life's Abundance product, a small donation is made to the Foundation’s operating fund.

And there’s more good news … we are now accepting applications for 2016 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!