Memorial Day Tribute - Pets for Patriots Donation

First and foremost, we dedicate this post today as a massive tribute to all individual U.S military service members, both past and present, who have given so much to our country. Coming from a family of military veterans makes this dedication especially personal, but we cannot sufficiently describe in words how much gratitude and debt we owe to all those who've served since the founding of this nation. A million thanks is not enough!

In honor of Memorial Day 2017 and to all those who've served, we've decided to commit our May 2017 monthly donation to one of our favorite organizations that serves veterans, Pets for Patriots. Pets for Patriots is a certified 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to provide companion pet adoption for military veterans.

The Pets for Patriots mission is four-fold:

1. Facilitate hard-to-place shelter animal adoptions by military personnel, working with a network of member shelters, veterinarians and other pet care providers.

2. Improve the well-being of service personnel through companion pet adoption, a humane way of easing the stresses of military transitions as service members return from deployment, re-enter civilian life or retire.

3. Foster education and awareness of the causes, conditions and numbers of animals relinquished to shelters each year in the United States, enjoining individuals around the country to the cause.

4. Educate the military community and the public about the numerous benefits of adult shelter pet adoption.

Not only are we quite in favor of the Pets for Patriots' mission, but we're also huge fans of the real world impact they're able to produce. As we see it, Pets for Patriots makes a real world impact in two major ways.

The first is the ability of Pets for Patriots to save the lives of companion animals obtained from shelters and/or rescues, who might otherwise have been tragically euthanized. We've talked before countless times about perhaps the biggest animal welfare issue in the U.S right now, which is the number of cats and dogs entering shelters in the United States is approximately 6 to 8 million each year and that approximately 3 million of these cats and dogs will be euthanized. Pets for Patriots is one of the many key players trying to take down this massive problem.

Equally as important, Pets for Patriots is one of the major organizations working to provide workable, real world solutions to veterans recovering from the psychological challenges they suffered during service to our country. Not only does Pets for Patriots help work to increase public awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other challenges confronting our country's heroes, they directly help veterans through companion animal partnerships, one of the proven methods for how veterans can overcome PTSD.

Since it's founding in 2010, Pets for Patriots has surpassed 1,200 veteran-pet matches.

Each adoption saves at least two lives: the shelter dog or cat at risk of death or non-adoption, and the veteran who gains a new sense of purpose. In addition, each animal saved makes room for another at-risk dog or cat to be made available for adoption.

On the human side, the positive impacts on veterans' family members, coworkers, neighbors and other cohorts is unmistakable, though more difficult to quantify.

We encourage Modern Pet Living fans to read more about Pets for Patriots over at petsforpatriots.org and to consider supporting their cause!

Happy Memorial Day and a million thanks to all of the veterans out there for your sacrifice and service!

Kickstarter Product of the Month: The Cat Rescuers

ALL PHOTO CREDIT TO KICKSTARTER AND THE CAT RESCUERS

ALL PHOTO CREDIT TO KICKSTARTER AND THE CAT RESCUERS

One thing we can say definitely about Modern Pet Living is that we all have the utmost compassion and love for all of the strays out there in the streets and for the dogs and cats who end up in shelters. Whenever there is a chance, we feel need to drive even greater support toward the welfare of these animals who are in dire need of compassion, care and above all, a home with a loving family.

To anyone with a pulse on animal or pet welfare in the United States, the fact that this country is suffering from numerous pet overpopulation problems will come as no surprise to you. While the problem of strays, feral animals or general pet overpopulation may be 'out of sight and out of mind' in most areas of the country, the number of cats and dogs entering shelters in the United States is approximately 6 to 8 million each year.

While most governments and organizations have failed to stem the tide of this trend, many animal-loving citizens have taken the solutions to this problem into their own hands to tackle this tend. Tackling this very problem on the streets of New York City is what our featured Kickstarter Product of the Month seeks to do.

 
ALL PHOTO CREDIT TO KICKSTARTER AND THE CAT RESCUERS

ALL PHOTO CREDIT TO KICKSTARTER AND THE CAT RESCUERS

At the heart of The Cat Rescuers is the story of a major animal welfare crisis that is occurring in our midst, a crisis which has millions of abandoned and feral cats living on the streets of the New York City metro area. 

Because the city cannot possibly handle a problem of this magnitude, hundreds of cat-loving activists have taken to the streets to implement a TNR (Trap Neuter Return), a strategy that, along with adoptions, can humanely control and reduce the population if implemented correctly.

The Cat Rescuers Documentary seeks to tell the story of four of these street-smart, dedicated volunteers from Brooklyn. While centered around these four activists, the documentary is fundamentally one about a story that taking place in cities and towns all across the United States. 

For the last three years The Cat Rescuers have been filming the efforts of Claire, Sassee, Stu and Tara - all rescuing and volunteering in Brooklyn where the problem has exploded over the past decade. Like first responders, they hit the streets any time of the day or night to save cat lives. To do this heroic work they’ve each made personal and financial sacrifices, but their love of cats and animals in general has kept the passion for their mission alive.

 
ALL PHOTO CREDIT TO KICKSTARTER AND THE CAT RESCUERS

ALL PHOTO CREDIT TO KICKSTARTER AND THE CAT RESCUERS

 

Trap. Neuter. Return (TNR)

While we've come out in greater support of a "Trap. Evaluate. Neuter. Vaccinate. Adopt. Contain. (TENVAC)" strategy as a means to fix the problem of homeless and feral pets in the past, we also believe that a "Trap. Neuter. Return (TNR)" is a more cost-effective strategy in the race to cure the wide spread problem of homeless and feral cats.

Endorsed by the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States, rescuers practicing TNR do the following: 

  1. Humanely trap a cat.
  2. Get it spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped, the universal symbol that a cat has been neutered.
  3. Assess the cat, and if it’s adoptable, help find it a forever home.
  4. Return the unacceptable feral cats to their cat colony to live out their days peacefully.

While no solution to this problem is entirely bulletproof or 110% perfect for protecting animal welfare, we believe the Cat Rescuers are going about this with the best of intentions and the best methods available to them with all constraints considered. Their efforts cannot be appreciated enough.

 

Impact & Advocacy

By supporting the The Cat Rescuers Documentary on Kickstarter, your support will help finish The Cat Rescuers Documentary so that, in addition to showing in theaters and on digital platforms like iTunes and Netflix, it will be available to rescue organizations to raise awareness and promote change in their own communities. It will also become an incredible policy and advocacy  tool to persuade lawmakers and elected officials for years to come.

Your contribution comes with the knowledge that you are helping inspire much-needed community support for abandoned and community cats around the world.

 

The New Business of Cannabis Pet Products

***Modern Pet Living in no way endorses the use of illegal substances***

***Modern Pet Living in no way endorses the use of illegal substances***

-The New Business of Cannabis Pet Products-

If you're like us and have "been around the block" (AKA lived through the 1970s), than you'll surely know what April 20th represents. Since the highly contentious substance centered around today's "holiday" has become such a large issue in the United States, we'll be discussing the growth of the Cannabis industry as it relates to your pet. Over the past year or two we've been shocked to see the growth of Cannabis and Marijuana products for pets and we feel the need to educate our readers about the growth of the industry and the future it may hold for your pets.

As Americans, we'll discuss the Cannabis Industry as it relates to the good ol' US of A. As all Americans know, the use, sale, and possession of all forms of Cannabis in the United States are illegal under federal law. While Uncle Sam maintains this ruling at the federal level, there has been a Cannabis revolution over the past 15 years in several U.S states, including Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Washington, California, Massachusetts, Alaska, and Oregon where the sale and possession of marijuana is legal for both medical and recreational use.

While the negative and positive causes of this revolution can be debated in hundreds of different way, what is undeniable is that there has been an explosion in the Cannabis industry with new Cannabis related businesses taking advantage of newly legal statuses. A new part of this Cannabis industry explosion is the Cannabidiol-for-dogs (CBD) businesses that have popped up in the last two years, a time period during which CBD pet product sales nationwide doubled.

For those who do not know, CBD is one of over 60 active cannabinoid chemicals in Marijuana, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD doesn't create a euphoric sensation or a high. In other words, CBD biscuits won't make your dog a Cheech & Chong lookalike. Regardless of this fact, there remains a growing debate about whether or not pets should be consuming CBD products.

Academic research about CBD's affect on pets is nearly nonexistent, and the U.S Food and Drug Administration has not approved marijuana use in animals. Despite this, some veterinarians recommend their use, and producers say pet stores are increasingly beginning to carry CBD treats. As a whole, Veterinarians' views on CBDs vary as well.

While there is a lack of research and scientific facts in studies of CBD's affect on pets, Human studies have linked CBD to anti-seizure, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety effects. Extrapolating the positive attributes of CBD in Human use, the CBD-for-pets industry additionally cites supportive veterinarians and customer testimonials as evidence of the products' effectiveness in the same health areas for pets.

At the end of the day, the issue likely just comes down to a matter of ethics. Humans can verbally express discomfort when trying a new treatment. Pets cannot do this in the same exact way. It's a true sign of Modern Life where we must debate whether or not marijuana can truly relieve pets' pain.

As the medical and recreational cannabis market continues to explode into legitimacy, expect this issue of Cannabidiol-for-dogs (CBD) businesses to continue to increase as well. As new information comes to light and the industry continues to evolve, we'll be sure to report back on this and inform all of our readers.

Disclaimer: The content contained in this Modern Pet Living blog post is provided for general information only. It is not intended as nor should be relied upon as medical or legal advice. Modern Pet Living in no way endorses the use of illegal substances.
As Tommy Chong once said "Once you're a felon, you're a target".

Training for an Endless Summer of Good Dog Citizenship

Training For An Endless Summer of Good Dog Citizenship.png

-Training For An Endless Summer of Good Dog Citizenship-

Spring and Summertime are the best times to be outdoors and have fun. Swimming, surfing, hiking and camping beckon us all to the great outdoors. And of course vacations are on everyone's mind for the summer. But how best to include our furry four-legged family members?

With our tips and suggestions, your dog can and will become a trustworthy public companion and citizen in Summer 2017. Since most of our readers are huge dog trainers and parents who've already well trained their dogs, we'll be offering up this post as a 101 for new dog parents and parents of puppy dogs on how to best train your canine companion for an endless summer of good dog citizenship. With the expertise of Susan Garrett, we've written before about the best practices of dog training and we must admit training your dog doesn't have to involve a whole lot of work. If you love your dog like we do, it can be fun and satisfying for both you and your dog.

 

-The Good Citizenship Training-

The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) was created by the American Kennel Club (AKC) to recognize and reward "responsible pet ownership" and basic good manners for dogs. While we don't agree with everything the AKC does as an organization, we do believe that the Canine Good Citizen test is one of the accessible and efficient ways of both fostering responsible pet owners and well mannered dogs. It's for this reason we'll be offering up this program as a 101 for new dog parents and parents of puppy dogs on how to best train your canine companion.

To receive a CGC certificate, your dog must pass a 10-part test. The certificate includes the following tests:

  1. Accepting a friendly stranger
  2. Sitting politely for a petting
  3. Appearance and grooming
  4. Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
  5. Walking through a crowd
  6. Sit and down on command and staying in place
  7. Coming when called
  8. Reaction to another dog
  9. Reaction to distraction
  10. Supervised separation

Since we believe some of these aspects are not entirely necessary as it relates to being out in public and on best behavior, we'll just be giving you all a cliff notes and plain English version of how to start training in these areas.

 

-Good Citizenship Training Steps-

When you're ready to start training, make sure you wear comfortable shoes and a watch, as well as bring a couple of treats in your pocket for positive reinforcement. The first thing you need to teach your dog is to walk nicely on a loose leash. In some public areas, dogs are required to be on a leash by law, so this is very important to have a comfortable and high quality leash. Your dog doesn't need to be as exact as in regular obedience training; he just needs to learn not to pull on the leash, balk, or jump around wildly.

Put the slip collar on your dog's neck correctly, (slip the chain inside itself to make the form of a "P". Make sure it slips easily back and forth). Next, clip the leash on, and with the dog on your left side, happily call his name with "heel" after it. Hold the leash in both hands, jerk it, release quickly and start walking. If he lunges ahead, jerk the leash to put him back by your side, praise and continue walking. Make circles and turns, while praise your dog and talking to him often. Make your dog as comfortable as possible and they will eventually become less apprehensive. Every minute or so, stop and make your dog sit by pulling up on his collar and pushing down on his hindquarters while telling him to "sit". When he does so, praise him immediately and give him a treat. This positive reinforcement will ensure these skills are learned and remembered.

Continue with this routine for about 15-20 minutes. Praise him all through the training! At the end of the training session, play a happy game with him. If you train your dog every day with this routine, he should be walking and sitting nicely for you in a couple of weeks.

The next important exercise to teach your dog is the "come". This command is especially important if you're out hiking or at the beach. Put your dog in the sit position, stand in front of him and run backwards while calling his name happily with "come"! If you have to jerk the leash to encourage him to come to you, do so. Make him sit in front of you. Praise him and give him a treat. Practice this lesson along with the heeling and sits every day for no longer than 30 minutes. He soon will be running to you whenever you call him.

A fun game to teach your dog is the "fetch" using a tennis ball. With the dog off leash, get him excited about the ball. Toss it up in the air, bounce it etc, and talk excitedly about what a good dog he is. When he has his eye on the ball, toss it about 10 feet away in front of you and give him a command such as "fetch" or "go get it"!  If he runs and picks the ball up, immediately praise, and call his name with "come"! You can run backwards, clap your hands and squat down to encourage him to come to you with the ball.  Praise him and take the ball from his mouth. Keep on tossing the ball further and further away. Repeat the exercise until he gets the idea. Most dogs find this game easy and fun to master. This game is especially great on the beach, and is good exercise for your dog.

After you teach your dog to heel nicely, sit, come and fetch, you will be able to take him with you on your fun summer activities!  Always make sure to take bottled water and his bowl with you and be sure to never leave your dog in a closed car!

You'll get better and faster results if you train and practice with your dog every day for 20-30 minutes. Since you're not going to teach him formal obedience, you should be able to complete his good citizen training in a couple of weeks. Of course this depends on the dog's temperament and the frequency of your training sessions. After his training, he'll be ready to join you in just about every one of your outdoor activities this summer!

 

-Outdoor Dog Training Products-

Training your dog to behave properly in society doesn't require much equipment, but you do need to set up a training program for both of you. The equipment you'll need is a high quality leash and collar, a bag of your dog's favorite treats and your dog's favorite toy. We also recommend some doggy bags for the inevitable messes ;)