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Those who love their pets tend to enjoy all animals. Our animal owners are no different. Check in on News-Herald staffers Robin Palmer and Cheryl Sadler as they share their own animal tales and announce upcoming events in Lake and Geauga counties.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking back: Our late great pets of 2009

"This has been a bad year for the newsroom."

In writing this post, I realize we weren't exaggerating. Not an ounce.

We weren't discussing the state of newspapers, though. We were talking about pets who made us fall in love with them, then left us - some far too early.

Robin and I had this conversation far too often in 2009. In memorium:
• Rabbits Sky and Sherbert (Sandy Klepach, reporter and pet blogger)

• Cat Kitty (Robin Palmer, copy editor and pet blogger)

• Dogs Otis and Rema (Mark Podolski, sports editor)

• Boxer Forman (John Bertosa, city editor)

• Welsh Corgi Blossom (John Hutchison, reporter)

• Cat Harbor and ferrets Lilo and Stitch (Bill DeBus, assistant city editor)

• Cats Leland and Dancer (David Jones, reporter)

• Cat Kitty (Maribeth Joeright, photographer)

• Cat Rafters (Janet Podolak, reporter)

• Cat Casey (Tracey Read, reporter)

• Cat (Jason Lea, reporter)
The celebrity pets we lost this year:
Socks, the White House cat during the Clinton administration who waged war on Buddy the puppy, died February 2. He was about 18.

Loki, Mickey Rourke's red carpet-walking chihuahua, died Feb. 17. He was 18.

Alysheba, the horse who won the Kentucky Derby May 2, 1987, as well as the Preakness, died March 27. He was 25.

Trakr, the search and rescue dog that pulled the last survivor from the 9/11 rubble and was later to cloned, died in April. He was 16. (Watch a CNN story about clones Trust, Solace, Valor, Prodigy and Dejavu here.)

Gidget, the chihuahua who uttered "yo quiero Taco Bell," died on July 22. She was 15.

Uga VII, the bulldog who served as the University of Georgia's mascot for not even two full football seasons, died of heart problems Nov. 19. He was 4.
May we also remember Wayne Allwine, who died May 18, the actor who voiced Mickey Mouse more than 30 years. Thanks to him we all had a pet long before our parents would eventually say OK.

So long, good friends, and thanks again for it all.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

If pet loss has hit you hard this year, consider a pet loss support group meeting at Animal Hospital Inc. in Willoughby Hills. Click here for times and dates, or for more information, here for my thoughts on the experience.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The gift that keeps on giving

Do you think my 12-year-old cat Picasso was trying to tell me something?

This is the first year we didn't buy Christmas gifts for our cats.

There are already so many toys and those furry mice in our house that we figured the felines were well-stocked.

So what did Picasso do on Christmas morning when she noticed nothing for her under the Christmas tree?

She hurled a hairball on the tree skirt.

'Tis the season for giving, I guess.

-- Robin Palmer

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Madison pantry aims to feed pets

If you're a Pets Unleashed reader, you've heard about Paws Pantry.

Now the rest of The News-Herald's readership has, too.

Check out today's story celebrating its new nonprofit status - and reaching out to the extended community for a helping hand.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dog auction ban effort will continue in 2010

Perhaps you learned from this blog or elsewhere that companion pet lovers have been petitioning for a ban to Ohio dog auctions.

To force the state legislature to vote on the issue in November 2010, 120,700 signatures were needed from registered voters in at least 44 of the state's 88 counties.

The deadline has passed. Signatures totaled only 7,202.

However, the campaign will re-launch Jan. 19 and retain all the signatures already collected, according to
Despite reaching just under 6 percent of our signature goal, this still represents a very strong showing given that Phase 2 of our signature drive was not launched until after the Nov. 3 election (efforts from our volunteers and supporters were focused on defeating Ohio Issue 2).

The opposition (stakeholders who profit from Ohio dog auctions and puppy mill breeding) are betting that we (as a humane community) will become discouraged and defeated by the obstacles to meeting our goal! But remember the words of Henry Ford, "Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal."

Details on the re-launch coming soon.

I'll keep ya posted on when and were you can add your support.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Loving senior short hair cat looking for a home

I'll never forget meeting an affectionate orange kitty named Jester during a recent visit to Lake Humane Society.

A few days later, driven to help find him a home, I tried to get a picture of him to add to this blog about the Humane Society's urgent need for foster homes.

Board of Directors President Eden McElhatten Dobbins responded with this e-mail: "Take a look at the attached picture. Is this the cat you saw? This is Jackson."

The handsome orange cat wasn't the one I'd met, but he also stole my heart. His cage open for the picture, he seemed determined to get past the camera and into the arms of the photographer - and what pet lover wouldn't fall for that mustachioed face?

I'm pleased to report that the original cat, Jester, is adopted. Now it's time to find a home for his doppelgänger.

Jackson (2009-2044C) is a 10- to 12-year-old neutered male found as a stray in Concord Township on Dec. 19. Flea-treated, dewormed and declawed on his front half, the little man is also up to date on his FVRCP and rabies vaccines and tests negative for feline leukemia.

Eden said he's very sweet and very social. The Humane Society's vet recommends a dental exam for him due to his age. But domestic short hair cats can live 14 to 20 years if they're well cared for and kept at a healthy weight.

"I'm the proud mama of two senior animals and I can attest to how wonderful they are," Eden added. "So many people dump their animals once they get to a certain age. I don't think they understand all the joy and love that senior animals have to give."

Please call 440-951-6122 if you or someone you know might be able to give Jackson the loving home he deserves.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to our pet-loving friends!

Wishing you all the luck of this handsome Jack Russell tonight.

-- Sandra M. Klepach and Robin Palmer

Dog licenses aim to protect Lake County canines, shelter

Did you know that state law requires all dogs 3 months and older to have and wear a current license?

And that starting Feb. 1, the price of that license jumps from $15 to $30 per dog?

And that any dog caught or found without a license will cause the owner to be cited and subjected to a fine of $250 or more?

Click here to learn more from today's News-Herald article written by reporter John Hutchison - and to take a peak at little Annie, a 4- or 5-year-old terrier mix who is waiting for a new home at the Lake County Dog Shelter, 2600 North Ridge Road, Painesville Twp.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Take precautions to make Christmas a celebration for all

Muppet is obsessed with our Fraser fir.

She ran to its base the moment it appeared the day after Thanksgiving, and she's most likely beneath it right now.

Last year we set up a hidden camera near the tree which snapped pictures every 15 minutes. The shots caught her tossing and turning under the tree all night long. After that we didn't have the heart to box the tree skirt, instead tucking it under a bedroom table so she could enjoy it anytime.

But the tree itself is her favorite thing all year - well, that and an exceptionally small box she likes to stuff herself into. Yet after a quick search online, it turns out the ol' e'ergreen can be a real hazard to pet owners who aren't careful.

Here are some guidelines to make sure your dog or cat enjoys the holidays as much as you do:

• If you have a climber cat or clumsy dog, choose a corner for your tree and secure it from two sides by small wall hooks in the walls. Another trick is to place a small hook in the ceiling and connect it to the treetop with clear high test fishing line.

• If you have a real tree, be persistent in sweeping up pine needles, which can cause vomiting and gastric irritation if ingested. Bits of plastic or aluminum that break off of an artificial tree can also cause intestinal blockage or irritation to the mouth.

• Keep a fresh tree watered - but don't add preservatives, which can be toxic to thirsty pets. Block the way to stagnant water with a pretty tree skirt.

• Spray bitter apple or Tabasco sauce on low branches to deter chewers. To keep cats away from the tree completely, add orange peels; they hate the smell.

• If Christmas lights are on when no one's looking, are they just as beautiful? For Mittens and Fido's safety, switch them off when the tree is not supervised. Also secure cords by taping them, burying them or positioning them higher than the pet can reach. Wire-chewing may cause burns or pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), which can be fatal.

• Hang valuable ornaments on the top two-thirds of the tree. Otherwise expect playing, accidental breaking, eating and injury.

• Consider storing gifts in a safe area until right before the holiday - or do like me and add decorative ribbons no earlier than Christmas Eve, then keep pets away from the pile. Ribbons, string, tinsel and garland can all be ingested and cause intestinal obstruction that often requires surgery to clear. Tinsel can also cause cuts in the mouth, and angel hair, made of spun glass, can cause irritation on contact.

• Make sure dinner guests know what your pet can and cannot eat, just in case something accidentally drops from the table. Dangerous foods include chocolate, coffee, onions, grapes or raisins, fatty foods, alcohol and cooked bones.

• Amidst holiday excitement and romance, don't forget to use common sense. Menorahs, candles and liquid potpourri pots should never be left unsupervised when pets are enjoying the space, as well.

Other seasonal houseplants may also threaten your little one's health.

Poinsettias irritate cats' stomach and eyes. Berries of the Jerusalem cherry are toxic, and cause pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Holly and mistletoe, amaryllis, chrysanthemum, rhododendron, winter broom, Christmas berry, cherry, pepper and rose can all cause problems to pets that ingest them. For a list of plants that threaten dogs, click here.

So much to watch for, yet so much to enjoy about the holidays. Hope yours is shaping up to be safe, loving and memorable for all.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New rescue group hits the ground running

Close to Home Animal Rescue is wasting no time getting to business.

Not only is the rescue celebrating its first adoption, but co-founder Amy Quinlan recently drove to Cleveland to rescue a spaniel/golden retriever mix mother named Precious and her six 18-day old pups - Precious' third litter in 14 months!

While the owner was sad to turn Precious over, she admitted she did not have the money to give her dog the life she deserved. Neither could she provide proper healthcare or daily living care, nor keep pets inside per her rental agreement.

Instead, Precious was tied to a dog house, her puppies with her, outside in the cold. A neighbor, Connie, had called local rescues in July when Precious' owner was planning to take another litter of her puppies to the pound. They had been roaming all over neighbors' yards, she said. Yet even after that close call, still without a spay and exposed to loose dogs, Precious became a mama again.

For the final rescue Close to Home partnered with Under the Wing Rescue of Cleveland to get all the dogs into a training and fostering program at an anonymous Northeastern Ohio women's prison. Amy assures me they are indoors and being doted on 24/7. "Once the puppies are weaned they will be going to foster homes with Under the Wing and Close to Home Animal Rescue," she said. "Precious will hopefully stay in the prison for an eight-week course for training."

The puppies and Precious should be available for adoption through both rescue groups once the puppies turn 8 weeks old, about January 15.

Amy thanks the neighbor, Connie, for donating $50 toward medical bills for Precious and her pups. She also thanks Under the Wing, which not only accepts dogs in danger, but also animals in need of short-term care while their owners have major surgery, go off to Iraq or have other commitments.

The rescue also commends Connie's 7-year-old granddaughter, Maizie Reese, who contributed the $22 she earned at a lemonade stand. "She was very sad when she would visit her grandmother and see that Precious was tied to the dog house and forced to live in such conditions," Amy said. "If only everyone understood such compassion."

Veterinarians give rescues a discount but cannot give free care, and normally the cost of vetting, medications and living expenses do not get offset by adoption fees. To learn more about Close to Home, visit its new Petfinder page here or read my introductory blog here.

Amy, thank you for all the great work you're doing!

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Update: Reeeeaching cat found a home

Remember the friendly orange cat I mentioned in this blog?

Well I've just received word from Lake Humane Society Board of Directors President Eden McElhatten Dobbins that "Jester" went home with a new family the day after I met him. Didn't take long with that reeeeaching paw trick, did it?

I must say, this is just the kind of news I like to hear before Christmas. By the way, how's that wrapping coming? I'll try to blog tomorrow about do' and do-not's in regards to holiday pet safety.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Don't forget furry family members at Christmastime

Click here to read the holiday pet story in today's Sunday News-Herald, written by reporter Betsy Scott.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

For the dog with cabin fever, or just a little pudge

Think your dog feels a little pent up now that the snow's on the ground?

Did you know there's actually a line of dog-powered and electric dog exercise machines?

GoPet was founded in the spring of 2006. Its electric treadmill allows the owner or trainer to control access, speed and duration, while it's "unforced" exercise machine puts the dog in control.

"Regardless of the size of the room, or back yard, dogs love to feel the wholesome goodness of a good run achieved by the treadmill or the tread wheel," the company declared in a recent news release. "Medical statistics show dogs live longer with a lean body mass and active life style. This holiday season may be a perfect time to give the gift of life to your favorite pet."

I'd tell you more, but somehow I think sending you to the Web site (complete with photos) a better idea:

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Friday, December 18, 2009

Consider fostering homeless pets this holiday season

This blog has been full of requests for help lately, I know. Keep in mind that it's all for a good cause, though: and here's yet another way to help to consider.

(Ahem, have a new year's resolution yet?)

Lake Humane Society has issued an urgent plea for foster families for many of its cats and kittens.

Not only does fostering offers them time away from the shelter to heal and grow before they go up for adoption, it's also a super rewarding experience for you.

And, I mean, just look at these photos. Who wouldn't love such adorable houseguests?

I personally visited the shelter for the first time Monday and had the pleasure of meeting a thin orange cat. The moment I peaked into the cat showroom, he slipped his front leg through the bars of his cage and reeeeeached in my direction.

His eyes were full of longing to say hello. How social of a homeless cat, I thought. Of course I'm a sap for this when my cats reeeeach for my attention, so I didn't hesitate to stick my fingers in the cage. He started a loud motor and affectionately rubbed his body against the bars.

Walking away from my new friend was the hardest thing I did all week. He deserves a forever home, but at the very least an atmosphere that could return every ounce of his love for people.

Help is needed now for these felines. For more on Lake Humane's fostering program, or to sign up, click here or call 440-951-6122 Ext. 106.

I should mention that the South Euclid Humane Society also urgently needs foster families. To help them, call Laura Bruck at 216-297-0360.

'Tis the season for giving. Foster a homeless pet and redeem the gift threefold.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Special beagle mix needs a home

A 3 1/2-year-old spayed beagle mix named Judy has a dilemma: her family's other dogs aren't accepting her anymore.

"Judy is not the problem, but the other household pets are seniors with special needs and would be much more difficult to place," said Kelli Sue Kerwin of Animal Hospital Inc. in Willoughby.

Therefore, Judy deserves a new place to call home - and needs our help to spread the word.

While in good health, Judy has made a new year's resolution is to loose a few pounds in 2010. Otherwise she would do best with a fenced-in yard and a doggie door, but she must also be an indoor dog and have access to excellent vet care. The family will be checking references as well as making a home visit.

"She is spoiled rotten and of course her family of 3 1/2 years would like her to stay that way," Kelli said.

If you know anyone looking for a wonderful four-legged child, please contact Allan at 216-905-4474 or Kelli at 440-946-2800 or

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Eastlake animal rescue holds adoptions

Animal Rescue Center in Eastlake holds adoptions for cats, kittens, dogs and puppies on Fridays and Saturdays.

Pets are available for adoption from 4 to 8 p.m. Fridays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays at 36370 Vine St.

All pets are up to date on shots, treated for fleas and dewormed.

Adult pets are spayed or neutered; kittens and puppies come with a free spay/neuter certificate; cats and kittens are negative for Felv; and adult dogs are heartworm tested.

Adoption cost (cash only) is $125 for dogs and puppies, $75 for kittens and $30 for adult cats.

To check out a list of available pets, visit the nonprofit group's new Web site at For more details call 216-476-0433.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Felines feel healing power of Reiki

What a great story in today's News-Herald by reporter Jean Bonchak.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Different kind of critter benefits from new pet food pantry

Paws Pantry has helped its first slithering stipendiary.

While volunteering last weekend at the Madison Food Pantry and Trinity Lutheran Church, Paws Pantry founder Cindy Hardwick and her husband dropped a Paws Pantry flyer into each box of food.

Before dinner time Saturday, Cindy had already received four messages and one e-mail.

"But the most unusual request was from a Madison gal calling looking for help with feeding her snake," she said. "I had to find out about snakes and the mice they eat - fresh vs. frozen, little vs. big - way more information than I ever wanted to know.

"I went to Petco and talked to a lovely girl about the mice. We both decided that the colored ones were way too cute to feed to anything, so we decided on the plain old white ones.

"So Paws Pantry made its first mice delivery this weekend. I hope that means I don't have to change the name to Paws-and-anything-non-human Pantry."

Paws Pantry is currently applying for nonprofit status so it can provide necessary pet food to anyone who finds themselves financially unable to feed their pets - dogs, cats, fish, gerbils, whatever. For more on the group and its upcoming casino bus trip fundraiser, click here.

Cindy can be reached at 440-298-1530 week days after 5 p.m. and weekends, or at or

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Lake County Dog Shelter sells ornaments

The Lake County Dog Shelter is selling ornaments at its "Giving Trees," which will be up through Jan. 5 at the following locations:

• Paw Riffic K-9 Kampus, 2648 Hubbard Road, Madison
• Lake County Dog Shelter, 2600 North Ridge Road, Painesville
• Pooch Parlour, 33000 Vine St., Eastlake
• PupCuts, 3451 North Ridge Road, Perry.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lost: Red husky in Chardon

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Close To Home dog rescue thinks local with new approach

'Tis the season for animal rescue start-ups!

Yet Close To Home Rescue will take a different approach to finding dogs new homes, co-founder Amy Quinlan says - its four founders live in three different areas of Northeast Ohio.

"I am about 20 miles north of Youngstown in McDonald, Katie Sojka is in Mentor, as is her mother, Mary Ellen Toll, and finally Terra Weston is in South Euclid," Amy says.

If its application for non-profit status is successful, the group plans to hold events in all three areas while accepting dogs directly from local pounds and puppy mills to help the community directly. Already it has begun the rehab and re-home process for four dogs, Amy said.

"Ohio is the third worst state as far as lack of laws for our animals, and also in deplorable conditions for puppy mills," Amy said. "So often people do not realize when they send money to the larger corporations, which do a great job; however, their money is leaving our area and our animals in Northeast Ohio communities behind. It is our hope that we can help dogs and cats in Ohio pounds, shelters, and puppy mills, and at the same time educate the public on the lack of Ohio laws and the deplorable conditions of Ohio's puppy mill industry."

Close To Home should be on soon. Meanwhile Amy can be reached at 330-718-4771 or

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Forgotten Ferals lists its homeless pets on

Another local shelter can now be found on, the Internet's oldest and largest database of adoptable animals.

Forgotten Ferals, based in Kirtland, recently joined more than 12,900 animal welfare organizations in the U.S., Canada and other countries to add its homeless pets to's list of more than 317,870.

Since its inception in early 1996, has facilitated about 20 million adoptions, making it the most life-saving initiative in animal welfare. The way it works: When someone enters criteria for a desired pet on the site, the site ranks the pets in proximity to ZIP code. Adoptions are handled by the animal placement group where the pet is housed, and each group has its own policies.

Forgotten Ferals can be found here on For a complete list of shelter and rescue groups in your area, visit and scroll down the left column to "Find Animal Welfare Groups."

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Geauga Humane Society open special holiday hours

Geauga Humane Society's Rescue Village will have special hours during the holidays.

The shelter will be open from noon to 8 p.m. today, which is Friday, December 11, to start the Peace and Paws Holiday Celebration weekend. Refreshments will be served at a special blessing of the animals, and all shelter animals will be available to meet. Adoptions stop at 7:15 p.m.

On Dec. 23 Rescue Village will be open for business and adoptions from noon to 5 p.m., with adoptions ending at 4:15 p.m.

The facility will be closed Dec. 24, 25 and Jan. 1, but open from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 31. Adoptions will also stop at 4:15 p.m. that day.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

First family helped by start-up pet food pantry

The new Paws Pantry has helped its first family - a husband and wife who lost their jobs this year, according to founder Cindy Hardwick. The couple have three kids, four dogs, two kittens and one cat. Thanks to the generosity of Jill from Pet Supplies Plus, the pantry supplied them with a month's worth of pet food.

Paws Pantry will provide necessary pet food to anyone who finds themselves financially unable to feed their pets - dogs, cats, fish, gerbils, whatever, Cindy says.

Those in need are encouraged to apply to the pantry, which is in the process of receiving non-profit status. "Don't give your animals up to a shelter or drop them off on the side of the road, please contact Paws Pantry," Cindy said. "I will contact you with the necessary paperwork to fill out in order to get the food that you need."

Anyone wishing to help, in turn, is asked to donate Purina Pro Plan and Eukanuba dog food, although any food will help. The pantry also accepts any type of cat food, dry or wet, and any kind of cat litter. "Get your neighbors together, get a few of your work friends together, or just from the goodness of your own heart pick up some dog and cat food for Paws Pantry," Cindy said. "We can't make this happen without YOU!"

Already Paws Pantry has scheduled a fundraiser - a bus trip to Seneca Allegany Casino on Monday, January 18. Click here for details.

Paws Pantry can be reached at 440-298-1530 week days after 5 p.m. and weekends, or at or

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Paws Pantry for pets to host casino fundraiser Jan. 18

Paws Pantry's mission statement: "Make sure no family pet goes to sleep hungry."

Now founder Cindy Hardwick is looking for awareness of her pet food bank, currently applying for non-profit status to also accept donations.

"For right now, Paws Pantry will be run out of my basement," said Cindy, a Madison resident. "If there is a family or individual that finds themselves financially unable to feed their pets - dogs, cats, fish, gerbils, whatever - Paws Pantry will be able to provide them with the necessary food for their animals.

"I don't want anyone to have to give up their pet, take them to a shelter or just abandon them. Paws Pantry can help. Each request will be individually looked over to determine need. There are certain financial guidelines that must be met in order to obtain food, but we will strive to make sure no one is turned away."

Already Paws Pantry has scheduled a fundraiser - a bus trip to Seneca Allegany Casino on Monday, January 18. The bus leaves about 7:30 a.m. from State Route 90 and Route 306 by the Red Roof Inn, and returns about 7:30 p.m.

Cost is $35; the casino comps $20 slot play and $5 toward food. Visitors also receive two drink coupons and a goodie bag on the bus. Bloody Marys, screwdrivers, beer and water will be available. Call Cindy for details at 440-298-1530 or 440-823-0486.

Anyone else interested in this effort, either to provide help or seek help, can reach Cindy at 440-298-1530 week days after 5 p.m. and weekends, or e-mail her at or

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Endangered Species Chocolate gets even sweeter

Effective in January for a minimum of three years, Endangered Species Chocolate will donate the greater of 10 percent of its new profits, or $10,000 a year, to both African Wildlife Foundation and SEEtheWild.

"ESC selects 10 percent partners for their vigorous and transparent mission to support species and habitat conservation in harmony with humanity," according to a news release from the Indianapolis-based chocolate maker.

Also in the new year, ESC will further its commitment to the work of its foundation, created in 2009 to fund several on-the-ground sustainability projects serving the communities where the company sources its cocoa. From supporting health care, clean water, and education initiatives in Ivory Coast to helping farmers purchase weed whackers and produce healthy, high-yield cacao trees in Ecuador, all foundation programs are guided by the expressed needs of cacao farmers.


-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Monday, December 7, 2009

NYT profiles CEO of national animal cruelty organization

If you're looking for a national organization to accept the remainder of your holiday benevolence fund, here's one to consider: the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Chief Executive Ed Sayres appeared in this New York Times profile yesterday. A short, inspirational piece I found worth posting.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Wanted: People who buy Christmas gifts for their pets

News-Herald reporter Betsy Scott is writing a story about people who buy Christmas gifts for their pets.

Are your pets so lucky? Or do you know someone else who does?

If so, Betsy would love to talk with you! Please contact her by Thursday, Dec. 10, at 440-954-7133 or

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Letter to the Editor: Ban dog auctions, raffles

I draw your attention to a call to action, care of Jeanie Antonacci of Chester Township, among today's Letters to the Editor.
A proposal to ban all dog auctions and raffles has been certified by the state Attorney General and the Ohio Ballot Board. Dog auctions are already banned in other states, including Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, the people in Pennsylvania now transport their puppy mill dogs to Ohio.

Truly a black eye for Ohio.

Most breeders who participate at these auctions are raising large numbers of puppies for profit in mills, factory-like operations in which caged dogs churn out litters year after year. For those of you who don't know much about puppy millers, you would be horrified to see the condition of these dogs and puppies, and you would be shocked at their living conditions. Many have never put a paw on a blade of grass.

They are nothing but breeding machines for profit.

What keeps the puppy mills alive? Pet shops and the Internet! Many people who buy from these sources end up with sick or dying dogs shortly after they are taken home due to poor breeding and the horrendous conditions in which they were raised.

Before voters decide on this issue, the state legislature must be given an opportunity to pass it. For the legislature to consider it, though, petitions must be circulated to gather signatures from Ohio voters in at least 44 of the state's 88 counties.

You must be a registered voter to sign the petition.

The total number of valid signatures must equal 120,700.

Petitions can be signed at Geauga Humane Society's Rescue Village in Russell Township during business hours or call your local animal shelter to see if they have petitions before the deadline of Monday, Dec. 14.

For detailed information about dog auctions and puppy mills, log on to or It will break your heart!
Geauga Humane Society's Rescue Village is located at 15463 Chillicothe Road in Russell Township.

I just called Lake Humane Society, located at 7564 Tyler Blvd., Bldg. E, in Mentor, and the same petition can be signed there.

Both facilities are open noon to 7 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays; noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; and closed Wednesdays.

Signing is free and just takes a minute. If you are registered to vote in Ohio, please consider stopping by during your lunch hour, or after work, to fill a dotted line for these most unfortunate dogs.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Good Geauga pets also get visits from Santa

Geauga County Dog Shelter will welcome Santa from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays, December 6 and 13, to sit with your pets in exchange for a donation.

Get two 4x6 digital prints in Christmas card photo frames for $20. For $25, also get the photos e-mailed to you. Proceeds benefit the Geauga County Dog Shelter & Canine Lifeline.

The shelter is at 12513 Merritt Road in Chardon. For more information call 440-286-8135.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Friday Pet Pause

Click here for this week's 4-minute, 46-second installment.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Chihuahuas found in hoarder's home grace holiday greetings

The Associated Press reports:

Two of about 100 Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes taken in by a Detroit-area animal shelter this summer following a hoarding case are getting some big exposure this holiday season.

The dogs, named Poco and Amigo, appear on the front of greeting cards being sold by the group Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter. Another set of cards being sold to help the shelter features a black cat.

Cards are being sold online for $10 for a package of 10, plus shipping. They're also for sale at the Dearborn Animal Shelter.

The shelter has been crowded this year. In June, it got 45 cats from one home. Police in July found a man with more than 100 live dogs and 150 dead ones in his Dearborn home. In August, the shelter took in 25 cats and a dog from another house.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Santa will pose with your pet this weekend at Lake Humane Society

Lake Humane Society is once again teaming up with Thoughtful Images so that your furry friend can get a picture with the jolly old elf himself.

Santa Paws will be held from noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, December 5 and 6, at the shelter, 7564 Tyler Blvd., Bldg. E, Mentor, Ohio 44060.

Christmas cards will be available for order, but on-site printing should do the trick for portraits. A pet-tastic gift basket will also be raffled.

Isn't Santa generous, taking time during this busy holiday season to pose for photos with your loved ones?

Thoughtful Images also photographs the Humane Society's Pet of Month; those photos can be seen on its Web site and in its shelter.

For more information on Santa Paws, visit the shelter, call 440-951-6122, or check

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Photo courtesy of Thoughtful Images.

Pet masseuse hopes to meet you at Cleveland dog show

The licensed massotherapist who taught the pet massage course at Lakeland's Free College Day hopes to see you Dec. 10th through 13th at this year's Crown Classic Dog Shows at the IX Center in Cleveland.

In her most recent newsletter Auburn Township's Sherrie D'Anne writes:
This year's (show) will do well to motivate you and your animal companion to take that 'next step' in your relationship bond. For some of you, that might mean dusting off your massage class notes and committing to a scheduled massage routine for your beloved pal.

For others, it may mean enrolling in Canine Career Center's obedience classes, agility classes or the exciting new rally class (approved for mixed breeds with AKC approval).

For those of you already involved in service or performance, 2010 may be the year when you amp up your training a notch or decide to do something 'just for fun' like exercise ball training or canine drill team with the Heel N' Time Canine Drill Team Masters!

Whatever the modality, I believe you will find this extravaganza of passion for canines (not to mention some of the very best shopping for all types of four-legged companions) to be entertaining, motivational and just plain fun!
Find her in Booth B4 in the back of the IX Center, across from the canine agility performance area. Only dogs entered in competition are invited to the IX Center, she notes.
Please come visit Doris Straka, my friend and animal communicator, and I as we do our part to support and encourage these exceptional athletes and their humans during one of the country's premier showcases of Canis lupus familiaris.
D'Anne is certified in neuromuscular therapy, a certified reiki master teacher and practitioner, and a hands-on healer of four- and two-legged beings. For more on her, read my previous blogs about D'Anne here and here.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

What the heck is thiamine, and why do cats need it?

Reading a recent news item really threw me for a loop.

It never crossed my mind how little I know about what I'm putting into my cats' bodies.

On Tuesday it was announced that back in September, Diamond Pet Foods recalled certain bags of Premium Edge Finicky Adult Cat and Premium Edge Hairball dry cat food that did not contain enough thiamine, an essential nutrient. A cat's deficiency in thiamine could lead to gastrointestinal or neurological problems, and even death.

Twenty-one cats were sickened by the flawed food in New York and Pennsylvania. The food was also distributed in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. No incidents have been reported since Oct. 19.

According to Cat World, thiamine has numerous functions, including helping the body metabolize carbs into energy and maintaining a healthy heart and nervous system. The nutrient is found in whole grains, some fruits and vegetables, meat, liver, bread, brewers years, legumes and milk.

Though rare, a deficiency is most common when a cat's diet contains large amounts of raw fish. Initial symptoms include decreased appetite, salivation, vomiting and weight loss. Other problems that could develop include bending the neck toward the floor, wobbly walking, circling, falling and seizures.

For a full refund, consumers can return the recalled cat food to the place it was purchased. Call 800-977-8797 for more information.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

USA Weekend posts seven tail-wagging gift ideas

I don't have a dog of my own anymore, but I was delighted to find this list full of unique Christmas presents for pooches, care of USA Weekend.

Not only does writer Steve Dale describe his choices, he explains why dogs generally enjoy them.

My personal favorite: the collar equipped with a bottle opener. Cheers!

-- Sandra M. Klepach,