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150 Blacksmith Shop Rd.
Falmouth, MA

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Falmouth, MA 02541

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Recent Falmouth Enterprise Columns


August 4, 2017
July 28, 2017
July 21, 2017
July 14, 2017

July 7, 2017
June 30, 2017
June 23, 2017
June 16, 2017

 

Falmouth Enterprise Archived Column

By Pamela Alden Kokmeyer

Friday, August 4, 2017

Some of the dogs that pass through our shelter come and go in a moment, producing barely a ripple. Especially the young, healthy, happy, popular breeds.

Others offer a challenge. But it is this challenge that can be their greatest gift to us and their greatest legacy. They make us stop and reassess. They make us try even harder. They make us think creatively. They open up new horizons, which in turn will help other dogs down the road.

Maybe we don't say it often enough, but we'll say it here and now: We are grateful for all those dogs that have given us the best that they have. We hope we lived up to their expectations.

* * *

UPDATE: Sis was adopted! And now we turn to our newest resident: Sis. Sis is a 9-year-old English springer spaniel. She is pretty to look at and fun to be with. Sis loves people. Sis loves having her teeth brushed. Every morning. Wow.

Her pretty liver-colored coat waves gently when she trots. Sis can be particular about hanging out with some other dogs and she is particularly not fond of small dogs. But that's an issue that can be handled with a bit of care and foresight. We are still getting to know Sis and are looking forward to having fun with her.

* * *

We're excited to share some wonderful news: George and Cloud have both been adopted. For Cloud, it was an easy-peasy sojourn in our program; no major health issues and scores of families interested. For George, not so much. You may recall some of George's dramatic story, which included treatment for a very serious medical issue (heartworm). You may also remember he went into foster care, where he almost literally found a new life. We wanted to share what his foster family says of their experience. They say it more eloquently than we ever could:

Thank you to everyone who asked "How's George?" We have progressed from answering "very sick" to "he is fabulous and in his forever home!"

George captured so many hearts at the shelter that it was bittersweet for the Friends of Falmouth Dogs volunteers as they packed George up for his next adventure into foster care. The FFD volunteers reluctantly parted with George because they knew he needed a home where he could continue to recover from his many ailments and gather strength for his heartworm treatment.

George got in the car, lay down and quietly gazed out the window for the ride "home." That was my first WOW: he was so good in the car. George continued to give us WOW moments as he transformed from a very sick dog to a healthy, happy, mellow dog. We learned that George would rather play with us than his toy bunny and that dogs are no big deal, including a jumping, licking puppy or a frantically running, barking dog. He likes to sleep in and would spend hours chewing a frozen marrow bone on the deck. George saves his deep, impressive barks for squirrels, crows and fireworks. George learned that some people are easily trained to give treats as long as he takes the treats gently.

The next question after how George is doing is usually how can we give him up. It's not easy, but we aren't the perfect match for George and we know that George is now in his perfect forever home. We have fostered a few dogs over the years and have never wondered how the dog is doing because we know that the Friends of Falmouth Dogs volunteers work hard, and succeed, at finding the perfect match for each dog. Providing foster care for George was an incredibly rewarding experience that outweighs the sadness as he drove away.

That is my segue to encourage anyone who loves dogs, but can't make a full-time commitment to a dog, to consider foster care. If you have ever thought, "I would love to have a dog but ... I want to travel ... or I can't make the financial commitment..." consider foster care. As it should be, the application process is thorough, but once the volunteers get to know you, they remember you and couldn't be more appreciative. By definition, a dog that needs foster care often has issues, maybe medical, maybe emotional, maybe age-related. But FFD volunteers make sure that the dog's issues will not exceed the foster home's capabilities.

We were a good choice for George because we, among other things, have a quiet place with someone home all day, some dog nutrition expertise, and many years of dog experience.

Before I get off my soapbox I need to mention heartworm.

George is the second dog we have fostered through heartworm treatment, and it is really tough to watch. It is a very expensive six-week process of painful injections that make the dog really sick. On the other hand, heartworm prevention is a relatively inexpensive, once-a-month, liver-flavored treat.

Please choose prevention.

* * *

And from the bottom of every volunteer's heart, we express a huge thank-you to this foster family who saw George through the dark times and into his future.

* * *

We are at the shelter Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to noon; Sunday from 3 to 5 PM; and Monday and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 6.

 
 

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Falmouth Enterprise Archived Column

By Pamela Alden Kokmeyer

Friday, July 28, 2017

We all love an underdog. We root for him. We cheer for her. We celebrate when they overcome the odds.

Like David and Goliath.

Like the US Men's Hockey Team at the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Like Rocky.

And Rocky II.

And Rocky III... (You get the picture.)

UPDATE: George has been adopted. And like George. When he first arrived, there was so much wrong with his body, yet so much right with his temperament. While there was never a whiff of defeatism with this 7-year-old German shepherd—he was too dignified for that—there was an aura of sadness in his expression, no doubt as a result of all the neglect that he had endured.

But then he turned to us. And we turned to a foster family. And the rest, as they say, is history. George is now ready for the next chapter of his life, from Underdog to Wonderdog. He's healthy and whole and has joy in his eyes. And every day we learn something new about him. George is ready for his forever home.

UPDATE: Cloud has been adopted. Those of us of a certain age will remember the day The Beatles first set foot on American soil and were greeted by 3,000 screaming fans. That's sort of what Cloud experienced this past the weekend—except for the screaming. We were amazed at the number of people who came to see this little Maltese with the shaggy coat. And we now have a number of wonderful applications for Cloud. Apparently, Malteses have a very devoted fan base.

But that's easy to understand with Cloud. This 8-year-old dog has a sweet temperament, loves people, enjoys high-stepping walks, and enjoys laps even more. Because of his small size (8½ pounds), we think he'd do best in an adult home. Maltese experience will be a plus.

However, if you're still interested in Cloud or another small dog, please call and ask to be put on a waiting list or stop by and complete our potential applicant form and we will keep it on file for up to six months.

* * *

And just a reminder: we regularly receive alerts about dogs needing new homes, so we encourage you to stop by, chat with us and let us know if you're starting your search for a dog. Who knows? We may be able to help.

* * *

If you have been trying, unsuccessfully, to master the art of raising your left eyebrow to deepen the bond with your dog, we have a few more ideas that may be easier to implement. They are not radical thoughts, simply gentle suggestions. Obvious as these ideas may be, they're still worth repeating.

Obedience training. Yes, we know, that's a no-brainer. But part of the beauty of mastering basic commands is that not only will you have a dog that understands sit, stay and come, your dog will learn to rely on you for leadership and security. And you and your dog may be able to go on to training for the Canine Good Citizen test. Find a good trainer and get started.

Trick training. Not at all the same as obedience. This should be pure fun, both to learn and to perform. Things like shaking hands, rolling over, twirling on back legs, playing dead, and counting to three. The possibilities are endless. Classes, books and videos are good resources.

Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. (Did you notice the emphasis?) Walking, hiking, jogging, swimming, and exploring trails and even neighborhoods will not only provide the health benefits your dog needs, but also offer some shared time away from the stresses of daily life. And your dog will simply love all the new and exotic scents in the environment.

* * *

We thank those of you who visited our table at the yard sale last weekend at The Falmouth Enterprise. There were lots of good deals to be found and every cent of every sale goes directly to the dogs. So, thank you all!

* * *

We are at the shelter Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to noon; Sunday from 3 to 5 PM; and Monday and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 6.

 
 

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Falmouth Enterprise Archived Column

By Pamela Alden Kokmeyer

Friday, July 21, 2017

We have a confession to make: we peeked in George's diary just the other day and we were struck by a particularly lovely sentence, one that, no doubt, captures his heart's deepest longing: Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be. And we know that in George's case, this is a reality; the best is yet to be now that this adult German shepherd has been restored to health.

Then we thought about it and we grew suspicious. George is smart and sensitive. But not that smart and sensitive. Turns out he "borrowed" the line from Robert Browning.

But then we thought about it some more and decided to indulge him since he has great literary instincts. And George would like nothing more than to enjoy the rest of his life with a family of his very own as they all grow old gracefully together.

George has been in foster care for about two months. He needed the special attention of a foster home as he went through treatment for heartworm. And not only did he come through the treatment successfully, we learned a thing or two about this gorgeous dog.

We learned that George would probably prefer a home much like the one he has become accustomed to these past months—one with thoughtful adults, a quiet lifestyle, strolls in the open air, nutritious food, and lots and lots of beds throughout the house. And you know what: we know such a perfect home is in the wings just waiting to enfold him. Are you that home? Give us a call and we can chat about George.

(And we heartily endorse his purloining Browning's line.)

Cloud. Our newest resident. Probably a senior. Definitely a cutie. Cloud is a Maltese, small and darling.

But don't let the name fool you. There is nothing ethereal about this little guy. Oh, sure, he is small and delicate and loves to sit in laps. And he'll stare up at you as if he's waited all his life to meet just you.

But he is also solidly planted on terra firma and will make his presence known, until your lap appears or a leash is produced or your attention is focused on him.

We're still getting to know him and will share all his wonderfulness with you as we learn it.

* * *

We encourage those of you who have adopted from us, either recently or long, long ago, to share your thoughts and feelings on having one of our dogs join your family. Here are a few of the responses we have received so far:

Flash's adjustment has been excellent. He has turned into an absolute love muffin!

Benny is extremely affectionate and loves to hug! I love Benny. (3 hearts)

We can feel the love and security Bailey has now that he has found a good home. My children adore him.

Our dog is a treasure and truly amazing soul! We are fortunate to have him in our lives.

Basil is fantastic. Like he's always been here. He is incredibly good-natured. From moment one, Basil has always felt like part of the family and the feeling continues to grow.

So there you have it. Great dogs! Great families! Happy endings!

* * *

The employees at The Falmouth Enterprise on Depot Avenue (across from the bus station) are planning a yard sale on Saturday, July 22, from 9 AM to 1 PM and have invited us to participate. So participate we will! We'll have some dog-specific items and lots of people-specific items, all reasonably priced. Please stop by and at least say hi!

* * *

We are at the shelter Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to noon; Sunday from 3 to 5; and Monday and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 6.

 

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Falmouth Enterprise Archived Column

By Pamela Alden Kokmeyer

Friday, July 14, 2017

The truth is that when you look like a tough guy, you have to work extra hard to prove you're really a sweetie. Sometimes the world just sees the outside and doesn't care about the rest.

There are lots of examples of things that look tough on the outside but inside are deceptively soft.

Like Rosey Grier, former professional football player (6'5" and 284 pounds!), whose hobby is crocheting. And who wrote a book on needlepoint. Really.

Like prickly pears, which look like medieval weapons on the outside but whose fruit inside is sweet and succulent.

Like snails. They're just plain tough looking and ugly. And yet... And yet they're found on menus in fine restaurants everywhere.

Like manatees, which are scary to look at but are also known as "squishy-faced best friends" because of their gentleness and affinity for humans.

But our favorite example is Shorty, the dog with a tough-looking exterior and an extra sweet interior. This young (2 or 3 years old) mix of pitbull and rottweiler may look like a pugilist. His stocky build, short legs, thick neck, oversized head and muscled torso are the first things you see. But if you spend any amount of time with him, you will see a funny, goofy, playful, needy young dog. Everything he does, he does with full-on gusto. He puts his whole heart into it. He grabs onto every moment with both hands. Or he would if he had hands.

Make no mistake: Shorty is going to need work and training. Lots of it. But this diamond in the rough will be worth it. Shorty exhibits some fear when meeting new people, especially men, so he is undergoing an evaluation period to help with these fears. He will be available for a meet-and-greet after the evaluation process concludes. But in the meantime, you can call to get more information on him—we love talking about Shorty!

We are looking for an adult home (simply because of his strength and exuberance) with bully breed experience. We will also require his new home to get Shorty into formal training as part of the adoption.

And our dear George continues to thrive in a gentleness of existence. This 7-year-old German shepherd in foster care knows nothing but love, security, quiet routine and all that is good in the world. His foster family marvels at how quickly this former-dog-of-many-issues has made a full recovery to health and heartiness. Well, hearty wouldn't exactly describe him. He's too majestic for that. And like royalty, he accepts all that is bestowed upon him with grace and good humor. And his manners? They're impeccable. His ideal home will be an adult home where he can reign as the only dog and one where someone is home much of the time. We feel it's the least we can do for George.

* * *

As we suspected there would be, there was a dramatic uptick in strays at the shelter and even more calls to the shelter from frantic owners around the Fourth of July. Most of these dogs panicked after hearing fireworks and bolted from their yards. Of the four that arrived at the shelter, none were wearing ID tags. It was only through work and luck that they were reunited before having to spend a night at the shelter, away from family and home. Unfortunately, we learned that some of the other dogs never made it home. Again, we remind owners to be extra vigilant around holidays when dogs get stressed by changes in routine; always, always, always have an ID tag on your dog's collar; get your dog microchipped; and if your dog goes missing, call Animal Control, the police, and shelters not only in your town, but neighboring towns.

* * *

We have two fundraisers planned, so you might want to mark your calendars. On Saturday, July 22, we are participating in a yard sale at The Falmouth Enterprise offices on Depot Avenue (across from the bus station). The yard sale will run from 9 AM to 1 PM.

On Saturday, September 16, we will hold our 4th annual Antiques Appraisal event at Atria Woodbriar Place on Gifford Street, with Michael Kasparian serving as the appraiser.

* * *

We are at the shelter Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to noon; Sunday from 3 to 5 PM; and Monday and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 6.

 

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Falmouth Enterprise Archived Column

By Pamela Alden Kokmeyer

Friday, July 7, 2017

The heart of a champion. Secretariat had it. And George does, too. It takes the heart of a champion to not just meet challenges, but to surmount them. To claim victory. To take the top prize.

* * *

Considered the best racing Thoroughbred of all time, with still-unbroken track records at the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, Secretariat had a few real advantages to account for his blistering speed. For one thing, his heart was almost three times the size of a normal Thoroughbred's heart. (His was 22 pounds; the average is 7 ½ to 8 pounds.) Of course, well-developed lungs and large nostrils also help. Certainly helped Secretariat.

But with George, we are speaking both physically and metaphorically. George has come through his treatment for heartworm as the victor. The vet has cleared George medically: his lungs and heart are clear and healthy. But George has also come out the winner in other ways. The deck was stacked against this lovely 7-year-old German shepherd. His body was dealing with several ailments, but his spirit was also struggling to survive the emotional neglect he must have known before he arrived on our doorstep.

But you should see him now. After a few months of excellent vet care; a balanced diet; a few baths; and—most of all—a loving, nurturing foster home, this shepherd is a new creature. Every day now he wakes to a life full of joy, friends, food (and homemade snacks), clean beds, strolls and naps. Doesn't get much better than that.

Yes, this boy certainly has heart. He's also got exquisite house manners, a forgiving nature, and a gentle temperament. George has minor surgery scheduled for July 11. Following that, we will begin making arrangements for meet-and-greets with potential new families.

We are looking for a home where someone is around a lot of the time, and we think George should be the star of that home.

The accompanying photo shows how Shorty celebrated the 4th: all dressed up. Shorty's social calendar is just about as hot as the weather. In addition to regular field trips around town, visits to ponds, and time splashing in the pools at the shelter (please visit our Facebook page for the video), Shorty has become the star of stage, screen and print. Well, at least he's become the star of volunteers' cellphone cameras.

This 2-plus-year-old pitbull/Rottweiler mix loves life. He loves people. And Shorty has just begun attending day care! Two times a week! Who knew how much he enjoyed chasing around the play yard with big dogs, small dogs and all the in-between dogs. Well, Shorty probably knew but we didn't. We'll keep you posted on all the new friends he's making. And like proud parents, we preened when the trainer saw just how smart he was and how quickly he followed her commands.

Because of Shorty's sheer strength, the ideal home will be one with no small children, and an owner who can demonstrate strong leadership and has bully breed experience. We also will make getting Shorty into formal training a prerequisite for adoption.

* * *

We all know that walking our dogs in hot weather is fraught with considerations and calculations. Simply fraught. But we mostly just think of temperature and humidity. We assume those are the salient points. But are they? Well, no. It's not just the temperature and humidity that can be a problem. How about the pavement your dog walks on? Ask yourself: would I walk barefoot on this asphalt on a hot day? If you're not sure, here's a little test. Place your hands or bare feet on the pavement and hold them there for about 7 seconds. If it's uncomfortable for you, it's uncomfortable—and potentially dangerous—for your dog. And even if you wait until the late afternoon or for the sun to set to take your pet for a walk, keep in mind that asphalt holds the heat.

If you're lucky enough to live near a body of water, well, you're lucky. And so's your dog. Even non-swimming dogs will generally enjoy walking in the coolness of the water's edge.

To give your dog the exercise and mental stimulation it needs on very hot days, you may need to adjust your schedule temporarily. Early morning and early evening walks may be just what the doctor ordered!

* * *

We are at the shelter seven days a week: Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to noon; Sunday from 3 to 5 PM; and Monday and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 6.

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Falmouth Enterprise Archived Column

By Pamela Alden Kokmeyer

Friday, June 30, 2017

Cicero said if you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. He's right. Well, almost right. To that we would add a dog. And maybe a box of chocolates. Very good chocolates. There, now that's really all you need.

* * *

Well, the world is just full of little surprises, isn't it. Who knew that Shorty liked to swim? Or even could swim. Built less like Michael Phelps and more like Mike Tyson, Shorty wouldn't have been our first choice for water sports. But on recent field trips, volunteers decided to give Shorty a nice cool surprise.

Tethered to a long leash, he got his first taste of "water paws" and liked it so much, he just threw himself into the water and swam and swam and swam. And then he swam some more. We're talking real dog-paddling here, not just walking along the bottom. After a nice toweling off and a ride back to the shelter, Shorty was clearly full of joy. He happily went into his kennel and curled up on his bed.

Shorty is a delightful mix of pitbull and Rottweiler: a pitweiler? He's between 2 and 3 years old, very smart, very strong and pretty opinionated. A stocky body on shortish legs, he's one of a kind. Shorty will need firm leadership and because he likes to learn new things, training will be fun. And training will be necessary. An adult home (because of his strength) and bully breed experience will make the ideal home for our Shorty.

And now we'll gush for a few moments about our dear George, the 7-year-old German shepherd in foster care. This is one amazing dog who has met several medical obstacles and has come out the winner. He's almost like a real live Disney movie. George arrived at the shelter in very tough shape. We'll spare you the details, but—trust us—he was not a pretty sight. As soon as possible, he went into foster care while he underwent treatment for heartworm, just one of several medical issues.

Well, that was then and this is now. Now, because of the excellent care he is receiving in his foster home and top-notch veterinary care, George looks like a champion. Like a new creature. He's healthy, well-nourished, happy, sweet, and still a perfect gentleman...we could go on.

George is a celebrity in his neighborhood and politely greets all and sundry on his walks. Now he is almost ready for his next step: a permanent home. We think a home similar to his foster home will help ease any transition: a quiet, adult home with someone home a lot, regular walks, playtime, good food (and a nice view would not be amiss). Although he seems to like the dogs he meets on his walks, we think he deserves to be the star in the family. If you'd like to consider adding George to your life, give us a call and we will give you more information.

You may have noticed Rose by her absence. Happily, this 9-year-old yellow Lab has begun life in her new home. This gal was immensely popular, but alas, we couldn't divide her, so only one family could be chosen. But we encourage those of you still interested in adopting a dog to keep checking our website for immediate updates.

* * *

Every year, July 4 rolls around. And every year, shelters report an increase in the number of dogs that either end up at the shelter or are reported missing. See the connection? For many dogs, the sound of fireworks sends them into a panic and even normally placid dogs may bolt through a door or over a fence. Don't let your dog become a statistic.

Here are some tips from a favorite online pet resource (PetPlace@mails.petplace.com):

Remain indoors. Keep your pet inside during the scheduled fireworks display. During the big fireworks celebration, someone should remain at home with the dog. When going out for walks, always keep your dog on a leash.

Keep your pet calm. Make your dog feel safe. Give him easy access to his safe place or his crate. Comfort your dog by doing the things he loves: hug, pet or brush your dog, speak in a soothing voice, and give your dog his favorite treat. Whenever possible, stay with him, so he doesn't feel alone.

Draw attention away from the noise. Try to muffle the noise by keeping windows and doors closed and play music or turn on the TV.

Act normal. Your dog will follow your example, so go about your normal routine and make sure to spend time playing and interacting with your dog. Act upbeat and calm to reinforce that your dog has no reason to be afraid.

Make sure your pet's collar has an ID tag. This is pretty obvious but worth mentioning anyway. If, even after all you have done to lessen your dog's fear, the dog bolts, at least it will be wearing an ID, so it can be reunited with you sooner rather than later.

* * *

We are at the shelter Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to noon; Sunday from 3 to 5 PM; and Monday and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 6.

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Falmouth Enterprise Archived Column

By Pamela Alden Kokmeyer

Friday, June 23, 2017

It is often said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We would agree. Take, for example, peanut butter and chocolate.

Abbott and Costello.

Rock & roll.

Lady and the Tramp.

Xylem and phloem.

Shorty.

Shorty? Yes, Shorty, who is our quirky, unusual, delightful combination of parts that is a force unto himself. This young (2 or 3 years old?) guy is most likely a mix of Rottweiler and pit bull. But how it comes together in him results in a unique creation. Shorty is stocky, sturdy and short and has the rich colorings of the rottie. He adores human companionship and will often plant himself on your foot and lean against your leg while he surveys the world in front of him. Then he might roll on his back for a belly rub.

Shorty is very smart and seems to enjoy training, either for food rewards or for an enthusiastic "atta boy." Shorty is very strong and somewhat prey-driven (watch out, rabbits and squirrels), so he will need a firm, strong owner. And training. Lots of training. An adult home, preferably with bully breed experience, is what he needs and what we are hoping for. Because of his strength, only homes without children will be considered.

Rose's birthday is Tuesday. She will turn 9. But apparently she couldn't wait the extra few days to celebrate. As seen in the accompanying photo, she's already started. Helping her celebrate was Uptown Dog, which treated her to blueberry frozen doggy yogurt on a recent visit. (Her diet has since started.) Rose is an active yellow Lab. She is exceedingly sweet and a bit heavy, as Labs are wont to be. She loves walks, car rides, office time, and of course, blueberry frozen doggy yogurt.

Don't let her age fool you. This gal loves exercise. But of everything she loves, she loves attention most of all, so we are looking for a home where someone is around much of the time. She loves people so much that she will often bring you presents in her mouth; she'll grab whatever is handy. Because of her size and exuberance, an adult home or one with older children would be best.

Our pal George continues to thrive in his foster home. This 7-year-old German shepherd is nearing the conclusion of his treatment for heartworm, which is no day in the park. But George accepts all the medicine and restrictions with grace and equanimity. He is truly a gentleman. His foster family might soon run out of adjectives to describe his awesomeness.

He has just begun regular—but limited—walks in the neighborhood, where he is a pretty popular guy. And once you meet him, you'll understand why. Soon he will be undergoing a little, ahem, cosmetic surgery to make him even more gorgeous. Seriously though, this is a very handsome shepherd with exquisite manners. He will soon be looking for his forever home. The ideal home will be tranquil and serene but with regular walks and visits and company. George loves company.

* * *

We always love learning fun factoids about dogs, especially vis--vis people. We just learned about a Japanese study published in Behavioral Processes a few years ago that proved that dogs raise their eyebrows when they are greeted by their owners. Especially the left eyebrow. Apparently, the researchers used a high-speed camera to capture and analyze the facial movements of the test dogs, both when seeing their owners and seeing strangers. The dogs' facial movements were much more subtle when greeted by a stranger.

They went on to explain the scientific reasons and ramifications but we don't really care about all that stuff. All we care about is that we've learned a new way to communicate with our dogs. Ultimately, what the experts suggest is that the more animated your face is when greeting your pup, the more loved they feel. And if you can raise just your left eyebrow, well, your dog will feel really cherished. Isn't that fun to know?

* * *

We are at the shelter Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to noon; Sunday from 3 to 5 PM; and Monday and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 6.

 

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Falmouth Enterprise Archived Column

By Pamela Alden Kokmeyer

Friday, June 16, 2017

Sometimes we think that pit bulls and even pit bull mixes are the Boo Radleys of the canine world. Misunderstood, sometimes isolated, and often feared. But most people who really know pit bulls and pit mixes are quick to debunk the myths, legends and fears.

And Shorty would like the chance to do a little debunking of his own. This 2-plus-year-old mix of pit bull and Rottweiler has a creative build, a quirky nature, and a very special appeal. He carries his large head atop his muscular body atop his short legs. He's a hoot.

Shorty adores people and craves affection and attention. He is very smart and, best of all, he wants to learn and he wants to please. He responds well and quickly to praise and correction. Although he loves his treats—and his dinners, and more treats—he also craves hearing "Good boy, Shorty" when he understands what you've asked of him and accomplishes it.

Because he is so strong (and smart), Shorty will need consistent training starting from day one. But also because he is so strong, and a bit willful, he needs an adult home without children. That family should also be active and have bully breed experience.

We will try to resist the urge to be trite and say that a Rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But she does. Even if her name were Petunia or Iris or Dahlia, she would be as sweet.

Rose is a 9-year-old yellow English Lab. We stress the English in her breed because they are typically a shorter, stockier breed than the American Lab. And while Rose does need to watch her weight (well, let's be honest here: we need to watch her weight for her), she will never be svelte.

Rose is extraordinarily sweet and lovely and lively. She needs lots of exercise and she especially needs a home where someone is around much of the time. Rose craves human companionship and loves being the center of attention. Can anyone spell D-I-V-A?

We just received the most wonderful report from the family fostering George through his heartworm treatment: George, the 7-year-old German shepherd, aced his recent checkup. His heart and lungs sound good, according to the vet. And his formerly dry, coarse, unpretty coat is becoming soft and touchable.

He is beginning to parade through the neighborhood and recently passed a gauntlet of barking dogs, which left him unfazed (his foster family described it as "unimpressed") until he passed another German shepherd. This dog seemed to catch his attention. Kindred spirit? Long-lost cousin? None of this would have been possible without superb veterinary care and even "superber" love in a family. That family says it best: "Love is the best healer of all."

We will keep you posted as he nears ready-for-adoption status.

* * *

Last week we alerted you to the dangers to pets of some flowers commonly found in the yard. This week we want to alert you to even more common dangers found in the yard: mulch, fertilizers and compost. We found these on the website of Pet Poison Helpline, (24/7 Animal Poison Control Center, 855-764-7661), and are only giving a summary here. We recommend that you do your own research, for your pet's sake.

Cocoa bean mulch comprises the hulls or shells of the cocoa bean, which are byproducts of chocolate production. Dogs may be attracted by the chocolate scent and try to eat them. Like chocolate itself, the hulls can contain theobromine and caffeine, both of which can be toxic to dogs. Ingesting large amounts can result in vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and even death.

According to the helpline, most fertilizers are safe for dogs. But those that contain blood meal, bone meal, feather meal and iron may be extremely tempting to dogs and can be dangerous in large amounts. They may become compacted in the stomach and obstruct the gastrointestinal tract, cause pancreatitis and even cause iron poisoning. It goes without saying that pesticides and insecticides can be life-threatening.

And even compost, which we think of as organic, friendly and safe, can be dangerous to dogs. The Pet Poison Helpline points out that as organic matter decomposes, molds can grow, some of which produce toxins. In as little as 30 minutes after ingestion, a dog can be affected. Symptoms include panting, agitation, drooling, vomiting, tremors and seizures. Prompt veterinary attention is required.

So, go out and enjoy your garden, but be a savvy gardener.

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We are at the shelter seven days a week: Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to noon; Sunday from 3 to 5 PM; and Monday and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 6.

 

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