FlexPetz—Shared Dog Ownership


FlexPetz offers time shares in dogs for people who don’t have enough space or time for full-time dog ownership. Members are able to reserve a dog for a certain day, then pick up the dog or have it delivered, and the dog comes with its own “care kit”, including leash, food, bowls, and bed. FlexPetz was started so people who miss having a dog, but know they aren’t able to be a full-time dog owner, could still have canine companionship.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. I don’t like the idea of people thinking dogs are just an object you can rent or something disposable or interchangable. But I do like the idea of people benefiting from having a dog even if circumstance don’t make it possible for them to responsibly have a dog full-time. Dogs can add so much to our lives:

  • more exercise
  • companionship and love
  • reduced stress
  • more laughter
  • more socializing with other people
  • a level of security
  • improved physical and mental health

FlexPetz says it adopts rescue dogs when possible and I immediately noticed on their site that they have black labs, which are dogs least likely to be adopted from shelters. (Check out the post on black dog syndrome to see the problems black shelter dogs face.) FlexPetz must choose dogs who are unfazed by moving around and meeting lots of people, but even then I don’t like the idea that these dogs lives might be too chaotic. However, these dogs are probably some of the best exercised dogs around and have the most enriched lives, because the people spending time with them are literally invested in them. FlexPetz is insanely expensive.

If you long for time with a dog, I think a better idea might be volunteering at a rescue organization for dog walking, training, socializing, and grooming. Check with your local Humane Society or animal shelter.

9/11 & Katrina Search-&-Rescue Dog, Jake, Dies

jakesearchrescue.jpgJake started out an abandoned, injured puppy, but was adopted and trained by Mary Flood to be a search and rescue dog. Jake and Mary searched for survivors in the rubble at the World Trade Center after 9/11 and in the flooded homes in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. And he was helping Mary train other search and rescue dogs. Sadly, Jake was euthanized at the age of twelve after battling cancer.

But even after death, Jake will continue to help people. He is part of a study of 9/11 search and rescue dogs conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine to learn what, if any, were the long-term effects of searching the WTC rubble.

Kandu The Jack Russell Is Rolling Along & Skiing Too

kandu.jpgKandu was born without front legs and his previous owners thought he couldn’t have a good life and needed to be euthanized. But, Kandu’s new family and friends are committed to making sure he can do anything and enjoys a rich life.

First, came the custom wheels that are unlike any I’ve seen before. Then, since they’re in Colorado, it only makes since that they made him a ski for when it snows. Next they’re working on making swimming possible. What a lucky dog! And it shows that some pretty tough obstacles can be overcome when adopting a dog.

Kandu’s prosthetics were developed by Martin Kaufman at OrthoPets. They’ve made some amazing orthotics and prosthetics, including these complex braces for a dog without a scapula and a spring-loaded shoulder brace.

Kandu is now a certified therapy dog with Heeling Friends and visits hospital patients and he has his own site—O,YES!U,KANDU—where you can find out more about Kandu. They have merchandise for sale with all the proceeds going to The Evergreen Animal Protective League, who rescued Kandu, and to Heeling Friends.

Natural Balance Eatables For Dogs Recalled Due To Botulism Risk


Four varieties of Natural Balance’s Eatables for Dogs are being recalled by the FDA due to concerns over botulism contamination. The dog food was made by Castleberry’s, a Georgia meat processor, that also made the hot dog chili sauces already recalled. (This latest expanded recall also includes more varieties of human food. You can also find out what brands of human food are affected by checking out the Castleberry’s link) The varieties of dog food are 15oz cans of:

  • Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Irish Stew With Beef, Potatoes & Carrots UPC-code 23633 59860
  • Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Chinese Take Out With Sauce With Vegetables and Chicken UPC-code 23633 59861
  • Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs HOBO Chili with Chicken & Pasta UPC-code 23633 59863
  • Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Southern Style Dumplings With Chicken & Vegetables UPC-code 23634 59862

The FDA warns that: Consumers who have any of these products or any foods made with these products should throw them away immediately. If the “best by” date is missing or unreadable consumers should throw the product out.

Symptoms of botulism poisoning can begin from 6 hours to 2 weeks after eating food that contains the toxin. Symptoms may include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness that moves progressively down the body, affecting the shoulders first then descending to the upper arms, lower arms, thighs, calves, etc. Botulism poisoning can also cause paralysis of the breathing muscles which can result in death unless assistance with breathing (mechanical ventilation) is provided.

And the CDC warns if your dog has eaten the recalled food: Watch your pet for signs of botulism for 10 days after it ate the recalled product. If your pet develops signs of botulism, seek veterinary attention immediately. Signs of botulism in pets are similar to those in people. In addition, your pet may have difficulty holding its head up or its tongue may hang out of the mouth. There is no specific treatment for botulism in animals, but supportive medical care may be helpful.

Contact of the botulism toxin with your eyes, face, or hands can also make you ill. Throw the suspect cans away by double bagging them in plastic bags. Do not try to recycle the cans. If you already opened a can or if you need to clean something that touched the recalled food, the CDC has a FAQ on botulism. If you want a refund, it is suggested you remove the label and take only the labels to the store.

There is a very well maintained list of safe (not part of the recall) pet foods at PetSitUSA.com. I strongly encourage you to check it out.

You can find out much more on previous recalls on my Pet Food Recall Archive Page.