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November 21, 2006 > Itís A Giving ThingÖ

Itís A Giving ThingÖ

by Nancy Lyon

Just a couple more days and we will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. Giving thanks is a positive thing but some giving can also spell danger for your critters. As far as your animal friends are concerned it’s a great opportunity for them to practice their charm with intense gazing and vocal entreaties at the holiday dinner table. And what should be a happy occasion can have deadly consequences for them if you succumb to their wiles.

The Humane Society of the United States warns that sharing holiday treats can become “threats to pets.” Ordinary seasonal decorations, ornamental lighting, ingestion of inappropriate or toxic items, excessive consumption of rich foods or harmful food, and candle flames are among the many hazards.

  • Rich, fatty foods can contribute to pancreatitis. This inflammation of the digestive organ is painful and can be serious--requiring emergency veterinary assistance.

  • Bones can splinter and cause tears or obstruction in an animal’s digestive tract.

  • Baking strings and foil, if ingested, can create serious trouble.

  • Onions in holiday stuffing can lead to canine anemia if consumed by your dog.

  • Grapes and raisin toxins can cause kidney failure if ingested.

  • Ingesting chocolate has the potential to kill.

  • Caffeine and alcohol are also toxic to “pets.”

If your guests are likely to be tempted to share “just a little” they need to know the rules of the road where tasty bits and your critters are concerned. If you feel they really can’t turn away from the longing eyes and the friendly gesturing paw, then it’s probably a good idea to remove your guys from harms way and into another room. Just to make sure they are not “wasting away” feed them before dinner guests arrive including a small amount of the safer dinner faire and give them a suitable treat to occupy them in the other room.

It’s always a good idea to prepare ahead of time – just in case one of your guests should be unable to resist feeding your pleading critter and it has hazardous results. Check with your veterinarian on which emergency service they recommend and have the phone number handy.

Once the “Thanks” are over don’t forget the season of “Giving” continues. Why not make a present of your time to whatever good cause speaks to you.

If you’re an animal person, consider volunteering with one or more of Ohlone Humane Society’s many programs. Foster homes are always needed to help rescue and rehome shelter animals. Hug-A-Pet animal assisted therapy serves our community bringing wonderful loving dogs to retirement, assisted living and care facilities. Our wildlife rehabilitation center will be needing numerous volunteers in just a few months, Pet-Meals-On-Wheels will be working with Elder Care to insure the pets of seniors are well fed and cared for. There are a few program co-ordinator and board positions available to dedicated people.

We also provide support services for the animal shelter in Fremont. And we’re happy to report that the Tri-City Animal Shelter in Fremont has revamped the lengthy volunteer background check that has turned so many people away. Now in a couple of weeks you can be potty walking dogs, helping with animal care such as the spay/neuter clinic, socializing cats, or being part of the adoption team on the new state of the art mobile unit.

You might want to take a moment to drop in for a visit. Be sure to check out the homey habitat for cats that are held for adoption over a long period of time. The shelter tries to hold animals as long as possible based on available space, health and adoptability.

As volunteer rescue liaison at TCAS for many years, I can truly say that there are great rewards in being part of the effort to not only save but give comfort to some very wonderful critters. Shelter staff is always grateful for the caring folks that make the animals’ stay as comfortable as possible and the animals receive the gift of your compassion.

Please give it serious consideration.

Ohlone Humane Society 510-792-4587; Tri-City Animal Shelter 510-790-6643 after 1PM. Tuesday- Saturday; Hayward Animal Shelter 510-293-7200; Milpitas 408-578-7297 press #8

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