My Advocacy

Many of us are seeking justice for dog on dog maulings so that irresponsible dog owners are held accountable. We strive to make sure that we protect our companion animals, and that they are not maimed and killed.

When you become involved—directly, or indirectly—in an issue that resonates, it makes you determined to do whatever you can. It’s something that strikes a chord. That makes you want to speak out. And reach out. To consolidate ideas. Advocate for change. And help others.

My earlier blog entitled Are Current Dog On Dog Mauling Laws Unjust? describes an incident which took place in August 2018. It involves Shih Tzu Rocky in Oldsmar FL. Here is the link

Below I outline two other confrontations I heard about recently. These stories highlight the dangers to dogs and why the current laws are inadequate and need to change.

My Three Chosen Stories: Rocky, Buckles, and Reese.

Many are now seeking justice for dog on dog maulings in every state. Here is Buckles after undergoing reconstructive jaw surgery
His jaw was shattered, tubed and wired shut after reconstructive surgery, but Buckles survived. Many are now seeking justice for dog on dog maulings in every state

Buckles suffered horrific injury to his jaw which is why we are seeking justice for dog on dog maulings across the USA


August 2018. Buckles was a five-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that had been rescued from an abusive situation. As he was returning with his human from a trip to the park in Washington Heights, he was attacked by an off-leash dog. The other dog clamped down on his throat and then his legs. But, miraculously, he survived.

Buckles needed reconstructive surgery to his jaw which was destroyed and disfigured. It was tubed and wired shut for healing, then six weeks later he underwent a second surgery to remove the wiring.

At this point in time, I’m happy to report that Buckles continues to make a steady recovery from his horrific physical injuries. Nevertheless, he will likely be emotionally scarred for the rest of his life after suffering such a traumatic event.


November 2017. Six-year-old Reese, a Yorkipoo, was mauled to death by two large dogs. It happened less than a block from home, as he was returning from an evening walk. The dogs had been tethered by their owner but managed to break loose and they also injured the two people that were with him. 

According to the existing ordinance, Casselberry authorities could fine the owner at fault $27.50. Then, if it happened again, they could issue another fine, double that amount, but would be unable to remove the dog(s) from the property. However, the City was well aware of the danger since these same dogs had gotten loose before, attacked other dogs and lunged at people walking along the sidewalk. Despite that, however, County Animal Control would be powerless to remove the vicious animals without the owner’s consent.

So, determined to fight for tougher laws involving dog aggression, and dog-on-dog maulings in particular, a friend posted a petition online.  Subsequently, Reese’s owner, Donna Syracuse, presented her case before Casselberry officials and Seminole County leaders. At the hearing, they approved adding new language to the existing ordinance on domestic animals and including higher fines for irresponsible pet owners.

Syracuse hopes that this ordinance will result in the following:

  • Improved communication between City and County officials to better protect citizens.
  • That if an animal that is running loose, and unprovoked, attacks or kills another animal or injures humans in the process, the attacking animal shall be immediately and permanently removed from the community.
  • And, if the dog’s owner has a documented history of possessing aggressive dogs, that individual should be banned from owning dogs in the future.

 A Step In The Right Direction

After reaching out to Animal Control of Seminole County, they told me that an amended Aggressive Animal Ordinance was executed. It is dated 10/3/18 and will be posted on their website soon. This is a positive step forward and I am sure that many of us will be waiting patiently to read it.

To Sum Up

Everyone involved in these horrific attacks is seeking justice for dog on dog maulings.

Rocky’s owners are struggling to pay off veterinary bills and have a GoFundMe page. They would also like to sue the aggressive dog’s owner, the owner of the condo he was reportedly renting from, and the management company. And, eventually, advocate for new laws to replace the current ones that do nothing to deter irresponsible behavior and help keep citizens safe. Here is one example of the law as it stands today. Even after filing a police report and going in person to Animal Control, the family was told that a dog is not deemed dangerous until a second dog-on-dog attack is reported. And even then, it cannot be removed.

As you know, Reese’s owner had to endure further heartbreak by relating her story in detail, yet again, in front of City and County officials. 

Buckles’ owner has also started a GoFundMe page to help with ongoing veterinary bills. They include costly reparative and reconstructive surgery.

My Closing Statement And Your Thoughts
  • Can’t there be laws that apply state-wide?
  • Why is it so difficult to pass laws at county level that are practical, logical and equitable, and serve the community at large?
  • Do more helpless companion animals have to die before proper justice is served? 
  • And, above all, how do we get this done and done right?

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


TWO BLOGS. ONE MESSAGE. Today I have an important question for you. Are current dog on dog mauling laws unjust? 

Maybe you haven’t given this topic much thought. Maybe you know little or nothing about animal rights and injustices.  But don’t worry. I can help change that, which is why I am now focusing on this particular blog category. Animal Laws And Rights.

My Angle

This blog is a departure from the types of stories I usually publish on my site. If what I write and communicate helps make a difference, I hope to continue featuring topics like these that catch my attention. 

My Community

When issues arise in your community, in your neighborhood, and in your county, you are more likely to act. I was appalled when I read about Rocky on my local Nextdoor online network. The incident occurred about one mile from where I live, in a community where I have had numerous pet clients over the years. I reached out to the family in question and offered to help in any way I could. 

That’s why I’m asking you to please comment and let me know what you think. And, also, I would be delighted if you told me about the injustices that are close to your heart so I can write about them, too.

My Three Chosen Stories: Rocky, Buckles, and Reese.

Rocky succumbed to his injuries so I ask this question: are current dog on dog mauling laws unjust?
A vicious dog did this to Rocky which is why I ask if current dog on dog mauling laws are unjust
Rocky succumbed to his injuries, so if current dog on dog mauling laws are unjust, they need to change
When a dog that is known to be aggressive is allowed to do this, a well-
written ordinance is needed

August 2018. On Friday the 11th to be exact, just past midnight, Olesa Fridman walked down one flight of stairs at her condo with her 15 pound, five-year-old companion. The downstairs neighbor’s 60lb dog ran out of nowhere and attacked Rocky, one of the family’s two Shih Tzus. 

Alerted by her screams, husband Oleg ran out and kicked the aggressive dog. It let go of Rocky who then took off running for his life. But, in full prey drive mode, the much larger, faster, attacking animal caught up with him and mauled Rocky a second time. Oleg chased after them and managed to kick the dog again. It released hold of Rocky but, despite his injuries, he was able to run away.

Searching for him continued throughout the early morning hours until night-time, with only a two-hour break. Rocky wasn’t found until late that night but, sadly, he was badly wounded.

The Fridmans rushed him to the nearest emergency clinic where they took x-rays, cleaned his wounds, administered pain meds and antibiotics, and allowed him to go home. 

But Rocky’s condition was worsening. He required hospitalization and was taken to BluePearl in Tampa for intensive care. Possible leg amputation was mentioned but a full evaluation would be done in the morning by the surgical team.

So, Olesa and Oleg returned home but within a few hours, received a call with the worst possible news. Rocky had sepsis and was not responding to the antibiotics. His sugar level was so low they could no longer read it. His kidneys were failing. So they hurried back to the hospital with other family members to say their final goodbyes. 

But this opening story doesn’t end here. Please continue by clicking this link to read about two other mauling incidents that had rather different outcomes. And find answers to the question…are current dog on dog mauling laws unjust?

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


“Buster Brown” tried to get comfortable on a computer chair, things changed, now shelter dogs love their armchairs
“Buster Brown” tried to get comfortable on a computer chair, things changed, now shelter dogs love their armchairs

Who would ever have guessed how much shelter dogs love their armchairs? Well, actually, when you think about it, that should be no surprise. 

By thinking outside the box, and applying a little creativity, the lives of homeless pets are changing. This is what Knox County Humane Society did and now other organizations are following their lead.

It all started earlier this year and shows how resourceful shelter staff are becoming in their efforts to boost pet adoptions. Read all about it here and see my favorite video, picked especially for you.

Shelter Mascot “Buster Brown” Starts A Trend

Whenever he got the chance, the four-year resident would try and climb onto a computer chair in the front office to get a better view of who was coming and going. Then the staff at the Knox County Humane Society, Illinois, thought it was time he had his very own chair. 

So they tried out an old armchair and “Buster Brown” was as happy as could be. He no longer struggled to curl up into a ball. He could stretch his legs and rest his head on the arm. That’s how the armchair initiative began and there are now 25 of them being used inside individual kennels.

Thanks to this guy, all Knox County Humane Society shelter dogs love their armchairs
Thanks to this guy, all Knox County Humane Society shelter dogs love their armchairs
It’s All About Comfort And Mood

Shelter Director, Erin Buckmaster explains the benefits and why the shelter dogs love their armchairs so much. “First of all, the dogs are off the floor and out of drafts. They are more comfortable and less stressed. Because of this, their behavior improves and they become more adoptable,” she told us. 

Buckmaster then went on to mention that in February the first chairs were put in the lobby, in an area specially set up for the three dogs that had been at the shelter the longest. That way visitors see them as soon as they walk in and they can immediately visualize them relaxing on a chair or a sofa in their own home. It was a big hit.

When the local community heard about about this, the response was amazing. In fact, the very first day, one lady showed up with 11 chairs she had bought at a thrift shop. It’s worth pointing out that donations are always welcome since the chairs are frequently replaced due to getting a bit chewed up and scratched.

See for yourselves why shelter dogs love their armchairs so much. Video created by KCHS staff member, Tanner Smith.

The Start Of A New Trend

“When we heard about the success they were having with the armchairs at the Knox County shelter, we decided to try it out, too,” said Lissa Waters, Development Coordinator at West Valley Humane Society in Caldwell, Idaho. This is an open admission shelter in the Boise metro area, that takes in over 7,000 animals of all kinds every single year. And, they will have up to 100 dogs for adoption at any one time.

A great example of an early success story relates to Roxy who was about 10 or 11 years old. “It’s always a lot harder to adopt out an older dog,” Waters commented. “She wasn’t doing well in this noisy setting but as soon as she was given a chair, she curled right up on her blanket and started to relax.” Staff took photos, then a local television crew came out, and Roxy was adopted a day or two later. What an inspirational story!

West Valley Humane Society shelter dogs love their armchairs, especially when they are a perfect fit!
West Valley Humane Society shelter dogs love their armchairs, especially when they are a perfect fit!
To Sum Up

An armchair is a comfort item that most homeless dogs are already accustomed to. And, because it has a calming effect, the canine’s stress level dips and it’s mood improves. As a result, it has a far greater chance of finding its forever home. And you can help, by spreading the word. Maybe you even have an old armchair to donate. The dogs will thank you for it!

A Helping Hand

If you would like to donate or volunteer at either of these shelters, here is the contact information. 

Knox County Humane Society

1855 Windish Dr

Galesberg, IL 61401



West Valley Humane Society

5801 Graye Lane,

Caldwell, ID 83607

208 455 5920


Sad Update

I am sorry to report that “Buster Brown” passed away August 20 2018 due to congestive heart failure. R.I.P., sweet boy!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


When Aurora went missing Max, the Australian Cattle Dog hero, never left her side
When Aurora went missing Max, the Australian Cattle Dog hero, never left her side

She is three years old. He is 17. I describe how an Australian Cattle dog hero protects a lost child for 15 hours, Down Under, in Queensland’s inhospitable bush country.

This Happened

The incident occurred in April 2018 and it could well have ended in tragedy. Fortunately, though, Max was little Aurora’s protector and stayed with her throughout the ordeal after she wandered off that afternoon. 

Aurora was first reported missing at 3pm, and wasn’t found until 8am the next morning. Most likely she had snuggled up next to her faithful, four-legged friend during a rainy night outdoors. 

Thanks to Max, the Australian Cattle Dog hero, Aurora was safely reunited with her mother
Three-year-old Aurora is reunited with her mother after her all-night ordeal

The initial searches conducted by Aurora’s family and others were not successful but the next morning more than 100 State Emergency Service volunteers, police and members of the public were participating in the operation. Then everything changed. Aurora’s grandmother, Leisa Bennett, heard the little girl calling out from the top of a rugged, elevated piece of ground and rushed there as fast as she could. When she got closer she saw Max who then led her straight to her grand-daughter who, miraculously, had only suffered minor cuts and abrasions.

Queensland’s Appreciation

Because of his heroic act, Australia’s Queensland police department decided to give Max the title of Honorary Police Dog. And, what he did is even more amazing when you learn that he is actually a special needs canine. He is completely deaf and has only partial eye sight! Bravo, Max! You are a true dog hero and an exemplary representative of your breed.

Max, the 17-year-old Australian Cattle Dog hero, is completely deaf and has only partial eye sight
Max, the 17-year-old Australian Cattle Dog hero, is completely deaf and has only partial eye sight
The Australian Cattle Dog

In case you are not familiar with this breed, I thought I’d add this to Max’s story.

Also known as Heeler, Blue Heeler, or Red Heeler, depending on the coloring of their coat, Max, the Australian Cattle Dog hero in this story, is a Blue Heeler. The breed came about in the latter half of the 19th century in Australia to combine stamina, agility and intelligence so it could assist stockmen in their work. It was admitted to the American Kennel Club in 1980. 

Heelers are medium-sized, muscular and athletic as well as intensely loyal and protective. Some “owners” even call them velcro dogs, because they like to follow their human everywhere they go. 

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


Flying with pets as cargo involves risks but if you have no other option, a good crate is indispensable
Dog waiting in its crate doesn’t look too happy at the prospect of flying as cargo

When I was doing my research I came across many experts who agree that flying with pets as cargo involves risks. In fact, no matter what your reason might be, my advice to anyone who is thinking about traveling by air with their dog or cat in the cargo hold is DON’T. The risks are too great and too many tragic stories have been told. This should definitely be your last resort if there is absolutely no other viable option available to you.

Of course, the other possible choice is for your furry friend to accompany you in the passenger cabin, but that’s something to discuss another day.

Either way, make sure you get advice from your vet as well as the airline and prepare ahead of your flight schedule.


Check out what I.D.s, vaccinations and other documentation is required by the airline in question for both types of airline travel.


Here are some of the variables. 

* Experience and reputation of the airline

* Time of year

* Duration of the flight

* Direct flight versus connecting flights

* Weather on the ground

  • Pressure in the cargo hold is not always exactly the same as that of the cabin.
  • In the forward hold where live animals and pets are kept, temperatures during a flight can fluctuate by as much as 50 degrees despite having a heating/cooling system.
  • Extreme heat and cold while waiting on the tarmac.
  • Cargo crew mishandling, including dropping and breaking the crate, resulting in injuries, escaping and even death.

* The waiting period before loading.

*  Layovers, when you have to wait for a connecting flight.

*  The wait time for unloading/deplaning.


Take your time and check out all possible options. Since flying with pets as cargo involves risks, please do your utmost to minimize those risks. We can point them out but, in the end, it’s up to you.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


Pets fear of thunder and other loud noises is very real and affects even large dog breeds
Frightened by thunder this pet is unsure where to hide
Sheltering together helps reduce small pets fear of thunder and other loud noises
Sheltering together during a storm helps ease pets fear of thunder and other loud noises

Because of their acute sense of hearing, pets fear of thunder and other loud noises is something we must not forget.

Let me ask you to recall for a moment how a thunderclap sounds in the distance, then when it is not too far away, and then when it’s right up close. Now imagine you are a dog. How would you feel? Very scared, right? Even desperate if you already have a phobia of sudden and intense sounds.

That’s why humans need to be very aware of the impact that all loud noises have on our companion animals and take the necessary precautions to keep them safe.


Irrespective of breed and genetic programming, the behavior of any dog can be affected by a terrifying physical and emotional experience that a pet parent may or may not have prior knowledge of. This is actually an emotional disorder similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder experienced by humans.

While breeds such as Rottweilers and Boxers are less likely to suffer panic attacks, studies show that others like Australian Shepherds and Border Collies are more prone to suffering extreme anxiety due to any type of loud noise.


Much more frequent than the fireworks phenomenon is the frightening noise of thunder. Even before humans and animals hear the first thunder clap, pets, not humans, can sense changes in barometric pressure, electrostatic disturbances and the smells associated with storms.


Some dogs and cats suffer from fear phobia which is caused by memories associated with previous traumatic events. So, in addition to being scared of thunder, pets will react to other loud noises, which can include the following:


a car backfiring 

a door slamming 

an electric lawnmower or leaf blower 

a smoke alarm 


police sirens

So, let’s be more aware and think not so much about us…but about them.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


Rehabilitation like other veterinary specialties becoming mainstream can help restore a dog’s mobility
Veterinary specialties becoming mainstream like the work this rehabilitation practitioner is doing
Veterinary specialties becoming mainstream like acupuncture alleviate many health conditions in dogs and cats
Acupuncture is one of the veterinary specialties becoming mainstream at a rapid pace

All of these veterinary specialties becoming mainstream for animals have been available to humans for a very long time. Fortunately, a growing number of chiropractors, acupuncturists and rehabilitation practitioners are providing these services to heal our pets. However, if they are not yet available in your community, rest assured, they soon will be.

Below is a description of what these medical specialties encompass and how they can help pet parents get the kind of healing that their dogs and cats so desperately need.


This is a technique which involves manual manipulation of the spine to treat facial, neck, leg, back and tail pain and provide health maintenance of the neuro-musculo-skeletal system. 

Animal chiropractic is used as an alternative treatment method in conjunction with traditional veterinary care. Its benefits include reducing stiffness and pain by increasing mobility.


As you probably already know, acupuncture is a therapy that originated in China and has been used there for centuries. Nowadays, however, patients all over the world often choose this treatment as a substitute for synthetic drugs. In addition, it eliminates the sometimes harmful side effects of such medications.

This alternative consists of inserting thin needles into specific acupuncture points to stimulate the immune and nervous systems. Consequently, it helps decrease inflammation and restore balance between organ systems.

For example, common applications for canines and felines include…

* ear infections

* gastrointestinal issues

* incontinence

* respiratory disease

* seizures

and even

* post operative healing


* behavioral issues


Rehabilitation practitioners use sets of tools and exercises that improve the mobility and quality of life of your pet. 

Therapeutic regimens work hand in hand with all other medical resources, and treatment options include…

underwater treadmill

land-based treadmill

hydrotherapy tub with whirlpool jets

deep-tissue ultrasound

low-level laser light therapy

hot/cold compress therapy

Canines and felines alike that are coping with issues such as orthopedic and neurologic injuries, arthritis, chronic pain and obesity typically find considerable relief from these rehabilitation techniques.

To Sum Up

The three veterinary specialties becoming mainstream that are mentioned here show how determined pet parents are. They want to give their companion animals every chance to enjoy the kind of life they were meant to have.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe! 


Older pets need protein even more than when they were younger
Like this Mastiff, older pets need protein to help the aging process

Contrary to what was previously thought, older pets need protein even more than when they were younger. That’s right. Senior dogs and cats actually need more, not less, protein from a nutritious diet of meat and fish.

Their kidney, liver and immune functions need extra help during the aging process and they get that by eating quality protein that is easily digestible and has sufficient moisture content.


The focus today is on meat. Meat is protein. And carnivores, like domesticated dogs and cats, and their ancestors in the wild, eat meat. That said, let’s take a look at protein.


A dog’s and cat’s body is made up almost entirely of protein which also plays a role in vital body functions such as digestion. In the digestive process, substances are either utilized or eliminated. 

Protein needs to be eaten daily because the body doesn’t store it for future use like it does fat. The body needs both sufficient protein as well as good quality protein to perform satisfactorily.


This organ—not eaten nearly enough by humans, by the way—has enormous nutritional value. It is packed with protein and is rich in minerals such as iron, trace minerals, and amino acids, as well as vitamins A, D and all the Bs.

So now, hopefully, we can all agree on the benefits of feeding our canine and feline friends meat and why older pets need protein from this source. But, do we all agree on when older pets actually become senior pets? Let’s find out.


It’s quite interesting to discover that veterinary professionals and pet parents have different ideas on the age that dogs and cats enter the “senior” category. A study shows that they do not agree. Veterinarians consider it starts earlier than pet parents do. Here’s the breakdown.


  • Most veterinarians and their staff say it is between 5 and 7 years old.
  • More than half of pet parents think it is between 7 and 9 years.


  • Most veterinarian professionals say by age 9. 
  • Most pet parents think it is by age 11.

Are you surprised by the stats? I certainly was!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


After reading a teaser I had posted on LinkedIn about this topic, I received a brief comment from Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman, Professor Emeritus at Tufts University, near Boston, Massachusetts, which I would like to share with you. “Unless they have renal insufficiency…”


When you know how seniors feed their pets, you can help them choose more balanced and nutritious, homemade alternatives
Seniors feed their pets nutritious homemade snacks of dehydrated tripe and sweet potato

Last but by no means least, the topic of how seniors feed their pets and keep them hydrated concludes the fourth and final article in this four-part series. Each week we have presented a wide range of subjects that show how retirees and those approaching retirement age care for their dogs and cats.

Even though we interviewed just over a dozen people, some of whom have multiple pets, the findings are insightful. Most importantly, they give other pet guardians ideas to try out as well as actions to avoid. It is meant to be a learning experience for all animal lovers.


Without nutritious food, and water that is toxin free, the body’s essential functions are compromised. This results in health issues that range from minor to life-threatening. 

With themselves in mind, humans are definitely paying greater attention to the benefits of certain foods and avoiding those which can cause harm and illness. Now, finally, people of all ages are demanding no less for the dogs and cats that share their home. 


There is a lot of discussion going on right now about recalls of dry and canned pet food because it has been found to contain harmful ingredients and even foreign matter, such as pieces of plastic. So it’s no wonder that pet parents everywhere, from millennials to retirees, are starting to prepare Fido’s and Fluffy’s food from scratch. 

Here is an introduction to some of the survey findings, facts and tips that focus on how seniors feed their pets.

  • number of meals
  • free-fed or measured
  • wet or dry
  • home-cooked
  • how quickly kibble can turn rancid
  • over-treating
  • healthy treats
  • rewarding good behavior
  • parent’s guilt
  • medication disguise
  • tap or bottled
  • optimum daily intake
  • water fountains
  • flat-faced breeds alert
  • bowl bacteria buildup 

For details on the findings, facts and recommendations, this link will take you to MedicareFAQ where the article was first published on June 4, 2018. 

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


A senior pet owners concerns help rescue dog “Pandora” overcome her fears and have fun
Abused rescue dog “Pandora” is thriving and her senior pet owners concerns are decreasing

As we move along to part three in this series, I share some senior pet owners concerns which, naturally, are my concerns, too. This time they are specifically related to grooming services, transporting dogs and cats from A to B as well as going away and transferring care. 

A number of the retirees and folks approaching retirement age that I interviewed had just one pet while others had more. But the fundamental issues were apparent across the board.


Safety is a huge advocacy push of mine so I found out what precautions were being implemented by these pet parents when taking a dog or a cat on a car trip, whatever the reason may be. What not to do, and what could happen.

By the way, those readers who have been following me for a while know that I prefer to use the term pet parent, or pet guardian, or pet caregiver, and avoid the word “owner”. Why? Because animals are sentient beings, not possessions. That said, I made an exception by giving this article the title Senior Pet Owners Concerns. The reason being that a large segment of the population still relates to those words and they frequently appear in search results. 


The survey also dealt with vacation time and arrangements for care when pets stay behind. In addition, I brought up the question of what provisions, if any, they had made in the event they were no longer able to provide for their furry family members. Declining health and new accommodation arrangements that do not allow pets on the premises, are the most obvious reasons.

For details on the findings, facts and recommendations, this link will take you to MedicareFAQ where the article was first published on May 7, 2018.

The Groomer, Transportation, Going Away, Transferring Care – Part 3 of 4

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!