1. Meet Your Legislators and Speak Up for Animals!
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and other political leaders are calling for members of Congress to spend more time with their constituents by leaving D.C. and traveling back to their home districts with greater frequency. We expect this to translate into more localized, town hall-style meetings—and animal advocates like you may have more opportunities than ever to express your concerns to federal legislators.
The ASPCA encourages everyone to participate in the political process by meeting with their elected officials. An easy way to get to know your U.S. senators and representative is by participating in the local meetings that they host. Whether it’s a formal Q&A held at your local library or a more casual get-together at a coffee shop, you can help give animal-protection issues a higher profile by seeking out and attending these events.
To learn more, including how to find out about these meetings, how to participate and how to follow up with your legislators, please see our new article Attending a Town Hall Meeting in the ASPCA's online Advocacy Center.
2. Top 10 Pet Toxins of 2010
Human medications have topped the list of pet toxins for the third year in a row, according to a new list released by the ASPCA. In 2010, the ASPCA’s 24-hour poison control hotline fielded more than 167,000 phone calls about pets exposed to common household toxins and other potentially poisonous substances.
To help keep your pet safe and sound in 2011, experts from the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, Illinois, have created a list of the 10 most common poisons that affected our furry friends last year. A few highlights of their findings include:
- Accidental ingestion of human medications accounted for 25 percent of all calls to the ASPCA in 2010. The most common culprits included antidepressants and over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
- Approximately 20 percent of all calls concerned insecticides commonly used for flea control. Our feline friends are especially vulnerable to the misapplication of spot-on flea and tick products.
- Baits used to kill mice and rats can be deadly if ingested by pets. Many rodenticides are grain-based, which attracts not only rodents, but dogs and cats, too, and can cause seizures, internal bleeding or kidney failure.
- Some of the most delicious people food, including grapes, raisins and garlic, can be poisonous to pets. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, while onions and garlic can cause anemia if ingested in sufficient amounts.
- Household plants may keep your house green and your air clean, but some can cause serious gastrointestinal problems for companion animals. Please visit our list of pet-safe plants before your next trip to the nursery.
As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your vet or the ASPCA’s 24-hour poison control hotline at (888) 426-4435. To read our complete list of the top 10 pet toxins of 2010, visit APCC online.
3. ASPCA Happy Tails: Pop Rocks
Sometimes good things come in gigantic packages. That’s what Meg Nakahara discovered when she met Pop, a towering Rottweiler mix, while volunteering at the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City.
“When I turned the corner to one of the rooms, all I saw was a giant head looking at me! My first impression was, ‘OH my goodness! What a giant dog!’” she says. “I then read his bio and saw what a sweet guy he is. He's got such a handsome face and a sweet disposition—how could I not instantly fall in love?”
ASPCA team members knew that he’d need a special adopter. A Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) Agent rescued Pop from an abusive situation in 2006. The starved Rottie, then five years old, arrived at the ASPCA emaciated and in need of veterinary attention for arthritis and tummy issues. Though he was naturally sweet and mellow, his difficult life had also left him deeply terrified of strangers.
Although Meg would have been up to the challenge, the timing wasn’t right: Her apartment didn’t allow pets, and she was planning a move to Quincy, Massachusetts. Eventually, Pop got adopted by someone else.
Soon after she relocated to New England, Meg received a phone call from a friend at the ASPCA who told her that Pop had returned to our Adoption Center. Of course, Meg booked it down to New York to snatch him up.
Since then, Meg and her boyfriend, Ciaran, have helped Pop remember how to be a happy and playful dog, even turning him into a model of doggie obedience. “He does an array of tricks,” Meg notes, listing a litany of commands that include Wave Bye, Inside Voice and Eskimo Kiss. “He loves treats and will do pretty much anything for them, and, being a smart dog, he can pick things up pretty quickly.”
Now nine years old, Pop leads a charmed life filled with Kongs, snacks, his very own stuffed animals (which he loves to rip apart), romps in the snow, naps in the sun and trips to the off-leash park to play with his canine pals. “Pop is still the same mellow, sweet character I fell in love with when I first met him,” the doting Meg says. “There's not a day that goes by that I don't think how lucky I am to have this handsome, sweet dog by our side.”
Visit our Happy Tails archive for more sweet stories of furry fate.