A few years ago, Julien Roohani of Portland, Oregon, was at work when her roommates spontaneously decided to go on a hike. Not wanting to exclude Julien’s six-month-old Shepherd/Border Collie mix, Niña, they threw her into the back of their pickup truck and set off for an adventure.
Niña had never been in a truck bed before. Whether she was scared or just spotted something of interest, she managed to jump out during the drive. Panicking, the roommates called Julien, who rushed Niña to an emergency veterinary clinic where she was diagnosed with a broken spine and other severe injuries. Julien had no choice but to allow her young pup to be humanely euthanized.
Unfortunately, stories like Niña’s are all too common. It is never safe to drive with an unrestrained pet—especially with that pet in an open truck bed.
“When you drive with a loose dog in the back of your truck, you’re taking a huge risk and placing your dog and other motorists in danger,” says Chuck Mai, a vice president with AAA Oklahoma. “Even if a dog is trained, we’re talking about an animal who responds to stimuli on impulse. This irresponsible decision can start a deadly chain reaction on the road.”
Is It Legal? Transporting unrestrained dogs in low-sided truck beds has been banned in a handful of states, including California and New Hampshire, and municipalities including Indianapolis, Cheyenne and Miami-Dade. However, in the vast majority of jurisdictions, it’s not even illegal to transport children in this manner, so we must rely on common sense and education to protect children and pets alike.
How You Can Help One can feel terribly helpless witnessing a loose dog in a pickup truck. The best course of action is to try to get the vehicle’s license number (if you can do so while remaining safe) and call the local police. Rather than dialing 911, Jill Buckley, ASPCA Senior Director of Government Relations, suggests storing your police precinct’s phone number in your cell phone.
Let’s face it: Accidents happen—especially when it comes to our active and curious pets. Slips, trips, bumps and spills, whatever the harm, it’s really important to have a first aid protocol in place.
Find an emergency vet. If your vet clinic doesn’t provide 24-hour service, talk to them about emergency care options in your area. It’s a smart idea to keep the name, number and address of an emergency hospital tacked to the refrigerator or stored in your cell phone for easy access.
Learn life-saving actions:
If your pet is bleeding, immediately elevate and apply pressure to the wound.
If your pet is choking, place your fingers in his mouth to see if you can remove the blockage. If you’re unable to remove the foreign object, perform a modified Heimlich maneuver by giving a sharp rap to his chest. This should dislodge the object.
Be prepared. While a minor cut, scratch or scrape may not seem like much to worry about, infection can easily occur, and it’s important to have a first aid kit on hand. From now until the end of September, use coupon code FIRST to save 15% on our 126-piece First Aid Kit for Pets.
While our first responders have spent much of the summer rescuing animals from floods and hurricanes, another great threat has emerged across parts of the country: extreme drought.
Stretching across Texas, Oklahoma and other southern states, the lack of rain means a lack of food for hundreds of rescued horses. It’s heartbreaking.
“With practically no hay and nothing but dirt to graze on, equine rescues and sanctuaries are struggling to feed their animals,” says Jacque Schultz, ASPCA Senior Director of Community Outreach. “The hay has to be trucked in from out of state leaving groups hard-hit by both soaring hay prices and high transportation costs.”
If your dog uses his time alone in the house to bark endlessly, pee on the carpet, or tear up the sofa—and those behaviors are accompanied by depression or stress—your pooch may be suffering from separation anxiety, a very common doggy behavior problem.
Overcoming disorders like separation anxiety takes time, patience and consistency, but it can be done! Just take the following steps, and you’re already on your way.
Make sure the problem is separation anxiety. The first step in tackling behavior issues is to rule out any underlying medical problems that might be causing your pet’s misbehavior. Next, rule out other behavior problems. For example, consider whether your dog’s inappropriate elimination is due to incomplete housetraining.
Take action. So you’re sure the problem is separation anxiety? Try these strategies to address the issue:
Keep all greetings relaxed. When leaving, give your dog a pat on the head, say goodbye and leave. Similarly, when arriving home, say hello to your dog and then don’t pay any more attention to him until he’s calm and relaxed.
Give your dog a workout. Giving your dog lots of mental and physical stimulation goes a long way toward quelling behavior problems—especially those involving anxiety. Exercise can enrich your dog’s life, decrease stress and provide appropriate outlets for normal behavior. And once she’s all tuckered out, your pal won’t have much energy left to get into trouble.
Reward your pooch! Teach your dog to associate your departure with a reward, like a delicious stuffed Kong or other food-dispensing toy. This positive association can help resolve the problem, as well as distract your dog for the first few minutes you’re gone!
Guest blog by Lisa Rotter, First Responder with the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team.
Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest impression. In my first year of responding with the ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response Team, I have been on all sorts of memorable deployments. Today I find myself in the quiet town of Binghamton, New York, responding to the devastating floods that submerged much of the surrounding counties.
Our job is simple—we are providing a safe, clean environment for pets while their families sort through the rubble of their waterlogged homes, trying to regain some semblance of normalcy. We are proud to provide them with this service as they feverishly work to bring their companions home.
Yet what strikes me most is not the families of our resident pets, but rather the members of the community who heeded the call for help. On our first day here, we put out a request through the local media for donations of cleaning products and pet supplies. Most of the surrounding stores were closed due to flooding, and many of the roads are impassable, making the delivery of outside supplies nearly impossible. We expected a community response, but nothing quite prepared us for the one we got.
The very next day a caravan of cars began pulling up to the emergency shelter. People began unloading trunks full of supplies and offering their time to wash bowls or clean cages. Some people quietly strode up to our donation pile and set down a single roll of paper towels. Others dropped off blankets and towels. We were simply overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity. These people had just lost their homes, their town was nearly destroyed, yet here they were—united.
One story that particularly stood out was of a 14-year-old girl. Despite her family’s home being uninhabitable, she found the time to go around the community to raise donations—and proudly handed us the $50 she’d collected.
This deployment is truly a shining example of people reaching out to one another in a time of need. Binghamton residents may live in a small town, but you’d be hard-pressed to find people with bigger hearts than theirs.