Puppy Dog Tales | A Star is Born

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I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and it ended just right. Sunday was a blustery, Winnie the Pooh kind of a day, rainy and puddly. I spent most of the day curled up on my chair in front of a cheery fire with my person beside me. After a busy few days of eating and visiting friends, it was very relaxing to do nothing but rest and ponder how thankful I am.

It is Monday, I’m back to work and one thing that I am doing is planning for my big interview tomorrow night. I have been invited to be on Alexandria Animal Matters, which is the Comcast cable TV show for the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. What an honor that is. I am not sure when my interview will run. You can check the www.alexandriaanimals.org web site for channel and show times.

I have been writing my column for the past 4 years and it has been such a wonderful experience. I think that one of the best parts of writing a column is in the researching of my stories and the interviews I get to do and the events I am invited to attend. If you are an animal lover, have or have had beloved pets in your life, articles written from my perspective do not seem too far fetched to you. Just last week I was invited to participate in a Reading is Fundamental Program at the Durant Center where students read stories to me out loud. Sometimes it is easier for them to read to me instead of a grownup because I am such a good listener. That was a wonderful experience. The bond between us, your pet companions, and you is magical.

Over the weekend I heard about two websites you may want to visit. www.Dogster.com is a social networking site for dog owners with more than 450,000 dog members or 450,000 owners with dogs. Whichever it is, its a big number. It lets owners create pooch profiles and offers forums for owners to talk with each other as well as with veterinarians.

Another site for those who love birds is www.birdpost.com. Bird lovers can share lists of their sightings; browse birds by name, region and physical characteristics. There are lots of maps and migratory paths and beautiful photos too.

Last week I was at a networking breakfast at the Alexandria Chapter of the American Red Cross and I sat next to Christa Lyons who is on the Board of Directors of the Alexandria Chapter. She and my person talked about pets and the programs sponsored by the Red Cross for pets like first aid and disaster preparedness for pets. Mrs. Lyons told me that she has been volunteering at the Alexandria Chapter since 9/11 in 2001 and that her area is in International Services. She said that she became very interested in the pet side of the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi and Louisiana coast on August 28, 2005. Mrs. Lyons said that she saw “heart-breaking images” of people who had to leave their pets behind and images of people who refused to leave their beloved companions. She wanted to make sure that the situation she saw would never happen here and she volunteered to be involved with both disaster planning and pet first aid.

The Pet First Aid Program is really amazing. Classes that meet for a half day cost only $45 and train owners to deal with accidents and emergencies. There are two books available for purchase, Dog First Aid and Cat First Aid. The dog book, which comes with a DVD, covers symptoms and care for common ailments and emergencies, instructions for creating a pet first aid kit, giving medication and how to recognize emergencies, tips on maintaining your pets health and well-being and first aid guidance on caring for nearly 70 canine health conditions. I will be taking the class myself with my person and we are signing up to take the First Aid Instructor Class so we can do some teaching for the program.

If you are interested in signing up for a Pet First Aid Class you can call the Alexandria Chapter of the American Red Cross at 703-299-2502 ext. 88502. To order the Dog First Aid book call the same number or go to www.redcrossstore.org to order online. Next week Ill fill you in on pet disaster planning in Alexandria.

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