Friday, March 25, 2016

Pets - Adopting the right pet - By Elizabeth Richards

A pet can be a wonderful addition to a home. A pet can be a faithful companion to a single person, or become another beloved member of a busy family, helping to teach children lessons on love and responsibility. 
But pet ownership shouldn’t be taken lightly. Pet ownership is a big responsibility. Animals need love and care, and an owner with the desire, time and ability to care for a pet properly. Adoption should never be on a whim, and giving pets as gifts is not a good idea. 

“Adopting a pet is an important decision that should include every member of your family and household,” said Jeana Roth, community relations manager at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland (ARLGP). Discussion should include what type of pet is the best fit for your family and home environment. This goes beyond just the kind of animal to adopt. Important considerations include breed, age, and size of the animal as well.

It’s important for people adopting a pet to know that they require both ample time and resources. “Understanding what your pet needs is an important component of adoption,” said Roth. This includes how much food, toys and equipment, exercise, and training they will require, as well as considering what kind of veterinary expenses might come up.

Once the decision has been made to adopt a pet, there are several places to look. Roth said there are dozens of shelters in the state, as well as many rescue organizations. Some of these organizations specialize in a particular breed, or a certain type of pet. 

“If you are looking for a new companion, the best thing to do is to stop in and meet some animals,” said Roth. “Talk with our staff to learn more about who would be a good fit for your household!”
Every organization has its own adoption process, but all include an application and interview to be sure the pet is the right fit for the household. At the ARLGP, anyone wanting to adopt will go through an adoption counseling process with a staff member. This allows staff to find out what the individual or family is looking for in a companion. They use that information to introduce animals that might be a good fit for the family. Roth said the ARLGP uses the Meet Your Match program, designed by the ASPCA. This program helps staff pair pets with people based on both the animal’s personality and behaviors, and the person’s home. “Our goal is to send each animal to a new, happy home, that can fulfill its needs,” Roth said. 

Population control and proper vaccinations are important things to think about in the process as well. All pets adopted from the ARLGP are spayed/neutered and up-to-date on vaccinations when they head to their new homes.

Finding the perfect pet doesn’t have to be an intimidating process, but it does require planning and preparation. Taking this time before a pet comes home can reduce the chances of making the wrong choice and having to return or surrender the pet to a shelter.

Pets - Get a real pet sitter - By Melissa King

With more than 60 percent of households owning at least one pet, finding reliable pet care is likely a concern.  Pet care directories make it easy for anyone to post a profile advertising pet sitting services so it is important for pet owners to make sure they are hiring a professional pet sitter.

Pet owners should understand that pet sitting is a professional career and professional pet sitters offer peace of mind that other pet care options can not.  Pet sitting goes beyond simply feeding and checking on pets.  Professional pet sitting services include dog walking, care of special needs pets and pet transportation as well as basic pet care.  They also look after your property to make sure your home is safe and secure.  Professional pet sitters are committed to providing the best quality in home pet care.  They are professional, experienced, insured, bonded business owners in your community.


When interviewing a potential pet sitter pet owners should make sure they have the experience for all your pet’s needs, are trained in pet first aid, are insured and bonded, can provide client and other professional references, are background checked, use a pet sitting contract and that they are a member of a professional and educational organization.  This will ensure you are hiring a real professional pet sitter.

Pets - Sorry to bug you - By Dr. Mark Mills

The calendar says it’s spring, even if the thermometer disagrees; so it’s a good time to talk about something no pet owner likes to talk about: Fleas and ticks. I’ve seen plenty of T-shirts suggesting that the black fly should be the “Maine State Bird”, but I’m still waiting to see one suggesting that the deer tick be appointed the “Maine State Most Disgusting, Annoying and Dangerous Critter” (probably because that wouldn’t fit well on a T-shirt). 

When I moved to Maine twenty years ago, I hardly ever saw ticks, and treated virtually no dogs for Lyme Disease. Now I need to check for ticks after every hike and even after working in the garden, and about twenty percent of the dogs that I see have been exposed to Lyme Disease. This is probably going to be a bad year for ticks: The weather never got cold enough for long enough to kill many of the adult ticks, which were able to overwinter. This is only the second year since I moved here that I had clients find ticks on their pets every month through the winter. So what can you do?

First, do yourself a favor and buy a flea comb. Check your dogs and cats regularly, year ‘round. If you catch a flea problem before it becomes an infestation, you can save yourself a lot of aggravation and expense. 

Next, there are some very good flea and tick products out there for both dogs and cats, but you have to be careful about safety. Now you get my opinion: Others may disagree. Flea baths and dips are not very effective, and do not have any lasting effect. For dogs, the over the counter products (OTC) that that I know combine safety and efficacy are Frontline Plus, Advantage and Advantix. For cats, Frontline Plus and Advantage work well. Most flea and tick collars are virtually useless, although the newer collars (Seresto, Preventic, and Scalibor) seem to work well with very few side effects, and can work for quite a few months (though perhaps not as long as the manufacturer advertises). Some of the best products are prescription only: These include Nexgard (for fleas and ticks, dogs only) and Revolution (for dogs and cats), which also protects against heartworm disease. Heartworm is a mosquito-carried disease which was rarely found in Maine, but is becoming more common with the recent increase in dogs being adopted from the south. Although the rescue groups do a fair job of screening dogs for heartworm, I have seen four dogs already this year from the south with the disease, which can cost a $1,000 or more to treat per dog.
Finally, if you are one of those people that has their yard or property sprayed for ticks, please make sure that whatever you are using is safe for bees. Personally, I like honey, and the bees have had it pretty rough in the last few years.

Art for animal lovers - By FIDO Magazine

 Art speaks to people in different ways. Some are drawn to the stunningly realistic landscapes of Fredric Church, others connect with the bold graphic work of Marsden Hartley. Many people adore the funky photography of William Wegman. People adore these great artists because of the feelings that radiate from their work. 

Gay Freeborn, an artist from Maine, studied at Moore College of Art in Pennsylvania. She works in oil, and her usual subject of choice is dogs. Gay’s work goes beyond her ability to paint a pretty picture. Gay’s paintings truly capture the spirit of the dog that they portray. From the joy of a Labrador leaping into a lake, or a border collie catching a flying disc, to the peaceful tranquility of a Pekingese fast asleep in the sunshine, Gay sees the character of the dog and has the talent to make that character shine through on the canvas. When asked why dogs inspired her so, she gave this beautiful answer. 

“There is a connection I have with dogs that is more than with other animals. Dogs are so sensitive and can pick up on what we humans think and feel. They are not given enough credit for all they know and for what they can learn, and mostly they teach us things about life that we humans have lost along the way,” she said.

If you are a dog lover looking for that perfect piece of art to add to your home decor, you’re encouraged to consider Gay’s work. You can visit her website at to find a list of her most current gallery exhibits or if you are in the Lakes Region and would like to see her original works in person, Gay regularly hangs paintings at Bridgton Veterinary Hospital.

Holding emotions in the body - By Sara Moore

As a psychic and hypnotist, I am often people’s last resort when all other medical options and traditional therapy has failed to diagnose or effectively treat pain. Because I have zero training in either area, my approach is very different. I use my psychic abilities to ask what the underlying emotional reason for the pain is, if there was an age or experience that started it and what healing looks like. I find that we tend to disconnect from our bodies, which is unfortunate because they are actually able to tell us so much about ourselves! Our physical self holds the map of our emotional experiences. I’m going to give you some examples to try to explain what I’m talking about.
Have you ever had a pain in your neck? Think back to what was going on in your life around the time it showed up. Who was around you the most or was a focus of your attention? Who was a pain in your neck? Maybe those people are still around you. I helped a friend with this and it was very clearly her mother. If this resonates with you here’s something you can try to release the physical pain. 

Acknowledge that person in your mind, tell them it’s time for them to go or to at least unplug from them enough that you’re not going to physically suffer because of them. You don’t have to cut them out of your life altogether (although you may chose to do so) but with awareness of how that pain in the neck may actually have an underlying emotional component you can work to heal your body and spirit. the time I realized just how psychic I was I worked as an aide at a physical therapy center. My job was to get people warmed up and guide them through basic exercises before they met with their physical therapist. I always loved this part of my job because I got to talk with people and get a glimpse into what was going on in their personal lives. What I realized is that a lot of people with hip or mobility issues had some major area in their life that was making them feel stuck. Some hated their job but didn’t see any other viable options. Others were in a relationship that on some level felt stagnant or was preventing them from realizing their full potential. A common theme was that they feared the change that would allow them to move on. They weren’t moving forward emotionally or physically and the body was suffering because of it.

The pain and medical part of the equation is very real and I am not discounting that at all. It was challenging for me as a psychic because I wanted to blurt out to them the insights that would pop into my head! It wasn’t the right time or place, so I bit my tongue and now a handful of those clients are now coming to me out of options and still dealing with the same or worse pain. So how do I help them? I close my eyes and ask to see the situation in their life that triggered the underlying emotional response that planted the seed of pain in the body. Then I usually hear a number in my head, telling me how old they were at that time. Next I ask what it looks like to heal and release the pain. Sometimes this feels like colors washing over or through them. I may “see” the healing happening. Most recently I saw the pain in a client being broken up like the insides of an icepack, then bubbling out of their body like effervescent bubbles in seltzer. It floated up and out, then evaporated into a brilliant yellow light.

Sounds a little crazy, right? I agree. But most of those people leave my office feeling better than when they walked in and there’s no way to explain it. I can’t even really tell you how it works, but it does! The cool part is you don’t really need me. I can certainly use my experience to guide you through the process, but if you’re having any pain try having a little chat with it. Ask it what it’s here to teach you. And then ask what it looks or feels like to let it go. And then send it on its way. Know how you want to feel instead, and replace the pain with the happy emotions and strong, healthy body you’re worthy of living in.
FMI, go to or email Sara is available for sessions in her North Conway, NH office and long distance readings for people and pets.