Jun 23 2011

Book Review: A Pug’s Tale by Alison Pace

The Story:

Hope McNeill has worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for years, but this is the first time she’s been able to bring along her pug, Max. (Officially, at least. Up until now she’s had to smuggle him in inside her tote bag.)

The occasion: a special “Pug Night” party in honor of a deep-pocketed donor. Max and his friends are having a ball stalking the hors d’oeuvres and getting rambunctious-making Hope wonder if this is also the last time she gets to bring Max to the museum.

But when a valuable painting goes missing, the Met needs Hope’s-and Max’s-help. In her quest for the culprit, Hope is aided by an enigmatic detective, a larger-than-life society heiress, a lady with a shih tzu in a stroller, and her arguably intuitive canine. With luck, she’ll find some inspiration on her trips to Pug Hill before the investigation starts going downhill…

Tail Wagging Thoughts: A Review

A Pug’s Tale by Alison Pace (Berkley Trade, 2011) follows Hope McNeill who works in the Conservation Studio at the Metropolitan museum of Art. When a valuable painting comes up missing (mysteriously, with a fake left behind) Hope and her colleagues decide to try to find it on their own. They hire a detective but do not go to the police. Hope suspects everyone and feels like everyone suspects her as well.

This all happens at a time when her boyfriend, Ben, is living out of the country and she is left to care for his pug, Max. Max is all Hope has at the moment and she feels very alone with no one to confide in. Without Max, however, Hope would never be able to piece together the clues that lead to the person responsible.

Ms. Pace does a beautiful job of setting the various scenes. Having never been to New York, let alone Central Park or the Met, I am given a picture of words that allows me to experience it as if it were my own backyard. She develops a likable character that I can relate to in Hope. I can sense her anxiety and her obsession with the mystery. Of course, when you add in a lovable, snorting Pug, that’s a bonus!

A Pug’s Tale was a fun read and a page turner. Many times I didn’t want to put the book down but was forced to. I always looked forward to being able to get back to it and read some more. Ms. Pace has written several other books with dogs playing prominent roles, I suspect that I’ll be picking those up as well!

I would recommend this book to fans of mysteries, Pug lovers and art aficionados.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher after winning it from Goodreads.com. This in no way influenced my review of the book. My thoughts here are my honest review.

Written By Amy Palmer
Wayside Waifs Volunteer

Jun 13 2011

Keeping Your Pet Safe- Common Pet Poisons in Your Yard

Warmer weather is finally here, and just as many of us will be spending more of our time outdoors, so too will our pets.  Whether it’s in our own yard, a park, or a neighbor’s yard which your dog may enter while you are out on a walk, you can help to insure the safety of your pet by familiarizing yourself with the potential poisons that you may encounter. 

Poisonous Plants
We all enjoy a beautifully landscaped yard, but when you are designing your green space, please keep in mind that not all plants are safe for your pets.  Some of the most common toxic plants are: Amaryllis, Azalea, Calla Lily, Daffodil, Daisy, Elderberry, Elephant Ears, Eucalyptus, Foxglove, Hens-and-Chicks, Hyacinth, Hydrangea, Iris, Jimson Weed, Jonquil, Lily-of-the-Valley, Morning Glory, Nightshade, Poinsettia, Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac, Rhododendron, Rhubarb, Tomato Leaves, Tulip, Wisteria and Yew.  If your pet ingests a plant that is poisonous, first remove any remnants from your pet’s mouth and save it for identification purposes for your veterinarian.  Then, wash out your pet’s mouth with water and check for any irritation, swelling or discoloration.  If your pet is vomiting, has excessive drooling, diarrhea or seizers, or if your pet is unconscious or acting lethargic, and you suspect he/she has consumed a poisonous plant, seek veterinary care immediately. 

Mulch and Compost
Cocoa mulch is popular for its attractive color and odor but it is highly toxic for pets.  This mulch is a byproduct of chocolate and its sweet smell can be very enticing to pets.  Ingesting cocoa mulch can cause vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, seizures and other neurological problems, and if consumed in large enough quantities, can even cause death.  Pets should also be kept away from your compost pile.  Although composting is great for the environment, make sure your compost pile is in a secure area and safely away from your pets.  Moldy food, coffee and a variety of other foods can be toxic to your pets. 

Fertilizer, Weed Killer and Insecticides
Fertilizer, weed killer and insecticide can all be helpful in producing a lush green lawn and a beautiful garden, but they must all be used with caution.  Fertilizer and week killer can be especially problematic to your pet’s digestive tract and consumption may even result in a life-threatening gastrointestinal obstruction.  Most product labeling cautions to keep your pets off of the treated areas until the product is dry, but other safety experts recommend keeping your pet off of the treated area for at least 24 hours.  Like fertilizers and week killers, insecticides can also be quite harmful if consumed by pets.  Snail, fly, mole, gopher, mouse and rat baits are all toxic to pets.  If you choose to use these items, manufacture labels should be read and followed carefully to ensure the safety of your pets.  If you find that any of these products have been consumed by your pet, call the Pet Poison Center at 888-426-4435 and immediately seek veterinary care. 

Garden Tools
Garden tools can also be a safety hazard for our pets.  Rusty, sharp tools or those that are stored with contaminated dirt still on them can pose a risk to an overly curious pet.  After use of all garden tools, make sure they are thoroughly cleaned and stored safely away from your pets. 

Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, wasps/hornet/bees and some spiders can all be harmful to your pets.  The best protection from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes is to have your pets on monthly flea, tick and heartworm preventative year-round.  For spider bites, clean the area with hydrogen peroxide, chlorhexidine or povidone iodine.  If your pet develops a rash, fever, chills, diarrhea, is vomiting, or becomes lethargic, seek veterinary attention immediately.  If your pet is stung by a wasp, hornet or bee, carefully remove the stinger by wiping it off/out with a credit card, knife or fingernail.  DO NOT use tweezers.  Next, apply a paste of baking soda and water to the area, and then apply an ice pack to relieve any swelling.  Benadryl (the regular one, not the one for sinus relief – 1mg. per pound of body weight) can also be helpful in alleviating any swelling.  Most stings are not seriously problematic, but if your pet was stung on the head, especially around the eyes, ears, nose or mouth, or has any sort of allergic reaction, fever or low body temperature, wheezing, rapid breathing, trembling, pale gums, vomiting or diarrhea, it is crucial to get him/her to your veterinarian as soon as possible.  Multiple stings, especially bee stings, (as a swarm of bees can often be aggressive and pursue you or your pet over some distance), will likely present the worst case scenario.  In this case, antihistamines must be administered immediately to prevent shock, maintain fluid volume and protect the various internal organs which may be at risk.  Again, in extreme cases such as this, it is best to seek immediate medical attention from your veterinarian.

Summer is a great time to be outside and to share our time outside with our pets.  With careful planning and then taking the appropriate safety precautions, the warm weather months can be a safe and happy time for you and your pet(s).  Always have your veterinarian’s phone number close at hand, along with the Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435.  We wish you and all of your pets a safe and happy summer!


Written by Karen Brown
Development Associate at Wayside Waifs

Jun 8 2011

Keep Your Pet Cool This Summer

Summer is definitely here!  After an extended rainy spring season, the heat is here in full force!  Our furbabies don’t always handle the heat well.   The heat effects dogs and cats the same way it impacts humans.  Dogs and cats can suffer from the same problems that humans do, such as overheating, dehydration and even sunburn. By taking some simple precautions, you can celebrate the season and keep your pets happy and healthy.

1. Keep pets inside. If it’s too hot for you, it’s definitely too hot for your Waif!  Imagine being outside in the heat with all that fur, not enjoyable for any human or pet.

2. Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle-heat exhaustion can be fatal. Even with the windows open, a parked automobile can quickly become a furnace in no time.  During warm weather the temperature inside a car can rise to 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.  Think about how hot it gets when you park your car and run into the store to grab something.  Even leaving the windows down is not enough.  You wouldn’t leave your children in the car- please don’t leave your pets!

3. Walk your dog in the morning or evening when the heat and humidity are the lowest.  

4. Don’t let your dog stand on hot asphalt.  Their body temperature can rise quickly and sensitive paw pads can burn.

5. Time for a summer cut!  Get a long hair dog groomed for the summer.  Long haired breeds can be shaved to a one-inch coat.  Never shave down to the skin as this robs the dog of their protection from the sun.

6. Be sensitive to older and overweight animals in hot weather. Snub-nosed dogs such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa Apsos and Shih Tzu’s, as well as those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible. 

7. Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. While you do want to protect pets that have light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears, ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.

8. Avoid taking your pet to events where there are crowds, like concerts and fairs.  The loud noise combined with the heat can be extremely stressful and dangerous for our furry friends.  Trust me, your pet will thank you later.

If your dog or cat is exposed to high temperatures: 

1. Pay attention to signs of over-heating and heat stress.  Heavy panting, glazed eyes, increased pulse, staggering, throwing up, unsteady walking are all signs.  Also check your pet’s tongue- a deep red or purple tongue is another sign. 

2. If your pet is overheated, you must lower their body temperature immediately. 

3.  Take your pet to a shaded area and put cool, not cold, water all over their body to gradually lower their body temperature.

4.  Apply ice pack or cool towels to your pet’s head, neck and chest only.

5. Let your pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. 

6. Finally, always visit and consult with your veterinarian.  These tips are only a recommendation, and you should always consult with your personal veterinarian about your pets health.


Written by Trish Stinger
Web Marketing Manager at Wayside Waifs

Jun 1 2011

After the disaster: Notes from Joplin

Wayside Volunteer Scott and his dog Denly

Wayside Volunteer Scott and his dog Denly

It’s hard to know where to start when you’ve seen something that defies emotion or words.

Joplin is that kind of place. 

After spending time at the makeshift animal shelter, a place where hundreds of animals have ended up in the wake of that terrible tragedy, you understand much more deeply the transformational power of our pets. 

People stood at the ready, taking in strays by the dozens, many found in parts of the city left in shambles by the storm. Other animals were brought in by desperate owners who had nothing left. They needed a place they could trust to care for their pets while they try to get back on their feet. 

With each new arrival, volunteers and staff from many organizations, including Wayside Waifs,  jumped into action. Dogs and cats were checked in, paperwork was filled out, computer records started and medical care administered. Sometimes, grieving family members were comforted with a hug or a pat on the back. 

Reunions were tearful and joyous for everyone. People with nothing came to the shelter looking for their pets — their friends — and many were lucky enough to find them. 

One lady found her lab mix puppy minutes after a good Samaritan brought him to the shelter. Like many of the animals who came in, he was frightened and in a state of shock. When the two saw each other it was if everything that had happened just melted away. His tail jumped into action for the first time, and her tears of joy overwhelmed everyone nearby. 

When one woman was helped to her SUV after finding her cat, you couldn’t help but stare at how badly damaged her vehicle was. Most of the glass was missing and the back was covered in a big orange X — a sign that the SUV had been checked for victims by rescue workers shortly after the tornado. 

As she hugged her cat, she apologized and asked if there was any food she could have for him. “I lost everything,” she whispered. “I don’t even have any money.” 

Luckily, there was plenty of pet food and other supplies available. Manufacturers of all kinds sent truckloads of products and many sent volunteers and staff to help with the effort. 

The human tragedy of Joplin is immeasurable. But the animal tragedy is difficult to fathom too. The good news is that people who have lost everything are comforted to know they have a place to leave pets while they figure out their next steps. Owners reunited with dogs and cats have someone to provide them with unconditional love during such a trying time. 

As one lady said after finding her little Shih Tzu in the rubble of her home six days after the storm tore through Joplin, “I’m just happy to have her back.” 

Today I will hug my dogs a dozen times more than I usually do. I will be thankful that we have each other and that our lives have not been turned upside down by a natural disaster. I will also be thankful for organizations like Wayside Waifs for wasting no time getting to the work of rescuing pets and giving them homes and medical care when they need it most. And I will be thankful for the small miracles I witnessed while in Joplin…the smiles and tears of joy when friends are reunited after such a indescribable time.

Written by Scott Cotter
Wayside Waifs Volunteer

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