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Teaching Children to Approach Horses E-mail

I have noticed something lately: parents letting their kids just run up to strange animals. In fact today, a very young child somehow made it underneath the stomach of my blind horse.

I can't begin to express the danger that a 1,300 lb animal presents to a 30 lb child - especially one who can't see the child!  I am grateful that my hooved partner is so responsive to what I say and stood firmly. If not, this child could have easily been killed.  I can't imagine what could have happened had my horse been a younger or more reactive animal.

Allowing your child to run up to an unknown animal, or approaching one yourself, can be very dangerous.  It doesn't matter how well-trained or well-behaved an animal is, approaching them blindly is dangerous. By not teaching proper etiquette, a child's, an animal's, the handler's, and possibly your own life may be at risk.  Don’t risk yourself or your children.


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Before and After Pictures of Rescued Pets Show Inner Beauty E-mail

As humans, we are often conditioned to judge others by outward appearances. Nowhere is this habit more deadly than in the animal shelter environment. First impressions are indeed the most critical, but it can be difficult to see through mats and dirt and anti-social behavior when you’re looking to adopt a new pet. The animals at shelters are going through the most difficult times of their lives and it can be hard to look past the fear, depression and abuse.

That’s why I love this new program from Wahl and GreaterGood.org called One Picture Saves (The Dirty Dogs Program). Not only are they taking the time to profile the true beauty of shelter animals with makeovers, they are encouraging adoption by focusing on pets that need homes. (More info on how shelters can participate is below).

By showing the inner beauty of animals, they may just encourage more adoptions and help much needed funds to assist in the time and energy it takes to rehabilitate animals.


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Desert Dangers: The Bark Scorpion E-mail

Today we continue our look into the deadly world of the Sonoran Desert, one of the most deadly (and beautiful) places on earth. We have lived here for over twenty years and are quite familiar with the creatures that haunt this desert landscape. Our goal in covering these animals is not to frighten you, but to make you aware of things that go bump in the night so you can learn to learn to avoid them. Today, we’re looking at scorpions.

Arizona is home to (at best count) approximately 56 species of scorpions. There is only one scorpion that can really mess up your pet if stung - and that’s the bark scorpion.  If you live near the territory of bark scorpions, chances are excellent that you already have them in your home.

When I first moved to Arizona, little bark scorpions would often catch a ride home with me after riding horses through the desert during the day. I learned first to always wear chaps while riding, second to always take my clothes off in an enclosed area prior to coming indoors, and finally to keep a vacuum and black light handy so I could find the little guys. This didn’t stop me from being stung, but I survived the ordeal with a few days of some pretty extreme pain.


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Desert Dangers: Rattlesnakes E-mail

We’re continuing our discussion of the deadly dangers in the desert for pets. Today, we’re discussing one of the most obvious ones: rattlesnakes.

Since I’ve lived here, I’ve seen my fair share of snakes. They are very common down here and you’ll run into them if you spend any amount of time hiking or working outdoors. They show up everywhere, from the middle of the city to the outskirts of town. If you visit Arizona, you’re likely to see one as well - our snake seasons seem to be getting a bit extended and even in winter, you can run into one.

Snakes and Pets

Approximately 300,000 dogs and cats are bitten each year by snakes. This number increases each year, and that number was taken in 2011. So, you do the math.


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Desert Dangers: Toads E-mail

I live in Arizona, one of the most hostile, yet hauntingly beautiful places in the world. Arizona is home to the Sonoran desert, which is filled with dangers to us and to our pets. Since many visitors may not know about these when they first arrive, I wanted to talk about a few of those this month and make sure everyone knows understands that the desert can be deadly if you’re not on your guard. Today we're talking about one thing visitors may not expect: toads.

The Sonoran Desert Toad

This toad is one of Arizona’s largest toads. It can grow to over 7.5 inches in length but they also come in very small sizes (less than an inch), so it’s very tough sometimes to know what your pet got ahold of.

However, the symptoms your pets will experience are mostly unforgettable. The Sonoran toad secretes a toxin that actually has many valid uses - including protection for the toad. We see these guys throughout the lowlands in Arizona, particularly in the summer months during monsoon season (which runs from late June through late August).


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