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Your Family Pet — November 20, 2014


Hello, I'm Joe Larkins.
Welcome to "Your Family Pet." On this edition we'll explore
the joy and challenges of having parrots as pets. We'll find out the advantages
of adopting an older cat. And Sarah visits Three Dog
Bakery to see how they make one of their most popular treats. All that and more is just
ahead on "Your Family Pet," so stay with us. (female announcer)
Production funding for "Your Family Pet" is
made possible in part by Memphis Veterinary Specialists,
a referral based specialty hospital serving the needs
of small animals offering diagnostic tools and treatment
options not typically found outside veterinary teaching
hospitals including orthopedic and neurologic surgery,
oncology, dermatology, dentistry, ophthalmology,
internal medicine and more.

And by.. [theme music] Hello and welcome
to "Your Family Pet." I'm Joe Larkins. Joining me is
Katie Pemberton with the Humane Society of
Memphis and Shelby County. And we've got guests all over
the place both human and feline. Yes, we have three —
actually six very special cat guests today. The first one that I'll
tell you about is Japan. And she is being held by Kayla,
our customer service manager.

Japan is a
seven-year-old cat. And as you can see one of her
eyes is bigger than the other. That was caused
by a birth defect. But it really
doesn't affect her. It doesn't
affect her vision. It doesn't affect, you
know, how much she enjoys life. As you can see,
she loves being held. She loves cuddling.
She gets along with other cats. She's got this beautiful
coloring, beautiful blue eyes. And she's just a great more
mature cat to kind of just fit right in to your home. Okay. And next? Next we have Erica from
our cat adoption center. And she is holding a
black cat named Muffy. Muffy is about a year-and-a-half
old and obviously she's a black cat with beautiful, kind
of, golden green eyes. And Muffy actually had.. I believe she had
kittens in a shed by herself. So, she at such a young age has
already been through some hard times and is really just ready
for that family to take her home and pamper her.

She's super sweet. She loves to be
held and cuddled. And she is kind of an
easy going kind of gal. Ready for a forever home. She is, yeah.
And lastly, we have Rhea. And she is being held by
Jeremy, our facility manager. And Rhea is about
a year old, as well. And she is a beautiful grey cat
with kind of goldish-green eyes and just kind of similar in
personality to the other two.

They're all kind easy
going cats that just get along with everyone. Rhea, I will say
out of these three, has been the most vocal. She's been the one who's
been talking to us the most, kind of telling us
what she thinks about the whole situation. Well, she's probably
ready for her close-up. Yeah, she is.
She knows this is her big break. Well now, we've..
These are adult cats. And we know the importance
of why you should adopt as opposed to buy. But what about the advantages of
adopting an older cat as opposed to a kitten? Everybody wants a clean slate.

Yeah. I mean, I really always
encourage people to at least consider an older cat, an
older pet of any kind really. Not just cats. One of the great things about
adopting an older cat is that you kind of already can see
what their personality is. With a kitten, you
don't really know. Kittens are pretty similar. They all want to play.
They all want to climb. And their personalities haven't
really fully developed yet. But with an adult cat, you kind
of know what you're getting. And so, you can
already tell, okay, this cat is going to be full
of energy or this cat is going to be calm. You can know how good a fit
they are with your lifestyle. There's always an
adjustment period when you've got a new pet.

And so, that's something you
need to really keep in mind when you bring any pet in. Yes. We always encourage people to
please be patient when you bring any pet in to your new home
whether that is a kitten, puppy, adult cat or adult dog. You know, they have been
in our shelter or maybe, possibly, a foster home. But they've been in
our shelter for a while. And so, it's going to take them
some time to adjust from being in a kennel to
having the space to roam. And so, one thing we actually
suggest when you're bringing home a new cat is give them a
room that's just their room.

You know, you don't have
to rush in to introducing them to your other pets. You can just let them kind
of decompress and explore in that room. That's where you feed them.
That's where you go visit them. And, you know,
you can let your.. If you have other pets, you can
let them around the room so they can smell each other. But for the most part, just
giving them about a week or so to kind of get their bearings. Actually, you touched on.. My concern is we've
adopted in our household pets. And it took a year just
to get them housetrained. But it really varies.
You talked about a week or two. Yeah, it really does
vary based on the animal, what they have experienced
and what issues they may have. You know, we have animals
that have been injured, abused.

And then we have animals
that have not necessarily been through something like that. And it really.. Every animal is an individual.
So, it really varies. Very quickly, what about
bringing an older cat in to a household that
already has a dog or a cat? Just in a few seconds. Yeah, I think that trick of
giving them their room to kind of be by themselves and
gradually sniff the cats or the other dogs through the door
but not forcing them to interact right away.

The big thing is is that there
are plenty of animals out there that are needing forever
homes whether they're dogs, cats or, you know.. I know you see a lot of
animals coming through. It's important to open up
your home and your heart. Yes, please consider adoption. Katie, you've got a fine
group of cats and helpers here, cat helpers. And thank you very
much for stopping by. And remember, open
heart, open your home. If an easy-going cat with a few
dog-like qualities sounds good, you might want to take a
look at our Breed of the Month, the Maine Coon. The Maine Coon is native to
America and was first recognized as a specific breed in Maine. In fact, it's the
official state cat of Maine. The Maine Coon is the largest
domestic breed of cat and is characterized by its rugged
appearance — shaggy coat and long bushy tail, which is
sometimes used for warmth and protection. The Maine Coon's coat
is silky, somewhat oily and almost self-maintained. As I mentioned, the
Maine Coon is a large cat.

Females typically range
between 9 and 12 pounds, while males range between
12 and 16 but can sometimes reach 20 pounds. The average lifespan of
this breed is 13 years. The Maine Coon is a very
low maintenance cat and only requires occasional grooming. Health issues like Hip dysplasia
may be found more commonly in cats of larger size,
like the Maine Coon. This breed is also sometimes
plagued by Polycystic Kidney disease, which is often
genetically inherited. The Maine Coon is often
noted for its kindly disposition and intelligence. Even though their large
size can be intimidating, they're known for their
friendliness towards people and other pets and have been
given the nickname Gentle Giant. These personality traits
make them great family pets, companions and
even therapy cats. [theme music] The folks at Three Dog Bakery
are devoted to creating fun, wholesome treats for your
four-legged family member. In fact, from the moment you and
your pup walk in you might just get the idea that they love your
dog almost as much as you do.

In our next segment, Sarah pays
a visit to Three Dog Bakery in Collierville to find
out how they make one of their most popular treats. Carol, what makes the treats
here at Three Dog Bakery so special? Well, Sarah, a lot of
things make them special. But we use all human
quality ingredients. No sugar, salt or
artificial coloring. We use vegetable
powders to make our colors. So, for instance, we use beet
powder to make pink and red. Tomato powder
to make orange. We just used a lot of orange for
Halloween and getting ready to make a lot of things that
have red and green in it for Christmas.

And it looks like
you have chocolate. But I know
that's not what it is. But it looks really yummy.
What is that? It is unsweetened carob.
It is safe for dogs. It comes from
a totally different plant than chocolate does. It doesn't have the Theobromine
that chocolate has in it. So, it is
indeed safe for dogs. We're going to get to see how
the nutty buddy is made today, one of your most popular treats. What goes in to the nutty
buddy and how is it made? Okay. Well first, we
start with our mix. And then we use
peanut powder, water, honey and unsweetened
apple sauce because we can't have sugar. And then Francis
is going to mix it up. And then we're going to put them
in the oven and bake them up. Perfect. Well, let's see how
they're made then.

Okay, sounds great. When we start our nutty buddies,
we use all of our liquid first. And we mix it all together.
This is apple sauce. So far, we have
water and apple sauce. And now we're
going to add honey. And now we're
going to add the mix. And now we're
adding peanut powder. And then we're
going to mix it all up. And soon we will be
cutting out nutty buddies. Something else that makes
you all so special is you were the first dog bakery. Correct? Correct, we were. We've been in
business for 25 years. And out in the
community, as well? Oh, yes. We've always done a lot
of rescue group events. A lot of our events,
we give money — the proceeds to the
actual rescue or the shelter. We gave all the prizes for
the Germantown weenie races. And we just are getting ready
to do one with the Collierville animal shelter for
Christmas pictures. All the proceeds will go to
the spay and neuter program for Collierville shelter. It's a kind of a sticky dough. So, Francis has to
put her hands in here.

Kind of
like making bread. You've got to
knead the dough. After she gets it mixed, she's
going to be rolling it out. And then putting them on
parchment paper because we don't want them to stick
to the cookie sheet. And I know a lot
of dogs out there today have food sensitivities. So, how does Three Dog
Bakery maybe accommodate to those sensitivities? Well, one thing we do is we
do have wheat-free treats. Birthday cakes. Our standard birthday
cake does have wheat in it. But if they call a
little bit ahead of time, we will make
a wheat-free cake. We also are branching out in
to some grain-free treats that don't use
any type of a grain. That would use
pea flower instead. Now they're going
on the cookie sheet. We make lots of nutty
buddies every week.

How do you know these
treats are going to sell? Do you have a
taste tester on hand? Oh, we do. We have dogs every day
that are taste testing. I love it. And they do a great job. O'Malley and
Bandit are here today. Now she's
putting the eyes in with a small
unsweetened carob chip. They bake for 20 minutes
and then they'll be done. The last step to
complete the nutty buddy, we're going to dip the
tail in unsweetened carob. Well, that
was so much fun. Thank you all so much for
letting us come by today and learn how to make
these beautiful squirrels. We are so glad
you got to come by. With an estimated 11 million
birds living as pets in the U.S., parrots are now thought
to be the fourth most common household animal
after dogs, cats, and fish.

But do they
make good pets? You may be surprised to learn
that for many people the answer is no. If you're thinking about
getting a parrot of your own, there are a number of
things you should consider before you dive in. In our next segment veteran
parrot owner Andy Williams shares some of his expertise
about living with parrots. (Andy)
Getting a parrot is really more a lifestyle decision than it is
picking a pet like a domestic animal like a dog,
cat or even a chicken. They're wild animals that
we brought in to our homes. And they've not been bred for
generations like domestic pets to produce
desirable traits. And so, the first thing you need
to do when you think about a parrot is do
a lot of homework. Ask yourself some
tough questions. First questions you should
ask is why do I want a parrot.

If you're top two answers are
something like because I think it's cute that they talk or
you're looking for something pretty and decorative, a parrot
is probably not going to be a very good pet for you. You've got to look
at your temperament. The time you have for a parrot
that you want to spend on a regular basis and the upkeep
costs not only include the direct cost of getting the bird
but also the inevitable repairs with your
household furnishings. They're wild animals.
And what they do best is chew. They love to chew.
It's their hobby. They will
chew to make nests. They chew to get nuts
out of their shells. They'll chew
to attract mates. They just chew
for the fun of it. They're highly intelligent. A lot of people say that
they have intelligence of a five-year-old but the emotional
maturity of a three-year-old.

So, it's something to consider,
particularly when you consider the fact they live for
15, 30 or even longer. In addition to thinking of a
bird like raising a child, you need to keep in front of
mind that they're wild animals. With their instinct
and their energy, you should never leave
a bird unsupervised. If you do that, the best
description I've heard is basically unleashing a
flynig monkey with a chainsaw. Because it's so beautiful,
you think it's harmless. But you really shouldn't leave
them unsupervised with children. Their beaks, even
the smaller birds, have a lot of force to them
and can make some deep injuries really quickly. You know, it's obvious that
you've got time daily and weekly cleaning their cages. But you also cook
for your parrots. In addition to just husbandry,
you've got to spend two or three hours a day for the life of the
bird interacting with the bird and training it.

Training gives
them something to do, something to think
about and plenty of toys. You see these
toys are chewed up. That means that there is
excess and on a regular basis, we switch the toys out to
rearrange their cage furniture and to provide them new things
to think about and play with. They have quality time in the
cage so they don't look at it as punishment necessarily. But quality time outside
the cage for exercise, for training and also for
them to be a part of the flock. If you get a bird, you've got
to put the cage in the center of the home.

You can't put them in a second
bedroom or in a hall or that sort of stuff. They want to be
where the action is. They just crave attention. Also, they crave
attention their entire life. When you get a bird, you get,
oh, isn't that great. And it is.
It's very sweet. Baby animals are
totally adorable. But, you know, these are
animals that they don't grow up that quickly. They live
for a long time. The sort of attention you give
to them when you first get them, you've got to be prepared to
fawn over them that level the rest of their natural lives. It is a lot
of work in to it. And you've got to
enjoy the process.

I enjoy cooking. So, I enjoy
cooking for the birds. You know, I'm
interested in nutrition. So, I'm interested in learning
about nutrition for the birds. But like I said, it's just
something about birds I've always liked. They give back.
And it works for me. I've always wanted parrots.
I had them growing up. They're just interesting. I like learning
about their care. They're very complicated. But they give back.
They give back in their own way. And the ways they
give back to me, you know, rubbing of my
ear, imitating my laugh, playing with toys, you know,
taking a shower with me are enjoyable.

It's very personal and the
things I like about birds may or may not appeal
to other people. But they are fun.
It's exotic. You know, no one else has them.
But there's a reason for that. And so, in doing your homework,
you've got to think about what's ahead in your life. Do you see
yourself getting married? I know marriages
that have broken up, you know. You know, the question is it's
either me or the bird doesn't always get the answer
that you want to get. Because they're in
every facet of your life. You know, in the morning, they
wake up when the sun comes up. They want to be with you.
They want to get food.

They want to take
a shower with you. They want to watch T-V
with you in the evenings. They want
to meet your friends. It's kind of a flock
mentality and that's part of it. The thought process with a bird
is raising a child that never grows up as opposed to having a
companion like a dog or a cat. But like I said initially,
if you think you want a bird, do your homework
and ask yourself a lot of hard questions. Determine if a parrot is going
to be the right bird for you. [theme music] Could your dog or cat
be living with diabetes? It's a fairly common condition
for humans and believe it or not, it's relatively common
in cats and dogs as well. And left untreated,
can be life-threatening. And since November is National
Diabetes Awareness Month, we thought
we'd find out more. Up next, Sarah visits
with Doctor Wright of Shelby Center Hospital for
Animals to ask about diabetes, its warning signs and treatment. Doctor Wright, can you
explain what diabetes is? Yes, diabetes is a condition
where the body is either not making enough insulin or the
body is not able to use the insulin that it's making.

And since insulin is control of
the body's blood sugar levels and how sugar gets in
to ourselves for energy, if there's a
problem with diabetes, there's too much sugar in the
blood and not enough energy. Now can animals get
diabetes just like humans? Absolutely, they do. They get type one and type two
diabetes just like people do. Most dogs are type one and
cats are usually type two. How common is it? Because I've never really heard
of it before so I didn't know how common
this actually was. It's not
all that common.

I would say it's less
than one percent according to recent statistics. Probably about a half
of one percent actually. But we see it fairly commonly
and have a lot of clients that are managing their pets
on diabetes management. Now can it lead to
other health issues? Absolutely. Diabetes does open
the body up to infection. It makes them hard
to get over infections. It can cause liver
problems, kidney problems. It can also make them prone to
forming cataracts in their eyes. Oh my gosh.
I did not know that. So, what is
the life expectancy? I mean, does this change the
life expectancy for a pet who might have diabetes? If it's not managed, it
can be life threatening. But if it's managed well, these
pets can live for months and even years.

Okay. So, what are symptoms or
signs that people can look for in their pets? Usually the diabetic pet
comes in drinking lots of water, urinating a lot. So for a dog, this would be a
dog that has accidents in the floor or is getting the owner
up in the night to go outside to urinate. For the cat that's
inside using the litter box, they are filling it up. They're also
ravenously hungry. The body knows it needs energy
but they're not gaining weight. And some of these
pets are losing weight.

They're very thin but also
the obese pet is more prone to diabetes. So sometimes they're
coming in very heavy. So, if you see any of
these signs or symptoms, you bring them in. What kind of tests will
a veterinarian then do on your pet? The first thing we're going to
do is probably some lab work on them including a urinalysis. And a diabetic pet is going
to show sugar in their urine. It shouldn't be there. And some blood work including
most important the blood sugar, which is
very, very elevated. So, let's say unfortunately
if a pet did have diabetes, what about when
you take it home? What do you do to take care
of your pet with diabetes? Well, the first thing that
we talk to owners about is dietary management. You have to get them on some
kind of food that will help their body use the
sugar that's in there. And those are usually high
protein diets with low carb or high complex carbs of
the carbs that they have.

So, on these diets,
that's a very important part of management. In fact, cats on dietary change
alone can sometimes manage their diabetes. Oh, really? Just with that.
Otherwise, the pets.. We have to talk
about insulin therapy. The body needs insulin. Most of the time it's
not making proper insulin. So, now we're talking about
giving injections of insulin at home just like with people. Now do these pets know
that they have diabetes? I mean, some pets seem to
be aware whenever they need something for their body. Like, some dogs might
know when they need insulin. Is that a case that
you run in to often? Sometimes we do. We see pets that owners
have gotten used to giving their pets insulin. And again, these
are tiny syringes, tiny needles. Giving your dog a shot
or your cat a shot is scary for most owners. But it is
such a tiny needle. A lot of the pets with a little
distraction don't know that they give it. But we do hear of owners saying
sometimes they're coming up ready for their injections.

Whether they know.. How do they know that
it's going to help them? But it makes a lot of owners
feel better that they're giving their pet better quality of life
and the pet is not dreading it as much as they
thought they would. Exactly. Well, thank you so
much, Doctor Wright, for all this
helpful information. You're welcome. And finally, we have a
heartwarming rescue story sent in by Wendy. I was contacted by Mid-South Pug
Rescue in August of 2011 to meet a little girl named Emma, who
had spent the first 18 months of her life as a breeder
pug living in a cage. When I met Emma, I knew
immediately that her name was not Emma, but I wasn't convinced
that she was the pug for me.

She was a pitiful little thing,
missing an eye and in serious need of doggie braces
for her severe under bite. I agreed to foster her but it
was my second trip to the vet that sealed
the deal for me. When the vet produced an X-ray
of her spine that resembled a Z, I was sold. He said she was in rough shape
physically because her jagged spine made it difficult for
her lungs to fully expand. He said she might live five
weeks or five years and that he could guarantee that she would
have health problems but not how severe they would be.

And so it was that
Emma came to stay. And Emma became Maizie. I was terrified
that my other Pug, Max, would be
jealous and feel betrayed. I was terrified that she
wouldn't survive through the end of the week. I was terrified that I
was making a huge mistake. When I brought her home,
Max was less than impressed. This scrawny, toothy, half-blind
little thing couldn't go up or down the stairs,
didn't know how to walk, and fell on her side when
anyone walked toward her.

The following week, however, my
brother sent me a photo of Max and Maizie sharing a tiny dog
bed and I knew we had done the right thing. Three years later,
Maizie is better than ever. She's bossy, and demanding, and
has acclimated to the good life quite well, leaving the memories
of her first few tumultuous years in the distant
past where they belong. In fact, just this summer she
won a costume contest at Dog Day at Memphis Botanic Garden. Maizie, you're
amazing and one lucky dog. That's it for this
edition of "Your Family Pet." We hope you enjoyed it and be
sure to tune in next time as we explore the joy of pet
ownership on "Your Family Pet." [theme music] (female announcer)
Production funding for "Your Family Pet" is
made possible in part by Memphis Veterinary Specialists,
a referral based specialty hospital serving the needs
of small animals offering diagnostic tools and treatment
options not typically found outside veterinary teaching
hospitals including orthopedic and neurologic surgery,
oncology, dermatology, dentistry, ophthalmology,
internal medicine and more.


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