|Me and Ivan.|
Photo: Ken C.
I like to brag about the two handsome German Shepherd dogs, Bowie and Archer, that my brother David and his wife Sarah have rescued. The dogs enjoy a rural life of paddling in the creek, chasing chipmunks (wearing their brightly-colored vests during hunting season so they aren’t mistaken for deer), and playing “tug” with their favorite toy—an old garden hose. One weekend, Bowie was acting strangely. Sarah recognized the symptoms of a dangerous condition called bloat or gastric torsion, sadly common in large, deep-chested dogs such as German Shepherds. They rushed Bowie to the emergency veterinarian hospital, where the staff literally saved Bowie’s life.
Bowie and Archer in their safety vests.
Photo: David used by permission.
Books are one of the first places you might think I’d mention, being a librarian. Two wonderful books for understanding more about how two favorite pets act, and why, are Dog Sense and Cat Sense by animal behavior researcher John Bradshaw. Several library branches carry Catster and Dogster (formerly Cat Fancy and Dog Fancy) which cover general info on those pets as well as features on specific breeds. One of their articles on Russian Blue cats taught me I was using the wrong grooming method for Ivan’s two-level fur coat. If you're a bird lover and want try an e-magazine, you can download Audubon, which often has articles on pet birds, from Zinio.
What if your animal companion is sick, or you have a quick opportunity to adopt a pet you don't know much about? All too often, that happens when you can’t get to the library. If you have an Internet connection, you can get reliable information any time of the day or night from the National Library of Medicine’s pet website. It provides information on symptoms, specific diseases, and particular domestic animals including fish and horses. The ASPCA also has a pet-care website that provides information about numerous species in addition to cats and dogs.
You might want to look for or request one of our newest titles on pets:
Enjoy learning more about the nature and proper care of the animal companion of your choice!