Pet Experts, Activists, Your Average Pet Owners Chime In: Resolutions for 2009


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We all make resolutions for the New Year, for ourselves, and even for our pets. Here are a few –

“(1) Adopt from a shelter or a breed-rescue group; (2) be sure pets get the medical care pets need, especially felines, who are sometimes neglected; (3) patronize movies earning the ‘No Animals Were Harmed’ end credit from American Humane; (4) financially support humane organizations, both locally and nationally,” Marie Belew Wheatley, president/CEO American Humane Association, Denver, CO.

“I promise my three dogs (Teigh, Belle and Angel) that I will try to get home earlier from work to feed them and to spend more time, and walk them sooner. They promise me that if I do that, they won’t trash my apartment, “ David Frei, director of communications of the Westminster Kennel Club and President of Angel On A Leash, New York, NY.

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“I’m going to work on teaching my toddler not to torment the tortoise,” tortoise owner Christina Wantz Fixemer, Gilberts, IL.

“I resolve to keep the cats awake at least five hours a day,” Dena Harris, pet writer/speaker, Greensboro, NC.

“I resolve to be a responsible dog owner and clean up after my dog (even when it snows!),” dog owner Christine Hale Vertucci, Chicago, IL

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“As a cat owner: 1. To put my cat- and me- on a diet! The goal is to lose 10 percent of our body weight- that’s 1.6 pounds for pudgy Paddy, and if I told you what that was for me it would be TMI (too much information).

       “2. To take photographs of my two hilarious cats when they are entwined in their donut bed grooming each other, and each cat has their tongue in the other cat’s ear..

         “Representing the CATalyst Council: 1. Design more ways to reach more veterinarians, shelter professionals, and the public so they everyone understands that cats deserve ‘pet parity.’ Cats are entitled to a loving home, good nutrition, permanent identification, regularly scheduled medical care, including parasite prevention; necessary vaccines and health assessment. 2. Enlighten people who don’t yet to realize that ‘cats are cool!” feline veterinarian Dr. Jane Brunt, executive director CATalyst Council, Baltimore, MD.

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“Pet owners should resolve to be a political advocate for their pets, Pet owners would be surprised to learn that state and federal legislation can actually affect their pet’s health care. For example, during these tough economic times, government is looking for creative ways to increase their revenues. States such as California and Wisconsin have already proposed taxing veterinary care.  At a time when people are struggling to pay their bills and many are faced with foreclosure, these extra financial burdens could force some companion animals to go without medical care or even be unnecessarily relinquished to animal shelters,” Dr. W. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer, American Veterinary Medical Association, Schaumburg, IL.

“For Harper (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel), my resolution is to do a better job of training her to pass Canine Good Citizen test; for Twyla (another Cavalier King Charles Spaniel), to take her on more walks and teach her a new trick; for Bella (yet another Cavalier King Charles), it’s simply to keep my sweet 13-year-old happy and healthy,” Kim Campbell Thornton, pet columnist  MSNBC.com and pet book author,  Lake Forest, CA.

“Let’s all resolve to give our dogs mental as well as physical exercise, resulting in healthier, happier dogs and fewer behavioral problems! It’s easy to do–teach a new trick once a month and give your dog interactive toys that requires problem solving,” Patricia B. McConnell, certified applied animal behaviorist, author “Tales of Two Species” and “For the Love of a Dog,” Black Earth, WI.

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"This year, for me and my dog, we’ve both decided to be more active and to cut down on those yummy treats which wreck havoc on our usual puppy like physiques," Dr. Todd Schadler, associate dean for clinical affairs Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, St. Kitts, West Indies

 “Focus on improving veterinarians’ knowledge about cats, to help educate pet owners about the value of cats as pets; and to promote more feline health research,” feline veterinarian Dr. Susan Little, president Winn Feline Foundation, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

“I resolve to be as happy as my pets – and to keep my pets as happy as they tried to make me,” Noreen Wagner, Las Vegas, NV

“I’ll run with Magic (German Shepherd dog) daily, despite cold weather – and pray my knees hold up. And I resolve to provide an equal amount of lap time to Seren (Siamese cat) especially since she’ll help my knees. And finally, I resolve to meet each day with the joy of my dog, the single-mindedness of my cat, and try to match their love,” certified animal behavior consultant, pet book author and President Cat Writer’s Association, Amy Shojai, Sherman, TX

"Even though our world’s animals probably don’t recognize New Year’s celebrations or resolutions, as animal lovers we can resolve to make animals’ lives free from pain and suffering — and happier, too.  As such, we need to help all animals — from entire species on the brink of extinction to individual animals, like the tiniest kitten or liveliest puppy." Dr. Patricia N. Olson, president/CEO, Morris Animal Foundation, Denver, CO.

 “Pet owners should make the simple resolution of maintaining their pet’s identification. All cats and dogs regardless if they are indoor or outdoor pets should have proper ID at all times should they escape from home. To give your pet the best chance to be identified if she becomes lost, make sure to have her implanted with a microchip and wear an updated nametag and collar,” Dr. Anna Worth, President American Animal Hospital Association, Bennington, VT.

“My resolution is to help try to educate the pet loving public about animal legislation that on the surface appears to be helpful, but could have dire, unexpected circumstances that will harm good pets and deprive us of our ability to own pets in the long run. Legislation that will endanger the owner/veterinarian relationship, and give the responsibility for the welfare of those pets to people who are not animal experts is being proposed all around the country.  This includes mandatory (not voluntary) spay/neuter, banning specific breeds (punish the deed, not the breed) and safeguard the rights of pet owners to be able to purchase a wonderful animal from a breeder who cares about the animals they are producing or get a pet from a responsible shelter or rescue.”   Michele Smith, American Miniature Schnauzer Club Rescue Chair, Highland Park, IL. 

“I resolve to continue to try to reach the public about being responsible pet owners, following leash laws, and making sure that they understand that mandatory spay/neuter ordinances are actually ways to take our future dogs and cats away from us. But I will reinforce to anyone that will listen that voluntary spay/neuter is a good thing. I also resolve to keep informing the public that reputable pure bred animal breeders are those who provide contracts with the sale of an animal and are those who try to produce animals with good health and temperament. I will continue to discourage people from buying animals from pet stores which are more often than not supplied by sub-standard breeders.  Karen Perry, AKC/MRC Legislative Liaison for Illinois, Northbrook, IL

“I resolve to thank a higher power every day for creating dogs,” S. Caoline, Orlando, FL

©Steve Dale, Tribune Media Services