August 2015
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Pet Circkles.

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soldier and dog greeting

Operation Bagdad Pups and The Healing Power of Pets in the Military.

By Circkles.com.

Beberg's mother, Patricia Beberg, in a statement released by the SPCA, said Ratchet "was the savior of her [daughter's] sanity" in Iraq.

An animal rescue group picked up a U.S. soldier's adopted dog from Iraq, ending the soldier's weeks-long struggle to send the animal to her Minnesota home. Operation Baghdad Pups, which said the U.S. military prevented its first attempt to take Ratchet the dog, picked up the animal in Baghdad with military clearance and flew it to Kuwait. The dog then flew to Washington, and after a veterinarian determined it was healthy, was sent to Sgt. Gwen Beberg's home.

military dog wearing helmetBeberg, who adopted the dog after soldiers rescued it from a burning trash pile in May, tried to have the group fly Ratchet to the United States as her deployment neared an end, but the military, which prohibits soldiers from adopting pets abroad and bringing them to the United States, confiscated the animal after Beberg put it on a convoy bound for Baghdad Airport, according to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which runs Operation Bagdad Pups (OBP).

Ratchet and Beberg, 28, drew the attention of thousands of people who signed two online petitions -- linked through the SPCA's Web site -- urging the military to let Ratchet come to the United States. The military euthanizes some animals that it confiscates, and Gwen Beberg worried that Ratchet would be killed.

"Your persistence and amazing work has astonished me throughout this whole thing," Gwen Beberg said in an e-mail to the SPCA.

One of Beberg's friends helped spread the news about Ratchet through blogs. One of the petitions, which had more than 65,000 signatures, was started by a blogger. The SPCA says although active-duty soldiers aren't allowed to adopt animals in the Middle East, many soldiers befriend animals in the course of their service there.

"This isn't a one-time story This is a program making a difference for our soldiers," Garrison, representative of OBP said. "Members of the U.S. military stationed on bases all over the world befriend local animals during deployments that become their companions. But they are often forced to leave them behind when their deployments are over. Our Operation Baghdad Pups program was founded in 2008 to rescue and reunite these patriot pets with our service members in the U.S. To date, we have rescued over 550 animals from multiple countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Our program has expanded to become “OBP: Worldwide” and now we rescue animals anywhere in the world for members of all military branches.
Until we see peace in every corner of the world, OBP Worldwide will continue to serve wherever it is needed – just like the heroes of our U.S. Armed Forces. We consider every request, regardless of the location, a chance for SPCA International to give back to our troops."

 

 

The video above of an emotional welcome home from one soldier's pet after just 6 months on duty shows the faithful love of a furry friend does not fade with time. This unconditional acceptance, warmth, love and understanding are no doubt the biggest reasons abandoned animals of war are appealing to those having to endure cold, thoughtless, brutal and cruel situations during military conflicts.

We've all heard about the healing powers of pets for ill people, and the overall improvement in health both physical and mental of pet owners over non-pet owners in general, so the fact that people stationed so far from home, friends, family and familiarity would gravitate toward an unconditional furry friends is no surprise. The surprise is that a small group of them decided they could not live with coming home while their 4-legged companion continued to be without a home or faced death.

Here a just a couple letters from those who saved a furry life through Operation Bagdad Pups:

Shawn's Thank You for Heidi

Heidi.jpgOn Dec 27th 2012 SPCA International received the following email from Iraq War Veteran, Shawn Flint, whose dog, Heidi, we helped rescue in 2009. Heidi and Shawn are now happily living in Colorado – wartime buddies now forever friends thanks to their love for each other and SPCAI’s Operation Baghdad Pups team.

Hello,

I don't know if you'll remember me but you helped get Heidi home for me while I was serving in Iraq.  My name Is Shawn Flint.  It has been almost three years since I was able to bring Heidi home with your help and the help of SPCAI.  I cannot tell you to this day how much I'm thankful for what you and all your people did for me and my beloved girl Heidi.  I know to this day that my life would never be the same without her.   I got your book, No Buddy Left Behind, for Christmas and I love it.  Reading the stories of all the other pets and their soldiers and what they had to go through to get them home and what you and your team went through to make it possible to do this, reminds me of what I went through and it makes me stop and think back on it and I just smile thinking of the day I got your e-mail that Heidi had made it to the U.S.  If you are ever back in Colorado give me a call, I owe you a dinner.  I plan on sitting down and writing out Heidi's story.  I'll make sure to send you a copy when I'm done.  Once again I thank you and hold a special place in my heart for you and your team.

Your friend now and forever,

Shawn Flint
Iraq War Veteran

Thank You from Wee Wee and Hobie’s Iraqi Friends!

Hobie.pngOn Jan 23rd 2013 SPCA International received the following email from a group of Americans working in Iraq who requested their camp buddies, Wee-Wee and Hobie, be rescued from Iraq and given forever homes in the U.S. These Americans wouldn’t be returning from Iraq for over a year, so they could not give these dogs they love a good home – but SPCA International was able to find two loving families to adopt these special friends. Wee Wee is now living in Rhode Island with an Operation Baghdad Pups family and Hobie was adopted by an Iraq War Veteran in Arlington, VA who was eager to give an Iraqi animal a safe home after all the animal suffering he witnessed during his tour of duty in Iraq.

Dear SPCAI,

On behalf of everyone who knew Wee Wee and Hobie, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for every marvelous thing you have done. Watching the video of Wee-wee enjoying the snow and her new life was incredible. I can't believe the time you have taken out of your schedule to keep all of us updated. It is just as amazing.

With all the horrendous and depressing things the human race keeps on doing to each other and the planet, you and people like you, prove time and time again that there are more of US than THEM!

People have been delighted to come back after Christmas to the brilliant news of Hobie and Wee Wee's well deserved new lives which has brought tears of joy and loads of hugs. Have had enormous fun showing everyone Wee-Wee frolicking in the snow and everyone here wants to send you their love and thanks. Please also pass our thanks on to all the lovely people you work with, the kind hearted souls who give your dogs/cats their new loving life!

Thank you a million times, please stay in touch and if there is ANYTHING we can ever do to help you, you only have to say the word.

Wee Wee and Hobie’s Iraqi Friends!

Zeke, Tigris, and her Kittens Safe in the US.

zeke.png"Zeke, a very young kitten orphaned in dead of Winter, with temperatures and wild chills below freezing, was tormented by emergency response personnel. Living on the barren parking lots at US Embassy, Baghdad, Zeke struggled desperately to survive on hand-outs poached from the dining hall, while hiding under vehicles for heat from engine blocks, and on chasses/axles for wind breaks. I worried daily whether I would find him again. Blessedly, in March 2012, OBP made it possible for Zeke to be rescued, saved from the horrible existence and dangers he was forced to endure at such an early age. Zeke now lives with my family in Virginia."

"Tigris and her 3 kittens – Tigris was named for her markings and because she was found at the US Embassy, Baghdad, located on the banks of the Tigris River. Tigris, a most loving cat, led us to her kittens, born April 1st on the gravel-covered Cornische roof at US Embassy, Baghdad. In the unforgiving Iraqi heat, Tigris and her kittens would have cooked on the stones covering the rooftop. OBP came to the rescue, and in May 2012, Tigris and her kittens were evacuated from the harsh environs of Iraq and brought to the US. OBP found a forever home in California for Clarence the cross-eyed kitten. Tigris and her other two kittens will go live with Zeke and my family in Virginia, where, thanks to OBP, they will all be loved and cherished." – Karen Maskew

The result of Operation Bagdad Pups cannot be expressed in words. The thought that the bond between military personel and the animals they befriend does not have to end when soldiers come home thanks to their help is extending the therapeutic benefits of such a program beyond measure for both parties: the animal and the soldier.

It generally costs $3,000 to $4,000 to bring a service member's animal to the United States. Money the SPCA gets from donations.

Do you know a U.S. military serviceman or woman serving oversees that has a special relationship with a dog or cat they befriended there? Contact OBP for help bringing that patriot pet to safety in the U.S. where they can be reunited again.

 

Adopting a Barn Cat.

by Circkles.com

Recognizing that feral or barn cats have special needs and cannot be adopted out as regular house cats, many humane societies and shelters have started implementing barn cat adoption programs to meet the special requirements of these cats. In general, cats are not particularly social animals anyway, but barn cats are usually even less so. They are often born and raised in a barn environment where they are used to taking care of themselves for the most part and doing their own thing. They are not likely to cuddle up in your lap, but this is not the reason to adopt a barn cat in the first place.

Barn cats are raised to fend for themselves, all they require for care is shelter, water, and winter feeding or one daily meal to keep them coming back to your barn instead of going feral. Barn cat are great for keeping mice and rodents under control that are so abundant in agricultural areas and that especially love barns to hide in. Just make sure if you have barn cats that you are not also putting poison or dCon out for the mice as these toxic poisons will eventually kill your cats as well.

If you are thinking about a barn cat to adopt, make sure to put out a dish of food and water for them every day at first to get them to consider your barn home. After a few months, you may be able to ween them off of the cat food during the summer months so they will hunt for themselves more. Just make sure they still consider your barn as a safe place that will provide food and water if wild food becomes scarce otherwise they may start looking to go where there is more food.

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Allen M. Shoen, a veterinarian and author of "Kindred Spirit" wrote, "Although science has no definite answers, why not assume that sharing a home with a dog, cat or bird - or sharing our lives with a horse or other large animal - has therapeutic benefits that are deeper than simple stimulation of the opiate receptors in the skin through touch? Perhaps, through our connection with animals, we are stimulating some deeply buried aspect of nature within us, rekindling a lost connection that allows us to be more than solitary creatures, but part of something greater - and therefor, more healthy, more whole."

Much scientific and psychological research has proven just that. And also that the human animal bond is mutually beneficial under humane circumstances. Many great philosophers, such as Albert Einstein, recognized that we have a great deal of useful information to learn from animals.
In fact, animals are the great teachers, not us, for they have roamed the earth far longer than we and express genuine thought and expression true to their nature, which we do not. We have a great deal to learn from them. Pet Circkles helps us stay more in touch with their health, diet and social needs so we can give back to those who give us so much unconditionally.

 

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chihuahua

Featured DOG BREED: Chihuahua

The temperament of its owner can make a difference in the temperament of this breed. Chihuahuas can be easily provoked to attack, and are therefore generally unsuitable for homes with small children. The breed tends to be fiercely loyal to one particular person and in some cases may become over protective of the person, especially around other people or animals. If properly managed by older children, 13 and up, they can adapt to this kind of living with a dedicated owner. They do not always get along with other breeds,[18] and tend to have a "clannish" nature, often preferring the companionship of other Chihuahuas or Chihuahua mixes over other dogs. These traits generally make them unsuitable for households with children who are not patient and calm. Chihuahuas love their dens and will often burrow themselves in pillows, clothes hampers, and blankets. They are often found under the covers or at the bottom of the bed, deep in the dark and safety of what they perceive as their den.

Lifespan: 17 years
Weight: 4 – 6 lbs (Adult)
Height: 8 in. (Adult)

HEALTH CONCERNS: This breed has many health concerns which make it a bit high maintenance. For instance they require expert veterinary attention in areas such as birthing and dental care. Chihuahuas are also prone to some genetic anomalies, often neurological ones, such as epilepsy and seizure disorders.

Chihuahuas, and other toy breeds, are prone to the sometimes painful disease hydrocephalus. It is often diagnosed by the puppy having an abnormally large head during the first several months of life. Chihuahua puppies exhibiting hydrocephalus usually have patchy skull plates rather than a solid bone and are typically lethargic and do not grow at the same pace as their siblings. A true case of hydrocephalus can be diagnosed by a veterinarian, though the prognosis is grim.

Many Chihuahuas have moleras, or a soft spot in their skulls, and they are the only breed of dog to be born with an incomplete skull. This is not a defect; it is a normal adaptation facilitating the passage through the birth canal and growth and development of the domed type of forehead. The molera is predominant in the rounder heads often and is present in nearly all Chihuahua puppies. The molera fills in with age, but great care needs to be taken during the first six months until the skull is fully formed. Some moleras do not close completely and if particularly large will require extra care to prevent injury. Many veterinarians are not familiar with Chihuahuas as a breed and mistakenly confuse a molera with hydrocephalus.

Overfeeding a Chihuahua can be a great danger to the dog's health, shortening its life and leading to diabetes.

Chihuahuas can also be at risk for hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, which is especially dangerous for puppies. Left unattended, hypoglycemia can lead to coma and death but can be avoided with frequent feedings, especially for chihuahuas who are younger, smaller or leaner. Chihuahua owners should have a simple sugar supplement on hand to use in emergencies, such as Nutri-Cal, Karo syrup and honey. These supplements can be rubbed on the gums and roof of the mouth to rapidly raise the blood sugar level. Signs of hypoglycemia include lethargy, sleepiness, low energy, uncoordinated walking, unfocused eyes and spasms of the neck muscles or head pulling back or to the side, fainting and seizures.

As in other breeds with large protruding eyes, Chihuahuas are prone to eye infections or eye injury. The eyes may water frequently in response to dry air, dust or air-borne allergens. Daily wiping will keep the eyes clean and minimize tear staining.

Collapsed trachea is a health concern that is characteristic of the chihuahua breed.

Chihuahuas have a tendency to tremble or shiver when stressed, excited or cold. Chihuahuas, especially the short-coat variety, are less tolerant of cold than larger breeds, and may require a sweater or boots in cold weather. They will seek warmth in sunshine, under blankets, or on furniture, human laps or the back of a larger dog.

Although figures often vary, as with any breed, the average lifespan range for a healthy Chihuahua is between 12 and 20 years.

Chihuahuas are sometimes picky eaters and care must be taken to provide them with adequate nutrition. Sometimes wet or fresh food can have the most appealing smell to these constant eaters. Chihuahuas are prone to hypoglycemia and could be at a critical state if allowed to go too long without a meal. At the same time, care must be exercised not to overfeed them.

Chihuahuas have a notorious problem with dental issues. Dental care is a must for these little creatures. Over-feeding and insufficient exercise can result in an overweight Chihuahua. Overweight Chihuahuas are susceptible to increased rates of joint injuries, tracheal collapse, chronic bronchitis, and shortened life span.

Chihuahuas are also known for a genetic condition called 'luxating patella', a genetic condition that can occur in all dogs. In some dogs, the ridges forming the patellar groove are not shaped correctly and a shallow groove is created. In a dog with shallow grooves, the patella will luxate or slip out of place, sideways. It causes the leg to 'lock up' and will force the chihuahua to hold its foot off the ground. When the patella luxates from the groove of the femur, it usually cannot return to its normal position until the quadriceps muscle relaxes and increases in length, explaining why the affected dog may be forced to hold his leg up for a few minutes or so after the initial displacement. While the muscles are contracted and the patella is luxated from its correct position, the joint is held in the flexed or bent position. The knee cap sliding across the femur can cause some pain due to the bony ridges of the femur. Once out of position, the animal feels no discomfort and continues with activity.

Chihuahuas are also prone to some heart-related disorders, such as heart murmurs and pulmonic stenosis, a condition in which the blood outflow from the heart's right ventricle is obstructed at the pulmonic valve.

Looking for a Chihuahua? Use our Pet finder tool below and search for an adoptable dog that needs a home in your area now.

To view breeds we've already written about, go to our Pet Circkles Club Page.

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