December 2015
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ferret in cafetti
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Pet Circkles.

"I am in favor of animal rights as well as
human rights. That is the way of a
whole human being." ~ Abe Lincol

blind cat sanctuary

The Best Christmas Gift for Pets.


We spend millions of dollars on pet toys for Christmas, but the best gift we could give any pet is to be rescued from a harmful environment and placed in a loving, healthy home. So this year, instead of publishing our usual pet gift guide for the holidays, we are publishing a few ethical and reputable pet rescues that could use the money a whole lot more than your pet needs a new toy, and if your pet knew what you were doing with their Christmas gift money instead, they would wholeheartedly approve. We also know that a few so-called animal rescue and welfare groups have come under fire lately for not being reputable, so the list we have below we know to be of honest organizations that use ethical practices for the best welfare of their subjects. Most of these organizations we have worked with at Circkles, so we know them personally to be reputable.

It is not difficult to find a local rescue, sanctuary or shelter to support either. Just do a search online for rescues in your area.

National Mill Dog Rescue, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

NMDR’s mission is to RESCUE, REHABILITATE and RE-HOME discarded breeding dogs and to educate the general public about the cruel realities of the commercial dog breeding industry and puppy mills.

Ferret Dreams Rescue, Denver, Colorado.

Ferret Dreams uses donations to our medical fund to pay for medical care for all ferrets in our care and for all we adopt out with pre-existing medical conditions.

In 2011, medical fund expenses were $25,655.17 for exams, medications, surgeries and more. We are able to provide this care only because of generous donors and the support of our wonderful group of veterinarians.

Blind Cat Sanctuary, North Carolina.

We are a lifetime cat care sanctuary located in St. Pauls, North Carolina (USA).  In 2005, we built our first building as a safe place for blind cats who were deemed not adoptable by regular shelters and who were going to be euthanized just because they were blind.  In 2011,  we built a second shelter to provide a safe place for Leukemia positive (FELV+)and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV+) cats who otherwise would have been killed just because they tested positive for those viruses.  We are a registered non-profit 501©3 in the state of North Carolina.  Our tax identification number is20-3410498.  Your donations are tax-deductible, encrypted,and safe. 

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary: The Michael Vick Dogs.

Though bred to compete in the fighting ring, the dogs rescued from the property of professional football player Michael Vick went on to become champions of resiliency. Their astonishing courage proved that there's no such thing as "too damaged" or "beyond hope." And that no dog is inherently vicious, no matter her breed or background

The video below is about Best Friends’ work with the dogs from the Michael Vick case — the Vicktory dogs — and how they worked as an organization to not only save them, but use their example to negotiate a change in the policy of national agencies with regard to dogs seized from dogfighting busts. As a result of these negotiations, which were led by Julie when she was director of programs and services at Best Friends, the lives of thousands of dogs have been saved and the public perception of pit-bull-terrier-like dogs was changed forever.


Farm Sanctuary, New York and California:

Called to the scene of a neglect case in New York’s Hudson Valley last week, we walked onto a property that was essentially part garbage dump, part graveyard. More than 170 animals were wasting away amidst filth and debris — and the remains of their herd mates. We had to step past the body parts of the dead to get to the living. For those survivors, a long nightmare is now over.

Elsewhere on the property was a small group of adult cattle, as well as 20 sheep who were desperately emaciated and didn’t appear to have been shorn in years. Their wet, filthy coats had formed solid masses of wool, twigs, thistles, wire, and excrement; some were crawling with maggots. One sheep was so anemic that she collapsed on her way to the rescue trailers. She was unable to stand for her first days at the hospital, since maggots had eaten into her feet due to untreated hoof rot.

Inside the largest barn there were no animals housed but instead the remains of a large bull: fresh entrails, a skinned head with esophagus still connected, and hooves still connected to the bone, along with a bloody chainsaw, a bloody sawzaw and other household tools — evidence of the method behind this depraved operation. The responsible party kept these miserable animals in order to slaughter them for meat. He may have served this to customers at his nearby bakery, which sells many meat dishes. This is still unknown and a law enforcement investigation is ongoing.

pet turtle

Think Twice About This Popular Pet for Kids.

Selling small turtles is illegal in the U.S due to the high risk of salmonella, yet it's amazing how many people still have them. Selling small turtles—with shells less than four inches long—was banned in 1975 to prevent the spread of Salmonella. But besides this health risk, there are other good reasons not to get a pet turtle for your kids or anyone else.

Salmonella isn't just a food-borne illness. Turtles and other reptiles carry Salmonella bacteria, which can be easily transmitted to people. A small turtle may seem harmless, giving parents a false sense that they're a safe pet for children. But they're not. The disease risk is so great that selling small turtles is illegal in the United States.

You don't have to touch the turtle to get sick.

You don't have to touch the turtle to get sick because Salmonella can live on surfaces. A 2006 study published in the journal Pediatrics found that exposure to reptiles was one of the biggest risk factors in determining whether infants get Salmonella. Infants aren't likely to handle reptiles. They probably get infected indirectly, such as a parent touching a turtle or cleaning a turtle's tank and then holding a child.

Turtles need a lifetime of specialized care.

Turtles are often sold as low maintenance pets, but the truth is they need special care and a lot of room to grow. Turtles will not survive in a small dish with a plastic palm tree. They need the right lighting, temperature and water filtration system. Countless pet turtles die from being kept in inadequate conditions. Turtles shipped by mail and other delivery services often die on the way.

If maintained properly, however, turtles can live for decades and grow to be a foot long. That's a lifetime responsibility that many people are not prepared to meet. If you've done extensive research and are prepared for the commitment and responsibility of a turtle, we suggest you adopt one from a local animal shelter or rescue group, instead of creating more demand for turtles by purchasing one from a pet store.

pet turtle in a tankTurtles should never be let loose outdoors.

If you get a turtle and then decide you can't care for the animal, there are not many options. Rescue groups are inundated with calls to take them. People sometimes turn turtles loose, thinking they are "freeing" them, but it's typically illegal to release turtles outdoors. Turtles let loose might die, and they might carry disease that kills other turtles. If they live, they can out-compete native species for food and habitat, threatening native biodiversity. The red-eared slider turtles common in the pet trade are native to only part of the United States, but are turning up where they are not native across the country and around the globe. They are now considered among the world's 100 most invasive species.


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NOTE** Don't forget our annual Christmas Candies Recipe Edition is now available for 2015. Go to our Recipe Club under the "Community" Tab in our Main Menu.

About Pet Circkles:

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 humans typically 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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smooth collie

Featured DOG BREED: Smooth Collie.

In last month's issue of Pet Circkles, we described the Rough Collie, so refer to that article for comparison to the smooth collie.

The Smooth Collie is generally a sociable, easily trained family dog. Although not an aggressive breed, they are alert and vocal, making them both good watchdogs if well trained and potential nuisances if allowed to bark indiscriminately. Collies are agile and active dogs and need regular exercise in some way. This breed is easy to train, due to its high intelligence and eagerness to please its owners. Training this breed requires a light touch, as they are sensitive to correction and shy away from harsh treatment. They get along well with children and other animals, usually getting along with other dogs. Smooth Collies are used both as family pets and in obedience competition, agility, herding trials, and other dog sports. Some are still used as working sheepdogs. They are also very useful as assistance dogs for the disabled.
The Smooth Collie is slightly longer than it is tall, with a level back and a deep chest. The features of the head, particularly the "sweet" expression, are considered very important in the show ring. The breed has a long muzzle, flat skull, and semi-erect ears (although, in practice, the ears typically must be folded over and taped in puppyhood, or they will usually be fully upright in the adult dog).

Size: The Smooth Collie is a large dog, ranging in size from 20 to 22 inches (51 to 56 cm) for females and 22 to 24 inches (56 to 61 cm) for males at the shoulder; weights vary from 40 lb (18 kg) for females up to 66 lb (30 kg) for males.

Lifespan: The Smooth Collie is a long-lived breed for its size, usually living 12 to 14 years. Like all dog breeds, they are susceptible to certain inherited or partially inherited health problems. Those problems currently include:

Health Concerns: Collie eye anomaly (CEA): A collection of eye problems ranging from minor blood vessel abnormalities to blind spots to severely deformed or detached retinas. This problem is so widespread in collies that completely unaffected dogs (called "normal eyed") are uncommon, although conscientious breeders have been able to gradually increase the normal population. The problem and its extent can be determined through an eye exam conducted before six weeks of age, and does not get worse over time. Mildly affected dogs suffer no impairments, and are fine pets or working dogs.
Progressive retinal atrophy: Gradual degeneration of the retinas of the eyes, eventually leading to blindness. This disease is less common than CEA in Collies, but more difficult to breed away from, as symptoms are not usually detectable until the affected dog is middle-aged or older.
Multi drug sensitivity: Sometimes fatal reactions to a class of common drugs, particularly ivermectin, used as a heartworm preventative and treatment for mites. The gene that causes this sensitivity has recently been identified, and a dog's susceptibility can now be determined through a simple blood test.
Gastric torsion ("Bloat"): A painful and often fatal twisting of the stomach occurring in large or deep-chested breeds. Bloat can usually be prevented by feeding small meals and not allowing vigorous exercise immediately before or after eating.
Epilepsy: Seizures of unknown origin. Frequency of the seizures can often be significantly reduced through medication, but there is no cure for this disease.

Looking for a Collie? 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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