Tag Archives: puppies

Dogs hate crates!

The Free and Easy crowd:

Lilac! pics: R.T.


Cece is growing up every day and looking oh so elegant!

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

If there were ever any doubt that dogs hate crates, a clever pup in China cleared that up last month. Security camera footage shows the determined dog unlatching the door to his crate using his tongue and teeth. After freeing himself, he used the same technique to release two other dogs who were confined to crates in the same room. News headlines referred to his escape as a “prison break” — and they were right.

Some people will retort, “My dog loves his crate!” But that’s about as absurd as claiming that inmates enjoy being put in solitary confinement. Sure, some dogs may like napping in a crate — as long as the door is open and they can come and go as they please. No animal “loves” to be locked up with no escape.

People sometimes mistakenly assume that their dogs “love” their crate because they keep returning to it, but what they may really be witnessing is a kind of Stockholm syndrome. Dogs who’ve spent much of their lives trapped in extreme confinement and isolation (i.e., crated) often develop an affinity for their crate instead of bonding with their human family.

Outside the crate, they lack confidence and are sometimes even terrified. This is because dogs can only learn how to get along in their world by interacting with their environment. Every hour spent crated is an hour of life in a kind of “suspended animation” in which their social development is stunted.

It’s not uncommon for people who crate their dogs to keep them locked up for 18 hours or more every day: Nine or so hours while at work (including commute time), another eight hours overnight, plus whenever they go out in the evening or on the weekend and leave the dog alone. All that confinement has disastrous effects on dogs’ health and happiness.

Crating prevents dogs from fulfilling their most basic needs, including walking around, relieving themselves and stretching. According to veterinarian Dr. Michael W. Fox, dogs who are crated are at risk for “multiple health issues related to retention of urine and feces and lack of exercise.”

Muscle atrophy is a concern, too. “In extreme cases, resulting from being caged from puppyhood,” he writes, “dogs can have limb deformities and become permanently crippled.”

And don’t be misled. Crating does not speed up the housetraining process. It can actually prolong it, because puppies can’t “hold it” for long (generally, only one hour for each month of age), and being forced to sit in the inevitable puddles that result can make puppies lose their instinct to keep their surroundings clean.

Crating also frustrates dogs’ innate need for companionship. Dogs are highly social animals; when kept in solitary confinement, many become severely depressed and withdrawn and can suffer from separation anxiety. As Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a veterinary behaviorist at Tufts University, explains, “For [some dogs with separation anxiety] crates are an imposition, a misery, and an obstacle to be overcome at the expense of broken teeth and fractured claws. Owners return home to find these dogs bug-eyed, in a frenzy, and salivating profusely, and may even come home to find the crate splattered with urine, feces, and/or blood.”

Hyperactivity and behavioral issues are other common consequences of crating. Driven to despair and near-madness from constant confinement, some dogs self-mutilate, chewing or licking themselves compulsively. Others wear down or break their teeth by chewing on their cage bars. Some bark and cry incessantly; others slump dejectedly, resigning themselves to their helpless state. And of course, crated dogs have no hope of escape if the house catches on fire or a natural disaster strikes while no one else is home—some have been burned to death or drowned, trapped inside their cages.

Dogs don’t love being locked up. They love their guardians, and they want to be a part of the family, which is why storing them away like a pair of old shoes is especially cruel. As Dr. Fox says, “People who claim to love their dogs and cage or crate them all day may not fully understand the nature of love or the love of dogs. Perhaps they should not have gotten a dog in the first place.”

I visited the Worcester Animal Rescue League today! They have the cutest tees!

Buy one today and help Worcester’s homeless pups and kitties!

They’re located at 139 Holden St., Worcester!

Open 7 days a week from noon to 4 pm

Phone: (508) 853-0030



Long-sleeved, too, for chilly summer eves:

These babies need homes:







Please! Open your heart – to all animals, great and itty bitty!

Visit WARL’s website: worcesterarl.org

Pics/text: Rosalie Tirella

Looking out for pups – always in style!

Don’t be cold-hearted, let dogs inside!

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

It’s so cold in many parts of the country that car batteries are calling it quits, streets have been transformed into skating rinks because road salt isn’t working and exposed skin can become frostbitten in a matter of minutes. Yet countless dogs — domesticated animals who are suited to curling up in armchairs, not enduring Arctic temperatures — are left outside in this bone-chilling cold 24/7, on chains or in backyard pens. And not all of them will survive.
Every winter, dogs who are left outdoors freeze to death; suffer from frostbitten ears, toes and tails; and die of dehydration or starvation — often while the people who left them out there are just a few steps away inside a cozy, warm house.
Rita was one of those dogs. A police officer reportedly found her dead on Valentine’s Day 2014 inside a pen in Madison, Illinois, that was partially covered with snow and strewn with feces. Her food and water were frozen, there was blood in the pen, her ribs were protruding and she was chained, preventing her from reaching her doghouse. A neighbor testified that she was so concerned about Rita that she had rigged up a system to lower buckets of food and water to the dog and tossed straw into the pen in an attempt to give her some warmth.
Last month, a puppy was found frozen to death inside a plastic igloo-shaped doghouse in Atlantic County, New Jersey, after being left outside in dangerously cold temperatures. Another dog, possibly the puppy’s mother, who was also left outside, was severely malnourished and died after being rushed to a veterinarian. Both dogs’ water bowls were frozen solid.
Dogs’ fur doesn’t provide them with adequate protection from freezing temperatures and biting wind, especially the short fur of dogs like pit bulls, pointers, beagles, Rottweilers and Doberman pinschers. Puppies and elderly dogs are especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures, and older dogs who have spent many winters outside endure the added misery of aching, arthritic joints.
Many dogs who are chained or penned “out of sight, out of mind” in backyards are deprived of adequate and legally required shelter. They spend the winter shivering in drafty, overturned plastic barrels or huddling under haphazard lean-tos constructed out of old mattresses, rusty car parts or whatever else is lying around the yard. PETA’s fieldworkers routinely deliver sturdy, straw-filled doghouses to dogs who are forced to live like this. A doghouse is no substitute for a warm, loving home, but for these neglected animals, proper shelter often means the difference between life and a painful death.
But the coldest thing that chained and penned dogs have to endure isn’t the temperature —vit’s their owners’ indifference. Companionship means everything to dogs — they are social animals who want and need to be with their human “pack,” have their chins scratched, hear the words “Good dog!” and be loved unconditionally, as they love us. They need to exercise their bodies and minds with long walks, games of fetch and new sights, sounds and smells to explore. Stuck in the backyard like snow shovels, dogs get none of these things that make their lives worth living.
If you have dogs living outside, warm their hearts — and yours — let them inside. If there are chained or penned dogs in your neighborhood, make sure they have proper food, water and shelter — and notify authorities immediately if they don’t or if their lives are in danger. And urge their owners to welcome them inside to be with the rest of the family. There is nothing colder than leaving “man’s best friend” out in the snow.


By Rosalie Tirella

I was shooting for the stars: a purebred German Shepherd (gorgeous! majestic!) puppy (trainable, no bad habits/baggage) – a rescue (fixed, vaccinated, relatively inexpensive compared to a GSD pup from a breeder) who looked like the Old Injun Fighter’s vicious German Shepherd, Sparky (my dog would be the squirrely love tunnel back into the heart of the ex-beau I WILL NEVER EVER GET OVER) but acted like Rin Tin Tin (brave, loyal, serious, smart – just the ticket for my rough, crime-ridden Worcester inner-city neighborhood) ….but some how, like it always happens with me in life, love and dogs … I ended up with the POLAR OPPOSITE of my expectations! I ended up with Lilac!

A jingly jangly, wicked smart (plott?)hound-collie-shepherd-(coon?)hound mutt from Tennessee who runs circles around this old lady’s heart! She’s ALL Star American athlete while my other dog, 7-year-old Husky-mix Jett, and I wallow in middle age. She is strong and sure-footed while Jett and I sometimes miss a beat and stumble during our afternoon walks. She is silly and high-spirited – Jett and I are more serious, wise … philosophical.

She is spring. Jett and I are autumn.

She climbs trees! That’s the coon hound in her! Have you ever seen a dog pursuing a squirrel so relentlessly, so “doggedly” that she chases it right up the tree and climbs into the tree after it? It’s a wild sight! Lilac, just 9 months old, but three times as strong as Jett, with all her muscular grace bounding up to the tree, then her paws “running up” the tree trunk, four paws off the ground … and she’s all ecstasy, all fearlessness, no distracting thoughts, despite my yells of COME LILAC! COME! as she clambers up that tree trunk, in the most insane, ungainly way! Beautiful!

I have never hung out with such a natural hunter. My first dog, Grace, was a greyhound mix, and her prey drive was sky-high. But all she could do was run amazingly fast after rabbits, squirrels and deer (yes, Grace was a deer hunter!). But she didn’t like to swim – she would stop short in a pond or stream once the water reached her chest. But Lilac is super aquatic! She doggy paddles in various and sundry bodies of water with childlike abandon! Did I mention she can swim, run, climb, hop! hop! as in all four of her paws go off the ground in Tigger-like joyfulness, leap, scamper, lope and bound in pursuit of prey? She does all this with magnificent ease and sometimes grace, with a compact strength that’s overwhelmed me, once knocked me to the ground, left me squirming and crying in pain with a sprained ankle … watching Lilac glide on by, a loose, canine smile spread across her long face, her tongue lolling merrily, as if to say: See ya later, Mommy!

LILAC!!!! I yell as the college kids are lifting me up and gingerly placing me in my car … LILAC!! I scream in agony. But I do not – will not – leave the field until a tuckered-out, panting, chest-heaving Lilac finally notices me from a great distance, finally heeds the call and comes racing back to me, bounding into the car, splattering me and Jett (he never leaves my side these days) with mud and fetid water (Lilac took the scenic route and swam in the little pond) making us all one unholy mess!

Once home, I am busy wrapping my ankle with an ace bandage and popping Advil like PEZ, Jett is sitting on my bed, visibly upset (we had such a nice routine when it was just we two! he seems to say to me), Lilac is sleeping on a mat on the hardwood floor, sleeping a heavy sleep punctuated with sighs and deep moans, as if still chasing that damned squirrel in a dream. …or maybe it’s a wily raccoon in her home state of Tennessee. She is all wet and smelly from her jaunt over fields, through woods, under water, but I want her on the bed with Jett, I want her to feel his equal, build her self-confidence. I go to the linen drawer and pull out an old sheet, fold it in half and spread it over the foot of my bed. LILAC! UP! LILAC! UP! I say to my little athlete, tapping the bed with my the palm of my hand. Lilac rouses, sits up and stretches all the way back, yawning, like a little bathing beauty. She looks so pretty and soft – even with muddy underbelly and paw pads. Then she lopes over to my bed and with the slightest effort (like the true athlete she is) is lying next to Jett, curled up in a ball, in two seconds. Lilac plops down and plops down hard whenever she goes to rest. She never merely lies down. This makes her seem more raw-boned and “country” to me! Which I love! But her long tail always looks slightly feathery and oh so elegant!

We are home.

Jett is annoyed.

I am in pain. I will go to urgent care tomorrow – my ankle has swelled up to grape-fruit size and is KILLING me. I’ll have it x-rayed. Could it be broken?

But Princess Lilac, the little abused puppy who was dumped outside the Animal Control building in a Worcester County town … pretty, dreamy Lilac with limpid brown eyes and white feathery chest … pretty, sensitive Lilac who was kept caged in a too small puppy crate for hours at a time and S-T-R-T-C-H-E-D O-U-T on floor, mat, bed when I first brought her home, pretty collie Lilac who seems to read my mind when I am lonely and comes up to me and plops down hard against my side and rests her head on my chest or stomach and makes me feel warm, safe and, yes, loved, pretty not-so-little-any-more Lilac who drops her wet, chewed up doggy toys in my face when I’m lying on the sofa and talking on the phone with a friend (she does this to grab my attention), the lovely Lilac who takes Jett’s leash in her mouth and tries to lead him where she wants to go, smart Lilac who carries her empty water bowl to my bed and flicks it onto the comforter as if to say: FILL ‘ER UP! PRONTO! I’M THIRSTY, MA! has totally, absolutely won my heart.

… What German Shepherd puppy?????

Lilac, resting in Rose’s bed

Is your dog in danger of being “flipped”?

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

Do you know where your dog is right now? If the answer is “outside” and not under your watchful eye, don’t keep reading—go get your dog. A disturbing crime called “dog flipping” is on the rise, and unattended animals are the prime targets.

“Flippers” prowl neighborhoods looking for animals they can obtain for free and then sell on sites like Craigslist. Friendly, roaming dogs and cats are flippers’ favorite victims. Some animals have even been abducted right out of their guardians’ yards.

Last December, a Texas family’s 11-year-old dog, Sushi, went missing after apparently escaping through a hole in their backyard fence. Weeks later, her family spotted an ad on Craigslist featuring a dog who looked exactly like her. But after they inquired about the dog, the ad was removed.

Another Craigslist ad appeared advertising a dog who resembled Sushi. This time, Sushi’s guardian arranged a meeting with the seller to buy the dog at a store parking lot. The dog’s fur was a different color—it had apparently been dyed—but a scan of her microchip revealed that it was indeed Sushi, who had disappeared seven months earlier. Sushi was lucky—many victims of dog flipping never see their families again.

Being torn away from the people they love and sold to strangers is just one of many perils that animals face when they are left outdoors alone. Bunchers—people who abduct animals to sell to laboratories for experiments—also cruise neighborhoods, as do dogfighters looking for animals to use as “bait.”

Unsupervised dogs and cats also make easy targets for abusers. Most of the 400-plus reports of cruelty cases that PETA receives weekly involve animals who were victimized while outside unsupervised.

Last year in Colorado, a home security camera showed a man entering a backyard and spraying three small dogs with what investigators believe was pepper spray. The man returned hours later and violently swung at one of the dogs with a golf club, chased her into the house and emerged carrying a garbage bag. The dog was never seen again.

In Washington, a dog named Butterfinger died after a neighbor allegedly shot him with a pellet gun, piercing his liver and stomach and causing hemorrhaging. According to Butterfinger’s guardians, the neighbor was upset because the dog kept going onto his property.

Poison, traffic, disease, extreme weather and many other hazards claim the lives of animals who are left outdoors every year. One homeowner in Florida called PETA because her cat, who lived outdoors, died after her home was fumigated for insects.. The cat had apparently gotten trapped under the tent that was draped over the house during the fumigation and was killed by the insecticide.

It’s crucial to protect our animal companions from the many dangers lurking outside by keeping them indoors with the rest of the family and letting them out only on a leash and harness or in a fenced area under close supervision.

Spaying or neutering our animals (which we should do anyway, given the millions of cats and dogs who must be euthanized every year for lack of a good home) can make them less attractive to flippers, who often hope to breed them. Having them microchipped and fitted with collars and identification tags can also help bring them back to us if they ever go missing.

Dogs and cats are as vulnerable as toddlers in the great outdoors. No parents in their right mind would turn their 2-year-old child loose to wander the streets alone. Letting our animal companions do so is just as risky.

Chef Joey just adopted another shelter pup!


This makes three adorable little dogs for Joey! (Vinny and Abby are pups #1 and #2.) This sweetie’s a boy and eight weeks old! Joey hasn’t named him yet – that’s how new he is to Chef Joey’s “pack”!

Go, Chef Joey, go!

Go, little dog, go!

– R.T.

Pic: Chef Joey

When ‘no-kill’ policies mean ‘slow-kill’ practices

By Ingrid Newkirk
In August, a Michigan man drove his four dogs to the woods and let them go after being served with an eviction notice by his landlord. This story is unique only in that, when three of the dogs were run over by a car and killed, their owner was traced. But wait, there’s another way in which this story is unique: The sheriff refused to charge the owner with abandonment because the man had driven in desperation to three area animal shelters, trying to give up the dogs, but at every one of them, he had been told that they would not take his dogs because they were full. 
Under pressure to avoid euthanasia at all costs—or risk being vilified by rabid “no-kill” campaigners—many animal shelters across the country are adopting ill-advised polices that actually endanger animals. The Michigan man’s case illustrates one of many things wrong with “no-kill” policies: When “no-kill” shelters are full, they turn away animals owned by people who either don’t care enough to keep on looking for a home for them or, having run out of options, decide to turn them loose or kill them, not with a painless injection but instead with a gun or a knife or by strangulation or even by taping their mouths shut and throwing them into the trash. It happens every day.
A PETA exposé documented workers at more than two dozen “no-kill” facilities refusing admission to animals in desperate need, by citing long waiting lists, charging exorbitant admission fees, saying that their facilities were experiencing disease outbreaks or severe crowding, and giving other reasons for turning their backs. It’s fair enough if you want to set up a “no-kill” shelter and only take in as many animals as you have room for, but to attempt to bully all shelters into either becoming “no-kill” or facing criticism and being labeled a “kill shelter” does not result in more “no-kill” but rather more “slow-kill.”
When someone says that there’s no room at the inn, all those rejected dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals do not simply evaporate. Something bad befalls them—often something very, very bad.
And that’s not all. Every single day, articles come up on my computer screen that tell the story of yet another “rescue” outfit busted for cruelty and neglect: dead and dying animals, sick and aged animals suffering without medical care, cats burned to death in their plastic cages, and dogs found starved on their chains with their fur so matted and caked with feces that maggots are able to live under the mats and eat away at their flesh. Why? Because “no-kill” pressure drives shelters to give animals away to outfits run by the mentally ill, the unqualified and the incompetent as long as they have the word “rescue” in their name. This means exchanging a peaceful, respectful death by euthanasia for prolonged suffering and a painful death, all in the name of “no-kill.”
When “no-kill” shelters turn away people who are on a fixed income or have no income, the elderly or the jobless, and can’t afford the $100 to $400 charged by greedy veterinarians to end an elderly or ill animal’s suffering, those animals invariably end up dying slowly and in agony at home.
Who doesn’t dream of a day when only responsible people acquire animal companions, when everyone adopts homeless animals from shelters instead of buying them from pet stores or breeders, when all animal companions are sterilized, when all puppy mills have closed, when there are enough homes to go around, and when all our educational efforts, legislative pushes and spay/neuter work has paid off and the world has become a safe place for all dogs, cats, rabbits and birds? 
We all do, but we’re not there yet—not by a long shot. So until then, let’s not allow that “no-kill” dream to be replaced by a “slow-kill” nightmare.

Don’t forget your pup this Christmas! Doggy-treat recipes!


DIY Tasty Holiday Dog Treats

Dog treats

The following post was originally published by Karen on KP’s Dog Blog.

Did you forget to buy a holiday gift for Fido or Fluffy this year? How about trying your hand at these luscious goodies instead? They will not be disappointed.

Jones and Ellie’s Holiday Biscuits

Jones and Ellie secretly slip these delicious biscuits into the other PETA office dogs’ stockings around this time every year!

1 cup cornmeal
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
4 Tbsp. Bac-Os vegetarian bacon bits
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.Combine all the ingredients.
  • Roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters.
  • Bake 35 to 45 minutes.

Makes 2 dozen medium-sized biscuits

Molly’s Peanut Butter Popsicles

Molly recommends these on a hot summer day, but December works too.

1-2 Tbsp. peanut butter
Boiling water

  • Mix a tablespoon or two of peanut butter with boiling water (just enough to make it a little soupy) in a small plastic dish (e.g., a used margarine tub).
  • Freeze until solid.
  • Serve outdoors (it’s too messy for indoors!).

Makes 1 popsicle

For more doggone recipes CLICK HERE 

This Saturday! Celebration at WARL! … and … What’s the best way to thank an animal shelter worker?

Before we get to the InCity Animal Times column …

Calling all animal lovers!

This Saturday!

November 8

2 pm to 4 pm

At the Worcester Animal Rescue League 

Holden Street, Worcester

Join us as we honor National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week with a family-friendly celebration of pets!

(Rain date Sunday 11/9)

Featured in this first-time event is a treasure hunt for kids, interactive demonstrations on how to care for a pet, dog safety and bite prevention and more!




Suggested Admission is a donation from our wish list. Our top needs are pup-peroni treats, toys, paper towels and blankets.

Treasure Hunt Stations Include:

How to care for a dog and cat

Pick the right treat for the shelter pet

Build a banner of caring – tell us why you appreciate the animal shelter

Puzzles and crafts

Doggone Safe presentation!!


By Lindsay Pollard-Post

National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week runs from November 2 to 8, and the dedicated people who work in our country’s open-admission animal shelters—shelters that welcome every needy cat and dog who comes through their doors and never turn animals away—deserve our thanks and support for the difficult work that they do.

Working in a shelter is physically demanding: Employees heft heavy dogs onto examination tables, unload vans full of 50-pound bags of kibble, scrub down soiled kennels and launder load after load of blankets. They get scratched—and sometimes bitten—by animals who are confused and terrified on arriving at the shelter. Many shelter workers wear scrubs because there’s a good chance that they will be covered with slobber, muddy paw prints, cat hair and some even less appealing substances by the end of the day.

Their work also takes an emotional toll. Shelter staffers assist animals in every condition—from strays who are screaming in pain because they’ve been hit by a car and orphaned newborn puppies and kittens who must be bottle-fed every few hours to bone-thin dogs who are aggressive after being kept chained outside their entire lives and bewildered, frightened cats who have been removed from the only home they’ve ever known after their elderly guardian has passed away.

Shelter workers also have to hear the many excuses that people give for surrendering their animals: He barks too much. He doesn’t bark enough. She’s too friendly. She isn’t friendly enough. We’re moving, and it’s too much trouble to bring him with us. He’s getting old, and the kids want a puppy … and on and on.

People who work in shelters handle all of this because they’re committed to providing a safe haven for cats and dogs who have nowhere else to turn and because they love animals. That’s what makes another aspect of their job so wrenching: the need to euthanize animals in order to accommodate the never-ending stream of cats and dogs who pour through the doors day after day.

It takes a brave and selfless soul to feed, walk, play with and love a dog or a cat for a short time, knowing that you may soon have to give that same animal a painless release from a world that has no decent place for him or her to go. Until breeders, puppy mills and pet stores stop pumping more puppies and kittens into a world that’s already short on homes and until spaying and neutering are the norm everywhere, euthanasia will remain a sad—but merciful—necessity for open-admission shelters. It’s painless for the animals, but for the workers who must perform it, it’s anything but.

On top of the heartache of having to euthanize animals, workers at open-admission shelters are increasingly attacked by anti-euthanasia campaigners and put under tremendous pressure to end euthanasia at all costs. But the alternatives—keeping animals caged indefinitely, turning them away to suffer and die slowly on the streets or handing them over to anyone who will take them (including hoarders)—leave animals in peril.

As much as they might wish for one, shelter workers have no magic wand that they can wave to create homes for all the animals who need them. But each of us can save lives—and make life a bit easier on shelter workers—by preventing more animals from being born in the first place.

Spaying and neutering our animal companions—and encouraging and helping our friends, family, neighbors and coworkers to do the same—is the key to ending animal homelessness and the resulting need for euthanasia. It’s also the best way to say “thank you” to the kind people who care for our communities’ lost and abandoned animals every day.