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From military officer to pet sitter

Former military officer now owns pet sitting businessThe former Corporal Wendy Waghorn, of Canada, is now Pet Sitter Wendy Waghorn. She’s traded in her military life for one that includes plenty of dogs, cats, and other pets.

When former military Corporal Wendy Waghorn was deployed overseas in Turkey, she never thought she would miss her dog so much. Little did she know then that missing her dog would soon bring thousands more into her life.

Now running one of the largest pet sitting businesses in Kingston, Waghorn never suffers a dull moment.

“I honestly havn’t even missed the military,” she says. “I am so busy with all of these animals, I’m now busier than I ever was.”

Waghorn has been all over Canada and has now chosen to stay put, here in Kingston. She says it was hard not knowing exactly what she wanted to do when she stepped out of the military.

“I actually had to wait two years to fully support myself but my business, Kingston Pet Sitting, took off quick.”

Much of Waghorn’s business has been through word of mouth and online. With over 600 customers and over 1,000 animals a year, she couldn’t be more pleased with the success.

Read the rest: Former military corporal produces Kingston’s largest pet sitting business.

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Passengers on these planes are animals

puppy-on-a-planeThe world’s first pets only airline is off the ground.

For pet owners that are weary of checking their travel companions into the cargo hold, there’s now a first-class option for fur flying the friendly skies. Pet Airways, the first pet-only airline, had it’s maiden flight out of Farmingdale, N.Y on Tuesday.

Started by husband and wife team Alysa Binder and Dan Wiesel, the airline will fly dogs and cats between New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles with tickets ranging from $150-$299 each way. The fare is comparable to pet fees on major U.S. airlines, and all pets fly in the main cabin of a Suburban Air Freight plane.

Read the rest of Pet-only airline takes flight.

[tags]pets, pets only airline[/tags]

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Study shows pet supplements lacking

Testing by shows that many pet supplements don’t contain as much of the medicines they claim.

Arthritis supplements bought by millions of pet owners for their dogs, cats and horses sometimes skimp on the ingredients the makers claim can help aching paws and aging joints, and some contain high amounts of lead, an independent laboratory found.

Four of the six joint supplements for animals tested by lacked the amounts of glucosamine or chondroitin promised on their labels or had other flaws, such as lead. Wider testing by a trade group of 87 brands found that one-quarter fell short.

Over-the-counter dietary supplements for humans do not have to be proven safe or effective before they are sold, and pills for pets get even less scrutiny.

“There is and there always has been” a quality problem, although many companies do a good job, said Mark Blumenthal of the American Botanical Council, which tracks research on herbal products.

Even when these supplements contain what they claim, there is little evidence that they work, veterinary experts say. A large government study of people with arthritis found that glucosamine and chondroitin did no better than dummy pills in easing mild pain. Testing these supplements on pets is more difficult.

The Associated Press has the rest of Tests reveal some pet supplements skimp on meds.


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New Yorkers come to kitty’s rescue

Animal loving New Yorkers came to the rescue to help Maggie, a cat that got caught in an elevator shaft.

Daily News readers raised more than $20,000 to save a curious East Harlem cat who spent a week in the hospital after getting stuck in an elevator shaft.

Maggie, the mischievous feline, went back to owner Primotivo Hernandez, 70, who said he “called her name every night” while doctors at Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists in Union Square healed her wounds.

Cops pulled Maggie from a elevator shaft at the Jefferson Houses on E. 115th St. last Tuesday after her hind right leg got stuck between the elevator and the door on the second floor. She suffered a dislocated knee.

The wheelchair-bound Hernandez couldn’t afford $3,600 to fix “his only companion.”

Read the rest of Daily News readers raise $20,000 in kitty to save injured East Harlem cat from the Daily News.

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Why choose a professional pet sitter?

There are a number of reasons why you might choose to hire a pet sitter to care for your pets rather than taking them to a kennel. This article from PetsitUSA has some good points to consider…

  • Most pets, especially cats and dogs, like routine. Using the services of a professional pet sitter will enable your pets to keep their normal eating, playtime, exercise, and sleep routines.
  • When your pet stays in his own home, he won’t be stressed from being transported to a strange place.
  • Your pet will be able to stay in his own home where he is most comfortable, with the sights, sounds, and smells to which he is accustomed.
  • If your pet is on medication, or other medical treatment, your pet sitter will be able to keep him on his regular schedule.
  • Your pet will not be exposed to illnesses that may be contracted at a kennel.

There are many more reasons why your pet may benefit by the services of a professional pet sitter. Read the rest of Why choose a professional pet sitter to care for my pets?

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Group works to help save fellow New Yorkers’ pets

Jenny Olsen, a Katie’s Kitty pet sitter and co-organizer of Safety Net, works with pet owners to help them keep their pets in hard times.

NEW YORK — Sitting in an animal shelter’s lobby for six hours with a crossword puzzle is a good day for Jenny Olsen.

It means people aren’t surrendering their animals to the shelter — and that Olsen doesn’t have to talk them out of it.

Monday morning was relatively uneventful for the co-organizer of Safety Net, a New York City Animal Care and Control program devoted to catching desperate pet owners when they fall under financial constraints.

“Surrenders are on the rise, but adoptions are, too,” said Olsen, her eyes automatically shifting to the swiveling doors of the ACC’s 110th street shelter, scanning for hesitant owners and pets.

“People come in and we talk to them. We say, ‘If we could help you solve your problem, whatever your problem is, would you want to keep your pet?’ “

More often than not, the answer is no. Of the hundreds of people that Olsen and other Safety Net volunteers encounter in shelter lobbies each month, around 60 percent of owners still surrender their pets.

But then there are the hundreds of other New Yorkers who are willing to fight for their pets, those who pave a way through disastrous situations.

Safety Net, established two years ago, provides New York City pet owners with almost anything needed to prevent a surrender: low cost veterinary fees, food, animal behavior training, legal assistance, boarding and foster homes.

The condition for eligibility — aside from dire financial strain — is simple.

“If people don’t want to work with us, it won’t work,” Olsen said. “We can’t do it all for them.”

What Safety Net does, though, is quite a bit. With the help of 40 volunteers, it operates a seven-day-a-week hotline service, fielding calls about everything from fleas to foreclosures.

The necessity of the go-to network is clear: in January, 115 pet owners called seeking assistance. Last month, 240 people picked up the phone in the name of their pets.


Queens native Tony Aponte is one Safety Net client who certainly falls under the “trying” category. Within the past two months, both Aponte and his fiance lost their jobs. Last week, they were evicted from their studio apartment in Jackson Heights.

Aponte brushed off their ongoing stay at a local homeless shelter, focusing only on who he described as a “very, very good boy”: Rocky, his 7-year-old American Pit Bull.

“My concern was not having a place for him to be beside us. Just to lay down with us in the bed,” Aponte said.

Rocky had been living in the couple’s van for the past week, as their shelter does not allow pets. Aponte has been trying to spend as much time as he can with the dog, leaving him alone only after 11 p.m., the shelter’s curfew hour.

As Aponte described his dire situation during a phone interview, he was driving around Manhattan in the van, with Rocky snoring in the backseat.

“On Tuesday morning, we walked Rocky and put him in the van and people called the police, thinking the dog was abandoned. The police came and it was this whole big show, saying that we couldn’t be leaving him there,” Aponte said.

With the looming threat of abandoning Rocky in a shelter, Aponte called Safety Net’s hotline. Olsen, whom he dubbed an “angel from above,” sprang into action with the rest of her team, including co-organizer Joy Friedman.

Like the majority of their volunteers, Olsen and Friedman, who hold full-time jobs, consider themselves “unpaid employees,” Olsen says.

Their work led to Rocky’s recent placement in a temporary boarding center, which costs around $80 a week, with the hope that a more permanent foster home will soon become available.


Safety Net, Olsen says, is still trying to recruit additional volunteers and foster homes. For more information, visit

Read more about Safety Net at Zootoo.

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Litter box training

All felines CCHS puts up for adoption are known to use the litter box. However, it is desirable to confine your new pet to the room with the litter box when she is first brought home, so she can learn its location.

  • Buy a litter box for each cat in the household, since some cats will not use a box used by another cat or may prevent other pets from using a particular box.
  • Place the litter box in a quiet location that is easily accessible to your pet. If disturbed or frightened while using the box, your pet may start eliminating elsewhere. Your pet may avoid using the box if it is too far away or takes a lot of effort to reach.
  • There are several types of litter available. Most cats prefer “clumping” litter over clay litter.
  • Reduce litter box odor by removing solid waste daily, and, if you use clay litter, changing all the litter at least weekly.

Common reasons cats may start eliminating outside the box include:

  • Urinary tract obstruction or other health problem. Call your veterinarian immediately! Your pet’s life could be in danger.
  • The litter box is too small or too dirty.
  • Your pet is spraying urine to mark territory or reduce anxiety.
  • Something about the litterbox, litter, or your household has changed and your pet objects.

To correct inappropriate elimination, confine your pet to a bathroom or large crate with the litterbox until you can correct the cause. Many things can trigger this problem. CCHS or your veterinarian can help you pinpoint the cause and suggest appropriate corrections.

Thanks to Humane Education Committee, Champaign County Humane Society, 1911 East Main, Urbana, IL 61801 USA

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Keep your cat indoors

Although cats are smart, alert, and adroit, they are no match for the many perils that await them outside. That’s why the average outdoor cat lives only a third as long than the cat who’s kept safely inside. Consider these threats:

Disease – Feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus are only two of the diseases that are passed from cat to cat and, once contracted, result in the eventual death of the pet. Outside cats are even more likely than dogs to dome into contact with rabid wild animals.

Parasites – Outdoor cats suffer from fleas, ticks, ear mites, and worms that indoor cats are not generally exposed to.
Poisoning – Poisons are found in lawn chemicals, bait left out to kill rodents, antifreeze, and other sources.

Other Animals – Fights with other cats, dogs, and wildlife often leave cats maimed or injured.

People – In our own community as well as others across the nation, cats have been the victims of burning, ritual torture and other abuses.

Cars – Cats often crawl into warm car engines in cold weather and are killed or badly injured when the unsuspecting driver starts the car. Most outdoor cats die prematurely from auto accidents. It is a myth that cats are “streetwise” about cars. No matter how alert, a cat is no match for a fast moving vehicle. Unaltered cats allowed to roam and mate account for millions of the cats who must be euthanized each year because there aren’t enough homes for them.

Becoming Lost or Trapped – Few cats reported missing are recovered by their owners. Some people who notice a cat in the area assume it can find its way home. Others assume the cat is abandoned and care for it without attempting to locate the owner. Cats may become inadvertently trapped for days as they explore a neighbor’s shed or a dumpster.

Cats can be completely happy inside if you provide them with toys, good care, and lots of love and attention. If you have a kitten, start out right by never letting him outside.Older cats often make the transition to being indoor pets easily. Some, however, will take extra time and attention. Gradually reducing the amount of time your pet is allowed outside, increasing play time with your cat, taking it out on a harness and lead, or constructing or purchasing and outdoor enclosure can help ease the transition.

Thanks to Humane Education Committee, Champaign County Humane Society, 1911 East Main, Urbana, IL 61801 USA

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