Chip and the Big Flush

Chip grabbed the tool box off his bed and headed out the door.  “Bye, see you tonight,” he called to his three siblings.

Chip walked a few blocks to the office of Plumbers R Us.  Today was his first day on the job.  Graduating from CAT-U seemed like a lifetime ago, since Chip’s focus the past week was preparing for this job.

Chip found Mr. Hewey waiting for him at the front desk.

“Good morning, Mr. Hewey,” Chip greeted the plump black and white cat.

Mr. Hewey climbed off the chair and lumbered around the desk, “Hi, Chip.  Are you ready for your first assignment?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good, here are your jobs for the day.  Normally, I try to schedule you 5 jobs each day, but since this is your first day, I started you off easy with only 3.   I will be following you to each home and assisting you if needed.  Any questions?”

“No.”

“Good, let’s go.”

Chip followed Mr. Hewey down the street as Mr. Hewey explained, “The first client has a stopped-up kitchen sink.  The garbage disposal has quit working as well.”

Chip nodded and rang the doorbell.

“Hello, I am Chip with Plumbers R Us.  How are you?”

“Good, come on in,” a tan tabby replied as she stepped aside so Chip and Mr. Hewey could enter.

The tan tabby led them to the kitchen explaining, “My kitchen sink is stopped up and the disposal stopped working.”

Chip opened the cupboards and checked under the sink and then in the sink.  “Give me a few minutes and I should be able to find the problem.”

The tan tabby nodded in pleasure and left the room.

Chip worked quickly as Mr. Hewey observed.  Soon Chip exclaimed, “I found the problem.”

The tabby came back into the room, and Chip showed her the large glob of cat food that was stuck in the disposal and sink drain.

“I am going to dislodge this here,” Chip said, as he positioned the plunger over the sinks opening.  He pumped it several times, before the glob came loose and Chip pulled back triumphantly.

He scooped the old food up and into the trashcan.  He then ran the sink and turned on the disposal.  The water ran easily and the disposal churned.

“You are wonderful.  I can’t believe you fixed it so fast.”

Chip beamed at the praise.

After the tabby had paid Chip for his service, she lead him and Mr. Hewey to the door. 

“Good job, Chip,” Mr. Hewey praised as they walked to the next job.

“Thank you, Mr. Hewey,”

At the next house, Chip knocked on the door, and a large black cat answered gruffly, “Yes, what do you want?”

“I am Chip with Plumbers R Us, sir.  I am here to fix your toilet.”

“Oh, right.  Come in.”

Chip followed the large cat through the house to the bathroom.

“The toilet is running a lot longer than normal every time it is flushed,” the black cat explained.

“Let me take a look at it,” Chip said.

The black cat nodded, but proceeded to hover as Chip looked for the problem. 

“I found the problem,” Chip exclaimed, after watching the toilet flush several times.  “I need to replace the flapper, so the water will stay in the tank.”

The black cat came closer to Chip and peered into the tank.

With a grunt, he backed away again, and Chip set to work

The client hovering made Chip slightly nervous, but he concentrated on his work.

Soon he had the toilet fixed and the toilet flushed and stopped much quicker.

“There you go, sir.  It is all fixed.”

“Thank you.  You are very efficient.”

It was only when Chip and Mr. Hewey were on their way to their next job, that Chip admitted, “The client hovering like that really made me nervous.  I was waiting for him to argue with me about how to fix it.”

“You handled him well, and he was obviously impressed by you.”

The last job Chip had that day was at the house of a young calico mother.  She greeted Chip and Mr. Hewey and ushered them inside.

As she led them to the bathroom she explained, “The shower has been slow to drain for a while but last night it stopped draining completely.”

As Chip listened and followed a trio of rambunctious kittens raced by them.

“I will take a look at it for you,” Chip replied smiling at the kittens as they circled him again.

“Leave Chip alone, please kittens.  He is here to fix the shower.”

The kittens scurried into the other room.

“Sorry about that, they are so curious,” she explained to Chip and Mr. Hewey.

Chip inspected the water filled tub.  He reached his paw onto the drain but the direct opening was clear.

“Must be a clog in the line.  I will run the snake down it and see of that will fix it,” Chip explained.

The calico nodded and went to check on her kittens.

Chip got the snake from his toolbox and set to work.

He loved working the snake down the drain.  He smiled feeling much more relaxed at this job.  The tub slowly started to drain and after the snake went a few inches further, it drained normally.

Chip retracted the snake and monitored the shower drain.  When the standing water was gone, he turned on the tub faucet and watched the water drain.  When he was satisfied that the clog was cleared, he called, “ All fixed.”

The calico appeared in the doorway shadowed by her three kittens.

Chip smiled at her and said, “ I think have cleared the clog. Is this how it normally drains?”

Everyone watched as Chip turned on the tub’s faucet.  The water poured out of the spout and flowed easily down the drain.

“That is wonderful.  Yes.”

Chip shut the water off.  After being paid, he and Mr. Hewey left the calico’s home.

“Good job today, Chip.  I am very impressed with you.  Are you ready for 5 jobs tomorrow?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Great.  I’ll see you in the morning.”

Chip waved bye to Mr. Hewey and hurried home.  He could not wait to tell his sibling about his first day.

The end

Did you know?

Lots of common household items and plants are toxic to cats. Here is a list of top 10 toxins: poisonous poisons

  1. Lilies
  2. Spot-on flea and tick medications for dogs
  3. Household cleaners such a Windex and Bleach
  4. Antidepressant and stimulate medications
  5. Essential Oils- meant to be inhaled not ingested!
  6. Anti-inflammatory medications
  7. Mouse and rat poisons
  8. Aspirin and decongestant medications
  9. Onions and garlic
  10. Adult multi-vitamins- will overdose a cat.

Separation Anxiety

Many dogs experience separation anxiety when left alone. They will often whine, bark, cry, howl, chew, dig, scratch at the door, soil the house or destroy your home and yard. We often unintentionally train our dogs to behave this way because whenever they throw this kind of tantrum when we leave, we quickly come back to reassure them, give them attention or even a bone or biscuit. If you do this, your dog will soon learn that he can control you with emotional blackmail.

Long, drawn-out farewells can create separation anxiety problems by first exciting your dog and then making the isolation more obvious when you’re gone. Just when he gets all worked up and ready to play, suddenly you disappear. With all this energy, your dog will either try his best to get you to come back or he will have to vent his energy in some other way. Since he can’t build model airplanes or invite his buddies over for a hand of poker, he does doggy things – like chew, dig and bark.

Perhaps it is not separation anxiety after all! We often think our dog is destructive because he is angry and spiteful that we left him, but he could actually be just trying to have some fun since there is nothing else to do. He may be relieved to be able to do those things he normally can’t do when you’re home. He may be thinking, “Thank goodness the owner is finally leaving! Now I can chase the cat, dig up the tomatoes, get in the trash, and bark at the neighbors. They never let me do those things when they’re home.”

Some dogs with separation anxiety are stressed, nervous and insecure when they are left alone. They express this nervous energy in typical dog fashion – chewing, digging, barking and house soiling.

To prevent separation anxiety, dogs need to feel happy, secure, and comfortable when you’re away. It’s important to give them things to do while you’re gone. Provide them with lots of toys, such as a Kong stuffed with treats, and chew bones. Often another companion pet can help alleviate the boredom.

Another way to prevent separation anxiety is to set aside scheduled time periods to give your dog undivided attention, play and exercise. A happy, well-exercised dog will usually sleep contentedly during the day while you are gone. Be sure that one of the scheduled play sessions occurs before you must leave for the day. Give your dog a chance to settle down before you leave and don’t make a big deal of your departure – just leave without any emotion or commotion.

If your dog is already experiencing separation anxiety, then gradually accustom him to your leaving. Practice leaving and returning several times a day until he gets used to your departures and realizes that you are not abandoning him forever. Gradually leave for longer and longer periods of time, but start out by leaving for just 5 minutes and returning again.

Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

Fourth of July is a holiday full of pool parties, cook-outs, and fireworks. But many of these same things can be dangerous for our pets. Here are some tips to help keep your pets safe this holiday:

  • Leave your pets at home. The safest place for your pet is inside your home. Pets will be stressed by the noise of a backyard pool party or cookout. The large crowds and louder booms at firework displays can cause pets to panic and run away.
  • If you are hosting a party, remember that alcoholic beverages are poisonous to your pets. Make sure these drinks stay out of your pet’s reach.
  • Don’t give your dog scraps from the table during your cookout. Fatty meats are too rich for pets, corn on the cob could cause an intestinal blockage, and chocolate is poisonous to your pets.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with an identification tag on them so they can be returned if they happen to get out.
  • Fourth of July can mean hot temperatures outside. Make sure you pets aren’t left outside for extended periods of time or left waiting in a parked car.
  • Be aware of matches and lighter fluid as these can be dangerous to pets skin and cause severe illness if ingested.
  • Provide a safe space for your pets to stay during the fireworks. This safe spot could be a closet or a crate. Many pets have a favorite hiding spot that they go to for security. This is where your pet will want to be during the fireworks.
  • It sounds like a cute photo opportunity to adorn your pet in glow sticks or glow jewelry, but these items glow because they contain chemicals inside. If your pet chews up the glow stick, the chemicals inside will be harmful to your pet. You pet could also choke on the plastic pieces.
  • Be aware of matches and lighter fluid as these can be dangerous to pets skin and cause severe illness if ingested.
  • Never use fireworks or sparklers around your pets. Your pets may spook and run away in panic. Or your pet may be curious about them and get burned or ingest the hazardous pieces.
  • Keep your pet’s veterinarian number with you as well as the local after hours emergency animal clinic numbers. Contact your vet immediately if your pet exhibits unusual behavior.

Stop Your Dog from Jumping Up

In order to get your dog to stop this behavior you have to stop rewarding it. What do pet owners usually do when the dog jumps up? Usually they look at the dog and say something like “OK, Rover, OK, down, down, OK, good dog, go away now, enough, OK…” and may even pet the dog during the episode. All this attention is PURE REWARD to the dog, and only encourages the jumping up behavior. What needs to be done is the withdrawal of all attention. When the dog jumps up, quickly turn away from the dog, fold your arms, make no eye contact and say nothing. Once the dog has settled down THEN give it loads of attention and serious petting. The dog will need to learn this with every family member and everyone should act the same way to be consistent.

Once the dog learns that jumping up gets it NOTHING, the behavior should lessen or stop. Often the combined use of the sit command to refocus the dog’s attention is a great way to speed the whole process. As the dog is calming down, give the sit command and reward the dog for the good sit. This is especially good when you are on walks and the dog encounters a human it wants to greet. Just before it gets excited, give the sit command, then reward the dog with food, petting, toys, etc. Get the human to come down to the dog’s level and greet the dog that way. A dog that is busy sitting can’t jump up if it’s on a leash.

Summer Shedding

Summer heat means, your dogs and cats are shedding. While you might be annoyed at the extra hairball tumble weeds on your floor, remember that all that loose hair isn’t good for your pet. Dogs and cats require a minimum of weekly brushing year round, even if they are indoors. Long haired cats and dogs may require daily brushing.

The best products I’ve found to help me manage my dog and cats’ shedding are the Furminator products.

Furminator makes stainless steel blade brushes in many varieties to fit every coat length and type. The brushes are very effective at removing not only the top coat, but also the loose undercoat that can cause matting if left on your pet. The brush blades are well made and don’t scratch your pets skin or pull on their fur. I’ve found that brushing my dog and cats with the Furminator brush twice a week really controls my pets’ shedding.

Furminator also makes many waterless sprays that aid in the effectiveness of brushing.. I’m going to tell you my two favorites.

The first one is for cats. I’ve been using Furminator Hairball Prevention spray on my cats for years. It helps reduce shedding and prevents hairballs in cats without having to bathe them. The spray contains Omega 3 Fatty Acids and other natural ingredients that help keep my cats fur shiny and healthy looking.

The second spray is for dogs. I use Furminator detangling waterless spray. My Shih-Tzu has curly fur that gets easily tangled between grooming appointments. This spray is very effective in loosening the tangles, so I can brush through it without pulling his fur. Like the Hairball Prevention spray, the detangling spray is made with Omega 3 Fatty Acids and other natural ingredients to promote healthy fur.

Furminator products will help you keep the excess hair off your dogs and cats so they can enjoy the summer with you. Happy brushing!!

Dog Rearing: The Essentials

Attention, Exercise, and Mental Stimulation

Dogs need social interaction, physical exercise, and mental stimulation – just like children do – in order to grow up to be healthy and well adjusted.  When these needs are not met, many behaviour problems can develop. 

Attention:

How much daily social time does a dog need? A good rule of thumb is that a dog should spend at least half his waking hours each day interacting with other dogs and people.  Like humans, most dogs enjoy a mix of old friends and new encounters – so make sure your pup meets at least one new dog or person each day.   While dogs do need to learn to spend time alone, too much isolation will make them antisocial, anxious or depressed.  Allowing your dog regular access to his familiar doggie buddies as well as the chance to meet new dogs will increase the chances of him being socially content and well adjusted. 

Physical Exercise & Mental Stimulation:

Your dog’s brain and body BOTH need lots of exercise. Swimming, playing tug & fetch, and playing with other dogs are good brain AND body work-outs.  Walks on leash are not always physically exerting, but they do provide a lot of mental stimulation: all the outdoor smells, sights and sounds are very interesting!  Working on obedience skills requires lots of doggy concentration, and your dog will love the mental challenge of figuring out new things.   Make sure you exercise your dog’s brain AND body each day.

Pet sitting Guidelines

Find out the pet’s normal schedule and routine from the owner.  Follow it as closely as possible.  Pets are creatures of habit and their routine will comfort them while owner is away.

Find out about pet’s normal eating habits- do they scarf their food or do they graze on it all day?  This will be important for you to know if the pet is stressed while their owner is gone.  Not eating is a common symptom of separation anxiety in pets and needs to be monitored closely and taken to the vets when necessary.

Find out if the pet’s favorite spots in the house- cats might hide under the bed or in a closet while owner is away, dog might lay on a couch or bed that is forbidden when owners are home.

Make sure the owner leaves you phone numbers where they can be reached, an itinerary of their travel plans, and pet’s veterinarian number. Ask for written instructions for pets feeding and medication instructions so you have a reference sheet. Take notes as the pet owner explains their pets’ daily routines.

Remember even though the pets are in their own home, they will still be stressed to some degree while their owner is away.  Use common sense when it comes to caring for the pets and don’t expect them to behave for you the same way they do for their owner. 

Find out the owner’s weekly schedule- do they work from home or do they go to the office 5 days a week? A pet that is used to a person in the home all the time is going to be a lot more stressed, staying in the house alone.

Know if the pets have had pet sitters in the past or if this is the first time.  A pet that’s never been left before is more likely to stressed than a pet that is left on a regular basis.

Find out expectations from owner as to communications.  Some clients will want a call or text every day from the pet sitter, while others only expect a call if there is an emergency.