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    • #15708
      Bailey Vincent

      I’m sure we have posted about this before, but today I could not help myself…

      What pets do you have and what are their names and personality quirks?

      I ask this because- while recovering from and posting about surgery all dang week- my animals have brought me so much joy (as they always do). I was once told to give up my cat years ago (by a Pulma) and I did not, because the psychological happiness seems well worth the limited risk of allergy. Since then, my lungs have improved from a myriad of things, but I’ve continued to have animals.

      Do you ever worry about the negative impact of pets on your health? Do you feel the positives outweigh the negatives?

      I obviously do, but I totally understand if someone doesn’t. For example, I don’t want a big dog at the moment, because I’ve had so many surgeries and have so many vulnerable stomas and sore spots that I just don’t want to risk getting knocked over or jumped on (on a frequent basis).

      My current zoo includes Odile, our calico cat (named after the black swan in Swan Lake), my deaf kitten Baryshnikov (named after the iconic dancer, of course), our very large and loving bunny, Jete (named after the ballet step/word in French), our two fish, and my many hermit crabs (all with ballet names as well). All of our large pets- the cats and bunny (who is larger than the cats)- are rescues. Our bunny is free-roam, which means she is out and about in the house all day long, and rules the roost for the most part.

      What about you?

    • #15709
      Tim Blowfield

      Pets do give us enormous psychological and emotional benefits. We do miss Fluffy and Jute who both lived long lives with us. Fluffy, a ginger female cat and Jute a ‘mini German Shepherd’ (or that was his colour).
      There have been issues raised about whether pets are a risk to persons with CF. Dogs do often have infections with Pseudomonas auruginosa and some cats have respiratory infections. Testing of hundreds of isolates of Pseudomonas in Queensland showed only 2 isolates which were similar to strains isolated from Dogs. Pseudomonas is commonly isolated from dogs ears where the dogs have Otitis externa (outer ear inflamation). Aspergillus has been isolated from cat’s noses and respiratory tracts but there is no record of it being the source of infection in persons.
      Despite such I would advise
      1. Choose carefully – Choose dogs with erect ears (Flop ears are more likely to have ear infections). Some breeds such as the Sharpei are more likely to have skin problems. Avoid brachycephalic breeds (pugs, bull dogs, etc) who are more likely to sneeze and have nasal disease.
      In checking a puppy prior to purchase – check the ears are clean (brown ear wax is a no-no) and the skin is healthy. Other dogs in the breeder’s kennel should look healthy with no skin issues.
      Cats – avoid those with short noses.
      2. Get advise from your Vet. before purchasing and if possible have him/her examine your pet as soon as you get it – you may make the purchase subject to your Vet passing it.
      2. Treat aggressively if ill.
      Apart from Cats and Dogs there are many other pets. Any that require water bowls to bath in and moist environment (such as tortoises and Axolotls) are best avoided as the wet tank may harbour bacteria. I would avoid most reptiles.
      On what basis do I make these recommendations – I am a retired Veterinarian who graduated 50+ years ago.

    • #15713
      Jenny Livingston

      Oh, I could write a novel about this! We are a HUGE pet family! I grew up riding horses, milking goats, collecting fresh eggs from our chickens, and loving many dogs and cats through the years. I believe the mental and emotional benefits of having pets is definitely worth the risk. Pet ownership has been such a fulfilling part of my life. As an adult, I always hoped I’d have a little “farm” again one day, but didn’t truly believe it was a possibility because of my health and finances (especially as a single mother).

      Well… fortunately, my partner happens to be an animal guy, too. On our first date, he took me to the family pasture to watch the horses run. In our time together, we’ve acquired quite the collection of pets.

      I’ll try to be brief:

      The dogs are Timber, Lily and Harlo (“the baby”). Timber, a Britney Spaniel, is Randy’s dog. He’s the best and sweetest dog I’ve ever known. Lily is our little chihuahua rescue. She is very quirky and timid, but also a huge sweetheart. Harlo, a chiweenie, is our Pandemic Puppy. We got him earlier this year (after I had adamantly insisted for an entire year that we were NOT getting another dog). I’m especially attached to him, but will be the first to admit that he is absolutely rotten. He’s so dang spoiled! Together, these three always keep us laughing.

      We also have a couple horses, Hank and Demi. They technically belong to Randy’s dad, but they’ve been living with us for the better part of a year. Prior to that, Morgan had an old mare named Polly. We have several fish, and recently, two stray kittens that we’ve been caring for. We’ll see if they stick around!

      I had posted about this a while back, and want to include a link here because the post contains a study regarding pet ownership and risks involved (although only specific to cats and dogs).

    • #15717
      Paul met Debbie

      This is our Buddha

      This is a portrait of her as a puppy, drawn by Debbie.

      She is our dog and only pet. She is an Australian Labradoodle, but doesn’t know that. She only knows that she is Creation and that Debbie, me and her belong together.
      Last week she turned 8 years old. She is hypoallergenic, that is even those people with known allergies to animals/dogs are safe with her. This was one of the main goals of creating this special breed.

      She thinks the world of us, and it’s mutual. She must be the most cuddled dog alive. We are together almost all the time. When either I or Debbie is out for a short while, she goes on standby-watch, only to relax when the pack is complete again.

      It’s great to have nature in the form of a dog, or any other animal for that matter, in our life. They reflect how and who we really are. Most of the time, they are completely one with nature and show a great example of how to live like that. They make the best guru: no words or thoughts, only direct experience and unconditional love.

      Buddha takes me out for a walk 3 or 4 times a day and makes sure that I get the exercise I need. She is the perfect physical therapist.

    • #15720
      Tim Blowfield

      Hi Paul & Debbie,
      Labradoodle was first developed by Guide Dogs, Victoria (GDV) precisely as a low allergenic guide dog. The name actually is registered to them though now many breeders use it, many without permission. It is probably best described as a standardised cross between as the name suggests a Labrador and Standard Poodle (both breeds that have been used as Guide Dogs). It is fast becoming standardised as a breed though many dogs sold as Labradoodles do not meet the original GDV specifications, many are just Lab/Poodle of any size crosses and many do not meet the low allergenic ideal of the originals. I guess, sadly, GDV has not enforced their ownership of the name due to the great cost of doing so.
      Now days there is a plethora of new ‘breeds’ created by crossing established breeds to cater for the pet market, Cavoodles (Cav King Charles Spaniels x Poodles), Poodles (Pug x Poodles), Spoodles (Spaniel x) etc, etc. Many created by Puppy Farmers to make money from the perceived need.
      Many are great pets but many of these Poodle crosses do have flop ears and a propensity to Pseudomonas ear infections. These can be reduced by some simple management – keep water out of ears, don’t buy a puppy whose ears are dirty or smells musty, If an ear infection occurs have it treated aggressively. After treatment with antibiotics I found that aggressively flushing the ears with a mildly acidic ear cleaning solution. My proceedure was to take the pet for a walk twice a day flushing the ears 4 times, 5 to 10 minutes apart, on each walk. Do this for 3 days. This will clean out the ears and leaving the ears mildly acidic which discourages further development of Otitis.

    • #15735
      Paul met Debbie

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for the information! Fortunately, our Buddha only once had an ear infection when she was young, in one ear probably due to trimming the hairs in the ear. It was resolved quickly by our vet with antibiotics and prednisone. We never learned her to swim and her coat is trimmed professionally 5 to 6 times a year, including the hairs in the ears to keep the air in the ears flowing.

      The official “Australian Labradoodle” is a well controlled breed-to-be. After the GDV had its first go at crossing large Poodles and Labradors, two Australian breeders took it a few steps further and crossed these original Labradoodles with other breeds, like the Irish Water Spaniel, Curly Coat Retriever, the English and American Cocker Spaniel and the Soft Coated Wheaten, to reduce the size and further improve the coat and the hypo allergenicity.

      The result was named “Australian Labradoodle”. In the Netherlands, there is an official association that controls the breeding of these dogs very strictly. If you buy a dog from an associated breeder, you know that you get a puppy that stems from the original dogs. Buyers can not breed these dogs themselves, they are contractually bound to sterilize their dog between 8-12 months. The costs of sterilization is refunded by the breeder (of course it was included in the price of the dog). The association observes possible genetic weaknesses and decides which dogs may propagate and for how many generations.

      Because these official dogs are popular and expensive, indeed there is of course an off spin of cheap “Groodles” offered on the grey market by substandard breeders, but they are not associated and easy to spot.

      Being a fairly new “breed”, there still is a lot of variation in size, coat and color. By looking at the parent dogs you can predict the outcome slightly, but surprises still happen. The variation of course also means that there still is a lot of genetic freshness, which limits inbred diseases. Our dog turned out rather small and with a lot of Poodle in it, which we like very much. But we have also seen some larger, medium sized “Labradorean” dogs from the same breeder. Generally they all have the potential of becoming sweet and intelligent dogs, when properly brought up.

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