Anniversary of the founding of the ASPCA

In Henry Bergh’s lifetime,it was not unusual fordogs to be used to turn treadmills or pull small carts . . . For sporting men to put down their money on a $1,000 championship dogfight . . . for strays to be rounded up from the streets of Manhattan, thrown into a cage and then swung into the East River to drown. What was unusual was for a wealthy, socially prominent man to notice and say, “Enough!” That man was Henry Bergh, the son and heir of a successful shipyard owner. His leadership and commitment to the protection of animals led to the incorporation of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) on April 10, 1866, by the New York State Legislature. Nine days later, an anticruelty law was passed and the ASPCA was given the right to enforce it. Badge:

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Knowing pet first aid buys time in an emergency

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I’ll confess: the thought of learning mouth-to-snout resuscitation was almost a deal-breaker. I don’t even know human first aid, so the fact that I took on this class first shows how much value I put on Fido. My own cuts, scrapes and stomach upsets are easy to deal with, but faced with fur, fangs and a creature a fraction of my size, I’m left wringing my hands. Or rather, I used to be. As a recent graduate of Denise Fleck’s Sunny-dog Ink Pet First Aid and CPR class, I now have the basic know-how and tools to respond for Joey’s sake. Here are the key lessons I learned:

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Easter delights hide dangers for dogs

Easter dangers for pets

Hidden treats, new bunnies and chicks and savory smells of the dinner to come, what’s a dog not to like about Easter? A dog, with a sense of smell 1,000 to 10 million times better than ours, will beat out a child on a Easter egg hunt paws down. But if the hidden treat is a foil-wrapped chocolate egg, the dog is in danger of poisoning. Edible — but dangerous — temptations for a dog abound on social holidays like Easter.

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Can you afford a dog?

Cost of a dog

It takes more than a squeaky toy and a bag of kibble to give a dog a good home, even though most people spent more time browsing breeds than calculating costs. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), Americans are expected to spend an average of $1,649 year to own a dog compared to the $1,464 they spent in 2011-12. More than half of that — $852 — will be spent on veterinary care, both routine care ($231 a year) and surgical care ($621). The next biggest bites out of the dollars we spent on our dogs is $327 for kennel boarding followed by $239 a year for food. Grooming and grooming aids, vitamins and treats cost $61, $64 and $65 a year respectively. Toys come in last at $41 per year.

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Beating “black dog” bias

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Maxwell Medallion-winner Denise Fleck tackles the prejudice against black dogs head on in her delightful children’s story, Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover. Through charming illustrations by Lili Chin, we meet Mary-Alice and her friends. They are the cool girls with the cutest hairstyles and the sharpest eye for what’s in and what’s not. When Mary Alice is promised a dog for her birthday, she immediately envisions the fluffy puppy with the pink bow she saw in a pet store.

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