Hill County Paw Pals, Hill County, Texas

A Flea Collar is Not Enough

By Betty Hendricks

Just last week I walked down our lane and found a chocolate lab puppy abandoned along the road.  He was about 4 months old and still had his puppy teeth.  He had long gangly legs with those large paws at the end that he could grow into in a few more months.  His green eyes pierced my soul as they ask for help.  The only indication that anyone ever cared just a bit was a too tight worn flea collar around his neck, probably placed there a month or two before.  Of course, he was covered in fleas because flea collars only help the manufacturer and do almost nothing to control fleas.  He couldn’t walk two feet without lifting his leg to scratch.  Patches of hair were gone from scratching.  I knew he didn’t feel well, so we made a trip to our veterinarian the next morning.  His fleas were eradicated with the right medicine; he was found to have hookworms and roundworms and given worm medicine.  But my heart saddened when I heard he might have a deadly virus called distemper and the prognosis was not very good.  Still I carried him home and stayed optimistic as he ate his dinner that evening.  The next morning did not start well when he would not eat and would barely awaken.  It took all his strength to drink a little water from his bowl.  He continued through the day to have times where he walked around and wagged his tail when we talked to him, but these moments were followed by sagging times where he could barely open his eyes.  The very next morning he lost his battle with all the plagues that his little body could not overcome.  A three-dollar flea collar was just not enough.

Puppies need so much more.  This little dog could have lived a long happy life if he had been given the right start.  The deadly virus that took his life could have been prevented with the right vaccinations and he could have started these at 6-8 weeks old.  He could have been taken to the veterinarian and had a check-up and treated for the horrid hookworms that were draining his blood and causing anemia.  Puppies need lots of care, lots of love, and deserve the right start. 

Paw Pals would like to see only puppies born that have a loving home awaiting them with people willing to invest in the health of the animal.  If anyone breeds their pets and cannot offer this start for the puppies from the litter, perhaps they should reconsider.  And anyone who takes a pet home needs to prepare for the cost and time commitment involved in giving the pet a good life.  Getting a puppy or a kitten should never be an impulse decision.  Dogs live between 10-20 years and domestic cats can live at least 20 years.  The cost of early vaccinations, medications, and veterinarian visits can cost between $200-$400 for the first 6 months of a puppies life.  Most dogs should be neutered or spayed at least by one year old and sometimes sooner.  This is a one-time fee that can protect a beloved pet from developing many cancers that affect the reproductive organs.  The average monthly cost to feed and care for an average size dog is $50/month. 

As I held the stiff, cold body of this little puppy with the chocolate colored coat, I felt so sad that the only kindness ever shown him in his short life was a three-dollar flea collar.  His legs would never grow into those big paws.  His puppy teeth would never be replaced by the strong canines of adult dogs.  He would never know the security of a loving home and people who would care for him.  I know he has to be in a better place where each day will not bring new suffering, but a responsible caring pet owner could have made all the difference. 

Please insure your animals are vaccinated against the many deadly viruses that can end their life.  To insure your dog or cat does not bring a litter into the world where the puppies will be abandoned or neglected, have your pet spayed or neutered.  If you plan to breed your pets, do so responsibly and give careful consideration to the cost and the possibility some of the offspring will be abandoned at some time by irresponsible pet owners.  Ensure all the litter is vaccinated.  Quality breeders provide veterinary care for the mother and offspring and guarantee they will take animals back anytime the owner cannot care for them.  How many times does this occur with animals given away at the Wal Mart parking lot?

Hill County Paw Pals’ next low cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinic will be held September 6th.  To make an appointment call toll free 1-866-310-PETS (7387) or contact Kathy Moore at 582-9374. 

To join Paw Pals and help make a difference in the terrible pet overpopulation problem in our county--call; 580-0679; write PO Box 1533, Hillsboro, Texas 76645; or email; hcpawpals@yahoo.com.