Yes! Yes! to Nono the foster dad

 photo credit:  ASPCA

We’re head over tails for this member of Spot Magazine’s extended family. Meet Nono, the French Bulldog and foster dad extraordinaire.

When Nono’s mom isn’t creating artwork and breed profiles for Spot’s “Matchmaker” series, Megan Noes is managing the kitten nursery at New York City’s ASPCA. During kitten season, when itty-bitty orphans fill the cages, Megan often takes her adorable work home with her.

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That’s how she discovered Nono’s superpower. “I didn't know if he'd do well with kittens because he likes to roughhouse and is very interested in adult cats he sees,” Megan says. “But we tried it with him on leash and he was very polite. So we just kept them supervised and he does great with them. Now they are his little buds!”

Now a treasured part of the shelter’s life-saving team, Nono has fostered six litters — 17 tiny kittens in all. His gift has also made him a media darling — in recent months he’s been celebrated by national news outlets and humans everywhere, including all of us at Spot.

Photo credits:  ASPCA

Get your costume ready

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Vancouver’s Furry Friends cat rescue has a plan for this year’s fundraiser that could fill your Instagram feed. Organizers at the all-volunteer rescue encourage guests to attend in costumes that celebrate the historical spirit of the legendary Three Musketeers — but with a feline flair.

The fundraiser, happening Saturday, Sept 15 at Vancouver’s Firstenburg Community Center, supports operating costs for and improvements to the rescue’s recently purchased Halfway House, which expanded shelter capacity. 

Whiskers, swords, and costumes are optional, but registration is required. Get tickets and details at FurryFriendsWA.org.

Pawternity Leave for pet parents

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Before you get too excited, this leave is for employees at the Scandinavian pet food company, Musti Group. Roughly 90% of the company’s 1500 employees have pets, and now they can get three days of paid leave when they adopt a new four-legged family member.

Musti CEO David Ronnberg, now everyone’s dream boss, says, “Adopting a pet is a significant decision and changes everyday life considerably. We want to support our employees during their first days with the new family member and ensure that they can enjoy those precious moments to the fullest.”

Meanwhile, here in the US, where only 12% of workers get paid paternity leave, don’t hold your breath for pawternity leave.

Are favorite health foods good for dogs?

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Not necessarily, says Veterinarian Katy Nelson, who follows the latest trends as host and executive producer of a popular Washington, DC televised pet program. Set down the goji berry and kale smoothie and check out this doctorly advice:

-        Eat that whole avocado yourself — it’s not good for dogs. The fruit, stem, leaves, and seeds contain a compound called persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.

-        Feel free, however, to share your turmeric and coconut oil. The mild-tasting, boldly-yellow spice revered for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and possibly ant-cancer properties might interact with other medications, so ask your vet first. Tumeric is good to pair with coconut oil, as it aids absorption of the healing properties. Dr. Nelson says it’s okay in small amounts or as a topical treatment for itchy, dry skin. Just don’t get excited over rumors that the oil can cure thyroid or other diseases in your dog. There’s scant evidence to support such claims.

-        Flax seed oil? Probably yes, says Dr. Nelson. There’s evidence that it’s good for dogs’ skin and joint health, but only your vet can say if it might be right for your pup.

-        Finally, while trustworthy studies are scarce, Nelson says her own pets and patients do well on hempseed oil for anxiety or arthritis pain, so it’s worth a conversation with your own vet.

Fear & Loathing on the 4th

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4th of July fireworks can sound like the end of the world to pets. Managing a fraidy-cat or jittery dog can mean a long and trying holiday for you, too. Every year, countless panicked pets get hurt or lost trying to flee the terrifying sights and sounds, but these coping strategies will keep you and yours happy and safe until the skies clear.

Give dogs a good walk or playtime early in the day so they’re happily tired before nightfall.

Keep pets at home and indoors. You might need to do this for several nights, depending on how many days of revelry your neighbors observe.

Close the drapes and turn on soothing music to drown out the scary stuff.

Consider a fun distracting game. Coax a mildly nervous cat into a stress-relieving game with a laser or toy. Or fire up the hot-air popcorn popper for an entertaining, chase-worthy dog snack that also makes a distracting white noise.

If you know your kiddos get seriously worked up, your vet may prescribe anti-anxiety meds.

Talk to a good pet supply store: many can recommend over-the-counter treatments.

If — Dog forbid — a pet escapes and goes missing, get in touch with nearby shelters ASAP. Shelter staff work hard before, on, and after the holiday reuniting panicked pets with their worried people.

Hot New Lifesaving Law

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Oregon’s “Good Samaritan Law” — which allows bystanders to free children or pets from overheated parked cars — is one year old. It’s always advisable to call authorities and wait for help, but the law now protects you if you break a window or pry open a door because it’s too dangerous to wait, and:

You have a reasonable belief that a pet or child is in immediate danger

You call police before or immediately after entering the car

You use minimum force needed to get into the car

You stay with the child or pet until police or rescue crews arrive

Even on a mild 75-degree day, the inside of a parked car can reach a miserable 104 degrees in 20 minutes, and a deadly 118 degrees in an hour. 

CAT Celebrates 20 Years, 44,000 Adoptions

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It was May 1, 1998, when a few hearty souls opened Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood, OR. The fledgling nonprofit had 35 adoptable cats and a vision to save lives.

The vision became reality: this summer, on its 20th anniversary, CAT celebrates 44,000 cats’ lives saved, and a community far different from the one that existed in 1998.

For years, Portland-area communities were overburdened with lost, stray, and feral cats. Shelter euthanasia rates were high.

Today, Portland is a beacon for the nation, with high adoption and sterilization rates, thanks in large part to the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland. Since CAT and other member organizations formed ASAP in 2006, the community’s shelter euthanasia rates have dropped 90%.

In its 21st year, CAT plans to home another 3,300 cats, with an emphasis on helping elderly or under-socialized cats find forever homes. The shelter highlights its first two decades in a photo album at catadoptionteam.org/20years, and executive director Karen Green says, “We can’t wait to see what the next 20 years will bring!”

Sink or Swim! Water Safety for Your Dog

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If you have a water-loving dog, you know there are few things more inviting than cool water on a warm day. There are risks such as overexertion and toxic algae, so it’s important to take precautions to help keep things fun and safe.

Don’t push a scared or reluctant swimmer — not all dogs are natural swimmers.

Take along: Ear cleaning/drying solution if your pup’s floppy ears are vulnerable to infection, a dog flotation vest, and knowledge of pet first aid.

Water-crazy dogs don’t automatically rest when they’re cold or tired. Watch for signs of fatigue, and get your dog on dry land for regular rest breaks.

Safe fencing to prevent unsupervised swims by pets or kids in pools and ponds.

Watch the waves. They can be deadly to tired or distracted swimmers.

Heed all warnings and advisories about toxic algae. Get help right away if you see signs of illness (lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea) as toxic algae poisoning can be fatal in under 24 hours. Check for affected areas at by searching "Algae Bloom Advisories" at oregon.gov.

That rule about swimming right after eating applies to dogs, too. Avoid any heavy physical activity for several hours after a meal. 

Sighting in on Puppy Mills

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Coming soon to a City Hall near you: advocates in Portland and the Willamette Valley hope to pass local ordinances barring pet stores from selling pets from so-called puppy mills. Stores would offer adoptable dogs and cats from shelters and rescues rather than sell animals bred in facilities known for unhealthy and inhumane conditions.

At an April meeting in Portland, organizers from Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society of the United States shared experiences gleaned from passing 270+ similar bills now on the books across the US. “Some lawmakers worry that people won’t be able to buy purebreds if the bill passes,” said one organizer, “but this doesn’t ban breeding, and reputable breeders don’t sell their puppies in pet stores.”

Advocates are gathering support to introduce a bill in the next legislative session. Learn more at PuppiesArentProducts.org.

Pongo Fund rolls out mobile vet hospital

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The Pongo Fund, Oregon and SW Washington’s emergency pet food bank, introduced Pongo One in December, a state-of-the-art mobile veterinary hospital bringing critical veterinary care and other services to underserved and underprivileged families and pets throughout Oregon and SW Washington.

The 23-foot mobile hospital, featuring two surgical suites, a laboratory, x-ray, pharmacy and more will provide advanced veterinary services at no cost to qualified pet owners in need, including the homeless, seniors, veterans, victims of domestic violence, residents of low income housing and more. The Pongo Fund is a volunteer-driven, nonprofit. Learn more at thepongofund.org.