Mark Messenger enjoyed a week of hunting at the cabin of some friends in Breezewood, Pa., a few years ago and came home with quite a catch.
The friends had been feeding two stray cats for a few months, and one adopted Mark's hunting clothes, which he left in the garage every night, as her bed. "When the week was up," says his wife, Jan, "he had to bring her home. She wouldn't survive in the mountains with the wild animals and the cold. She was quite thin and needed to be fattened up." So the kitty came home to Reisterstown at the end of his trip.
The couple took the long-haired cat, whom they named Chrissy, to the vet and learned she was about 15 months old. It didn't take long for them to also learn she was super sweet, and it didn't take Chrissy long to bond with the family's chocolate lab, Maggie.
These days, the entire family enjoys camping trips together, and Chrissy went along for a road trip to Texas last Christmas. "To protect Maggie and Chrissy from accidentally escaping, we have tethers attached like car seats to our back seats," says Jan. "We put them both into harnesses, and the harnesses attach to the tether. Because Chrissy is a cat, we have her tether attached to a short leash so she can reach her litter box in the back of the van. She's a great car rider!"
Chrissy has come a long way since her days as a skinny stray in the Pennsylvania mountains, and Jan and Mark say they can't imagine their life without her.
To have your pet - including hamsters, snakes, horses, guinea pigs and the like - considered for Collared, email information to email@example.com.
-Kim Fernandez, for The Baltimore Sun (Kenneth K. LAM, Baltimore Sun photo /July 15, 2014)
Question: My dog's teeth are looking a bit yellow. Should I brush them myself or get them cleaned?
Answer: Good dental health is important to animals just like it is for people. Dogs build up tartar and plaque as they age, which can lead to chronic dental disease. A diet of soft food can contribute to this process. Dental disease can have long-lasting effects such as bad breath, chronic infection, and tooth decay, and can even contribute to more serious health issues, including heart disease. The first step to healthy teeth is cleaning weekly to remove plaque and tartar. Specially shaped toothbrushes and flavored toothpastes make it easier for you to try this at home. Dry, crunchy dental diets or treats are designed to be abrasive and rub off newly formed plaque while animal-friendly water additives can help prevent plaque and encourage fresh breath. Discuss any diet changes or over-the-counter medications with your vet first. Visit your veterinarian regularly for dental checkups. If changes in dental health occur, your vet may recommend prescription medications, diets or dental work.
This week's expert is Alisa Wardrup, exam room manager at the Maryland SPCA, http://www.mdspca.org. To submit a question for a local animal expert, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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