Joan Meo never expected that a bike ride through Rehoboth Beach, Del., would end in heartbreak, but that's exactly what happened shortly after she set off with friends. Midway through their ride, workmen building a house told them the United States was under attack, and like so many others, Meo knew she'd never forget the date: Sept. 11, 2001.
She returned to the house she was renting to find that the owners had discovered a group of stray cats and kittens, including three tiny brothers only a few weeks old. Meo jumped right in to assist.
"Helping with the kittens took my mind off the heinous events of that morning," she says. And when it was time to leave for home a few days later, she found herself unable to go empty-handed, so one of the smallest kittens was scooped up to head for Baltimore and a new life.
Nicholas soon took charge of the two other cats in the house, and he charmed every human who came to the door. "Nick's personality has grown bigger with time," says Meo. "More dog-like than cat in his interactions, he greets all guests at the door and stays close by at all times, enjoying the camaraderie of family and friends."
She says Nicholas let her know that even in the face of horror, happiness is still possible.
To have your pet - including hamsters, snakes, horses, guinea pigs and the like - considered for Collared, email information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Kim Fernandez, for The Baltimore Sun (Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun photo /September 9, 2014)
What can I do to prevent my dog from getting carsick? She is fine for a short trip, but after 20 minutes, she gets sick.
Motion sickness is one of the undertreated problems that we see in pets. This can make a road trip a nightmare for the pets and their companions. Before trying to fix the problem, it is important to figure out what's making them to throw up in the car. Two main reasons for this are fear of the car ride and true motion sickness. The first is especially common in younger pets or newly adopted pets that have not had a lot experience in cars.
Try to get the pet used to car rides in an incremental fashion. The first few days, put her in the car for a short while without doing anything else. Once she is comfortable with this step, start the car but stay parked (with the door open for ventilation). Next time, start the car and move it a little; then the next, drive her a few blocks and come back home, again increasing the distance at a slow pace. Reward her after each step when she is calm and relaxed. At any point, if you notice her getting anxious or carsick, go back to the previous step. It could take several days until she is relaxed enough to ride without any issues.
You can also help ease the sickness by not feeding her anything at least a couple of hours before the trip; not letting her run or jump while in the car; and letting in some fresh air. Some pets will need help from medications. Your veterinarian can discuss these options and the common side effects. Alternative choices like acupuncture and ginger have some limited success, but may be helpful when the side effects from the medications are intolerable.
This week's expert is Dr. Padma Yadlapalli, Freetown Animal Hospital in Columbia. To submit a question for a local animal expert, email email@example.com.
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