May 2012 


Happy Mother's Day



Spring is in full swing now and with it comes mosquito season. These little bugs are not just annoying, they can also infect humans with diseases like West Nile or Encephalitis. But, did you know they can also infect your dog (or cat) with heartworms? Why are these worms a big deal? What makes heartworms worse than the other worms dogs get, the ones your vet can spot in a stool sample? It is because heartworms will, in all likelihood, KILL your dog if left untreated.

The complete development of the parasitic heartworm requires two hosts: dog and mosquito. In the dog, sexually mature adult worms are large (females up to 14 in. and males up to 7 in.) and cause disease by clogging the heart and major blood vessels leading from the heart. By clogging the main blood vessels, the blood supply to other organs of the body is reduced, particularly the lungs, liver and kidneys, leading to malfunction of these organs.

Adult male and female worms living in the heart produce thousands of microscopic baby worms called microfilariae which circulate through the body in the blood. These tiny worms are the first evidence of heartworm disease in our pets. They are detected in a bloodtest performed by a vet. However, these baby heartworms do not grow to adulthood in the dog where they were born. Before they can develop further, they must live in a mosquito.

When a mosquito bites the infected dog, it sucks up baby heartworms. During the next month, the heartworm babies change to a larval stage. Now, the mosquito bites another dog, infecting the new dog with heartworm larvae that are ready to transform into adults. After six or seven more months the life cycle is complete: a new generation of adult heartworms are producing thousands of baby heartworms. It is at this point when the microfilariae can be detected in a blood test.

Without a heartworm test, a dog will likely show no signs of disease for over a year after initial infection. In fact, the disease may be well advanced before the dog shows any symptoms. First observable signs of infection include a cough, especially on exercise and rapid exhaustion with exercise. In more advanced cases where many adult worms have built up in the heart without treatment, signs progress to severe weight loss, fainting, coughing up blood and finally, congestive heart failure and death. Once infected a dog is infected for it's shortened life, unless treated for heartworm.

Treatment is dangerous and painful, involving the injection of an arsenic compound into the dog and restricted activity for 6-8 weeks. About 5% of dogs will die as a result of the treatment. The cost to treat a dog who has heartworms ranges from $200 to $900+, depending on location. When possible, Ratbone will transport an infected dog to an area with lower treatment costs but this is not always possible. However, once it becomes a Ratbone dog, treatment will be provided, regardless of the cost.

The tragedy is that for as little as $6 a month for a small dog, $72 a year, much less than the cost of treatment, you can protect your dog against heartworm disease. This small expenditure will prevent your dog having to go through a painful and dangerous treatment. DON'T make this mistake with your pet, get your dog tested and started on heartworm preventative as soon as possible. This could save your pet's life.

For a dog in a shelter, heartworms are often a death sentence, as shelters rarely have the resources to treat for heartworms. Many rescues will also pass on heartworm infected dogs because of the cost of treatment. Ratbone is likely to have 4-6 heartworm positive dogs each year, which is why fundraising is ongoing as this is the only way Ratbone Rescues can meet the needs of the dogs in our care. When you make a donation to Ratbone Rescues, you may be helping cover the cost of heartworm treatment for a Rat Terrier in need.

***Please be sure to include an e-mail address, so that we can send you an acknowledgement***

Send check or money order to:
Ratbone Rescues
P.O. Box 3237
Seminole, FL 33775-3237


Betty Big Heart

Sally Little Soul





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Dogs are Consistent! (Part 1)

One thing you can say about dogs is they are consistent. They will do the same thing, the same way over and over and over and over. You might be familiar with some of these scenarios:

Rover thinks that every time he goes out through the door to the garage, he's going for a ride in the car. It doesn't matter how many times he doesn't get to go, he has associated going through that door with going in the car. So he goes and sits next to the car, he expects that he's going.

Rover got a treat we took out of the refrigerator. Now every time we go to the refrigerator where is he? He's right next to us looking for the treat. He knows it's in there somewhere. He's wondering why we can't find it. Maybe we should just look a little harder. He's associated the refrigerator with getting a treat. It doesn't matter how many times a day he doesn't get a treat, he's there and ready.

The doorbell rings and Rover rushes to the door barking. He has this association so ingrained that if a doorbell rings on the TV he still rushes to the front door and barks. It doesn't matter how many times we yell at him, he's consistent. He does it EVERY TIME. These are a just a few examples of Rover's consistency, you can most likely think of other examples.

It's in a dog's nature to be consistent. They understand consistency and they expect consistency from us. Why is this important? We know that in order for Rover to be obedient he needs to view us as his pack leader. So what's an important trait that his leader must have? Right; the leader of the pack must be consistent. That doesn't mean that everything has to occur at the same time every day or that we need to become robots.

Please read the conclusion of this article in the next edition of The Ratbone Barker

Submitted by Terry Nickerson, Canine Behavior Therapist and owner of Bark Busters of Brevard. You can reach Terry at 1-977-500-BARK or visit her company's website at

FUN EVENT: Coach Bag Bingo, Friday, June 1, Glen Burnie, MD
Would you love to own a Coach purse? Do you like to play BINGO? The best of both worlds for you! On Friday, June 1, 2012, a Coach Bag Bingo event will be held to benefit Ratbone Rescues. If you are in the neighborhood or if you would drive all day for the chance to win a Coach brand handbag, this is where it will take place: Glen Burnie Moose Lodge 1911 Crain Highway Glen Burnie, MD For tickets & info contact:


BIG EVENT: Rescue the Rescuers Fundraiser, June 9, Clarksville, IN
Rescue the Rescuers Fundraiser, Sponsored by Clarksville Parks Dept. for regional pet rescues in Southern Indiana and Northern Kentucky. June 9, 2012, 10 AM to 2 PM at Lapping Park, Clarksville, IN; come to Endris Lodge at rear of the Park. Over 30 rescues (dog, cat, ferret, rabbit, guinea pig, and horse) will be represented. There will be vendors, microchip clinic by Cross Creek Vet Service, heartworm testing by Eastside Animal Clinic, dog training demo, agility demo,pet first aid demo, , live music by Summer Breeze Duo, food by Patticakes & Pies Catering, raffles and silent auctions. Adoptable pets will be on display. All proceeds raised will be divided equally among the rescues and shelters present at the event. For more info call Peggy Roberson (Ratbone Rescues, Indiana) (502)-489-7889 or Lauren Howard (Piece of my Heart Rescue) (812) 903-0030. Pets are welcome and encouraged to come to this event; they must be on a leash or appropriately restrained at all times. Ratbone Rescues will be at this event.


From deep in the bowels of my toy box (ok, ONE of my toy boxes) my new foster sister Diamond extracted a little noticed toy made by Fat Cat Inc. I turned my nose up when this “Mad” toy (yes, that is what it is called) from the Terrible Nasty series first appeared in our house. It’s stuffed and plump, like my plushies, but not soft and cozy so my interest in it lasted about five minute.

Last night Diamond brought it out and demonstrated just how fun it could be. Now I have to have it. When my mama plays fetch with Diamond, I beat her to it and reclaim my toy. If they play tug with it, I charge, take it, and run off to enjoy my toy all by myself. It’s just the best toy in the world and it was sitting dormant in the box.

The point of my story is that sometimes we need to stop and see how lucky we are. Maybe when we have more than we need we don’t always value what we have. Perhaps we need to see someone else’s delight to experience it ourselves.

With that in mind, I have picked out some toys to donate to other doggies who are not as lucky as me. So far three have found a new home and I feel really good about that but the Mad Cat stays!

Doggy Door Blues (or Life with Terriers) Upon installing a doggy door in my house I quickly decided this invention ranked right up there among mankind's greatest ideas. No longer was I slave to the whims of a pack of Rat Terriers who never want to go outside in a group but rather, demand to be let out and let in, one at a time. It also simplified housebreaking of new fosters who are much quicker at figuring out the dog door than learning how to signal to be let out. By the time I'd spent a year with the doggy door in place I could not imagine how we lived without one, until one April day.

For about a week I had noticed the dog room was smelling increasingly "gamey". The "dog room" is the large room at the back of the house which opens onto the deck and into the fenced yard. This was where the dogs stayed when I worked, so they have outside access but can be in the house if they want. With anywhere from six to twelve dogs at a time living with me, not all with good house manners, the room is bound to have some odor, but this was worse than normal. I checked the room but found no offending deposits. I checked crates but no one had soiled their bed, I even got down and looked under the TV cart after noticing a couple dogs looking under there but I found nothing to explain the increased odor.

After a couple more days I started washing all the bedding as the smell was getting worse. There were traces of the offensive scent on many items but nothing strong enough to account for what was beginning to be just plain stinky. I searched the room again, several times, still thinking one of my little darlings had left me a nice deposit in some corner, but I came up empty. At the time I was in the process of pulling up the carpet and putting down vinyl tiles to make a more dog friendly environment. By the end of week two, as I crawled around the floor, laying tiles near the dog's feeding station, I said to myself "It smells like something died in here". All the dogs had checked in for supper and the birds just moved outside earlier in the day so it wasn't a family member. Once more I looked around the room, to no avail.

Having worn myself out laying tiles I gave up for the day and went to bed. On waking the next morning I realized, what was now a distinct stench, had found it's way from the dog room to my adjoining bedroom. That was the last straw, time to clear the room and find the source of the odor. I suspected the feeding station, an old three drawer chest, just the right height to prepare dog meals and provide storage for supplies. I figured a mouse had made its way in, looking for something in the "treat" drawer and had died there. I would have to take out all the drawers, empty them and possibly turn over the chest.

Behind the chest were two crates, one empty, the other April's. Since she sometimes had a problem with wetting her crate and this day the stink seemed more intense around her crate, I took it out first, removed the blanket, which was dry and put the crate in the bathtub to be scrubbed. I went back for the empty crate, prepared to work my way through the room but I didn't have far to go. Picking up the empty crate which had been stored in a corner, my first thought was "how did the cat toy get back there?".

Then I realized it was not the fuzzy cat toy but a young opossum that had squeezed into the space between the crate and the wall to expire. The rodent like critter was only about six inches long with probably that much tail and if it weren't for the smell I would have thought it was "playing dead". I'm confident it didn't, crawl up onto the deck and in through the dog door itself so my suspicions fell on the Rat "terrors". I'm sure one of them found it in the yard, inflicted a mortal wound and brought it into the house where it obviously lived just long enough to crawl off to hide from it's tormentors.

A cruel lesson was learned today. When you disturb a long dead possum that was squeezed down tight on the carpet when it died, what was a rather annoying, lingering bad smell immediately becomes a nose clogging, eye watering, stomach turning stench. It is now apparent that man's greatest pet invention was the poop-scoop as this was the only feasible method of removing the remains from the room. Fortunately, the weather was nice as the day was spent with the doors and windows open, candles burning and fans running. Even the dogs spent much of the day outside, lying in the sun and fresh air.

That night everyone slept with blankets over their crates as the door was open all night. Simple Solution is good but it is no match for this situation. Fortunately, the carpet was coming out, sadly it took several days before I could remove that portion as I had to finish the center part of the room before moving all the crates off the carpeted part of the floor. I now fully understand the attitude of my country-living, terrier-owning friend, on the subject of dog doors.

This is a two-for-one happy tail. Ronya and her brother, Koko were part of a litter of puppies that Ratbone Rescues saved from a planned trip to a high kill shelter in Louisiana. They were moved to the Goodman foster home, who have fostered more than one litter of pups. They were given their shots and when they were old enough they were altered then they were ready for new homes.

Enter Pat and Jim, who had lived with Penny, a Jack Russell, for 17 years before they had to put her down. As you can imagine they were heart broken and grieving over the loss of their loyal friend but after a couple of weeks the couple found they couldn't stand coming home to an empty home. They decided it was time to look for a new member for their family. They wanted a small to medium size dog but were open on the breed of dog.

They started their search on the internet and found a puppy that interested them. They decided to look into adopting this puppy and learned she was a Ratbone Rescues pup named Ronya. They submitted their application and talked by email with Janie, learning all they could about their prospective puppy, while the application was being processed. They also learned more about Ronya's brother, Koko and they began thinking about adopting him as well.

Their application was approved and they decided to make the 3 hour drive to pick Ronya up at her foster home. When they arrived they were greeted by the Goodmans and a dozen dogs and puppies! They thought it was wonderful. Although they were there to pick up Ronya, they did also meet Koko, then they drove home with Ronya. She was 5 months old then. When they got home Ronya, who is not a shy dog, made herself right at home. They describe her as vibrant and loving! Ronya's name means queenly and she is the Queen of their home! Soon after getting home with Ronya, Pat and Jim decided to adopt her brother so she would have company. They contacted Janie and told her they wanted to adopt Koko and they sent their second application which was quickly approved. Off they went to Janie's house again, to pick up Koko.

Pat had this to say about their beloved pets, "I can't tell you how much these two have filled our lives. They have filled our hearts with so much love and affection. We take them almost everywhere we go! They are well behaved and stay with us off leash all day long while we're outside doing gardening. They love to be with us as much as we love to be with them. They love to run! It's a sight to see when they are running around chasing each other! At the end of outside time it's lap time! My husband and I will sit down to have a cup of tea and as soon as you sit one or both of them are on your lap! Let me tell you, that is a full lap! We thought they would be 15-18 pounds. As it turned out, Ronya is about 27 pounds and Koko is about 32 pounds.! We are so happy to have two wonderful dogs who are so much more than that. Thanks to Ratbone Rescue!"


Ratbone Rescues is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Ratbone Rescues, Inc.
P.O. Box 3237
Seminole, FL 33775-3237
© 2002-2010 Ratbone Rescues, Inc.