Attention all kids ages 4-13: This summer do something really worthwhile

June 3, 2009

Join Animal Rescue Kids - a summer club formed to help Foothills Animal Rescue

dog and catCAVE CREEK – Foothills Animal Rescue (FAR) is a no-kill animal rescue organization in our area that does great work finding homes for orphaned and abused dogs and cats. Over the past four years, Animal Rescue Kids has raised over $11,000 and we hope to add to that amount again this summer.

Animal Rescue Kids will give you the opportunity to:

• Learn teamwork in a noncompetitive environment
• Practice real-life math, art, music, and writing skills
• Build self-esteem through helping others
• Build altruistic mentality (ask your parents what that means!)
• Help a local charity when it needs it most - in the summer
• Make the world a little nicer place

All you need to join is a love of animals and a desire to help. Individual and group goals will be determined at the first meeting, but all activities emphasize fun, friends, and feeling useful.

We know people are in and out of town all summer, so the club is very flexible, but please do what you can because every little bit helps! Call Niko or Monica for more details at (480) 595-6595.

Just ask Gus

June 3, 2009

gusDear Gus:
Now that summer is here I’m swimming all the time. My mom is constantly checking my ears. Should I let her clean them or play keep away?
-Marley the Mermaid

Dear Marley:
While keep away can be a lot of fun, ear infections aren’t. When you swim water can get into your ears. Bacteria and yeast flourish in a warm, dark, moist ear canal. Dogs, like me with heavy, floppy ears are especially prone to ear problems due to moisture build up. To prevent infection you should let your mom clean your ears at least once a week with a gentle cleanser. In addition, any excess hair around the ear canal can be clipped off to allow more airflow.

Regular swimmers, like you, can have their pet parents mix a solution of 1 cup of water, 2 cups of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of alcohol and pour it into a spray bottle. After your daily swim, they should squirt it onto the outside of your ear canal. The acidity of the vinegar solution will prevent yeast or bacteria from growing.

Some sure signs that you have an ear infection are: an odor or discharge from your ear, excessive scratching or rubbing of your head or ears, redness or swelling of your ear canal or flap, pain around your ears or shaking or tilting of your head.

So save the keep away for something fun, like when you have the remote control, and let your mom clean your ears.

- Gus

Gus is a Senior Product Researcher at See Spot Shop at the Summit. Have a question for Gus? Send it to

Top ten summer pet health tips

June 3, 2009

SPM WIRE – It's time for your pets to enjoy summer fun with the family. But be sure to keep them safe from the pet perils that come with the season's heat, humidity, travel, fleas and ticks.
To help you enjoy the summer together, here are some helpful tips from, the 3-D digital magazine dedicated to pet health care:
• Water: keep it in multiple locations for your pet. Water bowls can turn over easily, get dirt in them or grow bacteria and your pet can be left without cool, fresh, clean water. When you travel (or hike), take water with you for your pet.
• Do not leave your pet in the car. It takes only a few minutes for the auto to get hot – even with cracked windows. It also is against the law in many states.
• Know your pet's heat tolerance. Heat and humidity along with age, health, obesity and type of breed or type of pet factor into heat tolerance. Dogs and cats – whose normal body temperature is between 100 and 102.5 – don't do well in heat, especially if they get dehydrated. Cats sweat through their paws and will lick themselves to cool down, become inactive, as well as seek cool places; however, above 85 or 90 degrees they can get stressed. Dogs do not lose heat as fast as humans, so heat can become a health risk quickly.
• Throw away uneaten pet food. Bacteria grow faster when it is hot, so uneaten pet food should be thrown out. More frequent, smaller portions may be appropriate during the summer.
• Know what is toxic to your pet. Plants, household items and foods such as chocolate, onions, coffee, nicotine, alcoholic beverages, poultry bones, fatty foods and grapes/raisins can be harmful.
• Keep Pet ID and contact info on your pet. Pets are more active in the summer, chase other animals, can be with you traveling in an unfamiliar place – and end up lost. The pet's name and your phone number (cell is usually the fastest way to reach you) on its collar can be a lifesaver.
• Check your pet for fleas, ticks, mites. Check and groom your pet daily (cats, dogs) to assure that they do not have fleas, ticks, mites, heartworm (from mosquitoes), bites, or other infections or rashes from being outdoors.
• Groom your pet daily. Grooming your pet daily in the summer will help it stay cooler, provide inspection for health problems and reduce hairballs in cats.
• Keep fish tanks away from sunlight. The temperature of fish is directly affected by water temperature. If the sun heats the water, it can harm fish.
• Walk pets in the early morning or evening. Try to walk or exercise your pet in the morning or early evening when it is cooler.
For more pet health tips, visit