Animal Welfare Specialist
Cathy has worked in the animal welfare field for more than 25 years. As a Director of Public Relations for local and national animal welfare agencies, Cathy developed and managed public relations programs, wrote press materials, and prepared staff to handle media interviews on animal issues.

Training older dogs keeps the mind young

The other day I was in the office supply store and found my heart racing. I looked at the pens and pencils, the notebooks and back packs that line the aisles this time of year, and all I could think about was how great it would be to go back to school. This is not […]

Teaching a shy dog to have more confidence

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Q: We have had our dog Schageh for about three years now, and he is still fearful, even of us. He was in the shelter system for about a year before we got him. He is more confident when the other dogs in the house are near us, but doesn’t like to be by people […]

Birds may be brainer than you think

Polly wants a cracker. And while you are at it, listen carefully to see if she says “please” and “thank you,” too. If you ever wondered if animals could talk, I certainly believe they can, but not the way you think. Animals communicate with each other through sounds and body language and are skilled at […]

Prepare pet for baby’s arrival

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At the shelter the other day, a young couple was waiting to adopt a Labrador retriever puppy. The puppy was bouncing around and the couple was smothering him with attention. I was distraught over this possible adoption. The woman was pregnant and only a few weeks from having a baby. I guessed she was adopting […]

"Just one litter" adds to euthanasia crisis

A woman happily told me that she plans to get her cat spayed, but only after she has “just one litter,” she said smiling. “I want her to experience motherhood.” I smiled back. “That’s like saying every woman has to have a baby in order to be fulfilled as a woman.” (Some days I think […]

How to handle your dog's leash aggression

Dear Cathy: I have a 3-year-old terrier mix that loves to go for walks. She is usually friendly with other dogs, but not when she is on a leash. When she meets a dog face-to-face on a leash, there is usually some ugly growling exchanged. Her ears go back and her hackles go up. How […]

"Resident dogs" are usually the biters

In a sensational world, headlines about dog bites and canine aggression tend to focus on certain breeds rather than the circumstances that create these behaviors. If you really want to understand canine behavior, then you need to know there are two types of dogs living in the United State, according to the National Canine Research […]

Take the jump out of your dog

The other day while teaching a pets and babies class for new parents-to-be, I asked the group what their biggest concern was about their pets and babies interacting. On this day, the concerns were almost unanimous: Everyone who had dogs was concerned about their dog’s jumping behavior. Rambunctious pooches jump because they are excited and […]

Five ways we pick pets names

A few weeks ago, I asked readers to share their pets’ names. After reviewing your e-mails, I realized that a pet’s name can provide as much insight into a pet owner’s personality as it can about the pet himself. Here’s my take on the five ways we name our pets. First, there are “human names,” […]

Who defines humane treatment for farm animals?

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While this column focuses on companion animals, my background includes time on Capitol Hill, where I worked on companion animal, wildlife and farm animal issues. So I am going to step off the curb and address an article by Mike Barnett, publications editor for Texas Agriculture Talks, a publication of the Texas Farm Animal Bureau, […]

Xylitol and a major pet emergency

When Tarin Goodnight, a student at Texas State University, ran to the store, she didn’t expect to come back home to a pet emergency. But during the short time she was away, her then 18-month-old Chihuahua, Carmen, had jumped onto her desk and eaten four pieces of nicotine gum, leaving the paper wrappers as the […]

Bella beats Max for six years in a row

Max ruled the top spot in the list of the top 10 most popular dog names. But Veterinary Pet Insurance crunched the numbers on its more than 475,000 insured pets to determine 2009’s most common pet names, and Bella beat out Max by more than 400 dogs. Max may have slipped in the polls with […]

Dogs don't always listen? Here's why

Letters about “stubborn dogs” that don’t seem to listen flood my e-mail. Margie G. says, “Whenever we go for walks, I say my dog’s name, but she doesn’t turn her head to look at me.” Gina says she must ask her dog to “sit” several times before her dog will even think about complying. “What […]

Helping children cope with pet's death

When I was 7 years old, my little dog Pepper saw a cat across the street and ran out the open front door. Before I could get outside to catch him, he ran into the street and was hit by a car. I remember screaming and crying. I was overwhelmed by what I had just […]

Why do dogs like squeaky things?

Does your dog go crazy every time you bring home a squeaky toy. Does he grab it and shake his head back and forth as if he is trying to kill it. After the squeaker stops working, does he drops the toy and never touch it again. Well, once upon a time, when dogs hunted […]