Zoe’s Dog Blog

Zoe’s Dog Blog

Canine Influenza or “Doggie Flu”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere (which I would recommend only for earthworms), you’ve probably heard about canine influenza or doggie flu.

CI (that’s shorthand for Canine Influenza, not Criminal Investigation) is a respiratory illness which has  affected dogs throughout the Chicagoland area, and has since spread into other states. There have been lots of reports in the newspapers and on TV and it’s not something to ignore or take lightly.

Let me begin by saying that Hinsdale Humane Society has had NO cases of canine influenza. We have been administering CI vaccinations to all dogs and puppies since the outbreak began. So what if it costs more than we had budgeted… it’s just the right thing to do.

Our volunteer veterinarians come to examine the animals twice a week and we are listening to their advice to prevent the illness. At the shelter, we have lots of cleaning procedures in place. We use pet friendly disinfectants. We bleach all the towels, blankets, toys, staff uniforms, etc. EVERY DAY! We also have these things called foot baths to prevent any virus from being spread on the staff’s shoes or boots. You would think a foot bath would be something like a spa treatment or a fancy pedicure, but alas, it’s really like a litter box filled with disinfectant that the staff walks through.

I know a couple of doggies who got the doggie flu at an overnight place when their pet parents were out of town, early on in the outbreak. They had symptoms of coughing, nasal discharge (that’s a fancy name for boogers), fever and loss of appetite. Their pet parents were really worried about them and fed them chicken soup… just like when humans get sick! Thankfully, those doggies are feeling better after about a week or two. Even though CI is a serious illness, it is good to remember that very few pets have died as a result.

Here is some general information from the American Veterinary Medical Association about Canine Influenza: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/CanineInfluenza.aspx 

My best advice to you if you’re worried about Canine Influenza is to talk to your own veterinarian. He or she will let you know your personal risk associated with the outbreak.

In the meantime, you’ll want to avoid nose to nose contact (except with your humans, of course) and forget about using shared water bowls you might see outside local restaurants or other pet friendly businesses.

We’re still having our 26th Annual Pet Walk on June 7. We’ve consulted with the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association and lots of our local veterinarians. After all, pet safety is our top priority! Please be a hero for animals by keeping your pet at home, safe from doggie flu. Instead, you could bring a stuffed animal or a photo of your dog, but please feel free to bring your other pets, such as well-behaved cats, birds, reptiles, etc... always in a container or on leash. Believe it or not, we’ve had ponies, snakes, ferrets, goldfish, parrots and hissing cockroaches at Pet Walk in the past, so maybe we’ll see some really exotic pets this year!

Although I’ll miss seeing all of you at Pet Walk 2015 I know you’ll understand that it’s important to stay healthy. We will still have lots of fun things for humans and their little offspring to do without your dog such as entertainment, the “Be a Hero” kid’s dash, a petting zoo and the K9 police dog demonstration. Please remember Pet Walk is our biggest fundraiser of the year and the homeless pets at the shelter really need your support!

I hope all the doggies out there are healthy and flu-free and we’ll see the canines NEXT YEAR at Pet Walk, OK?!

Love (and no doggie kisses because that’s how germs are spread!)



My mom has a serious addiction to Starbucks. And so do I. She orders a Grande Nonfat Something or Other Latte. 

I know the sound of the slurp when she’s almost to the bottom of the cup. And then… oh, doggie heaven… I get to lick the foam out of the cup. It’s a sweet mixture of spicy, whipped foam, with hints of mocha. The sticky substance gets all over my face because I immerse my nose completely in the cup. It is so worth the messy hairdo that results. I love that stuff! Next time, order Extra Foamy, OK Mom?

But now I’m having Starbucks withdrawal because Mom is trying to wean herself from Starbucks. She’s trying to watch her wallet and her waistline, so she limits herself to only two a week. I know it’s going to be a jittery week if it’s Tuesday and she’s hit her self-imposed ration. Not a good idea, Mom. You know how you act when you don’t get your Starbucks!

For some reason, Starbucks does not allow dogs inside the store. So at my local Starbucks, people actually park their dogs outside the door. Dogs are tied to the bench or bike rack while the humans go inside for their caffeine fix. People, this is not the best idea. Someone could get dog-napped that way! You should leave a designated “dog watcher” or send a friend inside to get your Venti Double Shot Blah Blah Blah. (I still haven’t figured out Starbuck’s language!) 

Morris the Cat, a Hinsdale Humane Society alumnus, actually has his own bench outside the downtown Hinsdale Starbucks. The nice manager leaves doggie water bowls for the canine customers. For all you thirsty dogs out there, I must recommend cool water instead of hot coffee. Caffeine is actually poisonous to dogs and more than one or two slurps can be toxic or even fatal! That goes for cats, too.

Do you know what else I like about Starbucks? The atmosphere! You feel like you’re among friends, neighbors and nice people you’ve never met before. Strangers talk to me, people hug one another and the people behind the counter know your order before you get to the cash register. It’s like home away from home.

Last week the entire staff had a meeting at Starbucks to learn about greeting customers, meeting expectations, managing stress, and handling multiple tasks. You wouldn’t think that serving coffee and taking care of homeless pets would have that much in common! Monika the store manager was really enthusiastic and she shared some great advice. So now we’re sending her our thanks and appreciation.

I love Starbucks! Only I call it Starbarks. And I heartily give it my 4 Stars (or 4 barks) of approval.

Until next time,
Love, Zoe

St. Patrick’s Day

In case you didn’t know, I’m Irish. No, I’m not an Irish Setter or an Irish Wolfhound. But with a last name like Halligan, I’m more than a wee bit Irish.

My family celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with food, fun and frivolity. I even have a jaunty little hat to wear…. which I don’t like. The elastic strap is annoying and I can hardly stand it! But I try to get into the spirit of the holiday. I don’t exactly like corned beef and cabbage. And no one lets me have adult beverages (for my own good!) So it just occurred to me, what is it about St. Patrick’s Day that I actually like?

I believe in leprechauns. Trust me. They’re out there! You may not see all those things I bark at outside the window. Wee folk are lurking under the bushes and hiding in the woodpile. You only think I’m barking at chipmunks or figments of my imagination. Come to think of it, I’m a bit of a leprechaun myself: small and mischievous!

I like how everyone seems to be so full of joy for St. Patrick’s Day. Either that, or they’re full of blarney! So run up to someone and say, “Kiss me, I’m Irish.” Or start singing “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” and dance a jig. That ought to get the party started!

For St. Patrick’s Day, everyone gets into the spirit of green. They dye the Chicago River green. People and pets wear green. Hinsdale Humane Society has decorated the shelter with green shamrocks everywhere. The kitties are sleeping on beautiful green blankets. And we have an adoption promotion with $17 off all the adoptions and a small gift which you can pick from a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Although come to think of it, I’ve never really seen a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but I’m sure they are out there. It’s a metaphor for something good to find after searching or yearning. Kind of like when rescue pets find their forever homes.

Irish people talk a lot about luck. Good luck, good health and happiness for today and every day! But the Luck of the Irish sometimes refers to bad luck or overcoming harsh circumstances. Kind of like rescue pets.

I know I’m a lucky dog for having a family who loves me and takes care of me. And you’ll be lucky too if you choose a special cat or dog to come to your home and invade your heart and provide you with unconditional love.

My Irish family loves Irish Blessings which are little bits of wisdom. This is one of my favorites because it reminds me why it’s so good to be adopted.

May you always be blessed with walls for the wind. 
A roof for the rain.
A warm cup of tea by the fire.
Laughter to cheer you.
Those you love near you.
And all that your heart might desire.

Until next time,
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Love, Zoe

PS: I don’t actually drink tea, so I substitute this line:
A full bowl of food by the fire.
I hope your belly and your heart are both full!

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