Patiently waiting at Kent Animal Shelter for a new home, this 2-year-old sweetheart has one blue eye and one brown eye. Prissy has had a rough start to life but is ready to put all that behind her and put her best paw forward. Rescued from a high kill shelter down south, she’s very sweet and is just looking for someone to love. Could that be you? 

Prissy comes spayed, microchipped, and up to date on vaccines. Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. For more information on Prissy and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit

Photo of the Week by Jay Gao


Jay Gao of Stony Brook snapped this amazing photo of a pair of harbor seals at Smith Point County Park in Shirley using a Nikon D750 on Dec. 31. He writes, ‘Before that I did not know that we have seals on Long Island!’

Send your Photo of the Week to

Kali. Photo courtesy of Kent Animal Shelter


This little cutie is Kali, a pointer/heeler mix pup rescued from a high kill shelter in Texas and now safe at Kent Animal Shelter. At 6 months old, he is in search of a nice family and home where he can grow up and spend the rest of his days. Kali comes neutered, microchipped and as up to date as possible on vaccines. 

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. For more information on Kali and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit


This week’s shelter pet is Beaux, a handsome 2½- year-old Shepherd mix rescued from a high kill shelter in Texas and now safe at Kent Animal Shelter. 

Beaux has such soulful eyes and is as sweet as can be. He’s looking for someone to spend the rest of his days with. Could that be with you? He comes neutered, microchipped and is up to date on his vaccines. 

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. 

For more information on Beaux and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit

Holiday plants like mistletoe and holly are poisonous to your pets.

By Matthew Kearns, DVM

Dr. Matthew Kearns

Why do pets like holidays? There are many reasons.

Lots of extra attention!!!!! 

Family is home more and friends come over to celebrate. This means lots of extra attention. Most pets enjoy this but some can have some anxiety. Make sure that if your dog or cat tends to get scared with a lot of people around they have a safe haven: a separate room, kennel, etc. 

If your pet tends to get so fearful that they might snap or scratch at a guest, it might be best to find a friend to watch them or consider boarding them for a day or two. We commonly board at our clinic not only for vacations but also for a day or two during the holidays. 

If relatives are visiting, gently remind them of the danger of leaving medications out. Not just prescription medications pose a holiday hazard; over-the-counter medications are dangerous as well. A single ibuprofen or acetaminophen tablet could cause serious illness in a large dog and be potentially fatal to a small dog or cat.

Lights and decorations 

Whether you celebrate the Festival of Lights or “Oh Holy Night,” everyone loves holiday lights and decorations (including dogs and cats). Just make sure that they don’t have access to wires (risk of electrocution), tinsel (GI obstructions) and plants. Plants like mistletoe and holly can cause severe GI problems and sometimes cardiac dysfunction; so make sure they are away from curious paws and mouths. If you have a live tree, the water can become stagnant and bacteria will grow in it; so keep your dog or cat away from it.  

Gifts, gifts, gifts 

Even pets like gifts and, if your cats are like mine, the boxes gifts come in are more fun than the gifts themselves. Check these toys to make sure toys don’t have strings, ribbons or yarn that could come off and potentially be swallowed. If you like to give bones as treats (and what dog doesn’t love bones), make sure they are not turkey, chicken, pork or fish bones. These bones tend to splinter and present choking hazards, as well as perforate the stomach or bowels.

Food, glorious food!!! 

There’s lots of food around and usually on tables within reach of opportunistic dogs and cats. Be careful of leaving food around, especially chocolates. Chocolate has two chemicals: caffeine and theobromine, and both are powerful stimulants. Small amounts cause panting, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination. Larger exposures of chocolate trigger irregular heart rhythms, seizures, coma and death.  

Chocolate is also very high in sugar and fat. Minimally, this will give your pet a tummy ache, but I have personally seen a few cases of serious gastroenteritis, pancreatitis and liver disease from ingestion of large amounts of chocolate and other candy. Any leftover food will tend to grow bacteria and mold on it if left out. Try to make an effort (even after a long night of reveling) to clean up so that you do not have to worry about your pet ingesting leftover treats.    

I hope everyone has a joyous and safe holiday season and a Happy New Year. Special thanks to Heidi Sutton and all the staff of the Arts and Lifestyle section for making my column possible and another great year. 

Dr. Kearns practices veterinary medicine from his Port Jefferson office and is pictured with his son Matthew and his dog Jasmine.


This week’s shelter pet is Sue Ellen, a beautiful 2-year-old Lab mix who was rescued from a high kill shelter in Texas and is now safe at Kent Animal Shelter. This holiday season Sue Ellen is thankful to be rescued and would like a loving and forever home of her own. She comes spayed, microchipped and is up to date on her vaccines. Please come down and meet her!

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. For more information on Sue Ellen and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit

Update: Sue Ellen has been adopted!

Sully sits by former President George H.W. Bush. Photo from Instagram @sullyhwbush

A service dog raised in Smithtown won the hearts of thousands across the nation by demonstrating, perhaps, why dogs may truly be man’s best friend till the very end.

An Instagram photo of Sully, a 2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, laying besides the flag-draped coffin of the late President George H.W. Bush posted by his spokesman Jim McGraff with a simple caption of “Mission complete” from Houston Dec. 2 went viral, quickly receiving more than 270,000 likes. The dog’s trainers at America’s VetDogs in Smithtown could only watch from a distance with mixed feelings.

“It hit us all very emotionally,” Brad Hibbard, chief program officer for America’s VetDogs said. “It was very sad for him, for George H.W. Bush’s family and Sully. Sully had quite a bond with the president, he slept in his room every night. It was so emotional, very sad but also with pride.”

President George H.W. Bush with President Bill Clinton and Bush’s guide dog Sully

Sully, named after the former airline pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III who safely landed a damaged jet on the Hudson River in 2009, was trained by America’s VetDogs earlier this year for Bush. The sister nonprofit organization to the Guide Dog Foundation trains and places guide dogs for veterans and first responders who are blind, have impaired vision or have lost their hearing. In addition, they train service dogs for those who suffer physical disabilities or have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Hibbard said starting with Bush’s very first phone call to VetDogs about receiving a service dog, the 41st president expressed his concerns what would happen to the dog should something happen to him. After a lengthy discussion, the former president expressed that he wanted Sully to serve at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he had first learned about the nonprofit organization.

“There was no doubt in our minds what the president’s wishes were,” Hibbard said.

Sully will go to work alongside two fellow VetDogs graduate canines, Sgt. Dillon and Sgt. Truman, at Walter Reed medical center next year, according to Hibbard, to help assist thousands of servicemen and women who pass through the facility while undergoing physical and occupational therapy.

“Sully will be able to have a huge impact there,” Hibbard said.

Sully lies at the foot of President George H.W. Bush’s coffin.

After the late president’s funeral, the 2-year-old service dog was brought back to the VetDogs’ Smithtown campus, located on East Jericho Turnpike, for some well-deserved rest and decompression during the holidays before making his next transition. Hibbard said the nonprofit is currently in communication with Walter Reed about the facility’s needs, and Sully will undergo any necessary additional training, possibly in the area of assisting with occupational training, before heading back to work early in 2019.

Once in Maryland, Sully will officially join the U.S. Navy — the same branch George H.W. Bush served in — and be given an honorary military rank as per tradition according to Hibbard. Sully’s fans may be happy to know his trainers are seeing if it’s possible to keep his Instagram account, @sullyhwbush, running.

To learn more about America’s VetDogs, donate or volunteer, visit or call 631-930-9000.



Violet is a 5-year-old Shepherd mix rescued off the streets in Thailand, where she was sure to become part of the meat trade there. She is now safe at Kent Animal Shelter. Violet is a sweet dog and would love to have a family to call her own. She comes spayed, microchipped and is up to date on her vaccines. Please come down and meet her!

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. For more information on Violet and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit

Update: Violet has been adopted!

Offshore oil and gas drilling has devastating effects on marine life. Stock photo

By Nancy Marr

On Jan. 4 of this year, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that the federal government is developing a five-year plan to lease ocean lands in federal offshore areas all along our shorelines, including two leases on the North Atlantic region of the Outer Continental Shelf to companies that would drill for gas and oil. (Each state along the Atlantic coast owns the waters 3 nautical miles from the shore at mean low tide; they have jurisdiction to decide whether or not to lease their territory for oil and gas.)

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has been considering the many possible effects of offshore drilling compared with the estimated potential of the gas and oil drilling. Research by BOEM will consider a wide range of issues: physical considerations; biological considerations; social, economic and cultural considerations; and alternatives and mitigation measures. BOEM estimates that, at current national consumption rates, the support of undiscovered economically recoverable offshore oil and gas in the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coast of Florida would only meet domestic oil demand for two years and gas demand for just over one year. 

Opposition has been growing 

Both Republican and Democratic governors in every state where offshore drilling doesn’t already exist (except Maine) have expressed opposition to opening their coastlines to the oil and gas industry. In case efforts to exempt their states are unsuccessful, lawmakers in California, New York and New Jersey are pushing legislation that would make new offshore drilling in federal waters as difficult as possible.

Resistance to the plan has been expressed by at least 130 organizations along the Eastern Seaboard, including groups that support conservation, wildlife, clean water and political action.

The risk of oil spills, which could destroy the environment for a wide area, as it has in the Gulf, is a major cause of opposition. 

Seismic air guns that fire intense blasts of compressed air every 10 to 12 seconds 24 hours a day for months on end will disrupt and displace marine life, including whales, which rely on sound to find food and mates, sea turtles and many fish and shellfish species, including those of commercial importance. 

Drilling and processing infrastructure along the shoreline and in nearby areas will limit tourist and recreational activities.

• Tourism, with fishing and other industries that depend on clean, oil-free water and beaches, supports nearly 320,000 jobs, which could be lost, with $5.6 billion from the tourism economy of Long Island.

The fossil fuel industries create five times fewer jobs than are created by the clean energy sector.

This proposal will slow our nation’s progress toward solving the climate change problem. The Fourth National Climate Assessment, mandated by Congress and released in November 2018, concluded that coastal communities and the ecosystems that support them are increasingly threatened by the impacts of climate change.

What can be done

Although dissent was expressed at many public hearings, it is likely that the Department of the Interior intends to carry out its offshore drilling plan. The League of Women Voters urges towns and villages that will be affected by drilling to pass memorializing resolutions to submit to the BOEM and its local elected officials. Riverhead, Southold, Shelter Island and Southampton towns in Suffolk County have already done so. (See a sample resolution at

Representative Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) of the 1st Congressional District has opposed the drilling plan at local meetings. Individuals should write, call or email him (30 Oak Street, Patchogue, NY 11772; 631-289-1097; to express their concerns about the need to protect our local economies and the environment.

Write to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), U.S. senators Chuck Schumer (D) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D) and your New York State senators and assemblypersons (visit for full contact details).

A revised plan, with a new period of public comment, may be released this month. If implemented, it will affect all of us. We can protest, as individuals. We should each also contact our town and village governments to ask them to adopt memorializing resolutions in opposition to the drilling in order to protect our oceans, our fishing industry, our tourism and our quality of life. Specific requests for action by many constituents are always more effective with elected officials … Act now!

Nancy Marr is first vice president of the League of Women Voters of Suffolk County, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, call 631-862-6860.