Animals

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Jilly Bear. Photo courtesy of Kent Animal Shelter

MEET JILLY BEAR!

This week’s featured shelter pet is Jilly Bear, a 1-year-old Lab mix rescued from the hurricane-ravaged Bahamas and now safe and sound at Kent Animal Shelter.

Jilly Bear was flown into Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach last week with 20 other dogs. Kent took four of these pups, and the rest were sent to other rescue groups. Jilly Bear is a sweetheart and would love nothing more than to have her own loving home. Come on down to visit with her! She is spayed, microchipped, up to date on all her vaccines and ready for a new life with a loving family.

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on Jilly Bear and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

Niki Halloway secures the cage of a dog being airlifted out of Bahamas to safety.

During the first week of September, the nation watched as Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas. Thousands of people have been left without homes, and many have also lost contact with their pet dogs. Some animals were lost in the storm, while other dogs may have been left behind as families attempted to reach safety.  

Animal organizations estimate that hundreds of dogs in the Bahamas are now in need of being brought to safety and provided with medical care and food. 

Guardians of Rescue, a Smithtown nonprofit that specializes in bringing together people and dogs in need, has stepped in to help. It’s bringing in the stranded dogs on chartered planes from the Bahamas to safe spots in Florida and New York.

The animal rescue organization reports that it initially brought back its first 30 dogs Sept. 9. A second flight took off 24 hours later and more flights are scheduled in the days ahead, the group said, until all of the abandoned animals are in safe haven in the United States. They initially planned to eventually relocate 98 pets, but now have created a rescue network to save more animals. 

“We are no strangers to helping dogs in dire situations, this is exactly why our organization exists,” explained Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue. “We will do everything we can to help as many dogs as we are able to, but we can’t do it without the help of the public. This is going to be a very costly endeavor, so we can use all the financial assistance we can get.”

The organization has started a website fundraiser for the cause. It’s goal is to raise $20,000 and has so far received close to $6,000 in donations.

The organization is working with Chella Phillips, a Nassau, Bahamas, resident, who manages The Voiceless Dogs of Nassau. She took in nearly 100 stray dogs when the storm was approaching to provide them with a safe place. Her story went viral in the news and on social media. 

The Smithtown organization has also teamed up with two other nonprofits for the mission, Animal Aid USA, based in New Jersey, and Animal Wellness Foundation in Los Angeles to help prepare and load the dogs for a flight to Florida. The relationship has allowed for transportation of the dogs to a safe place and has enabled the people in the Bahamas to take in more abandoned dogs.  

The networks’s overarching goal is to take in displaced pets and either return them to their owners or place unclaimed pets up for adoption, according to Lorenzo Borghese, founder and president of Animal Aid. Animals shipped to the U.S. are fed and receive a health examination and undergo a two-week quarantine until they find the animals permanent homes. 

“We are on a mission to help these animals, and we hope that the community will help support the mission,” said Misseri. “There are many dogs in need of food, medicine, shelter and permanent loving homes. Together, we can make a wonderful difference.”

Misseri added that animals that have already made the trip to America are still quarantined and not yet ready for adoption. People interested in adopting a pet should monitor the guardian website at www.guardiansofrescue.org. Misseri expects adoption information should be available in the days and weeks ahead. 

To donate to the Bahamas cause visit: https://guardiansofrescue.networkforgood.com/projects/80292.

Guardians of Rescue provides assistance to animals out on the streets. They are located in the Village of the Branch and also have a chapter in Miami, but they help animals in many places beyond their chapter locations. Their members are also involved with Paws of War, which helps train service dogs for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. 

wood peweee

By John Turner

This article is devoted to wood pewees everywhere.

The species names spill off the tongue quickly — “Oh, that’s a pink lady’s slipper … or a green darner … or a round-leaved sundew or great-crested flycatcher. Perhaps its a brook trout … or eastern chipmunk or a diamondback terrapin.” These names, and hundreds of thousands of others, are the scientifically established common names for these creatures, useful because they help to establish order, definition and identity. After all, we humans like to give every living thing a name as a means to begin to understand it and by so doing, legitimize its existence.

But these common names are almost always stated matter of factly, as if they are nothing more than dry words with nothing behind them. There’s no appreciation for the fascinating information these names convey, no thought about the creative and colorful descriptors they contain, illuminating some interesting aspect of the species. We say “diamondback terrapin” but fail to visualize the stunning concentric-ringed design of the diamond-shaped scutes on its top shell.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the “color” behind common names, relishing the rich universe of descriptive choices. Take the group of wildflowers known as “goldenrods” blooming now throughout Suffolk County. I smile just saying the name. I could struggle for hours, and would utterly fail, attempting to come up with a more apt and succinct name to describe this group of upright, buttery-yellow wildflowers common to Long Island’s fields and roadsides. Indeed, these plants are golden-colored with rodlike upright stems.

Many of the common names of species are descriptive to coloration — the white-throated sparrow has a bright white throat patch and the rufous-sided towhee has flanks the color of a brick, bathed in the warm light of sunset. Want to guess the color of a blue shark, white ibis or scarlet tanager? The color of the throat patch of a ruby-throated hummingbird? How about the skin and plumage patterns on a spotted salamander, barred owl or reticulated python?

Still, others names describe places where the species was first discovered or is most abundant. Thus, you have Cape May and Tennessee warblers, Mississippi kite, Carolina wren and Florida scrub-jay.

One species with a misperception regarding the geography of its common name is the Baltimore oriole. It gained its name not through its abundance or being first identified in Baltimore, Maryland, but rather from the fact the bird’s bright orange and black plumage matched the colors on the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore.

And then there’s the easy ones to understand — common names established to honor or recognize some person of prominence or fame. Hence, we have Wilson’s warbler and phalarope (Alexander Wilson has four North American birds named after him, more than any other person), Henslow’s sparrow, Swainson’s hawk and Audubon’s shearwater (what a great description of the bird’s flight habit of cutting the ocean’s surface with its wing tips as it dynamically soars in search of food).   

Still other names convey information about some anatomical or physical aspect of the organism; thus, you have weeping willow, shagbark hickory, gull-billed tern, scissor-tailed flycatcher and rough-stemmed goldenrod. And for sea creatures how can we ignore bottlenose dolphins or humpback whales?

Adding to the richness of species’ official common names are the numerous unofficial, alternative names associated with these species.  So for dodder, a golden-yellow parasitic vine common in Island fields and meadows where it grows in tangles atop other wildflowers, we have the following common names: hairweed, lady’s laces, wizard’s net, goldthread, angel hair, witches’ hair, devil’s hair, pull-down, strangleweed and my favorite devil’s guts.

If you want a bird example look no further than other names for the American woodcock: timberdoodle, whistling snipe, big mud snipe, mud bat, night peck, night partridge, bog-borer, bog Sucker, bog-bird, wood snipe, wood hen, siphon snipe, the whistler, hookum pake and the Labrador twister.

Dragonflies are a great group, filled with species having impressive and expressive common names. The group name of “dragonflies” is colorful enough — they must appear to be a flying, fire-breathing monster to any smaller airborne insect. Thus, we have ferocious and formidable dragonfly names such as sanddragons, sundragons, shadowdragons, snaketails, meadowhawks, pondhawks and dragon hunters (they like to eat other dragonflies). Contrast them with their diminutive, nonthreatening winged cousins, the damselflies, who have members with these names: jewel wings, bluets, spreadwings, rubyspots and, of course, the “dancers.” What damsel in distress wouldn’t want to be rescued by these gossamer-winged creatures?

The most colorful and descriptive common names of all? Moths are the best, hands down, reaching new levels in imagination, revealing that lepidopterists have quite the sense of humor. Lest you think I’m making this up go on the internet and check out the following moth species, found in the eastern United States, that have been formally described by science and given these names: the old maid, the thinker, the laugher, abrupt brother, the joker, and there’s the elegant prominent, hooked silver Y, sebaceous Hebrew character, striped chocolate-tip, approachable sallow, afflicted dagger, owl-eyed bird-dropping moth, sharp angle shades, the slowpoke, grateful midget and cloaked marvel.

Then there’s the intractable Quaker and the cynical Quaker, grieving woodland, the German cousin and the nutmeg. Lastly, there’s stormy arches and if you like this one, how about stormy’s cousins: neighborly arches, disparaged arches, bridled arches, explicit arches, laudable arches and implicit arches.

Let’s close with my all-time favorite common name, the wood pewee, a neo-tropical migrant that overwinters in South America. Living up to his spritely name he’s a small, nondescript flycatcher, whistling his distinctive up-slurred “pee-awee” from the end of a dead tree branch in the middle of a Long Island forest. His name defines his essence.

What’s your favorite name?

A resident of Setauket, John Turner is conservation chair of the Four Harbors Audubon Society, author of “Exploring the Other Island: A Seasonal Nature Guide to Long Island” and president of Alula Birding & Natural History Tours.

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Dogs are incredibly stupid. OK, now that I’ve got your attention, I realize that not all dogs lack intelligence. Lassie and Balto both saved the day.

I suspect many dogs, like mine who is now 1 year old, are only as smart as their training.

And they need something almost as often as a young child. What’s the matter, boy? You need to go out? Why are you barking, buddy? Do you see a squirrel? Is the neighbor out watering the grass again? That’s OK, you don’t need to bark at him every time he takes out the hose.

Recently, my wife made chocolate chip cookies. She says that we make them together, but my only job is to put them in the oven, wait for them to rise a bit, make sure the edges are cooked and then allow them to finish baking while they cool on the hot tray. She’s the master chef and I am the cookie flash fryer.

Anyway, the house was starting to develop that wonderful baked goods smell. My wife, son and I were eagerly awaiting the moment when I could bring the hot plate to the master bed, where we could make “mmm” noises at each other as we talked about the day and compared this batch to the ones we had a few months ago, as if we were reviewers on a cooking show.

The young dog has gotten used to the routine. He stands in the kitchen with his ears pitched forward, waiting for his best friend gravity to deliver something to him on the floor, which is, generally, his domain. He follows us back and forth to get the ingredients from the pantry and then to bring those ingredients back.

At 85 pounds, he is a large dog and his eye level has gotten closer to the mixer and the ingredients. We try to push everything to the middle of the island in the kitchen.

After doling out the hot cookies onto a plate into the shape of an edible pyramid, I left the room for a moment. When I returned, I shouted in astonishment. The dog had his front legs on the high counter and was reaching his long neck, tongue and head as far as he could. He had devoured half the plate.

After admonishing him for eating food that wasn’t his and that was dangerous, I locked him in a room without carpets and called the vet, who asked if I could give an exact number of chips he ate. Of course I couldn’t, which meant I had to bring him in, where the vet would empty the chocolate the dog had stolen.

My wife joined me for our evening adventure. After a few moments, the vet brought our surprisingly happy dog to us in a waiting room and told us he’d also eaten some plastic and a bottle cap. She allayed my embarrassment by telling me that her colleague’s dog — she’s a vet, remember — has had five operations because of the nonfood he’s swallowed that has blocked his system. Her colleague’s dog now wears a satellite dish around his head. While the reception is terrible, he doesn’t need emergency procedures anymore.

For all the frustration, the cleaning, the shedding, the wet dog smell, our dog is more than happy to have me, my family member, or the neighbor on the left with the garden hose or on the right with a howling dog, run hands through his wonderfully soft fur. He may not be the smartest or easiest dog on the block, but he is ours and we do get some perks here and there, in between rescuing half chewed flip-flops and slippers.

Josie the bulldog, the organization’s mascot, is resting up for this Sunday's fundraiser.

By David Luces

For the seventh year running, the Long Island Bulldog Rescue will host its Barbecue and Yard Sale fundraiser on Sunday, Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be held at 304 Frowein Road in Center Moriches on the grounds of a horse farm.

“The fundraiser helps us cover the cost of medical bills and other services for these dogs,” explained Laurette Richin, executive director of LIBR. “It also allows us to educate people on the breed and it brings in people who are interested in either fostering or adopting.”

A number of bulldogs will be on hand for visitors to meet and interact with, as well as volunteers to answer questions.

Richin said while the Stony Brook based organization serves areas of the Northeast, the majority of bulldogs they take in are found on Long Island, which increases the need for them to find local foster homes and individuals who are willing to adopt.

The executive director said before adopting individuals should consider making sure a dog will fit their lifestyle and that they are ready to take on a full-time responsibility.

“There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about this breed,” she said. “Many believe that bulldogs are good for apartment dwellers — they are not necessarily couch potatoes.”

Richin mentioned bulldogs become very attached to their owners and said potential adopters should also consider how they may fit in with young children and other dogs or cats.

For the past 20 years Richin along with LIBR volunteers have rescued thousands of bulldogs; last year alone they saved 340.

For Richin, it all began when she was asked to stop by the Little Shelter Animal Rescue to check on an older bulldog. When she looked at the dog’s teeth she realized it was a puppy that was atrophied due to being in a crate all the time.

“I was leaving the shelter and I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I was like, I can’t leave it there,” she said.

Richin went back and took the dog home and helped nurse it back to health.

“It feels great to be able to help these dogs, it’s just wonderful,” the executive director said. “We’ve been grateful to the people that have donated to us over the years.”

The fundraiser will include a yard sale, a mobile dog grooming van from Jill’s Pet Spa, face painting, a Frisbee contest, a bake sale, raffles, mystery boxes, a visit from Jester Jim and a duck race. The barbecue will include hot dogs, hamburgers and pasta salad for sale donated by event sponsors Iavarone Brothers.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward providing medical, behavioral and other services to save the lives of bulldogs. Admission is free and the rain date is Sept. 22. For more information on LIBR visit www.longislandbulldogrescue.org.

MEET MELODY!

This week’s featured shelter pet is Melody, an 8-month-old, tortoiseshell kitten with beautiful green eyes. Melody is extremely sweet and friendly and loves to cuddle. She would be a great addition to a family with children.

Melody is spayed, microchipped and is up to date on all her vaccines.

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on Melody and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

Photo courtesy of Kent Animal Shelter

Canine heart disease is prevalent in larger dogs like golden retrievers. Stock photo

By Matthew Kearns, DVM

Dr. Matthew Kearns

I recently had a pet owner come in and ask me what I knew about the list of FDA-banned diets for dogs. I felt I’d better not be behind the times, so time to do some research.

I took a quick trip to the FDA’s website and found the article to which all the hub-bub was linked. What I found was that the FDA did not ban any diets but did list 16 brands of dog food that were linked to 500 cases of a heart condition called dilatory cardiomyopathy, or DCM for short. The study ran from 2014 to 2019. I will not list the 16 diets, but they can be found on the FDA’s official website in the report.

I need to start with a disclaimer that there is no current evidence to link grain-free diets and heart disease, but here’s what we know so far: New studies have found that some dogs on grain-free diets are more at risk for canine DCM.

DCM is a heart condition where the heart muscle becomes thin and the heart dilates, or the chambers of the heart expand. Unfortunately, as the heart dilates, the heart becomes an inefficient pump and the patient goes into heart failure. The lung and abdomen then fill with fluid, making it impossible to breathe and, without treatment, is fatal. Even with treatment the patient’s life span is reduced dramatically.

Why would grain-free diets cause this? The link seems to be taurine.

Taurine is an amino acid, or building block of protein, that is essential for normal heart function. It is found in higher concentrations in muscle of animals including red meats, poultry and seafood. Plants contain very little to no taurine. The lowest concentrations of taurine are found in legumes (peas, chick peas), potatoes and other plants. Some dog foods are supplemented with taurine and some are not.

In 2018, A study led by Dr. Joshua Stern (a veterinary cardiologist at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine) found a higher number of DCM in golden retrievers. Stern also discovered that many of these patients were on a grain-free diet and had abnormally low taurine levels.

In June of 2019 the FDA released a report that found 500 cases of DCM related to 16 diets. Golden retrievers were the most common breed affected. All of the diets listed were labeled “grain free” or contained legumes.

An actual link between grain-free diets and DCM has not been definitively established, but research is ongoing and I will update everyone as soon as I have more information.

Dr. Kearns practices veterinary medicine from his Port Jefferson office and is pictured with his son Matthew and his dog Jasmine. Have a question for the vet? Email it to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com to see his answer in an upcoming column

This week’s featured shelter pet is Winky, a 5-month-old orange tabby cat, currently up for adoption at Kent Animal Shelter. This handsome boy is playful and affectionate, loves children and is good with dogs. Winky enjoys being perched on a shoulder, while demanding love! He is very sweet and is ready for his forever home.

Winky is neutered, microchipped and is up to date on all his vaccines.

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on Winky and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

Photo courtesy of Kent Animal Shelter

Bird lovers gather at the Stone Bridge at Frank Melville Memorial Park to witness the common nighthawk migration. Photo from Four Harbors Audubon Society

Calling all bird lovers!

Migration has begun! Join Four Harbors Audubon Society at Frank Melville Memorial Park’s Stone Bridge to witness the exciting annual migration of the most beloved members of the nightjar family — the common nighthawk. Migration might be any or all days through early October. Join them from 5:30 p.m. until dusk as they conduct the third annual nighthawk census, and enjoy the show! The Stone Bridge is located at One Old Field Road, Setauket. For more information, email fourharborsheron@gmail.com.

Earl

EARL

Karen Silvestri of Melville snapped this photo of an egret that has been living in Oceanside for many years and is known to the locals as Earl. She writes, “Earl will let people photograph him without flying away. I used a zoom lens to capture this photo but for a bird of this species he was still close to me. Earl was about 20 feet away, which is surprisingly close for an egret, when I took this photo on July 27.”

Send your Photo of the Week to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com