Come out and enjoy Bark in the Park

There's money to be made in scooping poop

It may be September, but the dog days of summer are still here.
That’s because in two weeks, we’re all going to San Jose’s 15th
annual Bark in the Park, arguably the most popular canine event in
Northern California.
It may be September, but the dog days of summer are still here. That’s because in two weeks, we’re all going to San Jose’s 15th annual Bark in the Park, arguably the most popular canine event in Northern California.

Last year, some 3,700 dogs and 15,000 dog-lovers gathered at William Street Park in San Jose for this canine carnival. The event this year is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 17 and it benefits the Humane Society of Silicon Valley and the San Jose Animal Care Center. Even if you don’t have a dog, come watch some of the demonstrations (there’s sheep herding and agility course events). Check out the contests (including a dog/owner look-alike and tail-wagging competition). You’ll learn about different dog breeds and maybe even get some free vet advice. Bark in the Park has more info at their website www.barksanjose.org.

Q:

Hank, our 6-year-old mutt has a pink lump on his cheek that has been slowly getting bigger. Now it’s about the size of a large coffee bean. The vet took a needle sample that was sent to a lab. The diagnosis came back inconclusive, but they think it might be something called a histiocytoma (I understand this is a benign tumor). We’re not sure what we should do now. Should we just forget about it or have it tested again?

A:

Lab reports like this are very frustrating for both the pet’s family and the veterinarian. Needle aspiration samples (where material is removed from the inside the growth) are sometimes difficult to interpret. Whole tissue or partial tissue samples usually give the pathologist a better chance to make a definitive diagnosis.

Hank’s growth may be a histiocytoma. But there are other, more serious tumors that look very similar. So you can’t safely assume that this is a benign growth based on the lab report. Here’s another option that you should consider.

More than likely, this growth needs to be removed. So you might want your veterinarian to remove the lump, then send it in for analysis. There are some risks here and you should discuss these with your vet. But in the end, at least you’ll have a better chance for a final diagnosis and hopefully you can free yourself from worry.

Q:

Our dog likes to stick his head out the window of our car when we take him for a ride. I worry that something might get in his eye, but my friends tell me it’s all right and he enjoys doing it so much. What do you think?

A:

Eye and ear injuries happen all the time to dogs that hang out the window of a moving car. But here’s another risk that many people overlook. My friend, “Tom”, was going down a country road while his pooch, Harry, hung his head out the window. In a split second, Harry was out the car, running down the road. Tom’s not sure if it was a cat, squirrel or rabbit. But whatever caught Harry’s attention, he went after it, and was last seen chasing it across a large field into the nearby orchard. Tom lost Harry that day; he never found him after hours of looking.

But there’s a happy ending to all this. The following day, someone brought a rather tired and dirty Harry into the local animal shelter. His microchip ID had made it easy to reunite him with Tom. Harry still goes everywhere in the car. But he never hangs out the window anymore.

Q:

Rocky, our 18-year-old fuzzy kitty is starting to slow down. I realize now that at some point, I’ll have to decide when it’s time to make “that” decision. Euthanasia scares me … a lot. But I know it will be the right thing to do at the right time. Here’s my question. I can’t decide whether I should stay with Rocky when this time comes. Should I stay and hold him? Or will that just add to his and my stress?

A:

Kudos to you for thinking ahead and planning out what most of us dread. But you shouldn’t be intimidated by euthanasia. It’s a peaceful process that allows a pet to pass with dignity, free of pain and suffering. Euthanasia is a gift. It’s quiet and peaceful. Done properly, it’s also quick and the patient is unaware as he or she falls asleep. For a few pet owners, “being there” is a good option. But most people don’t stay with their pet when euthanasia is necessary, and for good reason. It can be emotionally draining. If you are overly emotional, you might upset Rocky, causing him a great deal of stress.

Call and talk with one of your vet’s staff to find out their procedures. Ask questions. Then if you feel you want to be there with your fuzzy guy, you’ll be prepared for it. Otherwise, I suggest that you remain out of the room during the procedure. If you wish, you can ask the staff for a few private moments in the room with Rocky after he has passed. This might help you feel better about your decision.

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