Two exciting dog events will be taking place in Rumsey Park on Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20 -- Flyball and Rally.
Flyball is an amazing, noisy, extremely fast-paced sport consisting of relay teams of four dogs jumping over jumps, activating the ball release, catching the ball and returning back to the starting line where the next dog is waiting eagerly to be released to run. Flyball races will be ongoing from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Hosted by the INXS flyball team and Payson resident Jonnie Geen, this is a North American Flyball Association sanctioned tournament. Some of the fastest teams and the most highly trained and conditioned dogs in the Southwest will be here to attempt to claim 2007 champion titles.
The event will be held in the ballpark across from the library and admission is free. There will be a raffle to benefit the Payson Humane Society building fund. Payson Humane Society and PAWS in the Park will have booths selling raffle tickets for a quilt and other dog and people items. Spectators can bring their dogs, but they must be under control and stay out of the racing area. If you have never seen flyball, don't miss this event.
A Rally Fun Day will take place in the Payson Off-Leash Dog Park on Saturday, May 19. Rally is a new and enjoyable dog sport in which dog and handler navigate a course consisting of 10 to 20 signs indicating specific exercises to be performed. You and your dogs are welcome to practice and play. Registration begins at7:15 a.m. and introductions, instructions and walk-throughs run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Troy Ballard, a Rally teacher and competitor in the Valley, will instruct and guide dogs and their people through the course. Dogs with some obedience training, a decent sit, down and stay and a reasonable heel will love the opportunity to try the course with their handlers. There is a $3 donation for each run-through. This event is sponsored by Payson Parks and Recreation and PAWS in the Park.
Recently, I have heard talk of cases of parvo, both in Phoenix and Payson. Parvovirus is extremely serious. Many wrongly believe it is a disease only for puppies. From the Web site of the American Veterinary Medical Association, here are the facts: "Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious and serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the gastrointestinal tract of puppies, dogs and wild canines. It was first identified in 1978 and is now seen worldwide. It can also damage the heart muscle in very young and unborn puppies."
Parvo is spread mainly through the feces of an infected dog. It can survive for long periods of time, and can be carried from place to place on the hair or feet of dogs or through contaminated kennels, shoes or bedding.
All dogs are at risk, but puppies less than 4 months old that have not been vaccinated are at great risk. Certain breeds, including Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers appear to have a higher risk.
Signs of parvo include lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, vomiting and severe, often bloody diarrhea. Vomiting and diarrhea can cause rapid dehydration and death most often occurs within 48 to 72 hours from the onset of symptoms.
Immediate veterinary attention is vital.
All dogs should be vaccinated regularly for parvovirus. Regular visits to your veterinarian will keep your dog protected. Do not allow your puppy or dogs to come in contact with the fecal waste of other dogs. Immediate cleanup and disposal of waste is important to avoid the spread of parvo.
And then there are ticks. Living up here in Strawberry for seven years, rarely have I found a tick. This year, I found several, enough to cause me to treat my dogs with a preventative. According to the AMVA Web site, ticks are found in shrubbery, brush and wild undergrowth.
"Ticks have a four-stage life cycle and immature ticks often feed on small animals found in forests. Adult ticks seek larger hosts like dogs and cats who venture into these habitats. Tick exposure may be seasonal, depending on geographic location."
Ticks are most often found on our dogs and cats around the ears and neck and in the folds between the legs and body or between the toes. Tick bites can cause skin irritations but also, they can spread serious infectious diseases to pets and people. Ticks should be removed immediately using a tweezers to firmly grip the tick as close to the pet's skin as possible and pulling it free. Dropping the ticks into a dish of alcohol will ensure that they will not bite again.
Pets that are at risk for ticks should be treated with a tick preventative. Your veterinarian can recommend a suitable product. If you travel, hike or camp in wooded areas, treat your pets with the preventative and check them over frequently and carefully.
I have a new hose. I unwrapped it yesterday, unwinding the twisty ties that tied it to the cardboard. In full color on the front side are all the good things about this hose. I just happened to read the fine print on the back side. There is a warning that says, "This hose contains chemical(s), including lead, known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm. Do not drink from this hose. Wash hands after use." That was a rather frightening revelation. Some think it is silly while others are concerned.
How often do you fill the dog's water dish, water the vegetables that you will eat and fill the birdbath using the hose? Are we killing ourselves, our pets and the wild animals that depend on us? This will be a future column. In the meantime, I will disconnect the hose when I fill the dog's water dishes.
-- Christy Powers can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by snail mail at HC1 Box 210, Strawberry, AZ 85544.