CCPC Pet First Aid Classes for May through July

bandage on dog model

A successful bandage.

Since June 2011, Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation has sponsored pet first aid introductory and certification classes in Bridgeville and surrounding communities in the south and west of Pittsburgh, taught by Karen Sable of Pet Emergency Training, LLC. Although there is usually a charge for attending these classes, Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation offers these sessions free of charge in an attempt to offer families the skills they can use to help save the life of their pet.

Upcoming classes

Currently scheduled classes are listed below, but new opportunities arise all the time as individuals and communities express an interest in hosting a class. For ongoing dates and times visit the Pet First Aid Classes page on the CCPC website or call Deb Chebatoris at 412-220-7800.

The next certification class is June 2 in Bridgeville, most other classes listed are introductory classes. Read a post about the difference between the two classes and my post about the certification class I attended. See below for details of date, time and place.

You need to register for each session by calling Deb Chebatoris at 412-220-7800. Space is limited, and registrations are taken first come, first served.

INTRODUCTORY CLASSES

Sunday, May 20, 2012, Washington, PA
Washington Area Humane Society
1527 Route 136, Eighty Four, PA 15330
Introductory Class, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012, Peters Township, PA
Peters Public Library
616 East McMurray Road  McMurray, PA 15317
Introductory Class, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

CERTIFICATION CLASSES

Saturday, June 2, 2012, Bridgeville, PA
Bridgeville Public Library

505 McMillen Street, Bridgeville, PA 15017
Certification Class, 11:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Sunday, July 22, 2012, Bridgeville, PA
West Allegheny Community Library

8042 Steubenville Pike, Oakdale, PA 15071
Certification Class, 12:00 to 4:30 p.m.

 

NOTE: Deb Chebatoris is a personal friend as well as the person who receives my cats for cremation, and is also one of my customers for design and promotion; I try to be unbiased.

————————————

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


CCPC Pet First Aid Classes for 2012

bandage on dog model

A successful bandage.

Deb Chebatoris doesn’t want to meet any new family until their pet has had a long, healthy life.

Last year she found she had to work with a number of families who lost young or otherwise healthy pets to an accidental death. “I have worked with families whose pet died after being caught and choked by the collar, who suffocated in a potato chip bag,” she continued. Not only does the family experience the loss but there is a lingering feeling that “if only…” they would have done this or that, the death may not have occurred.

She wondered if there was anything that Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation could do to prevent such tragedy, and the idea of Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation hosting pet first aid classes was born.

my pet certification

My certificate.

I attended the very first class Deb sponsored last year and am certified to provide my own pets with first aid, should they need it. I haven’t, before or since, had occasion to do so. However, one of the other benefits of the class for me has been simply possessing the knowledge of how to assess and treat, and this has greatly reduced my own fear at being in a situation and not knowing what to do.

Since June 2011, Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation has sponsored pet first aid introductory and certification classes in Bridgeville and surrounding communities in the south and west of Pittsburgh, taught by Karen Sable of Pet Emergency Training, LLC. Although there is usually a charge for attending these classes, Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation offers these sessions free of charge in an attempt to offer families the skills they can use to help save the life of their pet.

Most classes held in 2011 were introductory classes which review all the procedures but don’t teach the skills, and are 90 minutes vs. five hours, and attendance increased dramatically to over 30 students at one class. Obviously, people are interested and willing to learn how to provide first aid to their pets.

02 fur life kit

02 Fur Life kit donated to Bethel Park.

As Deb sat in on the classes she’d sponsored she kept hearing about “your pet first aid kit” advised by Karen, and decided she could put together an inexpensive basic one for people attending the classes. She did this, and in return students offered donations, which Deb and Karen used to purchase O2 Fur LifeTM pet oxygen mask kits to donate to the communities where the classes had been held. So far sets have been donated to Mt. Lebanon and Bethel Park; read more about this on the Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation blog, Animus under “The Pet First Aid Story”, a four-part series outlining the success and stories in hosting these classes.

Upcoming classes

Currently scheduled classes are listed below, but new opportunities arise all the time as individuals and communities express an interest in hosting a class. For ongoing dates and times visit the Pet First Aid Classes page on the CCPC website or call Deb Chebatoris at 412-220-7800.

The next certification class is June 2 in Bridgeville, all other classes listed are introductory classes. Read a post about the difference between the two classes and my post about the certification class I attended. See below for details of date, time and place.

You need to register for each session by calling Deb Chebatoris at 412-220-7800. Space is limited, and registrations are taken first come, first served.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012, Washington, PA
Citizen’s Library
55 South College Street, Washington, PA 15301
Introductory Class, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012, North Fayette, PA
Western Allegheny Community Library
8042 Steubenville Pike,
Oakdale, PA 15071
Introductory Class, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012, Moon Twp., PA
Moon Twp. Public Library
1700 Beaver Grade Road, Suite 100,
Moon Township, PA 15108-3109
Introductory Class, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012, Whitehall, PA
Whitehall Public Library
100 Borough Park Dr. Pittsburgh, PA 15236
Introductory Class, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012, Peters Township, PA
Peters Public Library
616 East McMurray Road McMurray, PA 15317
Introductory Class, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 2, 2012, Bridgeville, PA
Bridgeville Public Library

505 McMillen Street, Bridgeville, PA 15017
Certification Class, 11:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

NOTE: Deb Chebatoris is a personal friend as well as the person who receives my cats for cremation, and is also one of my customers for design and promotion; I try to be unbiased.

————————————

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Winter Pet Safety

two cats curled together

Karen's Tasha and Keegan enjoy the furnace vent © Karen Sable

by Karen  Sable, Guest Columnist

Winter is upon us and, while Western Pennsylvania has so far been spared any brutally cold weather or major blizzards, we know our luck can’t last, and that another “Snowmaggedon” could be just around the corner. In my last article I talked about some of the holiday hazards our pets can encounter. While the holidays have passed, the winter season itself requires some common sense precautions to help keep our furry family members healthy and safe.

Not all pets are “winter hardy”

It’s an unfortunate misconception that cats and dogs are equipped to handle the cold weather because they have fur. The truth is, unless your pet is well adapted to living outdoors, the cold weather can be just as hard on them as it is on us. If your pet normally only leaves the comfort of your home just long enough for a walk or some play time, they are not adapted to spending extended periods of time outdoors, and can become victims of cold injuries just as easily as we can.

Read the rest of this entry »


Holiday Pet Safety

black cat with lights

Fromage says, "Lights? What lights? I don't know how they got that way."

by Karen  Sable, Guest Columnist

The holidays are a special time of the year, filled with friends and family, parties and food, presents and decorations. The holiday season is also, unfortunately, one of the busiest times for emergency veterinary hospitals, since all of the festivities expose our furry family members to a multitude of dangers that can result in illness and injury.

As a loving pet parent, we naturally want to share the joy of the holidays with our pets. I don’t mind admitting that each of my six cats has a stocking hanging above the fireplace, and I know that “Santa Claws” will be bringing them presents since they all have been very good this year. (With the possible exception of Tasha, who decided to squeeze into a small crawlspace between my basement and first floor, forcing me to miss an event I was to attend while I completely dismantled the drop ceiling to get to her.)

To make sure that the holidays are a happy time for you and your pet, not a time for a trip to the animal hospital, it’s important to be aware of the seasonal dangers, and to take precautions to avoid exposing your pet to these potential hazards:

two tortoiseshell cats eating cheesecake filling

Two Naughty Torties Eating Cheesecake Filling

Food Related Items

  • Many of the yummy foods we enjoy during the holidays can cause problems for our pets. Rich, fatty foods can cause upset stomachs and even lead to pancreatitisChocolate, coffee, and tea contain components called xanthines which can damage dogs’ and cats’ nervous system and urinary system, and also over-stimulate their heart muscle. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are the worst, but to be safe, any chocolate, fudge, or other candy should be kept out of reach of your pet. Many people add raisins and nuts to their holiday cakes and cookies, but raisins and grapes can cause kidney damage, and Macadamia nuts can be toxic, affecting both the digestive and nervous systems. The artificial sweetener Xylitol, used in many “sugar free” baked goods, as well as in candy, gum, and even breath mints, can also be toxic. Uncooked meat, poultry, or fish can be a source of danger, as it may contain bacteria, such as E.coli, or even parasites. Even uncooked yeast dough, if eaten by a dog or cat, can cause serious problems. As it expands, it produces gas, which can not only cause considerable pain, but can even lead to a rupture of the stomach or intestines.
  • Don’t forget about bones from poultry, meat, or fish. Not only can they be a choking danger, but they can also splinter into jagged pieces and cause lacerations in the mouth, throat, and intestines. Dogs and cats have a great sense of smell, so even food/meat juices on aluminum foil or plastic wrap left on countertops can be very tempting, and can cause choking or an intestinal blockage.  The same goes for things like the strings used to wrap roasts.
  • Be sure not to leave food laying out where your pet can get to it, and make sure your garbage cans are also secure. “Dumpster diving” can be hazardous to your pet, as the garbage contains all kinds of hazards, from plastic wrap and bags, cooked and uncooked food trimmings, bones, 6-pack beverage holders, ribbons, tinsel, etc.
  • If you are serving any alcoholic beverages during the holidays, you also need to be careful to keep them away from your pet. Alcohol can cause serious intoxication, and can be fatal with just a small amount. Dogs and cats can be tempted by the sweet taste of drinks, such as eggnog, so make sure they are kept out of your pet’s reach, and that the glasses used for those drinks are not left laying around.
black cat with gift

Giuseppe investigates a gift.

Decorations and trees

  • Many of us fill our homes with beautiful decorations for the holidays, but these can be dangerous to our pets if some common sense precautions are not taken. If you are going to put up a Christmas tree, make sure it is in a stable stand, and secure it to a wall or window with twine or fishing line. I learned first hand a few years ago just how quickly one cat can topple a fully decorated tree I thought was secure in its stand, and I now tie my tree top to my drapery rod with fishing line.
  • Cats in particular are attracted to things like tinsel which, if  ingested, can cause blockages requiring surgery. If your tree is at all accessible to your pet, it would  probably be safest to avoid decorating it with tinsel or angel hair at all, and using a more pet friendly decoration. If you use any food items at all to decorate your tree, some caution is necessary.  Candy canes and gingerbread ornaments can be tempting. Likewise, garlands strung with popcorn or berries can pose choking hazards or cause obstructions if ingested.
  • Be careful with any ornaments you place on the tree. Glass ornaments can be knocked off and broken and cause cuts. Smaller ornaments can pose choking dangers. It’s better to place larger, non-breakable ornaments near the lower part of the tree where curious paws may reach. And, when hanging ornaments, be careful with the wire hooks. They can also be choking hazards, or can become imbedded in your pet’s mouth or esophagus.
  • Christmas tree needles can also pose a problem. Real tree needles are not only sharp, but can be toxic and cause mouth and stomach irritation, so make sure your pet does not chew on your tree branches, and promptly clean up needles as they fall. You also should be careful with any tree preservatives you may use. Many tree preservatives are sugar-based, so are tempting to pets. Not only can the chemicals in the tree preservative be toxic, but since the water remains in the stand for so long, it can harbor bacteria.  Some people simply drop a few aspirin in their tree water as a preservative, and we all know that aspirin can be toxic to pets.  The safest thing is to place some sort of covering over your tree stand to prevent your pet from being able to drink from it.
  • And don’t forget the electrical cords for the tree lights or other decorative lights around your home. Be sure to take precautions so that your pet doesn’t chew them. One suggestion is to spray the cords with a product like bitter apple to make them less attractive to curious pets.
  • You should also use some precautions with gift wrapping. Ribbon and yarn can be very tempting to cats especially, so don’t leave it laying around. If you place wrapped gifts under the tree, you may want to consider placing “scat mats’ around the tree to deter your pet from playing with them.
cat in Santa suit

Crystal plays Santa.

Holiday Plants

It turns out that poinsettas are not the deadly poisonous plant we once thought they were. However, its sap is still quite irritating, and can cause blistering in your pet’s mouth and gastrointestinal irritation if ingested, so some precaution is still in order if you have them around your home. Holly leaves and berries are actually more dangerous, and can be potentially fatal. Mistletoe can also cause upset stomachs, and can even lead to heart problems if ingested.  Even hibiscus can cause upset stomachs and diarrhea. To be safe, any plants placed in your home should be placed out of reach of your pet.

Presents

We also need to exercise caution with the gifts we give each other, as they can pose dangers to our pets. Aftershave and perfume are often popular gifts, but they contain alcohol, and may also contain oils which can be toxic to pets. Be sure to keep any such gifts tightly closed and out of reach of paws. Many gifts given and received these days run on batteries, from toys, to cell phones, to laptops and electronics, to anything with a remote control. The acid inside even a tiny battery which is used to prolong its life is corrosive. If chewed it can cause burns to your pet’s mouth, throat, and stomach. Even if it is swallowed whole, not only is it a choking hazard, but as it is digested the acid will leak out and cause serious potentially life-threatening problems. Be careful not to leave batteries laying around, and also take care that your pet does not chew anything containing batteries.  Even the packaging some gifts come in can be a potential danger.  The styrofoam peanuts or wire twist ties used to secure many items pose hazards for choking and intestinal blockage, and if ingested can land your pet in surgery.

black cat with catnip toy

Giuseppe sings the joys of catnip.

Potpourri

Believe it or not, potpourri is one of the more common causes of visits to pet ERs during the holidays. Many of us love to fill our homes with the scent of pine, or ginger bread, or pumpkin pie during the holidays. But that same fragrance that is so pleasant to us is also enticing to our pets. Both the liquid and the dry form of potpourri contain oils that can be toxic to our pets if ingested, and the dry form, like that that may be placed in bowls and set on tables, can be a choking hazard.  If using potpourri, be careful to keep it out of reach of pets.

The above information is certainly not intended as an all-inclusive list of the dangers that exist for our pets during the holidays. These are just some of the more common things that we all need to be aware of as we enjoy the holidays with our pets. With just some simple, common sense precautions, we can make sure that the holidays are filled with joy and happiness , and that a trip to the vet hospital is not among our holiday activities.

On behalf of myself and my furry family (Colby, Maddie, Jasper, Jasmine, Tasha, and Keegan), I wish you and yours the merriest of holiday seasons, and a happy, and safe, new year.

karen and dog

Karen with a friend's dog, Sequoia

About Karen Sable
Karen Sable, owner of Pet Emergency Training, LLC, completed the Pet Tech Instructor program in March, 2011 and teaches pet first aid classes in the Pittsburgh area. Karen is a trained responder with several national animal response/rescue teams, including American Humane’s Red Star Animal Emergency Services Team, United Animal Nations’ Emergency Animal Rescue Service, and Noah’s Wish Disaster Response Team. She is also a member of the PA/Allegheny County Animal Response Team, and a volunteer animal rescue transporter.

In addition to having a Veterinary Assistant diploma, Karen’s training certifications include Emergency Animal Sheltering, Large Animal Rescue, Animals in Disaster, Livestock in Disaster, Hazardous Materials, Incident Command and National Incident Management. As a former healthcare Human Resources Director, Karen now devotes her extensive training experience, and love of animals, to teaching pet care professionals and fellow pet parents the skills and knowledge that can save their pets and improve the quality of their pets’ lives. Visit her website at Pet Emergency Training, LLC.

An article by Karen on a timely pet first aid, wellness or disaster rescue topic will appear on The Creative Cat on the first Friday of every month.

November 2011: Senior Pets Make Great Friends!

October 2011: Help Your Pets to Stay Well

October 2011: The Snout-to-Tail Wellness Assessment

September 2011: Are Your Pets Prepared For An Emergency ?

Read more about Karen in The Creative Cat Welcomes Guest Columnist Karen Sable.


Holiday Pet Safety

black cat with lights

Fromage says, "Lights? What lights? I don't know how they got that way."

by Karen  Sable, Guest Columnist

The holidays are a special time of the year, filled with friends and family, parties and food, presents and decorations. The holiday season is also, unfortunately, one of the busiest times for emergency veterinary hospitals, since all of the festivities expose our furry family members to a multitude of dangers that can result in illness and injury.

As a loving pet parent, we naturally want to share the joy of the holidays with our pets. I don’t mind admitting that each of my six cats has a stocking hanging above the fireplace, and I know that “Santa Claws” will be bringing them presents since they all have been very good this year. (With the possible exception of Tasha, who decided to squeeze into a small crawlspace between my basement and first floor, forcing me to miss an event I was to attend while I completely dismantled the drop ceiling to get to her.)

To make sure that the holidays are a happy time for you and your pet, not a time for a trip to the animal hospital, it’s important to be aware of the seasonal dangers, and to take precautions to avoid exposing your pet to these potential hazards:

two tortoiseshell cats eating cheesecake filling

Two Naughty Torties Eating Cheesecake Filling

Food Related Items

  • Many of the yummy foods we enjoy during the holidays can cause problems for our pets. Rich, fatty foods can cause upset stomachs and even lead to pancreatitisChocolate, coffee, and tea contain components called xanthines which can damage dogs’ and cats’ nervous system and urinary system, and also over-stimulate their heart muscle. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are the worst, but to be safe, any chocolate, fudge, or other candy should be kept out of reach of your pet. Many people add raisins and nuts to their holiday cakes and cookies, but raisins and grapes can cause kidney damage, and Macadamia nuts can be toxic, affecting both the digestive and nervous systems. The artificial sweetener Xylitol, used in many “sugar free” baked goods, as well as in candy, gum, and even breath mints, can also be toxic. Uncooked meat, poultry, or fish can be a source of danger, as it may contain bacteria, such as E.coli, or even parasites. Even uncooked yeast dough, if eaten by a dog or cat, can cause serious problems. As it expands, it produces gas, which can not only cause considerable pain, but can even lead to a rupture of the stomach or intestines.
  • Don’t forget about bones from poultry, meat, or fish. Not only can they be a choking danger, but they can also splinter into jagged pieces and cause lacerations in the mouth, throat, and intestines. Dogs and cats have a great sense of smell, so even food/meat juices on aluminum foil or plastic wrap left on countertops can be very tempting, and can cause choking or an intestinal blockage.  The same goes for things like the strings used to wrap roasts.
  • Be sure not to leave food laying out where your pet can get to it, and make sure your garbage cans are also secure. “Dumpster diving” can be hazardous to your pet, as the garbage contains all kinds of hazards, from plastic wrap and bags, cooked and uncooked food trimmings, bones, 6-pack beverage holders, ribbons, tinsel, etc.
  • If you are serving any alcoholic beverages during the holidays, you also need to be careful to keep them away from your pet. Alcohol can cause serious intoxication, and can be fatal with just a small amount. Dogs and cats can be tempted by the sweet taste of drinks, such as eggnog, so make sure they are kept out of your pet’s reach, and that the glasses used for those drinks are not left laying around.
black cat with gift

Giuseppe investigates a gift.

Decorations and trees

  • Many of us fill our homes with beautiful decorations for the holidays, but these can be dangerous to our pets if some common sense precautions are not taken. If you are going to put up a Christmas tree, make sure it is in a stable stand, and secure it to a wall or window with twine or fishing line. I learned first hand a few years ago just how quickly one cat can topple a fully decorated tree I thought was secure in its stand, and I now tie my tree top to my drapery rod with fishing line.
  • Cats in particular are attracted to things like tinsel which, if  ingested, can cause blockages requiring surgery. If your tree is at all accessible to your pet, it would  probably be safest to avoid decorating it with tinsel or angel hair at all, and using a more pet friendly decoration. If you use any food items at all to decorate your tree, some caution is necessary.  Candy canes and gingerbread ornaments can be tempting. Likewise, garlands strung with popcorn or berries can pose choking hazards or cause obstructions if ingested.
  • Be careful with any ornaments you place on the tree. Glass ornaments can be knocked off and broken and cause cuts. Smaller ornaments can pose choking dangers. It’s better to place larger, non-breakable ornaments near the lower part of the tree where curious paws may reach. And, when hanging ornaments, be careful with the wire hooks. They can also be choking hazards, or can become imbedded in your pet’s mouth or esophagus.
  • Christmas tree needles can also pose a problem. Real tree needles are not only sharp, but can be toxic and cause mouth and stomach irritation, so make sure your pet does not chew on your tree branches, and promptly clean up needles as they fall. You also should be careful with any tree preservatives you may use. Many tree preservatives are sugar-based, so are tempting to pets. Not only can the chemicals in the tree preservative be toxic, but since the water remains in the stand for so long, it can harbor bacteria.  Some people simply drop a few aspirin in their tree water as a preservative, and we all know that aspirin can be toxic to pets.  The safest thing is to place some sort of covering over your tree stand to prevent your pet from being able to drink from it.
  • And don’t forget the electrical cords for the tree lights or other decorative lights around your home. Be sure to take precautions so that your pet doesn’t chew them. One suggestion is to spray the cords with a product like bitter apple to make them less attractive to curious pets.
  • You should also use some precautions with gift wrapping. Ribbon and yarn can be very tempting to cats especially, so don’t leave it laying around. If you place wrapped gifts under the tree, you may want to consider placing “scat mats’ around the tree to deter your pet from playing with them.
cat in Santa suit

Crystal plays Santa.

Holiday Plants

It turns out that poinsettas are not the deadly poisonous plant we once thought they were. However, its sap is still quite irritating, and can cause blistering in your pet’s mouth and gastrointestinal irritation if ingested, so some precaution is still in order if you have them around your home. Holly leaves and berries are actually more dangerous, and can be potentially fatal. Mistletoe can also cause upset stomachs, and can even lead to heart problems if ingested.  Even hibiscus can cause upset stomachs and diarrhea. To be safe, any plants placed in your home should be placed out of reach of your pet.

Presents

We also need to exercise caution with the gifts we give each other, as they can pose dangers to our pets. Aftershave and perfume are often popular gifts, but they contain alcohol, and may also contain oils which can be toxic to pets. Be sure to keep any such gifts tightly closed and out of reach of paws. Many gifts given and received these days run on batteries, from toys, to cell phones, to laptops and electronics, to anything with a remote control. The acid inside even a tiny battery which is used to prolong its life is corrosive. If chewed it can cause burns to your pet’s mouth, throat, and stomach. Even if it is swallowed whole, not only is it a choking hazard, but as it is digested the acid will leak out and cause serious potentially life-threatening problems. Be careful not to leave batteries laying around, and also take care that your pet does not chew anything containing batteries.  Even the packaging some gifts come in can be a potential danger.  The styrofoam peanuts or wire twist ties used to secure many items pose hazards for choking and intestinal blockage, and if ingested can land your pet in surgery.

black cat with catnip toy

Giuseppe sings the joys of catnip.

Potpourri

Believe it or not, potpourri is one of the more common causes of visits to pet ERs during the holidays. Many of us love to fill our homes with the scent of pine, or ginger bread, or pumpkin pie during the holidays. But that same fragrance that is so pleasant to us is also enticing to our pets. Both the liquid and the dry form of potpourri contain oils that can be toxic to our pets if ingested, and the dry form, like that that may be placed in bowls and set on tables, can be a choking hazard.  If using potpourri, be careful to keep it out of reach of pets.

The above information is certainly not intended as an all-inclusive list of the dangers that exist for our pets during the holidays. These are just some of the more common things that we all need to be aware of as we enjoy the holidays with our pets. With just some simple, common sense precautions, we can make sure that the holidays are filled with joy and happiness , and that a trip to the vet hospital is not among our holiday activities.

On behalf of myself and my furry family (Colby, Maddie, Jasper, Jasmine, Tasha, and Keegan), I wish you and yours the merriest of holiday seasons, and a happy, and safe, new year.

karen and dog

Karen with a friend's dog, Sequoia

About Karen Sable
Karen Sable, owner of Pet Emergency Training, LLC, completed the Pet Tech Instructor program in March, 2011 and teaches pet first aid classes in the Pittsburgh area. Karen is a trained responder with several national animal response/rescue teams, including American Humane’s Red Star Animal Emergency Services Team, United Animal Nations’ Emergency Animal Rescue Service, and Noah’s Wish Disaster Response Team. She is also a member of the PA/Allegheny County Animal Response Team, and a volunteer animal rescue transporter.

In addition to having a Veterinary Assistant diploma, Karen’s training certifications include Emergency Animal Sheltering, Large Animal Rescue, Animals in Disaster, Livestock in Disaster, Hazardous Materials, Incident Command and National Incident Management. As a former healthcare Human Resources Director, Karen now devotes her extensive training experience, and love of animals, to teaching pet care professionals and fellow pet parents the skills and knowledge that can save their pets and improve the quality of their pets’ lives. Visit her website at Pet Emergency Training, LLC.

An article by Karen on a timely pet first aid, wellness or disaster rescue topic will appear on The Creative Cat on the first Friday of every month.

November 2011: Senior Pets Make Great Friends!

October 2011: Help Your Pets to Stay Well

October 2011: The Snout-to-Tail Wellness Assessment

September 2011: Are Your Pets Prepared For An Emergency ?

Read more about Karen in The Creative Cat Welcomes Guest Columnist Karen Sable.


Cookie’s Little Incident, Senior Kitties, and Keeping Your Pets Well

tortoiseshell cat in autumn leaves

"Aha," Cookie says, "the season has finally come around to coordinating with me."

Happily sunning herself in a patch of sunlight on the leaf-covered ground, Cookie approves of the season and how it coordinates with her fur color and pattern.

But Cookie had a little health issue this week, perhaps a minor thing for a younger cat but at age 19 anything can become serious. It turns out she had an abscess under her chin which may have originated in her mouth—her teeth have always been a problem—or may have been an infection on her chin itself.

Cookie and I enjoyed our morning visit to the back yard on Tuesday, November 1, but while I was photographing her in the autumn leaves (the “Autumn Leaf Queen”) I kept studying her face; something wasn’t right. Most of us will notice when something familiar is different even if we can’t identify the difference. Artist that I am, I am always grateful for the ability to remember details, especially when it comes to my cats and their health. I’ve been looking at Cookie for 19 years, and though she’s been changing more rapidly in the past two years with age finally taking its toll on her muscle mass, hyperthyroidism and mild chronic renal failure changing her body’s shape, how she moves, how she talks, I still know her face pretty well from one day to the next. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I photograph her multiple times each day so I actually have a record as well. Read the rest of this entry »


Senior Pets Make Great Friends!

tri-color cat

Despite her expression, Lacey was very grateful to have adopted Karen.

by Karen  Sable, Guest Columnist

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for senior pets. When I visit a shelter or browse the listings on Petfinder, I certainly love the young puppies and kittens, but I am usually drawn to the senior pets. To me their eyes seem to reflect a wisdom, and what I call a “soulfulness”. Plus, I know that they are less likely to be adopted, and I have always been inclined to favor the “underdog”. Over the past twenty or so years, I have become the “mother” to ten cats. While some younger ones chose me by showing up in my yard and deciding they would move in, of those that I made a conscious decision to go and adopt, all were seniors.

Read the rest of this entry »