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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Train your dog from a pup on up to be steady and comfortable in a boat. © Robert Queen

October 2007

Creature comforts

Politics and four-legged bedfellows.

Natasha Kassulke

Train your dog from a pup on up to be steady and comfortable in a boat.

© Robert Queen
A personal side to the presidential candidates
Pets with paunches
Black cats and bats
Bagging birds with Buddy

A personal side to the presidential candidates

seal.gif - 10701 BytesAccording to Political Insider, a collection of stories from the leading newspapers and news sources, and a poll conducted with the candidates by the Associated Press, here's a list of presidential candidates and their pets:


  • Hillary Clinton owns a chocolate lab named Seamus.
  • Bill Richardson has two tabby cats, Jackie and Squeaky.
  • John Edwards has a golden retriever and a chocolate lab.
  • Dennis Kucinich has a beagle-bassett named Harry, a beagle named Lucie and a cocker spaniel named George.
  • Joe Biden has a cat.
  • Chris Dodd and Barack Obama have no pets, though Obama has promised his kids a dog.


  • Mike Huckabee has a hunting dog, Jet, and a shih tzu, Sonic.
  • Mitt Romney's wife owns horses.
  • Sam Brownback has his two cats, a lab/blue heeler mix named Twinkle, a miniature Dachshund, Emma and a fish named Marvin Three.
  • John McCain owns three turtles, three parakeets, a ferret, two dogs (Sam, an English springer spaniel and Coco, a mutt), a cat and 13 saltwater fish.
  • Duncan Hunter has two black labs named Boo and Hunter
  • Rudy Giuliani, Tom Tancredo and Mitt Romney have no pets.

Pets with paunches

A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council indicates that about 25 percent of cats and dogs in the United States are obese. That should be a concern for pet owners since being overweight predisposes your pet to health risks including:

  • Heat stress
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Digestive problems
  • Heart, liver and breathing problems

While heredity or hormonal disorders may cause obesity in some pets, diet and exercise also may be factors. That's why it is best to work with your veterinarian to determine the cause of obesity in your pet and to monitor your pet's diet and make changes to lower-calorie foods as needed. And remember that people food is just that – for people. Sharing scraps from the Thanksgiving feast might seem sweet but those extra table treats can lead to serious health concerns down the road. Keep pets on a consistent healthy diet in moderate quantities and exercise them regularly to promote good health.

Black cats and bats

Halloween can be especially scary for pets. Costumed strangers coming to the door trading tricks for treats can be confusing and upsetting. Jack-o'-lanterns aflame near a window give off odors and present fire danger. A pet owner's passion to dress cats and dogs in cute costumers can be down right deadly if the costumes restrict breathing.

  • To keep your pet safe during the holiday make sure Halloween treats are kept out of reach. Some candy can be poisonous to pets and wrappers may be hazardous if swallowed.

  • Consider keeping your pet in a room away from the door and the doorbell to provide some distance between trick-or-treaters and your pet.

  • Keep pumpkins out of the way of curious pets. A pet may knock over a pumpkin during play or prowl and start a fire. Never leave lit pumpkins unattended.

Bagging birds with Buddy

If you typically use a boat to hunt waterfowl, it's best to introduce your dog to the skiff, the blind and firearm noise before trying to bag or retrieve a bird on the water. Dogs that are miserable in a boat can get out of control and even cause the boat to capsize. It's important to teach your dog to lie down in an assigned place in the boat and to stay there until it is commanded to retrieve. The more a dog gets accustomed to the boat – including getting into and out of the boat – the more comfortable it will become. If you don't have access to water, start by training your dog in a boat on dry land.

Natasha Kassulke is creative products manager for Wisconsin Natural Resources.