Staff Sergeant Reckless, A True Marine

In this day and age of technology, where tanks and drones have made combat much less personal, many have forgotten the times when horses, mules, dogs, even camels and birds served their country, putting their lives on the line, along with the soldiers who worked with them. Many assume that animals no longer serve alongside their human counterparts. It is for this reason, and because we are who we are here at Your Pet Space, that I would take this day to share a story with you about an animal who served her country. She was once famous enough to have television personalities begging for her to come on their shows, but now the horse who was a household name has begun to slip through the fog of fading memory. She is becoming a forgotten warrior from a forgotten war and it is my hope that this post will begin to change that. With no further babbling, it is my pleasure to introduce Staff Sergeant Reckless.

Reckless the horse with wire

Reckless loaded with a reel of communication wire.

Born in Korea and originally named Ah Chim Hai (Flame-of-the- Morning), Reckless started life as a racehorse, training at the Seoul Racetrack. When war began, her owner, Kim Huk Moon (a pseudonym used at the owner’s request to remain anonymous), found himself faced with a very hard decision. He could keep the horse that he so desperately loved, or sell her to the United States Marines for $250, money he desperately needed in order to purchase a prosthetic limb for his sister, who lost her leg when a mine exploded near her. In what must have been the most difficult choice he would have to make, he sold his horse, sending her on a journey that no one would ever have expected.

War began in Korea in 1950 and it didn’t take long for American troops to enter the fight on South Korea’s behalf. We were fighting against communism and we fought hard. At the war’s end in 1953 nearly 40,000 soldiers were killed and 100,000 wounded.  If you were to combine the losses of all soldiers and civilians from both sides, your count would reach nearly 5 million. As the battles raged, the Anti-Tank Company of the 5th Marines faced a serious problem. Terrain where they were stationed around Kamon-dong was steep and they were fighting with a recoilless rifle, which is basically a six foot long, 115 pound tube that sits on a tripod and fires 75mm shells. It was designed for use on the front lines and you would think that would make it easily portable, but the opposite was true. In the steep terrain in the area of fighting around Panmunjom, using a recoilless rifle was unbelievably loud, backbreaking work that required firing a few rapid shots, dismantling the rifle and hauling it to a new location before it was able to be targeted by incoming fire. In the icy Korean winters, trucks simply weren’t an option for moving the rifles up and down the inclines, so men carried the weapons and volatile ammunition on their own. It took several of them to do the job, often two would carry the gun, one would take the tripod, and the ammunition (each round measuring 4 and ¾ inches in diameter, 29 inches in length, and weighing 24 pounds) would go on the backs of the soldiers, typically two rounds per man and these rounds were live.

Reckless with rife and saddlepack

Reckless with 75mm recoilless rifle and pack saddle.

It was the commander of the platoon, Eric Pedersen, who realized a horse would make this work a lot easier and was given permission for the purchase. When Ah Chim Hai arrived the soldiers named her Reckless, after the recoilless rifle that she would carry. The men built her a bunker to standard specifications, covered her with a green Marine blanket at night and on the especially cold nights, allowed her to come into their tents and sleep by their stoves. She eventually became so familiar with the marines that she came and went into tents as she pleased, making them part of her herd.

Reckless withLatham

Reckless at Chang-dan, Korea, with TSgt. Joseph Latham, the Marine who put her through ‘hoof camp.’ A Seoul race pony, she thrived on bacon and eggs.” Caption courtesy the Saturday Evening Post.

Just like any soldier, Reckless was put through training. In “hoof camp” she was taught to step over wire, lie down, kneel, and shown how to take cover into a bunker when there was incoming fire. She wanted nothing but to please her new herd and she worked hard to learn all of these skills. Eventually she was fully capable of ducking and covering just like any human Marine in her platoon. They prepared her as much as possible for actual combat, but when the time came it was certainly hard on her. Even though she was carrying about 150 pounds at the time, Reckless jumped completely off the ground when she encountered her first taste of real weapons fire from the recoilless rifle. By the third blast she had calmed enough that she no longer flinched, but she sweated horribly, a sure sign that she feared for her life.  Still, under all of that stress, she and her handler delivered 5 loads of ammunition before the battle was over.

Reckless took part in many other battles and grew as accustomed to the noises as was possible for a Marine. (Though it has been noted she had nightmares, even after she retired and some Marines believed she was reliving those days the way she kicked and ran in her sleep.) New accommodations had to be built for her everywhere she went and at times her fellow Marines would throw their own flak jackets on her to protect her from incoming fire. Everyone did these things willingly, to protect one of their own who was fighting by their side. In these battles Reckless would repeatedly climb the steep terrain, carrying the ammunition for their rifles on her back. Over and over again she would take a running start and go as far as she could, pause, then move on when she was able. Often she made these trips on her own, with no one leading her. She made the choice to take the ammunition to the Marines and return again for another load, and she did it with all of the strength she had in her, sometimes from daybreak to sunset, all while carrying up to 144 pounds of live ammunition on her back.

Reckless on the Battlefield

Reckless on the Battlefield.

battle for outpost Vegas

It was the battle for outpost Vegas that she is best known for, a battle that is thought of as unequal to any other when it comes to the savagery of war. This was the defining battle of the Korean War, one that saw Reckless climbing a 45 degree incline at a trot or a gallop, desperately trying to maintain her balance with the extreme weight of the ammunition on her back. Some of the men were helping, but Reckless made two trips for every one of theirs and she carried eight rounds at a time. Through all of her fear at the incoming fire, Reckless never went slack on her duties, she charged up the hill again and again, ducking down with the Marines in their bunkers when enemy fire hit, then heading back down the hill once she was given the all clear. On occasion she was given a rest and rub down, taking some food and water, but for the most part, she continued on bravely, sometimes rescuing a wounded man from the fighting and carrying him down to safety only to be loaded with ammunition and head back up the hill immediately after.

It was on two of these trips that Reckless was wounded. On one climb up the hill, shrapnel cut her head, just above her left eye, and on another she was struck in her left flank, but like a true Marine, she continued on, wound and all. At the guns she was treated with iodine and sent back down for more ammunition. Again she went willingly, though by the end of the battle she was beginning to slow her pace. To quote the book by Robin Hutton, “No matter how tired she was, the mare with an almost incomprehensible sense of duty just kept going.”

In that one day Reckless made 51 round trips, carrying 386 rounds of ammunition, and walking more than 35 miles up and down that hill, most of the time on her own through heavy fire. Many marines talk about what an inspiration it was to see that small, Mongolian mare climbing the hills by herself, coming with everything they needed in order to continue to fight. She worked so hard and kept the men so well stocked that the barrel of one of the guns actually melted from use.

Reckless is promoted

Reckless is promoted to sergeant. On the platform (L to R: Gen. Pate, Capt. Andrew Kovac, Col. Elby D. Martin Jr. listen as MSgt. John Strange reads the citation. Standing beside Reckless are Sgt. Lively (L and TSgt. Dave Woods (R).

When the war was over, a campaign was started to bring Reckless to American soil. In her time in Korea Reckless had been officially promoted to the rank of Sergeant and had been given the appropriate ceremony for said promotion. This was not an honorary title, this was the real thing, as was befitting a marine who had earned two Purple Hearts, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation with Star, a Navy Unit Citation, a National Defence Service Medal, a United Nations Service Medal, a Korean Service Medal with three stars, a Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, and the French fourragere, awarded to the 5th Marines after World War I. She wore all of those decorations, and her sergeant stripes on her specially made red and gold blanket. At this time Reckless was a household name and when she finally came to her new home in America, she came home as a hero.

Reckless eats centerpieces

Who needs cake when there are carnations? Reckless eats the centrepieces. (Reception at the Marines’ Memorial Club and Hotel).

There is so much more to say about Reckless; how she continued to work with the Marines at her new home in Camp Pendleton, how she attended official functions, made public appearances, and was promoted one last time to Staff Sergeant. In all of this time she was treated as a the true marine she was: some would salute her and no one that she outranked was permitted to lead her at official functions, as that would mean they were giving her orders. Reckless became a mother four times over, giving birth to three sons, two of which (PFC Fearless and Private Dauntless) were given ranks, while her third son Chesty became a trail horse. Sadly, her unnamed daughter died prematurely and all of her sons were gelded, so there are no grandchildren to carry on her bravery and determination to the next generation. All of these things (and many more) can be found in Robin Hutton’s book Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse. What I would like to conclude with is a note on how you can honor this brave marine.

reckless monument

Dedication of the Reckless monument at the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Heritage Center.

Robbin Hutton and others have fought for years now to bring the bravery and determination that was Reckless back into the public eye. In July of 2013 the Marine Corps finally unveiled a statue titled “An Uphill Battle,” a statue of Reckless created by Jocelyn Russell. The statue resides in the grounds at the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Heritage Center in Triangle Virginia and contains in its base a small sample of the hero’s hair, installed there by Robbin herself. The statue came about through generous donations to the Sgt. Reckless Memorial Fund (including donations by Betty White and William Shatner), a process which continues to the day of this writing in order to install a memorial at Camp Pendleton.

I encourage everyone who reads this to pick up Robbin’s book and properly experience the life of Sergeant Reckless in a way I am unable to do here. I would give you a more in-depth review, but this story is about Reckless and I know Robin would want it this way. I will say that almost all of my knowledge of Reckless came from devouring the pages of her book.

Sgt. Reckless Book Cover

If you are so inclined, you can join the Sergeant Reckless fanclub on Facebook or go to the official webpage and make a donation to her Camp Pendleton Memorial Fund. On this Memorial Day, let us decorate the grave of a true Marine.

Thank you for your service, Staff Sergeant Reckless.

All photos and captions in this post come as printed from Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse and were contributions from the Author. I would like to thank Robin Hutton for her help in sharing this story with us.

Mirrani Houpe, YPS Staff Member

Mirrani Houpe, our Small Animal Editor, has had rats since she took home her first little boy once they both completed the second grade. Since that time she has owned, rescued and bred many kinds of rats, from many backgrounds. She may not be a vet, psychology major, or scientist, but her babies have her very well trained when it comes to how to care for them. She is constantly working with her family’s veterinarian to come up with new and innovative ways to love and care for the most often misunderstood rodent in the pet world. You can e-mail her at

Leonard Nimoy’s Pet Shop

nimoy with his cat and dog

Nimoy, with his own cat and dog.

Sadly, I’ve been saying I was going to get around to this post for more than a year–and now it’s happening in the wake of Leonard Nimoy’s death.  Sorry, old friend.  But I know somehow you’ll understand…

Nimoy with horse

Sometimes we forget that this business was created to be not only about pets and the people that love them, but also our branding grew out of our deep love of science and science fiction.  No one in science fiction was unfamiliar with who Leonard Nimoy was.  And when he died, every single fan felt it as though he was truly a part of their family.

Because you see, Leonard Nimoy belonged to us–and us to him.

Leonard Nimoy’s Pet Shop

Would you be surprised then to learn, that Leonard Nimoy had a pet shop?  I was!  I actually learned this in the same way that most online wisdom is gleaned–from googling something else.  🙂

nimoy in catspaw

In her 1970 article on Nimoy’s Pet Pad, Michele Jaques says, “Nimoy would have liked Mr. Spock to have a cat or dog on board the ‘Enterprise’.”  For most of his fans, this brings up the Star Trek episode “Catspaw,” where Spock is shown stroking a lovely black cat, who later turned into a woman.  Me-ow, right?  It is obvious though, from his handling of the cat that Leonard loved animals and they loved him.

In the episode “The Enemy Within”, a dog is dressed as a space alien, and once again Nimoy holds a small, furry one in his arms.  This time he looks worried, and rightly so!  In the story, the dog has been divided by the transporter into one angel and one devil dog!

alien dog

According to Jaques, Nimoy went through a bit of a spiritual transformation when Star Trek was cancelled in 1969.  Above all, he spent the years after dedicating himself to doing things that had meaning.  And he considered his pet shop in Canoga Park in the San Fernando Valley a spiritual venture.  There, he had such animals as chipmunks, monkeys, crocodiles, boa constrictors, even a South American otter!  Leonard himself had a dog and cat, a hamster, two rabbits and a tank full of fish.  His children had a pet tortoise that lived in the back yard.

Nimoy’s Pet Pad lasted only a couple of years…but it was a worthy effort made by a truly Renaissance Man.  Thank you, Leonard.  Thanks for letting all of us know you–really know you.

nimoy with wife and dog


 Joy Jones, our Editor In Chief, is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Las Cruces, New Mexico. When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as urban fantasy and humor. You can e-mail her at as well as send her a friend request on Facebook.

Book Review: Ask Your Animal

Marta Williams

Marta Williams has a BS in Resource Conservation from the University of California at Berkeley, and a MS in Biology and Systematic Ecology from San Francisco State University. She spent many years studying wildlife in the field, rehabilitating ill and injured animals, and working as an environmental scientist.

Vanessa Williams

This book, by animal communicator Marta Williams, contains a forward by actress Vanessa Williams.  Vanessa describes a harrowing experience in which her dog was stolen by a ring of dog thieves, and she was only able to find him with help from Marta.  Marta was in contact with Vanessa’s dog for several days, during which she was able to relay that her pet was well, had been taken by a man and a woman…and eventually his exact location.

Marta Williams now teaches animal communication, and her students have also had amazing experiences: one of which involved someone who was able to communicate with their newly adopted dog, and convince him that continued biting would only mean his eventual death.  Another communicated with a lost and injured dog on the way to the vet, and was able to correctly identify his owner when she arrived by his description.

White Stork bill-clattering

Among other advice on animal communication, Marta also shares insight on talking with wildlife, managing garden pests and working with herbs.

The first step, she says, in learning animal communication is to tune in to your own intuition (those feelings we sometimes ignore about others, and label them unreasonable).  And she tells stories: a friend whose Malamute refused to let her walk down a certain section of beach where, in the morning it was discovered a murder had taken place; another who sold her horse to someone she thought she could trust–only to find it had been sold seven times.  During the time she was trying to track the horse down, she had dreams of her, which she now believes corresponded to times the horse was being mistreated.  Eventually, she was able to buy her horse back.

dog and girl

Animal Communication and Quantum Linguistics

Marta’s science background gives the tone of this book a very practical, down to earth (not spooky or woo woo) kind of feel.  And she talks science for a good portion of it, citing terms like “quantum linguistics” and “zero point field”.  But that in no way makes the book hard to follow.  If anything, quantum linguistics lends credibility to a subject some might fight challenging to accept has any validity.

Marta’s theory is that if we had not been conditioned since childhood to suppress our intuition, that everyone could easily understand animal communication.  And she provides exercises in the book that teach you things like how to really talk to your animals as if they understand you–because they do!

As many others have said, not only does Marta say animals have the same emotions we do, but also with the same intensity.  So there are also exercises to do with sending feelings and images to animals.  In much the same way people-oriented psychics have explained, Marta gives a quick course in clairaudience, clairsentience and clairvoyance in order to communicate with animals.  But she also encourages you to reward and even use your logical inner critic to help in the process.

The stories of people communicating with animals in random places are really quite enchanting, and even if you don’t believe in animal communication at all, this book places the very gentlest wedge in the mind about being kinder and more thoughtful of animals.  Marta even encourages you to ask your own animals to question YOU.

“The Pack Of Two” was a new concept to me, but basically what it comes down to is that a bond is formed between each individual pet and you–and that this is all our pets really want, is this connection.

friendly horse

Incidentally, horse lovers will appreciate this book, because there are tons of great stories of horse owners having successful communication and solving problems.

She Uses Techniques That Dog Experts Like Cesar Milan Recommend

If you have problems with your pack getting along with each other–or even other human  members of your household!–this book is also for you.  Marta incorporates many of the techniques that dog experts like Cesar Milan recommend, such as keeping calm and using assertive energy, and even offers advice on using complementary treatments such as herbs and flower essences to calm stressed pets.

dog meets cat

Learn How To Introduce Animals To Each Other

There’s a section on how to communicate with animals you’ve just met–such as when you’re adopting a new pet, to see if you’re a good fit for one another.  And here you can also learn how to introduce animals to each other.

Instead of advocating the methods some other experts do, such as dominance theory or establishing yourself as pack leader, Marta believes that establishing yourself as an encouraging guide–or coach–to your pet works better after learning to communicate with them intuitively.

Marta gives super advice in this book about how to tell if what your pet is doing or saying to you is better served by a vet or trainer than an animal communicator–what is a training issue and what is a medical one.  There’s even a section on interviewing your animal!

Dealing with aggressive animals, animals in distress–even some Hurricane Katrina stories!  They’re all here.  Dealing with feral animals is discussed as well.

cat handshake

Sometimes, Marta works with animal spirit guides. This can be useful in cases involving physical or emotional trauma to an animal, severe illness, or even assisting with passing into death.

Animal communicators have long been sought to help lost pets get home.  So there is an awesome research section in this book, made for the purpose of leaving no stone un-turned.

pet memorial

Helping Your Animal Say Goodbye

Of course no such book would be complete without a section on helping your animal say goodbye at the end of its life with you…but Marta also spends a respectable amount of time discussing the grief that comes afterward, and how to honor the feelings and take care of yourself during this time.  She also has come to believe over the years that animals can and do re-incarnate, just as some believe humans do–and it’s possible for them to return to you.  She even suggests that you communicate with your animal before death and ask them to return!

According to Marta, you can also talk with household pests such as insects or rodents, and ask them to refrain from coming into your space.  You may laugh, but the old peoples of this planet routinely did such things, she explains: and regularly spoke with plants, trees and animals as well.

So–basically, no matter what your question or skepticism is about animal communication, this book has a thoughtful, scientific approach to it.  I’d love to hear from anyone else who has read this or any other books by Marta Williams.  And if you want to get a copy yourself, the link is here:

Joy Jones

Joy Jones, our Editor In Chief, is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Las Cruces, New Mexico. When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as urban fantasy and humor. You can e-mail her at as well as follow her on Facebook or Twitter.


We’ve been privileged to know veterinarian Ron Leick for several years, and this week we contacted him about his first interview with us.  We are pleased to announce that he will also be added to our staff page, so you may contact him about his services!  If you comment to his article here with questions about his work as a dog chiropractor and horse chiropractor, or general questions about animal chiropractic, he has kindly consented to future interviews with YPS.

Dog chiropractor Ron Leick adjusts a basset hound.

Interview With Dr. Leick

1.) What types of services does your practice offer?

My practice offers chiropractic, acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy for horses and dogs.

2.) What is animal chiropractic and why/when do pets need a dog chiropractor?

Chiropractic treatment involves resolving issues with spinal and extremity misalignments and range of motion restoration.  Chiropractic is indicated when there is a disruption in an animal’s normal gait, or if it can no longer do things that it once could do.

3.) What other types of animals does a dog chiropractor adjust and can you explain how?

I adjust horses and dogs.  The spine and extremities (legs) are moved, and where there is diminished range of motion an adjustment is performed.  An adjustment is a short, light thrust that is directed at a specific structure in a specific direction at a specific angle with the intent of restoring normal range of motion.

4.) What do you enjoy the most/find most rewarding about your practice?

The most rewarding aspect of my practice is being able to help animals in ways that traditional primary care veterinary can’t.

5.) What is pet acupuncture and why/when do pets need it?

Acupuncture is an ancient technique of restoring normal energy flow to areas of the body using needles at specific points and specific energy pathways called meridians.  Acupuncture can be used for any and all conditions that impact an animal’s health.

6.) On what types of animals can acupuncture be performed?

Acupuncture can be used on any and all types of animals, from marine life to poultry to mammals.

7.) Why/when would a pet owner use herbs prescribed by a dog chiropractor?

Herbal therapy can be used alone or in conjunction with acupuncture and/or chiropractic therapy.  It can prolong and augment the benefits of acupuncture.  It also can be used in animals that will not allow acupuncture to be performed on them.  It is used for anything/everything, from behavioral issues, internal medicine issues and musculoskeletal issues.

 dog chiropractor Ron LeickDr. Leick is a l975 graduate of the Ohio State University.  He had a
traditional multi-person veterinary practice for 25 years.  Ron began to
take classes in veterinary chiropractic from the American Veterinary
Chiropractic Association, and became certified in 1998,.  He took the
International Veterinary Acupuncture Society course of classes in 1999
and became certified in acupuncture in 2000.

He incorporated both modalities into his already busy practice until
2001, when he made the choice to turn towards a more holistic practice,
as the effectiveness of chiropractic and acupuncture became more and
more apparent to him.

In 2004, Ron next began taking classes from the Chi Institute of
Traditional Chinese Medicine in Herbology, and became certified in the
use of Chinese Herbs for treatment in 2006.

Ron has been an examiner for the AVCA Certification Committee and also
has served as chairman of the AVCA Examination Commission over the past
few years.  He has incorporated Chinese herbs into the Chiropractic and
Acupuncture practice, while also including diet, rehabilitation and
saddle fit  advice.

Ron works with his wife Margy in his practice.  After graduating, also
from OSU, with a BS in Microbiology, she became a registered
Microbiologist, Medical Technologist & Animal Techncian. She had set up a laboratory in
the clinic for routine lab work, cultures and sensitivities, and plasma
transfusions on newborn foals.  In 1992, she became interested in Energy
Healing on animals, and after 1996 she continued in Healing Touch and
Energy Medicine on people, going to certification  in Healing Touch. She
attended a two year school in advanced healing with the same teacher, as
well as studying with her for two more years privately.

She has always supported Ron in his search for more education in
Chiropractic, Acupuncture,and Chinese Herbology.  She learned a lot by
watching Ron work, and she furthered her own education to become a
human Acupuncturist at the age of 58.  She has graduated
from the SHI School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in
Lebanon, Ohio, and is now working toward National Registration in

You can schedule appointments for your pets with Dr. Leick at this link for

Complementary Veterinary Care in Alexandria, Kentucky.

Pet Health When Temps Drop

freezing-dogIt’s a common belief outside of the pet health industry that dogs and cats can tolerate cold weather because of their fur, but make no mistake, pets can get frostbite, too.  The good news is, cold weather injuries are the easiest to prevent.

A pet’s cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. (For instance, our Greyhound must have a sweater any time it’s below 50 outside, and a coat at 40 or lower, our Basset Hound is good until temps get below freezing, although will retreat to the house if there is snow deep enough to reach his belly, while our taller, heavier coated Brittany is tolerant of all temps and snow depths, at least for small periods of time.)  Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances will have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to extreme cold. A good rule of thumb is: if you need cold weather protection, so does your pet.

paw irritation

One of the most common problems vets treat during cold weather is irritation to paw pads from salt.  How to tell if this is a problem for your pet:  if the pet favors one paw or hops around on its feet or twitches its feet while standing on the sidewalk.  They may also lick their paws to remove the salt, making the pads red and chapped and giving them digestive upsets.


If possible, put booties on your dogs when they must go outside.  At the very least, wipe their paws with a warm, wet cloth when they come back indoors. If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. And be sure to toss it in the dryer if it gets wet.  Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder. We recommend Dapperdawgs if you have a greyhound.  (Here’s a pic of Seba’s coat.) Amazon also has a wonderful selection, as well as Petsmart.


Damp and cold can also irritate symptoms of arthritis in older pets.  So if your dog or cat cries with pain going up or down stairs, when being picked up, or has trouble getting up or lying down, a trip to the vet is in order.  Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If necessary, paper-train your puppy inside if he or she appears to be sensitive to the weather.

cat engineKeep in mind that outdoor pets will seek shelter in car engines during freezing temps.  Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage feline hitchhikers to abandon their roost under the hood. And if you house pets in the garage that are normally outside, be aware that carbon monoxide from a warming car takes only minutes to become deadly for your dog or cat. And of course make sure to keep them away from puddles of anti-freeze, which are sweet tasting but deadly. Never leave your pet alone in a car in cold weather–this is just as dangerous as during hot temps.


Be sure to pet proof your house as well, since pets will be spending more time indoors. Use space heaters in safe areas, to prevent burns or getting knocked over, causing a fire. If you have a pet bird, make sure its cage is away from drafts. Keep in mind that pets especially need warm bedding and fresh water at this time.

horsePet Health Outside: make sure pets and livestock are kept away from frozen ponds, lakes and other water.  Make sure chicken coops and dog houses have plenty of insulating hay, and dog houses should be raised off the cold ground.


Know the signs of hypothermia: whining, shivering, the pet seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow.  If you see this, they need to be brought inside quickly!

Be prepared in case you lose power: now’s the time for your pet disaster/emergency kit, with enough food, water and medicine (including any prescription medications as well as heartworm and flea/tick preventives) on hand to get through at least 5 days.


Shelters see a lot of lost, homeless and stray dogs during the winter months. Always keep a collar on your dog and consider having your pet identified with a microchip, in case your dog gets lost or disoriented in cold weather.


The great news is, Winter is an awesome time to clicker-train your dog or cat.  Most pets need some distractions to ward off cabin fever anyway, and they’ll relish time spent with you, their human parents.  So here’s to pet health, no matter the weather!


joy 300

 Joy Jones is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Anderson, Ohio.  When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column called The Midwestern Buddhist as well as urban fantasy and humor.  You can e-mail her at as well as follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

BOOK REVIEW: Animals Make Us Human, by Temple Grandin

20100121TempleGrandinFrom Wikipedia:

Temple Grandin is an American doctor of animal science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, autistic activist, and consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. She also created the “hug box”, a device to calm autistic children. The subject of an award-winning biographical film, Temple Grandin, in 2010 she was listed in the Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world in the “Heroes” category.

I downloaded this book one day because I was looking for anything about understanding the behavior of my three dogs better.  I’d never heard of Dr. Temple Grandin.  To my surprise, the book was not just about dogs and cats, but also horses, cattle, pigs, chickens and zoo animals.

I’ve now listened to the book twice and every time I do I come to admire this woman more.  She writes in a common sense style that’s easy to follow.  And the book is full of interesting facts.  For instance, do you know why cats get stuck in trees?

Grandin writes a lot about the science behind proving that animals have feelings, just like we do.  She talks about the Fear, Rage, Seeking and Play systems of animals’ brains–what stimulates and upsets them as well as what seems to make them truly happy.

After reading this book, I wanted more than ever to buy only humanely produced meats, as well.  Dr. Grandin was instrumental in the audits at meat processing plants conducted several years ago by McDonald’s, Wendy’s and others.  She designed systems to keep animals calm instead of fearful when awaiting slaughter.

In short, I highly recommend this book, both for pet owners and animal lovers in general.  And especially if you have an autistic child, it is inspiring to see what someone with autism is capable of in her life’s work.

Here’s a video of her speaking:

You can get a copy of Dr. Grandin’s book at this link:


joy 300Joy Jones is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Anderson, Ohio.  When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphyscial column called The Midwestern Buddhist as well as urban fantasy and humor.  You can e-mail her at as well as follow her on Facebook or Twitter.