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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Canine Care Preached to the Choir

Paul Jordan of the Animal Care Center of St. John demonstrating CPR on Biarritz. The second floor of the Marketplace shopping center was awash with dogs Saturday, arriving with owners in tow for Responsible Dog Ownership Day. The nationwide event was sponsored on St. John by the Animal Care Center of St. John in conjunction with the American Kennel Society.

The motivation was simple. "I just wanted to bring Sweetie and brag on her," St. John resident Deanna Somerville said.

Indeed, it did look like those on hand to provide information were preaching to the choir, so to speak. All the dogs were on leashes, and they were a pretty well-behaved bunch as they greeted each other with a few good sniffs.

The island’s two veterinarians, Dr. Laura Palminteri and Dr. Jan Perkins, were both on hand. Perkins pointed out that dogs and cats should have their teeth cleaned in addition to regular checkups.

Palminteri had a display of what happens to a dog when heartworm attacks.

"It is such a big problem here. Heartworm is spread by mosquito bites," Palminteri said.

Treatment for dogs is available but prevention is better. She said that dogs not on monthly medication to prevent heartworm will almost surely get the disease. Segueing into cats, she said there is no cure but prevention is available.

Ticks are also a problem because they cause tick fever. However, Palminteri said it’s treatable if caught early.

Paul Jordan, who serves as Animal Care Center’s education chairman, demonstrated cardiopulmonary resuscitation on B.J. Harris’ 12-year-old dog, Biarritz.

"Do 100 to 120 compressions per minute. Humans are 60," he said, moving on to give an extremely cooperative Biarritz some mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

While Jordan said he’s never had to revive a dog, he saw it done once at a dog show when one of the judges gave an ailing dog two "respirations." The dog stood up and was fine.

Stacey Alvarado, who owns How About Your Pet and Market Square Pet Supply, both on St. Thomas, had a table set up with a variety of pet toys and items, including doggie life jackets.

And the Animal Care Center had merchandise from its annual Wagapalooza for sale. Hats, cooler cups, T-shirts, and other items were lined up on the table.

"Why?" said Animal Care Center volunteer Ken Carew, asked why he was staffing the table. "Dogs, they’re part of the family."

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