Every dog or cat has his month Published Oct. 24, 2013 By Senior Airman Natasha Stannard 42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- (Editor's note: This article is written from a dog's perspective to emphasize the importance of animal care and safety.) I just learned October is National Pet Safety Awareness Month. I wonder if this is why people dress up funny at the end of the month. It must be. I wish I could eat the sweet smelling stuff in colorful packages the kids collect in buckets and pillow cases, but they say it will make me sick. I mean, they really should give me some, seeing as the month is celebrating my health and safety. Well, at least I get other treats when I do tricks! Now that I really think about it, aside from the weird clothes and candy at the end of the month, it seems like my owners celebrate pet safety every month. My owner always checks me for bumps and makes sure my eyes and ears are clean. She even gives me stuff that's supposed to be good for my heart, but it tastes horrible. Today they took me and Cali (they call my sister even though we look nothing alike) to the vet. Cali had to get shots, and I needed to get some things checked out. I'm really glad they took me because there were some things bothering me I couldn't really tell them about; they don't speak dog. Yes, I know this is typed. A dog whisperer is transcribing for me. Back to the vet story. Like I said, I'm glad we went because Dr. Jannine Bellamy at the Maxwell veterinary facility gave us all great advice and some referrals to help me. I even overheard her say that educating owners is a big part of their services at the veterinary facility. "We're here for preventative medicine," said Jordan Locke, Maxwell veterinary facility receptionist. "We educate owners on micro-chipping, flea prevention, breeding, spaying and neutering, and deworming." The receptionist also said that if people have questions about raising pets with children or moving with pets they could call or come in for information. People can also call to ask questions if they notice anything out of the ordinary going on with their pet. In addition, the vet here also provides shots, vaccinations, health certifications and treats minor illnesses. If major illnesses or problems that require surgery are found, the facility can make referrals and give a list of local clinics to choose from. I also really appreciated some of the things the vets said about taking good care of pets like me. "Everyone knows to make sure their pets have fresh food and water, but trying to stay in tune with your pet's behavior, such as appetite, attitude and general condition, is key to recognizing problems early on," said Dr. Andrew Bradley, a base veterinary facility veterinarian. Another veterinarian also mentioned a few things about staying prepared for pets in disaster situations. I would hate to be caught in one of those, but I'm glad there are prepared plans for dogs like me, and cats, too, I suppose. I couldn't imagine not having any food left. Although, if I didn't have any of my dog food left maybe my owners would give me people food like the sweet smelling stuff instead. Anyway, back to what the lady at the veterinary office said. "Just like we prepare for disasters, we have to prepare and take care of our pets by making sure they have reserve food, water and medications along with blankets and identification," said Bellamy. The vet also said that the best way to ensure pets can be reunited with their families is to microchip them. Phew, I am glad I have my chip. I also have an ID tag with my owner's contact information, which she said is an additional preventative measure that can help reunite pets with their families. Apparently, most vets and shelters actually have the scanners that read the microchips. When the chip is found, the owner's information comes up and the finders can give them a call. While I was at the vet, I noticed there was another pet, a cat named Duchess, who had great owners. Duchess ran away and came back home after six weeks, Karen her owner said. Duchess lost a considerable amount of weight and had fleas. She was missing hair and had scratches all over, when Karen first brought her to the vet two weeks ago. "She was just miserable, now she's back to her normal self," said Karen on her follow-up visit to the vet. "She wasn't happy about coming here either, but every time we do, she is calm so I think she feels like she's in good hands here." It's good to hear that other pets like me are being taken care of, even if they are cats. According to Locke, others who would like to take their pets to the Maxwell veterinary facility should call 953-7357 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.