Category Archives: Safety

Stolen War Dog Reunited With Soldier

Stolen War Dog Story
Began in Afghanistan

by Keith Somers,
Like Dog Wonders on My Facebook Business Page

Days after it was discovered, the stolen war dog story went national.  This brought to light the military’s wrongful, 16-month-long separation of the two, injured Army Spc. Brent Grommet and his war dog, Matty.  They were finally reunited last Friday, November 14, 2014.

“I’m about the happiest I’ve ever been,” Brent, 23, told reporters.

Brent and Matty, who specialized in detecting IEDs, were injured when one exploded near them in Afghanistan.  Brent came back to the United States, separated from his military dog by the army, in July of 2013.   It would be more than a year before he would see his dog again.   Meanwhile, Brent suffered with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, migraines, severe chronic back pain and breathing problems.  He also missed his dog.

Brent Grommet and Matty, lower right, with their crew in Afghanistan.
Brent Grommet and Matty, lower right, with their crew in Afghanistan.

Under Robby’s Law, signed by President Clinton in 2000, military dog handlers have the first right to adopt their animals if injured together.
While Grommet was in the hospital, he filed papers to adopt Matty, and had it approved.  But then for reasons still unclear, the army allowed someone else to adopt the dog.   Then to make matters worse, the service man in charge of military dog adoptions, ignored Brent’s repeated pleas, refusing to divulge where Matty was or to help with the return of his stolen war dog.

Stolen War Dog,
Story Ends Happily

It was when Fox News did a live interview with Brent Grommet’s father last Thursday night, that everything seemed to turn in Brent and Matty’s favor.  North Carolina congressman, Richard Hudson, who had heard about the story earlier in the week, helped to find the dog in South Carolina.

stolen war dog
Spc. Brent Grommet was reunited with Matty, his U.S. Army trained German Shepherd, after being separated for more than a year.                                                                      — Photo: Robin Rayne Nelson

On Friday, Brent and his parents, Don and Debbie Grommet, drove 17 hours from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to South Carolina, where Matty had been living since 2013.  When Brent got out of the car, he walked toward the kennel where Matty was, wondering if the dog would remember him.

Of course Matty did.

When the kennel door was opened the dog ran as fast as he could to Brent, who had called his name.  He said, “Matty jumped all over me and about tackled me to the ground . . . I couldn’t have asked for a better response.  I knew then that he remembered me, and truly wanted to be with me!”

Brent gets out of the army in two months, but is trying to arrange it so Matty can live with him on base at Fort Campbell, until his army service ends.

The stolen war dog story is nearly over—happily!


Keith Somers
is a registered Executive Independent Field Representative
of Life’s Abundance products
and the Healthy PetNet Foundation






Animal Hoarding A Growing Craze

Animal Hoarding
Strikingly Unbelievable

by Keith Somers,
Like Dog Wonders on My Facebook Business Page

Animal hoarding, while most of us have never heard of it, is on the increase!  Believe it or not!   Those “collected” range in species from  cats and dogs, to reptiles, rodents, birds, exotics and even farm animals.

animal hoarding

It is at once a complex issue on three levels:

  •    animal cruelty;
  •    mental health and;
  •    public safety.

Animal Hoarding,
An Animal Cruelty Issue

The figures are difficult to obtain, for obvious reasons.   The experts who deal with the problem—the ASPCA, the ALDF, the HARC, the HSUS, and dozens of local rescue groups, say that animal hoarding is increasing in the United States as much as 20% annually.   They all agree that up to a quarter million animals (250,000) a year are victims of animal hoarding.

The term “animal hoarding” refers to the compulsive need to collect and own animals for the sake of caring for them that results in accidental or unintentional neglect and abuse.  In the vast majority, most cases of animal hoarding result in animal cruelty.

Animal Hoarding,
A Mental Health Issue

Most animal hoarding is done by a single person who has:

  •     chosen to live alone
  •     problems acquiring, handling, managing, and getting rid of animals;
  •     cleverly hidden their activities so that they are never reported to mental health professionals and animal control authorities, except when others complain;
  •     difficulty making simple decisions;
  •     every intention of providing full care for the animals;
  •     an intense emotional attachment for each animal they care for;
  •     great difficulty coming to understand that their love for their animals is, little by little, destroying their home, their furniture and their lives by having too many animals to care for;
  •     confused their loving the animals with the reality of their inability to provide a safe, clean, and healthy home for them;
  •     neglected their own health, nutrition, and social life because they spend all their time, money, and energy caring for their animals;
  •     become overwhelmed and trapped by their indecision and sense of responsibility and are often deprived of sleep;
  •     been overcome by animal waste, and can suffer health problems created by the odor of ammonia, fleas, tics and animal-borne illnesses;
  •     unknowingly become the caretaker of all of the animals who lie and die in an environment of neglect, filth, and stressful overcrowding, as innocent prisoners of well-intentioned but misguided love.

Animal Hoarding,
A Public Safety Issue

Animal hoarding is a complex and intricate issue with far-reaching effects that poses significant safety, health and financial concerns for any community.   These include:

  •     fire hazards from extreme clutter;
  •     decaying or damaged electrical wiring;
  •     blockage of exits from dwelling;
  •     lack of running water and electricity;
  •     infestation from rodents or insects;
  •     potential for spread of zoonotic diseases;
  •     heavy accumulations of feces and urine can damage dwellings beyond repair, making them structurally unsound;
  •     a release of a host of potentially toxic bioaerosols and gases into the air, creating dangerous odor problems;
  •     disease exposure occurring through inhalation, contact, or via insects—flies, fleas, tics, and lice;
  •     failure of functional sanitary codes in kitchen and bathroom facilities;
  •    communities left to cover the costs of investigating, rescuing, treating, housing, feeding, and in some cases euthanizing animals;
  •    additional costs for the hoarder, for housing, hospitalization, medical and psychiatric treatment, legal services, public defenders and incarceration, if necessary.


The following article is a recent example of animal hoarding, edited from several news accounts dated:   Tuesday, October 28, 2014.

What started as a call to check on the safety of a woman ended with troopers removing 80 of 150 cats from a River Road home in Pleasantdale, NY, on Tuesday.   Fire department, troopers and humane society workers will return on Wednesday to get the remaining 70 cats, including a number of cats in the walls.

“The house is in a deplorable condition. This is not what we expected to find,”  one of the troopers said.

State Police didn’t identify the woman, but Brad Shear, executive director of the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, said she and her sisters had been involved in previous cat hoarding reports in Schaghticoke, Halfmoon and Vermont.  “This makes 450 cats,” Shear said of the total in four incidents in four years.

Two of the three sisters who may have lived in or frequented the house, were stopped in 2010 by police in Bennington, VT, with 77 cats living in two cars.

Trooper Jeff Wait carried out the welfare check on Tuesday.  After he found the cats, State Police secured a search warrant for the River Road residence.

Troopers and Mohawk-Hudson workers wore white hazmat suits and were to be decontaminated because of the infestation of fleas in the house. The Rensselaer County Decontamination Team vehicle was sent to the scene.

animal hoardingThe cats were taken to be evaluated at the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in Menands. They appeared to have eye infections, respiratory infections and to be anemic, Shear said.

The shelter needs canned cat food to feed the cats and money to buy antibiotics. The food and money can be dropped off at the shelter at 3 Oakland Ave. in Menands, NY 12204, phone: 518-434-8128, or donations can be made through

 Keith Somers
is a registered Executive Independent Field Representative
of Life’s Abundance products
and the Healthy PetNet Foundation


Dog Poisons May Be In and Around Your Home

by Keith Somers  /  Like Keith & Dog Wonders on Facebook

Make Your Home Safe from
Dog Poisons

Dog poisons must be kept locked up or out of reach.  You are  there-by making your home and grounds safe for your companion animals.  Home should be the safest place in the world for your dog.  But it can also be the most dangerous.  Only you and your family can make the difference.

Dog Poisons

If you suspect your dog
has ingested any of these dangerous items,
call your teterinarian or emergency clinic

Dog Poisons In Foods

Most dogs love to eat table scraps, what is left on the counter (“counter surfers”), what they see your eat, and discarded food in trash cans.  Be sure that the following dog poison foods are never accessible to your dog:

  • raw bread dough – results in bloat (GDV), twisted stomach, hyportension (low blood pressure);
  • grapes and raisins – extremely toxic and can result in kidney failure;
  • hops, plugs or pellets – mild to severe toxicity, including malignant hyperthermia;
  • moldy food – moderate to severe toxicity, resulting in seizures and sever hyperthermia;
  • macadamia nuts – mild to moderate toxicity, effecting nerve functions in muscle fibers;
  • xylitol – a natural sugar-free sweetener.  Xylitol can cause an acute, life-threatening low blood sugar, and liver failure;
  • onions and garlic – a super-radical that destroys red blood cells;
  • chocolate (especially dark/Baker’s) – This can result in cardiac and pancreatitis problems from chemical toxicity;
  • candy wrappers – when dogs eat candy they usually eat wrapper and all.   Wrappers can cause life-threatening bowel obstruction which may require surgical intervention;
  • left-over fatty meat scraps – can produce pancreatitis, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.
Dog Poisons Indoors

Many of the following dog poisons can be lethal to your dog.   Keep these items locked up, or do not keep them at all:

  • Drano/Liquid Plumber
  • slug and snail bait – very toxic to dogs, treatment must be quickly and aggressively implemented;
  • rodent poisons – those containing strychnine and zinc phosphide are the most deadly—a life-threatening emergency;
  • mole and gopher bait – zink phosphide and bromethain are active and have no known antidote;
  • ammonia – burns mucous membranes and contributes to asthma.  When ammonia is mixed with bleach it creates a poisonous gas which can be deadly to small dogs and other pets;
  • mothballs – contain paradichlorobenzene, naphthalene, or naphthalene—all deadly;
  • chlorine – used in disinfectants, toilet bowl cleaners, automatic dish detergents, swimming pools.   Chlorine causes dizziness, vomiting and laryngeal edema in some dogs;
  • glycol ethers – used in many cleaning products to clean glass, carpets, including spot removers, and toilet bowls.   Glycol ethers are linked to anemia, lung and kidney damage in dogs;
  • formaldehyde – used in soaps and some dog shampoos.   Formaldehyde contributes to asthma and is carcinogenic;
  • Easter grass and Christmas tinsel – ingested and unable to pass through the intestines, it can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract.   This often requires expensive abdominal surgery;
  • ALL medications, canine and human – over the counter, prescriptions, vitamins—can range from mild, to severe, to life-threatening.
Dog Poisons Outdoors

Many of the following dog poisons are potentially toxic to dogs.  Keep them labeled, tightly sealed, and out of reach:

  • antifreeze (sweet-tasting ethylene glycol).   A tablespoon full can result in acute kidney failure, coma, or death;
  • windshield cleaner, including windshield washer solution – may contain methanol, a toxic alcohol similar to ethylene glycol;
  • cocoa bean mulch – mild toxicity, until chocolate aroma has dissipated after a heavy rain;
  • fertilizer and plant food – mild to moderate toxicity, can contain pesticides;
  • pesticides/insecticides – typically of low toxicity;
  • rodent poisons – those containing strychnine and zinc phosphide are the most deadly.   Such “cides” are always a life-threatening emergency;
  • de-icing salts, any salt, ocean water (picked up on paws and licked off) – moderate to life-threatening toxicity, severe hypernatremis (salt-poisoning).   Do keep fresh water available while on the beach;
  • compost piles – should never contain dairy or meat products and should be contained, covered and fenced-off to protect your pets and wildlife.   They can contain serious toxins;
  • slug and snail bait – very toxic to dogs, treatment must be quickly and aggressively implemented;
  • mole and gopher bait – zink phosphide and bromethain are active and have no known antidote.   They are very dangerous.
Dog Poisons In Plants

The following plants, bulbs, flowers, and pollen are dog poisons  and can be seriously lethal to dogs:

  • Crocus – especially Autumn Crocus
  • Azalea
  • Cyclamen
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lilies – here are the most dangerous varieties: Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter, and Japanese Show; no effective antidote;
  • Oleander
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Daffodils
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Sago Palm
  • Tulips
  • Hyacinthas
  • Holly
  • Mistletoe

NOTE:  There are other dog poisons that could be included in these lists.  The effects of some of the toxic items on the list may vary greatly with the breed of dog and even dogs within the same breed.  For example:  we have had two dachshunds who loved chocolate—with absolutely no adverse effect on either of them.*

If you have a question, as always, talk to your veterinarian!

* Many Christmases ago, there was a wrapped box of chocolates placed under our Christmas tree.   It was to be opened on Christmas day by the humans in our house.  One day while we were gone, our doxie found it, unwrapped it, opened it and ate all she wanted.  Then she very carefully “buried” one chocolate in each corner of each cushion on our couch, and every easy chair in our living room.   She knew that she could go to her stash later and enjoy another chocolate or two!


Keith Somers
is a registered Independent Field Representative
of Life’s Abundance products
and the Healthy PetNet Foundation 

Finding Lost Dogs: Tips for You

Finding Lost Dogs Is Difficult,
So Here Are Some Helpful “Tips”

by Keith Somers  /  Like Keith & Dog Wonders on Facebook

finding lost dogsFinding lost dogs is something you never thought about when your puppy was eight weeks old.  Now, you are thinking about it for the first time.

You also did not realize the great responsibility that became yours when you began this adventure with your new puppy.  Among companion animals, dogs are unmatched in their loyalty, obedience, devotion, attention, friendship and love.  When you become a dog-lover, your dog will out-love you at every turn:  excitement when you come home, tail-wagging, playfulness when you throw the ball, delight in always pleasing you, . . .

Continue reading Finding Lost Dogs: Tips for You

Missing Dogs Can Be Found—Here Is How

Missing Dogs Are of Great Concern
to Companion Parents

by Keith Somers  /  Like Keith & Dog Wonders on Facebook

Missing dogs . . .  if one of them is yours, and is of great concern to you—where do you begin?

lost or stolen dogsMost dog owners do not know, and many may never know, if their dog has just wandered off and is lost, or if it has been stolen.

When dogs have disappeared:  neighbors are told, “Missing Dogs” signs go up, and friends on Facebook or Twitter may find out about it.

Statistics regarding missing dogs, lost or stolen, are very hard to get.

Continue reading Missing Dogs Can Be Found—Here Is How

Cold Weather Dog Safety, “Tips” and Products

Cold Weather Dog Safety,
“Tips” and Helpful Associated Products

by Keith Somers  /  Like Keith & Dog Wonders on Facebook

Snow and Cold Weather Dog SafetyCold weather dog safety products can be purchased through links available on most of the following tips—click the BACK arrow (upper left) to get back from the link to our site:

Age, a cold weather dog safety “tip”, is critical.  Puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with special health issues do not tolerate cold weather as well as adult dogs.  Keep them as warm as possible while outside and provide them a warm cozy bed, away from drafts, while inside.

Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol which has a sweet smell and taste making it appealing but lethal . . .

Continue reading Cold Weather Dog Safety, “Tips” and Products

Cold Weather Dog Safety

Cold Weather Dog Safety,
A Video Reminder

by Keith Somers  /  Like Keith & Dog Wonders on Facebook

Safety for DogsOh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful . . . lyricist Sammy Cahn wrote the words to “Let It Snow” in 1945.  Hopefully, this wonderful seasonal song will remind us that cold weather dog safety is serious stuff—be careful out there in the snow!  Winter will soon wrap her cold, sleety arms around much of the country.  We want to remind everybody  to take special precautions to keep their fury kids safe and healthy during cold weather.

Continue reading Cold Weather Dog Safety