Surface Creek Veterinary Center - December 2020

Take a look at this month's edition of the SCVC Pawprint newsletter!

December 2020 970-856-4474

SCVC Pawprint

WITH YOUR PETS! Tackle Your Resolutions

exercise regularly. But, your health is important, too. That’s where your goals for the new year come into play. As you start to think about what your exercise plans are for 2021, think about the different ways you can incorporate your pet. If your goal is to walk more each day, get outside with your dog and walk around the neighborhood or park. Keep in mind that walking time does vary depending on how old your dog is and if they have any health conditions. It’s not uncommon for people to receive pets over the holidays, and if you got a puppy, a 15-minute walk is perfect for them. This short amount of time will benefit them and you. A study in 2008 showed that pet owners who walked their pets for just 30 minutes a day “reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, colon and breast cancer, and Type 2 diabetes.” Not only this, but both pets and owners were also less likely to become obese. If you’re a cat owner, there are plenty of ways to exercise your cat, too. In addition to buying a laser, a few new toys, or simply rolling up a ball of tinfoil, you can train your cat to wear a harness. Although many indoor cats can get plenty of exercise with the right toys, taking them outside is a great way for them to release pent up energy and get some fresh air. Training your cat to wear a harness is different than training a dog, but it is just as rewarding. For a

T he end of the year is usually especially after the holidays. As we head into 2021, though, we shouldn’t only be thinking about goals for ourselves. Just like us, our pets need a healthy diet and exercise. Without a healthy lifestyle, our health and the health of our pets will slowly deteriorate. If your cat or dog is suffering from weight gain, now is a great time to get them, and yourself, into shape. In our last few newsletter editions, these topics have come up a few times. Last month, we featured an article discussing the importance of our pet’s diet, and in October’s issue, we wrote about how vital it is to make sure our pets when people start to plan New Year’s resolutions. One of the more popular goals people make is to stay fit and exercise more,

great step-by-step training process for your cat, visit the Anti-Cruelty Society at Getting your pet involved in your New Year’s resolutions can also be a great way to help you maintain your fitness goals and keep yourself motivated, as your pet’s needs are there to hold you accountable. Dr. Susie and Dr. Jeff



Throughout her life, Shania Ballard has always cared for and helped animals. As a veterinary assistant, she is able to support the pets that come through our doors, their owners, and the rest of our team to ensure they’re taken care of. But her passion doesn’t stop there. Shania continues to care for the many animals at home, helping her family raise them and keep them happy and healthy. Growing up, Shania and her family had a farm, and they cared for many of the same animals she has today. “We raise chickens, pigs, a rabbit, cats, and goats,” she says. “Every day as a kid, I’d see them and spend time with them, and I’ve always wanted to help our animals, whether that was feeding them, doing what I could to make sure they were healthy, or helping when the animals went into labor. Now, most of my time outside of school and work goes into caring for them. I’ve always been interested in working with animals and really enjoy everything I do.” Shania joined our team here at Surface Creek in August of this year. She had heard about our clinic before, and when she searched for a position where she could continue to pursue her passion, she found us. “I’ve been working with Dr. Jeff and Dr. Susie Hirsch for a few months and really enjoy it here. There are a lot of hardworking people who want to help animals just as much as I do, and I've had a lot of opportunities here. I’m currently going to school to become a veterinarian, and being here has taught me a lot.” When it comes to caring for the many pets we see and help every day, Shania says it’s the best part of what she does. “When someone comes in with their pet, and you can tell it’s in pain and not feeling well, then after we’ve treated the pet, you can just tell in its face that it’s feeling better.” We are proud to have such a dedicated individual as part of the Surface Creek team. Shania gives her all each and every day, and we are excited to help her further her veterinary career. TEAM MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: SHANIA BALLARD ALi e Dedicated to Animals The Best Companion


Therapy pets can have a powerful impact on dental patients, especially if those patients have anxiety.

970-856-4474 Our hearts are officially melted. It’s only fitting for a pet hero to have heroic owners, too! 2 Cameron Garrett told CNN, “Quite honestly, as a dentist, I’m as much a psychiatrist or psychologist as anything else. Kismet has allowed us to have another tool in our toolbox.” They can even use the toothless pup’s story to teach patients about the effects of periodontal disease. Getting love from patients also helps Kismet. “She just wants to be with us,” Debra Garrett explained. The new owners suspect that she was abused in the past and is still recovering from that trauma. “When she is on a patient’s lap, she’s providing them comfort, but she’s also getting comfort. It’s hard for me to describe how nice it is for me to be looking at her while I’m working. It’s just a win-win all the way around.” “The studies are very clear: People who sit and pet animals have lower blood pressure, and that’s what it's all about,” Dr. Cameron Garrett told TODAY when the world found out about Kismet. Garrett’s dental practice employs the adorable 13-year-old Chihuahua rescue as a therapy animal that patients can hold and pet while they get dental work done. Kismet’s life has not been easy. The Muttville Senior Dog Rescue has invested thousands of dollars into Kismet’s health — they diagnosed her with heart disease, removed a cancerous tumor, treated a hernia, and removed all of her teeth due to periodontal disease. Yet, Kismet remains a very sweet dog. She never barks and loves back scratches and being held. It’s especially amazing that the toothless Kismet found such a perfect new home with dental professionals! This past July, Cameron Garrett and his wife, Debra Garrett (a hygienist), adopted Kismet into their home as well as their dental practice. The serene dog has provided a special experience for patients who come for exams, cleanings, and even root canals. Of course, some patients are scared of dogs. In those cases, Kismet relaxes behind a closed gate. But over 98% of patients happily take Kismet on their laps while they undergo their dental procedure.


3 Tips for Pet-Proofing Your Home A ny pet owner can tell you that once the Christmas tree and holiday decorations go up, their home becomes a warzone between themselves and their pets. Pets just can’t seem to resist getting their paws, teeth, and claws into the ornaments, holiday plants, and lights. the base or use a gate to keep pets from getting too close. Additionally, put fragile ornaments up at the top of the tree to keep them out of reach. AVOID THESE DECORATIONS.

Before you start putting up the decorations, there are a few you should avoid, such as tinsel and edible ornaments. Tinsel is dangerous when ingested, as it can become tangled in vital organs, causing obstructions in the digestive tract, severe vomiting, and dehydration. Edible ornaments, such as holly berries or popcorn strings, can be dangerous for animals, too. They may cause a pet to become sick or choke. DON’T GET THESE PLANTS. Holiday plants are beautiful decorations, but some can be poisonous to pets. Avoid decorating with plants such as mistletoe, poinsettias, holly berries,

lilies, and pine tree needles. If you do have any of these, be sure to place them in a spot inaccessible to your pets or use fake ones instead. A fake poinsettia can give a room the aesthetic you’re after without the additional worry of your pets trying to get a closer look. By following these tips, the holidays will be fun and festive for the whole family, humans and pets included!

Clients Spreading the Word Thanks so much to these clients who referred new patients to us last month: That is why our team at Surface Creek recommends pet-proofing your home while getting into the spirit of the holiday season. Pet- proofing will help ensure your pets stay happy, healthy, and safe all through the holidays. START WITH THE TREE. Some pets can’t help climbing the Christmas tree or accidentally knocking it over. If you’re putting up a tree this year, make sure it is properly secured to keep it upright. Use extra weight at

Inspired by

No holiday feast is complete without gravy to pour on just Holiday Pet Fo d Gravy

• Meyghan Hill • Jan Casserly • Lena Roeder

about everything — including your dog or cat’s food! Get your pets excited about their dry food by revamping it with this quick and easy holiday gravy recipe.


2 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken or turkey broth

• •

1 lb low-fat ground turkey

2 tbsp cornstarch or tapioca flour


1. In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a simmer. 2. In a skillet, brown ground turkey, breaking it up into small pieces. 3. When turkey is cooked thoroughly, strain off any remaining fat. 4. Sprinkle cornstarch or tapioca flour over meat and stir well to coat evenly. 5. Pour broth over meat mixture and bring it to a low boil until it thickens. 6. Let cool slightly but serve warm over your dog or cat’s favorite dry food. 7. Enjoy the holiday feasting together!

We Reward Referrals!





inside this issue

1 2

Make New Year’s Resolutions With Your Pets

Meet Kismet, a Dentist’s Toothless Therapy Dog

Team Member Spotlight: Shania Ballard


Holiday Pet-Proofing

Clients Spreading the Word!

Holiday Pet Food Gravy


5 Ways to Winterize Your Garden

5Ways to Winterize Your Garden


4. DIVIDE AND PLANT BULBS. At this time of year, spring bulbs have long since died, but other flowering bulbs, like lilies, may have recently bloomed. About three weeks after they’ve displayed, dig them up and plant the ones that were crowded during the growing season away from other plants. Dig 4–8 inches away from the plant’s growing stalk, lift it out gently, and immediately transplant it elsewhere. 5. HARVEST YOUR COMPOST. Material composted over the summer is likely finished and ready to use. Top your garden beds, amend deficient soils, or fertilize your lawn and landscaping with it to jump-start growth for spring. As the weather gets colder, it’s tempting to adopt a hibernation mentality and avoid getting outdoors to take care of your garden. But if you don’t want to be back at square one when winter thaws and spring arrives, put the work in now. You and your crops will be thankful later.

from the soil prevents those pests from getting a head start in spring. You can also bury old plants in your garden to reintegrate organic matter and improve soil health. 2. PREPARE YOUR SOIL. Many people reserve this for spring, but winter is a great time to use soil amendments like manure or compost. Adding these nutrients now means they have time to start breaking down and enriching your soil. You also won’t have to wait until your garden dries out in spring to get this step done. Just remember to cover the bed with plastic to prevent winter weather from washing your work away. 3. PLANT COVER CROPS. Sowing cover crops like rye, vetch, legumes, or clover is a great way to help prevent soil erosion, break up compacted areas, and increase organic matter. Try to plant your cover crops about one month before the first killing frost.

If you want your garden to thrive when spring comes, then taking proper care of it through winter is essential. Here are five ways you can adequately prepare your garden to survive the chilly season and put yourself ahead of the game come spring. 1. CLEAN UP ROT. Old plants can harbor disease, pests, and fungus. Insects feeding on your plants during summer and fall may leave eggs behind, so removing spent plants

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