Animal Clinic of Kalispell - December 2018

Pet Press KALISPELL DEC 2018


I come from a very musical family. My parents are both musicians, everyone in my extended family is a musician, and even my wife and sons are musicians. As a kid, I played piano and sang in several choirs. With all this musical talent in my genes, it’s no surprise that we went caroling around the holidays. I don’t mean we got together with a group of friends and went down the street one night. Christmas caroling was a serious business. Christmas Traditions Through the Ages GINGERBREAD AND CLAM CHOWDER

It’s interesting to think about where our traditions come from and how they change as the years go by. When the kids were young, we lived

in Butte. Come winter, the local fire stations would flood all the parks, creating ice rinks all over town. The city put out these elaborate Christmas scenes, and on Christmas Eve, our family would go ice skating, enjoying the lights and the various scenes. Now the kids are in college, and none of us really want to be out on the ice at midnight anymore.

Every year, my parents made a list of between 80–100 people. We would hit 10 houses a night for over a week, singing four- part harmonies with instruments in tow. Sometimes we would have extended family members in town who came along, but most years, it was just me, my brother, and our parents. Occasionally we hit a house where a party was being held, but that didn’t deter us from knocking on the door and bursting into song. The party guests usually assumed their hosts had arranged for the festive entertainment. It wasn’t until I was 9 or 10 years old that I realized not everyone’s family practiced such hardcore caroling.

It’s interesting to think about where our traditions come from and how they change as the years go by.

Not all our traditions fade with time. Around 40 years ago, when I was 6 years old, a family friend with strong German heritage got us to start making gingerbread houses. This is something we still do today, making gingerbread and icing from scratch to build foot-tall houses covered in candies. We make a few for ourselves and one to give as a gift to a friend. It takes a whole Saturday, and we always have such a great time.

I love celebrating all of these traditions. It’s part of my genetic makeup. Sometimes it gets me in

Our style of caroling may have been extreme, but I always thought it was pretty awesome. It was one way we spent time together as a family, and I really enjoyed it. These days, Christmas caroling isn’t a part of our holiday traditions. I would go in a heartbeat, but my wife isn’t a fan of singing in front of people. After marrying Rose Ann, I sort of traded Christmas caroling for Christmas Eve clam chowder, which is something her family did every year. It’s not a bad trade; there’s nothing like warm chowder after church on a cold winter’s night.

trouble, because I don’t want to say no to anything that we’ve been doing for forever, but I love all our traditions. I hope my kids have picked up on a few things here and there that they can pass on to their own kids one day.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all! I hope you are able to enjoy all the traditions you uphold with your family this year.

—Dr. Jevon Clark 406.755.6886


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TEARDROP TO TJ How’s it going? The name’s TJ, and for seven years, I’ve been hanging out with Rose Ann and her husband Jevon — aka Dr. Clark. They rescued me from the shelter after I came in with my littermates when I was just a kitten. The folks at the shelter dubbed me Teardrop, which is a ridiculous name for a cat! Thankfully, Rose Ann and Jevon agreed. They quickly changed my name to TJ, and I have been happily living with them ever since. Apparently, Jevon wasn’t sold on me joining the family at first. He used to be atrociously allergic to cats, even when he was in vet school. But life changes, medicine changes, and now he can be around cats with no problem. Fortunately, they ended up with me. I don’t like to brag about myself, but Jevon has been known to describe me as “the best cat ever.” Who am I to argue with a veterinarian’s professional opinion? Even still, when Rose Ann threatened to get another cat, Jevon asked her why she wanted to upset the apple cart of their home, since they already had the perfect cat.

‘What the Fluff?’

HOW TO MAKE YOUR DOG THINK YOU’RE A MAGICIAN Dog owners across the world are confounding their sweet pups with the latest internet craze, aptly known as the “What the Fluff?” challenge. For this puppy prank, the rules are quite simple. The owner stands in front of their dog and lifts up a blanket in front of them. As their pet looks on, the owner runs away and lets the blanket fall to the ground. From the unsuspecting pup’s point of view, it seems as if their beloved owner has disappeared into thin air! Some of the dogs stare ahead befuddled, some spin in circles, and others run around the room trying to find where their owner is hiding. It’s all fun and games for humans, but a lot of dog lovers can’t help but wonder what is going on in the minds of their pets. Zazie Todd, a professional dog trainer who holds a Ph.D. in psychology, explains that the “What the Fluff?” challenge demonstrates that dogs exhibit object permanence: the understanding that objects exist even when you can’t see them. Scientists have long known that dogs, unlike newborn babies, understand object permanence. In 2013, a team of animal cognition scientists at the University of Kentucky conducted an experiment reminiscent of “What the Fluff?” They showed a dog a bone, hid it behind a screen, and swapped it with a bone of a different color. When they revealed the new bone, the dogs spent more time inspecting the swapped-out bone than they did when the scientists revealed the same bone as before. Because the dogs were perplexed by the incongruity, the team concluded that dogs exhibit object permanence. So how does a dog feel when their owner disappears suddenly? It’s hard to say. Most animal cognition scientists are hesitant to hypothesize about something so subjective as emotions, but after watching the pups’ reactions on Instagram and YouTube, most experts deem the prank harmless. “What the Fluff?” is akin to playing peekaboo with a baby. Does it cause some confusion? Definitely. Is it destructive? Not likely.

Gingerbread Dog Houses

The holidays are a time for great food and sweet treats! Why should your dog miss out on all the fun? Here’s a canine-friendly twist on a classic holiday recipe inspired by


Gingerbread • 3 cups whole wheat flour • 1 teaspoon cinnamon • 1/2 teaspoon ginger • 1/2 cup coconut oil • 1/2 cup molasses • 3/4 cup water

Icing •

1 cup tapioca starch 3/4 cup maple syrup



WHAT GOES UNSEEN Ultrasounds Help Pet Owners Make Better Decisions When someone mentions ultrasounds, most people think about the first images they saw of their babies. Ultrasounds and childbirth are so linked that many people are surprised to learn veterinarians can use ultrasounds, too. That surprise only grows when they learn what veterinarians use ultrasounds for. While ultrasounds can let you know if Mittens has been getting around, veterinarians most often use ultrasounds to help diagnose pet problems without having to resort to surgery right away. Thanks to sound waves and computer-imaging technology, ultrasounds provide real-time images of what’s going on inside your pet. A stethoscope can tell a veterinarian if your dog has a heart murmur, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the dog has a tumor or heartworm disease. Using an ultrasound, the veterinarian can look at the heart as it moves. If the valves are contracting normally, then there is no reason to have your pet go under for surgery. And if the ultrasound finds something abnormal, you and your veterinarian have time to discuss the situation and determine the right course of action. Before the ultrasound, the only way for a veterinarian to know what was going on inside an animal was to put them under anesthesia and open them up. This was incredibly stressful for the pet, their owner, and the veterinarian. If the veterinarian found something troubling during surgery, they had to call the owner quickly and hope they answered the phone. The owner would then have to make a decision about the situation. Often, there was very little time to discuss their options, as their pet was quite literally in the middle of surgery. Thanks to ultrasounds, veterinarians can get more done with less trauma to the pet. With more information and less pressure, pet owners can make better decisions about the health of their pet. Considering how beneficial ultrasounds can be in treating your pet, it’s no wonder many pet lovers in the Kalispell area are willing to drive over two hours to find a clinic with this technology. Fortunately, such a long journey isn’t necessary. The Animal Clinic of Kalispell has a top-of-the-line ultrasound machine in the office. Dr. Clark and his team have used ultrasounds to examine countless pets, lessening the need for surgery or helping pet owners know when surgery is absolutely necessary. We can get the information you need to help you make the best choice for you and your pet.

The Tail of One Cool Cat

I’m the only cat in a house full of people and dogs. Some cats might not care for the commotion, but I couldn’t ask for a better home. I’ve never met a dog, cat, or person I didn’t love. My mission in life is to be everyone’s friend. To do this, I like to spend my days hanging out on the front porch to greet anyone who comes by the house, visit my girlfriend Cleo across the street, and stroll around the neighborhood. I might try exploring somewhere new, but every day, I make sure to get back home when the kids on our street get out of school. I love to lie on my back on the sidewalk so the kids can pet me as they walk by. Who can say no to that kind of attention? It’s a good life, and I think I’m a pretty lucky cat. Can you imagine being called Teardrop forever? – TJ


1. Heat oven to 325 F. 2. Combine flour, cinnamon, and

ginger in a large bowl. Add coconut oil, molasses, and water, and mix until you can form a ball. 3. Roll dough on a sheet of parchment paper until it’s 1/4- inch thick. Carefully cut into desired shapes — 4 walls and 2 roof pieces per dog house. Place pieces onto cookie sheet and bake for 15–20 minutes. Once the pieces are done, let them cool completely on a cooling rack. 4. While the gingerbread cools, mix tapioca starch and maple syrup to create thick icing. Use the icing to attach all four wall pieces and roof pieces together to make your dog house, and let sit until icing hardens. Use extra icing to decorate, and feel free to add plain yogurt chips for some extra flair.







Extreme Christmas Caroling


The ‘What the Fluff?’ Challenge

Meet TJ


A Special Holiday Dog Treat

Stop Making Uninformed Decisions About Your Pet’s Health


Hurricane Pet Hero


In the wake of destruction, it’s easy to focus on self-preservation. After all, fight-or-flight instincts

in Texas and Florida as Hurricane Harvey pounded the Gulf Coast. When he finished there, his mission shifted to helping animals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island. It’s said that character is defined by the way someone acts when no one is watching. Many people heard of Alsup’s bravery after the devastation of Florence, but as news stories turned to sports, politics, and business, America slowly moved on. Victims of the hurricane who lacked supplies received less national attention, but more than a month later, Alsup’s commitment to the cause was as strong as ever. Living out of the back of the bus for weeks, he drove pets out of the persistent flooding and convoyed shipments of desperately needed supplies to the coastal Carolina towns. You can follow Tony’s commitment on Facebook. He’s not asking for money or fame; he’s just a person with heart to serve, using social media to promote

are hard-wired into our brains so that we can survive dangerous situations. But while fear drives the actions of many in times of chaos, there are a few who find greater strength in compassion.

Tony Alsup considered the potential devastation of Hurricane Florence as he sat comfortably in his home in Greeneville, Tennessee. Rather than sit back and watch, the truck driver by trade packed up an out-of-commission school bus he’d bought and set off to South Carolina with one goal in mind: to save as many animals as possible. Stopping by every shelter he found along the coast, Alsup rescued over

60 cats and dogs in both North and South Carolina and took them to Foley, Alabama.

awareness about those who desperately need our help. If you’re wondering what drives such a person, you can find it written at the bottom of every update he posts: “Love y’all, mean it.”

The heroic efforts of Alsup saved the lives of many animals, but it wasn’t the first time he’d rushed into danger for a good cause. He’d originally purchased the school bus, which he turned into Noah’s Ark last year, to save animals



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