My Rescue

IMG_0727On a Sunday I decided to go for a run and had a beautiful day to do it.  It was early May, 70 degrees with a cool breeze that made it perfect to be out, even though I was doing something I really dislike but know has to get done.  Two parks are directly across the street from me and for some reason I chose the furthest one on that day.  As I made my way around the park and was going for the second lap, I jumped as something in a pile of leaves appeared to reach for me.  Upon taking a closer look, what I thought to be a rat turned out to be a ferret.  He was scrawny, dirty and thin.  He looked scared as he slowly made his way over to me and even though I was nervous about handling an animal at that point in my life that I never touched, I picked him up and cradled him in my shirt.  I spent the next hour going through the park and walking up several streets trying to find his owner.  Got him a box and fed him some Honeycombs, because after all I had no idea what these animals ate, and watched him nearly choke because he was eating so fast probably out of starvation.  No one claimed this little ferret, so I went and bought him a three tier cage equipped with everything ferret’s like, bought him the appropriate food and spent nearly the next four years with an animal who absolutely appreciated that he was rescued.  He became apart of our family and was deeply missed when he passed.  It’s nice to go to a pet store and search for the perfect puppy, kitten or other small newborn animal, but remember, there are so many animals who are up for adoption that know you rescued them if given the chance.  You will form a bond with your rescued friend unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.  So, if you’re thinking of getting a new animal, please think of adopting because you’re not only getting a new companion, you’re also saving a life.

-Joe Fiorilli


Mold Exposure In Dogs – Part 1

It is hard to believe that dogs can be exposed to mold just the same as humans, and one of the culprits of exposure is through ingestion. Mycotoxicosis is a term used to denote poisoning by food products contaminated by fungi (i.e., moldy bread, cheese, English walnuts, or even a backyard compost). As well as being toxic to humans, fungi release various toxins, also called mycotoxins, that are toxic to cats and dogs.

Symptoms and Types

The severity and type of symptom will ultimately depend on the amount and type of mycotoxin ingested. Some of the more common symptoms associated with mycotoxicosis include:

  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Panting
  • Hyperactivity
  • Vomiting
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Weakness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased body temperature
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of appetite (anorexia)


Ingestion of mushrooms, moldy food, or garbage and other decomposing organic matter.


You will need to give the veterinarian a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, and any possible exposure to mushrooms, moldy food, or decomposing organic matter. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination, as well a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count (CBC). These tests will help rule out other causes for tremors and seizures.
More advanced tests (thin-layer chromatography, bile analysis) are available to analyze the contents of the stomach and vomit, which should definitely confirm or refute the diagnosis.


Mold Exposure In Dogs – Part 2


A dog suffering from mycotoxin poisoning is the type of emergency which will need immediate hospitalization and treatment. Your veterinarian will pump the dog’s stomach and, if it is not convulsing, give activated charcoal to absorb the toxic material in the stomach and intestines. Overall prognosis is good if treatment begins soon after ingestion of the fungi.

Living and Management

Watch your dog for recurrence of symptoms and call your veterinarian immediately if tremors, seizures, or any other untoward symptom develops. Most dogs recover within 24 to 48 hours after treatment. However, some animals may recover more slowly and take a few weeks for the symptoms to subside.


In order to prevent your dog from eating raw mushrooms or other moldy food material, you should remove any harmful items from the backyard and safely secure a compost heap, should you have one. It is also helpful to pay attention to your dog when it roams outdoors.

Dogs & Insurance

Up to 47% of American households have a dog, and for insurance companies, these households represent a risk. In 2013, homeowners insurance policies paid out some $483 million in dog bite liability claims. Obviously, insurance companies would rather not be shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars over dog bites. But what are they doing to cut costs and how does this affect dog owners? Homeowners insurance protects homeowners from liability claims. In the case of dog owners, this means your policy could cover the costs if your furry friend harms someone.

What You Need to Know

As a dog owner, you may believe wholeheartedly that Rover wouldn’t harm a human, but many people are caught off guard when they are the subject of a dog bite liability claim, or when they or their children are harmed by another person’s pet.

Owning a dog may make it difficult to find insurance.

With breed-specific policies, you may pay more for insurance or have a hard time finding a company to cover you. Breed-specific policies also create significant difficulties for renters, who find many property owners’ hands tied by their insurance policies and unable to offer good renters a home—simply because of a dog’s breed and regardless of whether a particular dog has no history of biting.

You shouldn’t lie to your insurance company about your dog.

The insurance company will ask about your pet(s) in an effort to determine their risk. Given the magnitude of the exposure on this issue, the application for insurance will contain various inquiries—what kind of dog, has a claim been filed previously.

While the questions could indicate reluctance to cover you, honesty is the best policy. Lying could have significant repercussions. Depending on the response, the carrier may decline the application. Being truthful is important. Failure to disclose may be grounds for voiding a policy.

You should understand how dogs affect your policy.

Being informed is tantamount to ensuring you are covered if something should happen. Dog owners should confirm that their homeowners insurance policy covers injuries arising from their dogs and that there are no exclusions that would prohibit coverage for a dog-related incident. Read your policy and talk to your insurance agent if you are unsure.

In many American households, pets are considered family members. But unlike other members of the family, your dog could cost you when it comes to insuring your home. As with most insurance matters, the best advice is to be honest with your carrier and informed when it comes to your policy specifics.



For all of those following and asking us for updates on Xena, I am so happy to tell everyone that she has been adopted. After several long months of earning her trust and getting her reintroduced to living with people after the tragedy she witnessed, Xena has found a Forever Home. We would like to thank, Red Paw Emergency Relief, Jen Leary, Emily Miller and Jen Baris for their tireless work in helping us place this beautiful dog.

To donate to Red Paw, click this link: RedPawDonations

Visit our site at

Rescuing Xena

Rescuing Xena

Pictured here is Xena. She was rescued by Red Paw after her house was intentionally set on fire. Her parents were murdered in the house prior to it being set ablaze, and Xena was rescued in an abandoned building two days later. The owner of MSI, Joe Fiorilli, is fostering her after several months of being in a kennel. She shortly became well adjusted to living in a home and is up for adoption. Even if you can not adopt or foster a dog, donating to such organizations like Red Paw Emergency Relief allows such people like Jen Leary to save lives.

To make a donation click here: RedPawDonations
To visit our website and get updates on Xena, Like Us on Face at MSIFanPage