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Veterinarian, groups list winter safety tips for pets

A polar bear might love the arctic weather that’s hitting the Midwest.

But not household pets.

That’s why animal experts urge pet owners to exercise extra caution during the bitterly cold temperatures this week.

The National Weather Service is forecasting wind chill values expected to fall to 20 to 35 below zero Wednesday morning and 0 to 20 below Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

With such forecasts in mind, Fremont veterinarian Dr. Mark Pettit advises pet owners to let their animals outside just long enough to go to the bathroom and then to get them back into the house.

“Frostbite can set in on them just like it can on us,” Pettit said.

It can occur on the tip of a tail or the perimeter of the ears — and even on the footpads if the animal is out for a long period of time.

He added that frostbite won’t show up for several days after the fact.

“When it’s this cold, it’s just not worth taking the risk,” Pettit said.

Access to fresh water is important for outdoor dogs or cats (which have access to a warm place where they can get out of the elements, like a well-insulated dog house).

Whereas pet owners might put out water once a day, they now should do so two or three times — because water in a bowl is likely to freeze quickly.

Pettit notes that there aren’t as many outdoor dogs as there were 10 or 20 years ago.

He also cautioned that older animals — just like older people — are more susceptible to the elements than a young, healthy one.

When it comes to felines, cats may seek shelter under the hood of a car — and then can be injured or killed when the car is started. Some animal-related agencies recommend honking a horn before getting in the car, then giving the animal time to escape.

Pettit also suggests pounding on the hood of the vehicle.

“Especially, if the vehicle has been running and it’s nice and warm and they get in there and you go out there and start it up again,” he said.

Generally speaking, veterinary and animal advocacy groups list a variety winter safety tips for pets. Here are a few:

Provide shelter.

  • The best situation would be to have all pets live inside, the groups said. If the animals primarily live outside, bring them inside when temperatures dip below zero. No pet should be outside for long periods in below freezing weather.

Keep pets at home.

  • Cold cars pose a threat. Don’t leave your pet in an unattended vehicle.

Know your pet’s limits

  • . Tolerance can vary depending on their coat, body fat and health. Arthritic pets may be more prone to falling.

Consider your pet’s breed, age and health

  • . Short-haired, elderly or very young pets feel the cold more quickly, but even long-haired animals are at risk in cold weather. Short-legged pets can get cold quicker, because their bellies are more likely to come in contact with snow-covered ground. Pets with diabetes, heart disease and other ailments have a tougher time regulating body temperature.

Consider a coat or sweater.

  • Have more than one. A wet sweater or coat can make a dog colder.

Give them a warm place to sleep.

  • Make sure the place is off the floor and away from drafts in your house or apartment. A cozy dog or cat bed with a blanket works well.

Wipe their paws.

  • During the winter, a dog’s paws can pick up toxic chemicals such as anti-freeze or de-icers. Consider using pet-safe de-icers. Also check for signs of injury on your pet’s paws, like cracked or bleeding feet.

Prevent poisoning.

  • Antifreeze attracts dogs and cats, because it’s sweet to the taste, but it’s poisonous. Avoid spills in your garage or wipe them up quickly.

Stay prepared.

  • Extreme weather can cause power outages. Have enough of your pet’s food and medicine on hand.

And remember — if it’s too cold outside for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet.

Relay For Life event to kick-off annual campaign

Area residents have gathered in Fremont to support and participate in the Relay For Life for many years.

As the annual event rounds into its 21st year, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Dodge County is hosting a free kick-off celebration to prepare for this year’s relay on June 8.

The kick-off event will be held on Feb. 4 on the third floor of Health Park Plaza at Methodist Fremont Health beginning at 6 p.m.

The program will highlight how the community has benefited from funds raised and also honor cancer survivors and caregivers. Guests will have the opportunity to register for a team for this year’s event.

“We want to regroup our teams and invite anyone new who would be interested in having a team or even to come that evening and find out what we do,” Diane Wilson, event-lead for Relay for Life of Dodge County, told the Tribune in 2018.

Last year, more than 300 people participated in the Relay For Life of Dodge County and raised almost $66,000.

The Relay For Life movement is the world’s largest fundraising event to fight every cancer in every community, with four million participants in 6,000 events worldwide in 2018.

The kick-off event will also serve as a platform to announce upcoming fundraising events that will be held throughout the year leading up to this year’s Relay For Life event, which is scheduled from 4-11 p.m. on June 8 on the campus of Midland University.

During the annual event, people gather to remember loved ones lost. Teams and individuals take turns walking or running around a track or path. Teams participate in fundraising in the months leading up to the event.

Wilson hopes people participate in the 2019 relay “to help us find a cure.”

“That’s the ultimate goal,” she said.

In meantime, they’re welcome to attend the kick-off.

“It’s a great way to get started on our mission for the year,” Wilson said.

For more information about the local event, contact Stephanie Stephenson by e-mail at You can also call 1-800-227-2345 or visit to learn more about Relay For Life.

Tammy Real-McKeighan, Fremont Tribune 

Parents and other family members wait early Thursday evening at Fremont Alliance Church for students who were inside Fremont High School. The school was in lockdown for about two hours after a student notified administration that another student potentially had a handgun.

Sam Pimper / Tribune Files  

A portion of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office deputies pose for a photo with an check signed in the amount of $2,255. Half of the money went toward the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Dodge County in 2017. The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Dodge County is hosting a kick-off event on Feb. 4 on the third floor of the Health Park Plaza at Methodist Fremont Health. 

Brent Wasenius / Nate Tenopir / Columbus Telegram  

Jaylee Cone of Fremont High School drives around a Columbus defender during Friday night's game. The Tigers kept the Discoverers winless by picking up a 72-34 road victory.

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Keene Memorial Library to hold SOUP-er Bowl

This Super Bowl weekend, the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams will be competing for an NFL championship title.

At Keene Memorial Library, staff members will be competing for a different kind of glory: the title of best soup chef.

This year, the library is hosting its first-ever SOUP-er Bowl Party. Seven staff members have been assigned to making seven different kinds of soups, and the public is invited to stop by and try them.

Then, visitors can cast their votes for their favorites, and the soup with the most votes will win.

The chef will receive a golden ladle as a prize.

“We’ve never done this before, so I think we’re all kind of hoping that it’ll be fun for the patrons and for us alike — kind of a boost in morale,” said Elisa Cruz, circulation manager at the library in Fremont.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. It is free to attend, and there is no need to RSVP.

“I hope that it turns out well,” Cruz said. “I’ve got little sample-size cups and I hope that people come in and sample at least a few of the soups and then vote on which they think is the tastiest.”

The event is coming at an opportune time, Cruz argued — with the recent cold spell hitting the state, the Keene library is positioned to offer patrons some warm relief in the form of a hot bowl of soup.

“With this cold, it kind of fits just right,” Cruz said.

Outside of the soup sampling, it will be business as usual at the library on Saturday, with its weekly storytime session scheduled for the morning at its normal time. But guests coming in and out will be able to sample the soups for free and cast their vote.

“I think it’s just a beneficial thing,” Cruz said. “They don’t have to spend any money, there’s nothing required of them — other than we want a vote to see who makes the tastiest soup — so I think it’s good for the community and I think it’s good for our library.”