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Bringing a dog along for a holiday stay? Make sure to plan

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Bringing a dog along for a holiday stay? Make sure to plan

NEW YORK (AP) — Traveling with dogs can be stressful. Throw in holiday home stays at one of the most chaotic times of the year and double that stress for humans and animals alike — especially when hosts have pets of their own.

Large gatherings, unfamiliar smells and sounds, mixing older or sedate dogs with energetic pups, and introducing small children or cats to a dog with no prior exposure are among the issues that can spoil the experience or, worst case, cause physical harm.

But tensions can be dialed way down with a little preparation, said certified dog behaviorist Gabrielle Johnson of Richmond, Virginia. Knowing when to pull the plug and head for a pet-friendly hotel or boarder is also key.

“Certainly holidays can be a tricky time because everyone’s out of their routine, out of their schedule. We’re in tight spaces. Stress is high,” Johnson said.

Johnson warns that dogs that are typically fine at home may be pushed too far. Learning to read unusual body language is important.

“Things like yawning, licking their lips, turning away, looking away, freezing, getting tense,” they said. “We want to see soft, wiggly, loose, relaxed. If we see some of those (other) signs, it may be an indicator that it’s time to get our dog out of that situation.”

Taking a crate along is a great idea for already crate-trained dogs but don’t try to force it for the first time, trainers said. Packing a bed and familiar blankets, toys, dishes, and food and treats are musts.

First-time introductions between dogs should be done on neutral ground, outdoors. The humans should plan ahead in case pets need to be separated, including considering baby gates, particularly when dogs are eating. Owners who suspect anxiety might be a problem could consider medication.

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Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer for Rover.com, suggests practicing with dogs who have not traveled much. If a dog is going from a quiet rural area to a noisier urban environment, take a few shorter trips to simulate the holiday surroundings, she said.

She also advises packing mental enrichment toys to help a dog decompress and navigate a new environment without getting rowdy. Licking and chewing also help a dog self-soothe, Ellis said.

James Paasche of Central Point, Oregon, will spend six days in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, 6-year-old daughter and 11-year-old dog, Walter, for Christmas.

Paasche’s brother has three dogs of his own, including two older ones. Walter, anxious his entire life, has met only his younger canine cousin. He takes medication but once nipped at a child on a previous stay at another home. The children of Paasche’s brother are older, but he’s concerned about the two new dogs.

“You know how it is with older dogs, they get a little more set in their ways and are less amenable to new things that puppies and younger dogs just don’t care about,” Paasche said. The hosts have a garage for Walter if things go awry.

Dr. Jamie Richardson, head of veterinary medicine for Small Door Vet in New York, said keeping a dog’s diet consistent should be top of mind.

“Their GI tracts can get upset very easily with change,” she said. “Don’t assume your food will be available locally.”

Richardson said dogs should be introduced to young children slowly and very carefully. If toddlers don’t understand the concept of leaving a dog alone, they should be separated.

Home stays aren’t all gloom and doom, though.

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Phoebe Yung of Brooklyn adopted a pandemic pup, a rat terrier named Moose. She and her husband travel with Moose often, including long trips to Europe. The holidays have them driving to Montreal to stay with relatives — including two young children — for six days.

“When she sees her pet carrier she jumps right in,” Yung said of Moose. “We really try to follow the rules of any house we’re in. We bring along a mat, and when she’s sniffing around a new place and seems to find a spot she’s comfortable with we put it down and that’s her spot.”

Young children scare Moose, but she runs away and shakes in a corner rather than getting aggressive, Yung said. She added that she would step in if Moose gets too stressed.

Emily Keegans, Seattle Humane’s chief of animal behavior, said dog owners should ask themselves if the situation is going to be a happy one for their animals, and communicate with hosts.

“If I have friends or family come to stay at my house, my first question is ‘How does your dog get along with cats?’” she said. If the answer isn’t promising, she’ll put her cat in another room and talk through logistics.

Lily Hargis lives in Richmond with Milo, the Labrador-Australian shepherd mix she rescued last year. She spent her last three Christmases visiting her great-grandmother — who has no pets — in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

“I’ll never forget the stress of that first holiday with Milo in her home, how worried I was about his behavior being perfect and reflecting on me,” Hargis said. “I think it’s especially tough when there’s a generational gap.”

Happily, her great-grandmother warmed up to Milo right away: “Within five minutes she had him up on the couch and in her lap getting cuddles.”

This year, Christmas will be closer to home, but she has other worries involving Bourbon, her stepsister’s ancient pit bull who “won’t tolerate any shenanigans.”

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To prepare, Hargis and her mother spent several sessions with Johnson, working on getting Milo and Bourbon to a place “where they could comfortably relax in the space together.”

“It just felt necessary,” Hargis explained. “There are so many aspects of the holidays that require our dogs to do things they really don’t practice much.”

As soon as they arrive, Hargis will prepare frozen Kongs and other enrichment items to help Milo decompress in a quiet room.

“Honestly, I sometimes get jealous of how well his holidays are curated to avoid stress and maximize fun,” Hargis said. “It makes me want to see how I can do the same for myself.”

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Follow Leanne Italie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/litalie

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For more AP Lifestyles stories, go to https://apnews.com/hub/lifestyle.

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Remember last year’s Memorial Day travel jams? Chances are they will be much worse this year

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Remember last year’s Memorial Day travel jams? Chances are they will be much worse this year

The patience of Memorial Day weekend travelers was tested Thursday by widespread delays across the country, but there were relatively few canceled flights, raising hopes that airlines can handle bigger crowds expected Friday.

By early evening on the East Coast, more than 6,000 flights had been delayed Thursday, with the biggest backups at the three major airports in the New York City area and Dallas-Fort Worth International.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasha Pidlubniak waits for a domestic flight at Miami International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Miami. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

 

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Pasha Pidlubniak waits for a domestic flight at Miami International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Miami. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

 

The Transportation Security Administration predicted that Friday will be the busiest day for air travel over the holiday weekend, with nearly 3 million people expected to pass through airport checkpoints. It could rival the record of 2.9 million, set on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year.

“Airports are going to be more packed than we have seen in 20 years,” said Aixa Diaz, a spokesperson for AAA.

When they aren’t waiting out flight delays, travelers are reporting sticker shock at the prices.

At Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Larisa Latimer of New Lenox, Illinois, said her airfare was reasonable but other expenses for a getaway to New Orleans were not.

 

 

 

 

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Motorists travel along Interstate 24 near the Interstate 40 interchange Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the pavement over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

Motorists travel along Interstate 24 near the Interstate 40 interchange Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the pavement over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

“I just have to make the accommodation,” she said. “The rental car is up … this year, the hotel accommodations were very unusually expensive.”

Kathy Larko of Fort Meyers, Florida, used frequent-flyer miles — and some flexible scheduling — to pay for her trip to Chicago.

“I’m really conscious of looking at the cost of the entire trip. We’re staying a little farther out than we normally would” to get a lower hotel rate, she said. “We’re also flying back a day later, because we could get cheaper miles.”

More travelers will be on the road. AAA estimates that 43.8 million people will venture at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) from home between Thursday and Monday, with 38 million of them taking vehicles.

 
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Travelers wait at a TSA checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Los Angeles. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

 

Travelers wait at a TSA checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Los Angeles. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

 

Airport unions are using the holiday weekend to highlight their demands.

About 100 workers who clean airplane cabins and drive trash trucks at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, started a 24-hour strike Thursday, demanding better pay and healthcare, according to the Service Employees International Union. About 15% of flights were delayed, but it was unclear whether the strike played any role.

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A planned strike at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York was averted, however. Teamsters Local 553, which represents about 300 workers who refuel passenger and cargo jets at JFK, said that it reached a settlement with Allied Aviation Services and called off a walkout planned for Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Ridley, 4, left, rides on a suitcase as he and his father Chris Ridley make their way through the Nashville international Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

George Ridley, 4, left, rides on a suitcase as he and his father Chris Ridley make their way through the Nashville international Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

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“We are happy an agreement has been reached, a need for a strike averted, and we are hopeful that the deal will be ratified by our members,” said Demos Demopoulos, the secretary-treasurer of the local.

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Associated Press video journalist Melissa Perez Winder in Chicago and Associated Press radio reporter Shelley Adler in Washington contributed to this report.

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Texas health department appoints anti-abortion OB-GYN to maternal mortality committee

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Texas health department appoints anti-abortion OB-GYN to maternal mortality committee

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ health department has appointed an outspoken anti-abortion OB-GYN to a committee that reviews pregnancy-related deaths as doctors have been warning that the state’s restrictive abortion ban puts women’s lives at risk.

Dr. Ingrid Skop was among the new appointees to the Texas Maternal Morality and Morbidity Review Committee announced last week by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Her term starts June 1.

The committee, which compiles data on pregnancy-related deaths, makes recommendations to the Legislature on best practices and policy changes and is expected to assess the impact of abortion laws on maternal mortality.

Skop, who has worked as an OB-GYN for over three decades, is vice president and director of medical affairs for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, an anti-abortion research group. Skop will be the committee’s rural representative.

Skop, who has worked in San Antonio for most of her career, told the Houston Chronicle that she has “often cared for women traveling long distances from rural Texas maternity deserts, including women suffering complications from abortions.”

Texas has one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the U.S., and doctors have sought clarity on the state’s medical exemption, which allows an abortion to save a woman’s life or prevent the impairment of a major bodily function. Doctors have said the exemption is too vague, making it difficult to offer life-saving care for fear of repercussions. A doctor convicted of providing an illegal abortion in Texas can face up to 99 years in prison and a $100,000 fine and lose their medical license.

Skop has said medical associations are not giving doctors the proper guidance on the matter. She has also shared more controversial views, saying during a congressional hearing in 2021 that rape or incest victims as young as 9 or 10 could carry pregnancies to term.

Texas’ abortion ban has no exemption for cases of rape or incest.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which says abortion is “inherently tied to maternal health,” said in a statement that members of the Texas committee should be “unbiased, free of conflicts of interest and focused on the appropriate standards of care.” The organization noted that bias against abortion has already led to “compromised” analyses, citing a research articles co-authored by Skop and others affiliated with the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

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Earlier this year a medical journal retracted studies supported by the Charlotte Lozier Institute claiming to show harms of the abortion pill mifepristone, citing conflicts of interests by the authors and flaws in their research. Two of the studies were cited in a pivotal Texas court ruling that has threatened access to the drug.

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Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

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Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

A Michigan dairy worker has been diagnosed with bird flu — the second human case associated with an outbreak in U.S. dairy cows.

The male worker had been in contact with cows at a farm with infected animals. He experienced mild eye symptoms and has recovered, U.S. and Michigan health officials said in announcing the case Wednesday.

A nasal swab from the person tested negative for the virus, but an eye swab tested Tuesday was positive for bird flu, “indicating an eye infection,” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said.

The worker developed a “gritty feeling” in his eye earlier this month but it was a “very mild case,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s chief medical executive. He was not treated with oseltamivir, a medication advised for treating bird flu, she said.

The risk to the public remains low, but farmworkers exposed to infected animals are at higher risk, health officials said. They said those workers should be offered protective equipment, especially for their eyes.

Health officials say they do not know if the Michigan farmworker was wearing protective eyewear, but an investigation is continuing.

In late March, a farmworker in Texas was diagnosed in what officials called the first known instance globally of a person catching this version of bird flu from a mammal. That patient reported only eye inflammation and recovered.

Since 2020, a bird flu virus has been spreading among more animal species — including dogs, cats, skunks, bears and even seals and porpoises — in scores of countries.

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The detection in U.S. livestock earlier this year was an unexpected twist that sparked questions about food safety and whether it would start spreading among humans.

That hasn’t happened, although there’s been a steady increase of reported infections in cows. As of Wednesday, the virus had been confirmed in 51 dairy herds in nine states, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Fifteen of the herds were in Michigan.

The CDC’s Dr. Nirav Shah said the case was “not unexpected” and it’s possible more infections could be diagnosed in people who work around infected cows.

U.S. officials said they had tested 40 people since the first cow cases were discovered in late March. Michigan has tested 35 of them, Bagdasarian told The Associated Press in an interview.

Shah praised Michigan officials for actively monitoring farmworkers. He said health officials there have been sending daily text messages to workers exposed to infected cows asking about possible symptoms, and that the effort helped officials catch this infection. He said no other workers had reported symptoms.

That’s encouraging news, said Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota epidemiologist who has studied bird flu for decades. There’s no sign to date that the virus is causing flu-like illness or that it is spreading among people.

“If we had four or five people seriously ill with respiratory illness, we would be picking that up,” he said.

The virus has been found in high levels in the raw milk of infected cows, but government officials say pasteurized products sold in grocery stores are safe because heat treatment has been confirmed to kill the virus.

The new case marks the third time a person in the United States has been diagnosed with what’s known as Type A H5N1 virus. In 2022, a prison inmate in a work program picked it up while killing infected birds at a poultry farm in Montrose County, Colorado. His only symptom was fatigue, and he recovered. That predated the virus’s appearance in cows.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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