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Furry Valentines first in our hearts

By Kathy Antoniotti
Beacon Journal staff writer

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Katie, a 3-year-old Labrador retrieve r is seen in this file photo. (Akron Beacon Journal file photo)

Katie was everyone’s favorite Labrador retriever. The big black dog never failed to charm anyone who had the pleasure of meeting her. She began accompanying Wait Primary School teacher David Beahn to classes each day when she was just a puppy in 2002. The children, including those with special needs, learned to depend on her and looked forward to her affection.

Katie’s story was news in a litigious society. I wrote about her in 2005 because it was so unusual for a school district to allow an animal to wander school halls. But Streetsboro administrators were very open-minded and Katie proved to be the exception because of her ability to transfer her calm demeanor to the students she loved.

Katie and Beahn, who retired in 2011, were inseparable. They were in Florida when she died last month.

“It was so very hard to let her go. I still have a hard time dealing with it,” Beahn said in an email last week. It was so difficult to see her in so much pain and there was nothing I could do to help her.”

Anyone who has ever lost a beloved animal knows the heartbreak its death brings. So, on this Valentine’s Day, I wanted to remember Ms. Katie Ann, who won the heart of everyone who knew her and offer my condolences to her best friend.

Man vs. dog

After I received these survey results, I can only assume that society has gone to the dogs (and cats). An online survey of 4,300 American pet parents conducted by Petplan Pet Insurance shows 66 percent of women said they would rather receive Valentine’s kisses from their favorite four-legged friend than their two-legged sweethearts. Men be advised: The survey reveals that 67 percent of women say they would end a relationship with a significant other if her partner clashes with her pet.

Seventy-four percent said they would spend up to $25 on Valentine presents such as toys, clothing and a special feast., a personalized website dedicated to simplifying pet parenting, asked hundreds of people to share the many ways they spoil their pets, from sharing a bed to an ice cream cone.

Their responses indicate that an overwhelming majority (99.4 percent) say they consider their pets to be part of the family and talk or sing to them regularly. Three out of four people said they would rather be stranded on a desert island with their pets than another human and admitted they celebrate their pets’ birthdays or day of adoption.

More than 40 percent said they would not go on a vacation if they couldn’t bring their pets and admitted to sneaking their pets into stores or other public areas. Ninety-nine percent say they share their beds with their pets.

More than 70 percent of respondents said their pet will be provided for in their wills.

For those of you who want to share your love for your pet by baking a wholesome treat for Valentine’s Day, pet food manufacturer Honest Kitchen supplied this recipe. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter for the treats.


4 cups fresh raw chicken liver, preferably organic

2 free range eggs

¼ cup olive oil

2 cups instant quinoa flakes

3 tbsp applesauce

¼ cup dried cranberries or blueberries

1 clove fresh garlic, crushed

1 tsp of dried basil

Filtered water sufficient to make a batter

Preheat oven to 350°F. Process liver in a blender or food processor, until completely pureed. Beat eggs in a bowl and pour in oil. Add pureed liver. Mix in dry ingredients slowly, stirring continuously so they are thoroughly combined. Add water gradually, until you have a batter consistency. Pour the batter into a cake pan that has 1½- to 2-inch sides. Bake 50 minutes. Cool in pan until able to handle, then gently turn cake out onto a rack and refrigerate to cool completely. Use heart-shaped cookie cutters to gently press out individual shapes. Save scraps to use as a healthy topper on your pet’s next meal.

Other animals in the news:

• Congratulations to Keating — The yellow Lab was fostered by Norton couple Terry and Carol Hamilton while he was on his road to becoming a Guiding Eyes for the Blind dog. The Hamiltons recently attended Keating’s graduation in New York and met his new partner, the woman he will be assisting as a newly appointed guide dog.

• My Furry Valentine — The Portage Animal Protective League’s adoption event will be held Feb. 15-16 at the agency at 8122 Infirmary Road, Ravenna. Adopters will receive a $14 discount on cats, which are regularly $50, and dogs, normally $150. All adopted dogs and cats are fully vaccinated, spayed or neutered, checked for appropriate diseases and free of fleas and worms. Many are microchipped and have been treated for other medical issues.

Kathy Antoniotti writes about pets for the Akron Beacon Journal. She is unable to help locate, place or provide medical attention for an individual animal. If you have an idea or question about pets, write her at the Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640; call 330-996-3565; or send an email to


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