Another great day at The Pirates House!  Everyone was excited to see LOA Past President Cody Hetzel join us for lunch and Mel Mrochinski received a Paul Harris +4 pin - congrats Mel!  President Cindy Kelley reminded everyone of the RCSE Oyster Roast on Saturday, February 9th from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm at Gordon Matthews house on Tybee.  Once all Rotary business items were discussed, Laura Lane McKinnon introduced Lauren Fins who talked about canine communication and safety.  
 
Dogs communicate primarily through body language with occasional vocalizations.  A wagging tail doesn't always mean the dog is happy - a lot depends on height of tail, speed, etc.  Lauren then showed us pictures of dogs in various stances which suggested the mood they were in - relaxed, alert, aggressive, fearful, extreme fear, playful.  Vocalizations include whining, barking, and growling.  When approaching a dog, you should approach from the side, stay on the same level as the dog, move slowly, avoid direct eye contact, and pet the dog underneath the chin.  When you encounter an aggressive dog, you should cross your arms, stay still and then slowly turn, and ignore the dog.  If a dog lunges at you, try and put something between you and the dog, cover your head, and find higher ground.  You should always ask the pet owner if it is okay to pet the dog.  
 
In order to keep your dog safe, it is good to have a Dog First Aid Kit on hand.  200,000 dogs were poisoned in 2017.  The most dangerous foods for dogs are chocolate, grapes, raisins, anything with xylitol, onions, garlic and caffeine.  Other toxic items are antifreeze, human medication, and certain flowers and plants (sago palms, azaleas).  A lot of dogs end up in shelters due to owners giving them up because of behavior issues.  When training a dog, you should reward good behavior and ignore bad. Lauren says border collies and poodles are smart and easily trainable and that shih tzu's are some of the hardest dogs to train.      
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