The weather forecast calls for more below freezing temperatures outside so it’s important to follow these basic tips to keep your pets safe this winter season.

When outside, provide your pet with adequate shelter. So, what does that mean? Make sure it is draft free and large enough to turn around in but small enough to retain body heat. Don’t forget to line it with straw, not newspapers or towels as they retain the cold and become stiff. It should be raised off the ground a few inches with the covered opening facing away from the wind. Also, check your pet’s water bowl regularly to make sure it isn’t frozen and use a tip-resistant plastic bowl instead of a metal one. You don’t want a tongue getting stuck to an ice cold bowl. Serious injury could result. Pets are attracted to the sweet taste of anti-freeze, which is highly toxic and can be fatal in even small doses, so clean up any spills. Wash your pets’ feet when they come in from a walk as salt and road chemicals collect on their footpads and can be irritating as well as rough on the digestive system. Finally, whether you own a cat or not, there’s probably at least one or two who roam your neighborhood. So it is a good practice to tap the hood of your car before you fire it up as cats often tuck themselves up into the engine or tires to get warm. Of course the safest and best place for your pet to be this winter is with you inside, curled up on the couch.

Our pet pick of the week is Angel. Angel is a 4-year-old Alaskan Husky, which is not an actual breed of dog but instead is a preferred mix of northern breeds that are bred to be proficient sled dogs. Angel was one such sled dog who was rescued by a dog lover who was concerned about her emaciated state and her well-being. Although well intentioned, he wasn’t able to give her the amount of attention she needs so she was entrusted to us to find an appropriate home. Angel is a very sweet, mild mannered girl and though quite shy and timid, she has made great gains in the short time she has been with us at the shelter. She is a great dog with a lot of potential but needs someone who is willing to be patient as she learns to be a great pet. Because she was a sled dog she was an outside dog and is learning what it means to be inside and house trained. She gets along great with cats and she enjoys the company of dogs. We highly recommend that she go to a home that already has a dog for companionship and to help her adjust and learn about proper dog behavior in a home. Angel is definitely a diamond in the “ruff” but is sure to grow into a wonderful companion with some love, attention and patience.

Save the date: Join us Saturday, Feb. 6 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Knox County Courthouse for Knox County Feed our Friends. We will be there along with the AIO Food Pantry to accept donations of supplies and financial assistance for our two- and four-legged friends and to answer any questions about what we do. Don Carrigan will also be there along with Togus the Cat. For more information visit and follow the link.

Our wish list this week: laundry detergent, stamps/post card stamps, bleach, paper towels, large black garbage bags, large rawhide chews, Lexmark Ink No. 32 and 33, HP Ink No. 92 and 93, non-clumping kitty litter, and gift certificates to local businesses. We are located at 65 Dexter St. Extension off Route 1 in Thomaston. Mail: P.O. Box 1294, Rockland, ME 04841; phone: 594-2200. Open everyday except Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.