Category Archives: advocacy

Roundup of Dogs in the News

This weeks roundup of stories are incredibly inspirational and are a great read!

Service Dog Gives Girl Without Arms A Helping Hand

WILX in Lansing, Michigan shares the story and video of a Zeo Bosanic who was born without arms, but thanks to her Golden Doodle, is able to overcome that obstacle.

Mochi, her dog, has been working with Canines for Change to learn the situations where Zoe needs assistance, and how to provide it. For example, if Zoe drops something, Mochi can pick it up and place it where Zoe access it. Thanks Mochi and Canines for Change, and Congratulations Zoe for your strength and courage!

Canine Companions for Independence features Megan Moving Away From Home

Megan, who graduated from law school in Boston, didn’t let her deafness interfere with her independence. Struggling with how to manage daily tasks without her parents, she realized that a service dog would be able to provide what she needed to move away from home.

Canine Companions for Independence worked with Meg to match her with the right dog (his name is Ras). Ras provides her with the confidence and reassurance that she won’t miss vital alerts in the world.

Mutt-i-grees Student Ambassador Program Runs Adoption Event

Mutt-i-grees Student Ambassadors in conjunction with North Shore Animal League host an adoption event in New York’s Prospect Park which ends up with 9 rescue dog adoptions!

Students in the program took the lead in the event, raising awareness, and collecting signatures for a petition, as well as working the adoption event. This great community partnership was a win-win for everyone as the students gained organizational and leadership skills, and several dogs found forever homes!

Mutt-i-grees also has curriculum that teachers can incorporate into any classroom setting. Check out the links on their site.

Saline Memorial Hospital Hires Therapy Dog For Staff, Patience

Recognizing the benefits of therapy dogs, Saline Memorial Hospital in Benton, Arkansas has brought in furry assistants to ease the nerves of anxious and stressed patients and staff.

“Get her in your lap and love her for a little bit. You’ll forget about your troubles,” said Ruth Phillips, a patient.

Often, patients must spend extended periods in hospital as they recover from a procedure or experience reucurring treatments, they must leave their familiar home and pets. Having just a touch of something ‘from home’ or a happy-go-lucky dog can bring a smile and calmness to any heart.

This Is Why Firehouse Dogs Are Dalmatians

MSN did a writeup this week answering the question why dalmatians are associated with firehouse dogs. The article goes into greater detail, but when the firefighters would run into buildings, the dogs would stay with the horses, calming them, and keeping pickpockets away.

Clearly, in today’s age, the mechanized firetruck has replaced the horse-drawn wagon, but the imagery of the dalmatian sitting on the back of the fire truck, or laying at the entrance to a firehouse has remained.

Also, check out this longer article from Live Science with pictures of dalmatian fire dogs in action, riding along to the scene of fires. https://www.livescience.com/33293-dalmatians-official-firehouse-dogs.html

Is Climate Change Causing Disease Spread?, Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation Helps Adoption, and The Most Dog-Friendly Work Places. Those Topics And More In This Weeks News

Climate Change Causing Spreading Diseases

USA Today had an interesting article about how the changing climate is causing animal diseases to show up in parts of the country where they either haven’t’ been seen before, or weren’t very prevalent. The article quotes veterinarians as saying the warmer weather is allowing diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme disease, and heartworm.

Not only are the diseases spreading out from their traditional territory, but there are also new strains being introduced – and can survive – in areas they have not before. The Heartland Virus and the Bourbon Virus are two new entrants that have caused hospitalization and in some cases death. This story is a reminder of the importance of preventing and dealing with the changes associated with our changing world.

MuttNation Sees 61 Adoptions After Event

It’s rare that country music would show up in a dog-focused blog, but Miranda Lamber’s project MuttNation held its fourth annual drive this month and helped 61 dogs move from shelter to permanent homes. In collaboration with the Nashville Humane Association, they held a one-mile “Mutt March” through Nashville to raise awareness.

Miranda is quoted in the article as saying “To the initiated, it probably sounded like dogs barking, but to me, knowing the pure joy that comes from owning a rescue dog -or eight- it was music to my ears. We were marching on behalf of MuttNation to raise awareness for shelter pet adoption and in support of animal rescues across the country – and because its fun and it’s our passion.

Most Dog-Friendly Workplaces

Inc.com posted a list of the most dog-friendly companies. Not surprising was the list of pet-focused companies, and super-large employers like Amazon and Salesforce. What was interesting was we have moved from a mentality of ‘its okay to bring your dog’ to ‘here is what we are doing for you if you bring your dog’.

On-site treats, toys, pet relief areas, dedicated rooms and furniture are all a great way to make the experience of bringing a dog in more enjoyable (for non-dog people as well), but also a great retention tool to keep talented and motivated people working for your company. In this tight labor market, going the extra mile to make life easier for dog owners is a way to ensure employees stay connected to their company.

Another interesting twist on this topic is how Work From Home has now become more prevalent, allowing dog owners the opportunity to stay in the environment most comfortable to them and their dogs. Seeing the rise of co-working pace also decreases commute time for those eligible employees letting them spend more time with their pets before and after work.

Ironically, Inc also posted this story in 2016 “The Problem With Dog-Friendly Offices“.

If you are looking for the complete list of the Top 12 Most Dog-Friendly Companies, here it is:

  • Amazon
  • Procure Technologies
  • Trupanion
  • Petsmart
  • Airbnb
  • Nestle Purina Petcare
  • Petco Animal Supplies
  • Zogics
  • Ceros
  • Uber
  • Salesforce
  • Chewy.com

Travel Time: Keeping Your Pooch Safe on the Road

So, we’re coming into the summer season where school is letting out across the United States, and more families are traveling for vacation to exciting places and to see far off family.

This week, there were a few list articles that popped up on the radar:

Top 10 Cities for Dog-Friendly Urban Hiking

Teach Your Dog To Ride In the Car: Prevent Anxiety and Motion Sickness

The Best Dog-Friendly Bars In Each State (and D.C. too)

It’s great to see that dogs are welcomed out in public more and more, and with the rise of pets replacing children in young couples who put off raising children (until they can afford them – but that’s another story) dogs are becoming not just ‘home companions’ but now ‘travel companions’.

SleepyPod makes all kinds of canine vehicle and air travel restraints. Check out their products here on Amazon to keep your pal safe on your travel.

Keeping Your Dogs Cool In The Car

With school letting out across the United States, we are ready to mark the official start of Summer, which means the temperature will soon – or has been – start to rise. While the heat is a welcomed addition to the lives of many people, we also need to be more aware of the comfort and safety of our canine friends.

If we get overheated, we don’t need to rely on someone else to move us to a cooler area. We don’t have to communicate our discomfort to anyone and depend on their action for relief. Unfortunately, that is the case for dogs. They rely on us to ensure that the environment is comfortable.

One of the places where dogs don’t have an ability to control their own temperature is in vehicles. Summer is a great time to hit the open road and take a trip with your furry friend, but please be sure to not put them in a situation where they can be harmed due to overheating in vehicles, and tragically there are deaths every year.

As I was picking up groceries this weekend, I saw a sign posted at my local Wegmans grocery store that said the following. The sign had this text, which I have copied from a circular and pasted here.

A Pennsylvania shopper wrote us recently with an impassioned plea to pet owners not to leave dogs in hot cars. She cited some information about temperature escalation in a hot car, and I wanted to share this with you. I had not realized how quickly auto temperatures can rise on a hot day (though hot days have been few this season). And since 62% of American households have a pet – and 40% of these are dogs – it seems worth mentioning.

The customer cited information on a website www.MyDogIsCool.com, from United Animal Nations (UAN). Example: On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car … with the windows slightly opened… will reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes. In 30 minutes, it will go up to 120 degrees. On warmer days, of course, it will go even higher. Studies show that leaving the window open a crack does nothing to reduce the heat inside the vehicle.

A dog’s normal body temperature is 101.5 – 102.2 degrees. A dog can withstand a body temperature of 107 – 108 degrees F. for only a very short time before suffering irreparable brain damage, or even death. The closed car interferes with the dog’s normal cooling process.. that is, evaporation through panting. If you dog is overcome by heat exhaustion, UAN recommends giving immediate first aid by immersing him/her in cold water until body temperature is lowered.

At Wegmans, we pride ourselves on quick checkout, but even so, consider these facts next time you have your dog in the car, and run into the store for “just a minute”. The website mentioned above is a source of additional information.

May Ellen Burris – Senior Vice President of Consumer Affairs, WegmansCircular text

I checked out the website and found that there are great resources there to help raise awareness including printable sheets to share on people’s cars, hang in your business, or promote on social media.

Bonnie Judd Shows Us Working With Dog Behind The Scenes

Vanity Fair produced this video as part of their Notes On A Scene series on YouTube featuring Bonnie Judd giving us a play-by-play look at how dog-centric scenes from popular movies are filmed. She gives us a detail look at scenes from “Air Bud: 7th Inning Fetch“, “Marley and Me” and explains how she trained the dogs who star in “A Dog’s Journey“.

Bonnie Judd has a long and respected resume of working with dogs, and other animals, on production sets. She has worked on productions like Smallville, Police Academy, Sandlot 2, Racing in the Rain, The Dogfather, and dozens of commercials. She has even contributed to Jimmy Fallon’s Race Through New York ride at Universal Studios Orlando.

In this video below from Vanity Fair, Bonnie gives us a behind the scenes look at some of the commands that are used to direct the dogs in various scenes. She tells us of the many safety measures in place to ensure the dogs and human actors are comfortable, and safe during the production.

One of the best things she shared with us is that the happiness of the dogs is important. She places a heavy emphasis on ensuring the dogs are not just following commands, but that they are enjoying the experience, and they aren’t placed in stressful or dangerous situations.

Some of the fascinating parts of the video are when she goes in depth in the process of how they trained the dog over time to interact with people and props. In the backpack scene from Air Bud, she tells us that they started with a small bag for the dog to carry, then gradually increased the size of the item until they ended up with a (newspaper-stuffed) backpack that the dog would carry without irritation.

In the hotel-chase scene from A Dogs Journey, she explains that they needed a series of events to occur where the dog would approach the door, sit, speak, dig, then release the dog so they got their reward (a dollar store toy duck!) after doing that sequence.

Another fun quip is that while telling us of training dogs for a basketball scene, she says that the dogs were very easy to teach repetition. They would perform each task exactly the same way, every time, but it was the trainers and the actors who were struggling to, in this case, throw the basket ball to the exact spot where the dog was expecting it!

Bonnie is delightful in this video. She clearly loves the animals she works with, she enjoys the challenge and reward of seeing the dogs show off their skills, and her laughter as she re-lives the scenes is contagious.

I have previous written on this blog about the American Humane Association and the work they do with the “No Animals Were Harmed” initiative to ensure the safety of animals on stage, film, and tv productions.

This excerpt from their website gives a quick overview of their participation

“American Humane works with production personnel and trainers in the pre-production planning stage, monitors the animals on set during production, and enforces American Humane’s Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media. It also investigates allegations of mistreatment and cruelty and sanctions productions that do not meet its standards of humane animal treatment.”

-American Humane Association

I would recommend checking out the other videos in the Vanity Fair “Notes On A Scene” playlist if you like to get a glimpse behind the scenes of some of your favorite movies.

Best Sources For Free (Or Low Cost) Dog Toys

As any pet person can attest, commercial dog toys are expensive! It’s easy to spend $10 or more on a toy that – for heavy chewers like mine – can easily destroy in a day or two.

Having places to go for free or low cost toys is important both for my wallet, and to keep my dogs minds active and challenged.

The first suggestion for affordable dog toys is to create them yourself using safe items around the house. A quick search on Google brought up this page from Care.com that lists 17 DIY Dog Toys You Can Make From Things In Your House. They range from tug toys, to interactive feeders, and include crunchy toys like a water bottle in a braided bed sheet. Creative and inexpensitve!

The next suggestion is subscription boxes. Less expensive than buying toys individually is if you buy them in groups. Often, the price per toy is less when you commit to a year of boxes, and they are sent to you in groups. Services like Bark Box add treats into each box, so if you don’t normally buy bagged treats, you might not see the ‘toy’ savings.

An alternative to Bark Box, is the curated Goody Box from Chewy.com. Having purchased a few of these, I can speak to their value. They are heavy on the treats, but do include a toy or two. The evolving nature of these boxes means that they change over time and, you aren’t committed to a year of shipments.

Thinking outside the box, literally and figuratively, I saw a promotion at my local grocery store pharmacy that featured a free flying disc and waste dispenser if you talked to a Wegmans pharmacist about having your pet medication filled through them, they gave you the toys for free! (As an aside, the medication savings can be substantial). I picked up this free toy the other day while doing my grocery shopping! This was a limited-time promotion and was subject to availability, but this is one less toy I need to buy!

Free dog toys offered for a limited time at the Wegman's grocery store pharmacy when customer inquired about pet medications filled through them!
Dog toy from the Wegman’s grocery store pharmacy

The third source that came to mind was through local animal shelter garage sales. Often these organisations will receive donations from local big box stores of out-of-season merchandise. This benefits the store as a tax savings, and benefits the shelter through the proceeds of the sale. Be sure to check your local newspaper our online garage sale listing site to find out when and where these sales are.

Supporting local shelters is a great way to ensure they can continue to care for animals without a home, and a great place for you to find brand-new, low cost dog toys.

The Shelter Pet Project – #AdoptPureLove

I saw this video as an ad produced by The Shelter Pet Project on YouTube and had to share.

The Shelter Pet Project is the result of a collaborative effort between two leading animal welfare groups, the Humane Society of the United States and Maddie’s Fund, and the leading producer of public service advertising (PSA) campaigns, The Ad Council.

Our goal is to make shelters the first place potential adopters turn when looking to get a new pet, ensuring that all healthy and treatable pets find loving homes. We do this by breaking down misconceptions surrounding shelter pets and celebrating the unique bond between every shelter pet and parent.

The Shelter Pet Project’s new #AdoptPureLove campaign celebrates the special qualities of shelter pets and the incredible bond between every shelter pet and parent. Through the stories of actresses Olivia Munn and Rachel Bloom, NFL player Logan Ryan and everyday people, #AdoptPureLove encourages audiences to adopt from shelters and rescue groups nationwide.

Start A Walking Routine With Your Dog For Better Health, And A Free Magnet

The American Kennel Club (AKC), the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, is proud to announce the AKC FIT DOG program.

AKC FIT DOG is an introductory level incentive program that will offer dog owners who reach a specified fitness goal a free car magnet featuring the AKC FIT DOG logo. Participation in AKC FIT DOG will bring health benefits to both dogs and their owners.

“There are many reasons to walk for exercise,” says Ann Green in this NBC interview, M.S., past heptathlon world athlete, yoga teacher and fitness studio owner. “Walking improves fitness, cardiac health, alleviates depression and fatigue, improves mood, creates less stress on joints and reduces pain, can prevent weight gain, reduce risk for cancer and chronic disease, improve endurance, circulation, and posture, and the list goes on…”

“The most commonly recommended exercise to improve fitness by both physicians and veterinarians is walking,” said Mary Burch, Director of the AKC Family Dog program. “AKC FIT DOG has adopted the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 30 to 40 minutes of walking for a total of 150 minutes per week. If we can get people walking with their dogs, we can contribute to the overall health, fitness and well-being of dogs and their owners.”

To participate in AKC FIT DOG and earn your free car magnet while supplies last, please go to: https://www.akc.org/sports/akc-family-dog-program/akc-fit-dog/