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Blog: JoAnna Lou
Dogs as Children
Study finds similar dynamics in our relationships with dogs and infants
Many people, myself included, consider our dogs to be children. We feed them the best food, take them to (obedience) school, and even bring them with us on vacation. I often get a lot of slack for treating my pups like kids, but a new study seems to back up the relationship that we have. Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna set out to explore the bond between dogs and their...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Dog Looks After Kids in Africa
Canine "foster parent" inspires people to help out a family in need
When seven-year old David Mbogo and six-year old Mary Wanjiku were abandoned by their drug-addicted mother in Dagoretti, Kenya, they were taken in by their grandmother. Unfortunately she is often busy tending to the five other grandchildren that live with them and trying to make money to support the family.  Enter canine "foster parent" Oscar. Two years ago, the lovable mutt started caring for...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Assessing Quality of Life
Survey helps determine when to make the most difficult of decisions
Deciding when to euthanize a sick pet is one of the hardest decisions that we have to make. When my cat of 18 years became seriously ill, my family was too emotional to make objective decisions. In hindsight, I think we waited too long to put him to sleep, but we wanted to make sure that we tried everything to extend his life.    Now a new survey, developed by researchers at Michigan State...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Dog Uncovers Diabetes in a Volunteer
Tex. child finds out he has diabetes while socializing alert dogs
Lakenyen Carter has been socializing puppies for Drey's Alert Dogs, an organization that trains diabetes and autism service pups, since school let out in June. Last week he was volunteering as usual when one of the older dogs, Marshall, started pawing at Lakenyen. The Yellow Labrador was not begging for attention, but was giving Lakenyen an important message. Marshall is trained to paw at a...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Vet Sits in Hot Car for Thirty Minutes
Dr. Ernie Ward shows how car temperatures can quickly rise to fatal levels
Now that we're in the thick of the summer, it's almost unbearable to be outside for an extended period of time--especially here in New York with the humidity! Yet people continue to think it's okay to leave pets in cars without adequate precautions. Just last week, animal control officers rescued a three-month old puppy from a car in a Riverside, Calif. shopping mall parking lot. The...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
China's One Dog Policy
Beijing and Shanghai are confiscating pets amid confusing rules
China has an infamous one child policy, but I was surprised to learn that certain Chinese cities, like Beijing and Shanghai, have a one dog policy. And it's not just the number of pets you live with.  Believe it or not, these cities have banned all dogs taller than 13.7 inches. That means I couldn't live with my pups in either of these areas!   For years pet lovers in Beijing and Shanghai...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Ex-Marine Reunited with His Pup
Brad O'Keefe finds the dog that saved his life in Afghanistan
Last week, ex-Marine Brad O'Keefe was reunited with Earl, the Black Labrador that saved his life in Afghanistan. Brad and Earl had worked together for two years, detecting IED bombs, but hadn't seen each other since they were both injured in 2010. The pair was crossing a bridge with a U.S. army unit when Earl detected an explosive device. A resurgent ended up detonating the device before they...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
N.Y. State Senate Passes Animal Abuser Registry
One step closer to increasing the penalties for animal cruelty
Earlier this week, the New York State Senate passed a bill requiring animal abusers who have violated Buster's Law (the state's anti-cruelty legislation) to register their name and address with the criminal justice services.  The bill also requires all convicted animal abusers to undergo psychiatric evaluation and bans the person from ever owning a pet again.   Buster's Law was named after an...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
National Pet Preparedness Month
Important reminder to create an evacuation plan for the whole family
Sometimes all of the unofficial national "holidays" and awareness months that keep cropping up seem excessive.  Do we really need a National Hug Your Cat Day?!  But I think the new movement to make June National Pet Preparedness Month is a really good one, and a nice complement to September's National Preparedness Month for people.   Earlier this year, I wrote an article in the magazine...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
High Tech Dog Gadgets
Smart collar tracks our pets' behavior for improved health
There are all sorts of high tech pet gadgets out these days, many which seem a little unnecessary.  Do we really need a QR code or USB stick identification tag?  Beyond the novelty factor, they're a little impractical in an actual emergency, unless used in conjunction with a more traditional method.   At first I thought the same about the new "smart collars" on the market, but the more...

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