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News: JoAnna Lou
The Growing Pet Weight Loss Industry
Companies respond to the canine obesity problem
Human weight loss is a billion dollar industry, covering everything from books to personal training. When I first heard about a local doggy daycare’s canine “fat camp,” I thought it might be taking advantage of our obsession with shedding pounds. Activities at the camp include hikes, walks on a treadmill, doga (canine yoga!), and swimming. The marketing is certainly creative, but the camp is...
News: JoAnna Lou
How We Choose Our Pups
Study looks at how adopters decide a dog is “the one”
The first thing I noticed about my oldest dog, Nemo, was the cluster of cute freckles on his nose. But I knew he was “the one” as soon as I held him in my arms and he licked my face. The ASPCA wants to understand more about how we pick our pets so they can better help homeless animals find new homes. They conducted a study of 1,500 prospective adopters at five animal shelters across the nation...
News: JoAnna Lou
Dogs of the Titanic
The doomed ship's survivors included three canines
April 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Knowing that only 31 percent of the ship's human passengers survived, I was surprised to learn that three dogs made it safely to New York. Only first class passengers were allowed to bring dogs on the voyage and many belonged to prominent families. There were 12 confirmed dogs on board the Titanic including a Toy Poodle, a Fox...
News: JoAnna Lou
Conflicting Gestures of Affection
Hugs have the opposite meaning to dogs
As a kid, I remember watching the emotional scene in the movie Homeward Bound and seeing the oldest boy hug his Golden Retriever, Shadow, upon being reunited. I also remember reenacting the scene many times with my poor cat (unfortunately for the cat, I didn't have a dog when I was younger). We regard our pets like family, so hugging them feels natural. According to a recent survey, 30 percent...
News: JoAnna Lou
Pit Bull Takes a Bullet for His Family
N.Y. pup chases away an intruder and survives a bullet to the skull
Pit Bulls get a bad reputation in the media, especially in my area of New York. But a heroic Staten Island pup brought the bully breed a bit of much deserved positive press this week. On Saturday, Justin Becker and Nicole Percoco had an intruder visit their apartment, posing as a FedEx deliveryman. As the man tried to force his way inside, Justin trapped the armed suspect in the doorway, but was...
News: JoAnna Lou
From the Round Pen to the Office
Building better work dynamics through herding sheep
I fund my agility addiction with a job in corporate professional development. Over the years, I've seen a lot of parallels between how people and dogs learn. For instance, human or canine, it's best to break down new behaviors into small achievable pieces. And, whether it comes in the form of a good performance review or a click from a clicker, feedback is rarely given often enough. We have a...
News: JoAnna Lou
Breed Ban: Next Stop Airlines
United is next in line to discriminate against certain dogs
The United/Continental Airlines merger has been causing quite the stir lately. And because United is a federal contact carrier, any policy changes greatly affect military personnel. Last month, the airline changed the way they transport pets, dramatically increasing fees flying into countries with certain regulations. United ended up making an exception for military families, but it ruffled a...
News: JoAnna Lou
Facebook Says No to Puppy Mills
ASPCA teams up with the social network to clean up their online classifieds
In some ways ridding the world of puppy mills seems easy. If people simply stopped buying animals from pet stores, the problem would be solved. But in reality, it sometimes feels like a battle that will never be won. Anytime a friend is looking for their first dog, I try to educate them about puppy mills and point them in the direction of reputable breeders or shelters. But many times, I've been...
News: JoAnna Lou
Finding Adopters on Facebook
Is there a balance between exposure and spam?
I remember when Petfinder revolutionized the way adoptable animals found potential homes. A dog who might only be seen by a few visitors passing through the local shelter could now be seen online by hundreds of people. Facebook has taken this exposure to a new level. Now homeless animals can be seen by people who aren't even looking for a new pet. Photos and descriptions are easily shared with...
News: JoAnna Lou
Awards for Promoting Animal Issues
The Genesis Awards honors media for raising public awareness
Some say that award shows are all about politics and popularity. But at least one show is about rewarding works that bring attention and compassion to those who need it. Since 1986, the Genesis Awards has honored television, film, print and radio media for raising public awareness about animal issues. One of my favorite films of all time, Finding Nemo, won Best Animated Feature Film in 2004. The...

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