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Blog: JoAnna Lou
A Very Special Blessing of the Animals
NYC Church has their 29th celebration of the Feast of St. Francis the Assisi
Last Sunday I attended the 29th annual Feast of Saint Francis the Assisi (also known as the Blessing of the Animals) at the esteemed Saint John the Devine Church in New York City. The Mass was like none other that I've attended previously, interspersed with modern music and dance performances, experienced by hundreds of people with their pets. And dogs weren't the only non-humans in the audience...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Canine Fat Camps
New trend in the pet obesity epidemic
Last year I wrote about a local doggy daycare's "fat camp." At first I thought it was a marketing gimmick, but the idea has been catching on as the pet industry reacts to the growing obesity epidemic. It's estimated that more than half of American dogs are overweight.   It's become such a serious problem that the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine offers both an inpatient and...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Most Common Pet Injuries
How our pups end up at the veterinarian
Living with two very active dogs, I've spent more than my share of time at the veterinarian from various injuries over the years. Usually it's a mild sprain or torn pad due to rambunctious playing, but my Sheltie Nemo is also prone to eating objects he shouldn't (despite my best efforts to keep temptations out of reach), leading to obstruction surgery. According to Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Human v. Canine: Who to Save
Study looks at our relationship in the worst of circumstances
Last month a couple yachting with their Jack Russell made the news when their boat capsized and the husband saved the dog before going back for his wife. Sound crazy? Most people would probably save their spouse first, but choosing a person over a dog is still a conflicted decision. A recent study at George Regents University asked over 500 people who they would save from the path of a runaway...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Motivating Poop Pick-up with DNA Testing
DNA matching becomes a bustling business
Motivating people to pick up after their dogs is a frustrating problem that never seems to go away. Judging from the poop I often see right next to garbage cans—and even next to poop bag stations!--some people have a stubborn aversion to the less glamorous side of being a responsible pet owner. There have been creative approaches, such as the Spanish town that used volunteers to monitor parks...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Dogs Understanding Robots
Study looks at canine and robotic behavior
Several studies have shown that dogs can understand human gestures better than other primates, thought to be the result of evolving alongside people for so long.  But what if it were a robot doing the pointing? Researchers at the Hungarian Academy of Science and Eötvös Loránd University set out to see how dogs would react to robots that exhibited social behavior, but didn't look like a human....
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Mobile Gaming to Feed Homeless Pups
App developers create a game to raise money for animal shelters
Mobile app games are addicting, but what if you could help homeless pets while feeding your guilty pleasure? Two brothers are hoping to do just that with their company Bugbyte. The mobile app company was started in 2012 by Allan and Aksel Junkkila, two Finnish brothers with a passion for gaming and a love of animals. Last year they released their first game, Daredogs, which donates 10-20 percent...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Dogs Learning to Fly
Airport movie set doubles as a training ground for jet setting pups
Flying isn't a fun activity for most people, so you can only imagine how an animal feels who has no idea what's going on. After seeing a stressed dog go through airport security, Talaat Captan, owner of Air Hollywood, decided to use his aviation themed movie studio to help dogs become comfortable flying. In addition to film work, Air Hollywood also offers training for people with a fear of flying...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Four Countries Seek to End Dog Smuggling
Alliance scrutinizes trafficking pets for food
Asian countries and their canine delicacies are often the target of many jokes. While I can't judge anyone for their dietary preferences (I still can't give up hamburgers despite the inhumane beef industry we have in our country), I was horrified to learn about the Trade of Shame, smugglers that steal pets in Thailand to supply a black market for dog meat in Vietnam.   Pets are targeted because...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Pet Gadget Makes it to the Finals
13-year old invents a video treat dispenser to interact with your dogs when you're away
13-year old Brooke Martin's Golden Retriever, Kayla, hated to be left alone. Brooke wished there was a way she could talk to Kayla and give her a treat to soothe her anxiety while away from home. Determined to come up with a solution, Brooke created a prototype that combines video chatting with a machine that dispenses dog treats remotely. Brooke isn't the only one who thought it was a good idea...

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