Coming together at Best Friends
In 2008 Best Friends Animal Society took in 22 dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels. On March 11, six of the dogs and their families came together again at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary to mark five years of freedom. Vicktory dogs. Watch Cherry, Handsome Dan, Halle, Little Red, Mel, Oscar and their families in their joyous reunion.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
NYC pet rehabilitation center gives lessons in treading water
I'm not a big fan of the water and it must have rubbed off on my dogs because none of them like to swim. But it would be a useful skill for them to learn because I would love to let my crew cool off during summer hikes and maybe even take them kayaking with me one day.
I always thought swimming just came naturally to some pups while others were destined to hate the water, but an animal rehabilitation center in New York City is teaching urban dogs to tread efficiently in the pool.
Water4Dogs' main service is to rehabilitate injured dogs by underwater treadmill and pool, but they also offer swim lessons for healthy pups. The instructors teach dogs to get their front and back legs to work in sync and to get used to different textures in the water. Many dogs that come to Water4Dogs to heal end up returning on a regular basis for fun and exercise.
If you've ever seen my Sheltie, Nemo, swim, you'd understand why he needs lessons. He can technically swim, but he's very inefficient, flailing his leds and expending loads of energy. Perhaps we'll pay a visit to Water4Dogs!
Do your pups naturally like swimming?
News: Guest Posts
We need more research to really know so right now we should keep the door open
(This post is a response to Which Emotions Do Dogs Actually Experience? by Stanley Coren, Ph.D., F.R.S.C.)
Dogs are amazing nonhuman animal beings (animals) and anyone who's known a dog knows this. Just today Dr. Stanley Coren published a very interesting essay called "Which Emotions Do Dogs Actually Experience?" and concluded, among other things:
"However, we know that the assortment of emotions available to the dog will not exceed that which is available to a human who is two to two-and-a-half years old. This means that a dog will have all of the basic emotions: joy, fear, anger, disgust and even love. However a dog will not have those more complex emotions like guilt, pride and shame." (After an email exchange with Dr. Coren about my response to his essay, he modified his conclusion to read, "However based on current research it seems likely that your dog will not have those more complex emotions like guilt, pride and shame.")While this conclusion is extremely interesting, it remains a hypothesis in that the necessary research has not really been done. So, until the detailed research is conducted we don't really know "that the assortment of emotions available to the dog will not exceed that which is available to a human who is two to two-and-a-half years old."
We also don't know if dogs experience guilt, pride, and shame. However, because it's been claimed that other mammals with whom dogs share the same neural bases for emotions do experience guilt, pride, and shame and other complex emotions (see also and and), there's no reason why dogs cannot. And, there's solid biological/evolutionary reasons to assume dogs can and do. Recall Charles Darwin's ideas about evolutionary continuity in which the differences among species are seen to be variations in degree rather than kind - "If we have or experience something, 'they' (other animals) do too."
Do dogs feel guilt?
One more point needs to be made concerning doggy guilt. Consider the research conducted by Alexandra Horowitz, author of Inside of a Dog and Psychology Today writer. As I noted in a previous essay called "The Genius of Dogs and The Hidden Life of Wolves", Dr. Horowitz's research is often misinterpreted. For example, in their book titled The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter than You Think, Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods consider Dr. Horowitz's research on doggy guilt (pp. 183ff). They write that Horowitz "conducted an experiment to see whether dogs can feel guilty" but they misinterpreted just what Dr. Horowitz was actually trying to do. Her research did indeed show that people were not all that good at reading guilt in their dog, however her data do not show that dogs cannot feel guilt. I frequently hear people say that Dr. Horowitz's project showed dogs cannot feel guilt and this is not so (please see Dr. Horowitz's comment about this error).
Let's keep the door open about the emotional lives of dogs and other animals and also extend a hearty thanks to Dr. Coren for once again writing a very interesting and stimulating essay.
Note: One can also question the value of comparing young humans with other animals. I don't find these comparisons to be especially compelling and other researchers have agreed that they are fraught with difficulties as are many cross-species comparisons concerning the cognitive and emotional capacities of individuals of different species. In a previous essay I wrote, "Animals do what they need to do to be card-carrying members of their species and we need to remember that numerous nonhuman animals outperform us in many different ways." Of course we are exceptional in various arenas as are other animals. Perhaps we should replace the notion of human exceptionalism with species or individual exceptionalism, a move that will force us to appreciate other animals for who they are, not who or what we want them to be.
There is a really interesting article posted on The Atlantic site today about the popularity of large dogs in China. As the author Damien Ma notes, “Most Americans will likely have a preconceived notion of the Chinese relationship with dogs. When a developing country can barely take care of all its own people, animal rights tend to sit very low on the totem pole. But the reality is much more complicated, especially with a burgeoning dog culture associated with the rise of young urban elites with disposable income. “
Ma then interviews an American filmmaker who is making a film Oversized Dogs: Chinese Dog Laws and the People Who Break Them. The director, who remains nameless for now, has been interviewing Chinese dog lovers who, similar to many dog lovers in other countries, find laws pertaining their pets onerous at worst, and turning many into scofflaws . But this isn’t a simple examination of a rising middle class pleasure in having dogs and their attachment to pets, it really does say more about how societal attitudes in China are evolving. As the director remarks: “From this, I realized that Chinese individuals casually break laws everyday, and this constitutes a very subtle and interesting side of dissent.” Read the whole interview and find out more about this Chinese “secret dog society” and what it might portend for the future of dogs in the world’s most populous country.
Minnesota Department of Agriculture issues alert
Minnesota Department of Agriculture issues “consumer advisory” for two brands of raw pet food
Samples tested positive for Salmonella bacteria
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is alerting consumers to avoid feeding or handling two separate brands of poultry-based raw pet food after the MDA laboratory found Salmonella bacteria in routine sample tests. The brand varieties include:
Bravo! Raw Food Diet 2 lb. Chicken Blend for Dogs and Cats manufactured by Bravo!, LLC, of Manchester, Connecticut. This is a frozen pet food product with the production code of 06/14/12, which is located on the white tag on the end of the package. This advisory is for the 2 lb. size of Bravo! Chicken Blend with the “best used by date” of 6/12/14 only. No other products, sizes, or production dates are involved. For further information, contact the company at 1-866-922-9222.
Turducken Canine Diet 8oz. Patties, manufactured by Steve’s Real Food, Inc., of Murray, Utah. This is a frozen pet food product with the “Use By” date code of 10/27/13 B209, which is located on the lower front panel of package. For further information, contact the company at 801-540-8481 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are no reports of human or animal illnesses associated with consumption of these products. Consumers are asked to discard any of these products they may have.
Salmonella can affect animals eating the product, and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated products. People handling contaminated raw pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product.
Pets with Salmonella infections may exhibit decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed this product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.
Human symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps and fever. Symptoms usually begin within 12 to 72 hours after exposure, but can begin up to a week after exposure. Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5-7 days, but approximately 20 percent of cases require hospitalization. In rare cases, Salmonella infection can lead to death, particularly in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems. Anyone who has become ill after handling this product should see their health care provider.
News: Guest Posts
Charming huckster or disturbing stereotype?
In an effort to sell a new line of products—the “Wild Collection”—Old Spice has created a character they’re calling Mr. Wolfdog.
Mr. Wolfdog, a wolf, is supposed to know a lot about the wild as well as marketing. He wears a clunky metal collar that translates his vocalizations into English. He sits at a desk, covered with Old Spice products and other decorations.
Mr. Wolfdog has the head of a real canine (hard to tell if it’s a dog, a wolf, or a hybrid) and a puppet body, so that he appears to be sitting at his desk, arms moving, like a human.
The style is cheesy, a riff on Mad Men’s bygone era of marketing that includes touches like a 10-key calculator and an ancient intercom system on the desk, as well as Mr. Wolfdog’s complete disdain for his assistants.
In fact, Mr. Wolfdog eats his assistants.
Yes, wolves are the epitome of wild. I get that. The target male audience for Old Spice products—the original cologne debuted in 1937—probably doesn’t include many wolf-huggers. But that doesn’t justify a high profile company that has hit some home runs with prior ad campaigns perpetuating a myth that contributed to the eradication of wolves across the West and continues to confound their successful reintroduction today.
Adding to my concern is another ad in the new campaign. It’s called “Irresistible.” An elegant man descends the stairs into an opulent party room with…a wolf growing out of each shoulder. I guess he’s a man-wolf hybrid. The man never speaks. The wolves, however, snarl and threaten a pretty woman who says she’s afraid, then intrigued, then drives off with the man and the wolves. “I never had a chance,” she says. I guess because they man-wolf smells so good, with his “wild” scent by Old Spice.
[“Irresistible” ad video on YouTube]
I asked some friends with dogs for their reaction to the Mr. Wolfdog ad.
From Tina: “Ooookay. Wow. At first I thought it was just really, really stupid. Then it got to the part where the wolf just can't resist the urge to eat his staff members. When so much has been done to get people to understand that wild animals (especially the highly feared ones like wolves, bears, sharks, snakes) are NOT living for the day that they can consume a human being, what Old Spice is doing is very wrong.”
From Shelle: “I thought it was stupid, revolting and couldn't figure out what the hell they are trying to say. I hated it. The poor dog looked hot and uncomfortable. The copy was nonsensical. Did I say I hated it? Where's the sexy black dude. Loved him.”
Shelle is referring, of course, to Isaiah Mustafa, who gained sudden fame in February 2010 as the bare-chested actor in the popular “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” advertising campaign for Old Spice. Women who buy Old Spice products for their men were the target audience, and the ads worked.
My informal poll shows males responding slightly more favorably to the Mr. Wolfdog ad than females, although none of them liked it.
What do you think? Love it or hate it?
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Cosmo uses cute dogs to remind women about monthly health checks
Everyday my Facebook News Feed is filled with viral photos of adorable baby animals. The U.K. edition of Cosmopolitan magazine and CoppaFeel! are capitalizing on this trend to promote a good cause.
This month they launched a new breast cancer awareness campaign called Check Your Puppies!, which features photos of cute dogs behind lacy bras. Every month Cosmopolitan will post a new picture on Facebook and Twitter to remind women to do their monthly breast check. The campaign is encouraging people to help spread the message by sharing the cute photos with their friends.
According to CoppaFeel!, over a third of women never check their breasts and a disproportionate amount of these women are between the ages of 18 and 35, Cosmopolitan’s main fan base. With a one in eight chance of getting breast cancer, making self-checks a ritual is a must since early detection saves lives. The Check Your Puppies! campaign is aimed at reaching the young demographic.
Not everyone is happy with the new initiative, saying that referring to breasts as puppies is yet another way to objectify the female body by using silly language. I can see how some people might be offended by this campaign or find that it trivializes the disease, but if it helps even one person detect cancer in time for successful treatment, it’s definitely worth it.
Breast cancer has touched too many of my friends and family members. I think we have to be innovative in how we reach women and get the word out on prevention. Plus who can complain about getting to see a new pair of cute puppies every month?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 6, 2013 Jones Natural Chews Co (877) 481-2663 or (815) 874-9500
JONES NATURAL CHEWS CO RECALLS WOOFERS DOG TREATS BECAUSE OF POSSIBLE SALMONELLA HEALTH RISK Jones Natural Chews Co of Rockford, IL is recalling 245 boxes of Woofers (beef patties) because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products. People handling dry pet food and/or treats can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the chews or any surfaces exposed to these products.
Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.
The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by Colorado Department of Agriculture Feed Program which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria.
The Jones Natural Chews Woofers were distributed in AZ, CA, CO, PA, VA, and WI. They were shipped to distributors and retailers between November 1, 2012 and November 12, 2012 where they were available for purchase.
Jones Natural Chews Co Woofers (beef patties) bulk 50 count box, Item UPC 741956008169, Lot 2962GPS-Best By 10/22/15 and Lot 2892PAL-Best By 10/15/15
***Woofers in bulk 50 count box may be sold individually***
Jones Natural Chews Co Woofers (beef patties) 1 pack shrink-wrap, 50 count box, Item UPC 741956008657, Lot 3102, Best By 11/05/15.
Jones Natural Chews Co Woofers (beef patties) 1 pack shrink-wrap, 50 count box, Item UPC 741956008183, Lot 2892BF-Best By 10/15/15, Lot 2962PWV-Best By 10/22/15, Lot 2962ASC-Best By 10/22/15, and Lot 3032ASL-Best By 10/29/15.
Jones Natural Chews Co Woofers (beef patties) 2pack shrink-wrap, 25ct box, item UPC 741956008190, Lot 2962ASC-Best By 10/22/15 and Lot 3032ASL-Best By 10/29/15.
No illnesses have been reported to date. Consumers who have purchased any of these woofers are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-877-481-2663, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Central Standard Time.
Ed. Note: This notice came to our attention from Susan Thixton's excellent blog The Truth About Pet Food and not from the FDA.
News: Guest Posts
Overcoming fear, Learning to trust again
Many dogs, rescued from the trauma and abuse of puppy mills or hoarders, need lots of extra TLC before they're ready for their forever homes.
Lacking social skills, having lived with fear, pain, and hunger, some remain overwhelmingly fearful even after being removed from their deplorable conditions and given physical, medical and emotional support. Their psychic wounds can cause them to cower, retreat from a loving touch, pee submissively, even growl or bite to keep humans and other animals away.
Such behaviors, while understandable, make them a challenge for shelters already overwhelmed with dogs needing homes. Fearful dogs often become part of a revolving door problem, being returned to shelters by adopting families ill-equipped to deal with the behaviors. Or worse, they may be euthanized because they can't be placed.
ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has created a flagship program that will attempt to fill the gap between rescue and placement for the most severely traumatized dogs, the fearful ones. The ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, N.J. opens this week.
"For some animals, the reality is that after a lifetime of neglect and abuse, the rescue is just the beginning of their journey to recovery," said Dr. Pamela Reid, vice president of the ASPCA's Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team. "The ASPCA recognized the need for a rehabilitation center that will provide rescued dogs customized behavior treatment and more time to recover, increasing the likelihood that they will be adopted. We partnered with St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center and identified the unique opportunity to utilize their space and collaborate with their behavior and care experts for the rehabilitation of victims of cruelty and neglect."
To start, dogs rescued from animal cruelty investigations will be eligible. To help reduce these dogs' fears and anxieties, the rehabilitation team will gently introduce them to unfamiliar sounds, objects, living spaces and real-life situations that a normally socialized dog handles with aplomb, but can induce trauma and extreme stress in this special population of dogs.
The ASPCA has funded this project for two years. The work done at the Center will become part of a research project, studying and evaluating methods for rehabilitating undersocialized, fearful dogs. The findings will be shared with animal welfare organizations and other researchers nationwide with the goal of helping shelters and rescue organizations rehabilitate abused and fearful dogs coming into their own facilities.
News: Guest Posts
He didn't run like a puppy; he flopped like a seal. His back hunched when he moved as if he was stalking stray sheep. Lucas was born with his front legs curved inward, hobbling his every step. In February, he arrived at Glen Highland Farm's Sweet Border Collie Rescue in Morris, New York, run by Lillie Goodrich and John Andersen. His new caretakers were smitten with him. But what good was their 175 - acre wooded, stream-filled sanctuary to a badly handicapped pup?
Worse, Lucas didn't seem to know he had any limitations. He tried to run and play as hard as any three month old pup; even though all of the bones in his elbows were displaced and separated, leaving him with no range of motion. His rescuers struggled to find solutions when veterinarians offered little hope. A canine cart? The “wheelchair” option led them to consider euthanasia. With his energy and powerful herding drive, Lucas might as well be imprisoned.
The traditional way of reconstructing limbs is to cut bone and utilize biomechanical devices, such as pins and screws, to hold the bone in place as it heals. In Lucas's case, a traditional approach could help, Dr. Hayashi says, but his deformity was so severe that “there is no ideal treatment.”
The chosen procedure would focus on stretching and adjusting the position of the muscles in order to reposition the bones. The method, which is inspired by a few veterinarians, including one from Cornell, doesn't replace other techniques, Dr. Hayashi says. “It's not very different from any other surgical procedures in principle,” he says. “It is a modification” of existing techniques used in other types of deformity. “Each case is different. Each deformity is different.”
Lucas's defect is “very rare,” the surgeon says. While the cause is unknown, genetics probably play a role.
In early March, Lucas underwent the operation at Cornell, where he is now in the first phase of physical therapy. Everything went well, but it's still too soon to gauge its success. “Lucas is still recovering and is fighting this tough battle, and he will probably need to go through more procedures,” Dr. Hayashi says.
His rescuers anxiously monitor his progress. “The process will be a slow one since he has never stood upright on his front legs and has no muscle development” for such movement, Lillie Goodrich says. “His attitude is terrific and he is truly loved by all the team in the hospital. This first two weeks is a vulnerable time when the therapy is critical. Then he returns to the farm for continued therapy up until age one.” The costs are extreme and caretaking is only half the job. His rescuers must also raise the funds for his recovery.
However, the future is looking a lot brighter for the once-unlucky puppy, who still has plenty of time to grow into his limbs. “His prognosis for a normal joint is poor,” Dr. Hayashi says. “His prognosis for a happy life is good.”
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