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News: Editors
No Charges for NFL Player Who Taunts Police K9
Actions found to be more foolish than felonious

Head slaps, pounding on pads, emotional rants—all part of the pre-game rituals practiced by professional football players to psyche themselves and their teammates up for an afternoon of contact sport. A few Sundays ago, Oakland Raider linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong may have crossed the line with his pre-game histrionics. Shortly before kickoff of the Pittsburgh Steelers-Oakland Raiders game (November 8), Armstrong lifted his shirt, began pounding his chest and barking at an Allegheny County Sheriff Office bomb-sniffing dog, according to Chief Deputy Kevin Kraus. Allegedly, the player also told the deputy holding the K-9 service dog to “send the dog.” “The dog was going crazy,” Krauss said, “the deputy was trying to control the dog the best she could.”

Such behavior is no laughing matter … taunting a police K-9 carries a third-degree felony charge in Pennsylvania with a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. The targeted deputy reported the incident to a supervisor, who initiated a criminal investigation. Witnesses were questioned, video surveillance reviewed. Two weeks later, the Allegheny County District Attorney has decided not to press charges against the overzealous football player, releasing this statement:

“The district attorney and the sheriff agree this was not a malicious act, but did create an unnecessary security risk. The office will communicate with the authorities in California as to how we can address this matter.”

In short, case closed. Not surprisingly, most sports call-in shows who weighed in on the subject thought the potential criminal charges were “absurd” and “silly”—but given the important job that K-9 service dogs perform, shouldn’t there be some consequences to interfering with their duty? What do you think … was this a case of football foolishness or a felony offense?

News: JoAnna Lou
Surprising Cause of Death for Police Dogs
40 percent of law enforcement pups are killed from heat exhaustion.
Earlier this week, animal lovers around the world mourned Diesel, a seven year old Belgian Malinois who was killed in action in a Paris suburb. The brave dog lost his life when French police sent Diesel into an apartment following a showdown with suspected terrorists. Diesel's role in Wednesday's mission highlighted the important and dangerous role that dogs play in law enforcement.

In 2010, Jim Watson, director of the North American Police Work Dog Association estimated that there may be around 50,000 active police dogs in the United States. But that number may be higher now, given the growing need for trained pups to assist officers and sniff out bombs and drugs.

But as the number of police dogs increases, more pups are being killed each year. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP), there have been 26 police dog fatalities in 2015 so far, over 30 percent more compared to 2013. The most recent death was a dog named Hyco who was shot last month while chasing a group of suspected carjackers with the Anderson County Sheriff's Office in South Carolina.

But one leading cause of death has nothing to do with violence on the front lines, and easily preventable. Over 40 percent of the fatalities this year were due to heat exhaustion, usually from being left in a squad car on a hot day. In August, two dogs with the Baltimore City Detention Center died when the air conditioning failed in a police vehicle. And in May, an officer was suspended without pay after he inadvertently left two police dogs to overheat in his car.

Now many K9 unit vehicles are being outfitted with electronic systems that automatically regulate heat and humidity. Other systems can alert officers if the air conditioning fails so they can remotely open a door, allowing the dogs to escape.

Steve Weiss, a New York Police Department lieutenant who serves as ODMP's Director of Research, agrees that more widespread adoption of these systems would cut down on heat exhaustion deaths, but says that better laws protecting police dogs would help too. "Laws in many states involving the deaths of police animals are not very strict."

It's shocking that so many police dogs are dying from something so preventable. We have the ability to significantly cut down on these fatalities. Given how much these talented dogs give us, we owe it to them to put these protections in place for their safety. 

News: Guest Posts
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Dog Treats

“Squashing” the benefits out of a pumpkin!

 

Digestive Health

  • Excellent source of fiber.
  • Helps with constipation.
  • Helps with diarrhea.

Urinary Health

  • Fatty acids and antioxidant source.
  • Contains vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and iron to prevent cancer.
  • Oils around the seed help keep the urinary tract clean.

Weight loss

  • Fiber keeps them full for longer periods of time.
  • Replace food with some pumpkin.
  • Adds additional flavor, naturally.

 

Let’s get cooking!

 

Pumpkin peanut butter treats

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups of whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup of pumpkin puree
  • 3 tbsp. all-natural peanut butter

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Mix all ingredients on Low, until dough comes together.
  • ½″between treats is enough.
  • Bake 30 minutes.
  • Makes 75+ 1″treats.

 

Pumpkin-cinnamon treats

Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups whole wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 100% canned pure pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp. of cinnamon
  • 1 egg

Instructions:

  • Combine pumpkin, cinnamon and egg in the bowl.
  • Add flour ½ cup at a time into the bowl until stiff dough forms.
  • Roll dough to about ½ inch thick.
  • Line dog treats ½ inch apart.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until treat is golden brown.
  • Store treats at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

 

No bake peanut butter pumpkin rolls

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup peanut better
  • 1 cup 100% pure pumpkin, canned
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 2½ cups oats

Instructions:

  • Add peanut butter, pumpkin, cinnamon and honey in a bowl and mix.
  • Roll batter into balls and place on prepared baking sheet.
  • Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks (3 months frozen)

 

Peanut butter, pumpkin apple pup-cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup 100% canned pure pumpkin
  • 3 tbsp. peanut butter
  • ½ apple finely chopped
  • ½ tsp baking powder

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Mix all ingredients together until smooth.
  • Grease a ramekin or a jumbo muffin tin.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool on a rack for 5 minutes.
  • Frost with the mixture with either: a spoon of peanut butter, spoon of plain greek yogurt or a spoon of honey.

 

Pumpkin and molasses treats

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 4 tbsps. molasses
  • 4 tbsps. water
  • 2 tbsps. vegetable oil
  • 2 cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Blend all of the wet ingredients (pumpkin, molasses, vegetable oil, water) together.
  • Add the dry ingredients (wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon) and stir until soft dough forms.
  • Grab the dough by teaspoonful’s and roll it into balls with your hands.
  • Drop the balls onto the cookie sheet or pizza pan and flatten them with a fork.
  • Bake until hard (approximately 25 minutes).

 

Facts about doggy treats

  • In 2014, 16% of US pet food spending went to treats.
  • In 2016, 26% people spent $5-$9 on pet treats every month.
  • Pumpkin is 4th in the most recommended ingredient in dog treats.
  • Treats and snacks should only make up 10% of a dog’s daily calories.
  • Low calorie veggie treats include: baby carrots, a green bean or some broccoli.

This is a cross post from Kuddly.co. 

News: Karen B. London
Home is Where the Dog Signs Are
Do canine sayings decorate your house?

“Home is where the DOG is.” That’s the first plaque my husband and I hung on the wall after we bought our house. Quite a few have been added since. My artist mother-in-law painted two that I asked her for over the years. One says, “Love grows best in little houses,” and the other says, “Thank you for not stressing in our home.” Other than those two, the signs that I’m drawn to are about dogs. They capture my attention in stores and often the temptation to buy them is too strong to resist.

Today, in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, I saw an oldie but a goodie. It said, “Husband, fishing pole & dog missing. Reward for dog.” The high regard for the dog is appealing, but the disdain for the husband doesn’t make it a good fit for me, though it did make me laugh. I’m more drawn to other whimsical sayings such as:

My dog winks at me sometimes, and I always wink back in case it’s some kind of code

Life is short, play with your dog

Beware of dog poop

The best part of the day is coming home to a wagging tail

Please remove your shoes. The dog needs something to chew on.

In dog beers, I’ve only had one

 

Perhaps the all-time champion for causing me to engage in an awkward public fit of laughter is:

Home is where the dog hair sticks to everything but the dog.

 

What dog sayings adorn your walls?

News: Editors
Creative Fundraising for Dog Parks
From Grants and Partnerships to Innovative Revenue Streams

Dog parks or Off-Leash Areas (OLAs) area a great benefit to any community. The ability to exercise off-leash, in a designated and safe environment can contribute to the health and well-being of dogs in significant ways. Most dogs require the kind of exercise and movement that they just can’t get at the end of a leash. Off-leash, they are able to run, fetch and play to their heart’s content. When properly monitored, dog parks can act as a way for dogs to socialize in neutral territory. Whether learning to engage one-on-one, meet new dogs and people, share or play—well supervised interaction is invaluable to a dog’s socialization. Dog parks can be equally beneficial to the dog guardians and the community as a whole, acting as a social center for people who share common interests and concerns. People swap training and health advice, and compare tips on everything from dog-friendly destinations to vet recommendations. Dog parks are a hub of social and physical activity for both dogs and people.

Today, communities large and small are recognizing the value of a well-run dog park. Off-leash areas are springing up all over the country and are proving to be one of the most sought after park developments for city municipalities. The idea for The Bark was born in a dog park back in 1997, as a group of dog people worked with the city of Berkeley, CA to develop a 17-acre off-leash area at the site of a reclaimed garbage dump alongside the bay. Bark knows firsthand the many obstacles to securing an official off-leash area. We often hear from readers who are interested in starting their own OLA or working towards renovating/expanding existing facilities. Funding such projects is one of the biggest challenges but with an organized effort and imagination, there are some creative ways to raise the capital required. Here are some of our favorites:

Grants and Awards
There are some significant grants and prizes available for building and renovating dog parks. At the top of the list is an annual contest sponsored by PetSafe® which awards five monetary prizes to worthy projects—the top winner receives $100,000 and four runner-ups are awarded $25,000 each to fund their projects. The Nutro™ Room to Run™ program works to enhance existing dog parks with landscaping, signage, benches and agility equipment. The Stanton Foundation based in Cambridge, MA, provides grants to “take a community from start to finish on a dog recreational space”—all of their current participants appear to be based in Massachusetts. Community funding grants can also be found at Petsmart, Petco, Target and Walmart.

Memorials and Dedications
One of the country’s finest off-leash areas, Marymoor Park in King County, WA (near Seattle) helps support their 40-acre leash-free facility through their Pet Memorial Garden. The garden is dedicated to celebrating and honoring a living, lost, or deceased pet. The memorials include dedicating benches, trees and plantings, installing stones and pavers, and interring cremated animal remains in the celebration wall. Each remembrance option is paid by the donor, the money contributing to maintenance of the park. The Cosmos Dog Park in Gilbert, AZ, sold nearly 1,400 bricks for a special memorial wall over the course of six months. Public facilities from national parks to colleges have long utilized naming rights to fundraise for their programs. Tapping into the generosity of OLA users and dog lovers to honor their canine friendships through well-designed memorials seems a fitting way to support such a vital community resource.

Partnerships
Banding together with like-minded organizations to support and share facilities is a growing trend where resources and space are at a premium. A number of dog parks have added agility facilities to enhance their appeal and usage. This opens the door for funding and additional revenue streams for rental and events. Other municipalities share exercise and agility equipment with police and SAR teams who utilize the space for training their K9 partners. Dog parks in Provincetown, MA and Palm Springs, CA have tapped into local artists’ creations to enhance their grounds with art and architectural elements. Corporate sponsors such as West Paw Design have helped establish dog parks in Bozeman, MT, providing both their expertise and funding. One of the most unique partnerships is the one between the Historic Congressional Cemetery and the K9 Corps in Washington D.C. The non-profit association that oversees the cemetery has worked out a mutually beneficial arrangement with the K9 Corps—a group of dog owners who have helped safeguard the grounds by their long time presence and commitment. Today, the members of K9 Corps pay dues for the privilege of walking their dogs off-leash on the 35-acre cemetery grounds, and now contribute 20% of the Congressional Cemetery’s operating income.

News: Editors
A Boy and His Dog by Thomas Hart Benton
Auction of Classic Painting Benefits Dogs

The painting depicts a boy and his dog in a style that has become known as American Regionalism. It is signed “Benton” for Thomas Hart Benton, the movement’s greatest practitioner, best known for his murals embracing the populist idealism of pre-war America. On this painting’s reverse side is inscribed “For T.P.’s birthday/11 years old/From Dad.” The subjects are the artist’s son T.P. and Jake, the family dog.

Last evening (November 18) the painting was one of more than 500 works from the A. Alfred Taubman collection auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York. T.P. and Jake was painted in 1938 and was estimated to fetch between $1.5M and $2.5M. After a flurry of bidding, it sold for $3,130,000. It was accompanied by the following notes in the auction catalog that included touching words by the artist describing the deep bond shared by his young son and his dog. Appropriately, the sale of this painting benefited the Sam Simon Charitable Giving Foundation, dedicated to saving the lives of dogs.

The present work depicts the artist’s son T.P. Benton and his beloved dog, Jake. T.P. was eight years old when his mother, Rita, found Jake on a farm west of Kansas City, Missouri. The Bentons adopted him as their family pet and he became particularly devoted to T.P. When Jake died in 1946 Thomas Hart Benton wrote an obituary for the dog, which appeared in the Vineyard Gazette and The Kansas City Times. In one passage Benton recalls an event which illustrates Jake’s special affection for T.P.:

“After three years had passed Rita took T.P. to Italy to visit her mother. This was a sad time for Jake. Up to now he’s given me little attention. Rita fed him and T.P. played with him. Of what use I might be he had little need to consider. I was just there, good enough to shake hands with occasionally but not important. Now, however, he clung to me and I took him with me on a long roundabout tour of the South which ended, after seven weeks, at the docks in New York were we met the boat returning his real master and mistress.”

“There was a high rail fence between the passageway for debarking passengers and the people who had come to meet them. I stood by this fence trying to catch a glimpse of Rita and T.P. in the crowd of voyagers. But Jake beat me to it. The chain leash in my hand twisted suddenly and before I knew it Jake’s full grown seventy pounds of muscle and tawny hair was soaring over the fence.”

“No one who saw the meeting of the boy and dog could ever forget it. The travelers and those who met them stood aside to watch the play of Jake’s ecstasy. They forgot their own emotions in this more intense one of a devoted animal. His yaps of joy sailed up over the arching girders to the high roofs of the dock and came back to pierce your heart. This was the high point of life and those who saw recognized it.” (The Kansas City Times, p. vi).

News: Shirley Zindler
Fire Dogs Dillon and Molly

Two months ago I was part of a team that hauled supplies into Middletown during the tragic Valley fires in Northern California. We also evacuated a large number of animals during that time. Two elderly German Shepherds were part of that first evacuation. They reeked of smoke and were in terrible condition. I was told that their person was 92 and had barely made it out. She lost everything except the clothes on her back and her dogs. Sadly, there was no place for her to go where she could have the dogs with her. We transported the dogs to our county shelter for safekeeping as the Lake County shelter was full of other fire victims. They saw a vet and were treated for their various ailments. They had cushy beds and good food but still they sat in the shelter day after day.

Dillon, the black male, is around ten, in liver failure and has severe hip dysplasia, hair loss and allergies. Molly, the white female, is about 12, also has allergies, chronic ear infections and likely some arthritis. Both dogs are also somewhat incontinent but are still alert and cheerful with a good quality of life. These dogs, like so many other animals and people, had their lives turned upside down by the events and things may never return to normal.

I spent time with the old dogs whenever I could spare a moment from my other duties at the shelter. On the rare times when I was caught up on calls I would take them out to play together. They were normally kenneled separately due to kennel size and feeding issues so they loved it when they were able to be together. One of the times I had the dogs out was a beautiful warm day. They were filthy with bad skin and the stench of smoke still in their coats. I brushed out their mats, gave them sudsy warm medicated baths and towel dried them. We then went out and sat in late afternoon sun together, enjoying the last rays and each other’s company. I felt a bond with these old dogs and longed to help them. I was in touch with a relative of the owner and she said that the owner could not bear to surrender the dogs and wanted to be buried with them but was still unable to take them.

As time went by, the Lake County shelter had room again and the shepherds were transported back there. Still I couldn’t get them out of my mind. Finally I contacted the shelter and spoke to the director. Arrangements were made and a friend and I hit the road back to Lake County.  We picked up the dogs and brought them home. Dillon likely doesn’t have much time left and Molly may not have much more but these dear old souls are together again and sleep side by side on their cushy heated beds. They have a spacious yard to amble around in and people who love them. They have a family.

I love these two already and feel so blessed to know them. And when the time comes, I will hold them in my arms and kiss them good-bye. They will be cremated and buried with their original owner per her wishes. 

News: JoAnna Lou
Xylitol in Peanut Butter
More food products are including this ingredient that is toxic to dogs.
It's well known that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but not everyone is aware of xylitol. In an ongoing survey by Preventative Vet, over 50 percent of respondents weren't aware of xylitol or the danger it poses to dogs. In many cases, this sweetener can be even more toxic than chocolate (the picture above shows a dangerous amount of dark chocolate compared to the number of xylitol-containing sugar free gum pieces that could be deadly).

The ingredient is so toxic that symptoms can show up within 10 minutes of ingestion. This includes weakness, lethargy, loss of coordination, seizures, vomiting, and rapid breathing. Even small amounts can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia and liver failure. Fortunately dogs can recover if treated promptly.

Last year I wrote that xylitol was becoming more common in household products since it can reduce calorie intake. I always knew to be careful with sugar free gum, but the sweetener has been popping up in cookies, cough drops, toothpaste, cosmetics, and mouthwash.

To make things worse, I recently learned that xylitol is being included in some specialty brands of peanut butter. This is alarming because many people use peanut butter to fill Kongs or to make dog treats. Currently no major brand is affected, but this highlights the need to be vigilant in checking the ingredients on the products we use. It's important to note that xylitol can be listed on labels as sugar alcohols, which encompasses many different sugar alcohols, including xylitol.

Please spread the word so that we can make sure no dog is accidentally affected by xylitol poisoning!

News: Karen B. London
Professional Hockey Player and His Service Dog
Max Domi relies on Orion every day

“He’s made me a better person and a better hockey player.” That’s what rookie sensation Max Domi says about his two-year old diabetic-alert dog, Orion. Diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 12, Domi’s first question was, “Can I still play hockey?” The answer was yes but that doesn’t mean it was easy. It’s still a challenge, but Orion has made it easier and safer.

Like many diabetic-alert dogs, Orion is a Labrador Retriever who has been trained at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars. Orion was trained by Canine Hope for Diabetics to do his job, which is to detect odor changes that indicate a low blood sugar level and alert Domi. When Domi is awake, Orion alerts him by pulling at the bringsel (which looks like a small foam roller) that Domi wears at his waist. That’s the cue to Domi that he should check his blood sugar, which he does 15-20 times most days, but around a dozen times before, during, and after each game in addition to the rest of that day’s tests. When he is asleep and his blood sugar drops, Orion wakes him up by barking and jumping on him. If that doesn’t rouse Domi, then the dog will use his paws to wake him up with some well-placed contact to the face. Low sugar levels in his blood can be especially likely after a late-night game, so Orion’s tenacity about waking him up is especially critical at those times.

Domi had to go through a huge process to be considered for a service dog, and that included writing essays about why he was worthy of receiving such a dog, why he wanted one and what would do with him. He also had to meet several dogs so that the trainers could choose the dog they thought was the best match for Domi. For example, of the dogs under consideration, one was eliminated for not being as good in crowds, which is obviously not ideal for a professional athlete. I really enjoyed a recent video on ESPN that discusses what Orion does for Domi, and includes good footage of this adorable and hard-working dog.

Orion travels with Domi to all their games so he must be able to handle the air travel, the huge crowds, hotels, the ice rinks and the generally complex and crazy life of a professional hockey player. One challenge for anyone with a service dog is preventing other people from petting him or otherwise distracting him while he is working. All the other players along with coaches and other staff of the Arizona Coyotes know that they cannot interact with Orion when he is working. When he is off duty, though, he is just as friendly and loving as you might expect, and everybody cherishes the time they get to spend with Orion when he is not working.

Domi treasures all his time with Orion and is grateful for how much easier it makes it to concentrate on hockey. At only 20 years old, he’s arguably the best rookie in the NHL, so any fan of Domi or his team should appreciate that, too.

News: JoAnna Lou
Pit Bull Police Dog
Program trains rescued bull breeds to sniff out drugs and find missing people.
Today a rescue pup named Kiah (pronounced KY'-uh) graduated from an intense training program, making her one of just a few Pit Bull police dogs. Kiah certainly stands out from the typical Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds on the job.

Kiah will help the Poughkeepsie, New York Police Department detect drugs and track missing people. She'll also serve as a goodwill ambassador for her breed and for the police.

Kiah was given to the department at no cost thanks to a partnership between Animal Farm Foundation, a New York nonprofit that works to ensure equal treatment and opportunity for Pit Bulls, Universal K9, a company that trains law enforcement pups, and Austin Pets Alive, a Texas shelter. Normally trained police dogs can cost as much as $15,000, but this program identifies and trains rescued Pit Bulls to serve as detection dogs for police across the country at no cost to law enforcement. They've placed seven detection dogs so far, including Kiak.

Officer Justin Bruzgul, Kiah's handler, says that the pup is high energy and affectionate, and that they had an instant bond. "I couldn't ask for a better partner."

After Kiah arrived from Texas, her training was finished by George Carlson, the Ulster County, New York sheriff's deputy. He says there's little connection between a dog's breed and their aptitude for police work. The most important factors are the pup's drive, energy, and eagerness to please. George believes that Kiah is the only Pit Bull police dog on the East Coast.

This is such a cool partnership and I can't wait to see Kiah in action! Her journey can be followed on Facebook.

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