Dog's Life: Lifestyle
AVMA releases quarantine recommendations for animals.
When Bentley, the dog of Ebola patient and nurse Nina Pham, was released from quarantine a few weeks ago, it was a success for handling pets humanely during a crisis situation. Particularly in contrast to Spain's euthanasia of Excalibur, a dog exposed to the virus last month.
The two dogs, Bentley and Excalibur, led the American Veterinary Medical Association to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Agriculture on official guidelines for pets and Ebola. The outcome was released this week.
The recommendation is for pets to be moved out of the residence of anyone being monitored for the virus before symptoms start. However, if these preventative measures aren't taken, animals who have been in close contact with Ebola-infected people need to be quarantined for 21 days. If at any time the pet tests positive for the virus, the animal should be euthanized and the body incinerated. Maybe one day we'll have a cure, but for now this seems like a fair process until we have a better understanding of the disease.
The AVMA guidelines also contain recommendations both for containing the virus (e.g., handlers must wear special protective equipment, animals should receive a new crate and collar when they leave to be transported to quarantine) and for protecting the pet (e.g., the quarantine facility should be up to a certain standard, the food provided should be the same brand and type the pet is used to eating).
According to the CDC, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola, or being able to spread the virus to people or other animals. This statement does seem to contradict previously published research that showed dogs can carry Ebola. It's certainly clear that we don't completely understand how Ebola affects animals. Putting exposed dogs in quarantine gives our pets a fighting chance, but also allows scientists to learn more about the virus. Hopefully one day they'll know how to treat animals that test positive for Ebola so they won't need to automatically euthanize.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
What I want to say to dogs
“We’re just going back in so I can get tissues, and then we will go on the walk.” That’s what I wanted to tell Marley after we went outside and came back inside two seconds later. With a terrible cold, I did not want to head out for an hour with nothing but my sleeve to help me out. Marley came in and out with me agreeably enough, but I so wish I could have told him why his walk was delayed.
If I could talk to dogs—really talk to dogs!—I would want to say so much to them in tremendous detail. Sure, we can communicate in many ways, but I still crave the fuller communication that comes from speaking the same language. Here is what I most find myself wanting to say to dogs:
I love you! Yes, I think they feel my love, and I have many ways to show them that I love them, but it would be glorious to say those simple words and have them simply understood.
I’ll be back in a minute (or 5 minutes or 30 minutes or much later today.) Sure, dogs can recognize patterns and probably have a sense of whether it’s a long absence when I’m dressed for work and head out through the garage to leave by car or a short one when I walk outside with no shoes on because I’m just going to get the mail. Still, it would be so appealing to be able to communicate more specifically and have them understand that. Then, they could be happy about the short absences and ready for a snooze with the long ones.
I know this hurts now, but it’s to make you feel better later. NO matter how gentle we are with our dogs and how carefully we tend to them, sometimes things are uncomfortable for them. Whether it is removing a thorn or a tick, or a serious medical procedure, we don’t have a way to tell our dogs that this is for their own good. Many dogs lovingly accept what we do to them because of their trust in us, but wouldn’t it be nice to able to tell them that we are doing this to relieve their pain, not to cause it?
I agree with you—that dog is a nuisance. I do my best to protect dogs from other dogs, whether I’m talking about serious aggression or simply poor social skills. Yet, occasionally, every dog has an encounter with a dog who is not overly kind. I would love to be able to tell dogs that I agree with them when it’s clear they don’t think much of a particular dog or even think that other dog is rude or obnoxious.
Of course, we do communicate a lot with our dogs through our daily interactions and all of our training, so our dogs often do have an understanding of our plans, intentions and emotions. They often know what the future holds based on previous experiences and patterns. Still, there’s no denying that we lose some detail and subtlety because we are members of different species.
Most of all, it would be wonderful to be able to tell dogs how much better they have made our lives and how much happier we are because of them. We can show them great loving kindness and hope they get the message, but it would be so amazing to express these important sentiments and know our dogs understood them fully.
What do you wish you could tell your dog directly, in simple English (or your native language if it’s not English) if you had that capability.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Program gives at risk teens and homeless pups a future.
Dogs have a way of bringing out the best in people. A great example of this is in programs that teach prison inmates to work with shelter pups (as well as future service dogs). These initiatives have resulted in reduced re-incarceration levels and increased adoptions.
In Georgia, the Department of Juvenile Justice started a new program this summer that gives teens and homeless dogs a second chance to change their lives. Rescue 2 Restore expands on the idea of the classic prison pup program to make an even bigger impact on at risk kids.
Rescue 2 Restore, run by Friends of Dekalb Animal Services founder Chrissy Kaczynski, aims to teach valuable life lessons through positive animal interactions, volunteer projects, and community partnerships. The pilot program is running at Muscogee Youth Development Campus (YDC) in Midland, Ga. and Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center (RYDC) in Dalton, Ga.
During the 12-week program, a shelter dog is paired with one of the approved participants. Chrissy then organizes weekly training sessions to show the teens how to teach basic cues, like sit, stay, and walking on leash. They also prepare the pups for the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test. After the 12 weeks are over, the dogs go back to the shelter to find their forever home.
Since the program's launch, eight shelter pups have participated. Dogger, Nora, Pansy, Rosie, Roxie, Tag, Bella, and Panda were chosen because of their medium size and friendly temperament. Six of the dogs in the first group have already found their forever home, while Pansy and Tag are still available for adoption.
What makes Rescue 2 Restore unique is that it's not just about the training. The program involves service projects, like making dog houses and volunteering at the Houston County Humane Society, and talks on animal welfare, rescue, abuse, and training.
Past speakers have included Anna Bettina from Happy Healthy Pup on the benefits of positive reinforcement training, Lauren Janis from Big Daddy Biscuits on starting her own business, Aimee Davis of “Pitties in the City” on pet care and misunderstood Pit Bulls, and Katharine Luongo and “Zaxby The Chicken Wing Dog” on overcoming challenges.
I love how well rounded this program is in terms of getting the teens involved in the community and the focus on learning. You can really see the possibility for building compassion and giving these kids a second chance.
Currently the program is running in two of Georgia's 26 juvenile detention centers, and Chrissy hopes to expand the program to more locations next year.
For more information on the programs, or if you're interested in adopting one of the dogs, email Chrissy at ChristineKaczynski@djj.state.ga.us.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Dog remains ever hopeful
In this video, a dog tries repeatedly to convince a statue to play fetch with him. He places his stick at the statue’s feet over and over, but never gets the response that he wants.
Of course my response to watching this was laughter, but it really made me think. Why is this dog undaunted by the statue’s unresponsiveness? I’m guessing that most people do engage in play with this endearing and persistent dog, but some may not respond right away. Perhaps this dog is accustomed to trying multiple times before people toss the stick for him.
On the other hand, we need to explain why it has escaped the dog’s notice that he’s approaching a statue, not a live person. Perhaps he just sees a human shape and immediately equates it with the prospect of playing fetch without the need to assess other details of the situation. Maybe this dog has paid little attention to many aspects of human behavior. “They throw sticks for me,” might be all he has taken in. Or, maybe the statue is just too realistic for him to discriminate it from live people, especially if he has no prior experience with statues.
Here’s a dog who apparently views people as stick throwers, and has probably had great success with that view of the world. To him, any human form is a potential stick thrower, and he has not had the opportunity to learn to distinguish humans who can throw sticks from statues of humans that cannot.
Interestingly, the statue the dog wanted to engage with is of Alan Turing, the brilliant mathematician and code breaker who is generally considered the father of theoretical computer science. As a genius and a completely original free-thinker, Turing was clearly too preoccupied considering some deep mathematical problem to pay attention to the dog.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Girl Scout went missing on June 14, 2014 after jumping a five foot fence at a friend’s house in another town. An athletic 30 pound mixed breed, she was on the run in an unfamiliar area many miles from home. Her frantic owners immediately began the search and plastered missing posters on every surface for miles around. I saw the fliers every day as I went about my calls and I patrolled the area repeatedly hoping I would be able to find her and give her people the happy ending they were looking for. Girl Scout was microchipped and wearing a collar and tags (an animal control officer’s favorite), and occasionally there would be sightings, but she was too frightened to go to anyone.
Weeks and then months went by and the sightings grew fewer. I wondered about her often, as I still saw the faded and tattered fliers everywhere. Sometimes new fliers would pop up as a result of another sighting but Girl Scout was no closer to being caught. Even formerly friendly, outgoing dogs sometimes get where they don’t trust anyone and they just stay alive scrounging from trash cans and outdoor pet food bowls.
Three months after Girl Scout went missing, someone who had seen the fliers recognized her with a homeless man and was able to reunite her with her ecstatic family. A vet visit showed her to be thin, covered in tick bites and having broken her leg at some point. The leg had healed slightly crooked but overall, she is doing well.
Girl Scout’s owners did a lot of things right to help her come home. They made reports to animal control, offered a reward and put up (and are taking down) more than 700 fliers, many of which were laminated, helping them last longer. They left their car, her crate, blankets etc at the areas she was seen. She had tags and a microchip, which would have helped in many situations although they weren’t the saving factor in this case. They posted on Facebook, took out ads and searched relentlessly, but most of all, they never gave up.
I would love to hear from readers who have recovered a lost a dog. Tell us what you did to find them and how you were reunited.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
App donates ad revenue to shelters in all 50 states.
Wouldn't it be great to help shelter pets by simply taking your dog for a walk around the neighborhood? Now you can do just that with the Walk for a Dog app developed by WoofTrax. The program uses money from sponsors, advertisers, and investors to benefit homeless animals around the country.
Once you download the program to your cell phone, you choose the shelter you'd like to walk for, and then hit "Start Walking" to record your outings. Over 800,000 miles have been logged to date, with over 4,000 shelters on board to receive donations.
To determine how much money goes to each organization, WoofTrax uses an algorithm that weighs the number of users per shelter, the number of walks, and the number of miles. They didn't want to assign a strict donation amount per mile in order to make the app accessible to people of all ages and fitness abilities. However, the first round of checks averaged a payout of about 25 cents per mile walked. People without pets can also use the app by choosing the "Walk for Cassie" option.
The idea for Walk for a Dog came from founders, Doug Hexter, Bill Helman, and Mark Wheeler. They wanted to come up with an app that would encourage people to be active, while helping a good cause. They also wanted to take advantage of the millions of people already walking their pets every day.
The app has also helped in other ways as well. One user, Donna, attributes Walk for a Dog with transforming her relationship with her rescue pup, Sugar. Ever since Donna adopted Sugar back in 2011, Sugar always hated being on a leash. When the Walk for a Dog app launched, Donna decided to commit to walking with Sugar so they could raise money for their local shelter. Donna figured even if they only make it to the end of the driveway, it was better than nothing. Now Donna and Sugar walk a mile every day and always gets compliments on Sugar's wonderful leash manners. Sugar also wakes Donna up each morning to make sure they go on their daily walk!
Visit the WoofTrax web site to learn more about the Walk for a Dog app, or how your local shelter can sign up to receive donations.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Have you done this?
I just saw a friend’s Facebook post with a photo of her two children and an adorable puppy. The post read, “Can I use this photo to break the news to my husband?” They had been to a shelter and found themselves unable to resist getting a puppy. Her husband is out of town and she hasn’t told him yet. She is apparently waiting for the right moment, but she has some time because he’s not on Facebook.
I have no idea whether the idea of adopting a puppy had come up and it was a part of the family plan or whether this was a true impulse decision. Either way, I’m fascinated by the idea of such a big decision (a new family member!) happening without everyone’s participation, especially one of the adults.
The general response to the post has been “Aww, it will all work out when he meets the puppy. He’ll melt.” Perhaps that’s true, although the alternative is concerning. As one person commented, the adorable photo is a better choice for breaking the news to her husband than a photo of the dog pooping in his shoe. And therein lies the real issue: Puppies are adorable and wonderful and every other superlative adjective that exists, but they are also exhausting and frustrating and a lot of work.
Everyone with a puppy deals with emotional ups and downs, but it’s easier to take the struggles along with the joy if you’ve been part of the decision to adopt the puppy in the first place. If not, it’s all too commonplace to consider the tough jobs (cleaning up accidents, taking the puppy out in the middle of the night, puppy-proofing the house, etc.) the domain of the person who decided to adopt the puppy without your input.<
If someone is not involved in choosing the dog, the relationship between that person and the dog can be affected. We tend to stick by our decisions, loving a dog we have selected through good times and bad, and for some people that’s harder with a dog that comes into their life without their consent. Of course, there are also countless cases where a “surprise” pup turns into somebody’s best friend without speed bumps along the way, but it’s taking a risk to assume that’s how it will work out.
A unilateral decision can also cause strain between human family members. There’s something very powerful about going through the process that leads to agreement: “Yes! This is the dog we should welcome into our family!” It’s an altogether different experience to come home to unexpected news that a new puppy now lives with you.
Have you or another member of your family every adopted a dog without involving everyone in the decision?
News: Guest Posts
Smiling Dog Jack helps local shelters
We love getting your smiling dog submissions and your stories. We've heard some great stories from past Smiling Dogs like Jedi who has a passion for surf to Cayman who has amazing pen pals.
Lexie Harpold submitted her photo to our Smiling Dog contest and we were smitten with Jack as Batman. We selected the photo for use as a Weekly Smiler and just recently learned about Lexie’s trips to the Arizona Humane Society where Jack was adopted.
Lexie described the shelter saying, “There are many animals that do not have blankets or beds”. She visited the shelter recently noticing that many of the dogs were depressed, scared and anxious, so she decided to start a donation drive.
I love the idea and want to encourage everyone to get out there and do something. November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month, not everyone can adopt, but everyone can contribute.
Whether you help Lexie with her goal, donate to your local shelter/rescue, or volunteer to foster or walk, anything helps.
You can donate or get information about Jack & Lexie’s fundraiser My Favorite Breed is Rescued here.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Police train dog walkers to spot suspicious activity
When you walk your dogs each day, you become very familiar with the details of the neighborhood. I immediately know which dogs (or people) are new to the area, which houses are having work done, and even which cars seem to be gone for the weekend. I can also catch up on neighborhood gossip when I stop to talk to others out for a stroll. If you think about it, dog walkers always seem to know what's going on in the neighborhood. Not to mention that nothing deters us from going outside--rain, snow, even hurricanes.
The National Association of Town Watch (NATW) realized that dog walkers were an untapped resource, people already patrolling neighborhoods across the country--even if they were mostly looking for poop to scoop. This April, NATW launched Dog Walker Watch (DWW), a crime awareness program that encourages the millions of dog walkers nationwide to serve as "extra eyes and ears" for their communities.
Through the initiative, NATW provides information and materials for local law enforcement to conduct training classes on how to effectively observe and report criminal activity. The instruction is geared towards identifying possible residential burglary by noticing anything out of the ordinary (e.g., a person who doesn't appear to have a destination, an open gate that is usually closed).
So far about 1,000 communities have registered in the program, including the suburbs of major cities such as Chicago and Philadelphia. While the program targets dog walkers, anyone from the community can take part in the training.
NATW Executive Director, Matt Peskin, says while it's too early to determine the effectiveness of the program, there have been many additional benefits. The initiative has fostered new relationships between local police and residents, and has prompted some neighborhoods to organize more community activities, like pet Halloween parties. It's great to see that DWW is helping people come together for both fun and safety.
Check out the NATW web site for more information on DWW.
The yearly Humane Award Winners presented by the ASPCA® is a way to bring attention and notoriety to a handful of deserving individuals—outstanding people and animals who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to animal welfare. These individuals act as role models and sources of inspiration for the humane community and the world at large. The 2014 awards were just announced, and include two heroes that we are well familiar with … Jonny Justice has been named ASPCA Dog of the Year, and Lori Weise, co-founder of Downtown Dog Rescue (Los Angeles) was awarded the prestigious ASPCA Henry Bergh Award. We’ve covered both Jonny and Lori in lengthy features in The Bark, and congratulate them on this special, well-deserved honor.
ASPCA Dog of the Year
Jonny Justice was one of 49 dogs rescued from unimaginable cruelty as part of the 2007 Bad Newz Kennels dog fighting investigation, which resulted in the conviction of NFL quarterback Michael Vick and others. The ASPCA played a central role in the investigation, assisting with the recovery and analysis of forensic evidence from Vick’s property, and leading a team of certified applied animal behaviorists to evaluate the rescued dogs. A black and white pit bull, who had little or no positive interactions with people or other dogs, Jonny was given a second chance when he was adopted by his foster parents, Cris Cohen and Jennifer Long. As Jonny adjusted to life as a typical pet, it became clear that he loved interacting with children. In 2008 he found his true calling as a therapy dog, and these days spends much of his time offering love and support to terminally ill children receiving medical treatment (and their families). Jonny is also a champion for literacy, and has participated in programs, where children practice their language skills by reading aloud to him. The tale of Jonny’s inspirational comeback from the horrors of dog fighting to work as a therapy dog has traveled far and wide, even inspiring a line of plush toys that extend his ability to touch children across the country.
ASPCA® Henry Bergh Award
During her daily commute eighteen years ago to a furniture factory on the edge of Skid Row in Los Angeles, Lori Weise routinely saw stray dogs suffering from terrible abuse and horrific neglect. Inspired to act, Lori and her coworkers created Downtown Dog Rescue in the back of her furniture factory to rescue animals from dangerous situations and care for them. For many animals, it was the first time they ever experienced compassion. Known as “The Pit Bull Lady,” Lori has evolved Downtown Dog Rescue into a large volunteer-based animal charity that rescues dogs and assists underserved communities in South East Los Angeles, Watts and Compton. Lori and Downtown Dog Rescue created the South L.A. Shelter Intervention Program in 2013, providing pet owners resources to keep their pets rather than relinquish them to the South L.A. Animal Shelter. Downtown Dog Rescue now has its own kennel with room for 35 dogs, and has provided free spay/neuter surgeries for more than 10,000 dogs in the Los Angeles area. Lori has also helped almost 13,000 dogs and cats stay in their homes and avoid being placed in shelters. Lori’s selfless and nonjudgmental philosophy continues to break down obstacles and change the landscape for animal welfare in these Los Angeles communities.
For our original story click here.
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