Good Dog: Behavior & Training
Tournament locations inspire one coach
We all like to remember our successes, and one World Cup soccer coach chose his dogs’ names accordingly. Born in Argentina, José Pékerman was chosen to coach the under-20 Argentine national team in the FIFA World Youth Championship. The appointment was a surprise to many, but criticism stopped after the team won the championship three times. They won in Qatar (1995), in Malaysia (1997), and in Argentina (2001).
The coach’s dogs are named in honor of these three victories. Qatar, Malaysia and Argentina are loved by their guardian, who no doubt enjoys saying their names and remembering those championships.
Pékerman is now a citizen of Colombia and the coach of the Colombian national team. They made it to the quarterfinals in the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil before being eliminated last week. That is the country’s best showing ever, so the tournament was a success. I doubt it was enough of a success for Coach Pékerman to name a new dog Brazil after the country hosting the World Cup though, since it was the Brazilian team that defeated them and sent them home.
AB 1810 signed into law by California Gov. Brown
California—An important new bill has passed protecting abandoned animals has been signed into law in the state of California. AB 1810 removes a state mandate to euthanize any animal abandoned at an animal care facility, including veterinary offices, spay/neuter clinics, animal hospitals, and grooming facilities, if a new home is not found within 24 days. Additionally, AB 1810 provides more flexibility to achieve positive outcomes for these animals by permitting animal care facilities to turn the animals over to a local shelter—an option that is strictly prohibited under current law. Sponsored by Assemblyman Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego), AB 1810 was passed unanimously by both houses of the California Legislature and was recently signed by Gov. Brown. “Abandonment should not be a death sentence for animals,” Kevin O'Neill, senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Western region, said. “Dogs and cats at spay/neuter clinics, veterinary offices, or any of California's many other care facilities should not face certain death simply because their owner fails to pick them up. It is imperative that we do all we can to ensure positive outcomes for these animals, and AB 1810 will do just that.”
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
A Wisconsin woman's dog carried a lost ring for years
When Lois Matykowski lost her wedding ring six years ago, she was devastated. Lois and her husband were married for 20 years and just upgraded the ring, without insurance.
She checked all over the house and, because she had a Rottweiler mix prone to eating things, she even monitored Tucker's poop for weeks. After many unsuccessful searches, Lois figured the ring was gone for good. Little did she know the ring would turn up years later in the most unexpected way!
Tucker, adopted from the Wisconsin Humane Society, is known as the "food burglar" of the house. Last month the 10-year old pup continued his notorious behavior by stealing an ice popsicle, swallowing the stick and all. After calling her vet, Lois induced vomiting and recovered the popsicle stick.
Two days later Tucker was sick again and threw up on the lawn. Lois went to go clean up the vomit and saw something sparkly. On the floor she spotted her diamond ring--six years later! After scrubbing the ring with a toothbrush and toothpaste, it looked good as new.
Tucker's veterinarian believes that the popsicle stick may have dislodged the ring from inside. They followed up with an X-ray just to be sure that there weren't any more surprises.
Lois' friends have been saying that they too want a "dog that throws up diamonds," but Lois is just happy to have her ring back and a healthy dog!
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
It’s not clear what’s going on
Gertie has an unusual eating behavior. She can spend hours polishing off a couple of cups of dry dog food. She takes a few pieces of kibble from her bowl, carries it a few feet away, drops it on the floor, and then eats it piece by piece with painstaking slowness. It reminds me of the way chickadees eat from birdfeeders, taking one item from the feeder and flying to a nearby tree to eat it before returning to the feeder again. Here is a short video of Gertie eating, which starts with her walking away from her bowl with some food in her mouth and then dropping it on the floor.
Honestly, I don’t have an explanation for this behavior, though a few other guardians have mentioned that their dogs feed in a similar way. My brother-in-law, who takes care of Gertie when her guardians are out of town, thinks this behavior relates to experiences with fire ants in her earlier life before being adopted into a loving home. She was tied up, and where she lives in Florida, fire ants can find food extremely quickly. Since the sting of these ants is very painful, perhaps Gertie is using her food-moving behavior to take the food away from fire ants in her bowl. It’s certainly an interesting speculation, but I have no idea if it’s true.
Here’s what I do know: At her own home, Gertie consistently eats in this way, day after day, meal after meal. When she is visiting my brother-in-law and his family, she alternates her usual feeding behavior with eating right out of the bowl at a slow but steady speed. That’s what this video shows—some carrying of food and some eating it right from the bowl. The change may be a result of visiting a home with another dog—Tucker, a Miniature Pinscher mix who will try to eat her food if he is not kept away by a barrier. If Tucker is around, she will usually eat more quickly and do it directly from the bowl.
Have you ever known a dog who eats like Gertie does? Do you have a possible explanation for the behavior?
News: Guest Posts
If ever there were an aptly named dog, it has to be Hope. In the spring of 2013, an Oakland animal control officer found the scrawny one-year-old Pit Bull tied to a tree behind an abandoned house. She was severely underweight with no fur, the result of a condition called Demodex, a non-contagious mange that is extremely difficult to eradicate. She was brought to Oakland Animal Services and, predictably, no owner came for her. But she wasn’t healthy enough to be put up for adoption. Besides, the shelter doesn’t have the resources to treat that condition, so there was little hope for her future.
That’s when Oakland Animal Services’ volunteers Steve LaChapelle and Pat Luchak stepped in, agreeing to share foster parent duties for Hope, while they nursed her back to health. Because Steve works as a pilot, he couldn’t provide a full-time foster home, so Pat agreed to care for Hope when Steve traveled. In those early days, Hope was weak and almost completely bald. “Because of the mites on her (from the mange) she had an elevated temperature and was hot to the touch,” explains Pat. Hope needed oral medication and frequent medicated baths to treat her condition, which can get worse from stress. Steve and Pat soon learned more bad news. Hope had a congenital heart problem called Valvular Pulmonic Stenosis. Without surgery she would not live more than another year.
But Steve and Pat never gave up. Steve set up an online “crowd-funding” website, asking friends, family and the public to donate any amount to help cover Hope’s surgery. Steve set an ambitious goal—$5,000. In less than three days, the campaign raised almost $6,000, from hundreds of people across the country, and even abroad. One generous anonymous donor gave $1,000. About a month later, Hope had heart surgery, and was on the road to recovery.
It wasn’t easy. The stress from surgery and recovery could trigger the return of the mange. Steve and Pat kept watchful eyes on Hope throughout this period. They then cared for her through a spay surgery and more recovery.
Fast-forward to summer 2014 and you’ll find Hope not only surviving, but thriving. She now has a medical prognosis for a normal, healthy life. She sports a gorgeous coat, a mixture of fawn with white spots. On a typical day, you’ll find her enjoying the company of Steve and his dog, or at Pat’s house with her two dogs and Bob, her second foster dad. As Pat says, “Hope has never met another dog she didn’t like.” The suddenly energetic girl has gone from taking six kinds of medication a day to just one. She enjoys hiking and playtime, often outlasting her older canine roommates. When asked for one word that describes her, both Pat and Steve say “snuggler.” Through her ordeal, Hope has become a bit of a celebrity too; she has a loyal following of almost 600 dog lovers from all over the country on her facebook page.
Now Steve and Pat know it is time for Hope to find her “forever” home. They believe it will be with a person or family who has some dog experience, and a commitment to sustaining Hope’s good health. Given how playful she is, canine “siblings” would be a bonus. Steve and Pat hope to remain in her life, and offer to be lifelong Hope-sitters for anyone who adopts her. While she still lives with Steve and Pat, Hope is available for adoption through Oakland Animal Services. More information about her is available here.
See what a good girl she is!
We have World Cup fever big time here at The Bark. And, while we were sad to see the USA team beaten yesterday, we applaud them for getting as far as they did and for inspiring us to learn more about that gorgeous sport. Tim Howard’s play as goalie was masterful, each of his 16 saves had us whopping it up with our dogs. Looks like many on the USA team are also dog lovers—we salute them and all their teammates and can’t wait to see them again in 2018. Matt Besler's & Graham Zusi's dogs are sisters, see more in the video below.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
The Scottish tennis player stops traffic to rescue a runaway pup.
On Sunday morning, Olympic Gold Medal tennis player, Andy Murray, was supposed to be focusing on defending his Wimbledon title, but instead he was busy with something more important--saving a dog.
Andy was on his way to the All England Club for pre-Wimbledon practice when he spotted a Labradoodle running down the road towards oncoming traffic. Andy put all competition thoughts aside and pulled over to rescue the wayward pup. He walked onto the road to stop traffic and loaded the dog into his car. After calling a number on the identification tag, Andy even gave the pup a ride home to Oxshott, Surrey.
Mary-Elizabeth, the dog's owner, was overjoyed to be reunited with her pup Bode and surprised to see who came to deliver the runaway dog. She calls Andy "a hero."
Potentially missing practice was a no brainer for the canine loving tennis champion. One of Andy's Border Terriers, Maggie May, even has her own Twitter account with over 27,000 followers.
After his heroic actions, Andy made it to practice and went on to win his match against Belgian tennis player David Goffin in the first round at Wimbledon. Maybe thanks to the karma points Andy earned in the morning!
Volunteering can make a difference
We often hear from people who are volunteering their time and talents helping animals. So many people are moved to action in the groundswell to help neglected and abused dogs—fostering rescues, transporting animals, quilting blankets, fundraising—the list goes on. It takes a village to meet the unfortunate demand, and too often, even that’s not enough. But it’s exciting when we’re contacted by somebody who has transformed their passion into action. A photographer named Brian Moss reached out to us recently, sharing some photos he took of dogs at a nearby animal shelter. The images are quite extraordinary. Brian has adopted strays, and is a longtime advocate for animal rescue. But in his words he “wasn’t walking the walk.” He’s part of a growing trend of professional photographers volunteering their considerable skills to shelters—capturing the heart and soul of adoptable animals for the world to see. These portraits can be lifesavers ... for the animals, and, in many ways, for the people who take them. See Brian’s photographs.
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
Eagerness to fetch is obvious
Sometimes when I think of what we ask of dogs, I find myself impressed with what they will tolerate. Recently, I was at our local park with my kids when a man came to play fetch with his Border Collie. This dog was clearly a devoted fetcher. Her gaze was locked and loaded on the ball even as they walked into the park, and her attention never wavered.
I watched the man and his dog play fetch for 30 minutes, and the dog never stopped staring at the ball. She did it when the man was holding it, when it was in the air, and when he set in on the ground for a moment while he tied his shoe. When he gave it a little toss in the air and caught it, the dog’s eyes followed its path. When he walked to the drinking fountain, her eyes followed the ball as his arm swung. This dog was riveted on the ball, the whole ball and nothing but the ball.
My kids know better than to ask to pet a dog who is so engaged in play, but I could see them looking at her longingly. The dog was left to play in peace until another family came and DID ask to pet the dog. The man said, “Sure, but she’ll probably be more interested in the ball than anything.” (Truer words were never spoken.)
The dog obediently dropped the ball and went into a down posture on cue so the kids could pet her, but her focus never left the ball. For several minutes, the kids fawned over her, and the dog stayed put the entire time while staring at the ball. She was polite and calm with the children, but absolutely uninterested in them. She continued to lie there watching the ball until the man said, “I think she’d like to play some more now,” and called her to him. She leapt up with extreme enthusiasm and resumed fetching with the same fervor as before.
This dog no more wanted to stop her fetch game for a petting session than I want to stop in the middle of a run to have someone braid my hair. Yet, she did what she was asked with admirable patience and grace. So many dogs are similarly tolerant and I’m grateful for that every day.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Cleveland pup is adopted by his rescuer.
Last week Cleveland police officers responded to a call for a man beating a dog in the middle of the street. Upon arrival they found the Pit Bull mix with a witness who saw the abuse and convinced the man to stop. The injured pup was then brought to a nearby vet hospital to be treated for injuries on his face, legs, and paws, but not before one police officer made a special connection wtih the chocolate and white dog.
Patrol Officer Brandon Melbar ended up fostering the pup and has since decided to adopt the dog he named Harvard. Photos released on the Cleveland Police Department's Facebook page show that Harvard looks very happy in his new home. After reading so many negative news reports involving police officers and dogs, it's nice to come across a story like this one.
Through Harvard's ordeal, I also learned about Badges for Bullies, an Ohio based organization that fosters the relationships between police, the animal rescue community, and the general public. They paid for the costs of Harvard's treatment and follow-up care.
Badges for Bullies was created after a dog fighting raid where 27 scared and neglected dogs were rescued. Volunteers came together from all parts of the community to help the abused pups. The Cleveland Police held a fundraiser to pay for the dogs' treatments and that's where Badges for Bullies was born.
If the day comes where we finally overcome dog fighting, overpopulation, and other persistent animal welfare challenges, it will be through an initiative like Badges for Bullies that brings the community together to fight a common cause. I hope that the Badges for Bullies movement spreads to other cities and towns across the country!
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