Home
news
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Weathering Hurricane Irene
Emergency plans with the dogs in mind

This past weekend, everyone on the East Coast was hurrying to prepare for Hurricane Irene. I wasn't in an evacuation zone, but I put together a “go bag” for my pets and put crates by the door, just in case we had to leave home. Fortunately, we didn't end up needing any of the emergency supplies. By the time Irene reached New York, the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm and the damage was much less than expected.

I was impressed by the local efforts to accommodate pets in emergency planning. New York City evacuation centers welcomed pets, and taxis and subways were required to transport pets of all sizes to help people get to safety with their furry loved ones. The ASPCA worked closely with the New York City Office of Emergency Management to assist with the city’s disaster relief efforts. The Office of Emergency Management even had a dedicated Animal Planning Task Force. I'm glad that the government is learning from past relief efforts, such as Hurricane Katrina.

Natural disasters are stressful, but I felt a lot more comfortable knowing that I didn't have to worry about where I could go with my pets in the event of an emergency.

How did you prepare for Hurricane Irene? Did you take advantage of a pet friendly evaculation center?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Burglar Left His Dog at Crime Scene
That’s how police identified him

It’s Successful Crime 101: Don’t leave anything behind at the scene of a crime. Doing so might give law enforcement just the break they need to come find you and arrest you. It was a violation of this basic tenet that lead to the arrest of a man for alleged burglary. He apparently left his dog behind at a home that had been burglarized.

A police officer recognized the dog and had seen him with the man earlier in the day. The rope around the dog’s neck was distinctive, which made him even easier to recognize. Police officers went to his home where they found some of the stolen items. The man is in jail, charged with residential burglary.

That’s two alleged bad actions on his part: burglary and not attending to his dog.

News: Guest Posts
The Bond, Illustrated
Dying man reunited with his best friend

As a blogger, you can feel compelled to add interpretation, context and/or opinion when you link to another story. But not this time, this ABC report about a homeless man reunited with his dog during his last days in a hospice stands alone.

News: Guest Posts
AKC Recognizes Three New Breeds
A Coonhound, Lapphund and Terrier make the cut

The American Kennel Club (AKC) added what it calls “three new lovable breeds” to its registry this month—a move that brings the total number of breeds recognized by the organization to 173.

The three news breeds are the American English Coonhound, the Finnish Lapphund and the Cesky Terrier.

The AKC describes American English Coonhounds as “well-conditioned athletes.” These lively and affectionate dogs are avid hunters with great speed and loud voices. They were used to hunt fox in the day and raccoons by night during Colonial times. “Today, they still need regular daily exercise to stay in shape,” according the AKC press release, making them good companions for active owners.

The Finnish Lapphund is the newest member of the herding group. These alert and agile dogs were originally bred to herd reindeer near the Arctic Circle. They still have thick double coats. They were also helper dogs of the Sami—semi-nomadic people in Finland, Sweden, and part of Russia called Lapland. “They are intelligent, eager to learn, and are calm and friendly with people,” according to the AKC. “They make loving and devoted family pets that do well with children and other dogs.”

In welcoming the Cesky Terriers, the AKC describes them as smart and active dogs. These eager-to-please canines were bred to hunt such animals as badgers and fox. “Cesky Terriers are loyal to their families, patient, gentle, and get along well with people of all ages, making them a wonderful family pet,” the AKC said, adding the breed needs daily exercise. These terriers also need daily grooming as puppies—and brushing twice a week as adults—because of their coats.

Ever wonder how breeds become recognized by the AKC? The organization said there has to be a certain number of dogs “geographically distributed throughout the U.S.” and an established breed club has to watch over those canines.

More information about the new breeds is available on the AKC’s Web site: www.akc.org.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
New Trend: Executive Protection Canines
Security guards gone to the dogs

Harrison Prather used to train dogs for the British special forces and the Navy Seal Team 6, but a growing market led him to start Harrison K-9 Security Services to provide his talented pups to wealthy civilians.

Some people come to Prather for his executive protection dogs, as he calls them, after receiving threats or after human bodyguards proved ineffective. Others simply like the combination of protection and companionship.

Prices have increased in recent years due to the growing number of people who like the security and status provided by a guard dog. It's not uncommon for people to pay upwards of $60,000 for a dog trained in Schutzhund, or protection work. Prather's dogs cost over $200,000 since they are trained for three years in Germany before coming to the United States for further skill development.

The executive protection dogs learn tracking and fighting skills, but are also trained to be gentle in the house with family.

These dogs play an interesting role as both a bodyguard and a companion, but I do worry that the hefty price tag could cause these dogs to be seen as merchandise. I hope that the buyers consider the responsibility of an animal, and don't just view these dogs as a living security system.

What do you think about executive protection dogs?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Making Dog Theft a Felony
NY bill passed to strengthen punishment for pet thieves

Having a beloved pet stolen is one of my worst nightmares. In New York, pet thieves are typically only charged with a misdemeanor since dogs are considered property by law. The value of stolen property must exceed $1,000 to qualify as a felony larceny. Since it's hard to place a dollar value on an animal, most thefts are prosecuted as the lesser offense. Fortunately, it looks like this may be changing for the better.

Earlier this week, the New York State Senate passed a bill with a landslide 58-3 vote that would make it a class E felony to steal a cat or dog. If the bill becomes a law, stealing a pet could get you up to four years in jail. The State Assembly is expected to pass its version of the bill later this month.

Besides making pet theft a more serious crime, the law would also give police a greater incentive to look for missing pets. Since most cases are prosecuted as a misdemeanor, often police can only take limited action on reported thefts. This bill seeks to rectify these situations.

Similar legislature has had difficulty getting adequate support in the past, but judging from the overwhelmingly positive response in the Senate, I'm hopeful that this bill will be passed.

I consider my dogs to be family, so ultimately I wish the law would be changed so that pets would not be considered property. However, I think this bill is certainly a big step in the right direction.

News: Guest Posts
Dogs Told Joplin Man Tornado Coming
Ken Ayton credits canines for saving life

Joplin resident Key Ayton was working in his garage during what seemed like a typical thunderstorm this past Sunday. It wasn't until his dogs started "going crazy," that he knew this was more than a little rain. He quickly ushered them inside then heard the tornado sirens. That extra time gave him a chance to jump in the bathtub and ride out one of the scariest moments of his life. Ayton and his dogs survived a tornado that was a half-mile wide and destroyed everything in its six-mile-long path. At least 89 people were killed; many remain missing. While rescue teams search for human survivors, local humane organizations are rescuing displaced animals. They need monetary and food donations, plus foster homes to care for lost pets and displaced pets whose owners need time to get back on their feet. A Facebook group has been started to help reunite owners with lost pets.

News: Guest Posts
Stray Breaks into Fairbanks Shelter
That’s one strategy for finding a home

I love this story about a stray breaking into a Fairbanks shelter—and not just because Albert looks an awful lot like my dog. I’m guessing Albert’s story will help him land in a good home. Let’s hope the same can be said for all his current shelter buddies.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Dog Involved in Bin Laden Mission
A trained canine assisted the Navy Seals last Sunday

The U.S. Navy Seals and the elite Team Six have gotten a lot of attention lately for their heroic efforts in the Osama Bin Laden mission. However, I just found out that a special canine was also among the 79 commandos that day. The explosive-sniffing dog was strapped to one of the Navy Seals and descended from the helicopters with the rest of the team.

As it turns out, these trained pups, typically German Shepherds, are routinely used by the top-secret Navy Seal unit. The dogs wear ballistic body armor that protects against knives, shrapnel, and gunfire and carry infrared night cameras that provide troops with critical real-time information.

These pups are trained to jump from aircraft at an incredible 25,000 feet (wearing an air mask of course) and attack anyone carrying a weapon. These talented dogs can also crawl into tunnels and rooms unnoticed.

What an incredible bunch of working pups!

 

 

News: Guest Posts
Will a Mutt Be New York’s Top Dog?
New York legislators consider “the rescue dog” as new state dog

New York state legislators are teaming up to take a major stand for shelter dogs: In April, they introduced a bill designating “the rescue dog” as the official New York state dog. And it’s a bipartisan effort. State Assemblyman Micah Kellner, a Democrat from Manhattan’s Upper East Side, is co-sponsoring the bill with fellow Manhattanite and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal along with Rochester Republican Joseph Robach, a state senator.

  A spokesman for Kellner told The New York Times, “He’s a huge advocate for animals in need.” He doesn’t own a dog at the moment, but has fostered shelter pups in the past. Robach owns three shelter dogs.   If the bill passes, New York will be the 12th state in the nation to name an official state dog. Most state dogs have an obvious local connection, such as Alaska and its Malamute or the New England-bred Chinook, state dog of New Hampshire. Adopting the rescue dog as a canine ambassador will be more of a statement.   It’s appropriate, though, considering New York’s history as a haven for immigrants looking for a new home and a new life. And, as Kellner pointed out in a press conference, New Yorkers are a tough, scrappy lot, much like rescue pups.   There’s no word yet on when it’ll be put to a vote. In the meantime, New Yorkers can voice their support for the measure by contacting their local representatives in the statehouse. Track the bill: SO4781, AO6681.

 

Pages