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News: Guest Posts
Fab Four Update
Two of our April cover dogs go home

Have you been wondering about the fate of the quartet of delectable foster puppies on the cover of The Bark (Apr/May 2010)? We checked in with Julie Duarte, who has been fostering the pups in northern California, to see what’s haps with Flower, Candace, Ladybug and Edgar. Here’s the news from Julie:

 

Ladybug’s new owners absolutely adore her! When they came down, in between snowstorms, to pick her up, they brought a baby receiving blanket that was one of their two sons’ when they were first brought home from the hospital. I was so touched by that. She has adapted to her new home very well, and their old Labrador even likes her. They make a pack of three, Ladybug, a Lab and a Mini-Schnauzer—plus, of course, two boys, Taylor and Alexander.

 

Candace is being picked up tomorrow to go to her new home. So today she will get her bath, toenails trimmed, puppy starter pack and records all together. Her new family is taking a month off work to acclimate Candace to her new surroundings.

 

The two remaining pups, Flower and Edgar are still patiently awaiting adoption by their own wonderful families. Meanwhile, they are entertained on the property here with the German Shorthaired and Wirehaired Pointers, goats and horses.

 

I had a very nice family come to visit one of my older Terrier-mix females from a high-kill shelter, in fact the same shelter the pups are from. Rugby is a very sweet, laid-back one-year-old female with a mostly short coat. They decided they did not want to deal with her hair ... and asked if they could adopt Flower instead. I declined, because I told them it is about acceptance with owning dogs: If it’s not the hair you are worried about, it will be she drooled on you, came in the house with muddy feet, or, oh my gosh, gets sick on the living room floor!

 

I need to adopt dogs to families that are really intending to give these pups unconditional love and a home for the rest of their lives. I did not feel their goals met my expectations. That is OK. We will keep interviewing; there are some terrific homes out there for these well-behaved, beautiful puppies!

 

 

Interested in providing a great home for Flower or Edgar? Contact Julie Duarte at gsprescue@aol.com.

News: Guest Posts
Get Your Puppy Fix
And learn about Best Friends’ new care center

Best Friends Animal Society in southern Utah celebrated the grand opening of Val’s Puppy Care Center on March 25, 2010. Congratulations Best Friends and all you lucky puppies! (Oh, also check out the "cute puppy pile-up"--so sweet, your teeth will hurt.)

News: Guest Posts
Tater Tot Home Safe
About 100 people searched for car-wreck runaway

Isn’t it a little weird that in the CBS 42 report on the heartwarming story of Tater Tot’s reunion with her family—the six-year-old Golden Lab who was found days after escaping from a car in a rollover accident in New Hampshire—the reporter never once tell us the condition of the human driver, even after showing a gnarly photo of the smashed-in car? (Watch the video here.) I’m thrilled for Tater (who injured two of her legs), her buddy Buddy and owner John Dale—but I think the human is worth a nod as well. According to the Manchester Union Leader, the driver Trish Dale suffered a concussion and a broken nose but was well enough to celebrate Tater Tot’s rescue.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Legally Reducing Dog Attacks
Britain proposes mandatory microchips and liability insurance

Earlier this month, the British government announced a proposal that would require people to buy microchips and liability insurance for their pups. With dog attack lawsuits on the rise, the British government hopes that microchips will help match dangerous dogs to the people responsible for them and that insurance will ensure that victims can be compensated.

People who oppose the new proposal say that the requirement would be the equivalent of a “dog tax,” punishing responsible pet lovers and reducing the number of families for homeless pups. Others are worried about breed discrimination, with insurance premiums skyrocketing for bully breeds.

I’m all for mandatory microchipping, since it’s relatively inexpensive and helps bring lost pets home, but liability insurance can get pricey, particularly for those with multiple dogs. I’d hate to think that responsible pet lovers would be forced to cut back on other expenses, like buying quality food, to afford monthly insurance premiums. 

Microchips and insurance may make it easier to identify irresponsible people, but it’s misguided to think it’s going to reduce the danger of aggressive dogs. That can only be achieved through education.

What do you think about mandatory microchipping and liability insurance?

News: Guest Posts
Not Really Free to a Good Home
Beware puppy rescue scams

A reader recently sent me a link to Mitch Lipka’s “Consumer Ally” blog warning about scams involving “free” and/or rescued puppies in pre-pay scams. I’ve known about “shipping” cons, like the one recently reported by the Oregon attorney general, where an advertiser offering a free-to-a-good-home dog requires money be wired to cover shipping costs. Of course, when the mark shows up to collect his or her new buddy, there is no dog. What I didn’t realize is that some scammers pose as the good guys. According to an ASPCA primer on puppy scams and cons, sometimes puppy mills set up a fake rescue and sanctuary to exploit the good will of adopters by charging as much as $1,000 in “adoption fees” for a puppies. We can all serve to be on notice. Buyer and rescuer beware!

News: Guest Posts
Kate Gosselin Wants Dogs Back
But not until the weather warms up

If you apply to adopt a dog from a shelter or breed rescue, there's one surefire way to ensure your paperwork is tossed in the trash: you gave up a previous dog because he proved "inconvenient." In the case of reality TV star Kate Gosselin, she has decided she wants her dogs back. Her ex-husband, Jon, gave away German shepherds Shoka and Nala to their trainer during the celebrity couple’s messy divorce proceedings late last year.

Kate now claims she wouldn’t give up on two difficult kids, so she’s giving the dogs another chance. But she didn’t want them in the first place. What changed her mind? I’d like to believe that she is trying to teach her kids that dogs are a lifetime commitment, but the cynic in me thinks she’s looking for some feel-good publicity.

I’m angry that the dogs’ breeder sold them to the Gosselins in the first place. No responsible breeder would allow two littermates to go to the same home because the pups are more likely to bond to each other than to their humans. Second, with eight kids ranging in age from 5 to 9 years, how could the Gosselins possibly give the two puppies the attention, training and structure they needed? Jon Gosselin himself told People magazine that their eight kids would "climb on them, pull their tails, bite at them [and] drag them."

Do you think Shoka and Nala should return to the Gosselin family?

News: Guest Posts
Jury Rules Against Hartz
Beloved bulldog died 35 hours after flea drops were applied

[Editor’s note: We’ve blogged a bit about adverse reactions in dogs due to spot-on pesticide treatments and flea collars (see links below). Yesterday, Bark contributor Lisa Wade McCormick reported for ConsumerAffairs.com on what may be the first successful small claims case involving topical flea treatments. A portion of her story is reprinted here.]

A 72-year-old dog owner has won what may be a landmark decision against the country’s leading maker of pet care products and fueled the ongoing debate over the safety of topical flea and tick treatments.

A Texas jury awarded Frank Bowers $4,440.75 in the small claims court action he filed against Hartz Mountain Corporation. In this David-versus-Goliath court battle—believed to be the first small claims court action of its kind—Bowers alleged that Hartz Ultra Guard Pro Flea and Tick Drops caused the death of his beloved Olde English Bulldog, Diesel.

The six-member jury deliberated less than 30 minutes before reaching a unanimous decision in favor of Bowers, who was widely considered the underdog in the case.

“When the bailiff walked in the courtroom and said we have a unanimous decision, I nearly passed out,” said Bowers, who represented himself in the court action. “The jury said ‘we find Mr. Bowers’ integrity outweighed what was presented by (Hartz) attorney. He lost an animal of value and all costs he’s out are awarded to him.’”

“I just literally went numb,” Bowers added. “I caught up with three jurors in the hallway after the hearing. All I said to them was: ‘thank you, thank you, thank you.’ And they just said: ‘we did our job.’”

Hartz told ConsumerAffairs.com that it believed the case was “without merit,” but did not appeal because of the time and cost involved.

Sense of justice

For Bowers, the jury’s decision brings closure and a sense of justice to an emotional issue that started at 8:30 p.m. on August 7, 2008. On that warm summer night in Texas, Bowers applied Hartz Ultra Guard Pro Flea and Tick Drops to the 14-month-old, 68-pound, Diesel.

“I nipped off the top of the tube and put it on his back,” Bowers recalled. “I precisely used it as directed – nothing more, nothing less than directed.” By early the next morning Diesel had become gravelly ill.

“I went to my garage to work and I smelled this odor from excretion,” Bowers said. “Diesel was laying on the floor. He was shaking and having spasms of some kind. And he was passing a horrible odor of diarrhea.” Bowers called his daughter, who told him to immediately take the ailing dog to the vet.

Diesel’s health continued its rapid decline during the ride to his vet’s office, Bowers said.

“He continued to have bowel movements on the way. When we got to the vet’s office, he couldn’t walk. They got one of those stainless steel tables and took him back to an exam room.”

The veterinarian asked Bowers a battery of questions about Diesel, including one that caught him off guard.

“The vet asked me if I’d put any flea treatment on him,” Bowers said. “And I said: ‘yes, last night.’ I told him what it was and went back to the store to get a tube to show him.”

The vet, he said, took one look at the Hartz Ultra Guard Pro Flea and Tick Drops and shook his head. “He said: ‘Oh, my God. He’s going to have kidney failure.’”

By 4 o’clock the next morning, Diesel’s kidneys had shut down.

“He was in total renal failure,” Bowers said. “The vet wanted permission to euthanize him. I said you know what’s best and I don’t want any animal to suffer. “I picked Diesel up around 7 a.m. and took him out in the country and buried him on my daughter’s 10 acres.”

This painful chapter in Bowers’ life happened in less than 35 hours—from the night he applied the flea and tick drops to the morning of Diesel’s death.

Read Lisa Wade McCormick’s complete report.

News: Guest Posts
Tough Love
Simon Cowell has a heart…for animals

Sometimes it seems like Simon Cowell, the famed curmudgeon judge of American Idol, doesn’t have a kind word for anyone. Well, that’s not entirely the case. When it comes to animals—an old dog, in particular—he’s practically mushy. And he’s gone public (in a video released last night) about his lifelong love for animals to help the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) promote an international campaign for animal welfare. Check it out:

Like many of us, Cowell’s respect for animals came early, while growing up with pets. Drawing on these lessons, he has pledged his support for the WSPA’s Universal Declaration for Animal Welfare—an admirable initiative to persuade governments across the world to embrace international laws that protect animals with the hope of ending animal suffering and cruelty. It’s easy to cast join him.

WSPA is an alliance of more than 900 animal welfare organizations in 150 countries. The declaration calls for, among other goals, recognizing animals as sentient beings, capable of suffering and experiencing pain—an essential baseline for animal welfare progress.

Meanwhile for Cowell, this might be the leading edge of a larger life change. Last night on the Tonight Show, he revealed that he's engaged. Maybe he plans on opening his heart a little more for people now, too.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Accidentally Euthanized
Shelter’s mistake was fatal

Most of us have lost dogs and suffered the agony of that grief. We all share the pain when someone we know is dealing with the death of a dog, but I don’t think my heart has ever hurt more than when I heard about what happened to Will Harlee and his family. It seems that Charlotte-Mecklenberg Animal Care and Control euthanized their two dogs, Deuce and Ralow, by mistake. And no amount of regret or sorrow can bring them back. It’s heartbreakingly painful.

  The dogs were being held at the Animal Care and Control facility after having escaped out of the family’s yard through a hole in the fence. Their paperwork states that Harlee could get his dogs back once he repaired the fence, but when he made the repairs and came to get his dogs, they were already dead. It’s unclear how such an enormous mistake happened, or what will be the consequences for the agency. Harlee says that he wants to see somebody lose a job over this because he believes that somebody has to be held accountable. His biggest concern is that this does not ever happen to anyone else.   I picture Will Harlow having to tell his two young children that Deuce and Ralow are dead, and I urge every shelter and animal care facility to check on their policies and the safeguards against such a fatal, irreparable error. And to the Harlees, all I can offer is my sympathy, which is deep and heartfelt.  

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Saving Fido
Most people would risk danger to rescue their pets.

After Hurricane Katrina, we learned about countless people who refused to leave their pets behind in pursuit of their own safety. As a result, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act was signed in 2006 to ensure that animals are included in local and state emergency plans.

So it should come as no surprise that recent research found that 58 percent of people would put their life on the line for a pet. The study, presented at the Annual Emergency Service Conference in New Zealand, confirms how pet lovers feel about their four-legged family members.

Every now and then the news will cover stories of pet lovers who rush into burning buildings or jump into freezing rivers to rescue their beloved furry family members. Of course I can’t imagine ever leaving my pups behind, and I would like to say I’d have the same reaction as these heroic people, but I’ve never been in an emergency situation before. I am glad, however, that legislation like PETS has been passed to minimize the difficult choices pet lovers must make in times of crisis.

Would you risk your life for your pup?

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