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Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark’s editor in chief. Cameron Woo is The Bark’s publisher.

Smiling Dog: Peanut

Dog's name and age: Peanut, 14 years old

About Peanut:

Peanut now well into her senior years has degenerative myelopathy, so her back legs don't work so well anymore. The vet initially thought she might not be the type of dog to take to a doggie wheel chair, but I had faith in Peanut and decided to try. After a few false starts, she got rolling and began taking short walks around the neighborhood.

People driving by often slow their cars down to watch and cheer her on! Peanut is quite happy to take in all of the sniffs and smells through the walk. Sometimes we still visit Peanut's favorite park in the East Bay hills, where this photo was taken. Peanut enjoys a double happy bonus, because she always gets a treat once she's out of her wheels and back indoors. I've learned old dogs really can learn new tricks, and am grateful and inspired by each walk and every day we get to spend together.

Humane Disaster Relief Flies Dogs to Safety

So many hopeful stories of goodwill and humanitarianism are emanating from the tragic circumstances caused by Hurricane Harvey and Irma—good people lending a helping hand in difficult circumstances. We were pleased to find out that our neighbors, the Berkeley Humane Society, have stepped up to assist a Florida shelter prepare for the anticipated disaster heading their way with the arrival of category 4 Hurricane Irma.

Yesterday we visited the Berkeley Humane Society that has just returned from the airport where they picked up 50 dog and cat evacuees from the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale. A number of humane organizations outside of Florida are coming to the aid of shelters helping to “clear” the decks in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. We are proud that our neighbor, who is just down the road from our offices, more than doubled their population with these new arrivals. We visited the shelter shortly after the dogs and cats arrived, and the animal care volunteers were busy taking tallies, and making sure that their new guests have their needs met and have settled in. We were shown around the shelter facility by executive director Jeffrey Zerwekh and Tom Atherr, director of development & communications who generously give us time to tell us about their work and introduce us to the new arrivals.

This Ft Lauderdale-to-Bay Area mission was organized by Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) in nearby Walnut Creek, that also took in a large number of the animal evacuees, along with the East Bay SPCA and the Berkeley Humane Society. The remarkable organization Wings of Rescue provided the airplanes, piloted by volunteer pilots with GreaterGood.org, Freekibble.com and the Rescue Bank helping to pay for the flight. All told, more than 175 cats and dogs were evacuated. Ric Browde with Wings of Rescue noted that, “we wanted to be proactive before the storm and get as many of the animals as we had at the shelter out of the facility.” Christopher Agostino, President and CEO of the Humane Society of Broward County added, “This is a tremendous undertaking and we are grateful for all our partners making this possible. We want to be prepared as much as possible for after the storm and to be able to help our community.”

The rescue flight, with a stopover for refueling, took 10 long hours, with most of the dogs taking it in stride. During our visit, many of the dogs came up to the front of their enclosures to sniff and greet us. The BHS has a full veterinary facility on premise which helps make it an ideal partner in this evacuation project. The shelter medical staff was on hand to review medical records and make sure that everything was in order. The shelter will be arranging foster homes for many of these southern transplants, recognizing that dogs do much better with foster families paving the transition to forever homes. BHS will be waiving the adoption fees in order to help expedite the adoptions of these animals, said Altherr, but welcomes donations, be it online or in person, to help cover the shelter’s costs. “Berkeley Humane is grateful that we are in a position to help animals that were at risk and are now safe. Doubling our animal population with only a few hours notice is difficult and a significant drain on our resources, but we know what we have to do and we are confident our community of volunteers, adopters, and donors will participate in these efforts,” added Zerwekh.

Zerwekh explained that the Broward County people were extremely well-organized and were making evacuation plans, and lining up out-of-state shelters, in anticipation of Irma. Being able to clear their shelters means that the Broward people, in turn, can open their doors to the animals that will be needing assistance during and after the upcoming storm. The Florida shelter evacuation follows another recent transfer of animals from Texas shelters to nearby Oakland. Fifty dogs and 20 cats arrived in the Bay Area via a private jet, thanks to efforts by the San Francisco SPCA, Mad Dog Rescue, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and the Milo Foundation. The animals were flown in and slated for adoption in order make room for the many pets that got lost during Hurricane Harvey.

It seems that so many lessons, on the humane front, were imparted during Katrina and recent disaster relief efforts. It is wonderful to see that the nation’s humane network, stretching across state and regional boundaries, coming together to assist this long-distance rescue and evacuation collaboration.

 

AVMA’s Emergency Prep Kit for Pet Owners

The AVMA has created a Pet Evacuation Kit for pet owners to assemble, and have ready, in case of an emergency, such as natural disasters like hurricanes. The kit provides a checklist for the items and the tasks to be done before an evacuation.

The kit should be assembled well in advance of any emergency and store in an easy-to-carry, waterproof container close to an exit.

Food and Medicine

  • 3-7 days’ worth of dry and canned (pop-top) food*
  • Two-week supply of medicine*
  • At least 7 days’ supply of water
  • Feeding dish and water bowl
  • Liquid dish soap

*These items must be rotated and replaced to ensure they don’t expire

First Aid Kit

  • Anti-diarrheal liquid or tablets
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bandage tape and scissors
  • Cotton bandage rolls
  • Flea and tick prevention (if needed in your area)
  • Isopropyl alcohol/alcohol prep pads
  • Latex gloves
  • Saline solution
  • Towels and washcloth
  • Tweezers

Sanitation

  • Litter, litter pan, and scoop (shirt box with plastic bag works well for pan)
  • Newspaper, paper towels, and trash bags
  • Household chlorine beach or disinfectant   

Important Documents

  • Identification papers including proof of ownership
  • Medical records and medication instruction
  • Emergency contact list, including veterinarian and pharmacy
  • Photo of your pets (preferably with you) 

Travel Supplies

  • Crate or pet carrier labeled with your contact information
  • Extra collar/harness with ID tags and leash
  • Flashlight, extra batteries (remember you can use your cell for this as well)
  • Muzzle Comfort Items
  • Favorite toys and treats
  • Extra blanket or familiar bedding

FTC’s Concern about Lack of Competition is Requiring Mars to Divest 12 Vet Clinics

Earlier this year we reported on Mars’ plans to acquire VCA, for $9.1 billion that would mean that the world's largest pet food company would also own the most vet clinics in the US. It is interesting to see that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is charging that this purchase would violate antitrust laws. So Mars had to agree to divest 12 vet clinics, especially those with specialty and emergency services.

The FTC complaint goes on to detail its concerns about how this purchase would affect competition:

According to the FTC’s complaint, if the acquisition takes place as proposed, it may substantially lessen competition for certain specialty and emergency veterinary services in 10 U.S. localities by eliminating head-to-head competition between Mars specialists in the area and those of VCA.

According to the complaint, without a remedy, the acquisition would likely lead to higher prices for pet owners and lower quality in the specialty and emergency veterinary services they receive. These effects are unlikely to be mitigated through timely new entry, as opening a specialty or emergency services veterinary clinic presents some unique challenges, including the need to recruit specialist veterinarians with considerably greater training than general practice veterinarians.

One clinic each in the Kansas City, New York, and Phoenix areas will be divested to National Veterinary Associates. One clinic each in Chicago, Corpus Christi and San Antonio, and two clinics in Seattle, will be divested to Pathway. Two clinics serving the Portland area and two clinics in the greater Washington, DC area will be divested to PetVet.”

These are the veterinary clinics to be divested and their buyers, according to the FTC:

> One clinic each in the Kansas City, New York and Phoenix areas will be divested to National Veterinary Associates.

> One clinic each in Chicago, Corpus Christi and San Antonio, and two clinics in Seattle will be divested to Pathway.

> Two clinics serving the Portland area and two clinics in the greater Washington, D.C., area will be divested to PetVet.

Mars is also prohibited from entering into contracts with any specialty or emergency veterinarian affiliated with a divested clinic for a year after the order takes effect, the release states. Mars is also required for 10 years to notify the FTC if it plans to acquire any additional specialty or emergency veterinary clinics in certain geographic areas. 

More information about the divestiture and consent agreement can be found here. Good to know that the FTC is, in this case, looking out for the interest of pet owners. The commission’s vote to issue the complaint was unanimous. The FTC will publish the consent agreement package in the Federal Register shortly.

Comments can be filed electronically here or in paper form by following the instructions in the “Supplementary Information” section of the Federal Register notice once it’s published.

 

Smiling Dog: Izzy
Dog's name and age: Izzy, 6 years old
 
Izzy is extremely sweet and in touch with your mood often comforting when you're sick/hurt.  It took years for her to get over loud noises and to trust. It's comforting, knowing that she has trust with us and we count on her as much as her with us.  Her silliness is evident and her smile makes everyone smile.
 
Favorites:
Izzy loves running in the field, swimming in the pond, riding in the car, or anything her people are doing.
Smiling Dog: Mojo

Dog's name and age: Mojo, 2 years old

Adoption Story:

In February 2016, we said goodbye to a great dog. Uncomfortably dogless for the first time in my life, we started thinking about another dog. 

We decided we'd like to get a small, older dog who was calm and quiet. And then I met Mojo! Sixty pounds and only a year old. She was being fostered by a friend who suggested we take her home for the weekend to try her on for size. Needless to say, she never returned to foster care. Within days I had slapped a “Pit Bull Mom” sticker on my car and the rest is history.

More Mojo:

Mojo is up for anything whether a country strolls or city walks. Want to head to a dog park or chill on the couch? She's there. She has a fearless and joyful enthusiasm for life that is quite contagious.

Celebrating Dogs Every Day

National Dog Day is upon us, not exactly sure what that means but if gives us an excuse to celebrate our love for our dogs, it’s a good thing. You know what your dog likes best, right? So just do more of that, but here’s some of our ideas too:

Hugs and Kisses. A long leisurely petting session and deep body massage with stretching exercises. You can also sneak in a quick body scan looking to see that everything is in order, don’t forget to peak inside their ears and check between their toes. 

Treats. Stuffing an extra special Kong—perhaps using liver, cheese, yogurt, peanut butter—freeze it and then serve it up. Prep some frozen yogurt cubes, add blueberries, bananas, strawberries, or use chicken broth or other delicious cool licks

Walks and Hiking. A nice long back-to-nature walk, letting your dog do what they do best, sniff around and discover a fresh scent

Engagement. Every dog loves learning especially with you, so today teach them a new trick, or practice an old one. Our three dogs each have different talents: one loves to crawl, one prefers to jump up onto rocks, one likes to leap over just about anything. They all love hide-and-seek or finding little pieces of pasta hidden around the house. 

Dining Delights. Top off their meals, there’s so many ways to “beef” up a kibble-based diet. Great time to think of trying your hand at making dog meals (but remember to start off gradually, just adding a little to your dog’s usual food). 

Let us know what you are planning to do with your dog to celebrate National Dog Day. 

Is Your Dog Ready for the Solar Eclipse?

Monday is the big solar eclipse day. If you are wondering if you need to do anything special to protect your dog’s eyes, luckily most experts say there is little need to worry.

“On a normal day, your pets don’t try to look at the sun, and therefore don’t damage their eyes. And on this day, they’re not going to do it, either,” Angela Speck, director of astronomy and a professor of astrophysics at the University of Missouri, said at a news conference with NASA on June 21 in Washington, D.C.

Pet safety expert, Melanie Monteiro also agrees. She teaches online pet first-aid classes and is the author of “The Safe-Dog Handbook: A Complete Guide to Protecting Your Pooch, Indoors and Out,” and she says animals shouldn’t need the same eye protection.

“There’s really no reason to be concerned about that,” she told TODAY. “Dogs and cats don’t normally look up into the sun, so you don’t need to get any special eye protection for your pets.”

But if you are taking your dog out while watching the eclipse, Monteiro said putting them on a leash is important. And make sure if you are looking up at the eclipse (with special eclipse glasses, of course), make sure your dog doesn’t take your cue if you get overly excited and “look” at what is making you freak out.

"Animals are actually quite a bit smarter than we are when it comes to looking directly at the sun," says Michelle Thaller, deputy director of science for communications at NASA, which is including the Life Responds project as part of its citizen science outreach in conjunction with the eclipse.

Some of said though that dogs might appear upset or frightened, and perhaps howl, run away, seek cover—similar reactions associated with fireworks. 

Vox, has a great piece on everything to know about eclipses, and posed that question to Bill Kramer, from eclipse-chasers.com, he told them that:

“Some dogs bark at the eclipse,” he says. “Some dogs detect the emotion of the moment, or anxiety beforehand, and react accordingly. Never heard of one reacting like some do to fireworks or gunshots. The eclipse is a silent thing, except for the ambient sounds and cheers. ... Cats, on the other hand, are cats.”

Best bet is to keep your dogs inside, but let us know if you catch your dog doing anything out of the ordinary.

 

Smiling Dog: Lizzie

Dog's name and age: Elizabeth (Lizzie), 7 years old

Adoption Story:

After deciding to get a dog, we headed to the local pet store where a rescue group had two puppies, Elizabeth and Isabella (Lizzie and Izzie). My husband took one look at their paws and walked away saying those dogs are going to get really big. Of course, I couldn't walk away without at least holding a puppy. I immediately knew that was the type of connection I wanted to have with a dog. We left that day without Elizabeth and saw dogs from a few other rescue groups but I never got that feeling again. 

Two weeks later we went to an adoption event where Elizabeth, Isabella and their sister Gracie happen to be. My husband (who didn't remember these were the dogs from a few weeks ago) held up each girl. Gracie was terrified, Isabella nipped him on the nose and Elizabeth gave him kisses all over. He looked at me and said "I like this one."  We filled out the adoption papers with the rescue group that day and brought her home about a week later.

If (and When) It's OK to Invite Your Pup to the Party
Emily Post’s great-great-granddaughter gives advice on having dogs at parties
Is it OK to let a dog roam around a party?

Question: Is it OK to let a dog roam around a party?

Answer: A dog may be man’s best friend, but, let’s be honest, not all humans like dogs and not all dogs like all humans. For most party hosts, this isn’t a big issue: They know their dog and will put it in a crate, the yard (weather permitting) or an area of the house where the pet will be comfortable. 

Or they will let the dog wander about, knowing that it is calm and not a food thief or constantly underfoot. Most hosts also know the guests who are coming over, and most guests will know that the host has a dog. They may have already met the dog and are expecting it to be present.

Problems arise when the dog has characteristics or tendencies that distract guests or make them uncomfortable, or when a guest has fears or allergies. 

I suggest that you always warn new guests that you have a dog (or other pets). That way, if they have fears or allergies, they are aware of the situation ahead of time. 

I also suggest that if you have fears or allergies, it’s OK to make them known. “Sarah, I would love to come on Friday! I have a true phobia of dogs, so I have to ask: Do you and Kevin have a dog?” The conversation can then evolve into what the host and guest feel comfortable with in regard to the dog and visit.

If you haven’t talked with your host about your fear or allergy and show up to the party to find Fido free-roaming, it’s OK to speak up to your host. 

Just remember that how you say something is just as important as what you say. A calm tone (as calm as you can muster if your fears are kicking in) and offering a suggestion rather than a demand will be better received.

“Beth, thank you so much for having us. I’m terribly sorry, but I didn’t realize that you have a dog. I have a very real fear of them. Would it be possible to keep him separate from the party?” 

Most hosts will be accommodating. Also, you can choose to suggest that you leave the party. Not that I think it’s the best solution, but stating that your allergy or phobia is severe enough for you to have to excuse yourself is certainly an option. “Beth, I’m so sorry — I forgot to tell you that I have a very severe dog allergy, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to stay for the party. I would love to get together another time.”

Either way, you should feel confident in your communication, and if you aren’t able to stay for the party, suggest another time or place to get together.

More in Editors:
Reporting Pet Food Concerns
Dog Temperament Testing Doesn’t Earn a Passing Grade
Reunion of Littermates
Can Photos of Cute Puppies Help Marriage Blues?
Summer of Love Redux
Caring too much for a dog?
“Downward Dog” Speaks to Mutt Lovers
The Bark Author Interviews
Dogs May Reduce Allergies and Obesity in Babies
How Dogs Interpret Facial Expressions and Audio Cues