Saturday, December 24, 2011

Don't forget the pets at Christmas!

Even Santa's reindeer get presents at Christmas!  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Heartwarming story from ASPCA -- Aurora

Here's a before picture

Here's the after pic!
ASPCA We Never Gave Up on Aurora
Dashed Line

We met Aurora in 2010 at a rural Tennessee sanctuary gone terribly wrong. Sick and severely neglected dogs were chained to posts, roaming the property or seeking shade from the summer sun in overturned barrels.

We rescued all 85 dogs from the property that day and brought 12 back to the ASPCA’s headquarters in New York. One of them was Aurora.

When Aurora arrived in NYC, she was very fearful and sick. She had a severe heartworm infection, a malignant mass in her mammary gland and serious dental problems. But the ASPCA never gave up on Aurora.

Under our care, Aurora was treated for her ailments, all the while receiving love and socialization from ASPCA staff. And as she regained her health, something else happened: Aurora came out of her shell, revealing herself to be a major goofball and a total sweetheart.

But finding a home for a 65-pound older hound in the city wasn’t easy. Fortunately, because of your support, the ASPCA has the resources to wait for just the right home for our animals. And one day in July, about a year after Aurora arrived in New York, it happened.

David Cruz met Aurora at our Adoption Center, and it was love at first sight. And after learning about her past, he told us, he and his wife “wanted to give her a home and a place where she could be loved.”

This year, Aurora is spending her first holiday season in a loving home, and it is entirely thanks to the generosity and compassion of supporters like you. Still, for every animal enjoying a happy ending, another is waiting for your help. Please make a gift today and help us change even more animals’ lives. Pets like Aurora are counting on you.

For the first time in her life,
Aurora is home for the holidays.

The ASPCA rescued Aurora from a dire hoarding situation in 2010. This year, she’s celebrating the holidays in a loving home. Aurora’s story is possible because of the generosity of supporters like you.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dogs of war get PTSD as often as humans

Here's an article I found on that I found interesting and useful.  It would stand to reason that these dogs would show some traumatic effect of being in a war zone and being surrounded by war activities.
I don't understand why we insist that animals are so terribly different from humans.  They are not.  We all come from the same biological tree.  Life is life.  Please read this article and let me know what you think.

Just like their human counterparts, dogs in the military can suffer the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder — and they’re doing so at a rate nearly as high as humans.

By some estimates, more than 5 percent of the approximately 650 military dogs deployed by American combat forces are developing canine PTSD, according to a report in yesterday’s New York Times:
“ … (T)he concept of canine PTSD is only about 18 months old, and still being debated. But it has gained vogue among military veterinarians, who have been seeing patterns of troubling behavior among dogs exposed to explosions, gunfire and other combat-related violence in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Of the dogs who show symptoms, about half are likely to be prematurely retired from service, said Walter F. Burghardt Jr., chief of behavioral medicine at the Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base.

The Times article, accompanied by the beautiful photograph above, reported that dogs show the symptoms in different ways, much like humans with the  disorder. They may become hyper-vigilant, undergo temperament changes, turn aggressive with their handlers, or start becoming timid and clingy, avoiding areas that they had once been comfortable in.

Most crucial of all — at least as the military sees it — they can also stop doing the tasks they’re being relied on to perform.

“If the dog is trained to find improvised explosives and it looks like it’s working, but isn’t, it’s not just the dog that’s at risk,” Dr. Burghardt said. “This is a human health issue as well.”

The number of  dogs on active duty has risen from 1,800 in 2001 to about 2,700. The training school headquartered at Lackland prepares about 500 dogs a year for deployment.

Combining all branches of the armed services, more than 50 military dogs have been killed since 2005, the article reported.

Dr. Burghardt uses videos to train veterinarians to spot canine PTSD, such as this one of a dog that, while he has no problem inspecting a car, refused to go inside a bus or a building.

Treatment of dogs suspected of having the disorder can range from taking them off patrol and allowing them to just be dogs for a few days to ”desensitization counterconditioning,” which involves exposing a dog, in increments, to sights or sounds he’s reacting nervously to and rewarding him when he doesn’t react.

Dogs that do not recover quickly are returned to their home bases, and those that continue to show symptoms after three months are usually retired or transferred to different duties, Dr. Burghardt said.
(Photo: Bryce Harper for the New York Times)
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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Just another reason our pets are special!

Here's a heartwarming pet story just in time for Christmas.  Thanks to this wonderful and alert dog, this family will still be able to enjoy this holiday season.  I hope they get him a wonderful Christmas meal and a huge present! 

I found this on Life with Dogs and there is a video on that site that discusses this story in more detail.


Boxer Puppy Saves Family

December 2, 2011Posted by ADMIN in Dog News
A six month old Boxer puppy from Georgia is being hailed as a hero for evacuating his family from their home after detecting a gas leak.
“He knew something we didn’t know. He sensed something wasn’t right,” said Jason Hyde.
Hyde and his family say they owe their lives to their faithful companion. They were gathered in their living room and decorating in preparation for the Christmas holiday when their dog Ollie became visibly agitated and started acting out to get their attention. At first they just thought he wanted to go out.
“Just started nudging and rubbing our legs like he wanted to go back outside,” said Sheree Hyde. But once in the yard, Ollie stood his ground and refused to come back inside. “He had his head up and his back was arched and he was unwilling to come back inside,” said Jason.
Ollie’s obvious stress prompted his family to follow him outside and join him in their yard. Once the entire family was evacuated, Ollie relaxed. That’s when it occurred to Jason Hyde that the gas fireplace had been left on.
He went back inside and realized that the flame was not lit. Ollie had smelled the gas pouring from the unlit fireplace and spreading throughout the home – and knew something was wrong. And when his family joined him in the yard to ascertain the source of his distress, they may very well have dodged a disaster: “We don’t know how long the gas would have poured out, and we do light candles,” said Sheree.
The Hydes are understandably grateful, and say they are blessed to have found Ollie. “I just think that it’s cool that God has made a creature, made a dog, as smart as this dog is and I am glad to have him,” said Jason.
“We are very thankful for him,” added Sheree.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Michael Vick's meanest dog doing great in Kanab

Michael Vick in a locker room interview follow...Here's another follow up of the Vick dogs and their remarkable recovery after receiving so much neglect and abuse at the hands of this football icon and role model for our children.

These dogs are themselves remarkable in that they continue to trust humans despite the abuse.  I love reading about their recovery, it gives me hope for this world gone mad we live in.

Please read this entire article and leave them a comment about how wonderful the work they are doing is.

KANAB — He came to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary four years ago under court order and with a reputation as one mean hombre.

Of all the pit bulls in Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels, Lucas was the baddest of them all — Mike Tyson, Hulk Hogan and a little Ray Lewis rolled into one, the grand champion, the most vicious of the vicious Vick dogs.

When his dog-fighting operation was busted, Vick was sent to prison and so, in a sense, was Lucas. The court shipped him and 21 of his fighting mates from Virginia to this sprawling, 3,800-acre animal sanctuary outside Kanab, with the stipulation that Lucas spend the rest of his days here. It was your basic life sentence.
That was in January 2008.

Nearly four years later, or 28 by his reckoning, Lucas is running the place.

Open the door to the executive offices, and there he is, a smile on his face, a lick on his lips, and eager anticipation of either a pet or a treat written all over his eyes.

Only the fading scars on his neck and face suggest that he was once the toughest, scariest and most-abused dog in Virginia.

On the day I made Lucas's acquaintance, Judah Battista, the director of animal care at Best Friends, dropped by to talk about how life has gone for Lucas and the rest of the Vick dogs who were relocated to Utah.

While their rate of rehabilitation has varied, he reports that, to a dog, their progress has been consistent and resoundingly successful.

Six of the 21 fighters — Oliver, Mel, Cherry, Halle, Shadow and Handsome Dan — have been adopted and left Best Friends entirely. A seventh, Little Red, is in a foster home about to be adopted.
The rest are alive, well and thriving in Dogtown Heights, the Best Friends suburb that is home to about 400 dogs. (In all, some 1,700 animals, ranging from house cats to horses, are housed in the entire Best Friends Sanctuary at any given time).

That includes Lucas, who has become such a hit they bring him to the administration offices at least two days a week to keep the humans company.

To Judah, Lucas is Exhibit A in the argument that all dogs are good dogs if they're treated well.
He grimaces when he thinks about what could have happened to Lucas and the rest of Vick's pit bulls purely due to reputation.

Many people in authority wanted to euthanize all 49 dogs that were found in various states of neglect and abuse in the Bad Newz Kennels when it was first discovered that in addition to being a star quarterback in the National Football League, Michael Vick was also an illegal-dog-fighting promoter.

The conventional wisdom was that the dogs would never be able to recover. Putting them down was the most compassionate thing to do....(read more)

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