Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Even dogs go on vacation

Scoop will be off for the next week. Check back on 1/6/10 for all the latest in intelligent dog news in the new year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

George, the gentle giant

Apparently the World's Tallest Dog is quite the coveted title. Titan took the title earlier this year, after Gibson passed away. But now George is in the running for the title. George measures 7feet 3 inches from nose to tail and over 42.625 inches at the shoulders--just barely above Titan who measures 42.25 inches at the shoulders. Both still stand below Gibson's 43 inch shoulders.

In addition to being a enormous, George also has to eat a ton--110 pounds a month! When he was a pup, he slept in bed with his people, but now he has his own queen size bed. Lucky dog!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Giving our soldiers a little Faith

Faith, the two legged dog is back in the news. Now she is helping out veteran who are amputees. ABC news has the video here, and Faith looks adorable in her custom made fatigues!

Read my original story about Faith here. It is so great to see that she is still out there helping people feel ok about being a little different.

Photo Credit: Kevin Ellis / Associated Press

Friday, December 25, 2009

Have a wagging Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my blog followers! Your support has helped the Daily Dog Scoop become an internet sensation in just 6 months, and that is the best present I could have dreamed of. Thank you! Please continue to spread the word and send in your great tips.

My buddy Shep sent me this awesome Hallmark video card, I loved it so much I wanted to share it with all of you!

I leave you with this great shot, which is part of Petside.com's album entitled "Pets in Santa Hats." Also check out "Pets in Reindeer Antlers." Washington Post has a fun reader-uploaded slideshow here.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The strong spirit of Little Brown Dog

Little Brown Dog (LBD) is one strong survivor! After some ugly abuse, she found herself at the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine. She had severe abrasions on her paws and required extensive skin grafts. If you missed my earlier story, you can read the background here. With the amazing care of the good folks at UTCVM, LBD is now finally out of her bandages and getting around so well, she has even mastered jumping the baby gates in the hospital!

UTCVM recently posted this adorable bandage-free picture to their website, where they have been overwhelmed with support. But, as her vet reminds her fans, "Please remember there are many, many little brown dogs (and lots of other colors and sizes, too) at your local humane society or animal shelter who need a loving forever home."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Safety & the holidays

Lots of new stuff comes into the house during the holiday season. Don't forget to check if this new stuff might be harmful to your dog. Several holiday plants are known to be dangerous to dogs. Make sure the following plants are safely out of reach: poinsettia, mistletoe, holly leaves and berries. Houston Pet Talk has a great list of dangers ranging from plants, to presents, to holiday seasonings. Check out the whole list, but here are a few important ones:
  • Tinsel may look nice, but can cause an intestinal blockage if ingested (Same goes for ribbons).
  • Beware of loose batteries from all your new gadget gifts--obviously toxic to dogs!
  • Keep candles safely away from pets--spilled wax is no friend to skin or coats, and tails do catch fire.
  • Glass ornaments may look like balls, but are not safe to play with--so keep fragile ornaments at the top of the tree.
The holidays can also be stressful for dogs. There is so much going on--travel, house guests, trees in the house, and changes in the regular walk/feeding schedule. Check in with the folks at Houston Pet Talk (scroll to bottom) for tips on making the holidays less stressful for your dog.

[Image Courtesy of PhotoBucket--though I DO NOT endorse the idea of wrapping your dog in Christmas lights, in fact, it is probably a pretty bad idea]

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rudolph the wet-nosed dachshund

On top of being blind and deaf, Rudolph had a tough go at life. He he was born in a puppy mill and had four homes before ending up in at great forever home with Marcia Fishman. Marcia had to work with Rudolph to help him overcome his tough start, but now Rudolph is a registered therapy dog working to teach kids about being tolerant of people with differences. Marcia and this pup visit elementary schools with their book, Rudolph's Nose Knows.

In a recent interview with People Magazine, Fishman said, "Dogs can do so much more in the world than just cuddle with people." Aint that the truth!

The pair also was recognized on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams' segment called "Making a Difference." Check out the video below:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Paw pad health in the snow

If you are a lucky dog like me, you got to spend the weekend playing in fresh snow. It was so much fun! But now that the fresh snow is not so fresh, beware of the dangers of salt and chemical ice melt on your paws. Sharp salt is very abrasive on dog pads, and if it gets stuck between your toes is can get irritated. It is not safe to lick those pads clean because you might ingest some yucky and dangerous chemicals. Tell your person to wipe your toes with a warm washcloth or to rinse them in a warm bowl of water after coming home from a walk. For dogs with shaggy toes, ice clumps can form between toes making it very uncomfortable to walk. You may not like it, but booties can prevent this from happening.

The good folks over at About.com have some more helpful tips for your person to keep those paws healthy.

[Image Courtesy of PhotoBucket]

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Financial help to keep your pack together

In these tough economic times, too many animals are ending up in shelters because their families can no longer afford their care. For most families, it is a heart breaking decision to make. I bet most people don't know that there are tons of resources available from local and national organizations that can help keep your pet in your home. The Humane Society has compiled a list of places you can turn to for help. Services include discounted vet services, temporary fostering, and even extra kibble. National organizations are listed, and local services are searchable by state.

If you are not having financial trouble, but know of a family with a four-legged member who is facing tough time, be sure to pass this resource along. They will be thankful for these resources that could make a tough time a little less heartbreaking.

Do you work for or know of an organization that is not listed on this site, but is willing to help out? Email the good folks at HSUS at foreclosurepets@humanesociety.org to be added to the list.

[Image courtesy of PhotoBucket]

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Best walking partners are 4-legged

A new study from the University of Missouri tells us that dogs make better walking partners than humans for those interested in staying committed to their exercise plan. People who walk with dogs are less likely to bail out on their exercise than those who walk regularly with another human. The study showed that humans seem to readily accept the excuses of their 2-legged walking partners, which can undermine their motivation to walk. Dogs on the other hand, are ALWAYS up for a walk! Some days, we can even give you the extra motivation you need to get out the door. The study was conducted with shelter dogs, but you know that dogs living in your home will get into a routine and even remind you that it is walk time!

See, there we are, looking out for your health. If you are thinking about making a pre-vacation resolution about your fitness, maybe you should think about how your dog might be able to help you stick to it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A dog, a cop, and a rabbi...

Montana in a long way from Israel, but that is not what concerns Miky, a trained bomb sniffing dog. The problem is they don't speak Hebrew on his new police team in Helena, Montana! Miky was trained by an elite dog school in Israel through the Israeli Defense Forces. After serving a tour of duty for the IDF, these dogs can retire or move on to a second career as a police dogs.

Miky was brought to the United States through a grant for highly skilled police dogs. But when he got here, his partner knew the commands, but did not know how to say them in Hebrew. Enter Rabbi Chaim Bruk, who taught the Hebrew commands to Sgt. John Fosket. Now that everyone is speaking the same language, Miky is doing great on his new job!

Monday, December 14, 2009

LA's chihuahua surplus

Chihuahuas are in-then-out, in Los Angeles. They are the most popular breed in LA, but there are also the most abandoned. Lots of folks see celebrities like Paris Hilton with one of these little dogs, and try to imitate the latest trend. The movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua didn't help the situation either. The problem is that dogs, especially small dogs, live longer than most trends. Also, chihuahuas can fetch high vet bills because of their fragile frames. Just because they are small does not mean they are always well behaved. So some of these mini pups may grow up to be a little too unruly for owners looking for a purse, not a dog a dog that needs some training. Shelters, in turn, are overflowing with these little guys by no fault of their own.

The silver lining of the story is that other shelters in the country have a shortage of small dogs and are trying to help pick up the slack. The ASPCA in New York City even says that they do not have enough chihuahuas to meet the demand of folks looking to adopt. The rescue community in LA is working hard to place these pups in shelters that have room. Oakland Animal Services alone has placed over 100 chihuahuas in Washington, Oregon and Arizona. The biggest hurdle is the transportation costs to get these little guys to other areas where homes are available.

If you are interested in helping, check out the following links:

[Image courtesy of Getty Images]

Friday, December 11, 2009

Speaking of Christmas gifts...

My friends over at Petside.com have put together a list and slideshow of the top ten pet gadgets for this holiday season. Shown here is the "puppy bumper" which will prevent those sneaky little dogs from wiggling through gates and fences. Thankfully, my head is big enough that my person doesn't have to consider putting me in one of these. They also profiled a telescopic poop-scooper, so that you don't need to bend down, or even touch your dog's poop. Don't miss the "Kitt-in-a-box" which is an attachment for your desk so that your small dog or cat can lounge next to your keyboard while you type. The dog walking utility jacket contains 11 features just for your walking duty--including leash clips and a poop bag dispenser. You can find a ton more wild-but-sometimes-useful stuff at Petgadgets.com

On a related note, Petside.com also has an article on accessories to keep your nighttime winter walks safe. Items include reflective collars and leashes, blinking tags, and lighted fetch toys. All of these things also make great dog gifts. Hint. Hint.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Shopping? Don't get a puppy.

Giving a puppy as a gift is not always a good idea. Bringing a dog into your home is a major commitment and the whole family should discuss the expectations and responsibilities. But people still give puppies as gifts for Christmas. After just a few days of picking up puppy poop that they didn't ask for, many of these dogs end up in shelters.

This is such a problem that one of the major dog rescue organizations in London is not allowing any new adoptions between December 20 and January 2. The Dog Trust hopes that this policy will minimize the number of pups showing up at their shelters after the holidays. During this time, you can go to the shelter and pick out a puppy, but will have to wait until after January 2 to take your new family member home.

This is part of the 30+ year effort to reduce the dog-as-gift problem in England. In 1978, one fifth of all dogs in the country were gifted. Now that is down under two percent--but that is still over 100,000 puppies every year going into homes that did not think through this major life decision.

Not sure if your ready for the full commitment of dog ownership, but want to try it over the holidays? Shelters all across the United States are participating in a program called "Foster a Lonely Pet for the Holidays." Shelters are joining together on Petfinder.com to get lonely shelter dogs a warm place to rest their heads during Christmas time.

If you haven't even started the conversation in your home, you might want to stick with the Zhu Zhu robotic hamster, which if you have not heard, is one of the hottest gifts for the 2009 holiday season.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Four legged stress relief professionals

University of California San Diego's Student Wellness Center knows that you don't have to pay for puppy love. Unlike the students I wrote about yesterday, who rented puppies for stress relief, UCSD got some real pros to volunteer their time. USCD worked with a local therapy dog organization to come in and help students cope with the stress of finals. These trained professionals know how to calm people down and cheer people up, as they spend most of their days working in local hospitals.

Stress may not land students in the hospital, but it can hold them back in other ways. Dr. Jerry Phelps, director of Wellness Initiatives for UC Student Wellness said that “Stress for students is the number one health impediment to academic success." Their second annual Therapy Fluffies event was a success...with over 2,000 students stopping by for some quality time with some four legged stress relief professionals. Check out this article, which also has a slideshow from the event.

I know my person can get stressed sometimes, and nothing is better than knowing that my butt wiggles can turn her day around. Turns out I am even helping her study!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Puppies help with finals, but these students need another lesson

Final exams are one thing that I am glad dogs don't have to deal with. But did you know that dogs can make finals easier on humans? Chapman University did more than offer midnight snacks and free coffee this year. They held an event called "Furry Friends for Finals." According to the student organizer, Jennifer Heinz, "It has been proven that having a dog helps relieve stress, so we thought it would be a cute idea if we brought some furry friends on campus." It sounds like a great idea!

I could have ended the story there, but when I find a neat event like this I usually like to profile the participating animal rescue organization. Well, through my investigative journalism skills, I learned that instead of picking up some homeless pups from a local shelter to share the stress relief with dogs in need, the student group rented, (yes, rented!) puppies from company that leases puppies from breeders for "puppy parties." The company charges $200 for 90 minutes of puppy party play time and $500 for 5 hours. Sorry, I am not going to be providing a link to this business.

The students should have reached out to their local shelter for some more meaningful playtime, while giving homeless pets some valuable socialization and cuddle time. Not only would that have been free, it would have been the right thing to do. If the student organizers from Chapman University are interested in doing this at the end of next semester, they should check out this list I compiled on Petfinder.com on all the animal rescue groups near the school. These students are onto something, but need another lesson.

Training Tip Tuesday, POOP EATERS, Sponsored by Anytime K9

Hello my canine companions. It's Riley with another tip for your humans. This week I would like to tell you a story of how my human helped solve a problem her friend was having with his new puppy. My human called the problem Coprophasia but us dogs know it as poop eating. Poop eating is more common in puppies but can happen at any stage of our doggy lives. I have know many poop eaters in my day and other than stinky breath, they were all great four-leggers. However, since humans seem to think that poop eating is such a disgusting habit the names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent. For the sake of saving muzzle we will call the pup discussed in this story Poopster.

The first thing humans must understand is why we eat poop. Some of my canine friends have told me they ate poop because they were hungry, needed vitamins or were just plain bored. Poopster told me that poop just tastes good! Whatever the reasons are for eating poop don't matter. What does matter is that if you don't have all if your vaccinations and worming treatments you can get diseases from poop eating and more importantly your human will stop giving you kisses!

Tell your human to take you to the vet if they think your poop eating is due to an underlying medical condition. Otherwise, tell them to try feeding you a well balanced nutrient filled meal so you get all your vitamins. Also tell them to try feeding you twice a day so you don't get really hungry and eat your poop. Make your human take you for long walks and give you lots of exercise and mental stimulation like fetch and "find it." Finally make your human teach you a trick called "leave it" so you will leave your poop alone. It worked for me, I mean it worked for Poopster. Pass it on.

CEO (Canine of Extraordiary Obedience)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Helping Vets and saving homeless pets

Soldiers returning from the war zones need a helping hand, or paw. Post-traumatic stess disorder, or PTSD, is no whimpering matter. Soldiers suffering from PTSD often have trouble readjusting to normal life, have difficulty sleeping, suffer from severe anxiety attacks, and in extreme cases, they can be a threat to other people around them. The military is finally wising up to this growing problem, and they are discovering that service dogs can be a part of the solution.

This week, the army is having it's first ever animal therapy symposium in Ft. Meyer, Virginia. They will likely hear from all kinds of soldiers that are helped by therapy dogs. Some find that having a four legged companion helps break the ice in meeting strangers. Some find that having a dog in the bedroom helps them sleep, because they can learn to ignore meaningless sounds and trust that the dog will alert them to anything dangerous.

Pets2Vets is one of the great organizations helping out. Pets2Vets matches veterans with shelter dogs in the Washington DC area need of homes. Changing the life of an American veteran, and saving a mutt at the same time!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The "bump" that mattered

Jack is a 6-year old human that got a rough start on life. After suffering brain trauma and ending up in foster care, things didn't look too good for him. But he was adopted by two very generous and caring humans--Lisa and Eliot Swiger. Jack has a whole host of problems, including regular violent seizures and difficulty walking. The Swigers knew that they needed some extra help--of the four legged variety.

The Swigers got connected with paws4people, an organization that trains service dogs in prisons. After making a trip out to the facility to choose a dog, they were really hoping to find one that make an immediate emotional connection with Jack. Experts say that initial connection, called a "bump," provides a strong foundation in difficult cases like Jack's. Enter Caylie. During the visit, Jack had a several seizures, but Caylie was not scared or deterred. She stood right by him.

Now Caylie is in transition training with the Swigers--where the family needs to learn the over 100 commands that Caylie already has down. Soon she will move in with the family and join this loving pack in giving Jack a more normal life.

Read the whole story about Jack's tough start, and the "bump" that changed his life.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Protecting the dogs that protect us

The military can invest as much as $50,000 to train a four-legged soldier. That's a lot of training and a lot of money, so it is important that they protect that investment. Just like human soldiers, you wouldn't want them to go into the battlefield without proper protection.

Luckily K9 Storm has developed a bullet proof vest for working dogs. They didn't stop there. You can see in this picture that they developed a special harness for a dog and his partner to safely jump out of an airplane together! They are also working on cameras an d microphones for the dogs' collars so the humans can see and hear what is ahead, and even speakers for the collars so that dogs can hear important commands even when out of earshot. This isn't just for military dogs either, some police dogs are also getting this extra protection.

This is big business--K9 Storm nets over $5 million a year on this specialized gear. The co-founder Jim Slater didn't get in it just for the money though. As a K9 officer working in a prison that was having a riot, he was worried sick that his working dog had some protection to wear in that dangerous environment. Working dogs everywhere send him wags for his ingenuity.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Foster a Lonely Pet for the Holidays

The great folks at Petfinder.com are partnering with Hallmark this holiday season to promote fostering. The program is called "Foster a Lonely Pet for the Holidays." Hallmark is showing the special "A Dog Named Christmas" during the holiday season to help raise awareness about homeless pets. Petfinder.com has partnered with over 2,000 shelters around the country to help find temporary homes for pets between Christmas Eve and New Years Day.

Hopefully some of these folks will realize the joys of fostering and help lots more homeless pets out by providing a loving place to stay while they find their forever home. I was lucky enough to be in a safe warm foster home for the 6 months that it took me to get from the streets to my forever home. If you have some extra space in your warm home this holiday season, you can find a local participating organization at Petfinder.com.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Celebrating old dogs

Sure puppies are cute and fun, but an old dog will teach you a little about life, and a lot about yourself. Today is my buddy Shep's 12th birthday, and in tribute to his years and wisdom, I wanted to share this article by Gene Weingarten. Here is an except:

In our dogs, we see ourselves. Dogs exhibit almost all of our emotions; if you think a dog cannot register envy or pity or pride or melancholia, you have never lived with one for any length of time. What dogs lack is our ability to dissimulate. They wear their emotions nakedly, and so, in watching them, we see ourselves as we would be if we were stripped of posture and pretense. Their innocence is enormously appealing. When we watch a dog progress from puppy­hood to old age, we are watching our own lives in microcosm. Our dogs become old, frail, crotchety, and vulnerable, just as Grandma did, just as we surely will, come the day. When we grieve for them, we grieve for ourselves.

This part of the recent book Old Dogs, which is full of photos and profiles of the kinds of old dogs we have all grown to love.

Training Tip Tuesday, BOUNDARIES, Sponsored by Anytime K9

Hello my canine companions. It's Riley with another tip for your humans. This week I want to tell you about something I learned long ago, something called "boundaries." I don't know what the word means but my human says it is important. Five years ago when I was just a pup I came to my human's house and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I had my own bed, my own food bowl and my very own stuffed animal named Wub Wub. My good friend Wub Wub and I went everywhere together.

It was great until one day Wub Wub and I jumped on the couch right after coming in from a long run. My paws were filthy and the couch was white! Well immediately my human said "off" and made Wub Wub and I get down. "This is my house" I barked and jumped back on the couch. Again we were made to get down. My human explained that we had to have boundaries and were not allowed on the couch unless invited up. Well this was news to Wub Wub and I so we tried several more times over the course of a week but everytime we were told "off" and had to get down. When my human was not home she put barriers up so Wub Wub and I could not get on the couch. My human said that it is important to be consistent and to establish limitation so I can respect her as my confident and fair pack leader and she is right. Wub wub and I think she is awesome. Pass it on.

CEO (Canine of Extraordiary Obedience)
PS--If you live in the DC or NYC areas and are interested in training with AnytimeK9, check out their website. Be sure to tell them that Scoop sent you!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Little Brown Dog

Things are turning around for Little Brown Dog, aka LBD. She came into University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine after her original owner was arrested on animal cruelty charges. She had severe burns and abrasions on all four paws, which required skin grafts. The vets here were up to the task medically, but they really went above and beyond to give this girl a chance at the good life. They could tell she had a strong spirit, but wanted to make sure she came through her treatment without a fear of humans. She had been abused so badly that without the proper socialization, she might have never trusted humans again. Well, the vets, vet students, and staff take extra special care of LBD, making sure she gets plenty of positive contact with women and men.

Within just a few weeks, LBD is playful with humans and gladly accepts (and requests) belly rubs. But her story doesn't end there. Because of media attention of her extraordinary case, this vet school has received over $13,000 in donations for her care. Her recovery is not expected to use up the whole fund, so the school is using the rest of the money for animal abuse education program. Hopefully this will prevent other dogs from having to suffer through the same type of abuse. Her recovery is not yet over, but is sounds like Little Brown Dog is in great hands now.

This sure is an amazing story that shows the worst and the best that humans have to offer, and the amazing sense of forgiveness that dogs can possess. Check out the whole article from Knoxnews.com, where you can also watch a video about LBD.

UPDATE: You can also follow LBD's regular updates on University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine's website. She has to wear casts on all her legs to keep her joints still to let her skin grafts take. That is not an easy break in life, but the latest update also said that LBD would be spending Thanksgiving in the home of one of her loving vets, Dr. Sura. Don't miss the wonderful pictures chronicling her care. They have also provided an address on the site if you would like to make a contribution to the LBD fund.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Medical disaster planning goes to the dogs

Dogs weren't always a part of disaster planning... remember Katrina? Well, we are making headway. At a flu disaster training exercise coordinated by the Tennessee State Guard at Summit Medical Center, dogs were part of the plan. Experts don't want people to choose to forgo treatment because they fear that they will have to leave their pets behind. The Tennessee State Guard is thinking ahead about how they could provide food and kennels in case of a widespread medical emergency. Keep up the good work.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Humans call today Thanksgiving, but I prefer to call it "Turkey Day." I like this day because turkey (without bones) is officially sanctioned as a safe table scrap, and humans tend to be in a generous mood.

I wrote earlier this week about what you can safely share with your dog on this day. In case you missed the message or your dog stole something forbidden off the counter (it happens), check out this article on detecting the signs of illness. If your dog got something on the forbidden list, it can take up to a week for him to show symtoms, so keep a close eye.

Also check out the article because there are plenty of very cute pics of dogs hoping to enjoy some of the day's tasty morsels!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sammy's Muttsterpieces

Sammy is one talented service dog. In addition to helping people in need, he has learned to paint! His paintings are used as a fundraising tool for Shore Service Dogs. His muttsterpieces fetch up to $1,700! Sammy was a stray mutt, but was taken in by Shore Service Dogs, where he received extensive training. His handler says that it was pretty easy to teach him to paint because he was so receptive to commands after his service training.

Sammy was on the Today show...but didn't do a whole lot of painting. Between falling asleep and chasing Al Roker, he did hit the canvas a few times. But he didn't drop the brush once!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dog ice cream, why not?

Dogs can bring out the creative side in our humans, even young ones. Take Christian Liendo, for example. The entrepreneurial 16-year old is tapping into an emerging pet-perk: dog ice cream. Christian is enrolled in a program sponsored by Goldman Sachs and Prep for Prep, a nonprofit that identifies minority students and prepares them, during summers and weekends, for private schools. As part of the program, students compete for cash awards to scale up their entrepreneurial ideas. In his years in this program, Christian has come up with lots of cool ideas, but Blizzard Dog Ice Cream got him noticed by the New York Times.

Christian got the idea while hanging out with is grandmom's dog, Max. Max was always super-interested in the ice cream served up by grandmom, but it did not agree with his stomach. Christian thought--why can we make ice cream that dogs can eat? He has been experimenting with both a soy base and lactose free milk. He tested several flavors, and was surprised to find that the dogs preferred carrot or ginger over human classics like carob (similar to chocolate, but safe for dogs) and vanilla.

Christian says he would like to see this as a product in regular ice cream stores, so that "dog owners won’t feel bad when they stop for a cone and their dogs whimper in longing." He should consider partnering with one of the many dog shops that carry gourmet goodies for dogs, as some already sell dog ice cream.

That reminds me...I need to tell my human that she forgot about the MuttLicks from the Doggie Style Bakery that are in our freezer!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dog-Safe Thanksgiving Goodies!

Turkey Day is just around the corner! That usually means lots of table scraps for dogs, but WebVet has some important reminders safety for this holiday. Lots of new foods, especially varied mixtures from the fatty buffet of holiday leftovers, can cause stomach upset and diarrhea in many dogs. In addition, you should generally avoid handing out anything containing bones, chocolate, and onions. So, even though our eyes tell a different story, we know that you know what is best for us.

WebVet says that you don't have to completely deprive your dog on this most-delicious holiday. Small amounts of these foods are OK:
  • White meat turkey without the skin
  • Plain baked or sweet potatoes without the skin
  • Steamed carrots, broccoli, or string beans without any butter, sauce or seasoning
  • Salt-free canned chicken broth
  • Plain canned pumpkin, but not the pumpkin pie filling
  • Sliced raw apples
All those things sound yummy enough to me! Well, maybe not the broccoli. If you want to make some home baked treats, check out the whole article for dog friendly turkey and sweet potato cookies.

[Image Courtesy of ihasahotdog.com]

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nubs' long journey

Nubs found a new friend and was not going to let him get away. Even if that meant tracking him across the Iraqi desert. Maj. Brian Dennis got to know Nubs for all his visits to their base in Iraq. Dennis got quite attached to Nubs, who he named for his clipped ears.

When Dennis's unit had to transfer to a base over 70 miles away, they had to leave Nubs behind. Nubs was not so keen on this idea, and chased along their hummer until he was completely exhausted. Two days later, Nubs showed up at the new base! It was no easy journey for this guy, and he looked rough when he arrived. The unit
nursed him back to health and decided to build him a doghouse on base. Since it was against military policy to take animals in, the unit decided to launch a campaign to get him back to the United States. Dennis launched the Save Nubs Fund to pay for the $3500 in animal transport costs.

Nubs miraculous journey across the desert was just the beginning--his trip to San Diego was still ahead of him. He had plenty of help along the way...from a restaurant owner giving him steaks and pop tarts, to the vet checking him out, to the trainer helping him acclimate to domesticated life. Nubs arrived last Friday, but Dennis will not return from his tour in Iraq until March of next year. In the meantime, Nubs will be in the care of Dennis's friends Chrissy and Eric Sjoberg.

I am looking forward to covering this story in the future, I am sure it will be a reunion of a lifetime. I hear that a book deal is already in the works.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Titan tops the Guinness list as tallest dog.

Since the passing of Gibson, the race has been on for the naming of the new "World's Biggest Dog." Well, recently the Guinness Book named Titan as the new record holder. Titan clocks in at 42.25 inches from floor to shoulder, weighs 190 pounds. Can you believe he was 55 pounds when he was just three months old? Wow! It is no easy life for this gentle giant, he is deaf, blind, and epileptic. His person helps him find relief with regular chiropractic and acupuncture treatments.

Titan's unusual size, and recent recognition landed him on the Today Show. He gets up close and personal with the camera, and they share some adorable puppy photos:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Companion animals and pain management

Good news from the Annual Conference of the International Society of Anthrozoology and the First Human Animal Interaction Conference! It turns out that humans recovering from joint replacement surgery in the company of a pet need 50% less pain drugs than those without a furry companion.

Animal lovers, and medical professionals at Loyola University Julia Havey and Frances Vlasses conducted the study. They have been longtime members of Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit organization that trains service animals for all kinds of purposes--everything from blind adults, to children with autism.

At the conference, Harvey said that "Evidence suggests that animal-assisted therapy (AAT) can have a positive effect on a patient's psychosocial, emotional and physical well being." Harvey and Vlasses hope to see companion animals become the standard of care for pain management. I am sure there are plenty of pups up to the task...we love helping humans!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chewey goes to school

Kaleb Drew has autism, but also has Chewey, a service dog that makes his life just a little easier. Chewey helps to keep Kaleb calm and safe, but the authorities at his school were not going to allow his service dog to spend the day with him. They claimed that the school needed to consider the interests of other children who might be afraid of dogs. Additionally, they claimed that Chewey was not a "real" service dog.

Obviously, they were not familiar with laws on disability and discrimination. In what has been billed a landmark case in Illinois, the Judge sided with the Drew family, and Kaleb and Chewey will now be spending their days together in school.

Several similar cases are pending around the country, and I am sure the community of folks benefitting from service animals will be watching the developments closely.

Training Tip Tuesday, DROP IT, Sponsored by Anytime K9

Hello my canine companions. It's Riley with another tip for your humans. This week my human taught me something called "drop it" and I learned it pretty quickly. My human taught me this trick right after I borrowed one of her socks for my chewing pleasure. When she saw her sock she tried to take it back, however I did not view it quite the same way. I thought it was an invitation to a little tug of war challenge so I happily abliged. I was wrong and my human seemed a little bothered by the whole pulling thing. It was then that I learned "drop it."

My human took me to a quiet room and dropped a sock in front of me, the same sock as before judging by the holes. Of course I excitedly grabbed the sock. At this moment my person put one hand under my mouth, offered me a treat with her other hand and then firmly said "drop it.". Well of course the treat was way more tasty so I dropped that sock like a bad habit. As soon as I did my person told me what a good boy I was and gave me the treat. That's it! My person and I practiced with the sock and other things like shoes, clothes and toys. Soon my human began to treat me every other "drop it," but she would always say "good boy." Nowadays when my human says "drop it" I do even if there is no treat. I just like to hear my two favorite words, "good boy." Pass it on.

CEO (Canine of Extraordiary Obedience)

PS--If you live in the Washington, DC or NYC areas and are interesting in training with AnytimeK9, check out their website. Be sure to tell them Scoop sent you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sabi the desert survivor

Sabi was a regular hard workin' Austrailian-Afghan bomb sniffing dog. Well, she was actually a "Special Forces Explosive Detection Dog" manning the front lines with our troops. While she was out working with her mates, they were ambushed by Afghan forces. Several soldiers were injured, and after the fire fight, Sabi was no where to be found.

Fourteen months later, she showed up at a security checkpoint with a villager, and was quickly identified as a trained military dog. Still in great health, they assume that an Afghan must have been taking care of her during her time AWOL.

Sabi was happy to be back--and jumped right back into her ball-playing routine. Sabi's story had become so famous that once back on base, she was photographed with Austrailian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and US General Stanley McChrystal. Be sure to check out the whole slideshow for more great pics of this survivor.

Sabi is still in great health, but is not headed right back to the front lines. She is on her way back to Austrailia for some well deserved R&R.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Diablo, one tough dog!

Police dogs sure know how to get the job done. A very scared woman called the police when her abusive ex-boyfirend was seen wandering in the woods by her house. It is a good thing they showed up with Diablo, because this dog knew how to handle the dangerous situation. Diablo alerted the police when he located the suspect, and managed to catch him too. Despite being shot twice by the suspect, he held on tight until the police came with the cuffs. That is one brave dog!

Diablo was rushed to Matthew Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He is expected to recover, but they are not sure he will be able to do police work again. One of the bullets shattered Diablo's back leg, and required extensive four hour surgery, so may have to go into early retirement. Police take care of their own though....Diablo's human partner plans to adopt him into his home.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Important Update on H1N1 Flu & Pets

Earlier this year, it did not appear that H1N1/Swine Flu was going to affect pets. Now that there have been documented cases of cats and ferrets testing positive for the virus, authorities are unsure if dogs will remain immune. Below is some useful information directly from the CDC website:

What animals can be infected with the 2009 H1N1 virus?
In addition to humans, live swine and turkeys, we know that ferrets (which are highly susceptible to influenza A viruses) and a domestic cat have been infected with 2009 H1N1 virus. CDC is working closely with domestic and international public and animal heath partners to continually monitor this situation and will provide additional information to the public as it becomes available.

How do companion animals become infected with 2009 H1N1?
All available information suggests that the ferrets and domestic cat with 2009 H1N1 infections acquired the virus through close contact with ill humans. Transmission of 2009 H1N1 virus from humans to animals appears similar to human-to-human transmission

Can I get 2009 H1N1 influenza from my pet?
Available evidence suggests that transmission has been from ill humans to their companion animals. No evidence is available to suggest that animals are infecting humans with 2009 H1N1 virus.

What do I do if I am sick with flu-like symptoms and I have pets?
If you are sick with influenza-like-illness, take the same precautions with your pets that you would to keep your family and friends healthy:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Minimize contact with your pets until 24 hours after your fever is gone

What should I do if I suspect my pet has 2009 H1N1 influenza virus?
If members of your household have flu-like symptoms, and your pet exhibits respiratory illness, contact your veterinarian.

Is there a vaccine available for my pet?
Currently, there is not a licensed and approved 2009 H1N1 vaccine for companion animals. (There is a canine influenza vaccine, which protects dogs from the H3N8 canine flu virus, but it will not protect pets against the 2009 H1N1 virus and should not be used in any species other than dogs.)

How serious is this disease in companion animals?
Pet ferrets with naturally occurring 2009 H1N1 infection have exhibited illness similar in severity as seen with ferrets exposed to seasonal influenza viruses and 2009 H1N1 virus in laboratory settings, including sneezing, inactivity, and weight loss. The single confirmed cat exhibited respiratory illness and recovered with supportive care.

For more info, you can also check the regular updates posted by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Honoring four-legged veterans

Don't forget that our four-legged friends on Veterans Day. Highly trained dogs are working hard every day to help out our troops.

Snickers v. Ninja

Never underestimate the power of a small dog's yap. This little guy, Snickers, knew something was up in the house and started barking and growling. Turns out that there was a burglar dressed as a ninja in the house. Yikes!

After the ninja was exposed, he made a run for it. The culprit got away with a box of fancy watches, but thanks to Snickers, that was all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dog park art

Dick Sebastian was not just any regular at his local dog park in New York City. Aside from having a dog named Kitty, there was something more that set him apart. He started sketching the dog characters at the park to help everyone remember their names. It turned out he had quite a knack for capturing each dog's personality at the park, and he became something of a dog park celebrity. Over time, he did over 50 personalized portraits for park regulars.

If you have ever been to a city dog park, you know if can get pretty crazy! Yet Sebastian was still able to capture the essence of the individual dogs. Sebastian is retiring from his NYC dog park adventures because of his Parkinsons disease, and many are sad to see him go, but he left portraits behind that will last a lifetime. I bet he and Kitty will find some new dogs to sketch at their retirement home in Ohio. Best wishes!

Training Tip Tuesday, LOOSE LEASH, Sponsored by Anytime K9

Hello my canine companions. It's Riley with another tip for your humans. This week my human taught me something called "loose leash walking." Apparently our humans don't really like it when we pull them down the street. I always thought the walk was all about me but my human says that she determines the speed and direction of the walk. As long as I get a walk, my human can go as fast or slow as she wants.

So my human took me outside to begin our walk as usual but this day something was different. Every time I tried to pull ahead of her she stopped abruptly in her tracks and just stood there. I looked up at her and thought "move it missy" but she just waited until I stopped pulling and returned to her side. Sometimes she would quickly change directions whether I was paying attention or not. We must have done this 30 times. We only walked a block that day but she never let me pull. Later that day she drove me to the dog park so I could burn off some doggy energy but I was off leash so that was easy. The next day we tried the same thing and again I tried to pull. She stopped in her tracks or changed direction just like before. I was begining to get frustrated but then it happened. We began to walk and my leash was loose and not taut. Just then my person congratulated me on being a good boy. "Eureka" I thought. As long as my leash is loose we keep walking, but once it is taut we stop. I finally figured it out. Now we walk any and everywhere and I stay by my persons side. We both enjoy our walks much better. So this week's moral: slow down. Pass it around.

CEO (Canine of Extraordiary Obedience)

PS--Loose leash walking is a tough thing to learn, and some dogs and their people need some specialized attention to get this one down. If you live in DC or NYC and are interested in training with AnytimeK9, check out their website and be sure to tell them that Scoop sent you!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Belly-rubbin with the Top Dog

I am glad that even the President of the United States makes time for a little belly rubbin. Rubbin' bellies can help lower your blood pressure, so I am glad that Bo is there helping out in keeping the President cool. Here is a recent upload from the White House Flikr pool:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Then there were ten

Gary DeNicola was just being a good samaritan, but now he is the dad to nine new puppies. He saw an emaciated dog crossing a dangerous intersection, and decided to get her to safety. He brought her home and planned to take her to the shelter the next day. Well, the next day, this stray gave birth to nine puppies! Gary started making calls to get them into a shelter, but something unexpected happened: They said no.

In this economy, many shelters are already completely full. Maybe they could find room for one extra dog, but not one plus nine puppies. Well, Gary stepped up to the plate and is taking care of all the puppies along with the mama, who is now named Ruby. He is now dedicated himself to this four legged family and plans to find good homes for each when they are ready to be adopted. They are five weeks old now, and headed to the vet next week for their first set of shots.

If you live in the Atlanta area and are interested in taking one of these cuties in, you can contact Gary at gdenic@aol.com. Best of luck!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

God, dogs, and church attendance

I am not really a church-going dog, but Rev. Tom Eggebeen sounds like my kind of guy. In thinking of ways to revive lagging church attendance, he decided to start a new service called the Canine Covenant. It is a 30 minute service, and he has dog beds and dog treats for the four legged attendants.

What is really special is his philosophy about the role of dogs in people's lives. Most people love their dogs like members of their own family, and losing a dog can cause crippling grief. Eggebeen explains how this fits into the church's teachings: "God is light and God is love. And wherever there's love, there's God in some fashion. And when we love a dog and a dog loves us, that's a part of God and God is a part of that. So we honor that."

Check out the whole article in the Associated Press on this growing trend in churches across the country.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Smarter than just "sit"

A new article in the New York Times by Sarah Kershaw explains how us dogs are smart in our own way. Sure, some of what we do is just based on learning human cues, but we evolved around you humans, so that part is just obvious. Other stuff goes beyond that--some dogs can learn up to 250 words, can differentiate between pictures with and without dogs, not to mention detect bombs, cancer, seizures and much more.

Dogs actually have a unique cognitive capacity that is not completely understood by humans. We may be your furkid, but of course we process things a little differently. So, next time you wonder "what the heck is fido thinking?!" stop and remind yourself that just maybe it is something outside of your cognitive capacity.

[Image courtesy of PhotoBucket]

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Do you have a furkid?

Furkid is the new lingo for people who think the term "pet" or "companion animal" do not quite capture their dog's place in their lives. You might even be called a "humom," also know as a human mom with pets.

These are not the only additions to the vernacular of pet lovers, as chronicled by Mark Peters in Good. Some folks who don't like the term "mutt" opt for "canine cocktail" or "unbreed." Check out the whole article if you what to know exactly what your friends mean when they talk about their "latchkey dog," "pawspice," or "doga."

People without furkids, or even pets, might be turned off my the new lingo, but Peters sums up the concern pretty well: "But no matter how goofy or pretentious some of these terms seem, they’re inspired by a love for canines. Maybe that love gets a little out of hand—no dog really wants to be an Ewok for Halloween, no matter how perfect he looks—but “Must Love Dogs” is a way of life as well as a movie for many of us. Odd words are just a harmless byproduct."

Do you have any fun additions to make to the dogtionary?

Training Tip Tuesday, BE GENTLE, Sponsored by Anytime K9

Hello my canine companions. It's Riley with another tip for your humans. This week my human taught me a fun trick called "be gentle" and it was very cool to learn. You know my saying, so many treats so little work. The same applies here. So my human waited until a little while after I ate dinner to teach me this trick. She grabbed a yummy treat and we went in a quiet room. "We need to be calm" she said. "Are you nuts?" I thought "but you have a treat so how do you expect me to be calm!" Anyway she put the treat in the palm of her hand and slowly moved the treat toward me as she said "b-e-e-e-g-e-e-n-n-t-l-e." When I lunged toward her hand she closed her fist, pulled her hand back and calmly so "n-o-o-o." She repeated this series of events until finally I did not rush to grab the treat. I simple opened my muzzle and g-e-e-n-t-l-y licked the treat from her hand. "Good boy" she said but still in a very calm voice, by the way is anyone else getting sleepy?

My human was very cool and composed and after a little while I felt my paws and ears relax and I felt like a gentle little mouse. Ok maybe the mouse analogy is not that relaxing for you terriers but you get the idea. Just think "be gentle" and your rushed feeling will melt away. Now that I take treats so gently I get them from my human's friends and even my 5 year old human neighbor who loves her big woof woof. That's me. A big gentle woof woof. Pass it on.

CEO (Canine of Extraordiary Obedience)

PS--If you live in the Washington, DC or NYC areas and are interesting in training with AnytimeK9, check out their website. Be sure to tell them Scoop sent you!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Restoring Merci's faith

Merci was on death's doorstep when she was found by the folks at Best Friends Animal Society. It was not just that she was in bad shape, but that she also seemed to have just given up on life. The caretakers at BFAS would not give up on her though. One day, it was as though Merci realized "hey, I was in a dumpster with a broken leg, and now I am in an awesome place with all these wonderful people helping me out!" Don't you know, when Merci's attitude turned around, so did her health. With her new lease on life, she has re-learned of the joys of treats, and is excelling in her training class. She is now well on her way to a better life...read about her whole saga on the Best Friends Animal Society website, or you can watch her wiggling her butt in this video about her progress.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Costuming with your dog

Happy Halloween weekend everybody! Humans think this is a great time to dress silly, and they love to make us part of the "fun." If dressing up your pup, please remember keep safety and common sense in mind.

Some important tips include never leaving a dressed dog unattended (we are not used to wearing clothes, and may decide to try to eat them), and keep all flames (jack-o-lanterns, candles,
luminaries, etc) at a safe distance from your costumed buddy. Keep fun in mind for your dog too, so if your dog looks miserable give him a break and lose the getup.

If your dog is not up to dressing up, you can amuse yourself with these slideshows:
New York Magazine (some of the most creative ones here)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Canine CPR

Seventy-nine year old Jim Touzeau adopted Teka to keep him company after losing his wife. Teka turned out to be more than a companion--she was a lifesaver! Jim collapsed from a heart attack and Teka was sure not gonna let him go. She was pouncing up and down on his chest--what some folks have called "Canine CPR." They don't know if that is what saved Jim, but her frantic barking for help sure made the difference. Jim was having a massive heart attack, and now has a defibrillator implanted in his heart.

Teka has been recognized by the RSPCA with an animal achievement award, but I bet she is just glad that her buddy Jim is ok. Jim told the Brisbane Times: "Because it's just the two of us, I rely on her and she relies on me." Sounds like a perfect pair.

Wags to my buddy Shep for always having his nose to the ground for news out of the U.K.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Buckle-up down under, or else!

Not many dogs in Australia will be riding in the car untethered much longer. Authorities have been cracking down on a law that states that Aussies "must not drive a vehicle with an animal on their lap or preventing them from having proper control of the car." Most people would probably test their luck on this one...but not now that the police are handing out $400 tickets to violators. Shop keepers say that dog seat belts are flying off the shelves.

You make your kids buckle up, so why not your pup too? Probably for the best for everybody.

I wear a seatbelt, but most dogs do not: last week I wrote about a survey that said that 62% of dog owners ride with there pup unrestrained. That would not fly down under!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dogs helping kids with reading confidence

Did you know that dogs can actually help kids learn how to read?! It is not because we know how to read, but because we are such good listeners (most of the time). Reading Education Assistance Dogs, or R.E.A.D., brings dogs to schools where kids can practice reading aloud in an unintimidating environment. If a kid makes a mistake, we aren't going to make fun of them like his classmates might. Hanging out and reading with dogs can actually build a child's confidence in their reading so they can do it even better around other people. Check out the whole story on CNN.com.

Wags to tipster Bella for the link!

[Image courtesy of the Reading With Rover program, and affiliate of R.E.A.D in Washington State]

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