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, 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]

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 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 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.