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!