Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Square dog, round hole

They say that curiosity killed the cat, but in this case, curiosity landed this puppy in a tight spot.  Rebel is a 8 month old German Shepherd puppy who just wanted to see what was on the onter side of the wall.  He popped his head through the 18 inch cement wall, but getting out was not quite as easy. 

Once animal control arrived, they decided that if Rebel fit in the hole, they could get out without having to destroy the wall.  

They key: those big German Shepherd ears!  With officers on either side of the wall, they tucked Rebel's ears back in and wiggled him back and forth for 30 minutes until he was free.  They recommended that the owner keep the pup away from the hole until it was covered with chicken wire, but I bet Rebel won't be sticking his head back in that hole anytime soon. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Stuff chicks dig

Last minute holiday shopping for your single lady friends?  Instead of opting for candles or pajama pants this year, check out the 2011 Hot Men and Baby Animals Calendar!  Your heard that right--two things women love in one calendar.  This is not just for dog lovers either: puppies, kittens, bunnies, even baby goats! Something for everybody here. 

But wait, IT GETS BETTER!  10% of every sale goes to support chariest that help animals, including the San Fransisco SPCA and the Milo Foundation.  To put the whole thing over the top, everything is printed on all products on eco-friendly, post consumer recycled paper.

Take note guys: baby animals, supporting rescue groups, and eco-friendly products are all things that chicks dig.  Also, hot guys.

Here is a preview:

Want more? Check out their behind the scenes video.  Or, just buy the calendar.   Support a good cause.  Also, hot guys.

Note:  This is NOT a sponsored post, but my person would gladly accept samples and cross promotional offers from the creative media savvy founders Audrey Khuner and Carolyn Newman.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Family Dogs: Something to be thankful for this holiday season!

The holiday season can be a lot of fun, but it seems to cause a lot of stress for humans too.  This is when the important work of dogs comes in.  Sure, I do my part to help my person relax every day, but this work takes a little extra care during the hectic holiday season.  You may be stressed about who is able to make it this year.  You may worry if someone forgot the cranberry sauce or if the mac 'n cheese is not cheesy enough.  All the while, you can count on your dog to remind you that there is a whole turkey in the oven. Whole. Freakin. Turkey.

There are lots of other things dogs can do to help remind you of the joys of the holiday season.  Instead of just raking the leaves, spend a little time playing in them too.  Curl up with a loved one by the fireplace.  Sleep in.  Eat leftovers for breakfast.  Give lots of hugs.  Chase deer (ok, maybe you won't like the last one).

My person is a little stressed about sitting in traffic on I-95 all day today, but I keep reminding her that on the other side of that trip, we will get to spend some quality time playing with my cousin Lily (and the rest of the human family of course).  We are pictured above posing as two warm croissants snoozing in front of the fireplace last holiday season.  We are pictured below with the great family that we are lucky to be a part of.  How could you be stressed out about something like that?      

Your dog, who perhaps once knew life on the street or in a shelter like me, will be quick to remind people that most of us will be spending the holiday, and every day, in a place of abundance, peace, and love. Now, that is something to be thankful for.

[This post is a part of the Pet 'Net Family Event, hosted by the good folks at  Be sure to check them out to read other stories from across the blogosphere about the important role that pets play in families! In case you missed it, here is  last year's Pet 'Net Safety event, where my snow covered cousin Lucy was featured in a post about winter hiking safety.]

Monday, November 22, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Fun Post! OMG there is a MOUSE on your HEAD

Wow, I do NOT know how this dog is staying still!  I am about to jump out of my skin if I just SEE a mouse, or a leaf that might LOOK like a mouse.  This dog is letting the mouse CRAWL ON HIS HEAD! I am ready to explode just from watching it.....See for yourself: 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

178 Dog years!

Glenice Bagley would like to clear something up: Sheba, is the worlds oldest dog.  That is right, Sheba is over 25 in human years, or 178 in dog years! Glenice is preparing the papers to submit her entry to the Guiness Book of World Records. She was a full grown dog of three years when she was adopted in 1987.  That would make Sheba three years older than the current record holder, Piccolo, a Tricolour Mongrel in Farra d'Alpago, Italy.

Regardless of her status as a record holder, it sounds like Sheba is still living a good life these days.  Glenice tells The Sun, "Now she's 25 and she thinks she's still five. She jumps on the roof of the greenhouse when she sees a cat on the fence. It's a bit of a dangerous trick for an old dog. She walks like a youngster - always at my side with her tail wagging. People stop to say how lovely she is then ask her age.  I tell them she's 25 and their mouths fall wide open. They can't believe it because she's so lively."

In addition to a good mix of mutt genes, Sheba has benefitted from a loving and caring home since she was rescued over two decades ago.  Check out the whole story and video of Sheba with a little spring in her step.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Now a Million+1 reasons to get a dog

There are lots of benefits to owning a family dog, but did you know that your four legged buddy could also help keep your child from worsening or developing eczema.  Who knew?!

Dr. Tolly G. Epstein told Reuters that "14 percent of the children had eczema at the age of 4. But that rate was lower -- 9 percent -- among the 184 children who'd had a dog in the home during infancy."  That is not an insignificant drop--so it is very promising.  Researchers caution that the work is too preliminary for a general recommendation of whether a child prone to allergies should have a dog in the house, but the possibility of preventing eczema is just one of the millions of perks of growing up with a dog.  So, if you and you family think you are ready for a dog--no need to hold out for more definitive research.

Posted here is a picture of my person with the first dog she ever met--Charlie Brown.  For what it is worth, she does not have eczema.  But more importantly, she knows how to have fun with a dog, relax with a dog, and has a general sense of compassion for animals, all thanks to growing up with dogs in the house.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Fun Post! Intelligence contest: Great Dane v. 2 year old

Last year I wrote about how Scientist Stanley Coren had determined that dogs are about as smart as toddlers aged 2-2 1/2. This week I found this fun youtube video that backs up the science:

(Warning: you may want to lower your speakers to medium. There is a very, um, vocal baby in the video)


Don't forget to read my whole story about Coren's research!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Promising research for parents of autistic childen

Dogs are emerging as a great treatment option for autistic children.  Earlier this year, I wrote about Kaleb, and the autistic twins that he is helping.  And now a study has been released by Université de Montreal and published in  Psychoeuroendicrinology that found that dogs "had a clear impact on the children's stress hormone levels." They tested he cortisol levels in the saliva of 42 autistic children before a service dog was introduced, during a visit with the dog, and after the dog was removed.  They found a dramatic impact for the time which the dog was present.

This was the first study of its kind, and according to the lead scientist, Sonia Lupien, "Our results lend support to the potential behavioural benefits of service dogs for autistic children." Let's hope so!

Image courtesy of PhotoBucket

Monday, October 25, 2010

Baxter's Forever Home

Over a year ago I wrote about my buddy Baxter, who was in need of a special home.  Baxter was in the custody of Homeward Trails Animal Rescue--the same folks that took me in when I was down on my luck.  Not only that, but Baxter's adoption coordinator was Lisa Milot, who also helped me navigate the foster care and adoption process!  I was in foster care for six months, and was even returned once.  For Baxter, it was well over a year.  But Lisa and the team at Homeward Trails worked with him to get help for his anxiety and energy, and much to my delight, I received a comment on my original story to share the news that she adopted Baxter over the summer and he is doing great!

I checked in with Lisa, and she told me that the Maryland couple met Baxter at a local adoption event and seemed like a great fit--especially since they had experience with other cattle dogs.  Since Baxter had a some trouble finding a fit in the past, they did a "trial adoption"--which went so well that Baxter found his forever home.  The couple recently updated Lisa, telling her that Baxter "has just been the sweetest, most loyal, not to mention the most playful dog I could have ever asked for." To give you an idea of how much progress this is for Baxter--he used to have to wear an e-collar all the time because he would get anxious and chew his tail until it was bloody.  But look at him now--happy and relaxed in his new home!

Sure, Baxter had some trouble finding a home for a while, but like many homeless dogs, he just needed the right fit.   I want to thank the dedicated folks at Homeward Trails Animal Rescue who have stood by dogs like me and Baxter while we looked for the perfect forever home for our high energy needs.  

Most dogs aren't perfect, and some are even difficult.  But you give those most difficult dogs a chance and help them through their issues, they might just be the most loyal dogs around.  It is also very rewarding for the people, or so my person tells me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My most important job

Hello friends!  Sorry I have not posted recently.  My number one job--taking care of my person--has been pretty hectic lately.  You see, she started a very busy new job, so I have to work extra hard to make sure she eats on time, gets her exercise, and takes a few moments for herself to relax with me.  This is not an easy job, but it is very important!  She thanks me for my hard work every day, and it is exciting to see her enjoying this new opportunity.  Many thanks to my readers for your patience while I balance my new responsibilities!

By the way--That is yours truly pictured here on the right!  I had taken my person out for a fun day of relaxing and I was lucky enough to find an old dirty tennis ball in the park!  I was so happy about it that I carried it all the way home.  That's just part of the everyday work of reminding my person to appreciate the simple things in life.

As far as my attire goes--I am sporting a Comfort Trainer head harness, which is a great alternative to the gentle leader, as it doesn't leave a mark on my nose yet is exceptionally durable and well constructed.  Did you notice my HomeAgain Tag that reminds people that I am microchipped?  You can't see it well, but I am also sporting a fashionable, yet durable Bella Bean collar.  No disclosure is necessary, as we purchased all of these items with our own money and have not been contacted by any of these companies--but can say with certainty they are all great products!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Fun Post: Puppy Ambush

This male Airedale is babysitting some Scottie pups.  He seems interested in playing with one or two, but he is quickly overwhelmed.  He says, "Oh my god, they are all over me!"

Did you know this is part of my new feature, The Friday Fun Post!?  I get nearly as many funny videos sent to me as I get news tips, so I guess my audience wants to see the lighter side of the dog world too.  I will still stick to the serious business of dog news on most days, but check back here on Fridays for something fun! If you have a fun or adorable video to share, email it to 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

From New Guinea to New Jersey

How rare is the rarest dog on earth?  Apparently there are just 200 New Guinea Singing Dogs in the world, most of of which are in captivity.  Two of these very special dogs, Lexie and Marley, were living in Illinois, but have since been moved to a shared habitat at the Cohanzick Zoo in Vineland New Jersey.

These dogs are so special because they have unique genetic differences, which means they evolved separately from all other dogs in the world.  They also have a very special howl--which earns them them the appropriate name.  Some still do exist in the wild in New Guinea, but the folks at the Cohanzick Zoo are not leaving the survival of this rare breed up to nature.

Read more about the Cohanzick Zoo program here.  If you are interested in learning more about this breed, also check out this 4 minute Animal Planet's Dogs 101 video on the New Guinea Singing dog--where you can see Lexie and Marley in action, hear the singing, and even see a few in the wild.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Aussie pig-pup duo

Police recently picked up an unlikely pair or Aussies: a dog and a pig!  This pair was found wandering the streets of Whittlesea, Australia.  Authorities were pretty sure they must have come from the same home.  According to Leading Senior Constable Mick Hall "They act like a pair of pork chops when you try to separate them...They're lying all cuddled up together on the front lawn waiting for their owners."  Thats right--they need to find the home that these two came from! It seems like it should be easy enough to figure out who is missing a dog AND a pig.  But if they don't, I hope this adorable duo can find a new home together.  

You can check out the whole story, including contact info for the authorities holding the pair at, and thanks to Life With Dogs for the image.  

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Fun Post: Corgi Belly Flop!

This one has been making the rounds in the dogosphere, but it is perfect for this summer heat!

Such grace:

Did you know this is part of my new feature, The Friday Fun Post!?  I get nearly as many funny videos sent to me as I get news tips, so I guess my audience wants to see the lighter side of the dog world too.  I will still stick to the serious business of dog news on most days, but check back here on Fridays for something fun! If you have a fun or adorable video to share, email it to 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Heroic dogs: old news!

If you think search and rescue is a new thing for dogs, think again!  Smart dogs have been working on search and rescue missions for a long time, but didn't always get the recognition they deserved.  In Britain, they are trying to make right on the contribution of heroic dogs in their history.

Seven dogs, known as the "Magnificent Seven" played a critical role in search and rescue missions during the London Blitz in 1940.  70 years later, these brave dogs are getting the recognition they deserve.  Each will be named as an awardee of the Dicken Medal by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), which is regarded as the canine version of the Victoria Cross.

Rip, pictured here was originally a stray but proved to be a natural search and rescue dog.  He helped rescue more than 100 people in just two years.  Irma, another heroic dog of the era was convinced that she located a living person in a collapsed house, and she stood by the rubble for an entire day before rescuers pulled two young girls out.  You should check out the whole article in the Daily Mail to see pictures and read more about these amazing dogs.  

Wags to my buddy Shep for this extra special historic tip!  

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Imitating humans, missing out on treats

Dogs have evolved alongside humans in a way that no other animal can really match.  In fact, it has been hardwired into our genes to imitate humans even when it is against our own self interest. Even when it means we are less likely to get treats!  Scientists at the University of Vienna Department of Cognitive Biology tested this theory with 10 dogs.  

Discovery News provided this synopsis: "All of the dogs received preliminary training to open a sliding door using their head or a paw. The dogs then watched their owners open the door by hand or by head. For the latter, the owner would get down on the floor and use his or her head to push up or down on the sliding door. The dogs were next divided into two groups. Dogs in the first group received a food reward whenever they copied what the owner did. Dogs in the second group received a food reward when they did the opposite. All of the dogs were inclined to copy what the owner did, even if it meant receiving no food reward."  

Last year, I wrote about a similar story where researchers demonstrated that domesticated dogs were more likely to be mislead by humans than wolves in the classic Piaget "A not B" experiment because we have just evolved to trust humans so much.  

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Fun Post: Dog attacks dandelion (dog wins)

Announcing a new semi-regular feature: The Friday Fun Post!  I get nearly as many funny videos sent to me as I get news tips, so I guess my audience wants to see the lighter side of the dog world too.  I will still stick to the serious business of dog news on most days, but if you need a daily dose of cute animal videos, be sure to bookmark! Otherwise, check back here on Fridays for something fun!

If you have a fun or adorable video to share, email it to

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In an emergency, run to the neighbor's house

Missy knows how to look after her people.  After her owner Charlie Burdon collapsed, this 11-year-old dachshund's short little legs took her to all the way across the street to their neighbor's house.  There, she found Charles Mitchell working in his yard.  Mitchell tried to shoo her home, but she would not leave without him.  Mitchell quickly realized that Missy was trying to tell him something, so decided to follow her home.

Once home, they found Charlie on the ground. He had had a heart attack last year, so Missy was right to be scared.  Mitchell was able to get the paramedics there and Charlie made it to the hospital and was released the same day. Turns our he had a bad bout of vertigo, but Missy still did the right thing.

The Yambill Valley News Register in Missy's Oregon hometown recognized Missy as the "new hero in the neighborhood." Mitchell told the newspaper "She did her good deed...I'd put her on the angel list if I could."

The news article did not have a picture of Missy, but here is another dachshund image courtesy of PhotoBucket. Do you remember these diplomatic dachshunds at the United Nations?

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another heroic pair of pit bulls

Buster, the four year old chihuahua was enjoying some free playtime in his suburban backyard in Littleton, CO. It seemed like a perfectly care-free day. Until it wasn't.  A coyote came into the yard and snatched up Buster and was dragging him away!  Two pit bulls that lived in the neighborhood heard the commotion and did not waste any time coin to the rescue. They stared down the coyote until he realized he was outnumbered and left the injured chihuahua.  These protectors laid down in the brush with Buster and licked his until his owner, Jodi Robinette arrived a few moments later.

Buster did suffer severe injuries, but is expected to recover. His vet, Dr. Bregitzer told They were "guardian angels for her dog, disguised as pit bulls."

Did you know that heroic Coloradan pit bulls could not move to Denver in their own home state?  Yep.  Pit bulls--regardless of past behavior--are victims of a blanket breed ban in the Denver jurisdiction.  Maggie Marton over at OhMyDogBlog wants you to do something about it.  Check out her site to learn more about the campaign to End Breed Specific Legislation, and follow the #endBSL conversation on Twitter.  Maggie's precious bully Emmet, the inspiration behind the campaign, is pictured here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lucky teaches humans a lesson on littering

Roll over.
Pick up that garbage and put it in the trash.

Ok, that last one is new.  William Keating trained his dog lucky to pick up all kinds of trash on command and place it in the proper receptacle.  William only had to show Lucky a few times, and he caught right on.  You may ask--"But what if he finds  a broken glass bottle? It wouldn't be safe for him to pick it up!"  Well, Lucky has been trained for just that situation: if he locates glass, he barks twice, and William inspects it to make sure there are no sharp edges, then lets lucky go on to finish the job.

Lucky and William are out around Gloucester, England for several hours a day doing more than their part to keep the neighborhood clean.  Lucky is now quite popular for his work in the area.  William is humble about their contribution, as he tells "There’s so much litter in the world that maybe it doesn’t make a huge difference but it cheers people up to see Lucky doing his bit in the local area."

I think that Lucky is doing a lot more than just picking up trash.  He is showing all the onlookers that it is easy to do and you can feel good just for doing the right thing--so maybe they will think twice about littering next time.  But seriously, do they even need to think once about it?!

Check out more pictures of Lucky in action here.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Oscar's unexpected leap

Oscar was out having a jolly time at Old Harry Rocks in southern England, until the earth seemed to fall out from under him.  While on a walk, Oscar got a little carried away, and did not stop when the person accompanying him, Laura Gardener, commanded. That can be dangerous under normal circumstances,  but really scary when there are 150 foot cliffs surrounding you!

That's right--Oscar took a plunge down a 150 foot cliff.  Amazingly, he landed at the bottom with little more than a serious startle.  The next challenge was getting him back up.  Gardener called the coastguard, but there was a canoeist who witnessed the whole thing already on his way over to rescue Oscar.  Oscar is pictured here trotting along, hopefully somewhere safer. You can check out a picture of the cliff at Old Harry Rocks here.  Oscar is resting safely at home with a sore leg, but is expected to recover just fine.

Steve Williams, coastguard watchman told the DailyMail "We always advise pet owners to keep their dogs on their leads near cliffs as the animals do get excited and can fall over the edge."  Sounds like reasonable advise to me.  Do you rememeber Polly, who survived a 300 foot plunge?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lookout puppies land in the States

Rufus was no ordinary street puppies in Afghanistan.  He and his buddies, Sasha and Target, had taking a liking to the American soldiers and were not going to let anything happen to them.  When a suicide bomber was approaching a base where 50 soldiers were sleeping--they made racket.  Some soldiers didn't understand what the pups were saying so they tried to quiet them down.  But Rufus, Sasha, and Target did not give up.  They ended up spooking the bomber who set off his bomb before he was able to enter the building and do more damage.  Rufus and Target did suffer injuries, and Sasha didn't make it.  But that is not the end of this amazing story.

Sgt. Chris Duke was wounded in the blast, but had no doubt that he would have died if not for the lookout puppies.  When Duke returned to the base after being treated, he and Rufus became buddies, and Rufus even helped him when he was feeling homesick from his pregnant wife.  When he was headed home to the States in March, it broke his heart to have to leave his little four legged hero and buddy behind.  With the help of the nonprofit organization Robert's Cause and some savvy social networking, arrangements were made to bring Rufus to the States to live with Sgt. Duke and his family.  Rufus flew through Manhattan and caught a connecting flight to his new home in Georgia.  Target was on the same flight, but is headed to her new home in Phoenix to live with the Army medic who she connected with during the same blast.

NY Post ran this story along with another picture of Rufus all grown up.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Craigslist's best "missed connection" ever

You can find just about anything on Craigslist these days.  You could even reunite with a dog that you had to give up years ago--though maybe not on the "missed connections" section.  That is just what happened to Sandra Castillo and her dog, Milady.  Four years ago Sandra suffered from severe health problems and a six month hospitalization associated with her pregnancy and was forced to re-home her two dogs.  She was able to stay in touch with one of the new owners, but lost contact with Milady's new owner.  She would occasionally post messages on Craigslist looking to connect with them.  She never received a response.  Until a few weeks ago.

Sandra made a last ditch effort and decided to make one more post on Craigslist.  It turns out that the local rescue group, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), had recently sent out an email to supporters detailing the case of a cocker spaniel named Milady who was in terrible shape and desperately needed some TLC. Milady showed up with fur matted so bad around her ears that it was completely sealed and infected, and her nails were severely overgrown.  As you can see in the picture here--despite her painful mats, Milady still had a smile on her face (click here to see Milady post-shaving).  According to Jean Weber, the MSPCA’s director of animal protection, “Her personality is amazing and she has taught many of us about the benefits of perseverance.”  Sounds like she learned something from Saundra, who did not give up when she felt like Milady disappeared. Within just 20 minutes of her last Craigslist post, Sandra found her dog again.  Sandra was approved to re-adopt Milady, and the two have been reunited.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cool treats for the dog days of summer

There are fringe benefits to enduring the sweltering summer heat: dog ice cream!  The British have come up with an innovative delivery system: an ice cream truck just for dogs!  The truck will be out in London area parks all summer serving up their two signature flavors: Dog Eat Hog World--a pork and chicken sorbet served in a dog biscuit cone, and Canine Cookie Crunch-- which is full of chucks of dog biscuits and served in a biscuit cone.

You will know when the K99 ice cream truck is coming--instead of the traditional ice cream truck music, it plays the theme from Scooby Doo.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Big hearts for Gulf Coast dogs

Shelters along the Gulf Coast have been inundated with animals from families that can no longer afford to care for them. St. Bernard Parish Shelter took in 170 animals in June alone.  NBC Nightly News did a story about the shelter, and now they are inundated with calls from new families! Even the 130 pound Benny now has a 10-person waiting list!  Read more about the available animals, or donate to a new program that will help other animals stay in their homes, visit the St. Bernard Parish Shelter website.  

You can watch the original story with some adorable footage of dogs in need, which caused hundreds to spring to action to help out.  Last night, NBC Nightly News did a follow up story about all the people around the country with big hearts reaching out to the animals in need.  The follow up story, part of their Making a Difference series, is below: 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hot car dangers for dogs

A comfortable 82 degree summer day can quickly turn into a 109 degree oven in a closed car.  An even cooler 72 degree summer day can turn into a 116 degree oven over the course of an hour, and keeping the windows cracked only slows the heat up marginally.  While it is great to take your dog along for fun summer trips, you should avoid trips would require your dog to sit in the hot car for even a few minutes.  Heat stroke can begin in as few as 10 minutes at those temperatures.  The folks at have some more resources for understanding the dangers hot cars for dogs.

ABC's What Would You Do did a little experiment to see how strangers would respond to a hot dog in a car.  It seemed that some firefighters even let the culprit off the hook, but some dog loving women and a teenage boy recognized the life threatening situation and called 911.  In the experiment, the dog was not in any danger--in fact, she was an actor!  They had a hidden A/C unit running in the car and a trainer hiding on the floor commanding the dog to bark and pant.   Hopefully the televised experiment will show people the dangers of hot cars, and know that it is ok to call the police if you witness this happening.  Here is the video from the segment on the show:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A laser focus on his forever home

After just a month with his new family, three year old Laser got spooked by some fireworks and slipped out of his leash.  The family was on vacation nearly 50 miles from their Canada home and spent days canvassing the area and hanging up flyers.  Sadly they had to go home without there four legged family member.

Laser had finally found his forever home, and he determined to make sure he didn't lose it again. The LePage family kept receiving tips from people who saw Laser on the move, and 6 weeks after the scary fireworks display, a good samaritan dropped him off at the shelter just over a mile from their home.  Laser had found his way nearly the whole 50 miles on his own!  This is especially amazing since he had only been with the family for a short time and probably didn't know the area so well--but he was determined to hold onto his new pack.  The happy family has since been reunited and I bet Laser will be sticking close by his two young human siblings. Check out more one this amazing story, a map of his trek, across Canada and a family picture on

Speaking of awesome Canadians, have you visited my friends over at Fido & Wino lately?

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Monday, July 12, 2010

A pit bull, a bassinet, and a happy ending

Pit bull are still the quintessential American family dog, despite the bad rap they get because of the criminals that abuse them.  Thor is the latest example of the incredi-dog.  Thor's family home was on fire and his people would not wake up--he tried barking and prodding them, but they were fast asleep.  In the meantime, Thor knew that their family's new baby human needed to get out of the house fast.  He sprung into action, and returned to the parents to bark at them again, only this time "He had my infant, my 3-month-old little girl, bassinet and all, grabbed by the ruffles and drug to the front door, ready to go," according to father Kemper Hunter.  He continued, "He's a hero, he saved our lives."

The family had just moved into their new home a week earlier, and lost everything in the fire.  It could have been worse if it wasn't for Thor, Hunter added--"Thank God for him, because if it wasn't for him, everything else is replaceable, but if it wasn't for him I think we'd still be laying in that bed if my dog hadn't been as heroic as he was."

This happy family is lucky they all survived and are still together.  Can you believe they would have to give up their family hero if they wanted to move to Denver or any other jurisdiction that has senseless breed bans?  Maggie Marton over at is working hard to change that with the #endBSL campaign.  Visit her site to find out how you can help! Check out my previous post about the campaign here.

[Photo of Thor courtesy of WSBT-TV]

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Three-legged dogs aid robot research

I have written before about how animals fitted for the latest prosthetics are helping to inform science on human prosthetics.  Generally I find the resilience of three legged, two legged, or otherwise special needs dogs to be inspiring.  But three legged dogs helping robot research?! Thats a new one!  But it is true--A team of researchers led by Martin Groß at the University of Jena in Germany are working to understand the mobility adaptations that three-legged dogs make in order to design robots that can overcome an "injury." Dogs can help because they can demonstrate how to compensate differently based on the loss of a front or rear limb.

According to Science Daily's great synopsis of the research, "Adjusting to missing a fore-limb is more difficult for the dog to deal with than for a hind-limb, according to the researchers. If a fore-limb is missing, the remaining limbs must undergo careful adaptation to co-ordinate with each other, a process known as 'gait compensation.' With a hind-leg amputation, the scientists found that the fore-limbs continue to act as they would normally in a four-legged dog, showing little or no compensation strategy. The scientists think the reason for the difference is due to the higher loading of the fore-limbs in comparison to the hind-limbs, because of the distribution of body weight." Very interesting stuff!

Wags to my very special three-legged buddy Spencer, who first sent me a tip on this cool new research.  He missing a fore leg, and is pictured here demonstrating how missing a leg does not mean he ever has to miss out on the fun--especially at the beach!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Friends will stick with you through the tough times

If you are a dog that has been mistreated, it is good to have a buddy like Brains.  Or so they call her at Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control that is temporary home to the pair--Brains and Brawn.  The dogs were first spotted making their way through traffic--but 30-pound Brawn was dragging a 20-pound chain that had been tied around his neck. When Brawn would slow down, it looked like Brains would encourage him to keep going.  Somehow, he escaped from the cruel environment he was living in, and this sweet girl was helping lead him to a better life.  

Dianne Sauve tells, "The female appeared to be leading this poor other dog who apparently is a friend of hers -- you can tell they're friends -- leading him away from wherever they came from."

I sure hope these friends can find a forever home together.  Only they know what really happened that day, but they got through it together. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Seven years of blogging!

Today is my one year anniversary of being a blogging dog--That is seven years of blogging in my world!  Nearly 350 stories later, I am still in business.  It has been quite an exciting year. I have made some great friends online and off--even traveling to BlogPaws, the first ever conference for pet bloggers!

My very first story was Commuter dogs --about the dogs of Moscow riding the train and working in packs to avoid missing a stop.  I later did a follow up story on the Strays of Moscow.

In case you are new here, you can read up on my top stories of the past year:

The biggest dog EVER--about Giant George, the 245 pound great dane.

The dog lady's Chain of Hope--the story of Kate Quigley, who travels the roads of Kansas City helping out dogs that need her.

Give this dog a JOB!--about my buddy Baxter, a working dog who is STILL in need of a home.

Lend a paw and Be the Change--about my buddy Ricochet who leads by example by paying it forward. (Ricochet is also pictured above with her buddies--that girl knows how to party. Thanks for the sharing the pic of seven dogs celebrating for my seven dog-year anniversary!)

Prosthetic paw has Sully running again--about how new technologies are changing the lives of dogs with disabilities.

Search and Rescue dogs in Haiti--about the hard working dogs to lending a paw to help find people trapped after the devastating earthquake.

Glamour Pets--Glamour magazine's April fool's joke was a hit among pet people.

Are dogs Republican or Democrats?--profiling famous dog lovers on both sides of the aisle.

Rescue overload--when to know when you have taken on too much.

I want to send a BIG WAG out to all of my loyal readers--without your support, feedback, comments, and clicks, I would have given up a long time ago.  But here I am, looking forward to the next seven years!

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What is fostering all about?

I got a rough start on the streets of North Carolina, but I was lucky enough to land in a foster home on my way to finding my forever home.  Having a foster home meant that I could live in a home instead of a shelter, where I could get used to things like people, doorbells, stairs, peeing outside, peanut butter, toys, and all the other comforts of a real home.  

Some dogs could use foster homes because they really need the TLC that would come with living full time with a caring person.  Cash strapped shelters with dozens, or even hundreds of dogs, just don't have the resources that some dogs need.  Alvin, for example, was not looking so great when he landed a temporary home with Jane, a volunteer with Waggytime Rescue in New York CIty.  Jane knew there was a great dog under the dirty matted coat, and she wanted to help Alvin shine.  Posted here are the before and after pictures of Alvin-look at that smile and bright eyes, a face full of expression, that you just couldn't see before. I bet feeling clean and cared for has a lot to do with the smile you see in that picture.  Jane really has done a fantastic job helping Alvin put his best paw forward as he looks for his forever home.  You can see more pictures of Alvin here on his petfinder page. According to his profile, "He loves sitting on laps, flopping over on a comfy couch and "dancing" for chicken treats."  Seems like life has really turned around for ALvin since landing in foster care.  And YES, he is still looking for you!

If you are thinking about fostering, you should know that there are all kinds of dogs out there that could use your help.  Some need some help coming out of their shell, some need a bath, and some just need a warm place to crash on their way to their forever home.  I love my home now, but I know that if it were not for the several foster parents I had through Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, I would not have the good life I have now.  

Friday, June 18, 2010

Viagra for Ingrid

Ingrid (pictured here) is a cheery pit bull terrier that landed in the Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Shelter two years ago with a severe heart condition and a variety of other ailments.  The good folks at Little Shelter were going to do whatever it took to get this sweet girl back in good health, even if it meant giving her Viagra. Wait, WHAT?

Yes, vets say that Viagra increases the blood flow and keeps Ingrid's heart healthy.  Viagra, at $10/day, is not a cheap medication for any cash-strapped shelter.  Little shelter is now asking for charitable folks to come forward with some spare pills from their last prescription.  According to LA Times Unleashed, "One woman donated her husband's stash to the dog because she suspected he was having an affair." Hey, whatever works.  According to the NY Daily News, Ingrid came to their shelter two years ago, and they launched a very successful Viagra collection, but that supply has been almost completely depleted.

Ingrid is still looking for a home that can support her Viagra needs.  With a daily little blue pill, she is expected to live a long normal life.  Contact Little Shelter in Long Island if you have some spare pills, or room for a sweet bully.  NY Daily News has another beautiful picture of her here.

While the treatment isn't yet mainstream for dogs, who'd have thought that female dogs like Ingrid would get their paws on Viagra before human women? FDA is currently considering extending Viagra availability to women, in fact, the Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee meets today to discuss the "little pink pill."

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Homeless man saves dumped dog

James Beavers is a homeless veteran living in an abandoned car wash.  It sounds like life had let him down in more than one way, but James still has compassion.  After being startled by a car speeding away, he heard a dog wimpering. He searched the area and found the dog in the worst possible place for a dog: in a abandoned vat of disposed motor oil.  He found some rope to pull the dog out of the mess, but still needed help making sure the German Shepherd mix, who had recently had puppies, got cleaned up.  He went to a nearby pay phone to call his friend Sheila Zachar, who has taken to animal rescue since retiring.

Covered in toxic goop and stagnant water, the dog needed to get emergency care.  Luckily she was saved by James before too much of the oil had been ingested, so most of the care she needed was some extra vigorous cleaning.  The incident was reported on the local news, and a family desperately looking for their dog came forward--Harley had been stolen from their front yard.  The Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County has given the family some tips on  safeguarding their dog from danger from neighborhood menaces, and has also taken Harley's five puppies.  They will spay and neuter them, and then work on finding homes for them.  No word on if anyone is helping to find a home for the real hero of the story: James Beavers.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Paper: eat with caution

Toby doesn't just fetch the paper... sometimes he eats it!  Aside for generally inconveniencing his people  so that they have to find their news elsewhere, this hadn't been a huge problem.  One day his owner Gill Bird came home and Toby wouldn't even pick up the chip she tossed to him for a snack.  Then she noticed he was drooling and blowing bubbles from his mouth.

Upon further inspection, she discovered that Toby's mouth was basically glued shut from the paper he was chowing on.  She couldn't even part his jaws herself, and had to take Toby to the vet.  Once there, he had to be sedated while the nurse and doctor scraped the paper-turned-glue from his mouth.  The vet described it as a "very unusual case." I'd say so!  Toby was home by the end of the day and back to normal.  He is pictured here flossing with the bills. has another picture of Toby's jaws caked together.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Not "just a dog"

I would never call my person "just a person."  She is MY person, and she is a special and irreplaceable part of my life.  But plenty of people refer to me and my four legged friends as "just a dog." I feel bad for those people because they only think that because they have never had the chance to share their life with a dog.  My friends over at Life with Dogs have put together this beautiful video to explain this phenomenon it to others.  They explain that some of a human's happiest and saddest moments can occur with or because of "just a dog." Sometimes "just a dog" will provide the comfort that no one else could give.  Of the other beautiful things in your life, would you say "just a promise" "just a friend" or "just a sunrise"?  We would never say that about our own person or anyone else's person.  My cousin Lily is pictured here. Her smiling face, giant tongue and sweet sweet temperament make her so much more than "just a dog" to my grandparents.

My person has since downloaded this song from iTunes: Lissie /Everywhere I go

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Safe Summer Swimming

As we head into the heat of the summer, you might be thinking about taking your dog swimming.  If you are like me, I have never BEEN swimming, and my person doesn't even know if I can.  FIDOfriendly has some tips on making it fun and safe.  Notably--don't just throw your dog in the water because some dogs don't actually know how to swim.  Check their website for a full list of DON'Ts, but here is their list of DOs:
  • Let your dog escape once they go in.
  • Let your dog decide they are done for the day.
  • Try using toys/food as a bribe to get in, BUT be sure to REWARD (more treats/play) AFTER the dog gets in even if they pop out.
  • Use really, really tasty treats or your dog favorite toy.
  • Start with a shallow pool and clear water with no waves or spray.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to make it safe and fun, but if your dog just isn't interested in swimming, that is ok.  

My cousin Madison LOVES to swim, and she is pictured here having the time of her life in the Wenatchee River in Washington State. Madison has some joint problems, so regular swimming is a great way for her to get some exercise without putting extra pressure on her knees and hips.  Plus, she thinks it is fun, which is the most important part.  

Monday, June 7, 2010

Scoop has gone to the Cats

I admit it, I have gotten caught up in the thrill of participating in Adopt a Shelter Cat month.  Last week, I told you about my good friend Pimp from YourDailyCute, but I have another buddy to tell you about: Romeo the Cat--pictured here. In addition to his hilarious daily campaign to make sure his BREAKFAST is served on time by his staff, Romeo uses his platform to raise money and awareness for cats in need.  Please check out his fun blog!

I have a special place in my heart for Homeward Trails Animal Rescue--they are the ones that saved me from an overcrowded shelter and kept me in foster care for SIX months before I found my person. You know what? They help cats too!  Right now they have several cats on their hands that were slated to be euthanized for treatable medical conditions.  They are working hard to get these kitties fixed up so they can be adopted, but that costs money.  You can donate to support their work here.  You can even sponsor one of these cats in need (just list their name in the notes section of your donation):  
  • Sushi is diabetic and needs some dental attention.
  • Tiffany has a heart murmur and needs to visit a specialist.
  • Einstein a beautiful senior cat--dumped at 17--and is suffering from an ulcerated eye that will require a specialist.  
Romeo knows all about this journey.  When he was in a shelter, he was deaf, but after he was picked up by The Forgotten Persian Rescue and Friends he had a series of surgeries, he can hear just fine now.  He does have a permanently folded ear, but I think that makes him extra cute.  Romeo has gone on to be a successful blogger, with the support of his very capable staff member, Caroline Golon, who is the founder of BlogPaws!  

Friday, June 4, 2010

Full time dog, part time marriage counselor

Some humans might need to take a lesson from dogs to improve the relationships in their lives.  I am always thrilled when my person comes home, even if she was in a terrible mood in the morning.  I just think she is so wonderful, why wouldn't I be thrilled to see her?  Well, some people don't get the same reaction from their spouse or partner, according to clinical psychologist Suzanne B. Phillips.  In a recent article in PsychCentral entitled "Can Pets Improve Your Relationship?", Phillips uses examples of how people react to their pets to show how they should also consider treating their human partners.  For example, you may be upset or a little mad after a shoe gets eaten or curtains are shredded, but people rarely hold grudges for their pets mistakes.  Check out the whole article for perspective on greetings, expectations, acceptance, holding grudges, assuming the best, and for better and for worse.

Image courtesy of NY Times Well Blog, where I first read about Dr. Phillips' article.  

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cats are OK too

Being a dog, I like to focus on dogs in the news, but June is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat month, so I figured I should lend a paw to promote the cause.  Like dogs, too many cats end up in shelters by no fault of their own, so please consider adopting if you are looking to bring any pet--cat, dog, ferret, parakeet--into your home.  Petfinder has over 125,000 cats available for adoption on their site--so I am sure you could find just the guy you are looking for!

Petfinder is promoting Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat month though their Whiskers photo contest.   They have lots of categories, including "Best Duo"--and I hope an adoptable cat-dog pair wins that one to spread the word that sometimes dogs and cats CAN get along--like Smiles & Amie who were seeking to land a home together.  Or the boston terrier and cat cuddle action in this youtube video below.

If you can't adopt, but are looking for your cat fix, check out for mostly cat-related cuteness.  Pimp the former shelter cat is the inspiration behind YourDailyCute, and he is pictured above demonstrating how to achieve ultimate cuteness with the classic "outstretched paw" move.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Honoring vets of all kinds

This Memorial Day, please take a moment to remember our four-legged veterans too.

Wags to YourDailyCute for the tip on this touching photo.  

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pawlates will wiggle your butt into shape

Dog obesity is a real problem, and now dog pilates is a real solution too.  Or, should I say "pawlates." The Virgin Active gym chain in the U.K. has launched a new program just for pets--Animal Active.  In addition to Pawlates, classes include Pooch Paunch Buster, Puuuroebics, Wag Attack, Canine Crunch.  Dog yoga is already pretty widespread, but this variety of gym-based activities is new.

According to The Sun, "one in four dog owners admitting that they never exercise their pets," so there is definitely a need for new ways to motivate people to keep their dogs at a healthy weight.  Animal Active will provide a fun place for people to work out with their pets.  Not a bad idea, but I have a cheaper option--walking around the block.  You could pick up another exercise buddy from your local shelter to make exercise into a play date for a dog in need. 

This is still only in the U.K., but you can learn more about it on the Virgin Active website

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Woof to the wolves!

My distant cousins--wolves--sometimes have it hard out there in nature on their own.  Without the comforts of a warm bed and some prepared kibble, I bet life could be pretty hard.  The Wolf Center in Doerveden Germany is trying to help out.  They have a wolf education and conservation facility where wolves in need can get some extra care.  Pictured here is just one pup form the recent arrival of six new wolf pups--of the European grey wolf variety.  L.A. Times Unleashed has additional pictures of these new cuties getting help from the caretakers in Germany.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fit feds and DC's shelter dogs

The Obama administration is teaming up with the Washington Humane Society to promote a fun way to get exercise while giving back to the community.  Through the "Feds Get Fit" program, the Department of Labor is encouraging employees to get some exercise while lending a hand to local homeless dogs.  But since pairing up with a four legged partner is known to increase an individual's commitment to an exercise plan, federal employees are encouraged to run or walk on the National Mall with a four legged partner that is in need of extra love.  Dogs living at the Washington Humane Society are busy looking for their forever home, but could use a little extra exercise in the meantime.   According to FIDO Friendly Magazine, WHS's PACK program "pairs volunteers with adoptable shelter dogs for regular jogs at local parks.  Currently there are more than 100 runners who participate in the bi-weekly jogs."

President Obama has declared May to be National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, and this is a great way to kick off the first year.  He and the First Lady Michelle Obama are pictured here being fit on a private hike while on vacation in Blue Ridge Parkway outside of Asheville, N.C., where they ran into one lucky dog and his people! [Photo Credit: Pete Souza]

If you live in the Washington, DC area and are interested in joining the PACK, visit WHS's website to learn how to sign up.  If you live somewhere else--remember that dogs (and people) everywhere are looking for exercise partners.  Call your local shelter to check their hours--you probably just need to sign a release, but otherwise it is easy to get a part time exercise partner if you don't have time to adopt.  These dogs need you, and they will help you out by keeping you to your exercise plan!

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