Friday, December 24, 2010

Rescue Poem

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Once I was a lonely dog, just looking for a home.
I had no place to go, no one to call my own.
I wandered up and down the streets, in rain, in heat and snow.
I ate whatever I could find, I was always on the go.

My skin would itch, my feet were sore, my body ached with pain.
And no one stopped to give a pat or to gently say my name.
I never saw a loving glance, I was always on the run.
For people thought that hurting me was really lots of fun.

And then one day I heard a voice...so gentle, kind and sweet,
And arms so soft reached down to me and took me off my feet.
"No one again will hurt you" was whispered in my ear.
"You'll have a home to call your own where you will know no fear."

"You will be dry, you will be warm, you'll have enough to eat.
And rest assured that when you sleep, your dreams will all be sweet."
I was afraid I must admit, I've lived so long in fear.
I can't remember when I let a human come so near.

And as she tended to my wounds and bathed and brushed my fur
She told me 'bout the rescue group and what it meant to her.
She said, "We are a circle, a line that never ends.
And in the center there is you protected by new friends."

"And all around you are the ones that check the pounds,
And those that share their home after you've been found."
"And all the other folk are searching near and far.
To find the perfect home for you, where you can be a star."

She said, "There is a family, that's waiting patiently,
and pretty soon we'll find them, just you wait and see."
"And then they'll join our circle they'll help to make it grow,
so there'll be room for more like you, who have no place to go."

I waited very patiently, the days they came and went.
Today's the day I thought, my family will be sent.
Then just when I began to think it wasn't meant to be,
there were people standing there, just gazing down at me.

I knew them in a heart beat, I could tell they felt it too.
They said, "We have been waiting for a special dog like you."
Now every night I say a prayer to all the gods that be.
"Thank you for the life I live and all you've given me.

But most of all protect the dogs in the pound and on the street.
And send a Rescue Person to lift them off their feet."

-- Arlene Pace (September 18, 1998)

When I (Arlene Pace) wrote this poem it was inspired by my foster Sheltie "Patchie: who by the way is in a home where he is the light of their eyes. I think now that it is more in the way I see the rescue efforts of all the people that are doing such a great a job all over this country. So I wish to dedicate this poem to all of you in rescue, the doers, the helpers, the donators of money and/or time and tears. [Please feel free to recopy, reprint or resend to anyone.]

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Kroger Pet Food Recall

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My personal opinion....this is a good reason not to include corn in pet foods, and to use premium holistic foods.

The Kroger Co. is recalling select pet food packages from stores in 19 states fearing some of these products may contain aflatoxin, a toxic chemical byproduct that could be harmful to animals.

The recall involves certain bags of Pet Pride Cat Food, Pet Pride Kitten Food, Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food, Kroger Value Cat Food and Kroger Value Chunk Food, the company said Saturday.

The Kroger Co. urged customers to immediately consult with their veterinarian if their animals show any signs of sluggishness or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat. A yellowish tint to the eyes or gums, severe or bloody diarrhea are also warning signs, the company said.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Aflatoxin is a fungal toxin that contaminates maize and other types of crops during production, harvest storage or processing.

The company has set up a Customer Recall Notification system to help customers determine whether they have purchased any of the contaminated products. Most of recalled products have an expiration date of October 23 and 24, 2011.

States with Kroger-operated stores included in the recall are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.


Here is the link to the press release from the Kroger company:

http://www.kroger.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/Recalls/pet_food.pdf

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Come Fly With Me! Holiday Season Pet Travel Safety Tips

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With the holiday season upon us, many people will be traveling, and many will be taking their furry companions along with them. After all, our pets are part of the family, too!

Airline travel with pets is always scary. There are always stories of mishaps, accidents, and the occasional death. As much as we want our pets to be with us to celebrate the holidays, we hesitate to take them with us due to these issues.

So, how can we protect our fur kids when traveling? What steps can we take to ensure that they will be safe and healthy?

Christina Selter “Pet Safety Lady” founder of Bark Buckle UP the trusted authority for pet travel safety, recently emBARKed her national airport tour live from LAX. The tour was formed to help educate pet owners on how to travel safer with their pets. “Safety starts on the way to the airport so to ensure ultimate safety, comfort and convenience for two and four legged passengers be sure to plan, pack and follow the rules”, said Pet Safety Lady. Her airport tour will take a giant BITE out of pet air travel commotion. Her Furry friends help her demonstrate airline approved pet carriers, crates and “BONE”afide pet pat down TSA style.

The following was taken from the Bark Buckle Up website on how to safely fly with your pet.

When flying with a pet, your first decision is whether you can take him/her on board (in cabin) with you or if your pet is larger then 20 pounds (carrier included) you would need to transport via cargo. Not all airlines allow pets in cabin and some do not allow as cargo, so call that specific airline directly.

A pet traveling via in cabin is your carry on bag, fee would apply and they MUST stay in their carrier the entire flight. Most airlines have a maximum quantity of pets per flight and REQUIRE reservations.

Your pet’s health and immunization need to be in good standing and each state requires Rabies vaccination.

Airlines do require specific type of carriers by size and you should LOCK your carrier to prevent your pet from escaping. For in cabin pets with carrier should be less then 20 pounds the pet must be able to stand and fully turn around in the carrier the size slightly varies per airline, but on average the maximum size for cabin pet carriers is 19" long x 13" wide x 9" high and for cargo airline requirements also differ slightly, so call that specific airline directly.

If your pet must travel in the cargo hold, you can increase the chances of a safe flight for your pet by following these tips:

Use direct flight and if not a direct flight use same carrier whenever possible. Because the pet owner is responsible for getting the pet at baggage to transfer to other airline, but if same airline they will transport your pet between flights.

If traveling during the summer or winter months, choose flights that will accommodate the temperature extremes: Early morning or late evening flights are better in the summer; afternoon flights are better in the winter.

Carrier should have a lock, ID, flight information, pet photo, owner information and emergency contact (the Free Bark Buckle UP Pet Safety Kit works great and be sure to laminate it). Also keep the same information in your wallet.

Do not ship pug-nosed dogs or cats such as Pekingese, Chow Chows, Bostons, Pugs, Puggles and Persians (mix of these breeds) in the cargo hold. These breeds have short nasal passages that leave them vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke in cargo holds.

Helpful travel tips and what to pack to help make the trip easier:

Pet needs to wear a collar/harness with current ID tag.

Let your pet get used to his/her carrier at least a month before your flight this helps to minimize his/her stress during travel.

Do not feed your pet for four hours prior to air travel. Small amounts of water can be given before the trip.

Do not give your pet tranquilizers unless your veterinarian has prescribed for them. Make sure your veterinarian understands that the prescription is for air travel.

Clip your pet's nails have to help protect against their hooking in the carrier's door, holes, and other crevices.

Avoid when possible, flying your pets during busy travel times such as holidays and the summer.

Packing for pet travel is simple the same rules apply as when you pack yourself or children. Most carriers have a side pocket to fit all of this easily.

  1. Pack medicines in your carry on
  2. One meal or snacks in your carry on (in case of flight delays or cancellations)
  3. Photo ID attached to carrier and same in your carry on
  4. Travel bowl (folding ones are easiest)
  5. Bedding for the carrier
  6. Poop bags
  7. ID tag on collar or harness
  8. Leash
  9. Toy or chew bone
  10. Fresh water (get after in airport)
The following is a link to the press release from December 15, 2010 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at the Holiday Season Air Travel Press Conference. Representatives from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) shared the holiday travel forecast, while the Airport Police conveyed travel safety and Customs & Border Protection (CBP) showed us hands-on what "not" to bring into the country when returning from an overseas trip. In closing, Christina Selter “Pet Safety Lady” and founder of Bark Buckle UP, the trusted authority for pet travel safety, shared with us some tips for traveling safe with pets.


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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We have a winner!

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We have a winner in our gift basket drawing from Three Dog Bakery!!


And our winner is......

Donna Dugan

Congratulations!!!

For anyone else who would like to order some of these very tasty holiday treats, the kind folks at Three Dog Bakery have given us a special offer. Get free shipping on orders of $40.00 or more. Just enter the coupon code PetFoodReport when ordering to take advantage of this special deal. Offer is good through 12/27/2010.

I highly recommend their treats and food. Treat your pet to some special holiday goodies!

Thanks to all my readers and those who entered in the drawing. And a special thank you to the great folks at Three Dog Bakery for their generosity.

Happy Holidays from me, and from our pups...
Solomon, Danny, Bailey, Sam, Bella, and Katy.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Win a Gourmet Doggie Gift Basket!

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Thanks to my good friends at Three Dog Bakery, I am giving away a special "Life with Dogs" gift basket, valued at 70.00, full of gourmet treats, gourmet entree for dogs, chews, toys, and gifts.

Everything from Three Dog Bakery is top-notch stuff, made with the best, wholesome ingredients, and good enough for you to eat yourself!

Here is a list of what is in this special gift basket:

Classic Cremes-Carob Cookies with Natural Peanut Butter Filling - 16 oz
Description: Carob sandwich cookies filled with natural peanut butter filling. Carob and peanut butter belong together like dogs and tummy rubs.

Classic Cremes-Golden Cookies with Natural Vanilla Flavor Filling - 16 oz
Description: Golden sandwich cookies filled with vanilla filling. You'll be asking yourself, "Are these really for dogs?"

Oven Bake Dog Biscuits Apples & Oatmeal - 16 oz
Description: All natural Apples and Oatmeal oven baked into a crunchy, dog-drooling biscuit!

Roll-Over Rewards Apples & Oatmeal Dog Treats - 16 oz
Description: All natural apples and oatmeal baked to a cookie perfection. Its mini-size is ideal for puppies, little dogs and training treats.

Gracie's Gourmet Entree for Dogs - Chicken, Carrots, Green Beans & Rice
Recipe - 12oz

Description: We brought food from the dinner table to your dog with our all natural dog food Entrees. Packed full of succulent carrots, green beans and broccoli, as well as luscious chicken that's been slow cooked - the result is the best gourmet dog food that leaves them licking their chops with satisfaction.

All Natural Rawhide Braid - 6" Vanilla - 2
Description: 6" all natural rawhide dipped in vanilla flavoring.

Aussie Pet Naturals Jute Rope Toy- The Perfect Eco Friendly Toy
. 100% Vegetable Fiber
. Strong and Durable Jute Rope
. 100% Biodegradable and Recyclable
. Environmentally Friendly
. Help Sustain the Planet's Resources
. Inspired and Designed in Australia

Amazing Gracie: A Dog's Tale (Paperback)
She was the loneliest pup in the litter--a deaf and partially blind albino Great Dane. She had huge sky blue eyes. And when Dan Dye reached for her, she struggled to her feet like a clumsy foal, raised her forehead to his, and announced, as clearly as if she had actually spoken words, You know I'm the one. Now get me outta here!

This basket would be a wonderful collection of goodies for your pups, or would make a terrific gift for a fellow dog lover.

If you wish to enter the drawing, please email me at terri.oak@gmail.com with the subject line "gift basket". The drawing will be held on Wednesday, December 15. The winner will be notified via email. The gift basket will be shipped directly from Three Dog Bakery and should arrive in about 5 days, so it should be there in time for Christmas.

Email me at terri.oak@gmail.com to enter. Entries must be received by December 14, 2010.

Good luck!!

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Holiday Treats even Santa would love!

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My guys recently got an opportunity to sample some yummy holiday treats from Three Dog Bakery. They always look forward to taste-testing a new box of goodies. I can sum up this particular collection of holiday treats very simply....

If you left a plate of these for Santa, he'd be asking for a refill!

As always, everything from Three Dog Bakery is made with top notch ingredients, completely human edible, and completely yummy. Yeah....I ate one of each myself like I always do.

The first treats we tried were the Begg-nog Squares. They are made with real vanilla and cinnamon, and they smell wonderful! My guys loved them, especially Solomon, my ultra-picky male golden retriever who happens to love cinnamon. After smelling them, we passed the jar around and all ate one ourselves. The two-legged members of the family liked them, too. I have to admit it was an interesting conversation telling my mother on the phone that we all just ate dog treats!

Next we tried the Oven Baked Miniature Biscuits Snickerdoodles. They smell as good as the Begg-nog Squares and are the perfect size for smaller dogs (or big dogs that seem to always want a treat). They are made with real vanilla, cinnamon and molasses. The pups loved these, and we didn't think they were too bad either. (I can't believe we ate dog treats again!)

Lastly, we had the Classic Wafers Holiday Duo - Cranberry and Banana Nut. The cranberry treats have a tangy cranberry scent and are flavored with natural cranberry flavor. The banana nut treats have real peanuts and natural banana flavor. I let my guys choose between the two when offering the treats a couple times. Solomon liked the banana nut ones, but Sam, Danny and Bella liked the cranberry treats. Bailey didn't care....she wanted them all!

I am never disappointed with anything from Three Dog Bakery, and my pups always love whatever they try. I may order some more of the Begg-nog Squares....and I might even let the dogs have some! ;)

These are special holiday treats, so order them soon for all your friends and their fur kids!

Watch for my next blog entry very soon. I will be having a drawing for a great gift basket. Details very soon!

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Inquiring minds want to know!

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I have been trying to decide what to write about for my next entry. I have several ideas I am kicking around, but I thought I would try something different. My time is limited, so I want to make sure that the things I write about are informative and interesting.

I would like your input. Leave comments on this entry and tell me what subjects you would like to see me write about. If there any subjects that interest you, things you have questions about, things you think others should be aware of....please leave a comment and describe them for me. I will go through the list and start working on them.

You can email me, if you prefer, at terri.oak@gmail.com.

I look forward to your thoughts and comments!

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

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The mission of No Kill Louisville is to raise awareness and funds in support of becoming a No Kill community. There are millions of people who love animals and have simply not been educated about the No Kill equation or have a clear understanding of its relevance on "quality of life" in a community.

Those who began the "No Kill Louisville" group believe that it is possible to save every "adoptable" animal in Louisville. This does not mean that no animal should be euthanized. We believe that animals who are suffering from illness or injury and cannot be treated should be humanely euthanized with gentleness and compassion.

We also recognize that at this time in history our nation does not have the full resources to rehabilitate those animals who have been abused and neglected and due to that abuse or neglect are dangerous to people and other animals. We also feel animals properly assessed and deemed "too dangerous" must be humanely euthanized with compassion.

We need "general volunteers" to help out with events, transports, fostering, and more. Please email JessicaReid@nokill-louisville.com or Info@nokill-louisville.com if this type of volunteering interests you more. When it comes to saving animals, there's something for everyone. Help us spread the word and tell more people how they can get involved by sending them to No Kill Louisville. If you want to help but don't know how, contact us at Info@nokill-louisville.com

Check out their facebook page at
http://www.facebook.com/NoKillLouisville

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Bad....

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I want to apologize to my readers. I haven't been posting a lot lately, and I just thought I should let everyone know that I'm still here and working on a few things.

Health issues, my schedule, and several other factors have kept me from giving my blog the attention I would like. I am working on a couple articles and hope to have something posted soon.

Hang in there with me, and I'll have some new material up soon. Thanks for reading!!

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Do you see what I see?

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I found this article in a newsletter I receive and thought I would share it. Pretty interesting stuff. The picture above is how dogs actually see color. It seems they can see blues and yellows, but not red.

Black & White Vision, Symphony of Smells: The Science of Dog Senses.

By. Warren F., for Canacreek.com and Bloggingpaws.com

While humans and dogs are inseparable, they clearly see the world differently. And hear, and definitely smell.

Everyone knows that dogs see in black and white. Or do they? The commonly held belief was that dogs are color blind, but recent research has shown that dogs do see colors, if not the same variety available to the human eye. But dogs are much, much better than humans at detecting motion, which is why they can spot a bird in flight or a running cat, seemingly miles away while, you're scratching your head looking for the cause of his agitation. They can also see very well in the dark, something humans aren't very good at. As for visual details, as most dog owners will attest, are somewhat lacking compared to their human counterparts.

Hearing is another area where dogs excel. Dogs can hear at four times the distance of a human, and their ears gather much more information within that sound than our own rather primitive eardrums. But smell is where dogs go so far beyond humans it's almost supernatural. A dog's sense of smell is 100,000 times better than that of a human, meaning if you're making a stew, you smell....stew. Your dog can discern every single ingredient in the stew, and is probably itching to eat all of it at once.

On a more practical level, when you take your dog to the park, he's sniffing the ground in order to check out what's been there before...and that can include other dogs, squirrels, people and a myriad of other creatures: a symphony for their senses indeed.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

More to chew on - Alternatives to bones & rawhides

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As we have already established, chewing is a natural behavior for dogs. All dogs explore their world with their mouths. If dogs are not provided with an outlet for their natural chewing behaviors, they will find things to chew on their own (like your furniture, shoes, etc.).

To prevent boredom and keep your pup from seeking out new and creative things to chew on, it's a good idea to have a variety of toys and chews available, and to rotate their toys periodically.

We have looked at the pros and cons of giving your dogs bones to chew on, plus we have looked at natural alternatives to bones (rawhide, chew hooves, pizzles, and other animal products). As with most things, there are good and bad points of each.

Let's take a look at some other options for chews and chew toys for your pup.

  • Nylabones: There is a wide variety of flavors, shapes, sizes and hardness in the Nylabone line of products. They are made from durable nylon. The original Nylabone is very hard and good for aggressive chewers. They also make a flexible line for puppies, a dental line with raised nubs to clean teeth and massage gums, and their "Healthy Edibles" line that is primarily composed of wheat and potato starches and flavorings. Nylabones have been a favorite for pet owners for many years. As with any chew, however, there are some cautions that need to be taken. It is possible for a dog to chew off an end and swallow a large piece...especially the gummy or softer varieties. There have been some instances where those pieces have become lodged in the stomach or intestines. Replace the chew if it becomes small enough to be swallowed.
  • Booda Bones: These are made of digestible cornstarch and come in lots of flavors. They have a nubby texture for increased plaque and tarter control, and promote healthy gums. Since these chews are starch based, and therefore easily digested, they are relatively safe.
  • Kong Toys: Kong toys have the reputation of being the toughest chew toy on the market. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and some of them can be filled with treats or peanut butter. They are made from thick, natural rubber and are ideal for aggressive chewers. Even my ultra-destructive chewers have yet to destroy one.
  • Rope Toys: Dog rope toys are simple in construction and can provide hours of entertainment for your dog. The primary aspects to consider when shopping for the right dog rope toy are the material the toy is made from and the durability of that material. Chewing on a rope toy can help to clean your dog's teeth and massage their gums. If your dog is an aggressive chewer and tends to swallow pieces of their toys, then a rope toy is probably not ideal to have around unsupervised. The most common problem when a rope is ingested is that it becomes obstructed in the intestines and can cause death if not treated right away.
  • Rubber Tire Dog Toys: Made from recycled rubber, Pup Treads Recycled Rubber Tire Dog Toys make a great chew toy for your active dog or puppy. Strong and durable, this rubber tire is made for aggressive chewers or puppies that are teething.While it is not impossible to chew off chunks of these toys, they tend to hold up pretty well.
  • Greenies: According to Greenie's official site, "Greenies® dental chews are made of high quality, easily digestible proteins that help keep dog’s teeth clean while also keeping their breath fresh. The easy to digest and chewy nature of Greenies® dental chews helps ensure that they are safe for dogs when given the appropriate sized serving. Greenies® dental chews are 96 percent digestible, which is more digestible than the average dry dog food." It has been estimated that dogs in the US eat over 150 million Greenies a month! But are they safe for all dogs? "At the 2005 American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACIVM) meeting, there was discussion among internal medicine specialists about Greenies® causing esophageal obstructions that were difficult to relieve. Over 30 cases have been reported with most problems occurring in small breed dogs, however there was one case in a medium and one case occurring in a large sized dog. All of the problems were related to ingestion of Greenies or similar products and resulted in esophageal foreign bodies." (By: PetPlace Veterinarians from PetPlace.com) The manufacturer of Greenies recommends that you give your dog the proper size treat, and monitor them while they chew, as with any chew product. The majority of the time, it appears that Greenies are safe and cause no problems, so you can decide for yourself if you want to use them. If your dog tends to gulp down large hunks of things they chew on, these might not be a good choice. If you feed Greenies as treats to your pet, be alert for signs of retching, trouble swallowing, difficult breathing, vomiting, or lethargy.
There are many more options for chew treats. I have just touched on some of the more popular ones. Chew toys and treats are an excellent way to prevent boredom and destructive behavior in your dog, with the added benefit of massaging the gums and helping to keep the teeth clean. As I have stated before in my articles on bones and rawhide, etc., the main things to consider are the size of the treat, the chewing habits of your pet, and the materials the treat/toy is made of. With any of these items, the most important thing of all is to monitor your pet as they chew and never leave them unsupervised with a chew toy or treat.

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What more do I need to say?

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There are no bad dogs, only irresponsible owners.
Breed-specific bans are
NOT the answer!

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

15 Amazing Facts About Therapy Dogs

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This article was referred to me by Carolyn Friedman from Radiologytechnicialschools.net.

15 Amazing Facts About Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs perform the exact same function as their name implies. These gentle, altruistic animals interact with humans suffering from chronic mental or physical conditions - usually at hospitals, elder care centers, and rehabilitation clinics - and provide the patients with a conduit for lowering blood pressure and quelling anxieties. Both these canine friends and their owners deserve as many accolades as they can get for the wonderful services they perform for the suffering masses.

1. They can help children learn how to read.

Many people tend to associate therapy dogs with assisting those with physical impairments, but their value actually extends beyond those boundaries. The Children Reading to Dogs program offered through Therapy Dogs International provides kids who struggle with the written word a nonjudgmental environment in which to practice. The dogs sit quietly and patiently while the children read to them, allowing them to improve upon both their skills and self-confidence without intimidation or fear of becoming the butt of the cruel jokes often unfairly heaped on the learning disabled.

2. They have been used in libraries.

TDI’s Children Reading to Dogs program has been utilized in libraries as another way to encourage a confident consumption of books. Frequently hosted in conjunction with summer or after school reading events, the synthesis between the 2 institutions does nothing but promote the importance of literacy while simultaneously providing a gentle atmosphere for reading practice. It makes sense that public and private libraries alike would find Children Reading to Dogs an attractive partner, even though it initially seems unorthodox to utilize canine companions in such a setting.

3. They don’t always have to be formally trained.

Full-time therapy dogs obviously require intensive training if they hope to be used in hospitals, nursing and retirement homes and other institutions desiring their assistance. However, more sedate pets can serve as therapy animals on a part-time, volunteer basis. The Visiting Pet Program in New Orleans, for example, welcomes pet owners with gentle dogs, cats, guinea pigs and rabbits and sends them to hospitals, retirement homes and other convalescent centers to provide love and support for the patients. Participating requires $10 and a short orientation session, though similar organizations in different cities will have their own set of special requests.

4. Any breed can be a therapy dog.

Every breed between the Great Dane to the Chihuahua holds the potential to become a first-rate therapy dog. Organizations dedicated to their training and utilization rarely - if ever - discriminate on the basis of whether or not a canine candidate comes from popular, PR-friendly stock. A sweet-natured Doberman or pit bull is far more likely to end up granting solace to a cancer patient than a high-strung golden retriever. Certifying bodies care more about how effective an individual animal will prove in a therapeutic situation than whether or not they’ll elicit squeals of delight.

5. Seizure-alert dogs do NOT always predict epileptic events.

Some individuals suffering from epilepsy or similar conditions take advantage of therapy dogs to assist them during and after the onset of a seizure. They are capable of recognizing and alerting their masters and mistresses of an incoming event, but Jenna Martin of Epilepsy.com warns that such an ability is not always guaranteed. Anyone involved with a therapy dog specifically trained to work with seizure sufferers should understand that their main function is to act as a loving companion that keeps them safe and comfortable during and after incidents - NOT as an early warning system.

6. Certification requires considerable training for humans, too.

Dog owners hoping to bring a little light to a nursing home or children’s hospital alongside their companions may want to go through the training and certification process - if they choose not to go through an informal, volunteer organization, of course. The more ardent handlers will have to undergo a battery of intensive classes alongside their pet(s) to ensure that both parties understand the liabilities involved as well as how to properly serve the patients in a gentle, soothing manner. Some institutions may require any therapy animals that pass through their doors to boast certification as well, though such things are not necessarily universal.

7. Use of therapy dogs dates back to World War II.

Some believe the history of therapy dogs started with Corporal William Wynne’s adoption of a small Yorkshire Terrier named “Smokey” after finding her abandoned on a New Guinea battlefield. Not only did she prove indispensible as an engineering and communication tool, but the sweet little dog also made waves when she visited Wynne during his recovery from a disease! Smokey brightened the day not only for her master, but his fellow patients as well. The famed Dr. Charles Mayo noticed how the tiny Yorkie brought great cheer to the soldiers, taking her on his rounds and allowing her to snuggle up to Wynne at night. She ended up enjoying a satisfying career as a therapy dog for 12 years!

8. Formal therapy dog programs began in 1976.

After witnessing firsthand how well her patients responded to a chaplain’s golden retriever, nurse Elaine Smith established an organization devoted exclusively to training and certifying qualified dogs for use as therapy animals. Her strategy caught on, and canine companions regularly bring love and attention to the elderly, cancer patients, diabetics, people with high blood pressure and others with chronic conditions. Smith launched a wonderful, altruistic movement that brought joy to millions of suffering people, and the standards she set for proper training and certification are still in use today.

9. There are thousands of therapy dogs in the United States alone.

Therapy Dogs International, as of 2009, boasted over 21,000 teams of dogs and handlers. It remains one of the largest and most well-respected organizations dedicated to training and certifying dogs for therapeutic use in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and more. But they are obviously not alone in their endeavors! A plethora of nonprofits such as The Delta Society and Therapy Dogs of Vermont also dedicate their time and resources to bringing fuzzy, loving joy to people suffering from devastating conditions. It stands to reason that thousands more therapy dogs exist than the ones registered with TDI.

10. There are 2 distinct kinds of therapy dogs.

Therapeutic Visitation Dogs and Animal Assisted Therapy Dogs are the 2 different types of therapy dogs, each with their own unique set of responsibilities and expectations. The former, obviously, predominantly serves as a therapy animal through visits only. Light play and calm repose lift the spirits of patients and lower blood pressure and anxiety. Animal Assisted Therapy Dogs, on the other hand, are assigned to specific patients suffering from physical or mental maladies that require more intensive attention. The disabled, the elderly, epilepsy patients and others adore therapy dogs for providing both a conduit for emotional decompression as well as assistance in getting through everyday challenges.

11. Volunteers go individually or in groups.

Shyer handlers nervous about their maiden voyages into the world of therapy dogs have little to fear. Many of the organizations they can join up with offer opportunities for them to visit hospitals or nursing homes in a group setting rather than flying solo. This is also an ideal situation for hopeful volunteers with somewhat erratic schedules that may prevent them from coming in as regularly as they would like. As reticence begins to dissolve and time begins getting freed up, therapy dog handlers can then move on to taking their pets out alone if they so desire.

12. Therapy dogs are NOT service dogs.

Animal Assisted Therapy Dogs may provide amazing assistance to their mistresses and masters, but they are not entitled to the same legal standing as their peers trained and registered under the nomenclature of Service Dog. The former, for example, is not allowed in establishments who do not allow pets. The latter, however, enjoys a dispensation when it comes to leading blind, deaf or similarly disabled individuals through a daily routine. Both perform extremely similar functions, but fall under entirely different legal statuses.

13. Therapy dogs wear special jackets.

When therapy dogs are on the job, they typically sport colorful jackets to alert staff members and patients of their status. It serves as a quick reminder that they belong on the premises and can be trusted by anyone they encounter. Beyond that, though, the jackets also help prevent shedding that can compromise sanitation, irritate allergies and look rather disgusting. Some programs also request that handlers sport matching togs as well…purely for identification purposes, of course.

14. Some therapy dogs take residence at a facility.

Probably unsurprisingly, many convalescent, elderly and rehabilitation homes with the proper resources enjoy keeping a therapy dog on campus. Rather than relying on the schedules of individual volunteers, they always have a canine companion on call to sow the seeds of comfort and joy. Other dogs take up residence in homes where individuals with physical or mental difficulties could use a hand with their daily routines. Still others end up as companions to prison inmates, who train them to succeed as therapy pets as part of their own respective rehabilitation processes.

15. Many strays become therapy dogs.

Hallmark only wishes it could capture heartwarming stories like this. Strays facing the misfortune of euthanasia for the crime of simply being born and neglected have gained a second chance in life as therapy dogs. As with their comparatively more pampered peers with homes and loving families, they still serve the exact same functions in nursing homes, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and more. Time caught up with many of these animals and the owners who granted them a brand new purpose.

Any calm, considerate dog can become a therapy pet for a human suffering from a chronic condition. Look into utilizing their natural charm and love to bring a smile to a patient’s face and make life seem that much more hopeful.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Want your pet's food delivered each time?

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I learned about this site a few days ago, and it seems like a pretty good program that may be of interest to many fellow pet lovers. The site is called PetFlow.com. I thought I would share it with everyone in case you are interested. It's a great idea I think.

Skeptic that I am, I read through their site information thoroughly. I have to say I was impressed with the wide variety of foods they have available, from economical brands to top of the line, super premium foods. PetFlow boasts more than 50 brands for dogs and cats, including dry and wet food, pet treats, litter materials and Wee Wee pads. Check out this link for available brands.

According to their site information, Petflow is a simple online service that allows you to quickly find food for your pets and set up an auto-ship program so you never have to run to the store last minute again! PetFlow was created for one very simple reason, to ensure that you never run out of food for your pet. Setup a customized delivery schedule that fits your individual needs. Their programming and design team is located in New York City, NY, however, they ship from two distribution centers, one on the east coast, and one on the west coast.

You can join PetFlow for free and the products are majorly discounted – up to 25% compared to your local store. In addition, you can get free shipping on any orders more than $65 by signing up at https://www.petflow.com/specialoffer.


Another thing I liked about them is that a portion of the proceeds from any purchase will be donated to the Little Shelter Animal Adoption Center, one of Long Island's oldest no-kill shelters.

Check them out. It might be a good solution to having to run to the pet store every week like I do.

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