10 Animal Shelter Myths Debunked

Filed under: Dog Health,Dog Rescue — Tags: , , , mtest on January 24th, 2014

by Jamie Lynn Smith

Animal shelters are a huge asset to the communities they serve as well as surrounding residents – and, of course, to the animals. Unfortunately, their purpose and contribution to society are often misunderstood. Here, we explore some prevalent myths about animal shelters and the precious pets inside of them. Feel free to leave your comments or questions at the end.

1. All animal shelters are directly managed by larger organizations (e.g., ASPCA, HSUS).

False. In fact, according to Ayse Dunlap, Director of Operations for the Cleveland Animal Protective League (APL), which services about 16,000 animals a year, “this is entirely false…there’s no affiliation at all.” Dunlap adds that most rescues and shelters run solely on grants and donations from the surrounding communities, unless they are government facilities (like county rescues).

2. All shelter pets available for pet adoption are old.

False. It’s possible to find pets of all ages in shelters (i.e., puppies, adults, middle-aged, etc.). Ellen Quimper, Executive Director of the smaller rescue (intake about 1,000 a year) Love-A-Stray Cat Rescue in Avon, Ohio (LAS), says she currently has over 20 kittens available for adoption and adds that, on any given day, there are at least 10 kittens available as well as senior pets and ‘regular adult’ pets. Dunlap concurs, noting that the Cleveland APL has 40-50 kittens right now as well as several puppies. “It really depends on the season,” says Dunlap. “This time of year we’re heading into slower kitten season. Winter equals fewer kittens. ” Adding that, “the APL never discriminates for age – we have a 12-year-old dog on the floor as well as a two-month-old kitten. It really just depends on the time of year.” LAS also has pets of all ages as most rescues make it a rule to not play the age discrimination game – they’re hearts are too big.

3. Shelter personnel don’t know enough about pets.

False. According to Dunlap, “…a shelter’s workers are generally quite knowledgeable and often the shelter’s greatest resource. You can find people like veterinary technicians volunteering at shelters oftentimes, as well as actual veterinarians, behaviorists, and other animal specialists.” They know the pet’s personality, temperament, likes, dislikes, even the food that the pet prefers. In fact, once you determine which pet you’d like to adopt it’s best to ask what food he/she is currently being fed. Many shelters receive food donations by pet food companies and therefore are best left on the same food until you can consult a veterinarian.

4. Animal shelters only have dogs and cats.

False. Many rescues, including Cleveland APL, have small mammal adoptions and offer rabbits, guinea pigs and other small four-leggers like gerbils. You can even rescue birds like parrots!

5. Shelters don’t have any purebreds up for adoption.

False. According to Found Animals, 25% of the pets in shelters around the U.S. are purebred dogs and cats. And, of course, don’t rule out the existence of specific breed rescues as they are widespread and very reputable. For example, if you wanted a Golden Retriever you could easily find a Golden Retriever rescue group in the nearest big city as these types of shelters/rescues are abundant in numbers — even toy breed rescues.

6. Shelter pets are usually quite dirty.

False. They may come in looking like ragamuffins, but they shine with delight after they’re cleaned up and given medications, shots, and spay/neuter surgery, if needed. Some animal rescues even make it a habit to have regular grooming sessions for the pets they have. Volunteers are tasked with brushing, clipping nails and bathing the animals at shelters. And let’s keep in mind folks, these are animals – they naturally have a smell… so cut them a break. Cleveland APL, for instance, tries hard to groom most every dog that comes in – at least with a good bath and brushing!

7. Adoption fees are too expensive.

False. This one may be a bit subjective, but you must remember all that the animal shelter/rescue has done for the pet — they spent the time and money necessary to obtain him, house him, feed him, medicate him, spay/neuter him and properly vet him otherwise. That’s easily a $500 investment. You’re getting a STEAL at $250 (or sometimes less depending on the shelter or situation). Dunlap also says that most rescues and shelters give heartworm tests, flea preventatives, plus Rabies/Bordetella/Distemper vaccinations. That’s over $500 right there. You’d be hard-pressed to find a dog or cat from a breeder or pet store for anywhere near that price (plus, the reward that you are saving a life).

8. Shelter pets usually have behavioral problems or are imperfect.

False. “People think there is something wrong with the animals, i.e. the mentality of, ‘they wouldn’t be in a shelter if there wasn’t something wrong with them,’” says Dunlap. “Most of what comes into our shelter are wonderful family pets. Some dogs, yes, have training and behavioral issues because the first human owner didn’t properly work with them, but it’s rare.” Dunlap adds that – even from a breeder – you aren’t going to get a “perfect” pet and that every pet needs to be trained and properly vetted.

9. You won’t get to know your chosen shelter pet well enough before adopting.

False. Dunlap said that in many cases, the potential adopter is ready to proceed before the animal shelter is! Most rescues will allow home visits and encourage you to interact with the dog in a “Visiting Room” at the actual shelter before you move forward.

10. Animal shelters are sad places.

False. However, this also depends on how you look at the situation. Some go into an animal shelter and see confused faces looking back at them. But imagine if these faces were out on the cold, harsh street with nothing to eat and no friends. With no one to care for them. With no one to talk to them. These animals are being saved, and hence, you should look at the glass as half-full in every animal shelter’s case and in every animal’s case.

This article originally appeared on partner site

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How to Exercise with Your Dog

Filed under: Dog Health,Dog Life — Tags: , , , mtest on January 24th, 2014

by Jessica Remitz

Though it may seem like your four-legged friend loves nothing more than to nap on the couch, dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy just like people do. From long evening walks to a daily game of fetch, starting a fitness routine with your pup — combined with feeding them a well-balanced, nutritious diet — will keep them happy and healthy for years to come.

Benefits of Exercise

Similar to people, one of the main health risks associated with a lack of exercise in dogs is obesity, says Susan O’Bell, DVM at the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. Dr. O’Bell also notes that dogs that go without regular exercise may be prone to a variety of behavioral issues, including destructive behaviors like barking, digging or chewing. Aside from preventing these issues, providing your dog with regular exercise supports healthy aging by easing chronic symptoms and allows them to be social and explore their environment.

“Many dog owners report that their dogs seem to be better behaved when they receive adequate daily exercise,” according to Dr. O’Bell. “Additionally, at least one study has shown that dogs who have hip dysplasia show less lameness if they have longer duration of exercise throughout the day.”

When to Start Exercising Your Dog

While it’s important to have your dog exercise throughout his or her life, you’ll want to keep in mind their life stage and fitness level before starting an exercise routine. Puppies under the age of three months, for example, should have off-leash time on soft surfaces such as grass or carpeting; stairs, meanwhile, should only be used sparingly. In fact, Dr. O’Bell points out that retrospective studies have shown use of stairs by puppies at this age may be a risk factor for future development of hip dysplasia in certain breeds. She also recommends saving long runs with your pup until they’re a bit older — between 10 and 12 months of age — to ensure their growth plates have closed.

Finding the Right Exercise Routine for Your Dog

The best kind and amount of exercise for dogs will vary greatly, depending on the dog’s age, breed, and physical condition. Consult a veterinarian to devise the safest routine for your dog, especially with senior dogs, overweight dogs, or brachycephalic dog breeds like English Bulldogs, which are prone to overheating — particularly in warm weather.

There is, however, one type of exercise that both you and your dog can benefit from immediately: multiple walks outdoors every day. “Unless a veterinarian has told you otherwise,” Dr. O’Bell says, “pet owners shouldn’t underestimate the power of briskly paced walks throughout the day.”

Additional forms of daily activity can include swimming, a game of fetch and mental exercise such as food puzzles or basic obedience training. Agility training and competitive events can also be beneficial forms of exercise, but only if you’ve done your homework. “Owners should take time to educate themselves on what agility or other dog sports entail,” says Dr. O’Bell. “…and should participate in gradual training programs, as one would with any sport.”

Lastly, coordinate with a veterinarian on a balanced diet that is appropriate for the exercise routine your dog is about to undertake. This will help boost your dog’s energy level and, if weight loss is also a goal, assist in shedding the excess fat. Now get out there and start exercising with your dog.

This article originally appeared on partner site

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Dog Found Frozen to the Ground Going to New Forever Home

Filed under: Dog News,Dog Rescue — Tags: , mtest on January 24th, 2014

by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

Peanut, the dog that was confiscated by authorities after being found frozen to the ground earlier this month in Jasper, Indiana, will be going to his new forever home this weekend.

“The people who will be adopting Peanut did not know of his story when they saw him and fell in love, which we think makes it more special,” Mary Saalman, executive director of the Dubois County Humane Society told Pet360. “Peanut is very healthy and happy; he has been staying with his foster mom all of this time so that he could recuperate in a home setting. He is spunky, smart and full of life.”

An anonymous caller tipped Dubois County sheriff’s deputies to dogs outside in a yard during a particularly cold night just after New Year’s.

When deputies arrived to investigate, they found Peanut literally frozen to the ground. It took about ½ hour for the deputy to use warm water to help release Peanut. Since the incident, 50-year-old George Kimmel and 55-year-old Dorothy Kimmel, have been charged with animal neglect.

Peanut was found with another dog that was chained to a pole, but the owners immediately took that dog in and the police officers could not confiscate the other animals in the house, pursuant to Indiana law, which states the dogs must be in imminent danger.

However, the Dubois County Humane Society worked with residents at the home and they eventually relinquished three more dogs to the organization’s care.

The humane society now needs help in placing those dogs, which all appear to be mixed breeds. “It’s sad to say, but going through the horrible abuse Peanut did probably saved his life and not only found Peanut a wonderful forever home, but also helped three of his friends to be removed from this home, as well,” Saalman said. “We certainly hope that people will step up to adopt Shera, Janelle and Suzy as they did for Peanut. We were at capacity when we removed these dogs from their home, we have had to pay fees to have them boarded until we can adopt out more animals in our facility and make room to bring them in. They are all very sweet little dogs with very gentle personalities.”

Peanut’s ordeal not only saved his life and three other dog siblings, but may have helped saved other countless animals as well. Saalman says the publicity to the plight of dogs left outside has brought a lot of awareness from the community.

“Since Peanut’s story broke, we have been working many neglect cases of dogs being left without adequate food, water and shelter, even resulting in confiscation of another dog,” Saalman said. “We hope that Peanut’s story has also helped to bring more awareness about the needs of outdoor pets throughout our country during this very cold winter.”

This article originally appeared on partner site

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University Degree for Dogs?

Filed under: Dog News,Dog Training — Tags: , , mtest on January 8th, 2014

by Vladimir Negron

Dogs are often smarter than we give them credit for, but have you ever heard of one getting a degree from a university? At the University of Truffle Hunting Dogs, located in Northern Italy, dogs gifted with a “good nose” can do just that.

Since 1880 over four generations of professors have trained the best of the best to hunt down the unique and treasured White Alba Truffle. There are many truffle varieties, but the Piedmont region surrounding Torino near the university is the only area in the world where White Alba Truffle grows — a fungal delicacy so coveted that it can sell for $600-$1200 per pound at the height of their season (which ranges from mid-September to January).

Training a Truffle Hunting Dog

A dog’s first exposure to the “white diamond of Italy,” according to, starts relatively low key with a truffle hunter tossing around a bag containing a dry truffle inside for the dog to retrieve. Then, as the dog progresses in his or her university training, the bag is buried deeper and deeper in the ground. This is because truffles grow amongst the roots of certain trees.

The partnership between dog and truffle hunter was limited to the hills of southern Europe up until fairly recently, but dog truffle hunting can now be experienced in North American woodlands too. In fact, the Oregon Truffle Festival’s will host its seventh annual Truffle Dog Training Seminar this January, where you can attend lectures on canine scent detection and the fundamentals of scent training as well as an opportunity to engage in an authentic wild truffle hunt.

So the next time you sprinkle some truffle oil or shavings in your culinary cuisines, think of all that hard work dogs and their hunting companions have had to endure — and then take that scrumptious first bite.

This article originally appeared on partner site

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Dachshund Adopts Paralyzed Cat

Filed under: Dog Behavior,Dog News,Dog Rescue — Tags: , , , mtest on January 8th, 2014

by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

You know a friendship is close between two animals when their rescuers name them Idgie and Ruth, after the two main characters in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes.

What makes this animal friendship really special is that Idgie is a dachshund and Ruth is a paraplegic cat.

The pair were found outside a gated home in Geneva, Fla. in October. Idgie is thought to be around 2 years old and Ruth is about 7 months old.

However, when animal control arrived at the scene, picking them up wasn’t an easy task. Idgie was fiercely protective of her feline pal and barked anytime someone came near.

Seminole County Animal Services finally did remove the pair from the streets, and they soon learned that when they separated them at the shelter, the protective dachshund was constantly looking for her feline friend. As a result, they put the pair together in a special pen.

It’s unknown what caused Ruth’s condition, but it doesn’t appear to be an injury. The cat can get around only by dragging herself around with her two front legs.

The non-profit TEARS, Every Animal Receives Support paid for experimental therapy and acupuncture. Unfortunately, the procedures proved ineffective.

Setting Up Shop

Although the pair appeared to be well cared for when they were found, no one ever came to claim the duo.

Jacqueline Borum, who owns Hollywood Houndz Boutique & Spa and runs a non-profit called Project Paws, which raises money for animal rescues in emergencies, gave the pair a home in her shop.

Staff members move, feed and bathe Ruth daily, and Idgie gets plenty of walks and treats. When they aren’t getting attention from staff and customers alike, you can find Idgie curled up around Ruth, keeping her safe and warm.

Can’t Keep Them Apart

Borum told the Orlando Sentinel that Idgie is sweet as can be, except when another dog comes anywhere near Ruth.

Since veterinarians do not know what’s causing Ruth’s paralysis, it is unknown if her condition will worsen, or how long she has, but Borum says she will make sure the pair isn’t separated, for no matter how long that may be.

Editor’s Note: Photo from the Orlando Sentinel Facebook page. 

Dachshund Adopts Paralyzed Cat was originally published on partner site

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Dog Found in Trash Heap Gets Second Chance

Filed under: Dog Life,Dog News,Dog Rescue — Tags: , mtest on December 20th, 2013

Dog Found in Trash Heap Gets Second Chance

by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

A dog that was found in a Los Angeles trash heap isn’t in the dumps anymore.

The Husky, which has been named Miley by her rescuers, has not only been saved from a near certain death, but now is an internet sensation.

The video of her rescue earned over 5 million hits in just 5 days. “It’s been viewed all over the world, it’s just incredible,” Eldad Hagar of Hope for Paws, told Pet360.

Miley’s rescue began when local resident called Hagar and told him of Miley, who had been living in the trash dump for at least several months.

When Hagar arrived, he didn’t know if the pitiful pup was beyond saving. Emaciated and covered with mange and skin infections, the dog was so sick that she didn’t even have the capacity to run in fear.

After sitting with her for over an hour, Hagar finally gained Miley’s trust and she was ready for her new life.

It wasn’t easy, says Hagar, but after several weeks of medicated baths and intense medical treatment, Miley is now doing very well.

She’s even made a friend at the shelter, Frankie, a Chihuahua that nearly drowned in a drainage tunnel.

However, Hagar says the pair will not be adopted out together. “Miley wants to play rough and long and Frankie is done after just a few minutes,” says Hagar.

Miley, who is estimated to be about a year old, is also not up for adoption quite yet, she still needs more medical attention and has to be well enough to undergo spay surgery. All that could take at least another month, Hagar says.

Is Hagar worried that a viral video may bring out some people who might want Miley just because of her celebrity status?

Hagar says it’s possible, but his 10 page adoption application is formulated to weed out any people who may not want to adopt for all the right reasons.

“I’ve been doing this so many years, no one can trick me,” says Hagar. “To adopt a dog through us is a very hard task.”

This is not Hagar’s first viral rescue video, his organization was also responsible for the video of Fiona, which has earned over 50 million views, he says.

This article originally appeared on partner site

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Seeing-Eye Dog Saves Blind Owner

Filed under: Dog Life,Dog News — Tags: , , mtest on December 20th, 2013

Seeing-Eye Dog Saves Blind Owner

by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

A guide dog named Orlando is credited with saving his owner’s life when the man passed out and fell onto subway tracks in New York City, just as a train approached.

Cecil Williams, who has been blind since 1995, was on his way to a dentist appointment when he suddenly felt faint.

He tried to lean on his guide dog for support, but instead tumbled onto the tracks.

The black Labrador retriever immediately jumped into the path of the oncoming train as well and began licking Williams’ face, trying to get him to move.

The express train slowed down, but could not stop and one and half cars passed over the two before it was able to come to a halt.

Williams had fallen in the trough between the rails. Witnesses to the incident flagged down a subway workers, who told him to stay there.

“He was definitely this man’s best friend. When the train was coming, the dog didn’t move,” Ana Quinones, who witnessed the incident, told the New York Post. “The dog was loyal to his master. He tried to save him. He was trying to pull him away when he was too close to the edge. He risked his own life to save his owner.”

Williams suffered a cut on his head, but was not seriously injured. He doesn’t know why he passed out; however, he is on insulin and other medications. Orlando was not harmed.

Williams says Orlando will get a special treat for his heroic act. Unfortunately, guide dogs must retire at age 11 and Orlando is nearing retirement. Williams says he will have to find a new home for his trusted dog since his insurance will not pay for a non-working dog. He says he would keep him if he could afford Orlando’s care.

“The dog saved my life,” an emotional Williams told the Associated Press from his hospital bed. “I’m feeling amazed. I feel that God, the powers that be, having something in store from me. They didn’t take me away this time. I’m here for a reason.”

Editor’s Note: Photo from The New York Post’s Facebook page.

Did you know guide dogs will follow their owners just about anywhere to keep them from harm?

This article originally appeared on partner site

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Caught on Camera: Dog Robs Dollar General

Filed under: Dog Life,Dog News — Tags: , , mtest on December 20th, 2013

Caught on Camera: Dogs Robs Dollar General

by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

A “pawsitively” bad dog in Clinton, S.C. was apprehended last week after he was caught on security camera taking off with goods from a Dollar General.

The crime spree began when Cato the Husky broke away from his leash and headed straight for the store.

According to Fox Carolina, the surveillance cameras showed Cato walking up to the doors at approximately 9:38 a.m., however, the doors closed before he could make his way in. Finally, he was able to sneak in with customers where he proceeded to rob the store of pigs ears, beef bones, dog food, and treats.

The four-legged bandit then left the store in less than a minute, but returned about three minutes later.

“We had to lock the door to keep him from coming back in,” said store manager Anastasia Polson.

Cato must have known that he needed to hide his loot because he took all the stolen goods and buried them nearby.

The police, who filled out a report just for the fun of it, might have asked Cato for a confession, but the four-legged bandit exercised his fifth amendment — right against self-incrimination.

The ‘red-pawed’ dog did have to spend some time in the pokey, but Holly Darden, Cato’s mom, bailed him out and paid for the stolen goods.

This isn’t the first time Cato has entered local businesses.

“He’s gotten into Ingles. He’s gotten into BI-LO. He goes to Pizza Hut. And he goes up to Yo Cup which is downtown too,” Darden said.

We are happy to report that Cato is now back home lounging around the house.

Image/via Fox Carolina News Facebook page

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Rescued Dog Saves Family From Fire

Filed under: Dog Life,Dog News,Dog Rescue — Tags: , , mtest on December 20th, 2013

Rescued Dog Saves Family From Fire

by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

As a family of six in Virginia settled in for the night on Saturday, they lit the fireplace to keep warm. What they didn’t know: Their rescued pit bull was about to return the favor by saving their lives.

Sammie the pit bull started jumping on the bed of Tina Sharpe, who was sleeping in her home in Hanover County, Va.

When Sharpe got out of bed to see why Sammie was upset, the room was already filled with smoke. She couldn’t see anything.

Sharpe, whose sister owns Sammie, alerted the rest of the family. All made it to safety.

“If it wasn’t for the dog, we’d be dead,” homeowner Brenda Sharpe told WTVR News.

The family lost everything, but the most important thing is that they’re all safe and they have the family dog to thank.

“She is a hero,” Tina Sharpe says.

The fire is thought to have started in the chimney. The Red Cross is assisting the family.

Do you think rescued animals know they’ve been rescued and return the favor if they have the opportunity?

This article originally appeared on partner site

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2013 National Dog Show Results

Filed under: Celebrity Dogs,Dog Life,Dog News — Tags: , mtest on December 4th, 2013

2013 National Dog Show Results

by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

If you’re a dog lover, chances are that your Thanksgiving Day not only included turkey on your table, but dogs on your television.

I can’t tell you how many posts I saw on Facebook on Thursday talking about “The Dogs,” which were of course, the dogs in the National Dog Show.

If you watched the show, you saw the three new breeds that were introduced this year, as well as a first time winner for a particular breed.

The winner this year was a real crown “jewel,” by the name of Jewel, an American Foxhound. This was the first time an American Foxhound has won the Best in the Show title in the 12 year history of the National Dog Show Presented by Purina.

For those of you not familiar with Jewel, she a 3-year-old dog who defended her title in the hound group. She was named Best in Show over a Norfolk Terrier, a Standard Schnauzer, a Bichon Frise, an Irish Waterspaniel, a Bearded Collie and a Pekingese.

“Jewel flies around on a loose lead, then she stops and free stacks with a look that says, ‘Beat me.’ She is probably the best American Foxhound I’ve ever bred,” Lisa Miller, Jewel’s handler of Mechanicsville, Md. said.

This may have been a first win for the American Foxhound and the hound group in general, however, this group has been around for many years. Some evidence indicates hounds were first brought to America in 1650, when the Englishman Robert Brooke sailed to the Crown Colony of America with his pack of hunting dogs. These hounds would later become the basis of several strains of American Hounds. In the mid-to-late 1700s, hounds from France and England were brought in to further develop the breed.

Did you know that even President George Washington had an American Foxhound?

Other winners at the show include:

Herding Group – a Bearded Collie named “Fawny,” of Ridgefield, N.J.

Toy Group – a Pekingese named “Rodger,” of East Berlin, Pa.

Terrier – a Norfolk Terrier named “Ryder,” of Boston, Mass.

Sporting – an Irish Water Spaniel named “Riley,” of Seattle, Wash.

Non-Sporting – a Bichon Frise named “Honor” from Washington, D.C.

Working Group – a Standard Schnauzer named “Schweitzer,” of Baltimore, Md.

Editor’s Note: Photo of Jewel from the National Dog Show.

Did you watch the National Dog Show? What did you think of the winners?

This article originally appeared on partner site

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