Celebrate the season by joining the San Francisco SPCA and Macy's for the 29th annual Holiday Windows event. The window displays feature adorable – and adoptable – cats and dogs who need loving homes. This tradition is one of the most beloved symbols of the holiday spirit in San Francisco.
On November 20, at 5 p.m., the Windows, inspired by the golden anniversary of the classic holiday animated special “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” will be unveiled on the corner of Stockton and O'Farrell Streets by Snoopy, this year’s special guest.
Here in the Bay Area, our compassionate response to pet overpopulation and to finding homes for "less adoptables" like senior dogs has been admirable. I've been a supporter of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue for many years, and the incredible Lily's Senior Dog Sanctuary in Marin County for the past couple of years.
For all that is available to animals in the Bay Area, more awareness about non-euthanasia options is needed. This Sunday, November 1, as part of a group of short films on KQED Truly CA you will meet an elderly couple in the North Bay giving dogs, cats, and horses, the chance to live out their lives with dignity rather than be euthanized because of age or disability.
Last Stop in Santa Rosa
An elderly couple in Santa Rosa runs a hospice for dying animals that creates an alternative to pet euthanasia. Without a voice to decide their own fates, these aging and disabled animals rely on humans to make the best choice for them.
Tune into San Francisco’s KQED 9 on Sunday, November 1st at 6pm PT to watch this short documentary by Elizabeth Lo, in the Truly CA episode: Truly CA Shorts: State of Discovery, which features five short films exploring the California experience.
Guess who is famous for both her beautiful voice, and for her love of dogs? Hint: bet she didn't sing the blues when her dogs were nearby...
This year marks the 100th birthday of the legendary Billie Holiday. When you look at the many photos of Lady Day with her dogs, you can see what a positive influence they had over her. I bet they provided a wonderful companionship, especially given the era she lived in as a professional singer. Dogs don't discriminate or care about your looks or color, they just love you.
This photo above is from a 1949 cover story for Ebony magazine, and it shows Ms. Holiday at home in her Harlem apartment cooking a steak with Mister, who is probably making sure it stays rare! The photo below is the two of them listening to records together.
Eleanora Fagan, professionally known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz musician and singer-songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz music and pop singing. Wikipedia
Do you have any favorite musicians who were dog lovers?
During National Walk Your Dog Week, this article had us thinking about how to encourage people to walk their dog. Our brains know walking together is good for both of us, but sometimes that isn't enough to get us out the door.
Pet obesity, along with humans, is a real issue. It's easy to get into the habit of staying curled up inside, or letting our dog nap the day away.
We decided to ask this question on our Facebook page, and one great answer came from Kathleen:
Some spoke of the simple joy of exploring the outdoors together, while others saw the clear health benefit.
I loved going on dog walks with Cleo. Besides the obvious exercise, it was fun to see the neighborhood through her eyes. We had some adventures together that felt like we were Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. Mischief with a big dog in the city is not to be missed!
Read more via Companion Animal Psychology and tell me, what motivates you? Is it a welcoming outdoor space, the desire for some exercise together, or ???
In the 1950s, the Edison Electric Institute in the US decided to sponsor researchers to investigate the effects of electrical currents on the heart.
Enter Guy Knickerbocker, a fastidious, 29-year-old graduate working under electrical engineer William Kouwenhoven in one of the labs at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. They were trying to improve the external defibrillator, which Kouwenhoven had invented a few years earlier.
In 1958, before the ethical treatment of animals became a serious consideration, their experiments involved testing on laboratory dogs.
Knickerbocker, now 86 years old, remembers working with a colleague one day when, suddenly, one of the dogs went into cardiac arrest, or ventricle fibrillation (VF).
Normally when this happened, they would use a defibrillator to shock the dog's heart back into rhythm - but that day they were in the lab on the 12th floor and the equipment was on the fifth floor.
"People sometimes come by and dump dogs out here, leaving them to starve. So, we started feeding them, letting them in, taking them to the vet to get them spayed and neutered. We made a place for them to live."
"One day I was out and I seen this guy with a tractor who attached these carts to pull rocks. I thought, 'Dang, that would do for a dog train,'" said Bostick. "I'm a pretty good welder, so I took these plastic barrels with holes cut in them, and put wheels under them and tied them together."
And with that, the dog train was born.
"Whenever they hear me hooking the tractor up to it, man, they get so excited," said Bostick. "They all come running and jump in on their own. They're ready to go."
I firmly believe in the power of social media and it's ability to positively influence people. It isn't hard to find examples of how more people are seeing how wonderful older dogs are, and choosing to adopt a senior dog. You can also find more young people gaining awareness of how the human-animal bond can have a positive impact on their life.
Having participated in this wonderful event before, I am thrilled this year that with the help of their school teachers, young animal lovers will be encouraged to join in this year's Remember Me Thursday.
Next week, the Helen Woodward Animal Center will once again unite with animal welfare proponents and organizations worldwide for the 3rd Annual Remember Me Thursday® candle-lighting ceremony. This year, however, the event is reaching an even younger group of animal-lovers.
“Only 30% of pets in US homes come from rescue facilities,” stated Mike Arms. “Lighting a candle this September 24th will bring awareness to these wonderful orphan pets and can help in increasing adoptions and decreasing euthanasia.”
The program that asks participants to light candles on the exact same day globally to honor the millions of pets who lost their lives over the past year without the benefit of a loving home, has extended its reach into local schools with new lesson plans and heartwarming art projects. Helen Woodward Animal Center invites the community to share these materials with classrooms and kid-focused social groups and then take part at scheduled ceremonies or online Thursday, September 24th, 2015.
Celebrities are just like us! Over Labor Day, Dwayne Johnson didn't hesitate to jump into the water to save his drowning puppy. I give the man credit for having a sense of humor about losing his cell phone in the pool.
Based on other stories that I've read, he does seem like a stand up guy, so let's hope he's prepared for what it'll take to properly socialize and raise two French Bulldog puppies.
Isn't it beautiful to see a people and nation appreciate the role animals have in our life? Dogs deserve our love and compassion for their unique place as partners to mankind.
A police officer sprinkles colored powder and petals onto a police dog at Nepal’s Central Police Dog Training School on Wednesday as part of the Diwali festival, also known as Tihar Festival, in Kathmandu, Nepal.
After about 30 minutes, we were cautiously optimistic and agreed that we would take Max for a couple of weeks as a foster-to-adopt. As we signed the papers, I confirmed that he was a lab/pit mix, to which the shelter quickly corrected me that he was pretty much full pit.
On the drive home, Max was understandably skiddish so I reached back to calm him down and he nipped at me, breaking my skin. That was it. We were not adopting this dog! He had proven me right.
A few days later, he was still acting out. After disciplining him sternly for something, he immediately retreated to his bed, froze up and would not move. The fear in his eyes was palpable. He knew it wouldn't last. It was too good to be true. We were going to send him back to that outdoor shelter. My heart sunk. I went and laid down by him on the floor and just started crying.
Then and there I decided we were going to make this work. I would not give up on him that easily. All he wanted was a loving home, with some toys and bones and a warm bed.
I'm not going to say that things were perfect at that time. Max was petrified of bikes (which was not good, considering bikes are everywhere in Portland!), he was terrible on walks, jumped out at motorcycles and scared the living daylights out of other dogs (and their owners).
It wasn't until we went through the loss of our pregnancy that Max showed his true colors. We were a mess. Weeks went by as we mourned the loss of what could have been. Max sensed it. He sat in between us as we cried, licked our tears away, took us on walks and helped us heal in ways we could have never imagined.
Max has made me a better, more compassionate, loving, responsible and caring individual. Over the past two years, we have needed him more than he needed us. I hope that during #pitbullweek, we can raise awareness about how loving and beautiful pit bulls can be. Max really adopted us and we are forever grateful.
Who else is glad they gave Max a second chance? Have you had an adoption experience where you had second thoughts?
Why does Ziggy the senior English Bull Dog know every day is National Dog Day when she's around? Because everywhere this adopted dog goes she gets a lot of love, from her family to strangers sitting next to her on a bench.
As a confirmed dog lover, I think every day is National Dog Day too. And until we're ready to adopt again, I'm celebrating the hell out of this holiday with as many dogs, especially the older senior sweethearts, as I can!
If you don't have a dog, consider marking this day by adopting or fostering a dog in your area.
These Newfoundlands are doing serious work to save lives along the many miles of coastline in Italy, but I'd still watch if they were on a canine edition of BayWatch.
Meet the canine lifeguards of the Italian Coastguard [click here for the photo series]:
I once was friends with a Newfoundland named Chewbacca. When he sprawled on the floor, he was the size and texture of a large bathtub mat. Playing around with him one day I found he had webbed feet, no wonder the Italians created a water patrol using Newfs.
Using their duck paws, Newfs are natural swimmers, and with their immense strength and thick double coat, these giant dogs make the perfect lifeguards. Let me say that if I saw one of these guys lumbering by me on the beach, or cruising by in a boat, I'd definitely feel safer.
If you were on vacation in Italy, or anywhere boating or swimming, wouldn't seeing these canine lifeguards help you relax and enjoy yourself more?
Taking good pictures isn't easy, ask any dog person how hard it is to get a photo of their furry buddy that isn't blurred or poorly lit. And that's when the dog is sleeping. Imagine what it must be like for shelter dogs. These are dogs who lives can change overnight when a stranger falls in love with their cute mug on a shelter's website, or Facebook page.
Having a cute photo to share online and across social media can have a big impact on dog adoption successes. From MNN.com:
The study found that some of the most important traits of a photo that lead to an adoption include:
the dog making direct eye contact with the camera
the dog standing up
the dog posing in an outdoor location
the sharpness and overall quality of the image
Interestingly, the aspects that seemed like they would make a dog appear more friendly, such as a dog wearing a bandana, having a toy, or having an open mouth with a visible tongue, didn't seem to sway people who were looking to adopt.
Read more about the tricks to taking a photo that will help increase a dog's adoption chances.
Did you fall in love with your dog's photo before you met?
Goldstock, which brings together hundreds of golden retrievers and their owners, is a yearly gathering that benefits and celebrates rescue dogs. The event was started in 1998 by Gail Lustig, a New York City dog-walker whose father built the camp in the 1950s.
Since then, Goldstock has grown from its humble beginnings of 60 attendees to include campers and rescue groups from all over the world. Roughly 400 dogs and nearly 30 different rescue groups participated in Goldstock 2014, as well as many dog-less attendees who showed up to support the cause.
This is better than any band camp, because dogs! What a wonderful event to close out summer with, and I can't wait to see Dog Camp in the fall!