Military veterans need our support. Homeless dogs need our compassion. An Arkansas veterinarian is using his experience and position to help both.
What started as a chance encounter between dog and veterinarian has developed into a close-knit relationship and mission to help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to get unconditional love from a service animal.
Dr. Zepecki besides being a veterinarian, is a veteran himself. In 2008 a dog came into his practice with severe wounds. The vet cared for the dog for many months and eventually adopted him. It was only while treating the emotionally traumatized dog that Dr. Zepecki realized he himself had been dealing with PTSD for decades with the help of his canine patients.
About seven years ago he started the process of finding out he could help fellow veterans and rescue dogs. He created an association that provides service dogs for veterans. They have helped almost a hundred veterans find service dogs so far.
Watch the video below, then read the inspiring story here.
Some people are born animal lovers. My mom described herself as a "horse crazy" child. I have loved everything about dogs for as long as I can remember.
Minding our family's dogs brought out the caregiver in me, and taught me responsibility. Tender moments together when they got older gave twelve year old me a chance to learn compassion and empathy.
Experiencing the special connection that's possible between a person and a companion animal is something unique, and for many, life changing.
This year, the British Columbia SPCA is celebrating that special human-animal bond with three different ads...all heartwarming and lovely.
“Our animals don’t see our flaws or shortcomings- they love us as we are, unconditionally, which is a pretty amazing gift,” said BC SPCA general manager of community relations, Lorie Chortyk.
We cannot deny how dogs and cats have moved into a very special place in our lives. Honestly, given the stresses in the world today, companion animals play an even greater role. They can provide a necessary, healthy balance to what worries us.
This unique bond we share is fascinating, made more so, because of the increase in scientific studies being done. People want to know how dogs work, how they understand the world, how they learn, and why do most of us in the western world consider them as family.
However, if we're already a dog lover, I think most of us are happy with our human and dog symbiosis. We don't need scientific research to tell us why we feel so good when we cuddle on the couch together, or play ball at the park. We only care that our best friend is healthy, and content.
Hey, the dogs with webbed feet were ringers! Service dogs who work with Invictus athletes had an informal dog paddle swimming contest to end this year's games in Orlando, Florida.
The 2016 Invictus Games took place May 8-12 in Orlando. Prince Harry, himself a veteran, created the Games in 2014 for servicemen and women who have suffered life-changing injuries, both visible and invisible. The prince was on hand for the dogs' impromptu event.
I'd like to see the federal government do more to help our veterans suffering traumatic brain injuries, depression and post traumatic stress disorder.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts: Almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans. As many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans. 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan.
We have too many veterans suffering, and dying, who deserve our help after serving our country.
We already know pet dogs play a valuable role. Mine uncovered missing items, made me feel protected, got me out of the house, introduced me to my neighbors, listened to my problems, and made me laugh when I was feeling blue.
Imagine what highly trained service dogs are capable of, and the immense benefit they can offer our injured servicemen and women?
Looking for love? Come out for an intimate wine and cheese fete to kick off the San Francisco SPCA Lonely Hearts Adoption Event on Friday, February 12th from 6p-9p* at the Mission Campus Adoption Center at 201 Alabama Street @ 16th.
The Lonely Hearts Valentine's party is Fri, 2/12! Wine, nibbles, & free adoptions! RSVP required for Friday's event.
There will be nibbles and wine, but best of all, lovely lonely hearts looking for you.
All cat and dog adoptions are free on February 12-14 at both San Francisco SPCA adoption centers but the party is only Friday night at the Mission Campus.
Space is limited, so RSVP now for this limited access Friday event.
Uggie the dog, famous for his part in the Academy Award-winning silent film The Artist, died in August at the age of 13. He may have been left out of the SAG Awards 'In Memoriam' this weekend, but this talented Jack Russell Terrier will never be forgotten!
Uggie joins a long list of Hollywood canine actors who've shown that W.C. Fields was wrong! Though I'm not sure about children, but actors working with animals makes a movie better!
I can think of at least three movies that won Oscars with a major role played by an animal. How about you?
Four years ago I attended a mini-ACES workshop where effective tried and true ways to find families for orphaned pets. The session was led by Mike Arms, a man directly responsible for saving millions of animals. As President of the Helen Woodward Animal Center he is an inspiration because he was the first person I ever met in animal welfare who applied business principles to pet adoption practices, and how to raise compassionate children.
Today, the Helen Woodward Animal Center, in partnership with Blue Buffalo, is very honored to bring The Business of Saving Lives, free of charge, to Sydney, Australia.
The Center has been providing brand new ways to look at animal welfare, marketing, social media, fundraising, humane education, and more through The Business of Saving Lives workshops for over 14 years with life-saving results. In mid-February this year, The Business of Saving Lives will travel abroad for the first time and Helen Woodward Animal Center has selected Maggie’s Rescue in Sydney, Australia to host the first internationally-located training.
“I’m very excited about the upcoming workshop and its potential to decrease euthanasia rates in Australia and enhance the outcomes for our Aussie companion animals,” explained Lisa Wright, Founder and Director of Maggie’s Rescue. “The workshop is bringing unique international perspectives on companion animal welfare and management issues that we feel will create progressive and forward-thinking dialogues amongst all levels of government and key stakeholders.”
The Sydney, Australia-based The Business of Saving Lives Workshop will take place at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney between February 15th and February 17th, 2016.
There are a lot of dogs, and bicycles in San Francisco. I've seen both on BART. When you live in a big urban city, using public transportation makes a lot of sense. You can travel a great distance fast and cheap, but you have to give up personal space and share the bus, train or trolley with others.
I like this part. I enjoy experiencing the sights and sounds of it all, even when it makes me uncomfortable. It's real life. It's also temporary. When I read in the NY Times about dogs riding the subway in New York illegally, I thought about the dogs I've seen here on Muni.
"Aren't you the nice dog..." on the J Church, San Francisco, CA.
If the dog is well-behaved why should it be a problem?
Once upon a time man chose to create dog breeds that mostly served a purpose, such as hunting, herding and protecting. These dogs worked for the farmer and the aristocrat.
Industrialization and the increase of dogs as companions had people altering the features of dogs purely for looks. Form no longer followed function.
From Atlas Obscura, "Dalmatians most likely originated in Croatia, with the first discernible depictions dating to the early 17th century. (“Dalmatia” is a coastal region of Croatia.) Early uses of the dog varied; it seems the first Dalmatians were all-purpose dogs, sometimes used for hunting, sometimes for guard dogs, sometimes for companions.
Their use as firehouse dogs emerged in the 19th century in the U.S., where it was discovered that Dalmatians have a natural affinity with horses. Fire engines at the time were horse-drawn, and Dalmatians proved very capable of trotting alongside and in front of the engines to clear a path and find the way to a fire."
Today our relationship with dogs continues its evolution. Now it seems we have more blended dogs than pure bred, and many more countries and societies seeing dogs as members of the family. We also have an incredible increase in the use of dogs as service animals.
I hope these trends continues. Sure, certain dog breeds will still be used primarily for singular jobs, but I like that we are seeing a wider embrace of all dogs.
If we continue to focus more on our unique relationship and bond with dogs and less on manipulating a dog's genetics, then we reflect a humaneness that shows our own positive evolution.
Merry Christmas, peace and joy to the world. Let's hold our loved ones close, especially all the dogs we love. I plan to spend some of my holidays thinking about goals for the new year, including how I can help more people understand why senior dogs rule, and therefore adopt or foster them.
You'll also find me snuggling with every dog that will let me. Will this be the year we welcome a new furry buddy? Let's see!
The desire for dog meat is waning and the practice of consuming dogs as food will end, thanks to positive influence of the social media. Fifty seven dogs were rescued from a dog meat farm in South Korea by Humane Society International (HSI) arrived at the San Francisco SPCA on March 16.
Nearly 60 dogs were taken and the HSI destroyed the cages.
In this image, HSI consultant Lola Webber removes a dog from his cage for transport to the U.S. (Manchul Kim/AP Images for Humane Society International)
Once the animals were evaluated and treated for any medical issues, HSI worked with its Emergency Placement Partners East Bay SPCA, Marin Humane Society and Sacramento SPCA to find the dogs homes.
(Manchul Kim/AP Images for Humane Society International)
Jen Chung, Vice Chair of the SF SPCA Board of Directors: “These incredible animals have survived unthinkable conditions and suffering as part of the dog meat industry. They deserve to spend the rest of their lives in loving homes. We are honored to be part of this project, which will increase awareness of the cruel dog meat industry. Ultimately, we’re hoping to completely end the practice of consuming dogs as food.”
HSI worked with the farm owner to remove the dogs from miserable conditions and close its doors for good. As part of the plan, he signed an agreement with HSI to shut down the property and move into a permanent, humane trade in crop farming. HSI provided assistance to make the transition possible and will follow the farmer’s progress to ensure compliance.
HSI, the international affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States, is working to reduce the dog meat trade in Asia, including South Korea where dogs are farmed for the trade – and where the 2018 Winter Olympics will be held. HSI will work with other dog farmers who agree to get out of the inhumane dog meat trade permanently and transition into trades like crop growing.
(Manchul Kim/AP Images for Humane Society International)
As someone who believes strongly that how we treat animals is a reflection on our humanity, this was one of my favorite stories of the year. The world is changing and with the growth of economies in other countries, as well as education, more people are appreciating the power of the human animal bond. You see more people in Korea and China wanting dogs as members of the family and companions.
I'm glad to see animal protection groups include issues like dog meat farms as part of their focus, and hopefully more good will come of this over the next two years leading up to the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Ready to have your heart grow three sizes? Grateful Dogs Rescue is hosting a big adoption event in San Francisco this Saturday, December 12! Lots of wonderful adoptable dogs and your chance to donate to a very important local nonprofit. Veterinary Street Outreach Services provide free veterinary services and supplies to the animal companions of homeless San Franciscans.
Vet SOS provides free veterinary care to the companion animals of homeless San Franciscans and links their human guardians with health care services. Operating since 2001, Vet SOS is a project of SFCCC's Street Outreach Services (SOS) program.
What We Do:
Vet SOS provides free pop-up veterinary clinics 12 times per year using volunteer staffing and a specially equipped mobile outreach van.
How We Do It:.
By going directly to homeless people - meeting them on their own turf - the Vet SOS team builds relationships of trust and breaks down the barriers that keep homeless people and their companion animals from the care they need and deserve.
If you're wondering how you can help the dogs you love, or other companion animals over the holidays, you're in luck! Our friends at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has this great infographic, and these four tips:
1. Adopt, Don’t Shop
Make adoption your first option this holiday season! Avoid buying anything from pet stores that sell puppies because most of them come from puppy mills. Search for local adoptable animals by visiting www.ASPCA.org/adopt
2. Help Local Shelters
Help your local shelter by volunteering your time or finding out what supplies they need. You can also win a grant for your local shelter by entering our "Home for the Holidays" contest with Dogist and Subaru at www.ASPCA.org/holiday
3.Have a More Humane Holiday Meal
If you eat meat, eggs, or dairy, look for certifications that require better treatment for animals on farms, specifically Certified Humane, Animal Welfare Approved, and GAP (Levels 2 and above). Visit www.ASPCA.org/labels to view a label guide and get useful tips and info on how to have a more humane holiday
4. Host a Holiday Sweet Swap
Consider hosting a holiday bake sale at your office or with friends and family and donate the proceeds to help animals in need. Find out how to start your fundraiser at www.ASPCA.org/SweetSwap
Do you have your own special holiday traditions? I'd love to read about them in the comments.
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.