We'll always remember you Uggie as the real star of The Artist!

image from www.ew.com


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?


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Feb. 15-17, 2016 Helen Woodward Animal Center bringing Free Animal Welfare Workshops to Sydney, Australia

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.”

Mike Arms

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.

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Would you ticket a dog for using public transit?

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.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com
"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?

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The role dogs play continues to evolve

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.

image from assets.atlasobscura.com

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.

Read more about the other dog breeds here

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays All You Dog Lovers!

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!

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

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One of the best dog stories of 2015 courtesy of the SF SPCA and Humane Society International

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.



south korea dog meat farm rescue
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.



humane society international
(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.



humane society international
(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.

For more Information

Visit the San Francisco SPCA

Read: Dogs rescued from South Korean meat farm via San Francisco Chronicle

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December 12 Grateful Dogs SF Rescue Adoption Event 12pm - 2pm!

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.


Learn more:


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How you can help animals this holiday season

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


helping animals this 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.

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Snoopy to unveil Annual Macy's Union Square Holiday Windows Featuring Adoptable SF SPCA Dogs & Cats

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.


sfspca dog adoption
Photo credit: Rob Schroeder



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Nor Cal Elderly Couple's Animal Hospice Featured in KQED's Truly CA Shorts

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.

For more information on Truly CA:

Truly CA: http://ww2.kqed.org/trulyca

Truly CA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KQEDtrulyca

Truly CA on YouTube: http://bit.ly/1JfMTOg

Truly CA on PBS Video: http://video.kqed.org/program/truly-ca/

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Happy 100th Birthday Billie Holiday, legendary jazz singer and dog lover!

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?

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What Encourages People to Walk Their Dog?

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.

image from www.companionanimalpsychology.com

We decided to ask this question on our Facebook page, and one great answer came from Kathleen:

When I take my dog for walks I use the "Walk for a Dog" app. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details... Every time we walk, they donate to the animal shelter or rescue of my choice. I walk for http://aarf.org/ because that is the organization that my dog was adopted through.

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 ???

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We have a dog to thank for the discovery of CPR

Yet another reason to snuggle up with your dog tonight. Over 50 years ago, a dog going into cardiac arrest was instrumental in the discovery of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

image from www.bbc.com


From the BBC:

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. 

Continue reading "We have a dog to thank for the discovery of CPR" »

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On Remember Me Thursday: My Opt-to-Adopt Message

Today, on Remember Me Thursday, many of us are lighting a candle to honor the adoptable pets around the world who never got their chance with loving, forever families.

Some of us with adopted pets are also sharing our opt-to-adopt stories and messages to inspire others to consider pet adoption.

This picture is of my adopted dog who passed away last year, after giving us nine incredible years together. We adopted Cleo from the San Francisco SPCA when she was already about 3-4 years old.

My husband and I were hoping to find us a buddy, a dog to hang out with and to take to the park. We got so much more!

Image from www.grouchypuppy.com

If you are considering a new addition to your family, I encourage you to adopt! You just might find a new best friend.

Check out these Bay Area Resources:

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