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January 2012
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March 2012

Pet Fostering | Teaches children to give fearlessly & influence positively

I believe in the benefits of pet fostering. Both the dog and the shelter you are working with benefit. This article from Chicago Parent shares how pet fostering is also an opportunity to teach children about compassion, pet overpopulation, and homeless pets.

This story illustrates for me, how to teach children about giving fearlessly of themselves to help a dog or cat, and when they do, they will also influence positively their community, and the lives of both the pet and everyone involved.



Nine-year-old Avie Magner watches out her front door, waiting expectantly. It's been two weeks since her latest foster dog, Shadow, was adopted by the Schroeder family: Jim, Shannon and their children, Maggie, Jack and Tommy. Today they are coming for a visit.

It's a coming home of sorts for Shadow, a happy-go-lucky black lab, who spent eight weeks as a foster dog at the Magner home with parents Allison and Reid, and their children, Avie and Kaden, 6. Over the past year, the Magners have fostered three dogs from Great Lakes Lab Rescue, headquartered in Elmhurst: two floppy-eared puppies, Austin and Abby, and then Shadow, a 1-year-old female who had been surrendered by her owner and was facing euthanasia because of overcrowded shelters.

"I love getting to know the dog each time and getting to know their personality," says the fourth-grader.

Avie remembers the day the family said goodbye to Shadow when she was adopted by the Schroeders. "All of us really cried and cried," she says. "I made Shadow a dog toy with my new sewing machine."

But today, there are squeals of delight as Shadow greets Avie and the rest of her foster family again, this time just for a visit; Shadow has found her forever home.

Read the full story

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Amazing Photographic Series: Cutest Dog Faces Underwater

Dog photography...underwater! What made me laugh out loud, is these dogs don't take their eyes off the prize i.e. the ball, even while under the water. Wonder what a Shar Pei would look like underwater?

Have you ever taken photos of your dogs underwater? 


Seth Casteel of Little Friends is a volunteer photographer with Los Angeles Animal Services, photographing shelters pets to give them a better chance of finding a forever home. 

His work is pretty amazing, and worth supporting. Visit Little Friends Photos to find out more.

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United waives pet fees for military families overseas

No one should under-estimate the human-animal bond. I'm glad United will forgo these transport fees for military families.


Military families who were facing hundreds of dollars in extra fees to ship their pets back home have gotten a break from United Airlines and won't have to come up with the extra cash after all.

Pets that can't ride in the cabin will still be sent as cargo under the new policy that United is adopting as it merges with Continental Airlines. But pet owners who are moving because of military orders will not have to pay a third-party cargo handling fee that is imposed in Japan and some European countries.

"We realized the impact it had on our military families," says United spokeswoman Mary Ryan. "We value our relationship with the military very much and just wanted to see what we could do to help alleviate that burden."

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Dogs Deserve Love & Full Stomach | Pedigree Helps Shelter Dogs

The "Every Dog, Dog Show" event last week in the Pedigree Facebook community was a big hit. So many wonderful stories and photos. But, the chance to feed more shelter dogs isn't over. Now, by liking and/or sharing this Pedigree video, you will help even more shelter dogs have full stomachs.

For everyone who watches, shares or likes this video, Pedigree is donating a bowl of food to shelter dogs, up to 500,000 bowls. 


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Influence Positively Interview Joan Smith-Reese


Joan Smith-Reese is Executive Director of Animal Care Sanctuary. Animal Care Sanctuary is 45 years old but for many years was not in the limelight, just caring for animals without the fanfare. They are located in very rural NE Pennsylvania. They care for approximately 700 animals daily, mostly cats and dogs but have some horses, pigs, rabbits, etc. too.

They work under Cornell’s Shelter Management Program through Maddie’s Fund and their goal is adoption, concentrating on senior pets. "We certainly get plenty of pups and kittens but it is the seniors we melt for. Our adopters come from all over the country and we are proud of our matching program."

After the animals are medically evaluated and cared for, they are behaviorally assessed. They have 35 employees and over 50 volunteers that help care for our animals and assist at adoption events, fundraising, etc.  Along with owner surrenders they work with humane shelters to pull animals when they are at capacity so that euthanasia can be avoided. Because they are all privately funded the goal was to forge a trust with the government funded organizations to assist where they can.

Previously, Joan was owner of Keystone Home Health Services, Inc. in Philadelphia and President of Keystone Hospice. Both organizations had over 200 employees. Joan has her Bachelors from Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA and her Masters from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia PA in Holy Spirituality in Health Care. She resides in Waverly NY and has one son Drason serving in the Air Force.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Lying in bed in the evening and reading poetry to my three dogs that listen intently until I read them to sleep.

If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be & why?

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Good Grief | Honoring Our Pets

With our dog moving through her senior years, I can't help but find myself distracted at times by thoughts of life without her. She is our first dog together, and my first dog that I've had as an adult. She is such a big presence in our home that I miss her when she chooses to stay in another room to nap. Waiting in line at the local ATM, it isn't unusual for a familiar face ask, "Where's Cleo? How is she doing today?"

Back in September, after attending a senior dog seminar at the San Francisco SPCA, I decided to join in the monthly Pet Loss Support Group also held at the SF SPCA. The monthly sessions are free and Dr. Betty Carmack, RN, Ed.D. is there as a grief counselor. She spoke at the seminar and had mentioned "anticipatory grief" in association with pet loss. I hadn't thought of my recent feelings about Cleo like that before, but after speaking with her, I am relieved that they are normal and not an indication that I'm already a wreck.


Good grief. The best part of the pet loss group for me was the incredible welcome you are wrapped in. I'm so glad I went. There were about ten of us strangers, but we immediately all had a love for our pets in common. We all wanted to honor our pets, and move past any feeling of regret or guilt. It was such a wonderful experience, and actually helped me refocus on the time I have with my dog now, away from my fear over her eventual passing and what that will be like.

Yesterday friends had to euthanize their beloved dog, and it got me thinking about how I would want that experience to be with Cleo. It is a personal and individual experience, but the decisions around it are worth thinking about ahead of time. As they recommend in the senior seminar, it is important to begin creating a support network before you need it, as well as, discussing how you want to honor your pet when the time comes.

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Dogs Really Do Understand Us

Great points in this story, and not just in the comment section..I really do love pet humor.


For the study, Kaminski and her colleagues compared how well chimpanzees and dogs understood human pointing. The person pointed at a visible object out of reach of the human but within reach of the animal subject. If the chimp or dog retrieved the object, he or she would be rewarded with a tasty food treat. (Chimps received fruit juice or peanuts, while dogs got dry dog food.)

The chimps bombed, ignoring the human gestures, even though they were interested and motivated to get the food rewards. The dogs aced the test.

The chimpanzees failed to comprehend the referential intention of the human in the task. They did not see the pointing as important to their goal of getting the food, so they simply ignored the people during the study. “We know that chimpanzees have a very flexible understanding of others,”

Kaminski said. “They know what others can or cannot see, when others can or cannot see them, etc.” Chimps are therefore not clueless, but they have likely not evolved the tendency to pay attention to humans when trying to achieve goals. Kaminski explained that even wolves do not have this skill.

“Wolves, even when raised in a human environment, are not as flexible with human communication as dogs,” she said. “Dogs can read human gestures from very early ages on.”

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Caring For Your Senior Dog

It is Guest Post Friday, and this time we have Sonia Singh, a large dog expert who writes the Big Dog Blog at Paw Posse. She shares some valuable tips for making sure your older dog is in tip-top shape throughout their golden years.

Caring For Your Senior Dog

Just like puppies need special food and health care to nurture their growing bodies, senior dogs need special care too. As they move from adulthood to golden years, their bodies change and so do their needs. Keep these tips in mind to give your dog the care they’ve earned.

What’s A Senior?

Before all else, know when your dog is considered a senior. It’s not the same for each dog – it varies based on size. Larger dogs are considered senior earlier than small dogs. The American Animal Hospital Association considers small dogs senior once they hit 10 years old, while a giant breed could be considered senior at just 5 years old. One way to estimate senior age is half of your dog’s life expectancy. Another way is to determine your dog’s relative human age (see chart below) and consider them a senior when they reach 50-55 “human” years. For the best estimate, ask your vet when your dog will reach senior age.

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Feb 10-12 | San Francisco SPCA Be Mine Valentine's Adopt-a-thon

"Galaxfees" will be in effect all weekend, so cats and dogs 6-months and older will be just $10 - $12. Help the San Francisco SPCA reach their goal to find forever homes for 120 animals!



4pm - 8pm: Cocktail party at Maddie's Adoption Center!

Free drinks, a puppy kissing booth, photo opportunities with Jackson Galaxy, food from Voodoo Van.

Ken Een from Frisco Tattoo offering animal- and SF SPCA-themed tattoos.

Continue reading "Feb 10-12 | San Francisco SPCA Be Mine Valentine's Adopt-a-thon" »

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FedEx gives 47 rescued dogs free plane ride home

Now this is how you work together! Fed Ex and the American Humane Association are saving these dogs from a 15-hour ride to their new homes in Florida.


With button-bright eyes and wagging tails, 47 of the dogs found last month crammed in a U-Haul by a California rescue group were at the FedEx complex on Wednesday, waiting to be transported to Florida, and eventually their permanent homes.

The dogs were discovered on Jan. 17 law enforcement in Fayette County, in the back of a U-Haul, having lived in filth for days on the road from California to Virginia.

Now, they're among the last to be parceled out to animal agencies with adopters lining up to take them.

FedEx does not transport pets, but made a one-time exception for these dogs, said spokeswoman Shea Leordeanu.

The free plane ride spared them 15 hours in a truck.

"We have a policy that we don't ship pets. But we also have hearts and we were following this story as well," Leordeanu said. "And so when the rescue groups reached out to us to ship them to Fort Lauderdale, we agreed because this was such an extenuating circumstance and it was in our backyard."

The dogs will be flown to Fort Lauderdale and then taken to the Tri County Humane Society Boca Raton.

Read the full story

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Influence Positively Interview | Faith Maloney

Photo of Kashi and Faith is by Molly Wald -- Best Friends Animal Society

Faith Maloney is one of the founders of Best Friends. Best Friends Animal Society® is a nonprofit organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets®. The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah, headquarters, the country's largest no-kill sanctuary. Faith is a consultant in all aspects of animal care at the sanctuary, including the Best Friends clinic and adoption programs.

In the early days of Best Friends, Faith spent much of the day in the direct care and feeding of the animals. These days, she devotes an increasing amount of time to helping people from all over the world who are starting sanctuaries themselves. On any given day, there is usually at least one group visiting Best Friends with plans to start a sanctuary or other local animal-care program. For those who can?t come and spend time at the sanctuary, Faith has produced manuals like How to Start an Animal Sanctuary, and she offers help and guidance on the telephone.

Prior to working with Best Friends, Faith was involved with animal care in a small private sanctuary in Pennsylvania, and with counseling and social work in New York and Chicago. She has three children and two grandchildren. Her son is a veterinarian in Ohio, her oldest daughter is a schoolteacher in South Carolina and her youngest daughter is involved in the work of Best Friends.

Faith was born in England and has a degree in fine art. She also writes articles on animal issues and animal care for Best Friends magazine and other publications.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? My idea of perfect happiness is a time when all animal life is not abused or exploited. For me this applies to animals raised for food and other products as well as for companion animals.

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Dog Saves Owner's Life With Heroic Phone-Grabbing Trick

This story should make every dog trainer, and service dog proud. And I couldn't agree more with this headline, "Genius Dog Saves Owner's Life With Heroic Phone-Grabbing Trick" that Anna North wrote.

What I love about this photo, Danny seems to be saying,"What trick? That was all skill baby." I say, Danny, you're the man and one amazing dog! Nice job buddy.


Bethe Bennett fell on her tile floor Friday and broke her femur. She lay on the ground in excruciating pain, aware that no visitors were coming until Tuesday.

“I was scared. I really thought I was going to die,” Bennett told “I knew I was going into shock because I’m a nurse.”

But Danny, a trained service dog who used to care for Bennett’s now-deceased mother, lent a helping paw that helped save his devoted owner’s life.

“I started asking Danny to get me the phone,” Bennett said. “He ran back and forth a couple of times barking and finally jumped up and knocked the phone over and pushed it with his nose toward me.”

But then Bennett realized the paramedics may not have been able to get into her locked house.

“Paper!” she asked Danny. He brought over five sheets, one of which had the phone numbers of Bennett’s neighbors.

Bennett called her neighbors, who unlocked her home with a hidden spare key just as paramedics arrived.

Read the full story and see the video at


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5 Steps to a Happy Dog Starting with Squash

How do you make a happy dog? First you wake them up with belly rubs, then take them out for a morning constitutional then serve them foods that are tasty yet easy to make, and easy on the wallet.

It's win-win when you both are happy with what is in their food bowl. Follow below to see how we made Cleo a very happy dog, starting with squash.

Step 5 - Get approval from customer and happy dog

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