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January 2012
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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.

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Heroic 8 Month Labrador saves house from fire

Good boy Dyson! This puppy in Australia saved the day with his barking, by alerting the neighbor. Now, who's the good puppy? You are, yes you are Dyson, yes you are.


A Perth dog is being hailed a hero after saving his owner's home from burning down.

'If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have a house,' his grateful owner said.

The eight month old labrador was inside the house when the fire broke out in the kitchen and quickly raised the alarm by barking at a neighbour.

The house sustained $50,000 worth of damage, with the kitchen completely gutted.

But firefighters say the damage would have been far worse if Dyson hadn't been around.

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Dogs as reading buddies at Medway Library - Milford, MA

It is great to see programs like Paws to Read, in this Milford library, bringing children and books together, with the help of attentive dogs.

“It makes the kids feel terrific all over,” Gipps said. “And the more they come, the more comfortable they get with reading.


Meet Penny, a brown and white Australian shepherd who’s the center of attention at Friday story time.

She wags her tail as she sits, and she’ll even eat cheese out of children’s hands. Penny also visits area hospitals, schools and assisted living homes as a therapy dog. In Medway, she’s part of the new library program “Paws to Read,” in which children can sit with a therapy dog and read their favorite books.

“It helps them feel comfortable and gives them extra reading time,” said Penny’s owner, Pat Gipps of Holliston. “It’s very relaxing to get to read to the dog.”

Gipps, who is a Therapy Dogs International evaluator and owns Caring Paws, which takes therapy dogs across the region, said she initiated the library program to help children read.

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Dog saves dementia sufferer's life after hearing tapping on pipe

Good boy Jack! We always listen to our dog Cleo, and investigate when she barks. We've learned she makes a different sound for someone at the door, a delivery truck or a dog walking by. Would you get up to investigate if your dog barked in the middle of the night?


It's an extraordinary tale of rescue and heroics which could have come straight from the script of the hit television show itself.

When dementia sufferer David Feltham tripped and fell on his driveway on a freezing cold winter's night, rescue came from a little pooch who bears a striking resemblance to wonder dog Lassie.

Little Collie-cross Jack heard the pensioner's desperate tapping on a drain pipe, which was his only way of signalling for help as he lay prostrate in sub-zero temperatures. The heroic dog kept barking at the sound of the tapping until owner and neighbour, John Wheatley, 67, got out of bed - and spotted his friend lying outside.

‘It was the middle of the night but David eventually managed to get to our next door neighbour’s drainpipe, and started tapping on the drainpipe.

‘He heard Jack begin to bark, and kept tapping until John got out of bed to see what was going on.’

David said: ‘I didn’t think Jack liked me because he always barked at me - but he’s saved my life and now I think he’s great.’

John added: ‘It was very unusual for him to start barking in the middle of the night - he was sort of yelping, which I’d never really heard him do before.

‘He kept crying out for about 10 minutes, and I thought I’d better have a look outside, and I saw David lying on the drive.

‘I rushed outside and covered him up with a blanket to keep him warm, and my wife, Carole, phoned for an ambulance.

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Former shelter dog fights crime as NY State Trooper

About a third of the dogs serving as part of the New York State Police Canine Unit, are from rescues.


Wheeler is hardly the only shelter dog on the team. About a third of the 73 dogs now on the force are rescues.

FOUR-YEAR-OLD Mark Bookal had been missing for months in 2010 when New York State Police Trooper Michael Boburka and his German shepherd, Wheeler, were called in to search the area near the boy’s home in upstate Newburgh.

Armed with a tin bell around his collar and a verbal search command, the skilled cadaver dog sniffed his way around a retaining wall by the banks of the Hudson River and then climbed to the top of a steep woodpile.

When Wheeler started furiously digging, his job was done. “That’s when we knew he had found something,” said Boburka, who has been a canine handler since 1994 and Wheeler’s partner for the past eight years.

After impressing the top brass at the NYSP canine unit, Wheeler completed a 20-week intensive training program held at the sprawling

10,000-square-foot State Police Canine Training Facility in Cooperstown.

Wheeler is hardly the only shelter dog on the team. About a third of the 73 dogs now on the force are rescues.

“I don’t know why they get such a bad rap,” said Sgt. David Rivera, who heads the unit.

The first three dogs in the program, which started in 1975, were bought from the U.S. Army for $10,000.

Since then, all the dogs — mostly German shepherds — have been donated by breeders or found in shelters throughout the Northeast.

The force now includes three bloodhound teams, 28 explosives detection teams and 42 narcotics detection canine teams, of which 16 are cross-trained in cadaver detection. 

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UK television commercial whistles at your dog

A British television commercial selling dog food is using a whistle frequency too high for pet owners to hear it, in order to get the attention of their canine audience.

Do you think this is gimmicky? Dogs already can smell & hear more than we can. Would it bother you if you can't hear what your dog can, during a commercial?


It could leave even the most adoring owner feeling dog-tired. A television advert with a soundtrack only dogs can hear will be broadcast in the UK for the first time today.

The pet food commercial features a high-pitched sound, similar to a dog whistle, which is inaudible to humans.

But its creators hope it will make dogs prick up their ears and bark – forcing their owners to pay attention to the product being advertised. Bakers pet food tested the advert by playing it to 12 dogs which were distracted with a toy.

They found that all of them showed an interest in the noise and several approached the television screen to investigate further.

The minute-long advert also has an ordinary soundtrack, including whistling, barking and bell ringing, to attract the attention of animals and humans alike – but it’s likely to have many owners reaching for the mute button.

Read the full story and see the video

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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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Pets Accompany Couples Down the Aisle

If your dog approved of your future spouse, it is only right that your dog be involved in the wedding. Your big day, is their big day too.

Would we have included our dog Cleo in our wedding? Absolutely. She'd have managed the mothers really well.


Including pets in weddings, as the singer Carrie Underwood and the hockey player Mike Fisher did in July 2010, has become just one more way for couples to personalize their weddings. (Ace, their rat terrier, scampered down the aisle in a pink, Swarovski-crystal-encrusted tuxedo.)

In a 2011 study of American weddings, Brides magazine found that nearly 5 percent of brides included a pet in the wedding party, and its editors estimated that nearly double that amount had pets present during the ceremony and/or reception.

Of course, it helps if one chooses a pet-friendly location, as Debbie Parsons and Brad Slayton of Auburn, Wash., did when they married on Feb. 14 in the staging area at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York. Although Major, the 120-pound black-and-tan ball of fur that typically sleeps next to them, was the only dog in attendance, the barks, yips and growls of others served as background music during their vows.

Mr. Slayton, an instructor at a technical school, said, “He’s a part of the family, so there was never a question” that Major would be at their wedding, planned only a week before by Ms. Parsons, a fuel services executive. “I didn’t think it was very romantic, but then she said, ‘It’s Valentine’s Day.’ I couldn’t argue with that.” And to “make it a real dog day afternoon,” Mr. Slayton said, Major, a Tibetan mastiff, won best of breed at the show.

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Giving Fearlessly | North Carolina Woman helps struggling pet owners


Delores Butler doesn’t want to see anyone give up their pet because they don’t have the money to buy pet food.

Butler is doing something about it. Last week, she held a Save-A-Pet food donation drive at Tractor Supply at Garden Road in Burlington. It was a success. The pet food collected there was delivered to Loaves & Fishes Christian Food Ministries.

Loaves & Fishes Executive Director Brenda Allen said on Friday that Butler donated 700 pounds of pet food to the agency last week.

“We serve 7,000 people and about 75 percent have pets,” Allen said. “Some of them can’t afford food and can’t feed their pets.”

Allen said Butler has provided Loaves & Fishes with another way to help those in need during difficult economic times. Butler said she is working to host another Save-A-Pet food donation drive in March and hopes to continue her effort to raise donations and collect pet food this year. All donated items will be delivered to Loaves & Fishes.

“I’d like to host the event at least once a month,” Butler said. “Some of my friends are helping me develop a website with information about Save-A-Pet.”

Butler said her house in Green Level was filled with 50 bags of pet food and another 60 cans of pet food last weekend from collections made through Save-A-Pet on Feb. 10 and Feb. 11. Butler said she collected financial donations as well, which she used to purchase some of the pet food.

Butler kept all the receipts from the event, which will be given to Loaves & Fishes to show all donations were used appropriately. Many who participated in Save-A-Pet also dropped off pet food they had already purchased.

“I do this because I love pets,” Butler said. “If I can help someone keep their pets, it makes my day.”

For more information about Save-A-Pet, call Delores Butler at 336-405-2168.

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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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Policeman saves Jack Russell from falling off cliff

Happy Molly, the Jack Russell Terrier, was reunited safely with her person by a quick thinking policeman.


Molly, a two-year-old Jack Russell, was out for a morning stroll at Ramsgate's Government Acre with her owner, Joan Pressley, 64, on Thursday when she slipped through some railings and dropped into a bush just below the cliff's edge.

Joan said: "I went to look over the railing because I could hear noise from the protest below – I thought I could hear the animals in the trucks crying.

"Before I knew it, Molly was through and jumped down into a bush and could not get up."

"I didn't expect the policeman to go over the railing. I probably would have tried to stop him if I had been with him at the top."

Joan is also thankful to the demonstrators who came to Molly's aid.

She said: "Two of the demonstrators pulled open one of their big banners to catch Molly in case she fell. They were very kind."

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PAWsitive Therapy Troupe Dogs Help Illinois First Graders Learn to Read

Teacher's Pet. It is great to see these dogs helping kids build their reading skills in the classroom.


The dogs, all part of PAWsitive Therapy Troupe, are vetted and trained to be docile, sweet dogs, who don’t bark wildly or get excited and playful around other dogs. They’re able to sit quietly for an hour and a half while the children take turns reading. Children only participate with permission from parents or guardians.

In some cases at Westfield Elementary last week, the dogs snuggled up to the children reading, dozed off or sat and watched their first-grade buddy sound out words.

“Sometimes they look like they’re actually enjoying the story,” Price said.

The program started last school year when school staff invited the troupe to a family literacy night. Response was overwhelmingly positive, Price said, so the groups decided to make the pairing permanent. The dogs and their trainers, all volunteers, visit the school once a month on a Friday.

They visit Briar Glen Elementary School too, and also make appearances at schools and libraries in Naperville and Lisle, said Karen Click, a program volunteer at the Downers Grove-based organization.

Click said the dogs involved in the troupe are not service dogs, but they are trained to work with physical therapists and their patients, sometimes motivating people learning to walk again after surgeries, Click said. The dogs also visit retirement communities and nursing homes.

First-grader Jonah Keating just sees the experience as a fun time to hang out with pups. “The dogs are so cute,” he said when asked why he enjoyed reading to them.

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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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Dramatic Rescue: Firefighter Saves Pit Bull Puppy From Burning Home

A dramatic rescue from Hunter Robinson, an Alabama firefighter, saving Hen, a Pit Bull puppy from a burning home. We're grateful that they had a pet oxygen mask to help little Hen.

"I wasn't worried about my house, I was just worried about my dog," said Demetic McCaulley.


From WCSH Portland

McCaulley watched as a firefighter came out of her burning home with her puppy, Hen. 

"This is my baby," she told firefighter Hunter Robinson when he handed it over. 

"When we first made entry, upon seeing the flames, we could hear the dog barking and crying," said Robinson. "It took us awhile to find him." 

The three month old pit bull suffered smoke inhalation. 

Rescue crews worked on the dog for several minutes and used an oxygen mask to help him breathe. 

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