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March 2013
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New Frontier For Volunteers & Animal Advocates

The New Frontier For The Volunteer (via

From The Magazine | Ryan Rice Illustration ©LIFE+DOG by Amanda Olson   Vol·un·teer:  a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking. Also known as altruist, bleeding heart, good Samaritan, humanitarian, philanthropist.  Whether we realize it or not, many of us…

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‘You can see the magic happening:’ Reading to therapy dog helps shy boy

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Via Montreal Gazette

MONTREAL - Asked whether he is shy, Youssef Elakkad can only nod his head. The 7-year-old, a Grade 2 student at École de la Mosaique in Côte-Saint-Luc, has only lived in Montreal since June, when he and his family moved from Cairo.

Elakkad’s first language is Arabic, though he studied French at the international school he attended in Egypt. Because Elakkad’s French is not as strong as that of his classmates, he dreads reading out loud at school.

When Elakkad’s mother, Yasmine Abdelmagid, learned the Eleanor London Côte-Saint-Luc Public Library was offering a program called Paws to Read, in which children who struggle with reading out loud get the opportunity to read to a therapy dog, she signed her son up.

“Youssef loves animals. He really wants a dog at home. I told him: ‘We’ll get a dog when we move to a bigger house,’ ” said Abdelmagid.

This week, Elakkad’s voice was strong and clear as he read to Brandy, a Shetland sheepdog. Brandy seemed to enjoy herself, too. Wanting to get a little closer to Elakkad, Brandy turned on her side and rolled toward him.

Read the full sweet story

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Start Now! Learn Outdoor Puppy Photo Tricks

Sunshine & Summer Means More Fun Outdoor Puppy Photo Ops


L+D Photo: Step Into The Shade (via

From The Magazine | L+D Photo Photography samples on this page are from LIFE+DOG contributing photographer Claudine Kosier of Simply Dog Photography. Find Claudine in Las Vegas and Columbus, Ohio and online at   This month’s photography tip can be used by anyone with any camera…

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Guide Dog Saves Canadian Man

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Angus MacKinnon and his guide dog, Hayden, who saved him from a careless driver.

Via North Shore News

Dear Editor:

On Tuesday, April 9 my guide dog and I were nearly hit by a careless driver on the southeast corner of Lynn Valley Road and Mountain Highway. We were just starting to cross, with the right of way, when a pickup rounded the corner without slowing. Luckily my guide dog froze which is a signal to me to stop walking immediately.

I wish I could say that this was a rare event. Unfortunately near misses are all too common for the visually impaired and blind. I am especially fortunate to have a guide dog who is on a constant vigil to keep me safe. Visually impaired and blind persons relying on canes are even more vulnerable.

Read the full letter

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Good Boy Dudey! UK dog saves grandmother from fire

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Via Get Wokingham

A heroic hound saved his owner’s life after raising the alarm when a fire broke out in her bungalow.

Dudey warned Lottie Smith after the blaze in her living room on Saturday, an action she says saved her life as the room’s fire alarm failed to ring out.

Mrs Smith, 54, had been watching television at her Coronation Square council home in Wokingham with four candles lit.

“I’m so glad he came and warned me. He told me something was wrong. The firefighters said ‘that dog saved your life’.”

The grandmother-of-four said she couldn’t hear an alarm and didn’t smell any smoke – still feeling the effects of a cold having been ill the previous month. Only a week before she had been taken to Royal Berkshire Hospital because of an asthma attack.

Prompted by mixed breeed Dudey, her faithful companion since he was a puppy, Mrs Smith returned to find her curtains had caught alight.

Read the full amazing story

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After spinal cord injury therapy dog helps little girl learn to move

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Via Bangor Daily News

WASHINGTON — Asheauna Pryor loves dogs. Her pit bull, Dre, may be her favorite, but she lights up when a Chesapeake Bay retriever named Lewis is around.

The two often play one of Lewis’ favorite games: hide-and-seek. At a recent visit, Asheauna sent him out of the room and hid his toy and ball. When Lewis returned, he needed several clues to find the toy. But when asked where the ball was, the retriever didn’t disappoint. Within seconds, Lewis sniffed it out from behind a mat.

“Well, that was fast,” Asheauna said with a laugh. Then it was on to more hiding and seeking.

This might seem like all fun and games, but the weekly sessions involving Lewis and Asheauna have a serious purpose: to help the 8-year-old move her arms and hands.

Read the full inspirational Washington Post story


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Do stories about working dogs make you feel safer?

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Via CBS News

The following script is from "Sniffing For Bombs" which aired on April 21, 2013. Lara Logan is the correspondent. Max McClellan, producer.

Sniffing For Bombs: Meet America's most elite dogs

When the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, highly trained dogs were rushed to the scene to search for more explosives. Boston police have said dogs swept the streets in the morning and a second time just an hour before the first marathoners crossed the finish line. It's considered likely that the bombers planted their devices well after the dogs finished sweeping the area. Since 9/11, dogs have been used more than ever because nothing has proven more effective against hidden bombs than the nose of a working dog.

The best of them serve with U.S. Special Operations and they're in a league of their own. It's nearly impossible to get anyone to talk about them publicly because much of what they do is classified, but we were able to talk to the people who train them for this story. We took the opportunity to ask about what might have happened in Boston while getting a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of America's most elite dogs.

Read the full story

After you read, please share in the comments your thoughts...does this story help you understand working dogs better, their training or their handlers? Was the story meant to make you feel safer, educate or just get you excited? Do specially trained dogs make you feel safer?

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UK Rescue Pug Sniffs Cancer Saves Her Rescuer

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Via Counsel & Heal

A 57-year-old woman was saved from breast cancer thanks to her pet dog.

Marian Cooper, an animal rescue worker from Birmingham, UK, said that her 6-year-old pet pug had tirelessly nudged her right breast until she performed a self-exam and realized she had a lump, according to the Daily Express.

"Flo kept nudging me and digging at me - no matter how many times I put her on the floor she would always climb back up," Marian told the Daily Express.

"I thought she was just being annoying, but without her I'd probably be dead," she said.

Read the full inspirational story

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Comedian Steve Hofstetter Gives Fearlessly for a Dog Called George Carlin


a dog named George Carlin
This is a bittersweet story with an ending that I'm going to spoil for you, in order to hopefully motivate you. The little dog in this photo isn't with us anymore, except in spirit. And I feel his spirit is strong. Strong enough to positively influence you now. I never met George Carlin but thanks to Sara Tenenbein, this little dog's story will be shared. Sara's husband, Steve Hofstetter did the right thing when no one was looking except for his wife and dog Bea Arthur.

Sara is proud of what her husband did and what he wrote, and forwarded his writing to me here at GrouchyPuppy. She hoped that my readers would be inspired to take action and help. She said, 

Two days ago, my husband and I found an abandoned dog in a gas station parking lot. My husband, who was not a dog person before I met him, caught the dog, fed it, and cared for it.

He wrote a piece for his Facebook about it because, in his words, "I wanted to create something beautiful for him."

The Day Everything Changed is powerful and moving, it's a story that speaks to our GrouchyPuppy motto loudly and emotionally. I cried while reading but can tell you this was one of those times when it was more important to finish reading and not let sadness win. I hope you agree. Please read The Day Everything Changed, by Steve Hofstetter ..

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Dogs Help Domestic Violence Victims: Meet Manhattan "District Attorney Bear"

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Via NY Daily News

There's a new lawman in town, and he has a penchant for chew toys.

A lovable 4-year-old black Lab named Bear spent Tuesday getting acclimated with the Manhattan district attorney’s executive office before starting his very serious gig later this year as therapy dog for domestic violence victims.

“It’s our newest DA employee, and he’s got the disposition of a saint,” said District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., who was hosting the furry-faced staffer at his upper West Side home this week. “Everyone loves him.”

Bear was trained as a service dog by upstate inmates in the Puppies Behind Bars program.

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For years therapy dogs make difference at New Hampshire Hospital

“This dog was the only thing that made me smile”

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Via Sentinel Source

Today is Charlie’s first time.

And he can’t walk down a hallway or get into an elevator without people oohing and aahing over him, patting him on the head and saying how cute he is.

Charlie, a 3-year-old black poodle, has come to work at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene as a therapy dog. His owner, Stephanie Baute, has brought dogs into the hospital since 2003 to help patients with their therapy or just to get them to smile.

Read the full inspiring story

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Australians spending more than $2 million on vet bills

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Via Sydney Morning Herald

It might come as no surprise to animal lovers that Australians spend much more on their pets' health than their own.

Costly vet bills and a low uptake of pet insurance means more of the household budget is going towards keeping our furry friends fighting fit.

Of the $198.2 million in Australian household expenditure, 6 per cent - $12.3 million - is spent on healthcare, according to recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data. But when it comes to the $6 million we spend on our animals each year, 36.9 per cent is forked out on pet health.

That's $2.2 million on vet's bills, according to online veterinary information community Vetico.

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