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New Tennessee program encourages senior dog adoption

Ned Jilton II photo
Via TimesNews

Old dogs, new tricks: Shell-E Shining Seniors promotes adoption of older shelter animals

Older dogs need love, too.

At least one organization thinks so. They have started a program exclusively promoting the adoption of older dogs from area animal shelters.

The program is called Shell-E’s Shining Seniors. It is presented by Shell-E the Shelter Dog, a mascot for animal shelters across the region.

“Basically what we’re looking to do is to supplement whatever a senior pet may be lacking, whether that be surgery or shots, to make them more adoptable,” said Tracey Barr, president and founder of Team Shell-E.

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Adoptable Senior Dog of the Week: Jelly

It's time to meet our newest older dog looking for her new forever family after her person passed away. Get to know Jelly, a relaxed basenji blended girl, in a new interview by Calvin our canine correspondent. You'll fall in love with this adoptable girl.

Photo Apr 6, 2013, 11:45 AM
Photo credit: fuzzy beastie photography


Learn all about this 12-year-old senior sweetie in a charming and candid conversation with Calvin the mischievous terrier from small club: big adventures for small dogs

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Pets Can Motivate Healthier Family Lifestyle


LA Times
Can your dog make you healthy?
Via LA Times


Healthy pets could lead to healthier pet owners

In a world of dog obesity and cat arthritis, a group called Healthy Pets, Healthy Families is striving to keep pets — and their humans — in good shape.

The veterinarian examined Bella, a spotted cocker spaniel, and quickly concluded she was obese and needed to lose weight.

Working with a trainer, Maria Gastelum put her pooch on a nutrition and fitness plan. The regimen produced another benefit: Gastelum started to eat better and exercise more.

"If I didn't have her, I wouldn't own a pair of tennis shoes," said the Ontario resident. "It's really unbelievable how she's motivated me."

Los Angeles County public health officials hope that millions of pets living in the region can provide the same sort of inspiration and results for their owners. The idea is simple: If people won't exercise, eat better and stop smoking for themselves, maybe they will for their pets.

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Sweet dogs make chilly San Francisco summer day better

I love dogs. Seriously, I love all dogs, which is why I ended up having so much fun hanging out in the Mission District on Sunday. Of course I wished my dog could have been with me but she is almost blind, and doesn't walk more than a few blocks at a time these days. Cleo is an old gal who is happier "watching the house" with her papa and scamming Scooby Snacks for successfully navigating the hallway.

My love for San Francisco, its neighborhoods, and supporting the community however got me out of the house. My love for dogs kept me away for a few hours on this chilly overcast summer day. I got a chance to experience my first Sunday Streets. The Sunday Streets program allows dogs, kids on bikes, locals and summer visitors alike to spend an afternoon hanging out together along an avenue closed to car traffic. I spied an advice booth, lots of handicrafts, a couple of bands, a DJ mixing up tunes for people to dance to, and even a funny Frida Kahlo look-alike contest. The many blocks of Valencia Street that were closed had lots of space so people and dogs had room to walk and enjoy themselves without being overwhelmed. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

This cutie showed us how much they were loving the music - that tail sure can keep a beat!

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Connecticut signs measure to formalize animal-assisted therapy for trauma victims

image from

After the mass shooting last December in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., state officials found dogs to be helpful therapeutic aids for counseling the surviving children. A new law will formalize a state-sponsored system for training social workers and dogs in animal-assisted therapy; the program also sets up criteria for quickly identifying qualified volunteers during or after a crisis.

Although individual organizations already provide animal-assisted therapy across the country, Connecticut may be the first state to codify a program into law. Amy McCullough, director of animal-assisted therapy for the American Humane Association, said she believed the Connecticut law to be the first of its kind. Gov. Dan Malloy signed the measure in early June, but is scheduled to sign it again as part of a ceremony Friday.

The law requires that volunteer canine response teams consist of several handlers and dogs that have been trained, evaluated and registered with an animal-assisted activity organization. The teams must operate on a volunteer basis and be available to respond within 24 hours of a crisis.

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Dogs keep kids learning in New York summer reading program

image from www.recordonline.comVia Record Online

Reading program counters kids' 'summer slide'

It's a studied, researched and very real phenomenon, particularly relating to reading skills, according to fourth-grade special education teacher Megan Rudden at Hamilton Bicentennial Elementary School in Cuddebackville.

"Teachers talk about it. Parents notice it," Rudden said. "We found that students (who do not read) can slip from one to three reading levels over the summer."

Tail-wagging tutor

On Wednesdays, a special canine volunteers her time at the ASK library.

Tail Waggin' Tutors is a reading program of Therapy Dogs International, said associate member Cindy Toussaint, a sixth-grade English language arts teacher at Minisink Valley Middle School.

"It encourages volunteers like myself to go into libraries and schools and bring the love of reading to the children through my reading assistant, my dog Shaeley," Toussaint said.

The 7-year-old yellow Labrador retriever is "a draw for the kids," Toussaint said. "They're more interested in her at first, but then I try to bring in a book that has something to do with pets, animals, understanding animal behavior ... and that's how I intermingle their interest in her with learning."

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How do we benefit from loving an older dog?

Some say they are afraid of giving their heart to an older dog because they fear being heartbroken when the dog eventually passes away. I say, don't be scared. Your heart is a muscle. It needs exercise. It needs to work out in order to be healthy. Don't let it atrophy. Your heart will thank you for risking it on a loving bond with an older dog.

It feels like climbing up and down San Francisco's famous hills. Your heart pounds and the blood flows. Some moments are easy while others have you struggling to keep going. But you have a purpose, a goal, a reason to keep going and once you reach the crest..boom. The beauty of the view makes it all worthwhile.

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Don't miss out on experiencing love and a warm beating heart by not having an older dog in your life. Loving an older dog and making a commitment to their well-being is like strength training at the gym. You will feel stronger, better for your efforts, even when your heart gets squeezed with grief.

Why should you give your heart to an older dog? Here are eight reasons:

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From crime scene to courtroom therapy dogs comfort children

image from www.floridatoday.comVia Florida Today

His name is Primus. He’s a puggle.

The 2-year-old pug and beagle mix works from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office criminal investigations division in Rockledge. He can go anywhere with his handler, Agent Jessie Holton.

Their job? Make children who are possible victims of abuse or witnesses to crimes feel comfortable during interviews and interactions that pull the children into the criminal justice system.

“Research is showing that the more rapport and bond you can create with that kid, the more information you get,” Holton said. “And that’s where we use Primus, with his first level of investigative work, and that is warming the kids up before they go into the forensic interview.”

“Our hope is that this will serve as a pilot program for the entire country,” the sheriff said. “That other agencies will see the results of it, see the abilities that we have to reach these kids and get evidence against those that have harmed them.”

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District Park Program Teaches Canine First Aid and CPR

image from

Via medina gazette 

A half-dozen owners got trained in how to care for their injured or sick dogs Sunday at the Medina Park District’s Wolf Creek Environmental Center.

The K9 First Aid course was taught by Martin Warchola, of the Best Paws Forward Dog Training Academy, Medina.

Warchola, who teaches everything from basic dog obedience courses to training dogs for search and rescue operations, said the course is designed to make owners more comfortable in administering first aid to their pets.

“The whole idea isn’t that we don’t want you to take your dog to the vet, but so you can be confident in giving them care on the way there,” he said.

The course covered topics ranging from caring for cuts and burns to administering cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on a pet.

Warchola uses a training dummy nicknamed “Casper” so participants could practice their CPR technique, which includes chest compressions and “mouth-to-snout” resuscitation.

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Bay Area Advocates Raise Awareness of Pet Obesity

image from


Go ahead, give a dog a bone — but make it low fat.

Jas Mattu, a veterinarian for Berkeley-based University Veterinary Hospital, is raising awareness of the pet obesity epidemic. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than half of cats and dogs in the United States are overweight or obese.

Mattu said the fault lies with humans, not with their pets. Some physical causes of pet obesity, such as too much food and not enough exercise, are clear cut. But other contributing factors, like human obesity and a sense that well-fed pets are better cared for, add to the problem.

“Our pets give us love, and we are letting our personal desire to give back, to feed them and give them more and more food, lead to health problems,” Mattu said. “Don’t kill your pets with love.”

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Grouchy Puppy Conducts On-the-Street Dog Lover Interviews July 28th!

Calling all dog lovers! We want to meet you this Sunday in the Mission District of San Francisco! We'll be on Valencia Street joining in the Sunday Streets Pet Program. It's our first time and we can't wait!

Screen Shot 2013-07-22 at 1.22.31 PM

Come join us at the Sunday Streets Mission Pet Program!

July 28, 2013 - 11:00am to 4:00pm

We'll be in the Mission conducting spontaneous and fun interviews with fellow dog lovers! Be sure to follow us because we'll be sharing our day via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The best video interviews will get posted on our blog! Shy and don't want your photo taken? We'll have audio recordings going on too.

 Come down to Valencia Street between 18th and 20th Streets to find us.

Make a donation. Get a thank you gift.

If you follow us on social media, you might notice that one of the San Francisco nonprofits we are big supporters of is Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS). On Sunday we'll be collecting donations for PAWS. In exchange, we will have really cool thank you gifts courtesy of LIFE+DOG Magazine.

Don't know who is PAWS yet? Here are five things you should know:

(1) They're based in the Mission on 23rd and Shotwell

(2) They've been in the city for more than 25 years

(3) They help keep low income seniors and the disabled together with their pets

(4) They are privately funded

(5) The hard work of more than 500 volunteers is one the secrets to their longevity.

Here is a map of the area that will be closed to cars

Learn more about the Sunday Streets Program in San Francisco

We hope to see you there!!!  We'll be wearing our PAWS Baseball Shirt!


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New study shows dogs use color vision

image from
Via Smithsonian

The idea that dogs only see the world in black, white and shades of gray is a common misconception. What’s true, though, is that like most mammals, dogs only have two types of color receptors (commonly called “cones”) in their eyes, unlike humans, who have three.

Each of these cones is sensitive to a different wavelength (i.e. color) of light. By detecting different quantities of each wavelength and combining them, our three cones can transmit various signals for all the hues of the color wheel, the same way the three primary colors can be mixed in different amounts to do the same.

But because they only have two cones, dogs’ ability to see color is indeed quite limited compared to ours (a rough comparison would be the vision of humans with red-green colorblindness, since they, too, only have two cones).

Read the full interesting story!

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Adoptable Senior Dog of the Week: Tiny Hercules

One special side effect of spending time with a rescued older dog is seeing their makeovers. Their personalities blossom along with their adorability

Meet Hercules

Once Muttville volunteers bathed this lil ragamuffin and trimmed some of his matted hair, everyone realized what a looker this tiny boy is. Hercules has a big personality in a little body! He loves his stuffed doggy and carries it everywhere with him.

Hercules loves other dogs and prefers to cuddle up with another Muttville dog than to sleep alone! He weighs 6 pounds and is about 10 years old! Come and get him, he'll make you happy and be the star of your neighborhood!

Is Hercules real or is he a stuffed animal!?? Come meet him and you'll discover he's a living doll.


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After losing guardian or playmate dogs can feel depression, loneliness

Dogs are social creatures and can experience loss just like us. If your dog has a fellow buddy, whether another dog or other animal at home, understanding how your dog might react to their passing is important. Learn the difference between playfulness and anxiety.

image from www.delawareonline.comVia Delaware Online

The loss of a pet doesn’t just break people’s hearts. In the case of social animals like dogs, it can leave the pet left behind depressed and lonely.

Signs of depression after the loss of a pet companion or a person vary from pet to pet, but can include loss of appetite, clinginess, withdrawal, lethargy, anxiety and even aggression.

Caleb, Jennifer Karakul’s 10-year-old black Lab mix, lost his companion, 12-year-old Shepherd-golden mix Sweet Pea, two weeks ago to liver cancer.

When faced with stress, dogs often withdraw to their safe place. For Caleb, it’s the bathroom.

“He’s actually taken it a lot harder than I thought he would; he’s breaking my heart,” said Karakul, a Wilmington resident who is co-founder of Senior Dog Haven & Hospice, a volunteer group that rescues, fosters and places elderly dogs. “He only comes out to eat and when I take him for a walk.”

For years, people thought that dogs and their ancestors, the wolf, organized themselves in a military-like hierarchy with an alpha leader at the top of the organizational chart. More recent studies show that dogs and wolves live as families, with members caring for and looking out for each other. 

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