Good boy, Moose!! 🎓 Therapy dog gets honorary diploma for his six year career at Virginia Tech

A Virginia Tech staffer (And senior dog!) who has spent a career serving and supporting the university community was recently recognized in a special commencement ceremony during Mental Health Awareness Week.

Moose, an 8-year-old therapy dog at Virginia Tech’s Cook Counseling Center, received an honorary doctorate in veterinary medicine Friday evening, May 15 as part of virtual commencement exercises. It’s the latest recognition for the pawsome member of Hokie Nation.

Moose therapy dog

Like the Hokies he helps, Moose has had a challenging few months. Just a week after his birthday in February (his 64th, in human years), the Labrador Retriever was diagnosed with prostate cancer and began a treatment regimen of radiation, chemotherapy, and other therapies.

His treatment has been managed by providers at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, a joint venture of Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland at College Park. Moose was cared for and housed by a Virginia Tech veterinary student earlier this year while receiving radiation treatments at a private veterinary specialist in Richmond.

Moose, who came to Virginia Tech in 2014, is now one of four dogs at the counseling center who serve as working therapy animals and ambassadors for mental health awareness.

Trent Davis with Moose

Trent Davis, the coordinator of animal-assisted therapy and a counselor at the center, credited Veterinary Teaching Hospital staff for providing Moose with excellent care. Moose continues to receive chemotherapy and has been given a pawsitive prognosis.

“ They’re wonderful, amazing people,” Davis said of the veterinary staff.

Moose has returned to work with canine colleague Derek, who is also owned and cared for by Davis. Virginia Tech’s team of therapy dogs is rounded out by Carson and Wagner, whose humans are also staff members at the counseling center.

Moose has aided in more than 7,500 counseling sessions and over 500 outreach events in his six years at Virginia Tech. He was honored in 2019 with the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Hero Award. When not working, he enjoys swimming, playing tug of war, and perhaps most of all, eating.

The Virginia Tech therapy dogs can be found on Instagram at @vttherapydogs. 

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Spring brings pretty flowers and dangerous barbed foxtails: Protect Your Dog

Taking our dogs for walks is a wonderful thing. We both get valuable exercise, fresh air, and time to explore our neighborhoods. For many of us, springtime brings both pretty blossoming flowers and the dreaded foxtail plant. This dangerous barbed weed sprouts up along curbs, under trees on sidewalks and in parks. 

Image from grouchypuppy.com
Protect your dog from foxtail plants

These dangerous weeds can get into your dog’s ear canals, inhaled into their nose or wedge between toes easily. Now is the time to keep a close eye on your dog while you are out together, and giving them a once over after you get home.

“The most common thing we see is when the barbed portion of the plant works its way between toes or into ears and noses,” says San Francisco SPCA Veterinarian Dr. Nicolette Zarday.

From the San Francisco SPCA:

What You Can Do To Protect Your Pet

  • Keep your dog’s coat short during the spring and summer, especially around the feet. There are groomers who will do a “foxtail cut” if requested.
  • After each walk, check your pet thoroughly and remove any plant material from their bodies. If you see barbs from foxtails, use tweezers to remove them.
  • If your pet suddenly starts sneezing uncontrollably, squinting, or shaking its head during or immediately after a walk, there is an excellent chance a foxtail is involved. Call your veterinarian’s office.
  • Do not allow your pet to run through fields of tall grass that contain foxtails.

Click here to learn more from the San Francisco SPCA

Be sure to check all over your dog after being outdoors. Foxtails can blow through the air on windy days so even if you are just out walking with your pet, they can find land and attach on their coat or paws. Foxtails can cause infections, call your veterinarian if you have any concerns! 

Social Distance. Stay safe. Stay alert. Stay well. 

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At every age, every stage: How dogs help us

Whenever I hear someone talk about how they are not ready for a dog and want to wait for just the right time, I wonder aloud, “when has a dog not made life better?”

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When you stop and think about how dogs fit in our lives, it feels to me like they fit into every stage and moment of my existence. When I was a child, dogs were my best friend and teacher. Later on they became my helper, and co-worker. Ten years after I adopted my first dog, and launched Grouchy Puppy, there has been a steady stream of dogs positively influencing my life. Their ability to give fearlessly to us continues to entertain, inspire, and console.

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Stars Shine for Remember Me Thursday Global Pet Adoption Awareness Campaign!

Throughout the world ‪on‬ ‪Thursday, September 26th, 2019‬, social media posts and candle lighting ceremonies will shine a light on the millions of homeless animals still awaiting adoption and encourage communities to opt to adopt to reduce the millions of orphan pets euthanized each year.

This month, Helen Woodward Animal Center will once again unite with animal welfare proponents and organizations worldwide for the 7th Annual Remember Me Thursday®.  Honored on the fourth Thursday of September, the campaign asks pet lovers and animal rescue groups to create an unstoppable, integrated voice advocating for homeless pets to live in forever homes, not die waiting for them. 

Grassroots candle-lighting ceremonies and a global avalanche of social media buzz will shine a light on the millions of orphan animals still awaiting adoption and encourage communities to opt to adopt and reduce the millions of homeless pets euthanized each year.

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Kowabunga 🏄🏻‍♂️ It’s Helen Woodwood’s Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon Time 🌞

How can you tell summer is officially over? When you see dogs on surfboards in the California sunshine, raising money for one of our favorite animal groups! Sunday, September 8th it’s Helen Woodward Animal Center’s 14th annual Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon!

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Surf dogs can hardly wait to show off the skills they’ve fetched at the ultimate summer-closer. Helen Woodward’s Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon was the first-of-its-kind, turning ‘dogs on surfboards’ into a platform to raise life-saving funds and reminding the world that “man’s best friend” can do phenomenal things.

Helen Woodward Animal Center’s 14th annual Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon, presented by Blue Buffalo, dives into action at Dog Beach Del Mar THIS Sunday, September 8th, 2019, from 8am to 2pm PST. 

There will be fun free kids activities all day, celebrity judges, Two VERY SPECIAL Surf Dog Hall-of-Fame Inductions, a freestyle surf contest with points awarded for creativity and MORE!

If you can’t be there in person, you can watch the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon unfold on Facebook by heading to https://www.facebook.com/surfdogsurfathon/ at 8:30am PT/11:30am ET

Come on down to Dog Beach in Del Mar! Sunday, September 8th, 2019 between 8:00am – 2:00pm. It’s certain to make some EPIC waves!

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You don’t own a dog, you have a dog. And a dog has you!

“You don’t own a dog, you have a dog. And a dog has you!” is a wonderful way to approach life with a dog. It’s a quote I read in a Chelsea Handler book that stuck with me, if you saw her shows, you can tell she’s a big dog lover. (who can forget Chunk!)

If you can imagine a life with a dog, then you can imagine adopting an older dog, and if you are ready to have a dog, then you should consider visiting your local shelter or coming by Muttville Senior Dog Rescue for #ClearTheShelters adoption event tomorrow, August 17th.

On Saturday, from 10AM to 4PM on Rescue Row, senior sweethearts will be looking for love and companionship, a cheerleader, a champion, or simply a caring person to write their final chapter together with. 

Are you an introvert? There is a dog just for you! Want to be the loving hero to write the last chapter in a dog’s life? Here is a sweet sample of the available sugar faces at Muttville:

 

All over the US there are available dogs ready to get another chance at having a forever family of their own. If you live in the Bay Area, stop by Rescue Row in San Francisco and visit Muttville Senior Rescue, the San Francisco SPCA or San Francisco Animal Care and Control for lots of adoptable cuties!

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Visit Clear The Shelters.com for a list of ALL the participating rescues and shelters close to you: http://www.cleartheshelters.com/

Adoption fees are reduced or waived for qualified adopters thanks to the financial support from #NBCBayArea and #Telemundo

 

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Recognizing the joy of senior dog adoptions in San Francisco!

Thank you San Francisco Mayor London Breed for the new proclamation recognizing the positive influence of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. June 6th is now Adopt a Senior Pet Day in San Francisco!

To celebrate this wonderful occasion, come down to Rescue Row on June 6, for a very special happy hour adoption event from 3PMto 6PM.  If weekends are better, Saturday, June 8th, Muttville is hosting an adoptathon with extended hours from 10AM to 4PM. (Details below)

muttville.org

“Muttville represents San Francisco values at their best!”

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Tuesdays with Muttville 🐾 Senior Dog Adoptions at SF/SPCA Fillmore Campus

What a wonderful way to share space and get adorable adoptable senior sweethearts in front of potential new families. Spring has sprung with adorable adoptables!

Today begins weekly adoption events called, Tuesdays with Muttville Senior Dog Rescue at the Pacific Heights campus of the San Francisco SPCA. Stop by each week between 12 and 4pm, and discover why senior dogs really do rule!

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When: Tuesday, Mar 19, 12:00 - 4:00PM through April 9th

Where: SF SPCA Pacific Heights, 2243 Fillmore Street, San Francisco CA

Join Muttville at the SPCA Pacific Heights location for Tuesday adoption hours this spring! Come meet the mutts from 12-4PM on their Fillmore campus. Getting ready to fall in love with your new best friend!

More info: https://muttville.org/event/20190319-tuesdays-with-muttville-spca

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KQED SF & PBS Digital Video Short 🐶 How Your Dog's Nose Knows So Much

Dogs are infinitely interesting to me. They do everything from make my neighborhood better by their very presence, to making me healthier by lowering my blood pressure. I am endlessly fascinated by their behavior and why they seem infinitely smarter than most humans at times. 

I love reading books about dogs. Soldier Dogs, by my friend, Maria Goodavage, is an outstanding book about America's military working dogs. (Read my 2012 review) The Education of Will, is an incredible memoir about empathy, compassion and forgiveness for both the author, Dr. Patricia McConnell and her dog. (Read my 2017 review) I absolutely loved reading the book, Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Dr. Alexandra Horowitz. As a layperson, this book really got me interested in knowing more about the science of why dogs do what they do!  

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After reading that particular book, I paid closer attention to how dog's sniffed me during my Muttville Senior Dog Rescue shift. I'm also happy to report that earlier this month new research shows that letting dogs exercise their noses is good for them! Read the blog postAllowing Dogs to Sniff Helps Them Think Positively by Dr. Marc Bekoff.

Public Television is a great place to learn, and my husband and I have been long term supporters of our local PBS station, KQED. They also produce an ultra-HD (4K) short video series with PBS Digital Studios called Deep Look. It’s about exploring big scientific mysteries by going incredibly small - from grains of sand to squid skin. They have a new Deep Look video, “How Your Dog’s Nose Knows So Much,” about the science behind dog noses.

WATCH: New Deep Look Video from KQED and PBS: How Your Dog’s Nose Knows So Much

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Senior Dog Adoption: Like Fast-Forwarding to the Best Part 💜

For us, choosing to adopt a senior dog is more than giving them a second chance at a loving home, it’s like fast-forwarding to the best part of having a dog.

November is Adopt A Senior Dog Month.

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When you open your life to a senior sweetheart you are letting yourself experience the richest portion of life with a dog. The sugar faces at Muttville show me every week how amazing life together could be. I love volunteering there and getting fresh reminders and new ideas of what wonderful positive influence an older dog offers, and that they still can give fearlessly to you despite a slower pace or impaired vision.

Check out all the senior sweethearts at the following animal nonprofits:

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary

Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary

Oldies Club UK

 

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Why Invest in a Senior Dog?

Quiet. Solitude. Restorative. Peace. Serenity. These feelings can be experienced by a person after time spent with an older dog. The cost? You have to slow down, close your mouth, and open your heart. Being willing to sit still longer than a minute or stay in a bed an extra thirty is also appreciated. A price some people may struggle with paying but I’m here to tell you that you will get what you pay for. If you can, try and look at it as an investment, a long term investment in yourself, and a short term investment in a dog.

Some of us have a harder time than others dealing with the daily negativity online and on television.  We get depressed from the high stress level, and would prefer an alternative to drinking a bottle of wine, or spending five hours on a treadmill trying to restore our positive outlook with a few endorphins.

You know what we found is a good alternative? Investing in a senior dog!

Senior dogs epitomize endurance.

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Sláinte!

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GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND'S GRADUATIONS OFFER UNIQUE EXPERIENCE FOR ALL

Do you live in the Bay Area? Do you have an animal lover or dog person who loves to see how dogs positive influence our lives? There are free graduations happening this fall at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael.

These moving events are open to the public and are inspirational and family-friendly for all ages. I think they make for a wonderful weekend excursion and a great way to learn more how dogs give fearlessly!

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Why We Love Older Dogs and What’s so Wonderful About Senior Dog Adoption

Do you ever see yourself in a dog’s face? Does a dog’s adoption story ever resonate with you? I’ve noticed that the older I get the more I see myself and even my daily life in the life of older dogs.

When my own dog entered her golden years I saw my parents in her daily struggles, and aging process. She showed me a lot about what they were going through with their aches and pains, slower pace, greater need for naps, and dietary changes.

I swear both my parents and my old dog shared a love for snorting at me in disbelief when I would ask them something. (In my dog’s case, it was my asking her the rhetorical question, “do you want to go for a walk.”)

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Grey Muzzle Lovers it’s Adopt A Senior Dog Month ♥️

A favorite quote from Edith Wharton that many small dog lovers know by heart is how we begin November and Adopt a Senior Dog Month!

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How much does this little face make your heart skip a beat? Older dogs have so much love and joy to offer if you give them a chance, or a second chance, when you adopt.

Check out all the senior sweethearts at the following animal nonprofits:

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary

Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary

Oldies Club UK

 

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