What is old is new again: My 'new normal' still includes dogs 🐶

Guess who returned to the doggy loft for the first time in sixteen months? She has opposable thumbs and is the biggest dog lover you will find.

From March 11, 2020, until July 14, 2021, I could not volunteer at the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue on Rescue Row here in San Francisco. Thanks to a pandemic, my city and state shut down for weeks and shuttered schools and businesses for months. I missed 64 Wednesday mornings waking up sleepy old dogs. Sixteen months of being denied a steady diet of soft doggy snuggles. How many laundry loads of dirty dog beds, aprons, and towels did I skip? I can't believe I missed mopping up after these sugar faces so much.

Image from grouchypuppy.com

Who else can say they honestly like the familiar smell of old dogs?

When entering the open loft first thing in the morning, with its closed windows to keep the more than a dozen old dogs safe overnight, imagine the wall of smell that hits you first. A combination of warm soiled bedding mixed with various late-night pee offers your nose a scent only faithful dog people appreciate. I didn't realize until after being denied my morning shift for months that I missed that familiar stink. That I took comfort in the potent smell because it meant there were warm sleepy dogs behind those doors.

Image from grouchypuppy.com

What is old is new again

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Helen Woodward Animal Center Orphan Pets Celebrate with Special PAWmicon Weekend July 23-25

Helen Woodward Animal Center is getting ready to celebrate the Center’s panel participation in Comic-Con International’s Comic-Con@Home with a full weekend of heroic adoptions and PAWmicon fun at the Center July 23 – 25!

Rancho Santa Fe, CA (July 6, 2021) – For the last eight years, Helen Woodward Animal Center orphan pets have celebrated the spectacular feats of superhero adopters by paying homage to Comic-Con International with a Pop Culture-themed Dog Cosplay event entitled PAWmicon. Now, for the first time ever, Comic-Con International is including the rescue facility in its virtual July programming with a Center-hosted panel entitled Animals in Graphic Novels and Games. The virtual panel discussion, set to premiere on July 25 at 11 a.m., features Chris Ryall and Keith Arem and is hosted by Robert Rice from Omniscape. To celebrate the premiere, Helen Woodward Animal Center is throwing a PAWmicon-themed Weekend including pop-culture-named orphan pets, giveaways, photo opportunities and the highly anticipated PAWSplay Costume Competition. 

Helen Woodward Animal Center initiated PAWmicon in 2012 based on an observed parallel between orphan pets and Comic-Con attendees. While comic book enthusiasts wait all year for Comic-Con International, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite action-adventure stars, orphan dogs and cats at Helen Woodward Animal Center will wait a lifetime to meet their superheroes – individuals with one sole mission…to rescue an orphan pet. Planned as a cute adoption gimmick, the promotion drew the attention of fans and animal-lovers across the city, eventually blossoming into an annual event that has grown in pup-ularity and gained global attention with each passing year.

2019’s event surpassed all expectations set in its new location at the Comic-Con Museum. Although still in prep for its official opening, the Comic-Con Museum hosted the event in collaboration with Helen Woodward Animal Center with hundreds of attendees and 100% of its proceeds going to the Center’s pets and programs.

In 2020, PAWmicon planning was well underway when the pandemic hit. Too beloved an event to cancel, the experience went on-line, in partnership with the Comic-Con Museum, featuring a virtual schedule of on-line family-friendly events including panel discussions and interviews; access to an on-line PAWmicon vendor village; on-line book readings for kids with Center critters; access to augmented and web virtual reality experiences; on-line trivia rounds; an on-line PAWSplay Photo Contest and more.

PAWmicon 2021

This year, Comic-Con International is staying COVID-safe, once again, delaying any on-site components until later in the year. However, a July, on-line virtual experience, entitled Comic-Con @ Home, will be available for fanatics of the annual festivities, including a line-up of discussion panels featuring celebrity guests. Helen Woodward Animal Center was delighted to be accepted into the line-up with a panel focused on Animals in Graphic Novels and Games which includes Chris Ryall, Partner of Syzygy Publishing and former President & Publisher/ Chief Creative Officer at IDW Publishing. Also featured is writer/director/producer Keith Arem, CEO and president of Los Angeles-based PCB Productions. The panel is a fascinating look at the unique and special qualities that animals bring to the world of superheroes. It premieres on Sunday, July 25 at 11 a.m.

To celebrate the release of this special virtual discussion panel, Helen Woodward Animal Center is dedicating the weekend of July 23 – July 25 to PAWmicon. Pop-culture-named orphan pets, Comic-themed giveaways and adorable photo backdrops for life-saving adopters will be available all weekend long.

On Saturday, July 24 at 9:30am, the fun really ramps up as the PAWSplay Costume Competition returns in-person, to the Center’s education pavilion. Those who wish to participate can sign up here: https://my.animalcenter.org/event/pawmicon-2021/e346864. The entry fee is $10 per pup and all proceeds support the pets and programs at Helen Woodward Animal Center. Cosplayers will serve as judges and be available for photo opportunities after the contest. A Comic-themed Kid’s Craft will be available for younger attendees and a Coffee Cart and Shaved Ice will also be on site for sweets and treats.

Limited-edition PAWmicon t-shirts will also be available online soon: https://www.bonfire.com/store/helen-woodward-animal-center/. Proceeds support Helen Woodward Animal Center pets and programs.

At its core, this unique event has one life-saving mission: To inspire individuals to perform a superhero action of their own and adopt an orphan pet. Upon adoption, these furry sidekicks will quickly reveal their own superhero abilities to save us right back.

For more information about PAWmicon, visit www.animalcenter.org or https://myz.animalcenter.org/event/pawmicon-2021/e346864.

For more information about the Comic-Con Museum, visit www.Comic-Con.org/Museum.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Helen Woodward Animal Center PR Director Jessica Gercke: JessicaG@animalcenter.org, cell (619) 977-0999 Helen Woodward Animal Center Communications Manager Fernanda Lopez: FernandaL@animalcenter.org, cell (925) 755-6369

***

About Helen Woodward Animal Center

Helen Woodward Animal Center is a private, non-profit organization where “people help animals and animals help people.” Founded in 1972 in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., the Center provides services for more than 90,000 people and more than 10,000 animals annually through adoptions, educational and therapeutic programs both onsite and throughout the community. Helen Woodward Animal Center is also the creator of the International Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption drive, the International Remember Me Thursday® campaign and The Business of Saving Lives Workshops, teaching the business of saving lives to animal welfare leaders from around the world. For more information, go to: www.animalcenter.org.

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Until Aug 1st Pet Food Express’ FILL THE FOOD BANK CAMPAIGN seeks to help raise 100k lbs of dog food

PET FOOD EXPRESS’ FILL THE FOOD BANK CAMPAIGN TO HELP STRUGGLING CALIFORNIANS FEED THEIR DOGS

Campaign will collect monetary donations to gift 100k pounds of nutritious, FirstMate dog food to pet food banks, relieving financial burden of necessary care for 100s of families

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OAKLAND, CA (July 6, 2021) -- Pet Food Express kicks off its annual Fill the Food Bank campaign to help hundreds of struggling California families to continue to care for their beloved dog(s) with free, nutritious food and avoid surrendering their pet to a shelter.

From July 5 - August 1, Pet Food Express will collect monetary donations in its 64 California stores and online at www.petfood.express/fillthefoodbank to directly benefit local, pet-centric food banks, shelters, and rescues.

100% of the funds donated will be used to purchase and distribute 5-pound bags of nutrient-rich, FirstMate dog food. Pet Food Express has set a 100,000 pound goal for 2021 and will match the first 10,000 pounds of donated dog food.

“The food donated through our Fill the Food Bank campaign will help many California families burdened by COVID with financial hardships,” said Megan Kniepkamp, Community Outreach Manager at Pet Food Express. “As pet parents ourselves and passionate pet advocates, we understand the bond between a pet and its family. And during these trying times, it’s important that pet families remain intact for the well-being of all.”

Visit the Fill the Food Bank page at www.petfood.express/fillthefoodbank to donate; to locate the closest participating food bank, shelter, or rescue; and to share the campaign with friends and family.

A $10 donation gifts a 5-pound bag of FirstMate dog food to a pet family in need. All 20 program partners are low-threshold or open-admission organizations who are interested solely in the welfare of California’s pet population.

“Food banks are essential,” Kniepkamp continued. “They reduce the risk of a returned pet to an already over-taxed rescue and shelter system by offsetting the cost of necessary pet care. We want struggling pet owners to know that there is free help available to keep their pets fed, cared for, and with them at their home.”

The 2020 Fill the Food Bank campaign turned $210,000 in financial donations from customers into more than 90,000 pounds of high-quality pet food to benefit 17 partner organizations including food banks, rescues, and shelters throughout the state.

Pet Food Express is proud to support California’s animal rescue network through its Community Outreach programs such as its Kitten Season efforts. Learn more at https://www.petfood.express/community-outreach/, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Instagram and on Twitter for the latest updates on the Fill the Food Bank campaign.

ABOUT PET FOOD EXPRESS

Pet Food Express is California's trusted pet expert dedicated to helping pets live longer, healthier lives. Founded in 1986 by Michael Levy and Mark Witriol, Pet Food Express has reimagined pet care by focusing on the very best products. The company sells only what they trust to care for their own pets. From its variety of nutrient-rich foods like raw and fresh prepared foods and its high quality products like pet supplements to the extensive training its animal-loving customer service team gets and its neighborhood stores with pet wash stations and pet community support groups. The company has had continuously strong growth for over three decades by remaining focused on its passion and its purpose - animal advocacy. Pet Food Express has helped find forever homes for more than 23,000 animals through its 64 California stores or as host of the Bay Area Pet Fair, the largest animal adoption event in North America. The company is a committed partner to more than 275 non-profit animal rescue and shelter organizations every year, providing them with much-needed aid through fundraising, product donations, help recruiting and retaining volunteers, and adoption support. Named as a “Top Bay Area Workplace” for the last 9 years, the company's dog-friendly headquarters are located in Oakland, CA and are home to 200 employees. Learn more on the web at www.Pet Food.Express. Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Instagram and on Twitter.

CONTACT: Sarah Andrus | Pet Food Express | Sarah@bloomwellconsulting.com | 415.624.5617

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It’s okay if you don’t have a dog 🐶

Do you find yourself looking with envy at the people in your neighborhood playing with their dogs? Have you spent way too much time obsessing over dog accounts on Instagram and Twitter? Before you give in to the impulse to get a puppy, let's talk about why you might want to stop and reconsider.

Image from grouchypuppy.com

Why do you want a dog?

Be honest. Look around your home, look at your daily schedule, and look at your finances. Do you have space for a dog? Do you have the time to give a dog? Are you able to provide them with the attention they need to be a happy and well-adjusted member of your family? Have you been to a pet store or looked online at the cost of food, toys, bedding, and all the basic stuff a dog needs? How about the cost of veterinary care? Are you prepared for regular check-ups as well as possible emergencies? Do you live in a place where the noise and activity of a dog will fit in, even welcomed?

It's essential to look around and ask yourself these questions before you bring a dog into your home and life. Being honest with yourself will save you both the heartache of unrealistic expectations. The potential stress, upset, and even trauma, of making this leap without being honest with yourself happens.

Don't feel bad if you realize it's not a good idea to have a dog.

Over the past few years, I have discovered is that it's not so bad enjoying the company of dogs that don't belong to me.

I love dogs very much and will always want to have them around, but I am realistic about the difference between enjoying them and being responsible for one. I started engaging more with the dogs I meet in my neighborhood. Now I am willing to wait longer before I adopt another dog. I feel good each time a dog shares some time and playfulness with me. I take home a little fluff, often some slobber, always a dose of oxytocin. How can I complain?

With the pandemic causing many people to get a dog, I have had more conversations with puppy parents. We can all use words of encouragement! Whenever possible, I offer support to both puppy and parent when we cross paths. They are always grateful, and I enjoy seeing their expressions of pride.

As we enter spring, enjoy the sun and outdoors. Wave to your neighbors and say hello to ALL the dogs! Remember that it is okay that you didn't adopt a dog. 

Tell me, have you had this conversation with yourself, or your family? How do you find ways to enjoy dogs?

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Please Don’t Tell Cooper He’s a Dog 🐶 Illustrated Picture Book

In San Francisco, people interested in adopting and fostering the older dogs at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue stayed steady throughout 2020. According to the group Shelter Animals Count, which tracks hundreds of rescue organizations nationwide, there was an increase in recorded pet adoptions across the country of about 15% last year.

It has been a year since our world changed due to a global pandemic. With people working from home, and school closures, some families have decided it was an excellent time to get a dog. I can't tell you how many puppies I encounter on my weekly neighborhood walks! I see them learning how to behave as they explore their new surroundings. I also watch how their new parents navigate having a puppy on their hands in the middle of a busy city.

A few weeks ago, I received a new children's picture book to review. Given the title character Cooper looked to be a Bernese Mountain Dog and that I see them frequently trotting down the street or playing at the park, I had to say yes. These giant fluffy creatures are popular city dogs!

image from grouchypuppy.com

I asked the author, Michelle Lander Feinberg why she decided now to write this picture book, Please Don’t Tell Cooper He’s a Dog:

I’m a huge animal lover, and wanted to write the book to show how a rescue dog can become such an important member of the family if treated with love and respect. I was inspired to write the story as we used to joke that our old dog, Charlie, never thought he was a dog. (When we got him a dog bed he got so excited as if he thought we were finally getting a dog…) 
 
As someone who believes strongly in the positive influence of the dog human bond, I liked how this book gives little ones a chance to learn about dogs, and how to treat them. 
 
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This book is geared towards children ages 2-8 and their families. If you are looking for activities, the author has heard that some teachers:
 
- have explained the difference between reality and fantasy, and asked the children to think of what Cooper the dog does that would be real vs. fantastic
 
- have the children come up with ideas of how to raise money for animal shelters (bake sales, making masks or jewelry to sell, etc)
 
- have the children draw a picture of Cooper doing something human-like 
 
- have the children talk about the different ways they treat their dogs (or cats) well, how they help them at home.
 
Every family has their own techniques but being proactive is always a good idea when it comes to dogs and kids.
 
Have you adopted a dog or a puppy recently? Did you have a dog when you were little? How did you learn how to be around dogs? I would love to read your stories in the comments.

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Dog adoptions: There is a pot for every lid

One of the joys of living in San Francisco has been discovering Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and its many volunteers and staff members. They are not only dog lovers but all are deeply dedicated towards the wellbeing of older dogs. The moments I have witnessed in the doggy loft are inspiring, always heartwarming.

Recently I read about the successful fostering and adoption of a Muttville mutt, Quigley. The story shared by MW Moses is told below, in his own words. It’s a wonderful example of the Grouchy Puppy motto, Give Fearlessly * Influence Positively. I hope you enjoy it and share your takeaways, or your own experiences dog fostering in the comments below...

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Dogs give you a reason to look up

Dogs enrich our lives. The Grouchy Puppy blog celebrates the unique bond between humans and dogs.

Having a dog in your home and family is itself a gift, but living in a community that welcomes dogs is equally comforting. It has been many years since our dog passed away. I have been unable to volunteer weekly with the sugar faces at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue for a year since the pandemic forced them to shift to remote adoptions. To keep everyone safe, the new oldsters do not stay in the doggy loft but immediately transition them into a foster home.

A saving grace for me has been the many dogs in my San Francisco neighborhood. Since the need to work from home, and the quarantine, I see so many more dogs playing outside or just walking down the street. The occasional encounters with these pups of all ages and sizes have been a tonic.

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Growing up with a dog trainer for a mom, I recognize when I see puppy socialization training when I am out for a walk. Taking my cue from both ends of the leash, I either stop for a visit or take a hard pivot away. I appreciate both experiences. It is nice to see someone recognizing the lifelong value of early socializing their puppy. If I get to be a part of that for a minute, great!!

When you need a reason to look up:

  • Adoptable dogs demonstrate resilience and eternal optimism
  • Dogs have an incredible ability to show forgiveness time and again for our errors in caring for them
  • Older dogs remind us how to let go of the past and embrace the present
  • All dogs show how to savor every expression of love and compassion, no matter how small

That dogs can mirror our expressions, body language, vocals and even share our personality traits, according to many dog owners, is something extraordinary. Who hasn't shared a yawn with their dog? I have had dogs match my stretch with their own. I remember the many mornings I heard my dog making the same morning groans as my husband and me as we woke up.

I don't know what the new year holds, but I know that I will appreciate each time a dog gives me a reason to look up.

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Always a good dog 🐶❤️

Lessons learned from a dog never have to go away even when you don’t have one. During this time of sheltering in place and staying home, my time around dogs is socially distant. This has me reflecting on how dogs are still able to positively influence me from six feet away. I’ve been impressed by their work. I’ve also been thinking back to my big adopted dog from the San Francisco SPCA.

Best advice ever: Set your dog up for success!

One of the best pieces of advice the SPCA gave us was the notion that to help our new family member and dog flourish, we should try to set her up for success. This perspective struck me as both simple and brilliant, easy to remember, and you can apply it to everything. Each time I engaged with her, whether taking her for a walk or asking her to watch the house while I went out on an errand, I applied this philosophy.

Image from grouchypuppy.com
Good job puppy!

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Thank goodness for dogs who are social butterflies

One of the places nearby is a dog park that is big enough for folks to safely social distance while letting their dogs play off leash. Since the pandemic and number of coronavirus cases still prevent me from getting my dog fix with the sugar faces at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue as a volunteer, I have started stopping by the dog area. I have changed my route when I am going to the store and have added it to my outdoor walks when I need extra steep hills. It is a little hit or miss on how many dogs will be there but I am not picky. I enjoy just watching the scenery and dog play, and if a dog decides they want to come over and say hello, who am I to be rude?

Thank goodness for dogs who are social butterflies

If there is a smart reader of this out there good at math, I bet you could tell me what the odds are that there is a social butterfly in a group of dogs. There always seems to be one. Sure, it usually is a puppy but sometimes it is just a dog who is just not that into other dogs. Often they like other dogs, but they get tired of them pretty quickly compared to others. On this day, I was lucky to meet one of those, in the form of a big Anatolian Shepherd - St. Bernard type name Riley.

image from grouchypuppy.com

 

Being a dog, and the type he was, Riley saw me, but first walked over to check out the other dogs coming through the gate. Then he moved down the line to say hello to me and get some love while his mom laughed and introduced him. After me, he continued over to an area that looked like a piece of tasty trash had traveled over the fence, just in case there was something to eat. That entire session gave me the happiest feeling of continuity and life, and how there is joy still around.

I am so grateful for the social butterfly because I am not. And, if that social butterfly flies over to me in the form of a dog, then all the better. Dogs have delivery methods for their type of affection and interest which never cease to make me laugh, smile or feel my heart lift up a little. They blow through resistance like the wind. 

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So much has changed, but still there is the delightful consistency of dogs

It has been so many months since I have been able to volunteer with the oldsters at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue that I feel slightly desperate in my reactions when I see dogs on the street. The slightest look from a dog gets an immediate waggle of my fingers! Not gonna lie, there have been more than one person on the other end of the leash who looked embarrassed for me. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. What is important here is that dogs are dogs are dogs, and given how uncertain everyday life is right now, I am grateful for this fact.

So much has changed, but still there is the delightful consistency of dogs

Dogs can be so delightfully consistent! I mean, since this pandemic has us social distancing whenever we’re out and wherever we are, I find myself sitting alone on a bench, either at a park or neighborhood street. It doesn’t happen every time but often, a person out walking their dog will slow near me, either because the dog is interested in the tree nearby or the dog wants to say hi to me! It is usually the typical labradorable type dog, a puppy who would also say hi to the tree, the bench and the mailbox, or the sweet little old dog who can pick out a dog lover in a minute.

image from grouchypuppy.com
The chocolate lab social club of Dolores Park in San Francisco

 

I confess that I have taken to placing myself purposefully in the spots where a dog is likely to walk by during an afternoon break. I can’t help it. It’s a gamble to see what each day brings me but such is life, and if it is simply the chance to have a moments engagement with a happy or tired little pup on their way home, it’s worth it. We all need to find our own forms of self-care. Besides gardening, and walking the city hills, a dose of d-o-g helps my peace of mind. Dogs remind me of all the good that is around us. These loving sentient beings remind me to find joy each day. How something as simple as a soft pet or quick stinky kiss can send a jolt of happiness into your immune system.

So for all of you folks out there who aren’t able to volunteer with dogs, or have a dog, don’t be afraid to search out the ones living around you right now. Walk over to your dog park and see what happens. Try a bench. Give yourself permission to sit and rest, and be open to the opportunity of an offer of a fluffy head or maybe just a slow walk by with a knowing wink (yes, I’ve gotten those too!). We’re all in this together.

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Helping dogs get another chance at a forever family, one step and flight at a time

Pilots N Paws is a wonderful nonprofit. Their volunteer pilots and plane owners assist specific rescues and shelters, sometimes flying animals directly to adopters waiting to be united with their new pup. They take to the skies to give adorable adoptable dogs a second chance at a forever home.

 

Giving a dog another chance at a happy life is one of the reasons I support Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and volunteer with them. I believe that dogs offer us humans another chance to show kindness, do good, be humane, and demonstrate the best of humankind towards animals. This is how both sides demonstrate the animal-human bond. Whenever I have offered the sweet older dogs compassion at Muttville, they have generously offered me affection and gratitude in return.

Image from grouchypuppy.com

 

The world needs our positive influence, our empathy can heal. When we have a compassionate response to those in need, the world notices.

 

Learn more:

Pilots N Paws:

Pilots N Paws® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our site is intended to be a meeting place for volunteers engaged in the valuable services of rescuing, sheltering and adopting animals, and volunteer pilots and plane owners willing to assist with animal transportation. The intent of Pilots N Paws is to provide an environment in which volunteers can come together and arrange or schedule rescue flights, overnight foster care or shelter, and all other related activities.

Through the Pilots N Paws discussion board, volunteers can exchange information regarding animal transports, coordinate and schedule transports, share rescue stories and recruit volunteers.

Read about more Muttville Senior Dog Rescue 

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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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Pandemic Stories: When your dog adoption doesn't work out. A fresh life lesson courtesy of a senior dog

What happens if you think you’re ready to adopt a dog, and you do, but days later you return them to the rescue? How do you feel? How do you process what happened? How do you understand that you got through the entire adoption process only to give them back? And, you go through this upsetting and unfamiliar experience during a pandemic that requires social distancing, masks and sheltering at home. That’s an unique twist. This is what happened to me and my husband. 

We had the best dog in the world. We adopted her as adult from the SF SPCA and had the best adoption experience with them. Our new dog lived and flourished in our lives for nine years. She passed away five years ago. My husband was devoted to her and had no interest in getting another dog right away, if ever. After about a year passed, I was ready to be involved with dogs again, so I began volunteering at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. I had loved my time during Cleo’s older years and appreciated all that she had shown me that I wanted to spend time with older dogs more. It has been a great experience going to the doggy loft each week. I am reminded of why I look toward dogs for answers to life’s moments since I was a child. They have provided solace, protection and simply a great distraction in the moment.

image from grouchypuppy.com
My big old girl

It’s no surprise that over the years I bring home stories and photos of the dogs at the Muttville doggy loft to share with my husband. I love sharing their personalities and all that I learned that day about the life of a dog. The stinky kisses and cuddles they share with me are pretty great too. Thanks to Muttville, I have learned so much about what little dogs are about. I’m more aware of their needs, behaviors and fears. Our previous dog had been a large shepherd husky with very different needs, fears and behaviors, plus her enormous size made her a third roommate.

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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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Help Your Lost Dog Be Found: National Pet ID Week

Being lost can be scary for people or pets! It doesn’t matter whether you live in a city or in a rural setting, getting separated from family suddenly is frightening for everyone involved. I still remember as a small child getting lost for a few minutes from my mom while grocery shopping. I can imagine the panic a dog can feel when they don’t know how to find their humans.

Making sure your dog has an ID tag with current, readable, contact information is the first step to reuniting them with you if you ever get separated. The next step that is quite common now, especially for all adopted dogs and cats, is having your pet microchipped. Most states require dogs to be spayed and have a microchip before they can be adopted. However the next most important step you can take is registering your dog’s microchip and making sure all your pertinent contact information along with your veterinarian’s is included in your profile. A clear photo of your dog and any behavior detail is key to the profile too in case they ever go missing.

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No one expects their dog to runaway but accidents happen, and every loving pet guardian wants to be prepared. This week is National Pet ID Week and the first thing I’ve already done is register the microchip on our new furry family member. We welcomed Ruby home from Muttville Senior Dog Rescue this week. As we settle in and get to know each other, part of the next stage is getting her a health check up, check her chip location, and making sure her new home and routine is fit for a senior chihuahua girl. Imagine my surprise that it would take many years and a pandemic for us to be ready to open our home again, to a dog who may be a quarter the size of Cleo but with an equal amount of heart and attitude.

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For more information:

about Michelson Found Animals

Click here for HELP if you’ve lost your pet

Plan ahead to protect your furry loved ones

Pet Theft Awareness

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