Hero dog to the rescue

Rocky the Rottweiler is a British hero dog who not only saved his family from armed robbers, but also held one of them until police arrived. The thug is now serving a ten year prison sentence.

The incident happened when Kasha Marie Weston was five months pregnant, and a gang of hooded and armed men broke into her home. One held a knife to her throat while the others beat her partner. Rocky wouldn’t accept this – he broke through a door to come to the rescue.

Rocky’s fury scared the intruders off, but he wouldn’t let it go with that. He followed them outside and cornered one until police came. Afterwards, Rocky would not leave Kasha’s side, and he would nudge her baby-bump with his nose as if telling the baby not to worry.

Source: mirror.co.uk

Image linked from mirror.co.uk

Breed spotlight: Belgian sheep herding dogs

Belgium is a small country in Western Europe that  shares borders with France, Germany, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands. There are quite a few Belgian dog breeds, several of which are often used as guard dogs and police dogs.

The Belgian Shepherd Dogs are amongst famous breeds from the area. This group is divided into the Groenendael, the Laekenois, Malinois, and the Tervuren. The breeds have similarities in looks and temperament, but they are distinct breeds.

Groenendael

The Groenendael is an elegant, strong, and intelligent breed. They were originally used as herders, watchdogs, and companions, but their smarts and versatility quickly made them popular outside of Belgium. Groenendaels soon served as police dogs in Paris and New York City, and were famous for catching smugglers.

Many work in search and rescue, as guide dogs, and as therapy dogs. They also do very well in dog sports such as obedience, tracking, and agility.Groenendael

Malinois

The Malinois is an alert breed often mistaken for German Shepherds, and the confusion becomes bigger from the Malinois being popular for police and military work. While there are physical similarities, this is a completely different breed than the German Shepherd.

An average Malinois is intelligent, confident, and loves to work. They are also popular in obedience trials, herding, sledding, and tracking. Malinois

Laekenois

The Laekenois is clever and alert, and can be quite protective of family and property. This breed was originally developed to tend to flocks and guard, and these properties remain in the breed. Laekenois

Tervuren

The Tervuren is an elegant and devoted dog that often excels in obedience and agility competitions. Many who see these dogs believe they’re German Shepherds with long hair, but the Tervuren is a different breed. They’re outstanding herders that also do great jobs as therapy dogs and guide dogs.

Tervuren

Dangerous to pets

Easter Lilies are dangerous to catsMany everyday things that look innocent and are perfectly safe for humans can pose a threat to pets. Easter lilies, for instance, can poison a cat just from the cat rubbing up against a vase, getting spores on the coat, and licking them off.

Here is a list with five categories that should be kept out of reach at all times.

Prescription medications

This includes anti-inflammatory medications, antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, antidepressants, and more. A safe course of action is to assume all medications are dangerous to pets unless specifically prescribed to the pet. This includes items you can buy at the grocery store, like Tylenol. If your pet needs a medication, check with your vet, or at least look the substances up on pet poison helpline.

Insecticides

Most people keep bug poisons, rat poison, ant traps, and similar out of reach for their pets, but also make sure to be careful with flea and tick products. Pay close attention to dosage and never apply a product intended for a dog on a cat. Dogs and cats are very different and their products have different compositions. A dosage appropriate for a dog can be dangerous to a cat, even if the pets are of the same weight.

Household products

This is a wide but important category. Laundry detergent, laundry pods, soap, fertilizer, lawn products, and other cleaning products should all be stored out of reach of pets and children. Be particularly careful with pods filled with detergent – they often look like toys or candy, and cause accidents with children, dogs, and cats every year.

People food

We eat many things that pets can taste, but other things are toxic to cats and dogs. Some items to never give a pet include chocolate, alcohol, xylitol, grapes, raisins, and macadamia nuts.

Plants

Many pets aren’t inclined to eat plants at all, but others are all too happy to munch down on greenery and things on the ground. This naturally goes for whatever they find in neighboring yards and along walks, and not just in your own yard. Examples of toxic plants include sago palms, bulbs of tulips, daffodils, and similar, azaleas, easter lilies, and rhododendrons.

What to do

If you think your pet has eaten something toxic, call your vet at once. The sooner your pet gets the appropriate treatment, the better.

Sunshine story: Stolen dog found after 18 months

Dozer - image from Fox31 Denver
Dozer – image from Fox31 Denver

Dozer is a well trained German Shepherd who knows how to open and close doors, turn on lights, and many other useful things. When Dozer was stolen from Richard Brower’s back yard a year and half ago, Brower wouldn’t stop at nothing to find him. 

The search went on for months, and Brower took help from all his friends – they approached everyone in the area walking a German Shepherd, hoping it would be Dozer.

After eighteen months with no sign of Dozer, Brower pulled up his computer and searched for German Shepherd for sale. The first link took him to a website where a photo of his dog looked back from the monitor!

Brower sent the photo to family members and got on the phone with the shelter. Luckily, his father was in the area, able to pick up the dog. No one knows what adventures Dozer might have experienced during all this time, but he came home that very day.

 

Therapy dogs in nursing homes

The Volpino Italiano needs a medium Plexidor dog doorA nursing home is a place for a person who needs more care around the clock than can be reasonably given at home, but who doesn’t need to be in a hospital. Many nursing homes strive for a home-like environment. Some allow residents to bring their pets, but this isn’t always possible, and many nursing homes around the USA have opened their doors to therapy dogs who come visit on a regular basis.

Dogs have an instinctive way of knowing when they are needed, and a visit from a dog can calm and soothe someone, or lift the spirits of a person who is sad and lonely. The dogs provide a physical touch and many love the feeling of soft fur. They also bring warmth, joy, and a patient ear that will always listen.

Some believe only a certain breed can become a therapy dog, or that they are raised for this purpose as puppies. Therapy dogs come in all breeds and sizes, and many are rescue dogs.

If you’re interested in doing therapy work with your dog, start by training some basic obedience, and bring your dog to many different environments so he or she gets used to noises and people. Then, find a therapy-dog organization in your area. Many states have animal-assisted therapy organizations that offer training programs.

To become a certified therapy dog, a trainer will evaluate you and your dog and suggest courses to take. Then, you’re ready to volunteer. Many organizations will help you find volunteer opportunities. Here is a list that can help you get started.

Bringing dogs to work can reduce stress levels

dog with phone
Dogs in the work place can help reduce stress

Sandra Barker is a professor of psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth’s School of Medicine, and she has been involved in several studies researching dogs in the workplace. The results may not come as big surprises to dog lovers, but are interesting nonetheless.

A study was made in 2012 at a large manufacturing company. The study included 76 employees, and having just three dogs present on any given day reduced the stress level by 11 percent during the day.

Employees with their dogs left at home, however, had an increase in stress level of 71 percent. As the day progresses, dog owners clearly worry about their furry friends!

Having a dog present in the workplace can work as a buffer against stress – things still happen, but humans react less to stress factors with pets around.

Nationally, around 2 percent of dog owners take their pets to work, and this adds up to around one million dogs in workplaces around the country.

Poop police coming to Carmel?

No one likes to step in dog poop, and there are many reasons to pick it up. Dog poop is the number three cause of water pollution, the water treatment systems aren’t designed to filter dog waste, and it can spread diseases and viruses, to name a few. Many dog owners are still bad at picking it up.

Carmel has a new million dollar dog park, and if dog waste becomes a problem, they’re considering hiring a poop police. The company PooPrints specializes in DNA analysis of dog waste and currently has contracts with apartment complexes and condos in 45 US states, Canada, and the UK.

If the system is put in place, dogs with passes for the dog park would be subject to a gentle DNA swipe from their mouth, and if anything is left behind on the ground, the owner could get a notice and a bill in the mail.

Several apartment complexes currently use the system with great success; the threat of public shaming has been enough to make residents pick up after their dogs.

Sunshine story: stolen dog returns home

Blue with her rescuers on her way home – image from Galveston Daily News

In May last year, Ms Navarro’s two dogs Maggie and Blue were stolen from her back yard in Galveston Texas. Blue was just a few weeks old at the time, and after searching for months Ms Navarro thought she’d never see either dog again.

Maggie still hasn’t been found, but Blue turned up at a shelter in Indiana a few days ago, and the shelter tracked down Ms Navarro from Blue’s microchip.

The joy of Blue being found was soon clouded by an everyday problem; Ms Navarro didn’t have the funds to travel over a thousand miles to go get her dog.

Fortunately, dozens of people offered to help. It didn’t take long before retired deputy Ricky Mitchell set off for Indiana together with his brother and one more retired Sheriff’s office employee. The three drove all the way, and posted photos of state signs they passed along the way.

The men drove through the night to get Blue home as quickly as possible.

You can read more about this story in the Galveston County Daily News – the paper has a series of articles about Blue and her journey home.

Gluten free dog treats

There are many recipes for dog treats around the Internet, and most of them contain some form of wheat, even if it’s whole wheat. Here are some wheat – and gluten – free carob cookies you can make for your four-footed friend.

Carob is a chocolate substitute often used for dogs, because it lacks both the substances toxic to pets and caffeine. It is naturally sweet and looks a little like chocolate, but has a unique flavor and texture.

There are also carob chips. If you’ve seen doggie cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies they’re made with carob.

What you need:
  • 1 cup of white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup of carob powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup of water
What to do:

An English Mastiff requires an extra large PlexiDor dog doorPreheat the oven to 350 degrees F, so it gets properly warm while you mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. The order doesn’t matter, you can just pour them together and mix away. It’s supposed to become a smooth dough.

If the dough becomes very dry, add a little more water. When you bake the dough out, it helps to sprinkle the baking surface with rice flour or carob powder. Use the latter if you don’t want white sprinkles on the cookies.

Roll out the dough until it’s about a quarter of an inch thick and cut cookies with a cookie cutter. Or, cut it into squares. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for ten to fifteen minutes. Let the cookies cool and store them in the fridge.

Seattle dog takes the bus

A vast majority of humans have become urbanized, and it’s happening to the dogs too. Eclipse for instance, is a two year old black lab in Seattle who has learned to take the bus to the dog park – on her own.

Image from cctv.com

It all started when Eclipse’s owner was too slow for her liking and she decided to get on the bus by herself. She got off at the dog park where her human caught up with her. Since then, she’s been doing it every time he’s too slow. He calls her a bus riding, side-walk walking urbanized dog.

One bus stop is right by their home and the other right by the dog park. The bus drivers and regular passengers all know her. She just needs to sit by a window so she can see when it’s time to get off.

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AKC recognizes four more breeds

The American Kennel Club – AKC – sent out a press release just before New Years telling that it recognizes four new dog breeds. This brings the number of breeds able to participate in AKC events up to 184.

The new breeds are the Bergamasco, Boerboel, Cirneco dell’Etna, and the Spanish Water Dog. AKC adds new breeds when they fill the club’s standards, which include a breed club and a minimum number of individuals in the country.

The Bergamasco is a sheep dog from Italy with a history that goes back around 7,000 years. As most sheep dogs, these are highly intelligent and love to work.

The Boerboel is a hardy farm dog from South Africa. This breed is known for being intelligent, protective, and willing to please their family. Through history these dogs have been used for everything from babysitting to protecting against predators.

The Cirneco dell’Etna is an Italian hunting dog known for its resistance to heat and tough conditions. In the past, it was often used for hunting together with a ferret.

The Spanish Water Dog is another lively and hard working herding dog. This versatile breed herds, hunts, and helps fishermen.

Be careful with antifreeze

At this time a year pet owners need to watch out for antifreeze spills. Antifreeze for cars is based on ethylene glycol, which is quite toxic and leads to many pet deaths every year. If a pet laps it up and isn’t treated immediately, severe damage to kidneys and nervous system will follow.

In the past all antifreeze solutions had a sweet smell and taste, nowadays some manufacturers have changed the formula to make them less appealing to pets, and some manufacturers make “pet safe” antifreeze. Using the pet safe products helps – they are less toxic than traditional products, but can still be dangerous.

If you see a puddle on the ground when you’re walking your dog, don’t let your pet drink from it or walk through it. If it gets on the paws, odds are the pet will lick it off later to clean itself.

Keep this type of product off the ground and out of reach for pets. If there’s a spill, clean it immediately and rinse the area with lots of water.

If you think your pet has ingested antifreeze – even a small amount – call your veterinarian or the closest pet ER at once.

Dog food allergies

Allergies are fairly common both amongst humans and dogs, and just like a human, a dog can develop an allergy at any age. The most common dog allergy is against flea bites, and the second most common is inhaling allergens such as pollen or molds. Dog food allergies come in on a close third place.

In order to develop a food allergy, a dog must be exposed to the same food ingredient for a couple of years or more. Most dogs are between two and six years old when food allergies are first noticed.

What causes food allergy?

An allergy is caused by the immune system responding to something it believes is foreign. It is a defense mechanism that would normally protect the body, but instead causes an over-reaction to harmless substances met in everyday life.

When it comes to dogs and food the immune system most often reacts to a protein, and the most common triggers are beef, milk and other dairy products, chicken, eggs, soy, corn, and wheat.

What are the symptoms of food allergies?

Symptoms of food allergy include excessive scratching and itchy skin. A dog with a food allergy can scratch until they lose all hair in an area, and the skin is often red and irritated. This is particularly common on the ears, groin, and belly. Some dogs with food allergies lick or chew on their paws, get repeated ear infections, and/or rashes. Stomach problems are also often connected to food allergies.

How do you treat a food allergy?

To treat a food allergy, the dog needs to stay away from eating the problematic ingredient. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find the problematic ingredient. The idea is to eliminate potential causes of the problem through feeding the dog something completely different from what he or she has eaten in the past. The new food – and nothing but the new food – has to be fed for two to three months to give enough time for the method to work. This means no treats or tastes of human foods, which can be frustrating for both dog and human.

Once the dog is symptom free, one ingredient can be added back at a time to see if the immune system reacts.

 

 

Bake apple pupcakes

Many dogs like fruity tastes. These apple treats are easy to make – very much like cupcakes but in a dog friendly format – and odds are your pooch will love them.

What you need:

  • Muffin pan or cups
  • 2 and 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/8 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried apple chips
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix water, applesauce, honey, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl. It works well to mix with a wooden spoon. Add the other ingredients and stir until everything is well blended.

Distribute the mix into greased muffin pans and bake for around an hour. It can take up to an hour and fifteen minutes before they’re done.

You can store the pupcakes in an airtight container in the freezer for up to  6 months.

Sunshine story: Penny the Vizsla is home after 2400 mile road trip!

Penny is a 7 month old Vizsla who just came home after the adventure of a life time. She got lost in Royal City late December, and while her owners did everything to find her – including creating a Facebook page dedicated to finding her and bringing her home – Penny was on a road trip.

A kind truck driver saw her and picked her up, and she tagged along with him all the way to Pittsburgh, Pa. When his job was done he took Penny to an animal clinic where they scanned her microchip and were able to contact their owners.

Of course, Penny’s adventures weren’t over, because by now she was far from home. The puppy’s luck held and Alaska Airlines flew her home for free.

Make sure your pets have identification, and that your name, address, and phone number are updated. Even the most well behaved pet can get distracted by something. It only takes a couple of seconds for them to dash down the road in pursuit of a bird, squirrel, or something else.

Sunshine story: dog saves owner’s life

A few days ago, Darky, a labrador and collie mix, became a hero. Darky was on a walk with his owner Arthur McGarvey along the fields near their home when Mr. McGarvey collapsed. Darky didn’t lose any time – he ran to the road, barking and prompting drivers to come investigate.

Darky’s strange behavior made motorists pull over, and the persons who stopped quickly spotted the man on the ground. Without Darky no one would have seen Mr. McGarvey, but now the passers by could call for help, and keep him warm until paramedics arrived.

Doctors say Darky’s quick response, getting help in the minutes immediately following the stroke, might have saved Arthur’s life and definitely boosted his chances to make a full recovery. The quicker help and necessary medications are given after a stroke, the better the chances of recovery.

Most people who suffer a stroke have less evident symptoms than Mr. McGarvey. If you think that you or someone close to you has a stroke, call 911 immediately. Also, check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared – this is important for correct treatment. Common signs include:

  • Face drooping. Ask the person to smile and see if the smile is uneven.
  • Numbness or weakness of a leg, arm, or face. Ask the person to raise both arms and observe if one arm drifts downward.
  • Speech difficulty. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one of both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, loss of balance, loss of coordination, or dizziness.
  • Sudden and severe headache without known cause

 

Image of Darkey with family from mirror.co.uk

 

Why do people look like their dogs?

Most Afghan Hounds do well with a Large PlexiDor Dog DoorNo matter how much we like dogs, most of us don’t want to look like a dog. There are exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of humans want to look like a human. Still, everyone has seen someone with an uncanny likeness to their dog. Many dog owners even see something of their dog in their own face in the mirror.

It would be easy to dismiss this as one of those things that aren’t real, but when shown a photo lineup of random people and random dogs, test subjects are able to match owners and pets.

It would be easy to dismiss that with people seeking out pets that have something in common with themselves. Maybe men would be more likely to have large dogs and women more likely to have toy breeds, or maybe women with long hair would be more likely to have dogs with long hair and floppy ears?

The ability to match strangers with their pets remain even when these types of characteristics are ruled out.

A Japanese scientist recently set out to solve the mystery. In prior tests he has proven that test subjects can match photos of owners and their dogs by looking at their faces – and see that arbitrarily coupled dogs and people were fake pairs. This time, 502 students were presented with 40 human faces and 40 dog faces.

When shown the entire faces, 80 percent could pick the real life pairs. The interesting thing is that when shown only eyes of humans and dogs, 74 percent could still pick out real life pairs. The scientists ran the test again, and in a second group of test subjects 76 percent could pick out the pairs just looking at the eyes.

Thus far, no one knows how this works, but there is something in the eyes of humans and dogs that can show to complete strangers that they belong together.

Read more here.

New laws for animal protection

With the new year comes some new laws and statutes for animal protection. Some are practical, others sound a bit goofy but are clearly needed.

It might seem self evident that getting close enough to lions, tigers, and other big cats to take a selfie is a bad idea. Self-portraits with this type of animals have still become more and more popular online, and starting February 2015 it will be illegal to pose for this type of photo in New York. The new rule specifically prohibits contact between members of the public and big cats at animal shows.

New York is one of over 20 states with a ban on private citizens owning exotic animals, but all over the country it is believed that more exotic pets live in American homes than in American zoos. Seven states have no requirement of a license or permit to keep exotic animals. In these states you might need a license to own a dog, but you can buy a lion without thinking twice about it.

Naturally, many who own exotic pets are responsible and give the pets great care, others are less careful. There is no firm definition of the term exotic pet – in some states it refers to any wildlife kept in a human household, or to a pet that’s more unusual than a dog or cat.

In 2015, New York also makes it illegal to tattoo and pierce pets. This law allegedly came about a after a woman attempted to sell gothic kittens with piercings, and a man tattooed his dog. The only exception is markings done by a veterinarian for a medial reason or identifications.

On the other side of the USA, California takes a stand for farm animals. A new law requires that egg-laying hens, breeding sows, and veal calves have enough space to move around. It is no longer allowed to keep them in cramped cages. California also has a law that extends the space requirements for egg-laying hens for out of state suppliers.

Reasons to adopt an older dog

Portuguese PodengoPuppies are adorable. It is hard to resist puppy breath and puppy kisses, but they’re also a lot of work. If you’ve decided to start the new year with getting a pet and you want a puppy, think it through and make sure you really have the time and energy needed for raising a little dog through the puppy and teenage stages.

If you answer no to the 24-7 job of having a little one, consider visiting a local shelter or rescue and give an older dog a new chance on life. (There are often puppies there too, of course.)

Many dogs who end up in shelters and rescues are there through no fault of their own. In many cases the owner’s family, living situation, or financial situation changed, and the pet finds itself homeless. Older dogs are often the last to be adopted – and the first to be euthanized.

When you see a pet in a shelter, remember that the dog is stressed. Many shut down and become shy and unresponsive, others are hyper alert, ready for any chance to get away. The personality can change a little when you get home and your new pet settles in, and this process can take a couple of weeks until he or she figures out that they’re home and safe. Once the dog has settled in, you’ll have a devoted friend.

When you adopt a grown dog you know important things like their final size and grooming requirements. Older dogs are far less likely to be destructive chewers than younger dogs – and if they chew on something it’s a training problem and not a teething problem. Older dogs are also more likely to be house trained than puppies. If the older dog isn’t house trained or has accidents in the new home, they have the physical and mental ability to “get it” quickly while a young puppy just can’t hold it.

Older dogs require exercise just like younger dogs, but they might not have the super-explosve energy that wants you to play ball for five hours and then run a marathon. Seniors often like to chill out.

Many believe older dogs can’t learn new tricks. This isn’t true. Training is great mental exercise for your furry friend, and it helps build the bond between you.

To find your new best friend, visit local shelters or rescues, or check petfinder.com!

Keep your pets safe over the New Year holiday

The New Year holiday is just around the corner, and many Americans will celebrate the birth of the new year with fireworks, firecrackers, and even gunshots. While you and your neighbors celebrate, keep your pets in mind.

Cats, dogs, and other pets generally don’t like these loud noises, and the bright flashes of fireworks can add to their terror. Even dogs and cats that are normally calm can panic and run in an attempt to find safety from the perceived threat.

Keep your pets inside. If they choose to seek out a dark corner or hide under the bed, let them be. Never underestimate a frightened pet’s ability to flee. If you have visitors coming and going it’s a good idea to keep the pets separated so they can’t get out the front door.

If your family falls into the category that fires actual guns to celebrate the new year – fire into the ground, never up in the air. What goes up must come down, and bullets fired up in the air have been known to cause injury and even death on their return to the ground.

Make sure your pets have ID badges on their collars, and that they’re microchipped. Naturally, if you go to watch a fireworks display, leave your pets at home. Don’t leave them in the car.

Have a happy and safe New Year’s holiday!