Oakland Puppies Recovering
Three badly abused puppies found in Oakland garbage heaps around Memorial Day weekend are making tremendous recoveries, CBS SF reported recently.
The puppies — a husky and two German shepherds — were badly tortured and suffered severe injuries, such as broken jaws and a severed rear paw. They were abandoned in refuse at 89th and G streets.
Rocket Dog Rescue shared a video with the TV station showing two puppies — the German shepherd sisters who are now called Freya and Frigg — eating, playing, and licking each other’s muzzles.
“They were in very terrible shape. We were thinking they were not able to survive. But after this care, they are doing really well; much improvement,” said Shikher Singla, a veterinarian at Ocean Avenue Veterinary Hospital in San Francisco, where the sisters were being kept. The third husky puppy is safe and recovering at the Oakland Animal Services shelter.
Officials have suggested the grisly event could be a serial animal torture case. As a result, OAS and the Oakland Police Department created a special animal abuse task force and are investigating the cases. There is a $15,000 reward for anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the culprit. Pet Food Express in Alameda, PETA, and a private donor each donated $5,000 to fund the reward.
“Our fear is that whoever is hurting these dogs is also hurting people,” Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said at the news conference announcing the task force.
This case has spurred Alameda County officials to interview witnesses and use surveillance videos to find the license plate of who might have dumped the dogs. There has not been much progress with the investigation, but the puppies have definitely rallied.
Pets, Vets Save One Another
Thanks to Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek, veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can train their own service dog to help them deal with their PTSD.
Launched in 2011, ARF’s Pets and Vets program has paired 45 service dogs with military families this year. Even better, ARF searches public shelters, where dogs may have uncertain futures, to find canines that might be temperamentally suited to become service dogs and enlists those canines in the Pets and Vets program. ARF then provides low-cost, veterans-only classes in which the veterans train their service dogs to help alleviate anxiety, depression, and other symptoms associated with PTSD.
So while this program aids veterans, it is also saving shelter dogs by turning them into service dogs whose presence can diffuse anger, hostility, and aggression that can be a byproduct of PTSD.
ARF plans to expand the program and works with the Department of Veteran Affairs to find veterans who may benefit from the program. Similar efforts have been started at PetsForVets.com and GreaterGood.org in the name of harnessing the therapeutic power of service dogs to mitigate the effects of PTSD.
Take Your Dog to Work Day
June 22 marked the 20th anniversary of Take Your Dog to Work Day, a holiday created by Pet Sitters International to celebrate what great companions dogs make and encourage dog adoptions.
The event urges employers to allow dogs in the workplace. For the inaugural Take Your Dog to Work Day, more than 300 businesses participated, according to PSI, which also promotes an annual Take Your Pet to Work Week so as not to exclude other pets. PSI does not track how many companies participated this year, but the organization suggested that interest in Take Your Pet to Work Week has reached an all-time high.
All Packed for You
In case you have no idea what your dog might need if and when she comes to work with you on a non-Bring-Your-Dog-to-Work-Day day, a Boulder pet food company has you covered, according to Boulder’s Daily Camera.
The company, called “I and love and you,” released the Take Your Dog to Work Kit (usually $40 but $15.99 for the promo), which included treats, poop bags, a bow tie, and dog business cards, just in time for Take Your Dog to Work Day. Some proceed of sales were scheduled to be given to a local dog rescue.
“As a brand that encourages the unconditional love — sometimes considered crazy to the outside world — we have for our pets, we support bringing your best friend to the place you spend the most time: work,” I and love and you CEO Beau Mainous said in a statement.
Dogs V. Cats, Again
Consider the source, but Fox News recently concluded that dogs are smarter than cats.
According to researchers from the University of Salford in Manchester whose results were published in the science journal Animal Cognition, dogs use about 47 gestures to communicate with humans. Now scientists think they understand what 19 gestures mean — mainly feed me, scratch me, play with me, and open the door. Those gestures range from holding a paw in the air while seated, licking a person, reaching a paw toward something coveted, and jumping up and down.
The research also indicated that the cerebral cortex in dogs is very dense, with dogs having about 530 million neurons compared to 250 million neurons in cats.
“I believe the absolute number of neurons an animal has, especially in the cerebral cortex, determines the richness of their internal mental state and their ability to predict what is about to happen in their environment based on past experience,” said neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel from Vanderbilt University, adding, “I’m 100 percent a dog person, but, with that disclaimer, our findings mean to me that dogs have the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can.”
UV Ray Protection
There are sunscreens made for dogs, and applying safe sunscreen on canines that are outside at peak sun times — between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. — makes some sense in sunny areas. Their most sensitive and vulnerable areas include nose, lips, ear tips, groins, and bellies.
Before profusely using any sunscreen, including dog-formulated sprays, sticks, wipes, or creams, test some on a small area of your dog for any allergic reactions. If none occurs, then apply it to exposed areas. Fur coats, by the way, can protect dogs’ skin from UV rays.
Some breeds are more susceptible to sunburns, including Staffordshire terriers, boxers, bull terriers, pit bulls, and shorthaired pointers. Signs of sunburn include skin that is tender to the touch, hair loss, itchiness, or dry and cracked skin around the ears.
Microchip Your Mutt
Alter-Ations Inc of Veroqua, Wis., celebrated National Microchipping Month by microchipping locals’ pets for $25. Volunteers from the humane organization timed the event for the beginning of summer, a season when many pets go missing.
Veterinarians typically recommend pet parents to microchip their dogs and cats, and a recent study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association offers ammo for why: More microchipped dogs and cats are returned to their families.
Specifically, more than 52 percent of microchipped dogs were returned to their family from shelters, while just 22 percent of non-microchipped dogs found their way home, the study showed. Cat statistics were more surprising: only 2 percent of lost cats were reunited with their families from shelters, while more than 38 percent of microchipped cats were returned to their owner.
The lava flows from Mount Kilaueu’s eruption in Hawaii swallowed hundreds of homes — and separated countless pets from their families. Some residents can rest easier knowing that the Red Cross Shelter in Pahoa pitched in to protect and reunite families and pets.
About 25 miles east of Mount Kilaueu, the shelter has taken in more than 100 dogs, 30 cats, bunnies, birds, and pigs. To keep things straight, its pet rescue missions begin with volunteers interviewing pet owners at the shelter, taking down their pets’ names and addresses. The rescue crews — sometimes accompanies by the pet owner, sometimes alone — go into abandoned neighborhoods and set out food and water to coax hungry animals out of hiding.
The community on the Big Island has also come together for pets: One shelter had bags of dog and cat food piling up, while larger livestock, such as horses and cattle, have been housed in county-funded natural habitats.
Paint Your Pup
Ohio’s Studio 614 has a twist on wine-and-painting classes for pet owners who may want to immortalize their furry companions on canvas or in sculpture.
Instead of showing up and painting from a photograph while enjoying a glass of wine, participants receive a more personalized lesson. Studio 614 has its participants send in photographs of their animals, and Studio 614 artists use that as a reference to make a sketch on the canvases before the real pet parent arrives.
Sculpting classes were borne out of the positive reception to the paint-your-pet classes. Pet owners use an aluminum foil base and using polymer clay to build their pet’s head. Artist instructors are on hand to help them get the details right, from the texture of the fur to the cute, little spots underneath the snout.
Similar Paint-Your-Pet classes have cropped up in the Bay Area. SF SPCA, for instance, has hosted its own Paint a Portrait of Your Pet class at which pet parents sent in a photograph of their pet in advance so artists could create a pencil sketch for them to use. Some of the proceeds were donated back to the SF SPCA.