Bay Area Reunion
When Ollie, a mutt puppy, wandered into an American military encampment in Iraq, he quickly became the camp’s mascot. He was there when the soldiers left on missions and there when they returned, and the sweet-tempered dog soon won the heart of Bay Area soldier Ken Wyrsch.
When the news came that the camp was being shut down, Wyrsch called the SPCA International in hopes of bringing Ollie home to the states, fearful of how the gentle dog would fare in the streets of Iraq without a home. The SPCA raised enough money to fly Ollie to San Francisco, where he was happily reunited with Wyrsch.
Right to Rescue
A group of Californians are pushing for a new law to be passed that would allow citizens to rescue overheated dogs from cars on hot days. The law was proposed to allow Good Samaritans the “Right to Rescue” without fear of being sued.
Some of these lawmakers even demonstrated the consequences of humans sitting in an unconditioned car on a hot day, showing that they couldn’t stand the heat after only eight minutes. They pointed out that humans sweat to cool themselves down, but dogs don’t have that capability. With this law, rescuers would have to check whether the car is locked, believe the dog is in danger, and call animal control or the police before entering the vehicle.
Photographer Shaina Fishman of San Francisco recently captured many adorable photos of puppies and adult dogs together in her debut book, Between Two Dogs. She spent hundreds of hours working toward the final project, taking photos of dog duos and capturing their natural interactions with each other. The result is a beautiful, 144-page book filled with playful, relaxed photos of 30 pairs of dogs. In the process of taking the photos, Fishman reunited some parents with their puppies, resulting in some precious interactions between the separated pairs.
A new study in Veterinary Medicine and Science has some words of caution for German shepherd owners. It seems that neutering or spaying German shepherds before they are a year old triples the risk of one or more joint disorders, particularly with the cranial cruciate ligament, or CCL, resulting in tears, or in debilitation through hip and elbow dysplasia. The study was done at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine with the lead investigator, Benjamin Hart, recommending delaying spaying and neutering until the dog is a year old. Pet owners typically have the procedures done before dogs are 6 months old. A similar 2014 study on golden retrievers found a fourfold increase and on Labs a twofold increase.
An adorable sheltie, Ollie, living in Portland, returned home from a camping trip happy and healthy. About a week later, though, his health started to decline. His local vet couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him, and when Ollie slowly became paralyzed, his owner decided to have him put to sleep. As the visiting veterinary student at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital prepared Ollie for euthanasia, she found a tick behind his ear. The doctors at the hospital were then able to diagnose Ollie with tick paralysis, a rare disease. Once the tick was removed, Ollie was moving by that night.
Girl’s Best Friend
A German shepherd in Florida placed himself between a rattlesnake poised to strike and his 7-year-old owner in May. The dog evidently realized the danger facing his young owner, Molly, and put himself between her and the threat. The snake bit the dog, Haus, three times before slithering away, leaving Haus in need of urgent medical care. His action ultimately saved the young girl. Haus is slowly recovering, thanks to the hardworking team of staffers at the Connechusett Animal Hospital.
A police officer found a small pit bull-boxer mix wandering through a neighborhood in Florida while on patrol early one morning. Since the puppy wasn’t wearing a collar, the officer was unable to track down the owner and decided to take the dog to the police station with him. The officer returned to the neighborhood the next morning to continue his search for the dog’s owner, but to no avail. After his third 12-hour shift in three days, the officer brought the puppy to the Florida SPCA for a checkup. He remained at the pup’s side, soon finding her a home with a police dispatcher.
A new species of dog has been found in Maryland through an unearthed fossil. The dog is one that would have roamed the coast of eastern North America approximately 12 million years ago. The coyote-sized species has been named Cynarctus wangi and was a member of the extinct subfamily Borophaginae, commonly known as bone-crushing dogs because of their powerful jaws and broad teeth.
Researchers have developed and used a custom dog harness that allows a computer to train a dog autonomously, monitoring the dog’s posture and reinforcing correct behavior with rewards. The device is more efficient and precise than humans, and the researchers hope to continue developing it further. Their hope for its long-term use is to allow dogs to “use” computers to do work like marking when a bomb is detected or allowing diabetic alert dogs to use their physical posture and behaviors to call for help.
Birds of a Feather
Before Rex was adopted, he was an aggressive stray fending for himself on the streets. But when he came upon an injured and seemingly dead hummingbird one day with his owner, he wouldn’t leave its side. His owner nursed the bird back to life, and now it stays by Rex’s side wherever he goes, even though it’s free to go back to the wild. The two have bonded and become fast, unexpected friends.
After falling out of her owner’s truck on Highway 99, “Freeway Frida” survived for five weeks on her own with no food or water near Galt. Passersby frequently noticed a German shepherd on the side of the highway as they drove past and called the police, but when the dispatchers arrived, they could never find Frida. Then on May 14, five weeks later, they finally found her and brought her to VCA Animal Hospital. She weighed only 40 pounds and had a broken leg. The police haven’t located her original owners yet, but it looks like she might get adopted by the police officer who found her.
Police dogs in New Zealand are getting body armor—protective vests of polymer panels called a Mako harness, to protect their vital organs from stabs, slashes, and punctures. Made of Cordura, the fabric harness includes Velcro and loops for attachments and also helps lessen the effects of blows and kicks. It’s lightweight, dries quickly, and doesn’t hamper performance, as would ballistic or bulletproof armor.
The Calgary Humane Society’s 15 annual Dog Jog got a record-breaking 813 dogs to don bandanas, setting a new world record with Guinness expecting to give the event four-paws up. The dapper dogs were dressed up in South Glenmere Park and included mutts and purebreds of all types and ages. The event raises money for the humane society, which set $105,000 as its goal.
Lovin’ the Leash
The Bark reports there are three kinds of pooches that go on walks—runners, sniffers, and greeters. Runners like their walks for the exercise. Sniffers spend all their time out with their nostrils flaring, taxing their olfactory senses. And greeters prefer the social aspect of getting out and saying hello to all those they meet.
Brew for Dogs
Woof and Brew had released a beer specifically for dogs—except it has no alcohol, hops, or carbonation, so it’s really not beer at all. Instead, it’s malt, dandelion, flax, and chicken flavoring, and dogs apparently like it, and humans enjoy the bonding sensation they can imbibing real beer while dogs quaff the imitation stuff. This new brew comes for the same company, incidentally, that offers herbal teas and tonics for dogs.
Bo and Sunny
What do the First Dogs do? Just like the President and First Lady, they make appearances. And Michelle Obama approves their schedules, from showing up as ambassadors at an Easter egg roll to raising spirits by visiting hospitalized kids at Christmastime. The two Portuguese water dogs, Bo, 7, male, and Sunny, 4, female, and fulfilled a promise Obama made to daughters Malia and Sasha.
Bill and Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation have funded a $100,000 grant to determine whether dogs and their keen sense of smell can help sniff out malaria early. Researchers are hoping dogs’ noses can lead to noninvasive testing to detect malaria on larger amounts of samples. Detection now relies on blood collection from finger pricks followed by laboratory testing.