Canine News from Near and Far, October 2010


Challenge Grant For Pets Unltd.

Pets Unlimited, a venerable San Francisco nonprofit that provides essential veterinary and shelter services to needy dogs, will receive a $100,000 matching gift from an anonymous donor if it can raise that same amount in private donations by the end of the year. 

Despite tough economic times, the organization continues to provide critical veterinary care, shelter services, a foster program, and community education efforts, as well as supporting  other animal agencies in and around San Francisco. 

Last year, Pets Unlimited provided more than half a million dollars worth of free and low-cost veterinary care to its community partners, including VetSOS, which serves the pets of homeless San Franciscans.

To learn more or to make a donation, visit


Dog Park Coming In Pacifica

On September 13, the Pacific City Council voted in favor of developing a plan for a dog park to be built at Sanchez Center. POOCH (Pacifica Organization Of Canine Helpers), a local dog advocacy group, plans to be closely involved in the process. Visit the group’s website at to join in the effort or to stay informed about Pacifica dog park plans and procedures.


Canines Sniff Prostate Cancer

A team of French researchers at Tenon Hospital in Paris recently reported that dogs can be trained to sniff out the distinctive scent of chemicals excreted in the urine of men with prostate cancer. The olfactory powers of canines are legend, and have already been harnessed for the detection of cancers of the bladder, breast, and lung. 

In the study, a trained dog accurately identified the scent of prostate cancer in 63 out of 66 subjects. There were three false positives. Scientists intend to develop an electronic “nose” that can be used in clinics in lieu of dogs.


Small Dogs Rule On

As a tribute to small dogs and their people, and Purina Mighty Dog dog food have developed special online content that will run through October. Original features of “Small & In Charge” include a webisode series entitled “Small Dogs, Big Jobs,” custom articles, interactive quizzes, and user-submitted photos viewable as a slide show. To check it all out go to


Dog Bite Damages

According to a recent study by the Insurance Information Institute, insurance payouts for dog bites totaled $412 million in 2009 and have grown 30% in the past six years. The industry group also found that dog bite claims increased by 4.8 percent from 2008, to 16,586. More than half of the bites occurred on the dog owner’s property, and most victims were children five to nine years of age. About a third of homeowners’ insurance liability claims result from dog bites.

Insurers are watching the matter closely for bottom-line reasons, but dog owners should also be concerned. Owners of certain breeds stand to pay higher insurance rates, and personal assets may be at risk when courts award damages in excess of their insurance benefits. 

Some sensible preventative steps to take are providing proper socialization and training for pups and keeping snappish dogs safely away from people, especially children.