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Pets In Need Takes Over Palo Alto Shelter

Pets In Need has assumed the day-to-day operations of the city of Palo Alto’s animal care services, resulting in Pets In Need providing animal care services for Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills, according to a recent news release.

Pets In Need hosted a Shelter Warming Party on March 7 to celebrate the agreement, which allows Pets In Need to expand its rescue operations and advance its no-kill mission. Palo Alto Mayor Eric Filseth and Pets In Need leaders, including Rob Kalman, board president, and Al Mollica, executive director, and Jeremy Robinson, board president of the Friends of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter, attended the party.

The event included shelter tours, a preview of planned renovations, a chance to meet some adoptable Pets In Need animals, and a special guest, Milo. Four years ago, Milo was only expected to live a few months, but the Pets In Need rescue dog rallied when given a second chance and a forever home.

Pets In Need is a nonprofit headquartered in Redwood City and is Northern California’s first no-kill shelter. Learn more at

Foster Volunteer Sheela Pai with Milo

Sheila Pai with Miraculous Milo, above. Image courtesy Pets In Need.


Wild Earth Scores

Berkeley’s Wild Earth, maker of Good Protein Dog Snacks, found success on a March Shark Tank appearance, CNBC recently reported.

Ultimately, Ryan Bethencourt, the CEO and co-founder of Wild Earth, got the $550,000 he was seeking in exchange for 10 percent of the tech startup company that makes vegan dog treats from koji, a fungi super food. The company scored a half million dollars worth of investment from businessman Mark Cuban.

See how Bay Woof test dog Wiley liked the two varieties of Wild Earth treats in our product review column, Off the Shelf.


Half-Marathon Assist

Thomas Panek, assisted with a trio of guide dogs, became the first blind man to finish the United Airlines Half Marathon in New York City on March 17, Good Morning America reported.

Panek ran the 13.1-mile race with highly trained running guide dogs — Waffle, Westley, and Gus. They are all Labrador Retrievers, and they helped him navigate curbs, other runners, and potholes. Gus paced Panek for the final 5K of the race and became the first running guide dog to complete a New York Road Runners event.

“It’s a long race, but dogs are running creatures, and they love to move and run,” Panek said before the race. “A lot of times, when we’re walking our dogs, we are holding them back. They want to get out and have fun, and they love it.”

Panek ran the half marathon to raise money for blind athletes to be able to get service dogs that can both guide them and run with them.

“There’s a big demand from people who have vision loss that want to be active, want to be, well, like the rest of us, want to get out there with their dog,” Panek said.

“The biggest obstacle is getting it done at a faster pace, moving with the dog and keeping our footwork together,” the runner said. “Like everybody else, one step at a time.”


Turtle Hunters

Specially trained dogs from Montana are coming to Iowa to help round up a rare and threatened turtle species, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

The Bur Oak Land Trust is bringing in John Rucker, a Montana dog trainer and turtle expert, and his Boykin spaniels, this spring to help gather the ornate box turtle, Iowa’s only native terrestrial turtle. The trust wants to preserve a small population in Johnson County.

“It’s shocking to see the decline in their habitat in Eastern Iowa over the decades,” said Jason Taylor of the trust. “One of the problems is that sandy prairie is also a good place to build a house.”

Removing the threatened turtles from the wild is illegal in Iowa, but poaching them to sell as pets is another factor in the decline.

Rucker, now in his 70s, was training bird dogs decades ago when one brought back a turtle instead, then another and another. Rucker used the scent in box turtle shells to train other dogs, and he soon became a popular with researchers.

In Iowa, when the dogs find a box turtle, they will bring it unharmed to the researchers for weighing, shell measuring, and photos — important for tracking the health and location of the species and managing habitat for improve survival rates.

How successful are the dogs? In an Illinois study, Rucker’s canines found 85 turtles during a 10-day period, compared to 12 for human hunters. The spaniels pick up a scent trail as the turtles move through the grass.


On the Town

In Lucas County, Ohio, shelter dogs are going on intentional walkabouts with handlers to find their forever homes, TV station WTOL reported recently.

Dozens of dogs at Lucas County Canine Care and Control, aka LC4, are getting out regularly with a new program called Dog on The Town, which lets qualified volunteers take shelter dogs on field trips.

“It’s just a little break from the shelter. Go to a park, go to a dog-friendly local business,” explained Laura Simmons-Wark of LC4. “Getting them out for just a few hours, that really makes a huge difference, and they think it’s the best day ever.”

Volunteers wear backpacks, encouraging people they meet to ask about the dog, and they give business cards to interested people. So far, there have been a few adoptions successes.


Regular Bark Kents

A new documentary, Superpower Dogs, in IMAX theaters now, introduces six amazing and super cute canines who use extraordinary powers to rescue humans from rubble, avalanches, and PTSD, Johnny Oleksinski reported for the New York Post.

Daniel Ferguson, the Montreal filmmaker, met dozens of skilled dogs but ultimately chose six. Using “doggy vision” and special effects to demonstrate strong scents, Ferguson offers a pup’s-eye view of the world. The crew filmed the dogs for almost three years, following the journeys of dogs such as Henry, Ricochet, and Halo, a trainee who goes from newborn pup to full-fledged search-and-rescue dog.


Good Boy Dog Beer

A Houston, Texas, couple, Steve and Megan Long, are having fun with their “beer” line for dogs that includes silly names like Mailman Malt Licker, IPA Lot in the Yard, Session Squirrel, and Crotch Sniffin’ Ale, according to People.

The Longs, who are bar owners, created their Good Boy nonalcoholic beers in 2018 after they noticed their older Rottweiler, Rocky, had digestion issues. To ensure he got adequate protein and vitamins, they came up with pork-, chicken-, veggie-, and peanut-based products packed with essentials Rocky lacked because of food sensitivities.

These “beers” should not serve as a meal replacement, but they can be a great meal addition and a delicious treat. Good Boy is available at stores in Houston and online at

“You’ll buy your buddy a beer, why not buy your best friend a beer?” Steve Long said of the inspiration behind Good Boy Dog Beer.


To Pet or Not

A new and popular Twitter account, @CanYouPetTheDog, quickly lets gamers know which video games allows them to pet dogs.

According to Slate, @CanYouPetTheDog reveals whether dogs in popular video games are “pettable” or “non-pettable.” To be pettable, “a manual button press resulting in visual representation of petting is required.”

The creator of the account said that the idea was born out of personal annoyance. “I was playing The Division 2 beta when I found an unpettable dog, which frustrated me,” they said. “I saw others making similar complaints, which helped validate my feelings. I thought it would be helpful to establish which games contain pettable dogs and which do not.”

Games that qualify include WarioWare, Assassin’s Creed III, and Final Fantasy VIII. Dogs in games like Spelunky and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild cannot be petted. Each post on the account is accompanied by a photo or GIF demonstration.

@CanYouPetTheDog’s swift popularity surprised its creator: “I had no idea it would succeed at this speed and intensity.” the creator said. “The number of pettable dogs in games is unfortunately finite, but with good luck, I will find reason to continue posting with a slow trickle of relevant new game releases.”


Be Careful

Dog owners live longer, healthier, more active lives than people without pups, and pets in general lower their owners’ stress levels and improve mental health. But dog ownership can come with some dangers for older people, Time reported recently.

The magazine cited a new research letter published in JAMA Surgery indicating that among older adults, fractures linked to dog-walking were common and frequent. Data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of 100 U.S. hospital emergency rooms showed in 2014, almost 1,700 adults ages 65 and older went to the emergency room for fractures related to walking leashed dogs. By 2017, the number had risen to almost 4,500.

“People intuitively know many of the benefits of animal companionship,” Dr. Jaimo Ahn, an author of the study, told . “Not surprisingly, pet ownership has increased over time, including among the elderly, who are living longer and taking efforts to live healthier — all good things.”

Main article photo by: Courtesy Pets In Need