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Pup Plaza Debuts in San Jose

Silicon Valley Pet Project recently opened Pup Plaza, the first “dog community center” in San Jose, SVPP communications volunteer Karen Zamel said.

It’s a renovated space and a patio in the Cambrian Park Plaza shopping center and was created to help dogs in need while putting animal rescue and pet adoption into “positive momentum.”

Pup Plaza schedules weekly adoption events; a shelter dog day out for pups to get a break from municipal shelters; and Doga, or dog yoga. It also pairs teens with pooches for “dog time.” Members of the public can visit with their dogs during set community hours or even schedule a Pup Plaza doggie birthday party. Additionally, Pup Plaza offers reduced adoption rates for veterans and seniors and works with San Jose Animal Care to rescue at-risk pets.

Since kitten season is underway, cat and kitten adoption events are on their way to Pup Plaza, too.

SVPP’s Pup Plaza at Cambrian Park Plaza, in the photograph above, helps animals in need.


JFFD and the Milo Foundation Forge a Partnership

Just Food for Dogs recently teamed up with the Milo Foundation to provide its whole food meals to newly adopted animals from the animal welfare and rescue organization.

The Corte Madera dog exhibition kitchen at 770 Tamalpais Drive in Marin County began hosting Milo adoptions once a month. When a new guardian adopts a dog at one those adoption events, they will receive a 30-day supply of JFFD products.

JFFD makes whole food for dogs (and cats) using USDA-certified animal products and vegetables from restaurant produce suppliers in kitchens outfitted with restaurant-quality equipment, including tilt ovens and giant freezers. JFFD was developed by a team of veterinarians, many well-versed in toxicology, nutrition, and dermatology. The food comes fresh or frozen, or humans can pick up supplements at JFFD and make their own at home with JFFD recipes or buy a shelf-stable option.

Customers can pick up JFFD products at the fancy Corte Madera kitchen or stop into Pet Food Express locations, which has partnered with JFFD to carry the product in the Bay Area. Outside the Bay Area, Petco. is handling JFFD products, which are also available through online subscription delivery and arrive in supposedly all-compostable containers.


Pet Food Drive

Fans of the Alameda County Fair who love pets can help out Valley Humane Society by participating in a new fundraising event on June 19 and receive fair-going discounts.

The fair returns to the fairgrounds in Pleasanton June 4-July 7. On June 19, those who bring in a donation for Valley Humane Society will get into the fairgrounds free and enjoy $1 rides until 5 p.m.

The fair will be accepting these kinds of donations: cat food (eight cans or one 3-pound bag), dog food (four cans or one 3-pound bag), cat littler, heartworm preventative medicine, and puppy pads.

For more information, visit or follow the fair’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.


Pampered Pets

Long Beach is the best city for pampering pooches, according to, because it has 985 dog training centers, 445 kennels, and 259 dog grooming salons.

Also high in the pampering ranks were Mesa, Ariz., at No. 2, with 619 vets, 456 dog training centers, and 337 kennels, and Atlanta, Ga., at No. 3 where there are 65 great open parks, 661 vets, and 139 dog salons.


Dirty, Dirty Beards

Beards, it turns out, are significantly dirtier than dogs, according to USA Today, which recently reported that more germs and bacteria apparently hide out in men’s beards than on dogs

Research published in the journal European Radiology, a peer-reviewed publication, compared bacteria samples from 18 hairy men with those from 30 dogs, including Border Collies, Dachshunds, and German Shepherds.

“On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as ‘clean’ compared with bearded men,” the Switzerland-based researchers noted. Twenty-three of the 30 dogs showed high microbial counts; all 18 bearded men did. Disease-causing bacteria showed up more frequently on the beards, too, including bugs causing urinary tract infections.

Researchers took bacterial samples from the dogs’ necks, between the shoulder blades, which veterinarians suggest is “particularly unhygienic” and where most canine skin infections occur, the study said. The men gave samples from beard hair below the mouth.

“The beards of men harbor significantly more microbes than the neck fur of dogs and these microbes were significantly more pathogenic to humans,” the study said.


Soothing Cellist

In Papillon, Neb., Cheryl Wallace, a cellist, has been playing her cello at local dog shelters for about six months to soothe the canine dwellers, according to station KETV TV.

“I’m a musician, and I heard that music can calm shelter dogs,” Wallace said. Her music apparently allows the dogs to relax. “Now, if you were playing in a concert hall and your audience went to sleep, you might be insulted. But for me that is a high compliment.”

Some veterinarians agree that music is beneficial to dogs, including Mike Rukstalis, a veterinarian with the Papillion Animal Hospital, who noted, “There are some studies that have shown that playing music and specifically classical music, can actually calm down animals and lower that stress response to an environment like a shelter or a rescue.”


Summer Road Trips

More cities are becoming dog-friendly destinations, offering plenty of activities for both humans and canines. MarketWatch has dubbed these spots as being among the most Fido-welcoming vacation spots of the season:

Carmel for its beaches, shops, and accommodations; Minneapolis, Minn., for its natural beauty, restaurants, and breweries; Austin, Texas, for its city parks’ water activities, dog parks, and foodie destinations; Cape Cod, Mass., for Provincetown beaches and Hyannis hotels; and Key West, Fla., for its kayaking and paddle boarding opportunities.


The Nose Knows

Ever wondered how a dog finds his or her way home?

C. Claiborne Ray, responding to a question in The New York Times about a dog doing just that after escaping from a car, noted that dogs can navigate well because of their hypersensitive sense of smell.

“The theory is that a dog creates a map of scents from odiferous sites like a food store or fertilized garden — or even just a hint of an owner’s scent in the ground or air,” Ray answered. “Dogs are especially sensitive to the odor of the humans in their lives. One study used MRI imaging to study activity in the caudate nucleus, a brain area associated with the expectation of a reward.

“Dogs of varying breeds were exposed to their own scent or that of a familiar dog, a strange dog, a strange human, or a familiar human. By far the strongest activation followed exposure to the scent of a familiar person.”

Furthermore, Ray said, dogs are suspected to have sensitivity to differences in magnetic orientation and cited a study of dozens of dogs that found that they liked pooping with their bodies aligned in a north-south orientation. However, that preference disappeared when the magnetic field was disturbed.


Project Bow Wow Bungalows for Homeless Dogs

The Humane Society of Michigan’s Genesee County has come up with a way to make the dogs and cats at the shelter feel more at home: upgrading decrepit galvanized steel and chain link fencing and cages into bungalows, according to NBC News.

HSGC rehomes about 2,000 animals every year. The shelter wants the animal inhabitants to have more comfortable quarters. Lin Holmes of the HSGC noted the cages are safe but constantly need repair. That’s why the shelter is launching Project Bow Wow bungalows with the goal of upgrading the 30-year-old kennels to stainless steel.

It’ll cost about $80,000 dollars to redo the dog kennels in stainless steel. A patron has offered to match donations, dollar for dollar, up to $12,500.


Enemy No. 1?

More than 6,000 postal service employees were attacked by dogs in 2018, according to Maureen Halliday of Fox 47 in Lansing, Mich.

According to data from the United States Postal Service, she reported, over half a dozen carriers were bitten by dogs in mid-Michigan last year. Dog owners can be held liable for medical bills, repayment of lost work hours, and other costs in dog attacks. Meanwhile, the postal service has asked dog owners to be mindful of how their dogs may harm or scare carriers and asked them to ensure their dogs can’t hurt carriers. If the mail carrier doesn’t feel safe making a delivery, customers may have to pick up their mail from a post office.


No. 1 Friend

Chris Cimino’s dog, Gretchen, apparently had a special relationship with her owners’ letter carrier, Fernando Barboza, according to People.

While completing his route each day, the letter carrier brought treats to many of the dogs in the neighborhood, including Gretchen, a German shepherd. After she died, Crimino wrote a note to Barboza informing him of the shepherd’s death and asked the kind carrier to share the dog’s treats with other dogs in the neighborhood — a last request of sorts.

“Gretchen passed away yesterday. She asked me to ask you if you would share her treats that she never got to finish with the other dogs on your route,” the note read. “She always enjoyed seeing you come to the door and was always happy to get a snack from you.”

Along with the letter, the Cimino family attached a bag of Gretchen’s dog treats. Barboza carried out the request.


Monkey See, Monkey Do

Dogs learn more than tricks, including their personalities, from their owners, according to a new study, “Old Dog, New Tricks: Age Differences in Dog Personality Traits, Associations with Human Personality Traits, and Links to Important Outcomes,” according to the Capital News Service.

William Chopik and Jonathan Weaver, psychology researchers and authors of the report, are assistant professors from Michigan State University’s psychology department and based their research on a six-month study of dogs and their owners.

More than 1,600 dogs and their owners were involved, Chopik said. Owners answered online questions about their and their dogs’ personalities. Researchers discovered that a dog will change its personality to be more like its owner’s. If a person is friendly, his dog is likely to be friendly. If you’re active, your dog likely will be, too. The reverse also holds true. The researchers also learned that old dogs can learn new tricks and that age 6 is the best time to teach tricks.

Chopik and Weaver want to find out why dogs and their owners share personality traits, though they suspect it could be because owners purposefully pick dogs that best suit their lifestyle.

To form the best relationship with your dog, Chopik suggested doing research before adopting to make sure the breed you want can easily adapt to your lifestyle. You should also be conscious of the fact that your actions could affect your dog’s health and well-being, Chopik said. Chopik and Weaver plan to do the same study on cats.


Too Fat

The annual survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention released in March showed 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs in America were classified as overweight or obese, Newsmax recently reported.

“We’re seeing more dogs and cats falling into the obesity category, and that’s where the greatest risk lies,” said Dr. Ernie Ward, a North Carolina veterinarian who founded APOP. “We’re encountering more weight-related diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, cancers, and kidney disease.”

The organization compiles statistics by gathering data on pets who visit their vet for a general wellness exam on a given day in October. A total of 1,560 dogs and 646 cats in 41 states were assessed for the latest survey.

Main article photo by: Photo courtesy SVPP and Pup Plaza