3-Legged Dog Wins 1st Place PLUS Heroic Pets!!

Shocking No One,
Dogs Beat Cats in National Poll
Jill Rosen - BaltimoreSun.com

Results in the least surprising poll of all time: More people like dogs than cats

In the above photo, that's Pumpkin and Teddy Bean, not long after I brought him home as a foster dog last summer. That would of course make me a dog AND a cat person. The poll didn't appear to address hybrids.


Cats have always been a tougher sell. It's like choosing Leno over Letterman. Letterman, and cats, require a more refined palate.

Dog people will say that dogs offer more affection, that they really let you know that they love you...that cats don't give it up.... But anyone who has a kitty knows otherwise. Why does Pumpkin spend hours in my lap. Why does Leo give me good morning kisses EVERY SINGLE DAY?

According to an Associated Press-Petside.com poll. Fifteen percent of the adults questioned said they disliked cats a lot while the number who said they disliked dogs a lot was just 2 percent.

The survey found 74 percent of people like dogs a lot, and only 41 percent like cats a lot.

About 59 percent of American households own pets, according to the poll. About 74 percent of pet owners polled said they had dogs, and 47 percent said they had cats.

Those most likely to dislike cats were blacks, Hispanics and married men. Men were a bit more likely than women to say they disliked cats.

And this is pretty interesting and says something, I think, about the open-mindedness of dog purists: Dog people are more adamant about their preference than cat people, the poll found. Of those who owned only a dog, 34 percent said they disliked cats; of those who owned only a cat, only 5 percent disliked dogs.

Thoughts? Is the poll a pile of poo or right on target?

Pilots Help Give Dogs New Lease on Life
By Kris O'Donnell - PetFinder.com

Pilot Jeff Bennett with two rescue dogs. (ZT Pet News Photo Courtesy of Jeff Bennett.)

Pilot Jeff Bennett loves to fly all over the state of Florida from his home base in the Florida Keys. But he's not flying merely for recreation. On most days, he's a pilot with a purpose.

"This was probably the best group of puppies I've ever taken. We loaded them up and didn't hear virtually anything from them," Bennett said. "There were no messes in the crates, they slept the whole way. It was a great trip."

On this particular day, Bennett picked up 19 puppies and one adult dog in Tallahassee and flew them to a rescue group in Lakeland, Florida. It's just a typical day for the pilots who volunteer their time with the organization, Pilots N Paws.

"This gives me a great excuse to be in the air and hopefully I'm doing some good at the same time," Bennett said.

Founded in February 2008, the goal of Pilots N Paws is to deliver dogs in kill shelters to rescue organizations and other shelters across the country.

"When you see the life of an animal that's destined to be euthanized taken to a place where they have their forever home, with loving hands and kind hearts, there's nothing more rewarding than that," co-founder Debi Boies said.

So far, Boies says more than 1,300 pilots have joined the organization. The pilots who join then coordinate flights with rescue groups via the Pilots N Paws website. Boies says her goal is to have 10,000 pilots join the group.

"It sounds like an unrealistic goal but when you consider that there are 350,000 to 400,000 general aviation pilots in the U.S. alone, that's a very small percentage of that," Boies said.

Boies says the group needs pilots from the southeast in particular.

"Most requests come from those areas and that's where we have the least amount of pilot volunteers," she said.

The pilots are not compensated. They donate all their time and resources.

"The appreciation they show for these pilots is almost beyond words," Boies said. "It's kind of a mutual admiration society. The pilots admire the rescue groups and the rescue groups think the pilots are just angels."

Since its inception, Boies estimates Pilots N Paws has helped thousands of animals escape euthanasia. Although most of the rescues involve dogs, some pilots like Jeff Bennett have also transported cats, snakes, rats, rabbits, pigs, and the occasional chicken. But whether he's helping dogs or cats, Bennett says he always tries to get a simple message across.

"I've been trying to emphasize spaying and neutering your animals," Bennett said.

And Boies says her ultimate goal is that Pilots N Paws will no longer be needed.

"That's because people will have become responsible pet owners by spaying and neutering their animals and we won't have to worry about the overcrowding and euthanasia rates that we have right now," Boies said.

For more information about Pilots N Paws, log onto their website at pilotsnpaws.org.

Tell us what you think about "Pilots Help Give Dogs New Lease on Life" below. Share your favorite videos by clicking on the ZootooTV tab. Send us your story ideas by e-mailing us at hfinnegan@zootoo.com.

Pet news brought to you by Zootoo.com

Winter Survival Tips for the Green Dog!
By Leslie May and Johann, the dog, of RaiseAGreenDog.com/DogSportMagazine.com

There is nothing Johann likes better than playing in the snow, (well, except agility, of course.) See? That’s JoJo and Gracie the other day, wrestling away. But, if you live in many parts of the country, it’s been just plain frigid the past week or so! Winter time can be a tough time for dogs – it’s difficult for them to get enough exercise, they get bored, and the dangers increase in their environment. So what’s a green dog to do? We thought we’d share a few of our top tips for keeping your green, or aspiring green, dog happier, healthier and safer this Winter.

1. The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice on roadways and sidewalks will not only irritate the pads of your dog’s feet, but if ingested they can be very toxic. Keep your pet away from the streets and sidewalks that have salt put down. And if they have to venture out into these areas, wipe their paws the minute they come in from outside with a damp cloth. An even better idea would be to make your dog some homemade dog boots to wear around these areas, and to keep their paws nice and comfy in freezing temperatures. If you do have to put something down on your sidewalk, patio or driveway to keep from slipping, look into using sand, gravel, or an old runner mat. You can also find pet friendly deicers at your local pet store.

2. When it gets below freezing, it’s not safe for most dogs to be out in the cold for any length of time. Just like humans, a dog is susceptible to frostbite. Be sure to keep a sharp eye on your dog’s behavior for danger signs and never leave him in the yard for more extended periods when temperatures dip below freezing. It’s also good idea to bone up on information about hypothermia in dogs and how to recognize the symptoms.

3. Trim the excess fur from footpads and toes of longer haired dogs. It makes it more comfy in the snow and cuts down on those painful ice balls between their toes. You can also rub a little Salmon oil on their paws to help keep the ice balls from forming, and they can lick it off safely when they come indoors.

4. Be very careful with your dogs around rivers, creeks, ponds and lakes. Dogs are drawn to those areas like magnets and during the winter months they can be deceivingly dangerous.

5. Also, be careful letting your dog off leash in snowy or icy conditions. Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost during these times. And make sure they always wear ID tags.

6. Watch out for that anti freeze! It can leak onto driveways and roads, and in your garage. It smells and tastes very good to dogs, but it is highly poisonous and can be lethal to your canine companion if ingested. Keep this phone number and link on hand, as well as your vet and emergency vet number handy, just in case of an emergency.

7. When it’s very cold like it has been the past several weeks here in the Midwest, we can’t get outside to play, hike or even take a nice long walk! So what can you do to keep your dog busy, active, out of trouble and in shape, when you can’t get in your regular activities? Lots of things….here’s our short list:

A) Teach your dog to walk on a treadmill, it’s great indoor exercise.

B) Learn how to help your dog work out on an exercise ball, there are several resources on dog exercise ball work, just do a quick Internet search.

C) Play some fun indoor games with your dog; like hide and seek, find target, or work on an agility skill; like table downs/sits using an ottoman.

D) Teach your dog new tricks, like beg, roll over, back up and more to help them be more aware of various parts of their body, build some muscle for other activities, help them stay in shape both mentally and physically, and out of trouble.

E) Sign up your dog for winter indoor classes at your local training center, for obedience, agility, rally, and more.

F) Look into the amazing interactive and intelligent dog toys on the market. They can be great brain builders.

G) One other thing we like to do to keep JoJo and Gracie healthy and having fun during the deep of Winter is making us some yummy, healthy, homemade treats. Their absolute favorites are homemade Sweet Potato Chews and homemade Marrow Bone Stew. Oh so good on a long Winter’s day.

And when it warms up a bit, get out there and have fun with your dog! ‘Cause dogs know how to have fun.

Stay safe!

Leslie and Johann

Click on banner to visit The Pet Warehouse

4 Tips to Pet-Proof Your Bedroom
by Staff Writer - ApartmentRatings.com

Learn to pet proof your bedroom and keep your pet safe from potential dangers that could harm your pet. Read on for tips on keeping your pets safe when in your bedroom or keeping your pet out of your room entirely.

1 - Keep the Door Shut

Although not always possible, as it may keep warm or cold air from properly circulating and make your room an uncomfortable temperature, keep your bedroom door shut as often as possible, especially when your pets are left in your apartment alone.

If your pet scratches the door, cover the bottom half of the door with a heavy plastic or wooden board to keep the damage off of the door and to increase your chances of getting your security deposit back. You might also consider caging your animal when left unsupervised and training your animal to stop scratching when you’re there to see it happen.

2 - Cover Electrical Wires and Outlets

Even if you try to keep your pet out of your bedroom, you should still take steps to pet proof your bedroom in case you accidentally leave the door open or your pet sneaks in after you without you noticing. It can take only a moment for accidents to happen.

The first step to properly pet proof your bedroom is to cover your electrical wires and outlets, as curious pets of all types are often interested in chewing or sticking a paw in these dangerous spots. Use child proof plastic electrical outlet covers and split tubing wire loom to snap in your wires and protect them with a bite-proof outer covering. If possible, tuck the cords away (in tubing) behind furniture and out of easy reach, but try to keep your cords from tangling, which is a fire hazard.

3 - Keep Plants Out of Reach

Some plants are poisonous to animals, but curious pets will nonetheless try to chew them, anyway. If possible, pet proof your bedroom by avoiding plants such as azaleas, ivys, lillies and caladiums at all, but keep any plants high on a shelf or on a window sill. Curious cats may still be able to jump to the plants, so try sprinkling cayenne pepper over the dirt, which shouldn’t hurt the plant but will bother the cat. You can also wrap the base of the plant with aluminum foil, which cats dislike.

4 - Use Child Proof Latches

You can keep pets out of drawers and dressers that may contain sharp or damageable objects with child proof locks. These locks usually go over two handles and make it impossible to open by pulling like a pet may do with its muzzle or paw. However, these are still easy for adults to squeeze and remove when you need to open the drawer.

If, instead of just being able to pet proof your bedroom, you decide to keep your pet out of your room entirely, be sure to provide a comfortable area for your pet to spend its nights. This area should be relatively quiet and warm. Include a blanket or a pet bed to entice your pet to comfortably lay down for the night.

Dog Walker Warning:
Stay Off the Ice

Another man fell through the ice into frigid water trying to save his dogs, but was not as fortunate as the hunter we wrote about last week.

A man walking his dogs along the River Tees in England died when he followed the dogs out onto the ice, according to this story. John Butterfield died while onlookers tried to reach a log to him that he couldn't grasp. His dogs have not been recovered.

Last week, I wrote about a hunter in South Dakota who was rescued when several hunters passing by were able to throw him a rope when he broke through the ice. His dog also managed to get to safety, according to this story in the Argus Leader.

READERS: Have you heard of any stories where owners risked their lives for pets? Seems like the best solution is to keep pets on a short leash. Such a sad story.

Shar-Pei Wrinkles
Explained by Dog Geneticists
By Jonathan Amos - Science correspondent, BBC News

Of two Chinese Shar-Pei littermates, one (L) exhibits extensive skin wrinkling

Just how did the Shar-pei get its famous wrinkled appearance?

Scientists who have analysed the genetics of 10 pedigree dog breeds believe they now have the answer.

Their research identifies 155 distinct locations in the animals' genetic code that could play a role in giving breeds their distinctive appearances.

In the Shar-pei, the team found differences in a gene known as HAS2 which makes an enzyme known to be important in the production of skin.

"There was probably a mutation that arose in that gene that led to a really wrinkly puppy and a breeder said, 'hey, that looks interesting, I'm going to try to selectively breed this trait and make more of these dogs'," explained Joshua Akey from the Department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle, US.

Small differences

The pedigree dog has become a fascination - and a remarkably useful research tool - for geneticists.

The domestication of the grey wolf more than 10,000 years ago, and the selective breeding that followed, has resulted in more than 400 breeds - each with a distinctive physique, coat colour and temperament.

The study compared the genetics of 10 pure-bred dog groups

These discrete populations give scientists the opportunity to compare and contrast the genetics of the different groups, making it easier to find the causes of specific traits.

"Man's best friend" is helping scientists locate the faulty genes that cause disease in both dogs and humans, as well giving a useful insight into how evolution works at a molecular level.

Dr Akey and colleagues studied 32 wrinkled and 18 smooth-coated Shar-peis and compared a specific stretch of their DNA with that of other breeds.

The team found four small, but significant, differences in the genetics of the two skin types of the Shar-pei versus the other breeds. These single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), as they are called, were located in the HAS2 gene.

New targets

"HAS2 makes hyaluronic acid synthase 2, and it's an enzyme that makes hyaluronic acid, and that's one of the principal constituents of the skin," explained Dr Akey.

"There are rare human cases where there are mutations that lead to really severe wrinkling in humans, too.

"So, that suggested it was a good candidate to look at; and sure enough, when we sequenced it we saw that that gene explained wrinkling in Shar-peis," he told BBC News.

Science explained: What is a genome?
As well as giving insights into the Shar-pei, the research has also identified a raft of other locations in the dog genome that can now be investigated further to understand better why pedigree animals look the way they do.

"The thing that excites me most about our study is that in the last five years, five genes have been identified that contribute to this vast diversity in dog breeds," said Dr Akey.

"So our study found all five of those genes and then we found 150 new targets to explore. It's a powerful approach to look at the genetic legacy of selective breeding."

Dr Akey and colleagues report their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


View Photos of Singles - Match.com
Click the banner to visit Match.com

Pet Finder –
the Easiest Way to Find a Lost Pet

During the terrible destruction of hurricane Katrina and other storms over the past year, thousands of animals were separated from their families during evacuation efforts. This was either because evacuations are set up primarily to save the lives of humans, not their pets. secondly, even if families evacuated on their own and could have brought their pets, many might not have been able to find them during the chaos of natural disasters.

In response to this important need to reunite families with their pets, Petfinder.com and the Maddie Fund formed the Animal Emergency Response Network (AERN). According to the AERN website, 3,200 animals caught in the destruction of hurricanes Katrina and Rita were united with their families, or were relocated to new homes, thanks to the AERN database.

What is Petfinder.com?

Any organization that would do such wonderful work to save animals across the country deserves recognition. so what is Petfinder.com? Petfinder is a wonderful service that provides an online database of animals across the North American continent which need a home. it includes, and is supported by, over 10,000 animal shelters and adoptive organizations. Petfinder essentially serves as a central database for the country’s lonely and homeless pets, and a wonderful method for families who have loving homes for such pets to easily find a perfect pet that would fit into the family.

Surprisingly (because the website is so professionally done, and the operation is so well managed), Petfinder is a non-profit organization that consists of professionals and members of the public who volunteer their time to update and maintain this database. This is proof that there are some very good people out there.

How Does the Petfinder Database Work?

The Petfinder database provides searches through thousands of pet listings using various criteria including:


And an advanced search section provides searches based on:

--Animal type and breed
--Pets with a certain name
--Only particular pets such as special needs, declawed, or only those recommended for children.

The results will return the name (if appropriate), the breed, gender, and even a photo. Clicking on the link will take you to the shelter or rescue organization which listed it.

A Pet Portrait Featuring Your Pet’s Name

If you are an organization considering listing a pet, one very unique way to provide an image of the pet that will really get noticed is to have a portrait done of the pet’s photo. not only would this attract a great deal of attention, but you could also offer the portrait as a bonus to the lucky family who takes this animal back to a loving home. Pet portraits are sweeping the country as a very popular form of recognizing how pets mean to families.

The best pet portraits in the country are created by artist Nikky Hughes of Los Angeles. Nikky was classically trained at the Mission Renaissance art school, and she focuses on capturing not only the beauty, but the unique character of each animal. She will accept photos through the mail of pets, and then create stunning portraits from those pictures. Pet portraits are ideal because they can be done from a photo (as apposed to getting the pet to “pose” at a studio.)

Other Options at Petfinder

Petfinder provides other great services at their website, including a monthly newsletter that you can receive monthly. just click the “Sigh up today!” button on the lower left part of the web page. there is also a search box to find Animal Welfare groups in your local area. there is an online library where you can learn more about the various breeds, a section where you can learn how you can personally volunteer locally to help pets, a training section with dog and cat training videos, lost and found pet classifieds, a blog and forum community, a shop where you can find animal-oriented gear, and even a “fun” section for kids where there are free Ecards and some fun games.

Petfinder isn’t only a website where you can go to find a pet, it’s a place that does a great service for communities across the continent, and it’s also a website you can go just to spend some time and take part in activities that are available for animal lovers from around the world.

I’m a Los Angeles based oil painter. I specialize in Pet Portraits. I currently teach art and paint for a living. I’ve enjoyed combining my love for pets, with my love for the arts. you can find my online portfolio at: Pet Portraits by Nikky

from IHasAHotDog.com

Top 10 Most Popular Dogs in the U.S.
by Amanda Hickey - FreedomBlogging.com

For the 19th consecutive year, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular purebred dog in America, but could this be the last year for the Lab’s reign?

According to American Kennel Club 2009 registration statistics the German Shepherd overtook the Yorkie and is now ranked second most popular in the nation for the first time in more than three decades.

An American favorite since the time of Rin Tin Tin, the German Shepherd became the number one breed of the 1920s, but then slipped in popularity until after World War II.

“Labs have been America’s top dog for nearly two decades due to their loyal and gentle nature,” said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “But the German Shepherd has gained ground recently, quite possibly due to the increased attention they receive for their security efforts at home and abroad and search and rescue efforts in Haiti. Hailed as the world’s leading police, guard and military dog, this energetic and fun-loving breed is a loyal family pet, ideal companion and dependable K-9 partner when duty calls.”

According to the American Kennel Club, the most popular dogs in the U.S. are:

1. Labrador Retriever

2. German Shepherd Dog

3. Yorkshire Terrier

4. Golden Retriever

5. Beagle

6. Boxer

7. Bulldog

8. Dachshund

9. Poodle

10. Shih Tzu

Some interesting Canine trends the AKC noted include:

— The most popular pets with the biggest increase in rankings over the last decade included the Bulldog (from 21st to 7th); French Bulldog (from 73rd to 24th); Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (from 58th to 25th) and making the largest leap, the Havanese (from 92nd to 32nd).

— Even before the Obama family selected the Portuguese Water Dog it was on the rise in popularity — ranked 80th a decade ago to 60th currently. However, it did make a jump from 64th a year ago when all the interest in this mid-sized, hypoallergenic breed began.

— Unusual breeds on local top five lists include the Bull Terrier (1st in Newark), the Mastiff (4th in Des Moines), the Miniature Pinscher and Shetland Sheepdog (3rd and 5th, respectively, in Richmond) and the Chihuahua (3rd in Honolulu).


Additional tips can be found on the American Kennel Club Web site at www.akc.org.

3-Legged Dog Wins 1st Place
in NYC Shelter Contest
by Amanda Hickey - FreedomBlogging.com

NEW YORK (AP) — A three-legged pitbull mix that played in a game of doggie baseball has won “Best in Show” at a talent competition held by one of New York City’s largest animal shelters.

Nine dogs competed in Friday’s contest at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. But it was Prince who impressed the judging panel the most with his feat of catching three baseballs.

The nearly 2-year-old dog lost one of his legs and had a pin inserted in another after being struck by a car.

The ASPCA’s senior vice president of the adoption center says Prince’s disability doesn’t hold him back.

Gail Buchwald says he “struts his stuff like a winner.”

In this photo released by the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), "Prince," a three legged pitbull mix is shown at the ASPCA's talent competition for shelter dogs, Friday, Feb. 12, 2010 in New York. Prince, who lost one leg and had a pin inserted in the other after being hit by a car, didn't let his handicap hold him back. Prince claimed first place in the competition by catching three baseballs with his jaws. Prince and the other eight dogs in the competition are available for adoption at the ASPCA in Manhattan. (AP Photo/ASPCA, Robin Fostel)

Click on banner to visit this site

True Stories of Heroic Pets
By Janice LLoyd, USA TODAY

THERAPY CATS: Janice Springer, 69, a patient, experiences first-hand how cuddly Sphynx cats, like Jak, can be. (Meg McKinney for USA Today)

Will Buchanan watches as his daughter Haley, 21 months, pets Viola, a therapy dog, at Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health. Haley is being treated at NIH for Joubert Syndrome.By Andrea Phelps

Gunny, a rescued Pit Bull, licks Graysen Phelps. Handout

Bear lives at Brooke Grove Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Sandy Grove, Md. Handout

Oscar was adopted from the Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals by George and Thelma Portocales. He helped save George's life several weeks later. By Lenny Ignelzi, AP

Patrick Ivison, 15, and Ricochet, a golden retriever surfing partner, hit the waves at Cardiff State Beach in San Diego.

We asked readers in November to tell us about pets that made a difference in 2009, and the response proved there are pet heroes everywhere. We learned about dogs and cats that comfort the sick and struggling, a dog that saved his owner's life, a canine surfer that raises money for the disabled, and many more.

A golden Labrador is a treasure for this child and her family

BETHESDA, Md. — Will Buchanan walks several steps behind his toddler at the Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health.

Getting around is challenging for 22-month-old Haley. She has Joubert syndrome, a disease that affects balance and muscle coordination. She uses a tiny walker and wears a harness, which her dad is holding to keep her upright.

Suddenly they both smile. A big yellow dog lying in the hallway is wagging its tail at Haley. Ever so gently, her dad guides Haley to the floor to sit beside the dog. And ever so gently, Haley reaches out for the dog's muzzle. "Dog," she says. The dog stretches out a paw and touches Haley's leg.

"We have two German shepherds at home (in Dallas, N.C.), so she's really happy to see this dog," says Haley's mother, Laura Buchanan. "This makes it easier for us."

Viola, a golden Labrador, belongs to the Children's Inn, a private, non-profit residence on the NIH campus where families whose chronically ill children are being treated at NIH can stay. Mars Inc. donated Vi to the inn in 2008 after she was retired as a Seeing Eye dog. The kids can spend time alone with Vi and attend special activities with her.

"Having a dog here helps the children relax, feel more at home, and makes their treatments more bearable," says Meredith Carlson Daly, media relations coordinator at the inn. "There have been many studies done showing how beneficial animal therapy can be. We see those benefits here every day."

Tracy Wilcox knows how hard it was for her 9-year-old daughter, Breana, before Vi arrived. Breana has been getting treatments at NIH since she was 2½. She missed nearly 70 days of school last year while dealing with high fevers and chronic pain from an autoimmune inflammatory disorder. Her black Lab, Midnight, comforts her at home, Wilcox says. "He's more in tune with knowing when she's getting sick than I am."

Traveling to NIH from Boston has been stressful, says Wilcox, because Breana has to leave her dog behind. Last June, she got very upset in the airport until her mother surprised her: "I told her the inn had gotten a dog," Wilcox says. "She stopped crying right away.

"After her treatments, she'll go back to the inn, get on the floor with Vi and tell Vi all about what happened with the doctors. And it's rough stuff. When she gets home, she sits on the floor and tells Midnight all about Vi.

"As a parent, Vi saved us," Wilcox says. "She took away all my daughter's angst. She's gone from hating herself and her disease to looking forward to going back to the inn and getting well."

A healer in his own way

Jak brings joy to the saddest and sickest of patients.

The Sphynx cat belongs to married medical professionals who understand the benefits of holistic healing. By also treating the mind and spirit, they think the body has a better chance of healing.

Terry and Sharron True registered Jak and two other Sphynx as therapy animals with the Delta Society, which has trained more than 10,000 animals across the world. The non-profit organization is founded on studies showing petting an animal can decrease patient anxiety, lower blood pressure, help ward off depression and allow healing to begin.

Jak helps out by making weekly rounds with the Trues at the J.W. Sommer Rehabilitation Unit in Muscle Shoals, Ala. Sharron True works as a registered nurse in the operating room at Muscle Shoals. Her husband is a family physician.

"When people are in a hospital, they can't see their own pets," Sharron says. "Jak will just curl up in their laps and stay there, making himself at home."

Only several hundred cats are registered with the Delta Society. Jak was the first Sphynx. Terry True says holding the velvet-like feline is like "holding a suede hot water bottle."

Spreading good news about Pit Bulls

When Amy Murphy first saw him in May 2008, she cried. His ribs were exposed, his skin was full of cuts and scars and matted with dirt and fleas, his throat had crush injuries and his back left leg was mangled by an infected bite.

But as much as this pit bull was suffering, he also had love in his eyes, Murphy says.

Murphy volunteers for the North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue in Harrisburg, N.C. She got Gunny to a vet after getting him from a shelter several hours away a week before he was set to be euthanized.

She recalls that after the vet examined the dog, she said to Murphy, "Isn't he beautiful? He has scars that will never go away, but he smiles, he wags and he loves us strangers without a second thought. No matter what we did to him, he just loved us. I'm sure he's going to be an ambassador"

Murphy thinks Gunny was a "bait dog" in a dog-fighting ring. Bait dogs are chained and allowed to be attacked by other dogs. He had several surgeries. His back left leg was amputated, yet he is thriving in her home and in the community. Murphy says he taught people about "compassion and perseverance."

When word spread about his vet bills, the community helped raise money. Grade school students would send Murphy several dollars, promising to send more money. He became the official mascot in the Charlotte area for an educational program sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States designed to teach children and young adults that pit bulls are not fighting dogs. "Celebrate your Pit Bull" trains 13- to 22-year-olds to teach dogs obedience, agility and other positive behaviors.

Gunny's resilience stole hearts. Guyla Vardell, principal at Lebanon Road Elementary School in Charlotte, says the 800 students at her school love Gunny. He has appeared at "character assemblies" at the school. "He has captured the imaginations of our students, staff, families and friends," says Vardell. "He is one in a million."

Saved from a shelter, so he gives of himself

Brown Bear's days were numbered. He was in a high-kill shelter until Lucky Dog Animal Rescue of Washington, D.C., relocated and placed the large mixed-breed dog with a big family. His extended family totals 168 residents at the Brooke Grove Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Sandy Grove, Md. He's been there for two months, joining another dog, two cats and several birds.

"Bear is a doll," says Sue Goldstone, Brooke Grove's quality assurance coordinator. "He intuitively knew how to behave around our residents, some of whom are fragile."

Bear is a big help to people with dementia, she says: "They can often get agitated, but putting them with Bear calms them down."

Goldstone says she's grateful Lucky Dog granted his adoption to them. "We feel very fortunate to have him. The residents have company every minute of every day. Life is enhanced by the ability to walk through a building and to be able to pet a dog's muzzle or snuggle a cat."

And what better place for a dog, she adds, considering the center is on 220 acres. "Dogs that live and work here have the full run of the place. They learn how to use the elevators and get around like anyone else."

Saves his owner's life

The way Thelma Portocales tells it, she thought her husband, George, was sleeping beside her at home in bed. But that's not what Oscar, their dachshund-schnauzer, was telling her.

Thelma had taken her hearing aid out for the night and didn't hear Oscar barking at first. But bark Oscar did. Bark, and bark, and bark.

"I still thought George was right beside me in bed when Oscar came up right alongside me and barked until I got up," she says. "He led me towards the bathroom, so I went into it and turned the light on. I said, 'Look, there's nothing wrong.' But Oscar walked farther into the bathroom and stood beside George."

Her husband of 30 years had passed out. She called 911. Medics revived him and rushed him to the hospital. Later they told her Oscar probably saved George's life. He suffered no permanent damage from the cardiac episode and was released from the hospital after four days.

"If it hadn't been for Oscar, he probably wouldn't have made it," Thelma says. "Oscar is precious. George gives him special treatment every day. He just can't get enough of him."

He's a first dog for the Millsboro, Del., couple. Great timing: They adopted Oscar from the Delaware SPCA on Aug. 8. George collapsed Sept. 4.

Surfing dog helps a paralyzed boy do what he loves

CORONADO, Calif. — Judy Fridono is standing in the Pacific Ocean up to her waist holding a surfboard and its passenger, waiting for the right wave. She's a soccer mom of sorts, except she caters to her dog and her dog's passion.

Ricochet is a surfing dog, part of a canine phenomenon that's becoming almost as familiar a sight on Southern California beaches as dog parks. This is not what Fridono originally envisioned for her dog.

This past summer, in her first fundraiser, Ricochet surfed with 15-year-old quadriplegic surfer Patrick Ivison, helping to raise $10,000 for his medical expenses. Three years of his therapy is funded by Ricochet's sponsor, WebMd Health Foundation.

When she surfs with Ivison, Fridono says, the golden retriever is completely happy. That was not the case when Fridono set her on another path the day she was born. Fridono wanted her to be a service dog for people with disabilities. She said she was "a true prodigy," but as she grew she exhibited behaviors that disappointed Fridono.

"She liked to chase birds, and that could be harmful for someone with disabilities," she says.

"I tried for months to make her something she wasn't but finally had to release her from the program. But rather than focus on what she couldn't do, I focused on something she could do, which was surfing."

Ricochet surfs tandem with Ivison, helping to balance the board. She has a YouTube video showing her path from "service dog to surf-ice dog," a Facebook page and a website (ripcurlricki.com).

She's currently holding fundraisers for 6-year-old Ian McFarland, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car crash that claimed the lives of his parents. His equipment and treatments are expensive. He used to surf with his father and seems most motivated on the beach, Fridono says.

Ricochet will surf one day with Ian, she says. The dog seems to have caught the right wave.

Click here for "Dating Tips, Relationship Advice and Intimacy"

Click here to visit The EZ Online
Shopping Network of Stores

No comments: