Famous War Dogs

In honor of Memorial Day Weekend and veterans of the war, especially those who gave their lives, we’re going to commemorate some of our canine soldiers who served on the frontlines.

Civil War – Sallie

Sallie served as mascot for the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.  Sallie belonged to 1st Lt. William R. Terry, and was raised as part of the regiment.  Sallie always marched along with her soldiers, to the battlefield and always to the frontlines.  She was even saluted by Abraham Lincoln himself at a Union Army review.  At Gettysburg, Sallie was separated from the infantry.  They found her three days later, guarding the bodies of deceased soldiers.  Unfortunately, Sallie was killed in action two years later.  She was buried directly on the battlefield while under enemy fire.

World War I – Rags

Rags was a Cairn Terrier mix who was a mascot and cheerleader for the 1st Infantry Division.  Rags joined the infantry thanks to Pvt. James Donovan, who in a moment of fear, went AWOL.  Just as two policeman caught him, he tripped over little Rags, and used the excuse that he was sent out to find a mascot, and held Rags up.  Rags then did become their mascot.  He even relayed messages from the front lines.  His hero moment was when he ran through falling bombs and sustained serious injuries.

World War II – Smoky

Smoky was only four pounds and seven inches tall, but she served her duty nonetheless. She was found in a foxhole in New Guinea by an American soldier.  For the next two years, Smoky was a true soldier.  Because she wasn’t an official military dog, she shared meals with her soldier, Wynne, and slept beside him.  She gave Wynne warnings of incoming air raids and entertained injured soldiers in the hospital.

Vietnam War – Nemo

Nemo was trained as a sentry dog at Lackland Airforce Base in Texas.  He went to Vietnam in 1966, where he was partnered with Airman 2nd Class Robert Thorneburg.  One night, when Thorneburg and Nemo were out on patrol, Nemo sensed something.  Both him and Thorneburg were shot.  Though Nemo was shot through the muzzle, he ran toward the four gunmen, which gave his partner time to call for reinforcement.

Iraqi War on Freedom – Lex

Lex is a German Shepherd who served alongside Cpl. Dustin Lee.  Lex was faithful to his owner, and served with him every day.  During a mortar attack outside Falluja, Lee was killed.  Lex was right by his side, and was so faithful that he had to be pulled away from Lee’s body so medics could attend to him.  Lex showed his faith by attending Lee’s funeral and comforting his younger siblings.

 

All veterans, killed in action, injured, or at home, human or furry, deserve our praise this weekend.

 

 

Safety First with Dog Bite Prevention Week

It’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week!  Protecting our dogs sometimes means keeping them from hurting others.  Just like normally very nice people can sometimes lose their cool and “snap,” so can normally nice dogs.  Any dog can snap and take out their anger in a dangerous way.  It’s uncommon, but it can happen.  And it’s best to be careful with your dog, to protect humans and them!

Many dogs who are extremely docile and wouldn’t hurt a flea can lash out when they are frightened, confused, injured or provoked.  Here are some tips from the American Humane Society on how to keep your dog from potentially harming anyone:

  • Never leave a child unattended with any dog, regardless of the dog’s demeanor.
  • Teach children that dogs deserve respect.
  • Explain to little ones that they should never play with any dog in a rough manner.
  • Pet parents of puppies should teach socialization skills to their young Spot so the dog will feel more at home among other people and pets.
  • Never put a dog in a situation which will make him or her feel threatened.
  • Go on a constitutional with your canine companion or jog with your dog, as regular exercise will help to maintain both the physical and mental health of your barking buddy.
  • Always walk your dog on a leash while in public.
  • Visit your veterinarian regularly, as a dog who is ill or injured is more apt to strike out at people.
  • Caution people who approach your dog. Strangers should always wait before petting any dog in order to give the canine time to familiarize themselves with the unknown person on their terms.

Dogs are often easily startled by children, therefore children are typically the victims of dog bites.  Here are some thing you should always remind kids when interacting with dogs:

  • Never approach any dog with whom they are unfamiliar, or any dog they may know if the dog is unaccompanied by their pet parent.
  • Always ask for permission from a pet’s guardian before petting a dog.
  • Do not approach any animal who shows signs of injury or illness. If a child feels that a dog requires assistance, he or she should tell an adult.
  • Never approach a dog who is sleeping, eating, playing with their toy or caring for puppies.
  • Never provoke a dog through teasing, poking, pinching or pulling.

 

While all of these seem like simple/instinctive measures, it’s never too much to ground this training into your dog and children to keep everyone happy, healthy and safe!

How Smart is Your Dog?

Barkfest Weekend has started!  You still have one more day to catch canine programming on National Geographic Channel.  You can even catch up on what you’ve missed on their website.

Every year, Nat Geo has a weekend dedicated to dogs, and this year, they’re featuring a very cool three-part special called “Is Your Dog a Genius?”

Dog scientist Dr. Brain Hare hosts the three-night event.  He is an evolutionary anthropologist and codirector of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, coauthor of The Genius of Dogs and cofounder of a dog IQ test site called Dognition – so he knows what he’s talking about!

If you watch the mini-series, you’ll get to delve deep into the canine mind to figure out just what’s going on in there.  Dr. Hare puts his research to good use in this show, which he hopes will help dog owners better understand their furry friends.

The show not only explains just how a dog’s mind works, but it emphasizes that there is a lot more to doggy intelligence than just their breed.  Dr. Hare will also go over games that you can do at-home with your dog to asses their intelligence (and even yours)!

The series will also showcase especially intelligent dogs with out-of-this-(canine)-world problem-solving abilities!  One extraordinary furry guest on the show will be the brilliant Caspin and his owner, Wallis Brozman.  One day, when outside with Caspin, her movement disorder, called dystonia, overtook her.  She couldn’t move or speak, and Caspin was not attached to the harness Brozman typically used on him.  But Caspin knew just what to do.  He put his neck under her hand until he was able to loop her finger around his collar and pulled her back to the house.

Caspin’s incredible intelligence does not end at his heroic instincts.  His amazing talents will be featured on the show.  He not only understands English, but sign language as well.  His loyalty and problem-solving skills rank him as a “Protodog,” a term from Dr. Hare’s Dognition test.

Catch the last of Barkfest tomorrow on Nat Geo!

Summer Weather Safety

No matter where in the U.S. you live, it will be warming up soon enough!  Here in Ohio it’s been in the 80’s!  I’ve seen lots of dogs walking around, panting.  Which reminded me that dogs need heat protection, too, just like us!  Here are some vital tips on how to keep your doggy safe in the spring/summer heat:

  •  Keep a close eye on your dog – The top sign that your dog’s temperature is rising too much is extreme fatigue.  If you’re out with your dog in hot weather and he’s constantly searching for shade and repeatedly lying down, carry him quickly home, where you can check his temperature with a thermometer.
  • Don’t rely solely on outside temperature – Even in seemingly cooler weather, like the upper 70’s and lower 80’s, your dog can get heatstroke.  Sometimes exercise and humidity are the two worst combinations.  Gauge your dog’s comfort by your own comfort.  If you can’t stand being outside for a long period of time, neither can your dog.
  • Change your walking time –  If you normally take your dog for a walk during the daylight hours, switch it to a cooler time of day, like very early morning or nighttime, after the sun has set.  It will be cooler and much more pleasant for both you and her.
  • Keep your dog cool, inside and out – Give your dog cool, icy treats, like homemade peanut butter popsicles (recipe to come!) and lots of water!  Also keep your dog cool by using cooling body wraps and cool baths.
  • Don’t use ice when heatstroke happens – The first instinct when you notice your dog overheating is to pack ice around them, but the cold will actually constrict their veins and limit their bloodflow.  Instead, dowse them with lukewarm water and put them in front of a fan (after calling your vet, of course.)

Keep yourself and your dog’s comfort in mind on these hot summer days!  Unfortunately, only 50% of dogs recover from severe heatstroke, so be on your best alert and keep your doggy nice and cool during these warming temps!

Why You Should Give Senior Dogs a Chance

It’s a sad reality: there a lot of older or senior dogs in animal shelters that never really leave.  When we think about the excitement of a new dog, we often think of adopting a puppy or very young dog.  It makes sense, we want them to grow old with us, and have plenty of time with them.  However, courtesy of a few hints from DogTime.com, here a few reasons you should consider adopting an older fella:

1. You’d be a hero – Seriously, hero status.  You are not only doing good by adopting, but you are saving a life when you adopt an older dog.  Most senior dogs in shelters unfortunately have to euthanized because of overpopulation.

2. Older dogs are already trained – That’s right, no worrying about teaching the basics to a puppy or young dog!  Older dogs already know not to chew, how to walk on a leash and where to go to the bathroom (outside or on their Fresh Patch!)

3. Their personality is already developed – Sometimes when you adopt a very young dog, you can’t quite tell what they will turn out like.  You often hope there are no surprises as to how big they’ll grow or how they’ll react to other animals.  With older dogs, their personality is fully developed and you’ll already know what you’re getting.

4. Less energetic – Sometimes, puppies can take a lot of energy.  They’ll most likely be running around a lot and will need lots of exercise.  They’ll need constant monitoring, like a baby.  However, older dogs have calmed down and will most likely just want to cuddle with you.

5. Fast friends – Speaking of cuddling, it probably won’t take long for a senior dog to do this with you.  Most are already accustomed to humans and how to behave around them.  This means, on the general, they are more likely to take to you right away.

6. Old Dogs, New Tricks – While nearly all older dogs are already trained, they can always keep learning!  It’s fun to see what you can teach them, and they’ll likely learn even faster because they’re used to learning tricks already.

 

So go out there and take home a senior dog!  They might be a brief light in your life, but they’ll be a bright one.

It’s Be Kind to Animals Week!

Now, all of us who read this blog have to be known animal lovers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t go out on a limb to help animals who weren’t treated so nicely, or to give extra love to our pets!

The week marks that American Humane Association has celebrated Be Kind to Animals Week for 100 years now.  That’s right, a full century of promotion of animal wellbeing, starting since 1915.

So what is Be Kind to Animals Week all about?  American Humane’s website dedicated to the day includes suggestions for just how to celebrate.

– Looking for a pet?  Adopt one from a shelter or rescue group.

– Check your pet’s vet records and see how they’re doing.  Make sure they’re all up to date on their vaccinations or take them to get a check-up.

– Appreciate wildlife!  Go take a walk in a park or even create a welcoming space in your yard or garden for butterflies and other little creatures.

– Report animal abuse.  This is the most important.  Any week, anytime, anywhere you see animal abuse, call your local animal control office and inform them of the situation.  Be completely honest about what you saw in order to best help the situation.

Their website also has resources for public officials who want to make statements about this special week, and links to classroom activities for teachers that can be done to teach kids about animal wellness.

A few year-round things American Humane suggests are only eating humanely raise products, protecting wild animals and protecting animal actors.

Anyway you celebrate, there’s no wrong way, as long as you’re paying extra attention to your pets (and dog!) this week.

 

Doggy First-Aid Kit

Many families have kid and adult first-aid kits.  Especially when going to amusement parks or hiking, they are essential.  Well, it’s just as essential to have a first-aid kit for your dog, too!  Here are some items you should always have handy in your doggy first-aid kit:

– Vet information, vaccination records: Just like having a health insurance/blood type card for humans!

– Hydrogen peroxide:  Yes, peroxide can help dogs, too, but not in the way we think.  In extreme circumstances, and only under the advisement of poison control, you can use peroxide to induce vomiting in your dog if they’ve consumed something toxic.

– Antibiotic ointment: Use it for scratches and scrapes, just like on kids!

– Gauze (scissors, tape, rubber gloves):  You should always have gauze in case you need to wrap up a wound.

– Towel/blanket: This can be used to calm down a scared dog, wrap them in a blanket to pick them up and they’ll feel safer.  You can also use it to protect against hot pavement or cold weather.

– Bottles of water/food/snacks:  Food and water are simply basic essentials that can be used in all emergency situations.

– Medications: Keep any of your dog’s prescriptions handy or any flea/tick medications.

– Their favorite toy:  In any stressful situation, your dog having a comfort will calm them.

– Extra leash and collar:  You never know when something can happen, things break!  Just in case, always carry an extra leash and collar with you.

– Flashlight:  This is helpful for not only the nighttime, but when you’re trying to get a close look at something, like a cut or splinter.

 

When you’re a dog owner, you can never be too prepared!

Most Popular Dog Names

There are website, books, all kinds of sources that will help you find a name for your baby.  But what about finding a name for your dog?

With pets, I often follow my instinct.  I once named my rabbit “Roberta,” which everyone thought was strange, but I backed up with, “She just looked like a Roberta.”

So if you’ve got a new puppy in the family and you’re struggling to find a name, check out these most popular dog names of 2014:

Boys:                             Girls:

1. Max                               Bella

2. Buddy                            Lucy

3. Charlie                           Daisy

4. Jack                               Molly

5. Cooper                           Lola

6. Rocky                             Sophie

7. Toby                               Sadie

8. Tucker                            Maggie

9. Jake                               Chloe

10. Bear                             Bailey

 

But in case you want to stray away from the popular names and give your dog a little more originality, here are some tips for naming your dog something a little more personal.  You can:

– Name them after a favorite television/movie character (Buffy, Chandler, Leia…)

– If you adopt them and want to change their name, pick a name that sounds similar enough to theirs so they will respond better (change “Sandy” to “Abby” or “Sammie” instead of “Olive”.)

– If you get them from a breeder, ask its parents’ names and base it off theirs.  Or, if the breeder is very loving with the animals, name it after them (that’s why my dog’s name is “Herbie,” his breeder cried when we took him home!)

– Name them after your own relatives.  It’s a great way to commemorate relatives if you don’t have kids or aren’t going to have any more.

– Name them after a famous dog!  It’s cheesy, but it works.  My favorite dog in the world (my dog I got when I was five) was named “Blue” when we adopted her, and we kept it.

 

So, whether you needed these suggestions for the new family member or if you’re just going to follow your instinct, your dog will be the apple of your eye, no matter what their name is!

Brainiest Breeds

It’s my last week of undergrad and finals and research papers are rampant!  So I thought, why not do some out-of-school research on the Einstein of dogs while currently wishing I was the Einstein of humans?

Now remember, these are generalizations.  So it doesn’t mean that if you have a dog of these breed, that they will automatically be smart!  It also doesn’t mean that you can have a very smart dog of a breed not on this list.  These are simply breed tendencies.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the brainiest breeds, courtesy of vetstreet.com

8.  Shetland Sheepdogs/Collies: These are actually two different breeds, and Collies are significantly bigger than Shetland Sheepdogs but they’re ranked at a tie for their smarts!

7. Australian Cattle Dog:  These dogs are extremely intelligent, however, difficult to train because of their massive intelligence and stubbornness!

6. Labrador/Golden Retriever: Not only are they smart, they’re extremely energetic and lovable (which can sometimes peg them as dumb, poor things!)

5. Jack Russell Terrier: Intelligent but demanding!  Sometimes there’s so much going on in these little guy’s brains and body’s that they get into trouble… watch out!

4. Australian Shepard:  Big heart, big head!  These dogs are very needy when it comes to human contact and they train very easily.  Loyalty is their biggest  plus!

3. German Shepard:  There’s a reason why they’re police dogs!  This breed is highly intelligent, easily trainable and highly adaptable!

2. Poodle: They’re not all frou-frou!  Poodles are actually very intelligent and big entertainers.

1. Border Collie:  And here you have, it the smartest dog breed!  Well, as a generalization, of course.  These dogs have incredible focus, determination, and intelligence, which is why they’re usually sheepdogs!

 

But remember, no matter how smart or… goofy… your dog is, they have just as much love to give!

Animal Cop Shows

To wag your tail goodbye to Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week, we’ll cover some animal rescue television shows that you can catch on tv.  Watching these officers hard at work will help you feel the ultimate appreciation.

Animal Cops: Houston (Animal Planet) – Over the years, there has been a slew of Animal Cops spinoffs, in Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Phoenix and even South Africa.  However, currently, Animal Cops: Houston is the only Animal Cops still running.  After a hiatus in 2012, it began again in 2014.  It focuses on the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the work they do.

Animal Rescue with Alex Paen – Like Animal Cops, this show is documentary-style, but instead of following a precinct in their daily work, Animal Rescue publishes reenactments (and some actual footage) of rescue workers (not just animal cops, but police and firemen, too!) rescuing trapped, hurt or endangered animals. Animal Rescue has its own website, where you can find a list of airings of the show in your area.

Animal Precinct (Animal Planet) – Though this show is no longer running, it certainly deserves a shout out.  Animal Precinct was a show that was also documentary-style, and in many ways, inspired the start of shows like Animal Cops and its spinoffs.  It focused specifically on the ASPCA and their animal cop division, the Humane Law Enforcement.  Though it’s no longer being produced, you might still be able to catch reruns on Animal Planet.

 

Whatever the show, however sad it might be to watch, it puts things in perspective.  Pat your dog and thank your lucky stars he’s in your arms.  And before this week is over, thank an animal control officer, somewhere, anywhere!