Archive for December, 2013

Pets also get deliveries from Meals on Wheels

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Meals on WheelsMeals on Wheels programs in several states have expanded their offerings to include donated pet food for clients’ companion animals, said Jenny Bertolette of the Meals on Wheels Association of America. Volunteers for the program, which provides meals to the disabled, poor and elderly, began seeking donations from shelters and pet organizations after noticing clients were sharing food with their pets. Participating groups solicit and deliver pet food to Meals on Wheels as well as to senior centers and nursing homes. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.)/The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – If Meals on Wheels didn’t deliver donated dog food, Sherry Scott of San Diego says her golden retriever Tootie would be eating the pasta, riblets and veggie wraps meant for her. But thanks to partnerships between the program for low-income seniors and pet groups across the country, fewer people and pets are going hungry.

After Meals on Wheels volunteers noticed a growing number of clients giving their food away to their furry friends, they started working with shelters and other pet groups to add free pet food to their meal deliveries. Those programs, relying on donations and volunteers, have continued to grow in popularity as seniors began eating better, staying healthier and worrying less about feeding their pets, one group said.

Meals on Wheels is just one organization serving people who are poor, disabled or elderly, but it has a vast reach. It has teamed up with independently run pet partners in several states, but how many isn’t known, said Jenny Bertolette, spokeswoman for Meals on Wheels Association of America in Alexandria, Va.

Partner pet groups will solicit, pick up, pack and get the animal chow to Meals on Wheels or another agency that donates food, volunteers said. Agencies also take pet food to nursing homes, senior centers or community centers.

Those who qualify for Meals on Wheels or similar programs are almost always eligible for a free pet food program.

NYPD’s canine corps grows by leaps and bounds

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Police DogThe New York City Police Department increased its canine force from 60 to more than 100 dogs in the past decade, and the animals are part of the department’s bomb squad, Transit Bureau, narcotics unit and Emergency Service Unit. The department’s German shepherds can be equipped with cameras to relay information, and they live with their handlers. Daily News (New York)

The NYPD is going to the dogs.

The department has slashed the number of officers by 17% over the past 12 years, but its force of crimefighting canines has nearly doubled over that same period.

“The K-9 units have expanded, especially over the last five years or so, and there are no plans to stop that,” said police spokesman Detective Martin Speechley.

He declined to give the exact number of pooch protectors on the force, citing security concerns.

There are over a hundred police dogs serving in different NYPD agencies, a source says.

But more than 100 dogs now work in the Transit Bureau, narcotics, the bomb squad and Emergency Service Unit, according to sources. That’s up from about 60 a decade ago.

The growing furry force is part of a larger law-enforcement trend nationwide and in the military.

Many of the NYPD’s German shepherds can carry cameras on their backs to check out suspicious packages or give officers an inside view of a hostage standoff.

The dogs all come from Eastern Europe when they are between 18 months and 2 years old.

“That’s the perfect time to see if they have any psychological issues, and it’s early enough for us to train them,” Speechley said.

As for officer staffing, the NYPD has dropped from its high of 41,000 at the end of the Giuliani administration to approximately 34,000 today.

The starting pay for police officers is $41,975, which rises to $76,488 after 5½ years.

But it only costs about $1,000 to feed each dog annually.

And the NYPD wants to cut that expense too.

Earlier this month, the department began to look for a new wholesale food provider, records show.

Last year, the NYPD used $100,000 in federal grants to buy two kennel trucks equipped with spacious spots for dogs to hang out during an extended tour.

The dog’s handlers bring them home at the end of each shift. And adopt them upon retirement when they get too old to patrol.

The NYPD isn’t the only local agency with an expanding K-9 force.

The MTA’s police canine unit is one of the largest in the U.S., with 50 dogs in active duty patrolling the LIRR, Metro-North and Staten Island Railway stations.

The pooches are not immune to the dangers of the job.

In June, NYPD police dog Bear required surgery for fractured teeth after a wild subway brawler booted him in the mouth.

The injury occurred as the courageous dog came to the aid of a fellow officer trying to break up a fight among four women at the 4 line station at E. 59th St. and Lexington Ave.

rblau@nydailynews.com

Welcome to Pet Partners, Diana & Massimo

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Brameltte & MassimoMassimo is an English Black Labrador retriever and was born at the Guide Dogs of America School in L.A. on May 2, 2011.  Diana was the puppy raiser for Massimo until he was 18 months old, which meant that he went everywhere with Diana and her family.  After that, Massimo went to “college training” where he learned how to do Guide work.  Unfortunately, he didn’t like to walk on manhole covers, so GDA made him a “career change dog”.  Diana’s family adopted Massimo and now, he’s pursuing his next career as a therapy dog!
 

AHF Pet Partner Team Featured in OC Register

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Rita, Don & MochaRita and Don Tayenaka, with their black lab, Mocha, are featured in the below article about their visits to Children’s Hospital of Orange County and Mission Hospital, both in Mission Viejo.

Click on the link below to read the story!

Print Article_ Four-legged friend raises patients’ spirits

Pets’ oral health problems can be difficult to identify

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

MarleyVeterinarian Marty Becker and his team of experts say advanced dental problems can occur beneath a pet’s gum line with no obvious signs of a problem other than a mild change in behavior. A thorough physical exam coupled with sedation and oral radiographs finally helped identify a tooth-root abscess in Dr. Becker’s feline patient who presented only because her meow changed. “It’s up to us as owners and veterinarians to be aware of changes in behavior that could signal pain or illness and to look beneath the surface for potential causes of problems,” Dr. Becker writes. This article also relates a discovery by the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine that has implications for spinal dysraphism in Weimaraners and spina bifida in children.

How dogs protect your heart

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Adele and SparksRecent research adds to a growing body of evidence supporting the cardioprotective benefits of having a pet, especially a dog, according to physician Sandra Fryhofer. Pets are associated with reduced heart disease risk through lower blood pressure and in some cases lower cholesterol, as well as increased exercise among owners who walk with their canine friends. Also, dogs provide emotional support and help humans deal with stress, which also helps protect the heart.

Hello. I’m Dr. Sandra Fryhofer. Welcome to Medicine Matters. The topic: pets and heart disease risk, a new study in the journal Circulation.[1] Here’s why it matters.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country. But this new study says having a pet, especially a dog, could lower your heart disease risk. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are risk factors for heart disease. Previous studies have linked having a pet to having lower blood pressure. I assume that’s once the pet is housebroken. There is even a study that found that men who had dogs had lower cholesterol levels.[2]

Now, people with dogs are generally physically more active than those who don’t have one. It makes sense if you walk the dog or if the dog walks you. No significant increases in physical activity have been linked to having cats or other pets.

Having a pet doesn’t mean you’ll weigh less, but in general, people who walk their dogs do.

Pets provide support in other ways. They provide encouragement and motivation, even in weight loss programs. Pets also provide support in a nonhuman way. Pets are companions and have a positive effect on the body’s reaction to stress.

For those with established heart disease, having a pet of any kind was linked to increased survival, dog ownership especially so.

Although this study stops short of recommending that people get a pet to protect their heart, having one does seem to provide some cardioprotective benefits. So don’t buy, rescue, or adopt a pet just to protect your own heart. You also have to be willing to share your heart with your furry friend.

For Medicine Matters, I’m Dr. Sandra Fryhofer.

 

USDA develops biodegradable cat litter

Friday, December 20th, 2013

The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service has developed a biodegradable cat litter from spent corn. The clumping, odor-absorbing compound is made with dried distiller’s grain, a byproduct of ethanol production, along with glycerol, guar gum and copper sulfate. Current clay-based litters are not biodegradable and are disposed of in landfills, but this new formulation could be more environmentally friendly.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have found a way to a way to make cat littler that is almost fully degradable.

The department’s Agricultural Research Service found that using spent corn called dried distiller’s grain DDGs may prove to be more environmentally friendly than popular but nonbiodegradable, clay-based litters that mostly end up in landfills. Dried distiller’s grain is what is left over after ethanol production. In this case, the DDGs were treated with one or more solvents to extract any remaining, potentially useful natural compounds. USDA has called these x-DDGs.

ARS researcher Steven Vaughn and his colleagues found a kitty litter formulation composed of x-DDGs and three other compounds: glycerol, to prevent the litter from forming dust particles when poured or pawed; guar gum, to help the litter clump easily when wet; and a very small amount of copper sulfate, for odor control.

The mix resulted in a highly absorbent compound that clumps and provides significant odor control, researchers found.

 

Cat adopts abandoned day-old puppy, helps shelter win $25,000

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Noland and LureneA cat who had recently delivered a litter welcomed a day-old puppy into her brood after workers at the Cleveland Animal Protective League placed them together. The odd pairing helped win the league a $25,000 grant from the Petco Foundation, which awarded 33 grants after receiving 4,500 applications.

The Cleveland Animal Protective League’s tale of a nurturing cat and a helpless puppy not only captivates and amazes, it added $25,000 to the nonprofit group’s budget.

The Petco Foundation received more than 4,500 applications for 33 grants, and Thursday announced the winners — based on the quality of an  organization’s overall work and the impact of their top success story.

The APL’s winning story began June 12, when a humane officer investigating a call about animal neglect found a fly-covered day-old puppy alone in a garage. The officer couldn’t find the puppy’s mother, so she rushed the tiny pit bull mix to the shelter on Willey Avenue, where the animal care team named him Noland and discussed how to save his life.

“The team decided the best option would be to try placing Noland with a stray mom cat named Lurlene who had, two days before Noland’s arrival, delivered a litter of four kittens,” APL director Sharon Harvey said. “Remarkably, Lurlene welcomed Noland into her family, nurturing and nursing him as if he was one of her own. And the kittens were fine with him, too.”

Noland’s mother, Molly, was found later that day, chained behind the home, but she was too emaciated and frightened to care for her puppy, Harvey said, so Noland stayed with Lurlene and her kittens during the day and was bottle-fed at night.

When Molly’s owner was convicted of animal neglect, Noland and the kittens were thriving together. They were placed in a foster home until they were old enough to be neutered for adoption.

“We were a little concerned that Noland would get to be too big and rough for his less robust feline family, but Lurlene had things under control and it didn’t take the kittens long to learn how to put him in his place,” Harvey and APL director of development, Judy Hunter, wrote to Petco. “Actually, Noland blended in with the family so well, he was even found using the litter box a few times.”

Noland then was placed in a foster home with a litter of puppies his age, and learned how to be a dog, while Lurlene and the kittens returned to the shelter and all were adopted.

When Noland returned to the shelter, he and his mother, Molly, were reunited for play sessions.

“Actually, Noland blended in with the family so well, he was even found using the litter box a few times.”

“Noland had certainly thrived with Lurlene, his feline siblings and foster families as he was nearly 18 pounds when he went home with his new family,” Hunter wrote to Petco.

Molly fully recovered and learned to trust people, and she, too, was adopted.

“Truly, Noland and Lurlene’s story encompasses everything we do at the APL — protecting animals from cruelty and neglect, staff members and volunteers working together to nurse them back to health, finding them wonderful new homes, and learning from them about the power of forgiveness and unconditional love and acceptance,” Harvey said. “And when you get right down to it, that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?”

Fifth Utah eagle dies, another shows signs of mystery malady

Friday, December 20th, 2013
 Twelve eagles have died; one is undergoing treatment.

By brett prettyman – The Salt Lake Tribune

 First Published Dec 19 2013 09:51 am • Updated 8 hours ago

A fifth bald eagle suffering from a mysterious malady has been euthanized, a sixth is receiving treatment — and the outbreak now includes seven more eagles found dead in the wild.

Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) officials confirm that 12 bald eagles have died in northern Utah this month from a still unknown cause.

 Bald Eagle

The fifth bald eagle to receive treatment was delivered to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah on Saturday from West Weber. It was euthanized because its health declined “very quickly,” said DaLyn Erickson with the center.

The surviving eagle, an immature female spotted by a hiker near Centerville, arrived at the Ogden center Wednesday. Likely hatched this spring, the juvenile displays the same head tremors and lower extremity paralysis as the previous eagles, Erickson said.

As the mystery persists. Erickson is afraid “what we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg.”

Six distressed eagles have been reported by members of the public and delivered by Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officials to the Ogden center or the Great Basin Wildlife Rescue in Mapleton.

Two of those eagles came from West Weber. The others have come from Corrine, Grantsville and Lehi. One of the dead birds was found on the Provo River Trail in Utah County.

Preliminary results from the first birds’ tests for illnesses including West Nile virus, lead poisoning and avian cholera are expected to arrive late this week or early next week from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis.

Results from more thorough testing to hone in on the exact cause of the deaths will likely not be available until after Christmas.

It is likely that the dying eagles recently migrated to Utah from other states.

Mocha at Mission Hospital

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

photo

The Tayanaka’s therapy dog, Mocha, really enjoys her job visiting patients

at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, CA.  Looks like she might stay for the afternoon!