Archive for the ‘Human-Animal Bond’ Category

Meet Cutie Hogie – Debbie Pfeiffer’s Pet Partner!

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Hogie Pfeiffer

Welcome to AHF Caring Creatures Pet Partners Debbie and Hogie!

Breed:                  Lhasa Apso/Shih Tzu mix                                Birthday:              December 2006

Hogie is a very quiet and gentle little dog who loves everyone he meets.  My family adopted him from the shelter in 2008 at the age of two and because of his easygoing nature, it was easy to see what a perfect therapy dog he would be.  He became a certified therapy dog in 2011 and quickly wins over everyone’s hearts with his sweet personality and big brown eyes.

When he is not assisting people with pet therapy, he is a delightful family pet who loves going for rides in the car, seeing new people and places, and generally being included in everything that our family is doing whenever possible.

VA-certified service dogs receive unlimited access to veterinary care

Friday, January 31st, 2014
service dogsThe U.S. Veteran Service Dog Program and Trupanion will cover 100 percent of veterinary bills for eligible dogs.

Jan 23, 2014
By: Julie Scheidegger
DVM360 MAGAZINE

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), in conjunction with Trupanion, will launch the U.S. Veteran Service Dog Program Jan. 27. The program will allow U.S. veterans with certified service dogs unlimited access to veterinary care. The program enables Trupanion to pay 100 percent of veterans’ certified service dogs’ veterinary bills.

The VA hopes the program will ease the financial stress veterans experience providing veterinary care for their animals. Trupanion says it’s a “win-win-win” opportunity for dogs, veterans and veterinarians. “Veterans and veterinarians no longer have to worry about the cost of the treatment, giving veterinarians the ability to do what they do best—care for pets,” a Trupanion release states.

A spokesman for Trupanion says execution of the program will be simple: “All veterinarians have to do is send us the bill.” Veterinarians can opt to be paid up front as well.

“Whether it’s a regular veterinary practice or an emergency hospital in the middle of the night—they can call us at any time,” the spokesperson says. “They then just need to e-mail or fax the bill to us and we can pay them directly through Vet Direct Pay, a system that allows them to receive direct payment. They can also request reimbursement. … In that case they send us the bill and let us know how and when they want to be paid. We can even pay them over the phone if they wish as soon as the treatment is over and before the veteran walks out of the building.”

The VA will provide a list of the certified service dogs eligible for the program to Trupanion. Each dog will have a tag with a policy number created by Trupanion similar to the ones current policyholders wear. “All [veterans] have to do is show that to their veterinarian and the veterinarian can rest assured Trupanion will pay the bill,” Trupanion’s spokesperson says.

Veterans who request a service dog and qualify according to a VA evaluation do not pay for the dog or the associated training. For more information on the Veterans Health Administration’s guide and service dog benefits, go to va.gov. Trupanion has a two-year contract with the VA for the U.S. Veteran Service Dog Program. For more information or if you have questions about the program, call Trupanion at (855) 482-0163.

Man transforms room into feline obstacle course

Friday, January 31st, 2014

cat-playgroundWhen his cats grew bored with scratching posts and turned their attention to his furniture and drapes, carpenter Stefan Hofmann created a feline wonderland of bridges and shelves on the walls of a room in his home. “I kept thinking, what would be exciting if I were a cat? Maybe a big risky leap from one shelf to another, or a little cove for them to snuggle into when they get tired,” said Hofmann of the design and building project. Hofmann says the cats are constantly at play in their new obstacle course. Daily News (New York)/Caters News Agency (U.K.)

 

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.

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

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.

 

Dogs trained to detect human cancers using scent

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Dogs have been trained to use their noses to detect human cancers including lung and ovarian cancer with reliability, and one U.K. organization is training dogs to detect bladder cancer by sniffing urine samples. Dogs have a keen sense of smell thanks to their abundant olfactory cells, and since they can communicate with humans better than animals such as mice, they are useful for detecting cancers, said veterinarian Cynthia Otto, director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. CBS News

A dog’s sense of smell might be one of his or her best, innate abilities. And an increasing number of researchers are using that nose to help humans detect cancer.

Claire Guest of Berkshire, England runs a charity called “Medical Detection Dogs”that trains dogs how to detect cancer. One project involves teaching animals how to find out which patients have bladder cancer using only urine samples.

Guest’s connection to the project is a personal one. She was letting her dogs out one day when Daisy started jumping and nuzzling her head on Guest’s chest. She went to the doctor, and was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Without any question I would not be as well and perhaps alive today had Daisy not drawn my attention to it,” she told CBS News’ Alphonso Marsh.

Dogs trained to detect ovarian cancer have 90 percent accuracy rate

The science of dogs sniffing out cancer is emerging. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Center are currentlytraining three dogs how to smell ovarian cancer in different samples.

“Mice can do a better job at sniffing out things (than dogs),” Dr. Cynthia Otto, director of the Working Dog Center and associate professor of critical care at Penn Vet, previously told CBSNews.com. “But, there is an ability to communicate between a dog and a human so they can tell us what they are finding.”

Dogs are also up to the task because they have a larger number of olfactory or smell sensors than humans do, Otto explained. In addition, the area of the forebrain that processes smell information is larger than a human’s.

Additional studies of dogs detecting cancer include a 2011 German paper that showed that dogs were able to detect people with lung cancer with 71 percent accuracy, and correctly distinguish people without lung cancer in 93 percent of the cases. Another West Hills, Calif. trainer is working with researchers to teach dogs how to detect ovarian cancer using breath samples.

Scientists are also trying to come up with technology that mimics the dogs’ natural abilities. Some companies are making electronic “noses” that can pick up on these cancer smells.

Researchers are also testing a “mechanical dog” that sniff’s a patient’s breath to tell if they have cancer markers. They hope that if all tests continue to go well the tool could be used to diagnose cancer within five years.

Service dog brings aid and friendship to girl with debilitating bone disease

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Service Dog for AniceeTen-year-old Anicee Lamoreaux has already had 100 broken bones due to osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, but that’s not stifling her excitement over her new service dog, Pearl. Pearl hasn’t completed her training yet, but once she does, she’ll be the newest Lamoreaux family member, responsible for helping Anicee perform daily tasks. But more importantly, Pearl will be the friend Anicee needs. Anicee’s parents, both of whom also have osteogenesis imperfecta, are raising money to help cover the $10,000 cost for Pearl and her training. Daily Camera (Boulder, Colo.)

They’ve only known each other a few short weeks, but Anicee and Pearl are already partners in crime.

Pearl, a 14-week-old labradoodle, has a fluffy puppy-dog face anyone would love. But she is loved most of all by her 10-year-old owner, Anicee Lamoreaux, who is raising money to keep Pearl as her personal service dog.

Anicee, a fifth-grader at Birch Elementary, has osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease. The condition means Anicee can break a bone simply by coughing or sneezing too hard.

Anicee uses a specialized wheelchair to get around, and Pearl will be a valuable partner who can help her open doors, help with errands and bring her medication or other essential items.

Most of all, Pearl also will be Anicee’s constant companion.

“I’ll have a buddy to spend time with,” she said, feeding treats to her pet in her living room Thursday. “I don’t have that many friends, so I’ll have a friend who will be with me every day, hour, minute.”

Anicee was adopted from Belize in 2010 by her parents, Chris Lamoreaux and Lisa Ferrerio. Both parents also have osteogenesis imperfecta and said they wanted to adopt a child who had a similar condition.

“We knew how much we could offer her,” Ferrerio said. “We know exactly what it’s like to go through surgery or be talked about in school.”

Anicee’s parents also wanted her to have extra help, but the cost of service animals can be overwhelming, especially on top of other medical bills.

The family and their friends are organizing several fundraisers to help cover the estimated $10,000 annual cost to provide Pearl’s specialized training.

As a service dog, she must undergo many hours of training that will familiarize her with Anicee’s specialized care.

That’s worth it for Ferrerio, who remembers the companionship and warmth of her own service dog, Kosmo. Ferrerio had Kosmo when she was a teenager.

When Ferrerio’s longtime friend, dog trainer Ana Melara, came across Pearl, she knew the puppy would be a good fit for the family because of her low-key, gentle temperament. Melara is in charge of much of Pearl’s service dog training.

“She’s just such a sweet dog,” she said.

When Anicee met her dog for the first time, she said she couldn’t contain her excitement.

“I was jumping up and down. I could have broken the wall,” she said with a smile. “I wish I could take her for the whole day.”

Pearl isn’t a permanent resident at Anicee’s house yet, though. Melara is in charge of training the puppy in all the basics, and it could take up to two years before Anicee and her dog become permanent companions. Right now, Anicee and Pearl hang out about twice a week.

 

Help Anicee and PearlBirch Elementary School student Anicee Lamoreaux is raising money to train her service dog, Pearl.

An art silent auction, featuring art by Anicee, will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 26 at Pearl’s training center, Training with Grace, 9100 W. Sixth Ave. in Lakewood. For more information, go to facebook.comand search “Anicee and Pearl” for updates and other fundraising opportunities.

To learn more about Anicee’s fundraisers or to donate money to help train Pearl, visithttps://aniceefunds.com.

Ferrerio said the training will help make sure Pearl is the right dog for her daughter, who has experienced about 100 broken bones in her short 10 years. Anicee also has undergone three major surgeries to help strengthen her spine and legs, and she hopes to have Pearl nearby when she undergoes another surgery on her arms sometime next year.

“Pearl will be so important in Anicee’s life,” Ferrerio said. “We’ll need her to be Anicee’s arms and legs, and we need to know that Pearl won’t bolt when she sees something like a squirrel or duck — that would break Anicee’s arm.”

So far, Anicee and Pearl are already fast friends. Anicee can’t wait to introduce her dog to her fifth-grade class and take her dog on the playground.

Her dad said he’s happy Anicee is getting the opportunity. In Belize, she didn’t have the same medical opportunities or the chance to have a service dog.

“Here, she has the medical accessibility she needs,” he said.

Anicee’s grandmother, Diane Holstein, said Pearl will bridge the gap between her granddaughter and her peers. Right now, kids don’t always know how to interact with Anicee, but Pearl’s presence will give them a way to talk and ask questions, she said.

“People will see Anicee at King Soopers, the library, out in the community, and Pearl will help people get to know her,” she said

Dog’s connection with terminally ill child will never be forgotten

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Casper and CreedCasper, a Canine Assistants therapy dog, is special to many of the sick children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, but his relationship with one child there was particularly moving and meaningful. Creed, a young patient who spent half his life in the hospital, bonded with Casper in a way his family and caregivers will never forget. “I don’t think he ever saw Casper as a dog,” said the boy’s father, Jon Campbell. WXIA-TV (Atlanta)

ATLANTA, Ga. — There once was a tiny boy with an old soul whose name was Creed. His name meant ‘to believe.’

Creed had a fierce spirit, but a body that battled illness from the day he was born.

His parents speak a language they never wanted to learn — a language of pre leukemia and chromosonal issues and bone marrow transplants.

It was a language that forced Creed to spend half his life in the hospital.

“There’s nothing medically normal about that kid,” says Creed’s mom Stephanie Campbell.

It would seem a bleak existence — the opposite of what childhood should be.
But Casper, a service dog from Canine Assistants, changed all of that.

Casper was the new therapy dog at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. Creed was one of Casper’s first kids.
The bond was instant. Different.

Casper’s owner and handler Lisa Kinsel says the relationship between these two went way beyond the demands of the job.
There were movies and sleep overs and countless hours spent in Creed’s bed. After a lifetime of illness, a little boy had a best friend.

Creed’s father Jon says, “I don’t think he ever saw Casper as a dog.”

One day creed was near death. Casper came and got in bed with the little boy. Mom Stephanie put her son’s hand on Casper’s paw. His hand began to move. Later a nurse told the family, “That dog just saved your son.”

Creed’s health was restored but then the sickness returned. John and Stephanie could see their little boy was done fighting. Not long after creed died a new litter of puppies was born at canine assistants. They named one for Creed.

It’s an idealized image of childhood — a boy and his dog.
But the love between this boy and this dog was beyond everyone’s understanding. Creed’s parents believe the comfort and love Casper gave to Creed came from God, until the very end.

Creed’s name will live on in another creature who will one day comfort and care for someone else.
And that would make the tiny boy with the old soul very happy.

Children with autism improve communication using horses and iPads

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

New is meeting old as iPads and horses have been incorporated into a new approach to helping children with autism communicate. In the program, called Strides, the children ride horses and also learn speech and language skills using applications on their iPads. The combination has helped unlock new ways for the kids and their families to communicate, with parents reporting their first-ever two-way conversations with their children. Yahoo/Asian News International

Washington, Sept 15 (ANI): A new study has revealed that children with autism can improve their verbal communications skills with the help of horses and iPads.

Southern Tier Alternative Therapies, Inc. (STAT), together withTina Caswell, a clinical faculty member in Ithaca College’s Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, has combined equine therapy and assistive technology through an exclusive program called Strides.

The Strides program puts children on horseback and gives each family iPads equipped with speech-generating applications.

Caswell and her team of Ithaca College graduate students provide intensive, highly customized training and ongoing support. The unique therapeutic approach has helped children reach significant breakthroughs in communication, both verbally and through effective use of the device.

Caswell said that it’s the first time the children have been on horseback, the first time many of them are using iPads with speech software, and more important, the first time they’ve had any kind of access to self-expression.

She said that parents also told her that it’s the first time they’ve been able to have a two-way conversation with their kids.

The researchers found that children are doing more than requesting food and toys and for the first time, they are telling narratives and sharing feelings.

Each child participating in the program is given an iPad to be used as a speech-generating device. Participants and their parents are then trained by the Strides team and the Ithaca College students and faculty to continuously update new communication opportunities on their devices. (ANI)