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Pros & Cons of Neutering–Really? There are Cons?

PupHug-FernandaCerioni

Puppies rely on us to make informed decisions. Image Copr. Fernanda Cerioni/Flickr

By Amy Shojai at Amy Shojai’s Bling, Bitches and Blood

Yes, actually, there are and that may surprise you. It did me. After all, we’ve heard from animal welfare advocates for years preaching the gospel of spay/neuter.  Heck, I preached this myself and for the majority of dogs and cats (ESPECIALLY cats!), “the big fix” is the best thing that ever happens to them.

There’s new evidence, though, that for dogs at least the pros and cons are not so black and white. While the University of Georgia’s sample of 40,139 canine death records from the Veterinary Medical Database from 1984-2004 concluded that neutered dogs could be expected to live a year and a half longer (on average) than intact dogs, other studies point out potential increases in hip dysplasia or cancer. Oy.

So what’s a responsible pet parent to do? One possible solution is a new non-surgical sterilization technique called Zeuterin from Ark Sciences, that renders the boy dogs incapable of fathering puppies but let’s them keep about 50 percent of their testosterone that makes a beneficial health difference especially in certain breeds.

Read my newest article of Zeuterin and Pros/Cons of Neutering here. My best recommendation is to find out everything you can, consult with your vet, and only then make an informed decision. What do you think? Go ahead and comment–let ‘er rip! *s*

Amy is so right, spay/neutering is not a cut and dry proposition… no pun intended! JOMP!

Related:

Pet Sterilization Laws Raise Health Concerns

Why I’ve Had a Change of Heart About Neutering Pets 

‘Zeutering’ offers dog sterilization in a ‘shot’ 

An Alternative to Surgery to Sterilize Male Dogs

Spay, Neuter, Adopt – Repeat 

Thousands of Shelter Pets Killed Every Day Yet Half of Americans Uninformed and Unaware

Lucy Pet Foundation’s Rose Parade float promotes pet spay/neuter – Features Daniel

‘Miracle’ dog that survived gassing headed to Rose Parade 

Urinary and Fecal Incontinence in Pets

STOP Los Angeles and Other Major Cities from the Unreasonable Pet Limit Laws and Restrictions

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Should You Adopt a Second Dog?

‘Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Soul Remains Unawakened’ – Join the NO KILL MOVEMENT

Hopeful News: LA City Animal Shelter Deaths Plummet by Nearly Half During First Two Years of Best Friends Animal Society’s NKLA Initiative

February 22, 2014 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Owner's Rights, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Euthenization | 2 Comments

Thousands of Shelter Pets Killed Every Day Yet Half of Americans Uninformed and Unaware

“Our research reveals a huge disconnect in what happens to our animal friends in shelters and what Americans think happens”

Best Friends Animal Society Launches Initiative to Save Them All™

EON: KANAB, Utah–(EON: Enhanced Online News)–The majority of Americans significantly underestimate the number of dogs and cats killed in America’s shelters each day, a new national survey has revealed. The research, released by Best Friends Animal Society, the only national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters, found that most people aren’t aware of the magnitude of the issue or how simple it is to save these pets.

In fact, the new research shows that nationally, 50 percent of Americans estimate that 500 or fewer cats and dogs die each day in shelters across the country – far fewer than the more than 9,000 that actually die in shelters each day because they don’t have a safe place to call home. Forty eight percent of those surveyed believe that shelter animals are eventually claimed by their owners, adopted or transferred to another rescue organization. In fact, for millions of animals that go to shelters, it is their last stop.

Best Friends released the survey results today in conjunction with the launch of the organization’s Save Them All initiative, which encourages the public to play a role in solving this problem.

“Our research reveals a huge disconnect in what happens to our animal friends in shelters and what Americans think happens,” Gregory Castle, co-founder and chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society said. “Like people, pets are unique individuals. Their special characteristics create the bonds with us, as humans and animal lovers. This makes the fact that so many lose their lives each day in shelters almost unthinkable. Best Friends wants to rally the support of Americans, because if we take simple steps together, we can save them all.”

Misconceptions about Shelters Persist

While three quarters of Americans (74 percent) acknowledge that shelters provide proper care for animals, those surveyed cite other factors as the biggest contributors to the death rate at shelters. These include:

  • Shelter resources and budget (45 percent)
  • Lack of adopters (40 percent)
  • Lack of shelter space (32 percent)

Yet most Americans seem unable to connect the need for more involvement with these shelters with the ability to help save these animals. Only 32 percent say they donated money to animal welfare and just 15 percent say they adopted a pet in the last year.

Progress in Ending Homeless Pet Problem

Despite these challenges, Best Friends, its partners around the country and many other animal welfare organizations have dramatically reduced the number of animals killed in shelters. Thirty years ago, when Best Friends was founded, approximately 17 million pets died in shelters each year. Today that number is down to about 4 million, thanks to the continued hard work of animal welfare groups, including Best Friends, partnerships with local municipalities and innovative programs that encourage pet adoption and provide low-cost spay-neuter services.

How to Help Save Them All

Helping animals in shelters is simpler than most pet lovers think. There are many ways to get involved:

  • Donate: Donations and grants fund life-saving programs for pets in need. Donating as little as $25 to Best Friends can help.
  • Adopt: Adoptions get animals out of shelters and into homes. Remind friends looking for a family pet that animals in shelters make wonderful pets.
  • Spay/neuter: Spaying and neutering means fewer animals entering shelters and improves your pet’s health and behavior. Many shelters around the country provide free or reduced prices for these important services.
  • Volunteer: Volunteering powers the “no-kill” movement. Find a shelter in your area and donate your time to this worthwhile effort.
  • Spread the word: Amplify the urgent message of pet homelessness and educate family and friends on these startling statistics. Help increase awareness by showing your support on Facebook or Twitter.

Today, Best Friends is also encouraging consumers to share their commitments to help end the killing of animals in shelters through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus or their favorite social channel using the hashtag #SaveThemAll.

To become a part of the Save Them All™ movement and make a huge impact on the quality of life for homeless pets everywhere, visit www.bestfriends.org/SAVE.

About Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society® is the only national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters. An authority and leader in the no-kill movement since its founding in 1984, Best Friends runs the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, as well as life-saving programs in partnership with rescue groups and shelters across the country. Since its founding, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from 17 million per year to about 4 million. Best Friends has the knowledge, technical expertise and on-the-ground network to end the killing and Save Them All.

Survey Methodology

Best Friends Animal Society, in partnership with Ketchum Global Research & Analytics and Braun Research, conducted a phone survey of 1,007 adults 18 and older in the U.S. The survey was fielded August 9, 2013 through August 16, 2013.

Results are reported at the 95 percent confidence level, and have a margin of error of +/-3.1%. Data have been weighted to adjust for variation in the sample relating to geographic region, sex, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, age, education and the number of adults in the household. The statistical weights were designed and applied from the United States Census Bureau statistics.

Oversamples were surveyed in Los Angeles (202 respondents), New York City (202 respondents) and Salt Lake City (201 respondents).

Contacts

Best Friends Animal Society
John Polis, 435-644-4858
johnp@bestfriends.org
or
Kristen Commander, 310-689-3406
Kristen.commander@emanatepr.com

Join the ‘NO KILL’ NATION and get invovled

January 20, 2014 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal Abandonement, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Animal Rescues, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Outreach for Pets, Pet Abuse, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Toughen Animal Abuse Laws and Sentences | 10 Comments

Blind Dog Living in a Trash Pile Gets the Most Beautiful Rescue – The End is Amazing

Video: Blind Dog Living in a Trash Pile Gets the Most Beautiful Rescue – The End is Amazing

January 15, 2014 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal Abandonement, animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Outreach for Pets, Pet Abuse, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, Stop Animal Cruelty, Success Stories, Toughen Animal Abuse Laws and Sentences, We Are All God's Creatures | 1 Comment

Lucy Pet Foundation’s Rose Parade float promotes pet spay/neuter – Features Daniel

Joe Dwyer with his dog, Daniel, on the Lucy Pets Foundation Float at Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale on Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. Daniel was rescued from a gas chamber.

Pasadena Star News: IRWINDALE>> Tillman the skateboarding bulldog has hung up his gear for the 2014 Rose Parade, and it’s for a good cause.

Joey Herrick, former president of Natural Balance pet foods who organized the last five years of Tillman Rose Parade floats, has changed gear. He left the pet food company to start his own nonprofit . His hope is to reduce the amount of unwanted pets that end up in the gas chamber.

“I’m determined to make a change in the way things have been done,” Herrick said. “Once you get in the shelters and you see what’s going on, it’s horrific. They are putting animals to sleep because there are just so many coming in.”

Herrick founded The Lucy Pet Foundation three months ago with former Los Angeles SPCA director of veterinary services and well known pet health activist Karen “Doc” Halligan. The organization is named after Herrick’s dog Lucy, whom he found on the side of the road with tire marks on her back – and already pregnant with five puppies.

The foundation uses a “spay/neuter mobile” to drive around and perform low-cost surgeries for those who can’t afford it otherwise or don’t have the resources to get to a veterinarian. The one surgery truck has already spayed or neutered more than 250 dogs and cats in Southern California and as the organization continues to grow, Herrick said he hopes to one day have 50 trucks, one for every state in the country.

And he said the Rose Parade is the perfect launching point.

“There’s no better way to create awareness for anything than the Rose Parade,” Herrick said. “My floats have been very successful the last five years and this year is no exception.”

Herrick has already put in $500,000 of his own money to get the foundation up and running, and pledges to never take a salary or use donation money for anything but helping animals. The funds for this year’s Rose Parade float came completely out of his own pocket.

“A lot of charities raise money but not a lot of it goes to animals,” he said, adding he hopes to raise enough money to also give grants to other animal welfare groups.

Halligan, the director of veterinary services for the foundation, said her partnership with Herrick has been a “match made in heaven.”

“We are really focusing on the solution, instead of still euthanizing animals in a shelter, which I did,” Halligan said. “The mission for The Lucy Pet Foundation is to reduce pet overpopulation by having mobile spay/neuter clinics all across the country and to also work with causes that benefit animal welfare.”

The Lucy Pet Foundation Float will be a three-ring circus with five performing dogs from Stunt Dog Productions, which features rescued shelter dogs. Founder Chris Perondi, of Stockton, said his mission fits right in with The Lucy Pet Foundation.

“I just realized that there are so many dogs out there that are getting euthanized every day, you walk through a shelter and you cant help but tear up knowing the dog you’re standing in front of it might be his last day and it might be the greatest dog ever,” Perondi said. “I made it my mission to adopt dogs and I really got into dog training and teaching them how to do tricks.”

Also on the float will be Daniel, the beagle who survived an Alabama shelter gas chamber when he was six months old. Daniel and his owner Joe Dwyer, of New Jersey, now travel across the country advocating for an end to shelter gas chambers as a method of euthanasia.

Southern California resident Jose Pila and his dog Ranger will also ride on the float. Pila won the “How a Rescue Dog Changed My Life” contest for the float slot; Pila served in Iraq and has relied on Ranger to help him cope with PTSD.

“The whole float is quite meaningful,” Herrick said. “There are unbelievable stories this year.”

For more information, visit www.lucypetfoundation.org

‘Miracle’ dog that survived gassing headed to Rose Parade 

Why I’ve Had a Change of Heart About Neutering Pets

January 2, 2014 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, Holidays With Pets, Just One More Pet, Pet Adoption, Pet Events, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pet Health, Pets, Stop Euthenization | 6 Comments

Adopting Military Dogs

American Thinker: Those that were chosen to defend America, upon retirement, need a family to love. The military has a great adoption program for their military dogs. American Thinker had the privilege to interview Shane Larsen, who is the military working dog adoptions coordinator. He is a former Air Force staff sergeant who was an instructor and trainer at the Lackland Canine School as well as a former handler.

The adoption program originated in November 2000 as a result of the "Robby Law," preventing the euthanization of four-legged warriors. Robby, a Belgian Malinois dog was euthanized even though his handler made every effort to adopt him. Although this law did not save Robby, it specifies that the military dog can and should be adopted. Those first in line are any of the former handlers, next in line are law enforcement agencies, and finally qualified families.

The dogs up for adoption are either those that did not pass the rigorous certification process to become a military working dog, a training dog that no longer could perform, or those that have been in combat with some medical issues. A family gets dog that has been spayed or neutered, while only having to incur a cost of the collar, leash, and transportation fees. Anyone adopting must go to the base where the dog is stationed and pick them up in person after going through a face-to-face interview with Larsen and the dog. Larsen noted, "Those dogs that do not meet the standards is due to behavioral and environmental issues, where they are unable to handle their job. However, before a dog is put up for adoption many different people evaluate them. If they are put up for adoption, I consider it an honor that I am the one responsible to find a home. You have to be a dog lover to work in this field."

Ninety to ninety-five percent of the former handlers adopt their partner. The home base handles the adoption with Lackland being the middleman who signs off on the paperwork. The kennel master at the home base is the one to notify the previous handlers that the dog is in the adoption program. It is not hard to find the handler since, according to Larsen, "There is a list of every handler who ever worked with the dog so they can be tracked down."

The average age for those retired is about 9 years, while the average age for those who do not make it through the training program is 16 to 18 months. Since most law enforcement agencies will not take a dog over the age of four there are a lot of older adult dogs available. Lackland Air Force Base in Texas has the largest volume of dogs, in the hundreds. But, if someone does not want to travel there, they can try adopting from a base near them since "where ever there are dogs there will be adoptions."

How does the process work if someone is interested? The DOD has come a long way since the "Robby Law." There is a lot of scrutiny that goes into someone being selected. A person must fill out a detailed application by hand or electronically. Since there are 500 to 600 applicants the wait period is an average of 12 to 18 months. One of the first questions is, "what is the ideal dog you are looking for?" In this case, the more specific someone is about age, sex, or breed the longer they may have to wait.

Through a rigorous screening process Larsen makes sure that people understand about the breed they are adopting. Since the wait period is long he uses it to his advantage by re-asking the questions during a face-to-face or phone interview and comparing that to the answers given on the application.

He told American Thinker that an important consideration is a person’s housing situation. "If they want a younger dog and live in an apartment what is their exercise program? Living on an upper floor of an apartment with only stairs is also not suitable for an older dog. Also, we usually will not adopt a dog out to anyone with children eight years or younger. Sometimes I will go through 20 to 25 applications to find the right person for a particular dog. We are very, very picky as to who will get a dog. A lot of people do not qualify."

From time to time there are those adopters who realize they made a bad decision, but unfortunately once the adoption is finalized the dog is their responsibility and they must find the dog a new home. Thankfully, because of the scrutiny and the detailed explanations of what is expected "this usually does not happen. We make sure a very detailed medical history is given out as well as making the adopter aware of a particular condition, the commands the dog knows, and what are the preferred toys. In fact, the feedback I get from the adopters is that once you have a military working dog it is hard to get any other type of dog. There is no comparison regarding the passion, the bond, and the attachment these dogs show, which is why repeaters are willing to wait months."

A military dog should be adopted because it is an act of kindness, although it may be on the part of the dog. Anyone who has adopted a military dog or plans on doing it will be able to pay back these four-legged warriors with the luxury of a loving home. Larsen said it best, "Those adopting will get a lifelong companion that has served their country and will form a bond like something they never had before."

By Elise Cooper, who writes book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles for American Thinker.

October 20, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Pet Adoption, Pet and Animal Training, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Service and Military Animals, Stop Euthenization, Success Stories, Working and Military Dogs and Related | 2 Comments

Should You Adopt a Second Dog?

Dogster: My husband and I frequently debate about whether to add another dog to our family. We adopted Sasha, our Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix, five years ago when she was three years old, and she’s brought so much joy into our lives. Wouldn’t two dogs be twice as fun? I think that dogs are pack animals and most would prefer to live with other dogs. My husband contends that Sasha would prefer to be an “only dog” and not have a canine sibling. I can’t tell if he really believes this or is projecting his anxieties about getting a second dog.

Is there room on the couch for another dog besides Sasha?

It doesn’t help that I volunteer for Copper’s Dream, a rescue organization that saves dogs from high-kill shelters in Central California and brings them to foster homes in the San Francisco Bay Area for adoption. I help post adoptable dogs on Craigslist, and at least once a week I fall in love with a dog’s smile or beautiful sad eyes. Like many of us dog lovers, I feel the urge to save them all.

I consulted with a couple of dog trainers to get professional opinions on this topic. It turns out that neither me nor my husband are correct (darn!). What it boils down to is whether the pet parents are prepared to take on the additional responsibility and how the introduction between the dogs is handled.

Gloria Post, a certified dog trainer with Hands On Dog Training, recommends that pet parents consider the following factors when weighing whether to add another dog to the family:

  • Do you have the time to commit to another dog? For instance, time for walks and training?
  • What type of temperament does your current dog have? What would be a good match for your dog? Does your dog like to run and play all day or is the dog contented to stretch out on the couch and relax?
  • If you decide to get another dog who is the same age as your resident dog, you should consider that someday they will both be old at the same time. This might involve large medical expenses. Is that something that you’re willing to do? A three to five year age span seems to work best between dogs.

Post added that dogs of the opposite gender seem to be more compatible than same-gender dogs, and some rescue organizations or shelters may restrict adoptive parents to only adopt a dog of a different gender from their current dog. She says terriers are most prone to this sensitivity.

Once you’ve determined that you are indeed ready to adopt another dog, keep in mind the age, personality and gender of the dog that might be most compatible with your family when you conduct your search. When you find a dog that might be a match, set up a play date for the dogs. Marthina McClay, certified dog trainer with Dog Training for People, suggests you schedule one or two play dates and let your dog decide if he or she likes the other dog. “Go slow, don’t rush things,” she advises.

And don’t bring the new dog into the house (aka your dog’s territory) right away. Instead, have them meet on neutral territory and slowly check each other out. If things appear to be going well, then bring them to the front yard and later inside the house. This means that both dogs appear relaxed and neither dog is exhibiting rude behavior such as mounting the other dog. McClay advises keeping an eye on the dogs’ posture to see their level of acceptance with the new arrangement and that neither dog appears overly aroused, nervous, stiff or fearful. And above all, don’t lavish too more attention on the new dog, so that you’re resident dog doesn’t feel left out.

Read more on getting a new dog:

JOMP:  We have 4 furkids and due to business related moves, we have had to temporarily introduce a new dog into our pack twice now in two years and amazingly, even though ours are little hesitant to socialize because they have developed a bit of a pack mentality, they have adjusted both times without any problem…

Leaving CA  - We Are Sooo Ready to LeaveStair Patrol

August 19, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Animal Rescues, animals, Chihuahua, Chiweenie, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Adoption, Pet and Animal Training, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Success Stories | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Beautiful story: Man who lost home, dogs in #BlackForest fire is given German shepherd ==>

New Best Friend...

Darrell Fortner, left , hugs Basil, a 11-month old German shepherd who is donated by Linda Smith, owner of Vom Dortmunder German Shepherds, near the Red Cross tent in Black Forest, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Photo by Junfu Han. The Gazette

The Gazette:  Darrell Fortner lost his dogs to the Black Forest fire.

On Saturday, he got one back.

A group of soldiers led by Chief Warrant Officer II Brennan Avants from Fort Carson, The American Red Cross and Black Forest Animal Sanctuary joined forces to find a German shepherd to help replace the dogs buried by Denver firefighters who were battling the wildfire.

The Black Forest fire destroyed more than 500 structures and consumed 14,280 acres.

Reminders of the recovery were everywhere Saturday.

Trucks hauling heavy machinery trundled through the intersection of Shoup and Black Forest roads about 2 p.m.

Pickups pulling trailers loaded with branches filled up at the Phillips 66.

At the American Red Cross tent on one corner, a presentation took place when Linda Smith, owner of Vom Dortmunder German Shepherds in Florissant, unloaded the four-legged gift.

The 11-month-old purebred German shepherd named Basil was presented to Fortner.

Fortner hugged Smith, who broke down during the presentation.

"It’s really an honor," Smith said. "I could not imagine losing my dogs like that. They are my family."

After hugging Avants, Fortner said simply: "Look at her. She’s beautiful."

Avants got the idea to help Fortner after he and 13 other soldiers from Fort Carson volunteered to distribute bulk goods to fire survivors from the Red Cross tent.

Fortner was among those who stopped in. He’d lost the dogs, his home and belongings.

"I was already familiar with the story," Avants said. "Darrell ended up being a frequent presence at our site and we wanted to do something for him. We got the idea of getting him a German shepherd to replace his loss and help in his recovery process."

There was a personal element to the mission. Avants’ family has two dogs.

"That plays into the emotional aspect of it," he said. "They are definitely members of the family."

Avants learned about the Black Forest Animal Sanctuary and asked them for help. They found Smith, who was happy to donate Basil.

"It’s a very touching story, it really is," Avants said. "It shows how the Fort Carson and military presence in the area is huge and it’s one of those things where we can help and give back to the community."

June 30, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Success Stories | , | 1 Comment

New Hope for Fear and Anxiety in Abused Dogs

Story at-a-glance
  • Recently the ASPCA opened the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Madison, NJ, a first-of-its-kind facility dedicated exclusively to helping rehabilitate dogs that have been victims of animal cruelty.
  • The center’s patients will come from shelters across the country as well as from ASPCA-involved seizures, and will primarily be victims of puppy mills and hoarding situations.
  • Dogs with extreme fear disorders are in danger of being euthanized unless they can be rehabilitated – a job that typically falls to shelter workers and rescue groups. The ASPCA’s new center, which is launching a two-year research project, has committed to share its findings with shelters and rescue organizations across the U.S.
  • The Behavioral Rehabilitation Center has over two dozen kennels, treatment rooms, “real life” rooms, and common areas. There are 10 staff members, including two behavior experts, plus volunteers and daily caretakers. The ASPCA invested over a half a million dollars in the center, and will pay for all patient expenses, including vet care.
  • For many animals, being rescued from a lifetime of neglect and abuse is just the beginning of a long journey to recovery. The Behavioral Rehabilitation Center’s goal is to provide rescued dogs with customized behavior therapy and more time to recover, which will increase their chances of being adopted

 

Dog Rehabilitation

By Dr. Becker

Recently the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) opened the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, NJ, as part of a two-year research project.

Per an ASPCA press release, the center is “the first-ever facility dedicated strictly to providing behavioral rehabilitation to canine victims of cruelty, such as those confiscated from puppy mills and hoarding cases.” According to center director Kristen Collins, the center will also treat a certain number of dogs that have been confined for long periods because they are “evidence” in court cases.

The Behavior Rehabilitation Center’s canine patients will come from shelters across the U.S. as well as from ASPCA-involved seizures from puppy mills and hoarders. According to Collins, the center is the first facility of its kind in that it will be focused exclusively on providing rehabilitation for dogs that are victims of animal cruelty.

The Center’s findings as part of the two-year research project will be shared with shelters and rescue organizations throughout the U.S.

Dogs with Extreme Fear Disorders Are Euthanasia Candidates

Dogs suffering from extreme fear are prone to symptoms such as shaking, cowering, loss of bladder control, growling and biting. In some cases, the fear is always present and causes the animal a great deal of pain. These cases are very hard to treat.

This level of fear is commonly seen in dogs that have survived life in puppy mills or hoarding situations. Once free, fear consumes them because their previous miserable, often abusive existence is all they’ve ever known. Typically these animals are turned over to shelters and rescue groups who try to work with the dogs to help them overcome their fears. The alternative for many of these dogs is, sadly, euthanasia.

Dogs cowering in the back of their shelter kennels certainly have no quality of life, and prospective owners seldom choose them. If they do get adopted, without treatment they are ill-prepared to blend into a family environment, and many new owners are disappointed or at a loss to know what to do to help their new four-legged family member.

One of the things the ASPCA’s research project will do is provide some statistics to work with. Presently, no one really knows how many dogs with fear disorders are placed in adoptive homes, or how they do once they go to their new families. The Behavioral Rehabilitation Center staff will follow up on placed animals to document how well they are doing in their new environment.

Most Dogs Will Stay at the Center for Six to Eight Weeks

The ASPCA’s new center has over two dozen kennels, treatment rooms, “real life” rooms, common areas, and an office. There are 10 people on staff at the center, including two behavior experts from St. Hubert’s. There are also volunteers and caretakers who feed the dogs and clean their kennels.

Center behaviorists will provide customized behavior modification therapy to reduce fear and anxiety in abused dogs. From a recent press release:

Treatment plans will incorporate the use of scientifically sound techniques designed to reduce the dogs’ fear of people and other dogs, acquainting them to unfamiliar objects, sounds, living areas, and real-life situations that can induce trauma and severe stress among this population.

The ASPCA spent over half a million dollars on the center, and will foot the bill for all patient expenses, including veterinary care.

Most dogs will stay at the facility for six to eight weeks, with some requiring a more lengthy or shorter stay, depending on their individual situation. “Graduates” of the center will return to a shelter for placement, and ongoing therapy will be provided as needed.

"For some animals, the reality is that after a lifetime of neglect and abuse, the rescue is just the beginning of their journey to recovery," said Dr. Pamela Reid, vice president of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team. The Behavioral Rehabilitation Center’s goal is to provide rescued dogs individualized behavior therapy and more time to recover from past abuse. This will increase the likelihood of successful adoption.

Rescued Alaskan Malamutes Some of Center’s First Residents

Some of the first patients at the new center were a few Alaskan malamutes taken from a Montana breeder who was convicted in December 2012 of over 90 counts of animal cruelty. A total of 213 malamutes were rescued from starvation and filthy living conditions in that case. The dogs were transferred to other kennels and kept as evidence for 16 months during trial preparation.

Eighteen of the dogs were pregnant, one of which weighed just 48 pounds (the average weight of an Alaskan malamute is 75 pounds). She delivered a litter of eight puppies. Only one survived.

Once the dogs were no longer “evidence,” they were sent to a humane society in Helena where they were spayed and neutered. Another animal welfare group helped begin placing the dogs. Some of the malamutes have found new homes; some are living in rescues awaiting adoption.

One of the dogs was adopted by the president of the Alaska Malamute Assistance League in Anchorage. The dog, a 6 year-old female named Cinder, is missing the tip of one ear, has broken teeth and a broken toe – all caused by food fights among the starving dogs while they lived at the breeding facility in Montana. According to Cinder’s owner, many of the malamutes are missing their tongues for the same reason.

Cinder’s owner, Bob Sutherland, says she has come a long way:

"We took a shy dog, and she’s all grins and giggles now. If you work with these dogs, they rise and shine. That’s why this ASPCA facility is so valuable to us. We were super excited to get these dogs in there to go through a training regimen. It saves us a lot of heartbreak about what we do with these dogs.”

Hope for the Future of Mistreated Animals

Sadly, there will be dogs that cannot overcome their fear, no matter how extensive the rehabilitation. But the center’s behaviorists are committed to do everything possible to help dogs recover. Euthanasia will be a last resort for dogs with an extremely poor quality of life, or those who pose a significant threat to people or other animals.

The Behavioral Rehabilitation Center will only be able to handle about 400 animals during the two-year project, so it won’t take much burden off shelters in the immediate future. The hope is that researchers will develop new ways to treat fear, anxiety and shyness in dogs that have been abused, and those techniques can be shared on a broad scale with other facilities and groups doing similar work.

According to Collins, success with this project could expand future projects to include fighting dogs, and even cats.

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May 10, 2013 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Pet Adoption, Pets, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Success Stories | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Everybody Loves Labradors, So Why Are They Underdogs?

In 136 Years of Westminster Show, Popular Breed Has Never Won Grand Prize

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WSJ: For the past 22 years, the Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog breed in the U.S., tying the Poodle’s record reign atop American Kennel Club registrations. "They’re the greatest dogs in the world," said David Frei, the Westminster Kennel Club’s communications director. "Who doesn’t love a Labrador Retriever?"

The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in the U.S. But no Lab has ever won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show, making Labs the Chicago Cubs of show dogs: the most lovable of four-legged losers. WSJ’s Ben Cohen reports. Photo: Getty.

As more than 3,000 dogs descend on the city for the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, we take a look behind the scenes to find out how these four-legged champions prepare mentally and physically for the biggest stage.

The answer is judges at the Westminster Dog Show. In 136 years of the event, no Labrador has ever won Best in Show.

The Dogs That Haven’t Had Their Day at Westminster View Slideshow

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Stan Honda/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Labrador Retriever Shayna Maydela attended an American Kennel Club news conference in New York, where the most popular dogs in the U.S. were announced on Jan. 30, 2013.

The Labrador hasn’t even made it out of the Sporting group to sniff at Westminster’s grand prize. In other words, Labradors are the Chicago Cubs of show dogs: the most lovable of four-legged losers.

Fifty-four Labradors will parade around Madison Square Garden’s ring Tuesday at this year’s Westminster show, which begins Monday. Only the Golden Retriever breed, another Best in Show shutout, has more entries. But the odds of a Labrador breaking the curse are 450-to-1, according to Johnny Avello of the Wynn Las Vegas casino’s sports book, making Labradors an underdog yet again.

"We all feel that we’ve been really ignored," said Mary Wiest, a Labrador breeder in Warren, N.J.

A black Labrador named Windy was given Best of Breed at last year’s Westminster show. Elizabeth Martin, her owner and breeder, only entered Windy because she thought Windy had a legitimate chance to win that award. But Ms. Martin harbored no such illusions about Best in Show or the Best of Group distinction placed on seven dogs. "I never even considered that," she said.

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AFP/Getty Images

Only the Golden Retriever, shown at an American Kennel Club news conference in January, and another Best in Show shutout, has more entries than Labradors this year.

Barbara Gilchrist, the judge who rewarded Windy, was "amazed" the Labrador didn’t fare better in the Sporting group, which consists of 30 breeds. Labrador breeders and owners talk about the drought "all the time," Ms. Gilchrist said. "It’s very hard to sit by and be quiet."

The last Labrador to make a fuss in the Sporting group was James, a rare two-time Best of Breed winner. As a 55-to-1 long-shot for Westminster’s top honor, Ms. Wiest’s pooch was the Labradors’ best bet since Mr. Avello began setting odds in 2007. And in 2010, when James placed fourth in the Sporting group, Labrador loyalists reacted as if he had taken Best in Show.

"If one ever wins the group? Oh my gosh, it’ll be just fabulous," said Robin Anderson, the Labrador Retriever Club’s newsletter editor.

Labrador owners aren’t alone in yelping for their breed. Westminster officials do, too. Mr. Frei said he always pulls for Labrador and Golden Retrievers because of the splash they would make with a win. "We’d have to rent an apartment in Manhattan to cover all the media stuff," he said.

Why they can’t break through is a question that hounds Labrador lovers.

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Windy

Their fans point to the bite of the Sporting group, which has produced 19 Best in Show winners, including the Sussex Spaniel in 2009, English Springer Spaniel in 2007 and German Shorthaired Pointer in 2005. Those dogs are what buffs call "flashy" breeds. "If I were to tell a Labrador person to have more flash and dash, they’d probably stone me," said James Reynolds, the 2011 Sporting judge at Westminster.

Unlike their peers, Labradors lack the extravagance of a long coat or the grace of a fast gait, making it trickier to catch a judge’s eye. "There are lots of Labradors that have given me goose bumps," said Cindy Vogels, last year’s Best in Show judge at Westminster, "but I think it’s an acquired taste."

Labradors also go home empty for the same reason they are such reliable companions: their good temperament. Some dogs are divas. Labradors like to share the spotlight with their handlers. "Labs aren’t selfish enough," Mr. Frei said.

Some say the problem is the Labrador’s breed standard. Show dogs don’t compete with each other so much as against the standard, or the guidelines for a dog’s appearance and movement. What judges examine in a Labrador are its head ("clean-cut" with "broad back skull"), coat (black, yellow or chocolate) and tail (like an otter’s). Also important: "powerful jaws" and "friendly eyes." The American Kennel Club’s breed standard calls for a "strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled" dog to retrieve game, hunt in the water and, yes, melt hearts.

Dogs bred for field work tend to be longer and leaner than Labradors bred to prance around conformation shows. To conform to the Labrador breed standard, males should weigh between 65 to 80 pounds, and females 55 to 70 pounds. "A Labrador that’s over 100 pounds would be very difficult to deal with in a duck boat," Ms. Gilchrist said.

Labradors should stand between 22½ and 24½ inches as males and 21½ to 23½ inches as females, according to the standard. A half-inch deviation results in disqualification.

In 1994, when the Labrador Retriever Club developed the standard to be implemented by the AKC, it was so contentious that six breeders sued. The case lasted six years and ended when their attempts to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court were unsuccessful.

Diane Ammerman’s black Labrador, RJ, in 2008 won Best of Opposite Sex at Westminster—the prize for the top male when a female takes Best of Breed, and vice versa—and will have one last Westminster hurrah Tuesday. Her theory for the Labrador’s dry spell: other dogs have waged better campaigns. Show-dog owners can burn six-figure fortunes by advertising in trade publications and traveling to shows across the country. Along the way, Ms. Ammerman said, they hope their dogs gain a higher profile. "Pure, simple politics," she said.

Despite the breed’s popularity, Westminster judges don’t go out of their way to throw the Labrador a bone. "I don’t think anyone consciously goes in the ring saying, ‘Well, a Lab’s never won the group, but at the Garden, I’m going to change that,’ " Ms. Vogels said.

So every February, Labrador enthusiasts end up repeating a well-worn mantra of fans of the Chicago Cubs, who haven’t won a World Series since 1908: there’s always next year.

"Never say never," Mr. Frei said.

Write to Ben Cohen at ben.cohen@wsj.com – A version of this article appeared February 11, 2013, on page A1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Everybody Loves Labradors, So Why Are They Underdogs?.

February 15, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Pet Adoption, Pet and Animal Training, Pet Events, Pets | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Puppy Bowl IV – 2013

Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl includes puppies, kittens, hamsters, hedgehogs – an absolute must see. If you missed this year’s Puppy Bowl, make sure you tune in next year. It’s worth the time. Even better, all of the puppies featured in the game are adoptable via Pet Finder. An entertaining event supporting a worthwhile cause. Check out the videos; definitely good for a solid giggle or two.

For those who are not football fans, the Puppy Bowl is a great alternative or an additional fun watch on Super Bowl Sunday:

Video:  Puppy Bowl IX – 2013 Starting Line-up

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Video:  2013 Puppy Bowl Video Final

February 5, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal and Pet Photos, animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Adoption, Pet Events, pet fun, Pets | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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