Animals, humans, and Yellowstone National Park

In the wake of the story about a three-year-old who breached the barrier at the Cincinnati Zoo last weekend, resulting in the euthanization of a 17-year-old west lowland gorilla named Harambe, a video surfaced this week of a woman at Yellowstone National Park being butted by an elk after she tried to take a photo and got too close for comfort.It's one of several recent stories highlighting the problem of adult humans - grown ups who should know better - interfering with the wildlife. … [Read more...]

A gorilla, a boy, and life in the balance

By now you've probably heard the story about Harambe, the 17 year old west lowland gorilla who was shot by zoo keepers at the Cincinnati Zoo after a small child fell into the gorilla enclosure. I caught bits and pieces of the story over the holiday weekend, but it wasn't until this morning that I was able to devote some attention to the matter.I finally saw the video.Originally, I didn't want to touch this story with a 10 foot pole, mostly because I didn't think that I could add … [Read more...]

Cruelly abused German Shepherd gets second chance

One of the down sides of covering animal issues is the tidal wave of stories about abused and tortured animals that cross your desk daily. It can really take a toll on your spirit, and for that reason I have to confess that when I see pictures of horribly tortured animals in my newsfeed I often have to quickly scroll past. Not because I don't care, but because the images keep me up at night. It's overwhelming for me to feel so helpless, and I imagine for readers as well.So when I saw this … [Read more...]

Renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin dead at 48

 The dog community is mourning the loss this week of renowned veterinarian and animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin, who died Monday at her home in Davis, CA. Her death has been ruled a suicide.Dr. Yin was a veterinarian as well as a prolific author, lecturer and consultant who was a pioneer in the field of positive reinforcement methods of training. In addition to workshops and lectures, Dr. Yin as the author of  Perfect Puppy in 7 Days, How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves, and Low S … [Read more...]

Susie the pit bull mix named “American Hero Dog” of 2014

A pit bull mix named Susie from High Point, North Carolina, has been named this year's "American Hero Dog" at the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.Susie was only a puppy when her owner beat her savagely and set her on fire, leaving her for dead in a local park in Greensboro, North Carolina. She was rescued by a local animal shelter and nursed back to health, and then adopted by a woman named Donna Lawrence.Donna herself had been the victim of a terrible dog attack that n … [Read more...]

Dexter has two mommies – and that’s reality

 I just wanted to share with readers a link to my friend Carol's blog, Fidose of Reality, and her most recent post about "coming out."Over the few years I've known Carol, she went from editor at a dog magazine's blog to host of her own blog, Fidose of Reality, where she writes about all things dog. I think it's a little ironic that it's taken her this long to share perhaps her most important "dose of reality" with readers.I'm pretty sure I met Carol at BlogPaws in 2010, but I … [Read more...]

Auction fundrasier includes puppy; should live animals be given away as prizes?

There's a discussion going on among some of my Facebook friends about a local charity raising money with a silent auction that includes one "Golden" dog owner package, complete with a new Goldendoodle puppy.The organization is CURE Childhood Cancer Association, which "provides emotional, educational, and financial assistance to area families whose children are treated in the oncology and hematology department at Golisano Children's Hospital" at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. … [Read more...]

Why “free to good home” can be a death sentence for your dog

 This image is making the rounds on Facebook. I have a difficult time looking at things like this, partly because I'm sent these kinds of pictures daily. It can be overwhelming and, after time, desensitize you.But for some reason, this one caught my eye. Maybe it's because I'm sympathetic to the "need to rehome" situation. We were there a few years ago, when I brought home a little pup to foster, decided to keep her, and then started having major behavior problems with her. In short, new dog … [Read more...]

Dog training, the Shedd Aquarium way

I saw a story this weekend on NBC Nightly News that highlights positive dog training in new way: training shelter dogs at Shedd Aquarium using the same techniques used on dolphins.I noticed the similarities between dog training and sea lion training last summer when I was at our local zoo; the trainers used clickers and rewards to teach sea lions tricks and new behaviors. I know a lot of dog owners who scoff at trainers who preach humane treatments and eschew the choke, prong and shock c … [Read more...]

Meggie the lost dog comes home – nine months after she disappeared

On July 1, 2012, while her owners, Jennie Lloyd and Connie Gates, were away on a trip to London, Meggie the sheltie escaped from the dogsitter and has been on the run ever since.Yesterday, Meggie came home.It was a long nine months. Her owners have made desperate pleas to the public for information. They put up fliers around town, posted information on Craigslist, and contacted animals shelters and veterinarian offices and police offices. They kept in contact with rescue groups and mail c … [Read more...]