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

Renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin, who passed away this week. (photo https://www.facebook.com/SophiaYin)

 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

Susie the therapy dog was named the top American Hero Dog at the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards. (PRNewsFoto/American Humane Association)

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...]

Dog and baby photos: are they cute or dangerous?

This meme is making the rounds on Facebook.

 This meme is making the rounds on Facebook - it's a photo of a baby and what looks like a Neapolitan Mastiff. The title says "How to Hug a Baby", but for dog trainers and animal rescue advocates, it's a red flag. While most people see a photo like this and say, "Aw cute!" we ask, "How long before the baby gets hurt and the dog gets sent to the pound?"What we often interpret as a dog showing love to a human baby is usually the dog's curious interest in that writhing, squeaking … [Read more...]

If your dog could talk, would he speak like a preschooler?

Yup, my dog has a blog.

A friend posted on Facebook today: "Who decided that if dogs were able to speak and type they would do so with a speech impediment that makes you feel illterate trying to read it?"I understand what she means. As part of a community of dog writers, I see a lot of pets with blogs, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and to be honest, sometimes I have no idea what they're trying to say.  Dat for that, da for the, and a host of grammatical errors (like "i has not" and "U gotted") sometimes mean I … [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...]

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

This image, of a dog given way in Boston on Craigslist, is making the rounds on Facebook.

 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...]

Bloodhounds, the most feared dogs on earth?

The text of the article

I was at my alma mater St. John Fisher College yesterday for a day long conference on Frederick Douglass and Ireland. Scattered around the room where actual issues of Douglass' newspapers. I love history, and am always fascinated by the way the past mirrors the present. I'll talk more about abolition later this week, but today I just wanted to share an animal-related thought that jumped out at me as I read the stories from the 1850s.In one of the papers - and my stupid camera phone took such … [Read more...]

Indigo, Orphan pups and a gift of Mercy – a heartwarming dog rescue tale

Living up to her name, Mercy accepts The Orphans and offers them a chance at survival. (photo courtesy Pitty Love Rescue)

Here in Rochester, NY we're fortunate to have a wonderful animal group, Pitty Love Rescue, that does remarkable work rescuing, rehabing and rehoming pit bulls and pit mixes. They, along with other great groups in our area, are advocates for responsible dog ownership and a well-trained dog community. There are sad stories - puppy mills, overcrowded shelters, abandoned dogs. Working in the inner city, and especially with such a misunderstood breed, can really take its toll on volunteers.So I ju … [Read more...]


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