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...]

Bloodhounds, the most feared dogs on earth?

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

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...]

Can dogs be introverted or extroverted?

Not long ago, I did a post reflecting on Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking," musing on how I'm an introvert and what that means in my life. I got a lot of feedback from other introverts who were happy to have someone speak up on their behalf.Then my editor asked me an interesting question: can animals be introverted or extroverted?Cain addresses that issue very briefly in the book, citing research done on guppies in an attempt to unders … [Read more...]

Loyal dogs who mourn the deaths of their owners

A story popped up in my Facebook newsfeed today about a dog in Italy who has been showing up at Catholic mass every Sunday since its owner died two months ago.According to news stories, a German Shepherd named Tommy used to accompany his owner to mass, sitting quietly at her feet.  When his owner died two months ago, the dog attended her funeral, along with the other mourners, and has been showing up regularly every since.It reminds me of a movie I watched over the Christmas holiday c … [Read more...]

Vote for the most unusual pet insurance claim in the 2012 VPI Hambone Awards

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. is getting ready to award the 2012 Annual Hambone Award, and  you get to pick the winner!Named after a dog that ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while stuck in a refrigerator, the VPI Hambone Award has since been presented for three equally unusual claims. Past winners include Ellie, a Labrador retriever who gobbled up an entire beehive and its thousands of inhabitants; Lulu, a hungry bulldog who swallowed 15 baby pacifiers, a bottle cap and piece of a basketball; … [Read more...]

5 reasons to obey the leash law (yes, I’m talking to you)

I took my dog Bandit for a walk today in Corbett's Glen, a nature park here in the suburbs of our hometown of Rochester, NY. In general, I avoid walking in the woods by myself. It's kind of scary for me. I prefer the cemetery. For whatever reason, I feel less alone among the dead. But we've been exploring new places to romp and someone told me this was a great trailWhen I walk Bandit in the woods or the cemetery, he's usually on a long training lead. That gives him more than ample room to … [Read more...]

Fight for Lennox the dog nears the end

Lennox is scheduled to die tomorrow. In fact, he may already be dead, since he's in Northern Ireland and it's already tomorrow there. Lennox has been imprisoned for almost two years. Not because he committed a crime. Not because he broke the law. He's been held because of the way he looks.Lennox is a dog. And to the officials at the Belfast, Ireland City Council, Lennox looks like a pit bull, which in their eyes makes him a dangerous dog.Never mind that Lennox is not a pit bull; he's a 7- … [Read more...]

Andy Griffith dies at 86 (video of The Andy Griffith Show episode, Dogs Dogs Dogs)

It's with a heavy heart that Mayberry fans learned today that actor Andy Griffith passed away this morning at age 86. With decades of success on television and stage, to many Griffith will always be remembered Sheriff Andy Taylor, everybody's loving father, the man who could handle any problem with grace and calm -- whether it's a quirky deputy or a son's questions about life.So what better way to remember Griffith today than with this episode of The Andy Griffith Show, "Dogs Dogs Dogs", in w … [Read more...]


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