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    An Unbelievable Dog Hero

    April 7th, 2013

    Ellen recently heard an amazing story about a dog that helped lead the police to a house fire. Today she told it to the audience, and showed the amazing footage to go along with it. You won't look…

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    Activists Announce ‘Goddard’s Law’ to Protect Animals

    April 7th, 2013

    Dozens of activists rallied on Monday in Public Square where they announced plans for ‘Goddard’s Law’, a new push to protect animals in Ohio.

    Those who gathered downtown chanted during their self-described ‘Rally for Reform’ to protect companion animals.

    “We are asking for felony provisions in the law,” said Amy Beichler from the Public Animal Welfare Society of Ohio, or PAWS. “Right now, animal cruelty is a misdemeanor.  You can shoot a dog, kill a dog, and pretty much get a slap on the wrist if it’s your first time, you know, abusing an animal.”

    Beichler gathered with supporters to kick off Animal Cruelty Awareness Month while drawing attention to some recent high-profile animal abuse cases in Northeast Ohio.

    Forest is a dog who survived after he was shot and found tied to a tree in a park in Cleveland Heights. Along with Herbie, an emaciated dog discovered in Lorain, the two have become symbols of what animal activists said is a bigger problem in Ohio, the inability to impose harsh punishments on abusers.

    FOX 8’s Dick Goddard, a longtime supporter of animals, is backing the new legislation that shares his name. The bill is in the works in the Ohio State Legislature and supporters said it would make the punishment fit the crime.

    “We’ve gotta do it,” said Goddard. “We gotta hop into the 21st century as far as animal abuse goes, we’ve gotta get it into a felony category and with everybody’s help, by golly we’re gonna do it.”

    Beichler said the bill has a good chance of becoming law with Dick’s support.

    “I love Dick Goddard, I mean, I absolutely adore him, his passion and his love for animals, we’re a kindred spirit,” she said.

    Supporters have tried to pass similar bills before but they said the time is right for a change.

    “Because animals give unconditional love,” said Bridget Brown, of Twinsburg. “I mean, people are people but animals are there for you no matter what and to see how people can treat them, it’s just sad.”

    State Representative Bill Patmon said the law is being written to make farmers exempt but it would address the problem in bigger cities where most of the abuse takes place.

    “No more cruelty here in Ohio,” said Patmon, who spoke briefly at Monday’s event.

    Patmon said supporters should have more information on the future of Goddard’s Law within a few months.

    “If you abuse an animal, you’ll abuse a child, your spouse,” said Goddard.  “We have to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.”

    Story: Fox8 News Cleveland Ohio

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    March 17th, 2012

    Paris Hilton's chihuahua

    (AKA: Paris Hilton's chihuahua)

    After surviving a kidnapping from Paris Hilton's home in 2004 (during a botched robbery), Tinkerbell has once again stolen the spotlight from her diva-ish master. Dubbed "Accessory Dog," Tinkerbell has been to dozens of A-list events, including galas like the recent benefit for Pets of Bel Air.


    Bo Obama

    March 17th, 2012

    (AKA: President Barack Obama’s Portuguese water dog)

    Bo may be new to the fame game (after his recent adoption by the First Family), but we’re sure we’ll be seeing a lot of him in the upcoming press. Already, there’s a Bo Beanie Baby, water bowl and teddy bear — and he just recently posed for his first official White House photo.


    Kitty Purry

    March 17th, 2012

    (AKA: Katy Perry’s feline)

    What’s more important to Katy Perry than her singing? Her cat, Kitty Purry. The fancy feline, who has been by the singer’s side since before she hit it big, is reportedly helping the star through some relationship ups and downs. The singer recently told media she was over men and that the only person she’d be kissing was Kitty Purry


    Tips for House Training Your New Dog

    March 16th, 2012

    One of the advantages of adopting a dog vs. a puppy is that the adult dog is already housetrained.  However, many dogs that enter rescues or shelters have never been allowed indoors, and will need to learn basic house manners and housetraining.  While the principles are the same for an adult dog as they are for a puppy, it is often much easier to train a dog or an older puppy who is old enough to have developed bladder control.  In addition, the adult dog and older puppy have longer attention spans and are more readily able to learn the principles you are teaching them.

    Housebreaking is often the first attempt at training you and your dog will make.  It is very important to use careful thought and obtain accurate information prior to working with your dog.  Incorrect technique, excessive, harsh and ineffective punishment may lead to behavioral problems later.  It is crucial that you work to control your own emotions and remain calm while training.  Set realistic goals, and give it time.

    1.  Select an area

    Front or back yard?  Not only is it easier to clean up one area, but your dog will learn which door to use to go outside to do his "business".

    2.  Set a schedule

    Do not free feed your new dog.  Not only does this promote unhealthy weight gain, but it also makes housetraining more difficult as you cannot expect when your dog may need to eliminate.  Most dogs will need to defecate following a meal, and by designating feeding times you can anticipate when he will need to go outside.  

    So, when should you feed your dog?  Most veterinarians recommend feeding large dogs twice a day.  This helps to prevent over-filling of the stomach, which is thought to predispose dogs to "bloat," a painful and often fatal gastric torsion.  Feeding twice a day also gives your dog something to look forward to.  If you work or leave the house in the morning, set the A.M. feeding early enough to allow you time to walk your dog or make sure he/she has eliminated.  The evening meal generally should be fed no later than 6pm, with 4pm preferred.  This allows ample time for digestion to occur and helps your dog to be able to do a last "doodle" before going to bed.  If you find your dog leaves you a pile during the night, chances are you are feeding too late in the evening.

    3.  Watch that water!

    If you are training a puppy, it is often helpful monitor fluid and water intake.  Don't leave the bowl down, but instead, offer water at regularly scheduled intervals – usually every 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Take your dog outside after each meal and after each  time water is consumed.  Ever hear someone talk about potty training a young toddler?  People will often say that Mom is actually the one trained, and to a certain extent, that is true.  Mom knows if she takes Johnny to the potty on a regular schedule, she will build his confidence and prevent accidents from happening.  The same principles apply to housetraining a dog or a puppy.  

    4.  Praise, praise, praise – and reward!  

    One of the best ways of helping your dog understand that he is successful in accomplishing what you've asked is by rewarding him or her with a treat.  When Rover toilets outside, take a handful of treats with you and reward him with a little snack and lots of verbal praise for each success.  Play with him for five or ten minutes afterwards, which is an extra reward in and of itself for your dog.  Additional training can also be incorporated into these sessions.  Your dog will soon look forward to going outside to potty if you apply these principles.

    5.  Watch out for the excited pooch!  

    Over excitement (such as new visitors, a new, fun toy or other distractions) can cause your dog to forget his new training.  Help him or her by scheduling potty times after these events to prevent accidents in the house.

    6.  Keeping close

    In the beginning, do not allow your dog free access to the house unsupervised.  Consider using an X-pen or crate, or better yet, use baby gates to section off rooms of the house.  

    If Rover voids and you do not catch him in the act, scolding later will be futile.  He will not associate your displeasure with his action.  The best way to keep this from happening is to supervise him when indoors, and keep him in sight at all times.  If he begins to have an accident IN YOUR PRESENCE, yell "NO!!!!"  Then immediately and in a cheerful voice say "Rover, OUTSIDE!!"  When he finishes outdoors, then reward and praise.  Even though he began to go in the house, if he completes the act outside he has done what you've asked and should be rewarded with lavish praise.  Never, ever hit your dog for voiding in the house or rub his nose in his puddle.  A simple but loud verbal correction is sufficient, and your dog will respond much more rapidly to praise and motivation than he will to harsh scolding which he will not understand.  

    7.  Those long nights!

    Is a crate the right tool for you?  Different people have varying opinions on the use of crates.   However, used correctly, crates are wonderful training tools, especially at night when you cannot observe your dog.  In addition, many dogs feel secure in crates, just as their wolf ancestors used dens for comfort and security.  Ever see a dog sleep under the bed, a table or other piece of furniture?  They like the privacy and security of an enclosed space.   Besides offering your dog security, the crate has an added benefit – dogs do not like to soil in their sleeping area.  This will greatly assist you in housetraining your dog.  Most dogs will not mind the crate at all if kept near you, by your bed – this allows them quiet companionship with you, his owner, and helps the bonding process.   

    If you do not want to crate train Rover, you may opt to use a leash instead.  You can attach it to your bed, keeping your dog near you at night and limiting his space.  An X-Pen also accomplishes the same goal.  Whatever you decide, it's important that in the early stages of housetraining that your dog's space be limited when not observed, and especially at night.  

    8.  Clean, clean, clean

    There are many products sold in pet stores that were designed specifically for cleaning up urine and feces.  These products have enzymes which neutralize the odor and prevent resoiling of the area.  Do not products containing ammonia, which will only accentuate the odor and may cause your dog to continue to void or defecate in the same areas.


    New Insights Into Dog Rescues

    March 15th, 2012

    Unique case study examines the world of pet adoption.

    Cody, the golden retriever, has fit easily into life with his new family, Andrei and Kiki Markovits. To see a picture of him cuddled on the couch, no one would guess this dog had ever known cruelty. But, in fact, Cody, who is believed to be between 3 and 5 years old, was saved because an animal control officer discovered his previous owner kept him chained outdoors and almost starved him. The officer took Cody to a shelter. From there, Cody went to a golden retriever rescue, which ultimately placed him.

    Pure breed dog rescues, like the one that helped Cody, have existed for only about 30 years, according to Markovits, a University of Michigan political scientist. In their brief history, they’ve saved millions of dogs that would otherwise have been destroyed due to pet overpopulation. They’ve also sparked some controversy, famously when television talk host Ellen DeGeneres gave away her adopted dog Iggy and ran afoul of a standard agreement. The agreement obligated her to return the dog to the rescue organization if she couldn’t care for him any longer. (Rescues typically include that clause to avoid any possibility the pet will end up homeless and unwanted.)

    As a young professor, Markovits found out about rescues back in 1988 when he mentioned he wanted a dog, and a Newton, Mass. veterinarian suggested he try Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue, which formed in 1985.

    He took the vet’s advice and adopted Dovi, a golden about 8 years old.

    The dog quickly became a legend at Harvard University where Markovits taught. Dovi, so named because he looked like a little bear, followed Markovits everywhere, padding alongside the professor to classes. Dovi even boarded the Concorde and accompanied Markovits on a European adventure.

    “He had a wonderful life,” Markovits said. Dovi, who died at age 16, was Markovits’ first rescue dog.

    Dovi also inspired the first academic research on pure breed dog rescue. The research has opened a window into a secret and oft misunderstood world. So far, Markovits has explained, the people who started dog rescue organizations – and almost all the leaders have been women – came along at the same time that attitudes about domestic animals were changing in the U.S., Canada and some 30 advanced, industrialized nations. (The landscape includes northern Europe, Australia and New Zealand.) To sum up, dogs and cats were pets in the 1960’s; now they’re family members.

    “Dogs have gained a form of sovereignty they’ve never had in human history,” he said, and added the attitude change happened about 20 years ago. Of course, the pets aren’t considered man’s intellectual peers, he said. They can’t do advanced math or read philosophy, he said.

    “But morally and in terms of souls,” he said, dogs are being seen as “absolutely equal” to mankind, with as much right to exist and be treated humanely as people.

    His research, “Women and the World of Dog Rescue: A Case Study of the State of Michigan,” which Markovits and University of Michigan colleague Robin Queen published in 2009, also probed some reasons why dog rescue is “female dominated.”

    Women outnumber the men 10 to 1 in Michigan canine rescues, he said, and the picture nationwide probably looks similar.

    Women have filled almost all the leadership positions in thoroughbred dog rescue, he added. Most women are unpaid. Pure breed rescues have mobilized thousands of volunteers, and most of them are also women.

    They have changed the way people talk about dog rescue, he said. Thoroughbred dog rescuers were first to borrow phrases like “foster moms” and “forever homes,” terms that had up to then been used strictly to talk about abandoned and neglected children, he said.

    They also made innovations that showed a growing sense of the animal’s “personhood,” he said.

    For example, rescues place animals in foster homes. That’s in contrast to shelters and humane associations, which typically house animals in a kennel. The rescues also give the animal basic obedience training and match it to the prospective new owner.

    Those prospective new owners are put to the test before a dog goes home with them, however. In some cases, the review is so formidable, the rescuers have come under fire for rejecting too many people who want a dog but can’t meet their exacting standards.

    “It is a certain kind of potential zealotry,” he said, and added he would expect some rescuers to become overly protective of the animals. He’s also seen cases where the dog rescuers have become lost in the mission, abandoned family obligations and even veered into animal hoarding. But by and large, Markovits says the rescuers don’t deserve the bad rap.

    “They are anything but zealots,” he said. In reality, they’re married, middle class, educated, empty-nesters.

    Consider the dog, he said. It’s hard to say whether a dog rescuer is being overzealous or prudent when turning down a prospective dog owner. Maybe someone who works long hours shouldn’t be given an animal that’s already been neglected, he said.

    Markovits did want to find the reason why almost all Michigan canine rescue executive directors are female, so he and Queen interviewed both dog rescuers of both sexes.

    The women and the men disagreed about the reasons, Markovits said. Women claimed they do more to save homeless and abandoned dogs because they’re the more nurturing and more compassionate sex. They’re also the kinder sex and they care about animals more than men do.

    Not so fast, the men said. In the male view, women have more time on their hands for jobs like dog rescues because they shoulder fewer responsibilities at home. (Among other reasons, the men also did admit the women are better organized and therefore better able to manage hundreds of volunteers.)

    There’s more to say about why women have dominated dog rescue and what they have to gain. Markovits is working on a book now to go beyond the Michigan case study and delve into the whole world of dog rescue.

    “The mission is phenomenal,” Markovits said, “to save an injured being and give it a chance at life.” These women are doing important work, he said. Plus, by working with other people on dog rescues, they are making the world a better place for people as well as pets, he said.

    Pictured: Cody, a golden retriever rescue, had suffered problems with his knees and things, according to Michigan professor Andy Markovits who adopted him. To rehabilitate his limbs, the dog underwent therapy on an underwater treadmill at Animal Rehabilitation Facility in Dexter, Mich. where Kiki Markovits, the professor’s wife, monitored his progress. (Photo Courtesy of Andrei Markovits)


    Detroit Dog Rescue Would Be City’s First No-kill Shelter

    March 15th, 2012

    DETROIT — Dogs are running wild in Detroit, and a nonprofit wants to stop it.

    In a city with persistent economic problems, owners are abandoning their dogs because they can't afford to keep them and illegal dogfighting operations are cropping up. Loose dogs rounded up and housed in city shelters are often euthanized if they go unclaimed for days.

    It's all too much to take for rapper Dan "Hush" Carlisle and TV producer Monica Martino, who co-founded the nonprofit Detroit Dog Rescue in 2011.

    The group's mission is this: Round up all the dogs and find them homes. For the dogs that take a little longer to find a landing spot, Detroit Dog Rescue wants to build a shelter designed to comfortably house them.

    Either way, no dog dies.

    It may sound like pie in the sky, but consider this: Carlisle and his team of four full-time employees, two part-timers and various volunteers have taken 200 dogs off the streets since DDR was formed last year. In December, an anonymous donor from California transferred $1.5 million in valued stock options to the group toward its planned no-kill shelter, which the nonprofit says would be the first of its kind in the city.

    "It's a homeless epidemic of these animals," said Carlisle, who under the stage name "Hush" has accompanied Eminem on tour and opened for Snoop Dogg in London.

    Bruce King, who oversees Detroit's animal shelter program, says the city captures 3,000 to 5,000 dogs annually.

    Carlisle and his crew have spent many of their days scouring Detroit, including regular sojourns through some of the city's worst neighborhoods, in search of dogs in need of food, shelter and a little affection.

    "Other organizations – they're focused on everything from a deer to a bird to a ferret to a rabbit, a lizard, an alligator. You name it," he said. "But we are Detroit Dog Rescue. We are focusing solely on the homeless dogs."


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