Friday, 25 October 2013

New Lease on Life

Rescuing Each OtherNew Leash on Life USA is a new generation prison dog-training program that saves the lives of shelter dogs by training and socializing them to enhance their adoptability while helping inmates learn to train and care for dogs.

With New Leash on Life USA, dogs live in the cells with their inmate trainers 24/7, making New Leash dogs highly desirable for adoption and ensuring the long-term success for both humans and dogs.

Rescuing Each Other...


Previously “unadoptable” shelter dogs, many at the brink of death, now find loving forever homes. Additionally, inmates who have been in and out of prison most of their adulthood now have a skill they can use to gain productive employment.


Improving the life of inmates and saving the lives of dogs. New Leash on Life USA believes everyone deserves a second chance.


5 Year Old Leaves Legacy of Helping Homeless Animals

Sarah Jayne Orton (2)Sarah Jayne Orton, of Finksburg Maryland, was a special child who devoted her short five years of life to helping homeless animals. Sadly, on 10 October 2013, five year old Sarah passed away unexpectedly after falling ill.
Sarah had loved all animals and spent much of her time doing all she could to care for them. Just a few short months before her death, Sarah celebrated her May 15 birthday by asking that all birthday gifts be given as donations to the Baltimore Humane Society, an unusually selfless request for a five year old! Sarah’s dog, Scooter, had been adopted from the Baltimore Humane Society before she was even born. Sarah knew she had a loving and warm home and believed that these homeless animals deserve the same.
After her sudden death, Sarah’s parents knew that she would not want people to forget the homeless animals who are unable to speak for themselves, as this was one of her chief passions. So, they created the Sarah Jayne Orton Memorial Foundation to memorialize Sarah’s life and to support the care of animals at the Baltimore Humane Society.
Sarah Orton with birthday gifts donation (2)
Sarah’s aunt, Nicole Mathews, describes her niece as a precious girl who was even inclusive with her favorite color, which was “rainbow.”
“We all take comfort in knowing that Sarah is now with her beloved pets at the Rainbow Bridge looking down and smiling that her legacy lives on.”
A plaque will be erected at the Baltimore Humane Society in Sarah’s honor.       
100% of the donations to the Sarah Jayne Orton Memorial Foundation will go to the care of the animals at the Baltimore Humane Society’s no-kill shelter. All donations gratefully received at:

Dog Safety Restraints to be installed in SA Ambulances

More and more people are realizing the importance of dogs, and are even taking them into consideration when designing vehicles. Now South Australia plans to implement a program that will allow guide and service dogs to safely travel with their companions in ambulances.
SA Ambulance officials are in talks with Guide Dogs SA and other organizations to work out the best way for the dogs to travel safely while speeding down streets to get their companions some medical attentions.
“It’s all about talking with the organizations to work out what will work best, from what length the tethering should be to where it will be in the fleet,” said SA Ambulance acting operations manager Chris Towie.
“There’s no doubt we’re getting more patients who have an assistance dog of some type, from people with diabetes to children with autism. To leave them (their dog) behind can be really distressing, but at the same time we’ve got to make sure they’re safe and not in the way of paramedics."
“Ideally I’d like to see it happen within the next few months. It won’t be all of our fleet to begin with, but I’d like to think that’s what it will reach.”
Assistance Dogs Australia, who places dogs with adults and children with disabilities, is welcoming the initiative.
“Anything that can help make sure they’re with their owners when they need to be is great,” spokeswoman Amanda Hope said.

Paramedic Simon Cradock sits in his ambulance with Tango the guide dog.  Source: News Limited
Paramedic Simon Cradock sits in his ambulance with Tango the guide dog. Source: News Limited

Monday, 21 October 2013

Woolf provides calming effect for kids testifying in court

Sitting two rows back in the courtroom, an astute visitor during the recent testimony of an abused little boy might have caught sight of the tips of two furry, white ears poking over the top railing of the witness box.

And maybe once in a while that little boy's hand may have snaked down to stroke the big head between those two ears belonging to Woolf, a silent, watchful fellow there to help the 6yr old get through the recitation of the sex acts to which he was subjected.

Woolf, a large all-white shepherd-husky mix with startling blue eyes, is a familiar sight in a number of Lake County schools. He goes to classrooms with Missy Ziler as part of the READing Paws Program, short for Reading Education Assistance Dogs.

His reputation for quiet support is what prompted a Lake prosecutor to ask Missy whether Woolf might help in the case where two boys, ages 6 and 7, were to testify against their father. The younger child ended up testifying with Woolf from an empty courtroom by Skype and the older one had the dog at his feet while he told his story.

That was the point where she decided to create Companions for Courage, a nonprofit organization designed to prevent children from having to face the anxiety of court testimony alone. Missy is looking for other dogs that might help Woolf with the chores. They would have to be very quiet, willing to lay still in a witness box and not cause any distraction in court. No dogs on laps.

Lake Circuit Judge Bill Law, who allowed Woolf to help in the abuse case, said he has seen dogs in the courtroom a few times and is willing to allow them access in the future.

"It's a bit of new thinking," Law said. "Obviously, the dog can't tell somebody how to testify and doesn't have an effect on truthfulness, but it has a calming effect."

Source: Orlando Sentinel 

Friday, 18 October 2013

"I am here" homeless hounds seen for the first time!

In major cities around the world, it is commonplace to see abandoned dogs and cats on the street. Two college students, Violeta Caro Pinda and Felipe Carrasco Guzman, decided to raise awareness of the plight of homeless pups in Chile with a creative approach. The duo tied balloons to street dogs with phrases such as “hug me”, “play with me” and “don’t leave me”. The heartwarming video shows what a mix of creativity and compassion can do to engage strangers and spread a bit of kindness. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

University of Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Center Graduates

The University of Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Center held its first commencement ceremony Tuesday, graduating seven dogs. The center opened last September and was inspired by the canine rescue work on 9/11. The first graduating class contains many talented dogs that will go on to work as search and rescue dogs, medical alert dogs and police dogs.
Socks, one of the members of the first class of graduates from the center, was fitted with a mortarboard and tassel at the commencement ceremony. 
Socks will be starting a career with the University of Pennsylvania campus police force. 
The other graduates of the program are still awaiting permanent placements, but there has been significant interest in all of them. The dogs excel at a range of skills and each dog’s skills are customized to their temperament and abilities. One of the graduates, Thunder, will likely go on to be a search & rescue dog.
“He is bold, he is strong, he has no fear on the ruble, and he will search like a machine, which is exactly what you want in a disaster setting,” said Cindy Otto, Centre's Executive Director.
One of the more mellow graduates, Bretagne, is likely to be placed as a diabetic alert dog.
The second class of dogs training at the University of Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Center is already hard at work. The dogs are donated to the center by breeders and while they train there they live with foster families in the area.
For more information on the center visit their website.

Shelter Dog Shines as Search & Rescue Dog!

Gem, a Border Collie, was unwanted and surrendered by her previous owners when she was a puppy. Now two years later she is a talented search and rescue dog.
In 2011 Gem was surrendered to a local shelter by her owner. She spent several weeks at the shelter and then Pete and Alison Crichton adopted her and gave her a second chance.
Crichton has previously had search and rescue dogs and saw potential in Gem. She excelled at hide and seek games so he enrolled her in the Search and Rescue Dog Association’s training. Gem is now a certified mountain rescue dog and excelling at it.
“I’ve had search dogs for 25 years now and Gem’s my fourth dog, but the first one to come from a rescue center,” said Crichton. 
“She’s been on several searches since she qualified and she’s already showing great promise.”
Gem’s promise is not only recognized by Crichton. Gem won the Madras Trophy for best novice dog on the course at the Search and Rescue Dog Association’s annual dog trials.
Gem is now a member of the Search and Rescue Dog Association Scotland’s mountain rescue team and is on-call for emergency situations. Gem is loving her new job and her new life with the Crichtons.
“She's very enthusiastic about her job and life in general,” said Crichton. “and she’s great friends with our other dog Rusty.”

Great Dane's special bond with little pal

Charlie, a two-year-old Great Dane, has formed a special bond with his family’s three-year-old daughter Brianna Lynch. The young girl suffers from several forms of epileptic seizures, and even though Charlie is not trained as a detection dog he has developed the ability to sense her seizure coming twenty minutes in advance.
Charlie and Brianna have a strong bond and both adore each other. Charlie has taken on a role as Brianna’s protector. When he senses one of her seizures coming on he will pin the child against the wall and not leave her side until someone comes to help her.
“Charlie is so sensitive to her needs; if the other dogs get boisterous; he will stand by her side to ensure she doesn’t get knocked over,” said Brianna’s mother, Arabella. “We know when he is acting strange, she is going to have a seizure.”
Brianna suffers from four different types of seizures, that all tend to happen at night. She suffers from supplemental frontal lobe seizure, grand mal seizures, petty mal seizures and absent seizures. Twice she has had to be taken to the hospital and be resuscitated. She has gone through eight different types of medicine, but through it all Charlie is there to help.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

How Volunteering With Animals Will Help You Live Longer

Volunteering with animals is a great way to make a difference and give something back, but it doesn’t stop there!
Turns out, thanks to a new study linking volunteering to longevity, there may be more reasons to muck in at one of your local animal shelters.
So apart from feeling all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that you’re doing a good thing, you can also take comfort in the knowledge that you’ll live longer than those who’ve never volunteered.
Volunteering for Public Health
According to a recent study published in BMC Public Health, researchers found that those who volunteer and regularly help out in their community were 20% less likely to die prematurely. With that in mind, why aren’t you signing up to get involved with your favorite animal charity already?
After examining 40 different academic papers from the past 20 years and studying the links between volunteering and health, Dr. Suzanna Richards and her team discovered that helping others is directly associated with a positive effect on mental health, reduced depression and increased well-being.
It’s not hard to see how helping out those in need can have such a positive reciprocal effect. Apart from the fact that any physical activity is good for our body and mind, volunteering allows us to develop deep and heartfelt social connections that bond us to one another and in turn causes the release of the hormone oxytocin, which blunts stress and increases feelings of love and empathy. 
Additionally, volunteering also provides us with a sense of happiness and life satisfaction, two things that have been proven to increase lifespan time & time again.
There are a whole host of incredible health benefits from getting up close and personal with the animal kingdom, and when you team the two together, you end up with one powerful combination.
Volunteering + Animals
Studies examining the interactions between humans and animals show similar results when it comes to the hormone oxytocin, and specifically how the bonds we share with animals are woven from the same stuff that merges mothers and infants, and that’s just the start of it. Oxytocin is very beneficial for us. It increases feelings of happiness and trust, and has a powerful effect on the body’s ability to heal, and even to grow new cells.
Growing research shows that the value of human-animal bonding can play a crucial role in child development elderly care, dementia, mental illness, abuse and trauma recovery, physical impairment, and the rehabilitation of incarcerated youths & adults.
Spending time with animals is therapeutic in so many ways, from relationship building to mood boosting and just about everything in between. The significance of human-animal relationships is underestimated, but once discovered, can help you to live a much fuller, healthier and happier life.

Read more:

Have you ever volunteered with animals? 
How did it make you feel?
Here is a list of dog related charities that you can volunteer at:

If I have missed any out please let me know and I will add them to the list...

Monday, 7 October 2013

How Dogs Love us

Do our dogs love us? 

It's a question all dog owners say they know the answer to, but Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns is trying to prove it by training dogs to get in an MRI & scanning their brains. His findings are coming out in his new book How Dogs Love Us.

For more information on the book visit

Sunday, 6 October 2013

SPARCS Inaugural Conference 2013

SPARCS 2013: 3-Day International Conference on Dog Behavior 
Topics: Origins in the Wild, Social Behavior & Emotions, Cognitive Behavior & Development

The Society for the Promotion of Applied Research in Canine Science (SPARCS) inaugural event was fantastic, with free online streaming of three days of amazing presentations from world leading scientists. 

All presentations are now available online free to members that support this 21st century knowledge-sharing initiative into 2014 and beyond. 

Help us continue to grow and improve by joining the SPARCS Initiative and making continuing education accessible, available, and more affordable.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Oct 4 - World Animal Day - Dogs & Cancer

Oct 4 - World Animal Day - Dogs & Cancer

World Animal Day

World Animal Day was started in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. 

Oct 4 was chosen as World Animal Day as it is the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

“If there is to be any redemption for humankind, it lies not in thinking about ourselves, but on what we can do to make peace, here on Earth, with our fellow animals and the world of nature.”

Since then, World Animal Day has become a day for remembering and paying tribute to all animals and the people who love and respect them. It's celebrated in different ways in every country, with no regard to nationality, religion, faith or political ideology.

Pope Francis breaks the rules for dogs: Belonging to visually impaired radio journalist
Alessandro Forlani, Asià, a Labrador Retriever, receives a blessing from Pope Francis.

And here in Melbourne...

Join Edgar's Mission at Fed Square for World Animal Day 2013, 
the most important day on the animal calendar!
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