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Amy Shojai



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Unite to Fight Pet Cancer

Saturday April 19, 2014

German shepherd and catMorris Animal Foundation, a leader in animal health research, has launched a new initiative Unite to Fight Pet Cancer to help cats and dogs in the fight against pet cancer. Jonathan Goldsmith, "the most interesting man in the world," has joined the program to help promote a "virtual walk" to raise funds in these efforts.

My family includes a 17-year-old cat, a seven-year-old German Shepherd, and a 10-month-old kitten. I want them ALL to have healthy, long lives. Cancer is a thief of time...and love. I'm delighted to learn that Cat Fancy magazine has also joined in as one of the supporters of the campaign.

Also joining Goldsmith in the fight against pet cancer is Foundation friend, The Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research. As part of this campaign, Blue Buffalo will match all donations made to Morris Animal Foundation up to $50,000 through the end of June.

Sign up here for the Sunday June 22 walk to honor your pets and save the lives of future animal companions.

Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC


Brussels Griffon, Bullmastiff, Bull Terrier & Cairn Terrier Puppies

Sunday April 13, 2014

Bullmastiff PuppiesI've been hard at work publishing some more Breed At A Glance looks at some of your favorite puppy breeds. Because I'm writing these from an A to Z list, these latest breeds don't appear to have all that much in common. They range in size from about 10 pounds to over 100 pounds (the "big one" is in that picture!), have both smooth and rough coats, and are high energy to laid back pooches. Aren't you glad there are so many varieties? That way there's a perfect puppy pick for everyone!

Check out these new articles about the Brussels Griffon, Bullmastiff, Bull Terrier (in 2 sizes and 2 varieties!) and Cairn Terrier

Image Copr. Photodisc/Getty Images

URIPALS Adds Dog Park to Domestic Violence Shelter

Friday April 4, 2014

Ribbon Cutting URIPALS dog park

Studies of domestic violence are linked to animal abuse. Nearly half of domestic violence victims won't leave their abusive situations because they're afraid what would happen if they left pets behind.  Heck, I wouldn't want to leave my pets behind! But sadly, many shelters for human domestic abuse victims don't have accommodations for pets.

URIPALS dog park

The Urban Resource Institute (URI) in New York, New York launched last June as a pilot program for domestic violence survivors to bring along their cats and other small pets. And now, thanks to Nestle Purina Pet Care, dogs are welcome, too! Read all about it here.

Pictured from L-R, are: Jane Hoffman, Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals; Rose Pierre-Louis, Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence; Nathaniel Fields, Urban Resource Institute; Whittaker Mack, Urban Resource Institute; Lindsey Hogan, Nestl้ Purina PetCare; Amritpal "Paul" Singh, New Age Global Builders. All turned out for the ribbon cutting ceremony on a new dog park built especially for URIPALS.

Images Copr. Nestle Purina PetCare

April is National Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month

Thursday April 3, 2014

ASPCA Dog Fight Event Banner

How can anyone be cruel to a puppy? But it happens--as in this horrific story of a Collie puppy shot in the jaw (it's a HOPEFUL story, though). I hate writing about such things because it depresses me and there doesn't seem to be a lot that can be done about it after the fact. But you can be alert to the signs of neglect or abuse and become pro-active by reporting abuse and getting at risk puppies (and other pets...and KIDS!) help before it's too late. Watch for signs such as:

  • Untreated wounds, sores, limping, weakness
  • Obvious illness (discharge from eyes or nose)
  • Poor grooming (matted fur, parasites, etc)
  • So thin you see the ribs
  • Collars too tight
  • Someone threatening/striking the animal
  • Unavailable food/water
  • Inadequate shelter

Pit Bull Puppy on chain for dog fightOn Tuesday April 8, the ASPCA shines a light on the horrors of dog fighting, yet another way our animal companions are abused and neglected. Check out their National Dog Fighting Awareness Day webpage and join the experts at this Google+ Hangout to find out how you can help stamp out the horrors of dog fighting. You'll see:

  • Premier of short documentary about dog fighting
  • Myths debunked about the dogs, the people and the so-called "sport"
  • Virtual photo-gallery/museum covering dog fighting
  • Profiles of rescued dog-victims

The goal of this day-long event is to better inform the animal-loving community that dog fighting isn't an isolated criminal act--it's everyone's problem--and that you can help.

Image Copr. ASPCA


ACE Awards Announced--Is Your Puppy a Hero?

Wednesday April 2, 2014

Nominate your canine hero! The annual AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE) nominations are now open in several categories, celebrating all the wonderful things our dogs do for us. Nominations are open through July 1st, 2014. Access the nominations form here.

"The ACE is open to all dogs, recognizing a canine's lifetime of service or a single remarkable act," said Lisa Peterson, AKC Spokesperson. "We're proud to honor five deserving dogs each year with an ACE in honor of the dedication dogs show their human counterparts every day."

Five dogs each year are honored for their contributions to an individual or their communities, for each of these categories:

  • Uniformed Service K-9 (formerly Law Enforcement)
  • Exemplary Companion
  • Search and Rescue
  • Therapy
  • Service

(Note: Nominees doing service or therapy work without certification are considered in the Exemplary Companion category.)

Honorees receive engraved silver medallions and an all-expenses-paid trip for dog and owner to Orlando, Florida, to be honored at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in December. In addition, a $1,000 donation will also be made in each recipient's name to a pet-related charity. Dogs receiving honorable mention will be awarded an engraved bronze medallion and all entrants will receive an ACE Certificate of Recognition in acknowledgement of their nomination.

MINE-MINE-MINE! Dealing with Resource Guarding Pups

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Beagle pup snarlsMaybe it looks cute when that tiny puppy snarls and guards the gi-normous food bowl against a much bigger dog, as the larger pooch dodges and weaves to snatch a taste from the bowl. Recently a YouTube video went viral with just such a subject. The comments ranged from, "Get 'em, Tiger!" to laughing-out-loud and "oohing-awing" at the cute-icity.

My behavior group shared the video, too, but for a very different reason. We were saddened by the sight, and the celebration/promotion of an inappropriate behavior that could get that little dog killed--or cause injury to a human.

The behavior, called resource guarding or possessive aggression, is serious no matter what size or age of dog that displays it. Had the dog behaviors in the video been reversed--the BIG dog guarding and the LITTLE one trying to get food and being nailed--I doubt the comments would have been as humorous. Believe me, that's serious business for the tiny dog that fears--and FEAR is the operative word here--losing control over something that means life and death (food) to him.

So what should you do? Tiny pups that practice this behavior are at risk for getting even worse as they grow up. So it's important to recognize the problem early and address it quickly. This newest article explains what's going on and what you can do. Learn more about resource guarding here.

Image Copr. LifeOnWhite/Getty Images

Book Review: Decoding Your Dog by the ACVB

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Decoding Your Dog Book CoverDecoding Your Dog is not "just" another dog book, although it's a great new addition to the canine lexicon. It's not "just" a training manual, although it includes some terrific training tips. And it's not "just" about canine behavior, although the stellar info in the book rivals anything I've seen.

Decoding Your Dog is written not by one, not by three, but by TWENTY experts from the American College of Veterinary Behaviors. These are the experts' experts, and the authoritative text partnered with engaging style offers puppy lovers a go-to resource for both understanding and dealing with the normal (and sometimes not-so-normal) behavior challenges of our dogs. Read my review here--and then go add this book to your library!

Image Copr. HMH Publishing Company

Dog Meets Cat

Friday March 28, 2014

dog sniffing catI have a new kitten! Most of y'all already know that Magical-Dawg shares the house with 17-year-old Seren-kitty. The kitty has never been particularly enamored of the dog, and spent the first two years together plotting to have him evicted! So it was quite a thrill for Magic to discover that the stray kitten that arrived on our back patio actually LIKED dogs!

Magic and Karma-Kitten quickly became best friends. They race and chase each other around the house, tease each other, bring toys to share together and have a grand time. Of course, I'm very careful and always supervise because even friendly dogs can accidentally injure the much smaller kitty.

Also, we didn't just toss the new kitten into the open household and let Karma work things out for himself. No, we used the step-by-step introduction tips here to gradually transition him into our home. We were fortunate it went so well so quickly.

Now--the old-lady-cat Seren isn't quite such a push-over and it'll be several more weeks (or months!) before her nose isn't out of joint over the invasion of the Karma-Kitten!

Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

Puppy Gets New Jaw--WOW Medicine from UC Davis

Thursday March 20, 2014

collie gunshot jaw UC DavisMarvelous advances have been made in the area of  specialty veterinary care. The veterinary specialists at UC Davis' William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital are continuing to treat a 9-month-old Collie puppy with a devastating jaw injury due to a gunshot wound.

You can follow Lad's progress by check in with The Arrow Fund website. Despite his grievous injury, the latest video shows this dog being a happy puppy and managing to pick up his bunny toy. YAY! Go, Lad--we're all cheering for you, and thankful for organizations like The Arrow Fund, Pilots n Paws, and UC-Davis.

Image Copr. Don Preisler/UC Davis


Irish Breeds Celebrate St Paddy's Day!

Monday March 17, 2014

German shepherd wearing green tieMy Magical-Dawg wanted to get in on the fun and asks the question---"So, now am I an Irish Sitter?"

Of course, there are a number of Irish breeds that truly come from the land of blarney, and here are four that actually have "Irish" in their breed name.

Irish Terrier: This medium size red dog is one of the oldest of the terrier breeds and claims Ireland as her home. Her shape has been described as a miniature of the old-style Irish Wolfhound, but she is a true terrier in attitude, ready to take on the world. She has been a successful hunter of small game and vermin, loves the water, and some say matches the hunting expertise of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. During World War I, she even served as a messenger dog.

Irish Setter: This big red dog became popular in the early 1800s, and today remains a favorite of hunters and families. His handsome moderately long coat is solid mahogany to rich chestnut red, and is straight and flat with fringes on the legs, belly and tail. Described as clown-like for his love of play, he's a gay, outgoing happy dog that tends to take longer to mature, and remains devoted to his people. Slower to learn than some, the Irish makes a fine family pet. The Irish Terrier is an elegant dog, faithful to family, an eager playmate of older children, and a born guard dog. Like many terriers, she likes to bark and dig, and needs a firm hand during training. She is plucky, and has a fiery temperament that prompt some to call her the daredevil of terriers.

Irish Water Spaniel: This breed is quite ancient, with similar types traced to the 7th or 8th century A.D. Due to his curly crisp water-resistant liver colored coat, some might mistake him for a Poodle. The curled fur covers the body but is smooth and short on front of the throat, face, whip-like tail, and rear legs below the hocks.

He's called the "clown of the spaniels" because of his distinctive topknot and peak of curly fur between the eyes, and his precocious personality. The Irish Water Spaniel is loyal to those he knows, forbidding to strangers, and loves the water. He can be a stubborn dog to train, and needs to be kept busy (hunting). He likes children.

Irish Wolfhound: This is a giant of a dog, sized at 32 inches at the shoulders and 120 pounds. The Wolfhound is a coursing sight hound that's been known since at least 391 A.D., similar to but more robust than a Greyhound, and with a rough weather-proof coat. Developed to hunt giant Irish elk and wolves, his intimidating appearance makes him seem an appropriate guard dog. In fact, he is a mild mannered dog that matures slowly and may be timid. Wolfhounds need room to run; be aware, he can leap a 6 foot fence. He may be aggressive toward smaller pets, and tends to be suspicious of strangers. His quiet manner and gentle nature make him a good pet for those who understand his needs.

Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC




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