Dogs love us unconditionally– no matter age, disability, rich or poor.
But, to share a companion 8,000 pounds her senior for eight years truly shows us what dogs, and elephants can teach us.
On October 26 Bella, companion to Tarra, an 8,000 pound elephant in Tennessee, died. They made world headlines together, and featured on CBS for their amazing ability to share their lives together in food, drink, play and sleep… and in the end, what seems like amazing compassion.
Check out the story of this amazing pair of Beaty and…the Beauty.
51 years ago today Russia launched Sputnik II, with a very special ‘pilot’. Laika was the first mammal to ever orbit our planet. Sadly, she passed away upon re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere in 1958. Cruelty or Hero? There isn’t a wrong opinion. This was 1958, a different way of life, a different set of values.
What’s important is now, in 2008 we remember Laika. This flight changed the world and paved the way to a new age of exploration and discovery thanks to a special four-legged hero.
Here’s a few fun sports and activities for dogs, “scootering” is a new one to me.
If you have a really active dog who just can’t seem to get enough exercise, scootering might be something to look into. It’s sort of a warm-weather equivalent of dog sledding, great if you live in a warmer climate or just aren’t that into snow. The dogs are harnessed to a two-wheeled scooter, and you ride along pulled behind the dogs. Check out DogScooter.com to learn more.
An older activity similar to scootering is carting, where the dogs pull a human behind them in a wheeled cart, similar to a horse-drawn carriage but much smaller. This sport is growing in popularity in North America. It’s probably not as much fun for humans to ride as a scooter, but more practical for running errands.
If your dog loves jumping in the water, dock jumping is a really fun activity for him or her. If your pooch excels at it and can leap a great distance off the end of the dock, there are even national competitions for dock jumping. A yellow Labrador Retriever named Heidi has a personal best of 25 feet, 2 inches, good enough for the 2008 DockDogs National Championships, being held this month.
At Wakulla Correctional Institute in Florida, an inmate reaches into his pocket and finds a dog biscuit for Pooh, a Husky-Labrador Retriever-Chow mix. Pooh gobbles the treat too enthusiastically and the inmate pushes him gently and firmly to the floor to calm him. Settled down, Pooh licks his hand.
Not too long ago, things looked bleak for Pooh. He was big and unruly and no one wanted to adopt him. Then Pooh got lucky and became part of a new program, Paws in Prison. Working with “dog whisperer” Jay King, inmates are taught how to train a dog, giving them useful skills and providing pound pooches a second chance.
The dogs move in with the inmates for two months, sleeping in kennels pushed right up against the bunks. King teaches them that it isn’t rocket science to train a dog–to teach them stability you have to be stable. He teaches them to train with kindness and treats, never harshness or punishment.
The end goal is to give the prisoners valuable skills that they can use outside prison (some dream of one day opening their own dog training schools), and to rehabilitate otherwise un-adoptable dogs to help them find forever homes.
In a bizarre story, a man in Australia has been charged with killing his wife–because she wouldn’t let him cuddle the dog!
Anthony Sherna lived in a remote area of Australia with his wife Suzanne and their Jack Russell Terrier Hubble. They had few friends, no nearby neighbors, and they pretty much relied on each other for their social life. He made it a habit to cuddle and rock his dog to sleep at night while he listened to the radio. Until one day last February when his wife started shouting at him for paying too much attention to the dog.
Apparently her shouting upset the dog so much he was shaking badly and couldn’t be comforted for some time (at the best of times, it took 15 minutes to get the JRT to bed). Anthony was so angry that he snapped, grabbed a dressing gown cord and wrapped it around his wife’s neck. As if this story wasn’t strange enough already, Anthony then took Hubble to a pet spa so that he wouldn’t have to confront his wife’s remains!
So the wife is dead, the husband is in custody–but the dog at least is alive and well.
An 18-month-old German Shepherd called 911 to summon help when his owner suffered a serious seizure. Buddy used his teeth to press pre-programmed numbers until a 911 dispatcher came on the line.
The call was placed when Buddy’s owner, Joe Stalnaker, who has injuries received during military service, suffered a seizure and blacked out. Buddy can be heard whimpering in a recording of the emergency call.
Buddy was trained to call 911 with his teeth when this situation occurs, ensuring help for Stalnaker arrives quickly.
“He’s my world. He’s my best friend, no question. He’s always there,” said Stalnaker, who was hospitalized for two days after the incident but has since recovered.
Believed to be a world first, a dog named Scooby will appear as a witness in a French murder trial. Scooby is believed to have been with his owner, a 59-year-old woman, when she was found hanging from the ceiling in her Paris apartment. As such, he is the only “witness” to her death, which police believe was a suicide. Her family demanded a murder trial.
Scooby was brought to the witness stand in a preliminary hearing to see how he would react to a suspect, and apparently he barked furiously. It is hoped he will be able to collar whoever committed the crime. But not everyone agrees Scooby’s testimony will be all that useful. One lawyer said “Human evidence is unreliable enough, let alone canine evidence.”
The rent-a-pet concept has grown worldwide in recent years, despite disapproval from some animal rights advocates. Those in favor of the practice say it helps people understand dogs and learn how to treat them properly.
Dog lovers short on time or space say that renting dogs is a good interim solution until they’re able to commit to a permanent canine companion. Organizations that rent dogs to others feel that people often don’t understand all the work involved in caring for a pet, and their rental solution helps people understand what’s involved in caring for a dog.
Some rescue groups even use the rent-a-pet type program to help with fostering rescues. Not a bad idea, as it helps the dogs and helps potential foster carers decide whether they have what it takes to foster or adopt a dog.
Opponents say it’s mean to pass a dog around amongst temporary families, when they deserve a forever home. Advocates say it improves people’s understanding of dogs and offers a solution where some dogs would otherwise be homeless or euthanized. What do you think?
There’s a new robot on the market, designed specifically to clean up pet hair. A new level of housekeeping technology, or is it “for the dogs”?
iRobot Corporation, the makers of the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner, have just introduced the Roomba Pet vacuuming robot. It’s designed to pick up hair and other stuff left behind by pets, with a large sweeper bin to hold lots of Fido-fur and special cleaning tools to clean hair and dander from the brushes.
At nearly $400 it may not be a bargain, but for someone continually challenged by the amount of dog hair around the house it might be just the thing! It could also be a cool gift for any dog owners who are also “gadget geek” that love to have the latest electronic devices.
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