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Remember Me Thursday Offers New Way to Help Pets in Need

September 24th 2013 6:49 am
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By Caroline Golon @

There’s a new way for animal lovers to help raise awareness for the plight of homeless pets…..”Remember Me Thursday,” which takes place this Thursday, September 26, 2013.

This special international effort, organized by the Helen Woodward Animal Center, invites people across the globe to light a candle in remembrance of the millions of orphan pets we’ve lost and to shine a light on the millions of pets still waiting for their forever homes - the millions we can still save.

How can you get involved? Check out for details about how you can:
Light a virtual candle on Thursday
Organize a candle-lighting ceremony
Attend a candle-lighting ceremony
Spread the word about Remember Me Thursday via Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels, using the hashtag #lightforpets

And, just for kibblers, send an email to with a photo and a few sentences about your shelter or rescue pet. Send to us by Thursday at 11:59 p.m. PDT. We’ll randomly choose one person to receive a 10,000 meal donation to the shelter or rescue of their choice!

Thank you for caring about pets!

For more information about Remember Me Thursday, visit


Giving Rescued Dogs A Second Chance As Rescuer

September 2nd 2013 11:13 am
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Aug 29, 2013 by Allison Espiritu

Sinc e 1996, The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) has given former shelter dogs a second chance at life while training them to back to our communities. Their unique program truly transforms the rescued to the rescuer.

SDF founder Wilma Melville knew she had to take canine rescue into her own hands in the aftermath of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings. Assisting in the search for survivors was her Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) certified black lab, Murphy. There were only 15 FEMA certified search dogs on the scene, and only one survivor was found by a dog. That experience proved to Wilma that there was a great need for these dog's abilities, but they weren't being utilized to their fullest.

Returning home with a mission to change and flourish the make-up of the canine rescue network, Wilma founded SDF in 1996. Her goal was to strengthen disaster response in America with the focus in working with canines. She saw the talent, heart, ability, and assistance these amazing dogs could offer and knew others could benefit from it.

Wilma's program was based on recruiting rescued dogs and training them in search and rescue techniques. By improving the ways search dogs were chosen and trained, she prepared them to be partnered with firefighters and other first responders and key members of the team.

The devastation left in the wake of the 2010 Haitian earthquake presented a pressing need for canine disaster teams trained by SDF. Seven teams were put to work as soon as they set foot off the plane.Search Dog Foundation

Thanks to the excellent training given by SDF, the canine teams were able to bring 12 people to safety during their 16 day deployment, the greatest number of live finds ever made by an American search team. Since then, SDF canine teams have been called on to save lives alongside first responders in disasters around the globe including tornados, tsunamis, gas explosions, missing people cases, floods, hurricanes, and more.

Today SDF is the only organization in America utilizing former shelter dogs as first responders. Once trained, their talents are offered at no cost to fire, police, and emergency rescue departments. They now have over 60 teams located in California, Florida, Ohio, Washington D.C., and the State of Baja California, Mexico.

As we celebrate and observe Labor Day this year with barbecues and end of summer vacations, let's remember the heroic, hardworking dogs of SDF who've helped save lives. Thank you SDF for giving these lost dogs a purpose!


K911: Saving Lives With One Touch Of A Paw

August 30th 2013 12:34 pm
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Aug 22, 2013 by Allison Espiritu

We've always seen our canine friends as our life long pals who'll always be by our side. We can all agree the bond we create with them, makes us realize we can't live without them. And it's not wrong to say they probably feel the same way and can't see life without us.

In times of need we've found ourselves to be there for them, and we know that they'll be there for us and others. They've proven this as both a companion but also as a professional, working alongside firefighters, policemen, and guard dogs for our homes and businesses.

But now you can also add one more job to their long list of duties, 911 dispatcher.

With their keen sense to empathize with their human counterparts and awareness of when we are in trouble, having a dog around has become a lifesaver. Whether we take a fall, experience a seizure, heart attack, or stroke, our four-legged friends instincts kick-in and they know when to call for help.

Making it one step easier for them to get the immediate response we need, a phone has been developed just for our pooch pals to call for help in these types of emergency situations.

Created for all types and sizes of dogs to access, the one-button design allows a dog to call an emergency dispatcher with one touch of their paw. It has become a simple innovation that's easy to teach our canines to use to get us out of sticky situations and even save our lives.

The way the system works is once a home is set-up with a dog-operated emergency phone-line, they are then flagged in an emergency system so dispatchers are aware that a call can be made from a dog within that home.


Dog Donates Blood to Save Cat

August 30th 2013 12:27 pm
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By AFP News August 22, 2013 at 03:20PM

WELLINGTON - Traditional animal rivalries were set aside in New Zealand when a dog's blood was used to save the life of a poisoned cat in a rare inter-species transfusion, reports said Wednesday.

Cat owner Kim Edwards was frantic last Friday when her ginger tom Rory went limp after eating rat poison, rushing to her local veterinary clinic at Tauranga in the North Island for help.

Vet Kate Heller said the feeble feline was fading fast and needed an immediate transfusion to survive, but there was not enough time to send a sample to the laboratory for testing to determine the cat's blood type.

Instead, she decided to take a gamble and use dog blood to try to save the animal, knowing it would die instantly if she gave it the wrong type.

Edwards called up her friend Michelle Whitmore, who volunteered her black labrador Macy as a doggie blood donor in a last-ditch attempt to save Rory, a procedure Heller said she had never performed before and was very rare.

"People are going to think it sounds pretty dodgy -- and it is -- but hey, we've been successful and it's saved it's life," Heller told the New Zealand Herald.

Edwards said the cat appeared to have come through its ordeal unscathed, seemingly without any canine side effects.

"The vets just went above and beyond... it's incredible that it worked," she said.

"Rory is back to normal and we don't have a cat that barks or fetches the paper."


UPS Driver Rescues Emaciated Great Dane

August 9th 2013 11:22 am
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Posted: 08/07/2013 4:25 pm EDT

On January 21, when UPS driver Gavin Crowsley first spotted a Great Dane named Phoenix, the dog was so emaciated that he mistook it for a Dalmatian. Phoenix was on a short chain without food, water or shelter. Crowsley, who was in the middle of his delivery route in Indiana, had to stop.

"I could see every bone in his body," he told his employer. "He was just lying there. I knew if that dog didn't die from starvation, he was going to die from the weather. I didn't want to have a confrontation, but I couldn't just leave him there."

Crowsley called the Clay County Humane Society, and a rescue took place within an hour.

On Friday, almost seven months later, UPS spotlighted Crowsley on its Facebook page.

"We've waited several months to share this story with you because we wanted the first photo you see of Phoenix to be this sweet boy reunited with the UPS driver who helped save his life," the company wrote.

According to UPS, Phoenix is blind in one eye and completely deaf. His road to recovery has included overcoming "severe malnutrition, a battle with pneumonia, and frostbitten ears."

Today, though, the Great Dane is about 160 pounds. He weighed less than 70 when Crowsley found him.

Now, Phoenix is on his way to becoming a therapy dog. With his new mother's help, he can sit, stay, and shake. And his new Facebook page, "Phoenix Fighters" updates fans on his progress. Most recently, the Phoenix and his mom participated in a 5K to raise money for the Humane Society and the American Cancer Society. His mission, according to the Facebook page, is to continue raising money for "doggies that are in need!"


Previously Oiled Sea Otter Seen with Second Pup

August 1st 2013 1:59 pm
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California Department of Fish and Wildlife 07/31/2013 | Press release

Facebook followers of "Olive the Oiled Otter" received good news today: Scientists found her with what they believe is her second pup. The birth of Olive's first pup last fall was a milestone in oiled wildlife rehabilitation as it was the first pup born to a previously oiled sea otter in California. The birth of this pup further confirms that oiled wildlife can continue contributing to the population after rehabilitation and release.

After a several week hiatus, during which scientists could not locate Olive, she was spotted Tuesday morning clutching a newborn pup, according to CDFW Environmental Scientist Colleen Young, based at CDFW's Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center in Santa Cruz.

Both mom and pup appeared to be healthy and Olive was observed holding, grooming and nursing her new pup at the Capitola surf spot she's been known to frequent, known to locals as "The Hook."

"Olive's second known pup further demonstrates that formerly oiled wildlife can successfully reproduce, again validating the importance of rehabilitating oiled wildlife," Young said.

In July 2012 sea otter researchers from CDFW, the U.S. Geological Survey and Monterey Bay Aquarium discovered Olive was pregnant with her first pup when they brought her into a mobile veterinary lab for the first exam since her release. The team determined she was about halfway through a normal pregnancy term. She was given new flipper tags and released back to her capture site.

"Olive," who was estimated to be a year old at the time of her rescue in February 2009, earned her name during rehabilitation when the staff used olive oil as part of the intensive washing process.

After being rehabilitated, she was released back into the wild on April 7, 2009 and has been monitored since. Most of her sightings have been at the near shore kelp beds off Capitola.

CDFW scientists will continue monitoring Olive and her new pup at a safe distance to document her success in the wild while avoiding disturbance to the new family.

CDFW teams with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the U.S. Geological Survey to study the ecology and population trends of the Southern Sea Otter, which is listed as a federally threatened species. Results of the 2012 sea otter survey listed a population index of 2,792, which represents a very small increase in number and reverses the downward trend of the last few years.


Boy and Dog Each Get Second Chance at Life - Together

April 30th 2013 5:44 am
[ Leave A Comment | 7 people already have ]

By Caroline Golon @

In a heartwarming twist of fate, a boy recovering from a heart transplant and a dog with an uncertain future are beginning new lives – together.

Angela McGhee, president of S.A.V.E. Rescue Coalition in Houston, Texas, knew Scotch, a gentle pit bull-lab mix she had in her care, would be a perfect family dog. She also knew that finding homes for pit bulls in Texas was not an easy thing to do. However, as she always does, she worked hard to find Scotch his forever home through a variety of channels, including Facebook.

She was surprised to receive a query from a woman in Bono, Arkansas. Melanie Leon was looking for a wonderful dog for her 11-year-old son, Gabe, who had undergone a heart transplant a year ago.

McGhee was apprehensive about adopting a dog to a family out of state but, coincidentally, a local veterinarian, Dr. Susan Pickle also contacted her about finding a dog for Gabe. Dr. Pickle knew the family and would vouch for them.

Dr. Pickle had met the Leons in Oklahoma City where Gabe had his transplant surgery. Dr. Pickle’s one-year-old grandnephew Liam, was also there for a transplant and she remembered the kind and loving Leon family well.

McGhee says it was amazing how everything just fell into place. “There were powers at work that were way ahead of us,” she says.

McGhee arranged for Scotch to fly to Arkansas via K9 Airlift, which volunteered their services so Scotch wouldn’t have to endure the long drive and…so he would make it there in time for Gabe’s 12th birthday.

McGhee receives frequent updates on how Scotch is adjusting to life with his new family and is happy to report, “Scotch is doing great up there!”

As for Gabe, he understands how special their circumstances are. “I got a second chance because of my new heart,” he told Life+Dog. “I think it’s cool that we can give Scotch a second chance, too.”


Workers Rescue Kitten In Melbourne Tunnel

April 25th 2013 9:21 pm
[ Leave A Comment | 4 people already have ]

Apr 24, 2013 by Nikki Burns @

Anyone who has ever had a kitten knows that they are constantly getting into trouble. They climb into places they can't get down from, they get down into places they can't leap out of, and absolutely everything is a toy.

But in the Burnley Tunnel in Melbourne, passers-by and traffic cameras caught sight of a tiny kitten in serious trouble: the little orange tabby somehow found himself halfway down the 2.1 mile car tunnel. Whether he somehow walked the full mile on his own or was dumped there by an irresponsible and uncaring passerby remains a mystery. The kitten escaped hundreds of high-speed passing cars before an incident response team stopped traffic and went in after him.

There is no doubt that the kitten was terrified, and led his would-be rescuers a bit of a chase before they were able to corral him and bring him to safety. "They gave it a bit of a cuddle and took it to the control, where the guys on call gave it some old roast beef from the staff fridge..." reports CityLink spokeswoman Selby-Lynn Nicholas.

The workers named the kitten Dodge. Now at The Lost Dogs Home animal shelter's North Melbourne location, Dodge is looking for a home of his own.


Thank yous from the Rainbow

April 25th 2013 9:14 pm
[ Leave A Comment | 3 people already have ]

Just want to thank all the pups who reached out a paw to me yesterday on my Rainbow Day. You each should have received some sort of bark from me by now. I also want to thank all the pups who left me a bone. I have 220 of them the last I checked! Don't know who you are but the bones are noticed and appreciated:)

By the way, I understand the term is the Rainbow Bridge. But since rainbows tend to be from nature and bridges tend to be human made, I like to focus on the Rainbow rather than the bridge part:)


Rescue Dog Rescues U.S. Veteran

April 23rd 2013 5:50 am
[ Leave A Comment | 5 people already have ]

By Caroline Golon @

The following is one of the incredible, inspiring stories featured in “Shelter Me,” a PBS film by Steven Latham. Hosted by Katherine Heigl, “Shelter Me” aired nationwide last year and is now available for rental at Redbox. From April 23 through April 29, Redbox will donate 100% of rental proceeds of Shelter Me to the Halo Pet Foundation. The Halo Pet Foundation is dedicated to supporting shelters and rescues and best of all, 100% of foundation funds go to help pets! For more information please visit:

When Andrew Trotto, U.S. Army, 168th Combat Action Battalion, came home from Iraq, he was struggling with anxiety, depression and anger. Over time, his post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) grew to the point that he didn’t know how he’d survive another day. But a sweet rescue dog named Teka changed all that and gave him a reason to live.

Although Trotto was struggling with PTSD, he didn’t know where to turn. “I was a machine,” he says. “It’s hard to ask for help when you’re in that kind of position.”

He learned about Freedom Service Dogs, an organization that rescues dogs from shelters and trains them for service dogs for mobility issues, soldiers or kids with autism. A dog lover his entire life, he filled out an application to participate in the program.

“We love rescuing the dogs,” says Stephanie Baigent of Freedom Dogs. “There are so many dogs with the temperament of a service dog sitting in shelters. We don’t need a breeding program to have the same temperament and quality of dog to train for a service dog.”

Once his application was processed, Trotto met three dogs but instantly bonded with Teka. “It was love at first sight,” he says. While it can sometimes take up to a year to match a vet with a dog, Trotto says with a chuckle, “I was matched with Teka in three weeks.”

Shelter dogs in the Freedom Service Dog program are trained to sense when their owners are stressed in public and will “post,” or “block,” which means Teka moves in front of or behind Trotto when she senses someone is standing too close or crowding him. “She’ll watch my back and that just takes so much off my shoulders. I’ve calmed down a lot,” Trotto says.

“She knows when I’m upset,” he continues. “She knows when I’m having issues or anxiety and she’ll come over and snuggle up next to me and lick my face and put her paw on me.”

Like many vets suffering from PTSD, every day is wrought with anxiety. With Teka, Trotto feels safe. “I have somebody next to my side 24/7. I don’t have to worry about looking over my shoulder. It’s what she does,” he says.

An emotional Trotto credits his rescue dog with literally saving his life. “If it weren’t for Teka I’d be dead right now,” he says. “She’ll let me know everything’s alright and she just gives me that okay, that you’re good. That you’re not alone.”

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