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Tag: associated press

Down Sunny! A faux paw at the White House

sunny-obama

While, as you can see above,  the First Lady quickly seized control of the situation, the Second Dog got in a little trouble yesterday at a White House Christmas party.

Sunny Obama, the second Portuguese water dog the Obamas adopted, was part of a minor incident in which, by most reports, the one-year-old dog’s over-friendliness caused a party guest, 2-year-old Ashtyn Gardner, to fall over.

Sunny, adopted in August, jumped up on the toddler during the 2013 White House Holiday Press Preview.

The moment — not the worst violation of etiquette to ever take place in the White House, but maybe the cutest — was captured by Associated Press photographer Charles Dharapak.

Michelle Obama hosts the party every year, unveiling the White House’s holiday decorations with families of military service members.

Ashtyn, both of whose parents are in the Navy, was attending the party with her father, John Gardner, who later said that Ashtyn was fine.

Sunny reportedly apologized right after the incident by licking Ashtyn’s face, and both Sunny and Bo, the Obama’s first Portuguese water dog, were allowed to remain in the room afterward.

The Washington Post said Sunny “bounded into a State Dining Room full of children dressed in sparkly shoes and lacy dresses and headed right for little Ashtyn Gardner, 2, from Mobile, Ala. All of a sudden the blond girl with ringlet curls … was down on the rug. …

“Are you okay?” said a concerned Obama, mom-in-chief, tugging back on Sunny’s leash. But there was no need for damage control. Before Ashtyn could answer, she was back on her feet and Sunny was licking her face. All seemed well again, and the kids from military families could get back to frosting cookies and making paper poinsettia flowers with the first lady, crafty projects that have become a part of the Obama holiday traditions.

The Associated Press also avoided saying Sunny made contact with the girl, reporting Ashtyn “lost her balance and dropped to the carpet when Michelle Obama led the leashed puppy (a separate handler held Bo) into the State Dining Room…”

The dogs, in addition to attending the fest, also are a large part of its theme. Two life-sized replicas of the Portuguese water dogs, made from black satin ribbon, are on display, and miniature versions of them, made of chocolate, are part of the annual gingerbread White House display.

 (Photo: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press)

Dogs anticipate bad weather, and more

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows — at least not if you have a dog.

Two-thirds of American pet owners say their pets have a sixth sense about bad weather, according to a recent poll by the Associated Press and Petside.com.

Seventy-two percent of dog owners said they’ve gotten weather warnings from their pets, compared with 66 percent of cat owners.

And bad weather, many believe, is not all their pets are able to sense.

More than 40 percent of pet owners say their animals can sense the arrival of bad news, according to the poll conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications.

“A sixth sense is something we can’t explain but we tend to trust. It’s a matter of belief and faith,” psychologist Stephanie LaFarge, the senior director of counseling services for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told the Associated Press.

Some scientists believe animals sense bad weather because of changes in barometric pressure, and that they can sense seizures, low blood sugar or other medical problems through changes in their owner’s hormone levels.

How some pets know when earthquakes are coming, or that bad news is on the horizon, remain more mysterious.

The ASPCA’s LaFarge says she has personally experienced the latter.

“I have been awakened in the middle of the night by a dog,” she said. “Very shortly after that, I received some very, very shocking bad news. I was awake when the phone rang. I couldn’t explain why I was awake except the dog was next to me nudging me. How did the dog know my father died at midnight?”

What we’d spend to save our pet

A majority of pet owners would pay $500 for life-saving veterinary care, but less than half would fork over $1,000, only a third would spend $2,000, and only about 20 percent would be willing to pay $5,000.

So says an Associated Press-Petside.com poll about the cost of health care for animals, conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media.

Only at the $500 level were dog owners (74 percent) more likely than cat owners (46 percent) to say they would likely seek treatment. In the higher price ranges, the two are about equally likely to seek vet care.

“Euthanasia is always sad but when finances have to be considered, when you feel there is a possibility you didn’t or couldn’t do the right thing, you feel guilty,” said veterinarian Jane Shaw, director of the Argus Institute in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. “We are at a point where we are talking about basic life needs or survival needs.”

One in five pet owners said they fret a lot about being unable to afford seeing a vet. Dog owners are more likely to worry than cat owners, and low-income people are among the biggest worriers, which is probably because they have the biggest worries.

About one in four people, or 27 percent, said pet insurance is a good way to save money on vet bills, though only about 5 percent of pet owners actually have it.

The AP-Petside.com Poll was conducted April 7-12, 2010, and involved phone interviews with 1,112 pet owners nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

More Americans buying holiday gifts for pets

holidaydogMost Americans say they plan to spend less for holiday gifts this year, but a new poll indicates the family dog is even more likely than last year to find something under the tree.

Sixty percent of dog owners — more women than men — plan to buy their pooch a holiday gift, according to an Associated Press-Petside.com poll.  About 40 percent of cat owners planned on shopping for their pet for the holidays, the poll said.

All in all, 52 percent of pet owners plan to buy their animals a holiday gift — up from 43 percent last year.

The increase in pet gifts comes despite the fact that 93 percent of Americans say they plan to reign in spending on gifts this season, according to a separate AP poll.

According to the AP-Petside.com poll, 62 percent of female owners said they would probably buy their pet a gift, while just 40 percent of the men said they would.

Mouth to snout? Most of us would do it

Sixty-three percent of dog owners would be at least somewhat likely to perform CPR on their pet in the event of a medical emergency, according to an Associated Press-Petside.com poll.

Only 53 percent of cat owners were so inclined — but we won’t read anything into that.

The poll found that, while most pet owners were prepared to go to great lengths — even mouth-to-snout resuscitation — to save their pets, few are prepared to handle pet emergencies.

Just 20 percent of pet owners have a pet first aid kit in their home, and 54 percent do not have a fire evacuation plan for their pets.

Sixty-two percent of dog owners and a third of cat owners let their pets ride in their cars unrestrained, and 11 percent  sometimes leave their pets unattended in a car or truck. A fourth of pet owners, including 30 percent of dog owners and 22 percent of cat owners, sometimes give their pets bones from table scraps.

The poll revealed that 41 percent have experienced at least one pet safety emergency that required an emergency trip to a vet. More than one of every ten have had their pet hit by a car. About 7 percent of those polled said their pets have eaten something poisonous.

Among pet owners, women were more likely to say they would perform CPR on their pets than men —  65 percent to 50 percent, according to the poll.

But we won’t read anything into that, either.

(For a lesson in how to adminster CPR to a dog, click here.)

Half consider their pets full-fledged family

Half of all American pet owners consider their pets as much a part of the family as any other person in the household, according to an Associated Press-Petside.com poll released this week.

Another 36 percent said their pet is part of the family but not a full member, according to the Associated Press.

Most pet owners admit to feeding animals human food, nearly half give the animals human names and nearly a third let them sleep in a human bed. While just 19 percent had bought an outfit for a pet, 43 percent felt their pet had its own “sense of style.”

Singles were more likely to say a pet was a full member of the family than married people — 66 percent of single women versus 46 percent of married women, for example. And men were less likely than women to call their pet a full member of the household.

According to the survey, slightly over a quarter of pet owners celebrate their pet’s birthday or the day it came to live with them, and a third have included a pet’s photo or name in a holiday card.

About one in five respondents take their pets to work, and 42 percent of pet owners have taken a pet on vacation, usually the family dog.

The AP-Petside.com poll was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media from May 28-June 1, 2009. It is based on landline and cellular telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,110 pet owners. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

Despite 3 deaths, Iditarod likely to continue

“Two dogs died in the name of sport this week, and this time it wasn’t Michael Vick’s fault.”

So begins an Associated Press commentary by national sports columnist Tim Dahlberg that recounts the final hours of Dizzy and Grasshopper, two members of musher Lou Packer’s team. The two were among three dogs that died in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

“Listen to race supporters and they’ll tell you that, unlike Vick’s dogs, the 5-year-old huskies died doing what they loved. Read the official Iditarod Web site and you’ll find out that sled dogs are pampered and loved by their masters…”

On the other hand, Dahlberg wrote, “They don’t have a problem with chaining up big packs of dogs and running them to within an inch of their life for sport. They accept the fact that the Iditarod is a part of the state’s heritage, and its biggest sporting event. A lot of us in the Lower 48, though, just don’t get it.”

He goes on to ask the question on the minds of many animal right activists: “How many dog deaths are reasonable? How many more must die before the fun is finally sucked out of the sport?”

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