We’re all getting a little tired of the “win-win.” For one thing, it’s a cliche. For another, with so many “win-wins” being pointed out these days, two wins just no longer seem enough.
So how about a win-win-win-win?
Last Friday, the PreVet Association at Illinois State University brought a dozen dogs to campus, accomplishing, by my count, four wins:
First, students, stressed out by exams, had an additional – and far healthier than some other alternatives – way to unwind.
Second — with students paying $1 to walk, pet and play with rescue dogs — the event raised a little money for Wish Bone Canine Rescue, which brought the dogs to school.
Third, dogs in need of homes got a chance to show off, increasing the chances of getting adopted or fostered.
And fourth, the dogs got gobs of attention and a chance to socialize during what organizers call “Dog Days on the Quad.”
“This is a good chance for stress relief,” said Erin Mortimer, ISU Student PreVet Association vice president. “A lot of students miss their dogs from home and enjoy taking these dogs for a walk.”
The dogs benefit at least as much as the young humans do. On top of getting some attention and learning socialization skills, it’s an opportunity for them to find a future forever home, or a temporary foster one.
“We try to let students know that they are also able to foster for Wish Bone,” said Kim Bill, volunteer coordinator for Wish Bone. “It is a great way for them to have a dog on their own schedule. On top of that, everything is provided by Wish Bone — food, toys, medical care, and support.”
You can see a slideshow of it all at Stateside, the school’s alumni magazine.
Half the proceeds from the event went to Wish Bone for food, shelter, and medical treatment. The other half went to the ISU Student PreVet Association to allow students to participate in symposiums and special lectures.
Adding up, actually, to five wins.
(Photo: Stateside magazine, Illinois State University)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 25th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animals, attention, campus, college, dogs, exams, foster, fundraiser, fundraising, illinois state university, mental health, pets, play, pre vet, pre vet association, rescue, shelter, socialization, stress, unwind, veterinary, walk, wish bone canine rescue
Ace and I had a visitor over the holidays — a highly vocal, but not too demanding 12-year-old mutt named Gracie.
My cousin and her husband in Charlotte were headed off on a cruise and they were having problems finding a petsitter for Gracie, who has never been kenneled. So I volunteered.
It wasn’t my first adventure in petsitting. I’d had a handful of canine guests in my home in Baltimore, and served as wrangler for three more while housesitting in Santa Fe. I’d learned, both times, that most issues that come up can be easily worked out, usually by the dogs themselves.
I decided they should eat in separate areas, just to be safe, so I’d fill one bowl, and call one dog. Both, because their names rhymed, came. When I said “stay,” both stayed. When I attached their names to the commands – ”Ace stay, Grace come” — that didn’t work either.
Finally, I got one to the porch, and fed the other inside, confusing them both in the process.
On day two, Gracie stopped eating entirely. Even blobs of liverwurst — in which her pills get hidden — had no appeal to her. Wanting her to get at least a little nutrition, I smeared peanut butter on her nose and let her lick it off.
Eventually, I broke out the most special of my special dog treats, and after a good sniffing, she decided to try one. On day three, she was eating normally again, and I’d figured out that feeding them both at the same time in the same place worked best.
By the second day, I’d noticed Gracie, who spent the first night on an extra dog bed, was eyeing mine. It’s only a foot off the ground, but she just stood by it, put her head on it and looked at it longingly. Being old and arthritic — her, not me – I gave her a boost and she spent almost the whole day there.
I worried that Ace, who likes my bed too, would take offense at her occupation of it, but, once I told him it was OK, he just jumped in and joined her.
If they were positioned right, there was plenty of room for both. With only minor repositioning, I could fit in, too.
For walks, I’d take them both on a short one, then give Ace a longer one. That seemed to suit them fine.
What I never totally figured out was Gracie’s whining/singing. She whines when she’s happy, she whines when she’s not. She whines when she wants something. She whines, I think, when she wants nothing at all, except maybe to hear her own voice.
Ace, puzzled by that behavior, quickly got used to it. At first, he’d rush to her side, but eventually — as I kept saying, “What is it, girl, what do you want?” — she became background music to him.
Just about every worry I had, when it came to the two of them, turned out to not be worth worrying about. As long as I supplied the food, water, walks and love, they’d easily figure out the rest — the less help from me, the better.
It’s us humans who make things complicated.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 8th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, attention, beds, behavior, complications, dog, dogs, elderly, feeding, grace, gracie, guest, humans, old, pet sitting, pets, petsitting, visitor, walks, whining, worries
A TV network just for dogs?
One part of me asks why? One part asks why not?
Dog TV – which offers programming not about dogs, but for them – is a fledgling project, now airing only on a trial basis in San Diego. But there are plans to make it available, at a fee of $4.99 a month, across the country by the end of the year.
Add one more exhibit to the growing pile of evidence that dogs are turning into humans. (It’s when they get their own cell phones, and start putting us on hold, that I’ll really begin to worry.)
In all fairness, given the number of channels for humans that allow us to watch people cooking and redecorating, shooting and stabbing, courting and breaking up, or just generally making fools of themselves, shouldn’t dogs get at least one … on which to watch other dogs … generally behaving in a far saner manner?
I think my opinion on Dog TV depends entirely on the programming — that’s a sample of it above — and whether it can somehow manage to operate on a higher plane than human TV.
I’d hate to see dogs subjected to all the evils of television — its addictive nature, its intellect-lowering content, its reality shows. I’d hate to see dogs become couch potatoes. I’d hate to see dog owners start relying on the television as babysitter, or as a substitute for attention.
But the folks at Dog TV, which is based in Israel, seemed to have done at least some of their homework, and put together some footage that — while not exactly edge of one’s seat stuff — does actually have some redeeming value, unlike, say, “Jersey Shore.”
The programming — now being enjoyed only by dogs who subscribe to cable through Time Warner or Cox Media in San Diego — falls into three categories.
“Stimulation” programs show exciting animations, moving objects and frolicking animals, with camera movements and sounds and frequencies aimed at encouraging dogs’ playfulness, even when they’re sitting home alone.
“Exposure” programming aims at getting dogs used to those noises and situations they may face in life — crying babies, ringing doorbells, thunder, the mailman, riding in a car. It doesn’t bombard the dog with those things, but works them into the plot lines, or what there is of them.
“Relaxation” content — the example at the top of this post — is designed to relax the dog, reduce stress levels and keep him calm through soothing music, sounds and visuals.
The idea, founder Gilad Neumann explained in a Bloomberg report about the new network, is to give dogs something to watch and do while their owners are gone.
“Veterinary associations like the Humane Society and the ASPCA have been recommending for dog owners to leave the TV or radio on when they leave their dog home alone for many hours,” said Neumann. But that, he says, could lead to your dog watching something inappropriate, such as fireworks or gunfire.
Dog TV, which calibrates the colors of video footage to suit dogs’ limited vision, went on the air Feb. 12 after four years of dog-market research. Jasmine Group, the Israeli production company behind it, hopes to expand across the United States by the end of the year and then internationally.
“We’re constantly doing … focus groups … for dogs,” said Neumann. “We’ve noticed, for example, that dogs are not thrilled about barking on the channel, so we’ve removed almost all barking.”
The programming is inexpensive to produce, with the video shot either in San Diego or Israel and there being no actors to pay. The content is scheduled so that dogs can watch soothing videos, followed by stimulating ones.
The channel’s creators are planning to attract advertising to their website, but say they aren’t yet sure how to integrate it into their programming, since humans aren’t really expected to watch it. (As we reported earlier, advertisers, too, have been experimenting with commercials aimed at dogs.)
One of Dog TV’s veterinary advisors, Nick Dodman, of Tufts University, says it’s unlikely dogs will be riveted to the set when Dog TV is on.
“One thing that people shouldn’t expect is for their dog to sit, as we do, in front of the TV and stare at the screen for hours and hours,” he says.
In other words, they’re smarter than that.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alone, animals, attention, babysitting, behavior, cable, calming, channel, conditioning, cox, dog, dog tv, dogs, dogtv, exposure, Gilad Neumann, home, humans, israel, jasmine group, network, nick dodman, pets, programming, programs, san diego, soothing, stimulating, television, time warner, tufts university, video, viewers
When posting flyers around her neighborhood failed to lead to the return of her missing Chihuahua, Arlene Corona — desperate to reunite with her dog, Chispita — took bolder action.
For three days, she stood in a bikini at a busy intersection in La Jolla, holding up a sign seeking her dog’s return, and pointing out she was on a hunger strike until Chispita was found.
By Friday though, the only lead had come from a guy calling himself Merl, who was sending her messages, some highly personal photos and pictures of a dog he claimed was Chispita, who he promised to return in exchange for sexual favors.
Needless to say, Corona has dropped the bikini idea.
Chispita, who is on medication for epilepsy, went missing more than a week ago, according to NBC in San Diego
When no one responded to her flyers, Corona decided to attract more attention by holding a sign about her lost dog while wearing a bikini at the intersection of Genesse and La Jolla Village.
“My heart is just to not [going to] give up hope,” said Corona. “I’m stressed out and I’m depressed but I just feel like somebody is going to return her, you know?”
On Friday morning, she received an email from a man who identified himself as Merl, and who went on to email her a photo of a Chihuahua and some photos of his genitals.
Corona realized the picture wasn’t her dog, and decided to ignore the man. Later, though, she received a text from a different number from someone claiming a neighbor was beating Chispita. When she called the number, the man on the recording identified himself as Merl.
Here’s hoping Chispita gets found, and that authorities track down creepy Merl, too.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 27th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arlene corona, attention, bikini, california, chihuahua, chispita, dog, dogs, emails, flyers, genitals, intersection, la jolla, lost, merl, messages, missing, pets, publicity, return, san diego, search, stalker, street, text, texts
The cat, named Mittens, was trapped by two teenage boys in a milk crate, doused with lighter fluid and set on fire last January.
She managed to escape from the crate, extinguish the flames and return to what she had been doing — nursing her newborn kittens.
Mittens was rescued by police and animal control officers and, along with her kittens, brought to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), where she slowly recovered from the loss of her ears as well as third and fourth-degree burns covering 70 percent of her body.
Despite her injuries, Mittens continued to care for her kittens during recovery. Her story resulted in extensive media coverage and helped lead to stronger animal welfare laws in Maryland. Named the ASPCA’s Cat of the Year, she now resides in the home of Cindy Wright.
After a pit bull named Phoenix was doused with gasoline and set on fire in West Baltimore in 2009, Griffin, who previously had a private law practice, devoted her life to advocating for changes in Baltimore’s policies and procedures to better protect animals and prosecute their abusers. She was appointed by then-mayor Sheila Dixon to chair a new Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force, which went on to become a permanent standing Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission, the first of its kind in the country.
Griffin’s work heightened media and public awareness of animal abuse, and let to increased coordination and cooperation between agencies and individuals concerned about the problem.
“Through Caroline’s unrelenting work, the Commission has not only helped Baltimore become a more humane community, but also serves as a model for other cities across the country,” the ASPCA said in a press release.
Griffin is one of two recipients of the ASPCA Presidential Service Award. Also receiving the honor is Subaru of America, Inc. for its unprecedented commitment to animal welfare. Through the Subaru “Love a Pet” Adoption Drive program, the ASPCA works with Subaru dealers across the country to team them up with local shelters to host co-branded ‘Love a Pet’ adoption events.
“The ASPCA is humbled by the commitment and compassion displayed by this year’s Humane Awards winners,” ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres said. “The distinguished achievements of these advocates are prime examples of the ASPCA’s mission of preventing cruelty to animals. This year’s event will be a celebration of all that has been done to bring us closer to our goal while reminding us that there is still much work ahead.”
The ASPCA’s Annual Humane Awards Luncheon — sponsored by the Hartville Group, Inc., provider of ASPCA Pet Health Insurance — will be held on Thursday, Nov. 17, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.
Others to be honored are:
– Ricochet, the surfing golden retriever who raises money and helps the disabled. Rejected as a service dog, Ricochet and her owner, Judy Fridono, took another route to helping people. Ricochet is now a ‘SURFice’ dog for disabled surfers. On top of that, Ricochet has helped raise more than $125,000 for more than 150 human and animal causes, including childhood special needs, arthritis, breast cancer, canine cancer and animal rescue. Ricochet will be honored as the ASPCA Dog of the Year.
– Stevie Nelson, a five-year-old boy who raised more than $28,000 for the Northeast Nebraska Humane Society. After his family’s two black Labs went missing, Stevie, upon seeing an ASPCA commercial on television, decided he wanted to help needy animals find homes. He set out to raise $6,000 for the humane society’s campaign to build a new shelter, but to date has raised more than four times that. Stevie will receive the ASPCA’s Tommy P. Monahan Kid of the Year award — named after a nine year old boy who died trying to save his dog from a house fire in 2007.
– Sgt. David Hunt of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Columbus, Ohio. Hunt has served as a leader in uncovering the link between animal cruelty and other serious crimes such as drug dealing, gambling and racketeering. Since 2002, Sgt. Hunt has executed 51 search warrants resulting in 67 felony dogfighting arrests. He has trained law enforcement officers in 28 states, and helped make dogfighting a crime law enforcement and lawmakers take more seriously. Hunt is receiving the ASPCA Public Service Award.
– Green Chimneys, a New York organization that helps children with emotional, behavioral, social and learning challenges. A leader in animal-assisted activities, Green Chimneys operates an innovative special education school and residential treatment facility with programs to strengthen the emotional health and well being of children by promoting a harmonious relationship with animals and the environment. Green Chimneys is receiving the ASPCA Henry Bergh Award.
(Photo of Mittens, courtesy of BARCS; photo of Caroline Griffin by Mary Swift)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, anti-animal abuse task force, aspca, attention, awards, awareness, baltimore, barcs, caroline griffin, cat, cats, columbus, cruelty to animals, david hunt, dog, dogfighting, dogs, environment, green chimneys, honors, humane awards, judy fridono, law enforcement, lawyer, luncheon, mittens, nebraska, ohio, pets, phoenix, protect, ricochet, service dogs, set on fire, shelters, stevie nelson, surf, surfing, therapy dogs
Soldiers recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and homeless dogs at the Washington Humane Society are helping each other out.
The arrangement — the dogs and soldiers get together twice a week at the Washington Humane Society — is producing benefits for both, according to an Army press release.
The soldiers get some time out of the hospital, and something to get their minds off their injuries. They take classes in animal behavior, learn grooming and practice training dogs. The dogs, meanwhile, get some attention and, through the training, become more adoptable.
The program got its start last spring when volunteers walking dogs for the Washington Humane Society — located across the street from Walter Reed’s main gate — noticed how patients would brighten up when the dogs came buy.
“They’re right across the street and we have an entire campus of recovering soldiers who have a lot of time in their days for the most part, and we have a lot of dogs and animals who need that extra human interaction and training and companionship,” Kevin Simpson of the Humane Society said. ”So it was just seeing that need and figuring out a way to put the two together.”
“We’ve learned how to make dogs sit, recognize their names, how to heel, how to leave things alone without bothering it. Just a lot of training of dogs and their reactions and personalities,” said Staff Sgt. Ladeaner Williams after completing a lesson in dog agility and guiding dogs through a series of obstacles.
Williams is undergoing treatment at Walter Reed for post traumatic stress disorder. She thought that working with the dogs would be a good way to develop her interest in becoming a veterinarian. The dogs also have the added benefit of helping her relax.
“I look forward to this every Tuesday and Thursday,” she explained. “The dogs look forward to it. It’s kind of sad. You train the dogs and you come back the next week and they may be adopted, so you don’t get to work with them again. But it’s nice to know that they are being adopted and that the training is paying off.”
(Footnote: A staff member at the Washington Humane Society reports that a dog she impounded was adopted by a graduate of the “Dog Tags” program. “They’re making each other’s lives better than they ever could have been otherwise. The dog was sure to die (as five of her puppies had) where she had been left before I found her, and her dad has found a new reason to get up in the morning.”)
(US Army photo by Elizabeth M. Collins)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 6th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoptable, army, attention, behavior, casualties, companionship, dogs, injured, medical center, patients, program, shelter, sick, soldiers, therapy, training, walter reed, war, washington humane society