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Tag: practice

The stray that showed up at spring training

hank

A walk-on has joined the Milwaukee Brewers during spring training in Arizona, and there’s a good chance he may go back to Milwaukee with them — as a mascot.

A small stray dog who appears to be a bichon frise, or mix thereof, wandered on to the team’s complex Feb. 17, with an injured tail and other signs he might have been hit by a car.

After team employees took him to a veterinarian for a checkup and a bath, he was brought back to the stadium and has been there almost every day since.

They’ve named him Hank, after baseball great Hank Aaron, who began his career in Milwaukee.

hank3“Yeah, he’s making a pretty big impact, which I’ve got to say is pretty cool,” pitcher Yovani Gallardo told Newsday

Believed to be around 2 years old, Hank was assigned No. 1 for his team jersey, and team reports about him on social media have made a local celebrity.

The team has posted signs in the area reporting the found dog, but no owner has stepped forward yet, and different members of the Brewer’s organization are vying for a chance to adopt him.

Team owner Mark Attanasio said his wife wants to adopt the dog, and some players have voiced a desire to keep him on the roster and have him travel with the team. “We want to do what’s right for the team,” Attanasio said. “I think he’s really an asset.”

Meanwhile, staff members are taking turns housing Hank for the evening.

During the day he watches practice from the stands at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, or from the dugout, and sometimes he takes to the field.

“Most of the guys here I’m sure we all have dogs back home and not everyone can bring em out because were out were working, pitcher Gallardo told Fox 10 News in Phoenix, “but to have this little guy out here running around with us it’s fun, spring training gets long and this makes us enjoy it a little more.”

(Photos: Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

Utah labs cease use of shelter animals

The University of Utah has announced that it will no longer purchase dogs and cats from North Utah Valley Animal Shelter (NUVAS) — or any other animal shelter — for use in medical experiments.

The decision was praised by PETA, which has waged a lengthy campaign against the practice.

“PETA is thrilled for the dogs, cats and people of Utah now that the University of Utah has stopped using animal shelters as dirt-cheap sources of living lab equipment, marking the complete end of pound seizure in the state,’’ said Kathy Guillermo, PETA’s vice president for laboratory investigations.

Until last year, animal shelters in Utah were required to sell cats and dogs in their custody to the university under a practice known as pound seizure. A change in state law made it voluntary for shelters to participate. The North Utah Valley Animal Shelter, however, continued to supply animals for research in the belief that it was helping to ease human suffering and advance medical knowledge.

NUVAS sold the university about 100 dogs and cats a year, Director Tug Gettling told the Salt Lake City Tribune.

The practice, over the years, saw hundreds of former pets and strays sacrificed for purposes of medical experimentation — though not all that were used in experiments were killed.  Last year, a pet owner who turned her dog, Sheena (above) over to the shelter was shocked to learn — when she called to see if she had been adopted — that the dog had been sold to the university for experimentation. Later, with help from PETA, she launched a successful campaign to get the dog back from the university and into an adoptive home.

According to the Tribune, the decades-old practice of buying animals from shelters was halted by the university in mid-January.

Thomas Parks, the university’s vice president for research, said the decision was aimed at bringing an end to the campaign against the shelter by animal welfare advocates. Parks said the university will instead obtain dogs bred for laboratory use by certified breeders — a costlier but less controversial method.

PETA’s Guillermo said she hoped the added cost of specially bred animals would lead the university to seek alternatives to using live animals in its experiments.

Parks said employees at the non-profit municipal shelter “have been suffering a lot of harassment” and that the shelter has received thousands of hostile emails and phone calls, several bomb threats and at least three public protests.

A Salt Lake Tribune investigation a year ago found that about 60 percent of all shelter animals the shelter provided to the university between 2007 and 2009 were killed after being experimented on, while the rest entered an adoption program.

Dogs and parenthood do mix — quite nicely

You hear a lot these days about young couples foregoing parenthood and opting for a dog instead. You hear a lot, too, about young couples who take in a dog as practice for when a real baby comes along.

There’s  nothing wrong, in my view, with either.

What often gets ignored though — amid the kind of scoffing the dogless sometimes do at dog peoples’ commitment to their animals – is the fact that dogs, while not the equivalent of a child, do indeed prepare young couples for parenthood.

And that’s just the beginning.

After that, they go on to help those children grow up with a healthy respect for living things, teaching them about love and loyalty. And, after the kids depart, dogs help fill the void –  though usually not the same dog — of an empty nest.

They, like some brands of dog food, in fact, are there for all the cycles of our human lives — including the the onset of parenthood.

Rebecca Dube does beautiful job of describing how her dog helped prepare her for parenthood in this week’s Toronto’s Globe and Mail – in a piece whose writing was prompted, sadly, by death of the family’s beagle, Lily:

“My dog was my baby; and now that I have an actual baby, I see that my dog prepared me for motherhood far better than any of those What to Expect books.”

Rebecca and her husband adopted Lily from a rescue group, altering their lives in  numerous ways — from cleaning up shed hair to shifting their schedules, to dictating where to vacation and where to live — and once Lily got sick, affecting the budget as well.

Lily lived much longer with cancer than the three months her vet originally predicted, long enough to meet the newest addition to the family.

Rebecca writes that, once she became ill, they never questioned the time and money they were investing in her: “She was our baby … And then along came a real baby.

“Our son, Elijah, arrived 10 days early, and we brought him home on a Saturday night. All through my pregnancy, I’d hoped for the moment we finally got, when we introduced Elijah to Lily, and stroked his tiny baby hand against her soft fur. In my greedy heart I wanted them to have years together, for him to laugh at her wagging tail, for her to wait patiently for scraps beneath his high chair. But that tiny bit of grace would have to be enough. Lily died early Monday morning…

“My dog was my baby. She taught me that a slobbery, stinky creature could pee on my shoes, poop everywhere, complicate my life in a million aggravating ways – and at the same time inspire so much love that my heart felt like it would burst with happiness. She taught me and my husband how to go from two to three. She taught us how to be a family…

Rebecca writes that, when Elijah gets old enough to understand, she’ll show him the photos of him and Lily, “and tell him that for a few days he had the best dog a boy could ever want.”

(Photo: Elijah and Lily, Toronto Globe and Mail)

Vet school to cease “terminal surgery labs”

Starting in fall 2010, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University will no longer use dogs and other healthy, live animals to teach surgical skills.

The college in East Lansing will no longer require “terminal surgery labs” in which animals are killed after being used to practice surgical techniques.

Instead of the controversial labs, the college will use more humane teaching methods, including sophisticated models and animal cadavers — a change that has been initiated at more than half of the 28 other veterinary medical schools in the U.S.

 “We are ecstatic that MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine has made this compassionate change to their curriculum and we hope to work with them in the future to make additional advances such as an ethically sourced cadaver program,” said Mitch Goldsmith, President of MSU Students Promoting Animal Rights (SPAR).

Laura Ducceschi, Director of Animalearn, a national program that provides resources for humane science education, commended MSU for “taking this positive step towards joining the many other prestigious veterinary institutions that have ended terminal surgery labs and replaced them with humane alternatives and shelter medicine programs that benefit students and animals.”

Animalearn, the educational division of the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS), works with educators, students and others to achieve quality humane science education without harmful use of animals.

Both SPAR and Animalearn advocated to end animal use at MSU following revelations of the extent of the university’s use of dogs in Animalearn’s 2009 report, Dying to Learn: Exposing the Supply and Use of Dogs and Cats in Higher Education.

Eating dog could be outlawed in China

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The centuries-old custom of eating dogs in China could become a crime under a proposal that is expected to be sent to the National People’s Congress in April.

What would be the nation’s first law against animal abuse would fine anyone caught eating dog or cat up to  5,000 yuan and up to 15 days in jail. The law would fine “organizations” involved in the practice between 10,000 yuan and 500,000 yuan.

Dog is an age-old delicacy in parts of China, especially in the frigid regions of northeastern China. Nationwide there are dog farms where animals are raised for their meat ande fur.

The proposal comes as a new generation of rich, pet-loving urban Chinese comes of age, the Times of London reports.

Earlier attempts to draft an animal welfare bill in China were dropped after public complaints that human rights should be perfected first.

Dog meat, as in some other Asian cultures, has long been promoted by practitioners of traditional medicine for being high in protein, boosts energy levels and increases male virility.

One waiter at the Cool Old Lady Dog Meat Restaurant in the northeastern city of Shenyang said animal protection awareness was altering popular attitudes about eating cat and dog, according to the Times story. “Personally I think these two animals shouldn’t be food. They’re lovely. I just work for this restaurant to make a living, I have no choice. If the law is passed, I think our restaurant will sell other dishes.”

In recent years, animal rights activist groups have sprung up in many Chinese cities, fighting to halt mass shipments of cats and dogs, crammed in wire cages, from the north to the markets and restaurants of Guangdong. Activists have published photographs on the internet to raise awareness of the fate of the cats.

(Photo: Dogs being sold for meat at Moran Market in South Korea/by John Woestendiek)

Owner saves her dog from dissection

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At least two stolen pet dogs were found in an operating room used for dissections at the medical school of South America’s oldest university.

Carmen Valverde’s dog Tomas was stolen by two men while she was walking in the working-class Brena district of Lima, and a friend who works at the University of San Marcos spotted him by chance in a surgery room where dogs are dissected.

Valverde donned a lab coat and snuck into the hospital to rescue Tomas. Video her friend shot a week ago, aired on local television, shows him sedated, splayed, and strapped to a stainless steel table.

After local newspapers published the story, other people missing dogs rushed to the hospital’s door and one owner found her dog Chico.

“The University of San Marcos still hasn’t apologized for what it has done,” Valverde told Reuters  Thursday. According to the article, The University of San Marcos does not have access to enough human cadavers for its students, so they sometimes cut open dogs instead.

Ricardo Rubios, dean of the medical school, acknowledged that stolen dogs had wound up in the surgery room, but said the school only uses strays for classes.

“I assure you we would have returned the dog. All our experimental surgeries are done to dogs that don’t have owners,” Rubios told Reuters.

Romila Briones, a member of ASPPA, a Peruvian animal rights group, said the law does not protect strays. “In Europe, they don’t kill animals for education, they use dummies. Unfortunately, animals are just property in the eyes of the law here, like furniture,” Briones said.

U of Michigan won’t use dogs to train surgeons

Surgeons training at the University of Michigan will no longer use live, healthy dogs to learn drastic surgical procedures, the university announced Thursday.

The anesthetized animals — obtained from shelters — were used to teach tracheotomies, how to fix collapsed lungs, and other emergency procedures. After the procedures, they were commonly euthanized, the Detroit Free Press reported today.

The Free Press reported in January that only a handful of medical centers in the country offering such training using live animals.

In a statement, the U-M Health System said its Graduate Medical Education Committee reviewed simulators and decided to make the switch to mannequins for the class.

“It’s tremendous. All we really wanted them to do was look at it objectively and make a decision. Other schools have done that,” said Dr. John Pippen, senior medical and research adviser for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a national animal-welfare group based in Washington.

His group filed a complaint against the university in January with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, claiming Dr. Richard Burney, the surgeon who runs the Advanced Trauma and Life Support class, made false statements about the utility of simulators to justify using animals to the university’s animal-care committee. Burney, who raises show dogs, could not be reached for comment Thursday. But he has defended the use of animals over simulators as a more realistic training tool.

Documents obtained by the Free Press show dogs surrendered to animal control in one county were sold to U-M through an animal dealer.

Live dogs used in trauma surgery class

The University of Michigan is coming under fire for a class in which doctors practice their emergency surgical procedures on live, otherwise healthy dogs.

The procedures so badly damage the animals — some of which are procured from animals shelters — that they must be euthanized — the Detroit Free Press reports.

According to the Free Press, one of the dogs used in the test was Koda, a male malamute that was surrendered at an animal shelter. Instead of being adopted, Koda was sold to R&R Research of Howard City, which resold it to the university for its Advanced Trauma Life Support class.

The University of Miichigan uses simulators for doctors in other courses, but Dr. Richard Burney, who directs the Advanced Trauma Life Support class, insists the dogs are the most realistic training tool and that the training will help save human lives. The dogs are anesthetized during before surgery.

“This is a fair and proper use of animals,” he said. “If you come … with a gunshot wound, without adequate training, you become the animal that is being learned upon.”

The University of Michigan course is one of 15 in the country — and the only one in Michigan — that uses animals, according to a survey from the animal welfare group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The group is to file a complaint today with the U.S. Department of Agriculture against Burney.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine found in a survey of 198 Advanced Trauma Life Support courses nationwide that more than 90% use human cadavers or simulator dummies. The remaining courses use dogs, goats or pigs to teach these skills.

Britain seeks to educate pet owners

The British government is taking a royal ribbing for distributing a list of pet care guidelines that some see as intrusive, some see as simplistic and still others see as an extraordinary waste of time.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it wanted to remind pet owners of their responsibilities under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act.

The document, which will be published as a leaflet and on Defra’s website, says owners must provide their pets with a “suitable place to live” including “somewhere suitable to go to the toilet.” It also advises cat and dog owners  to provide “entertainment” and “mental stimulation” for their pets.

Owners will not be fined for breaking the rules, but failure to comply may be used in animal cruelty prosecutions, according to a BBC article on the new guide.  (Be sure and check out the comments from readers at the bottom.)

The 26-page document on cat welfare begins with a warning to owners: “It is your responsibility to read the complete Code of Practice to fully understand your cat’s welfare needs and what the law requires you to do.”

Dog owners are given detailed instructions on ensuring their pets do not become lonely or isolated as “dogs are a social species and need the company of people, dogs or other animals”.

Bill Wiggin, the Tory spokesman on animal welfare, is quoted in an article in the Telegraph calling the new codes ”absurd … Defra has missed the opportunity to produce a set of sensible proposals that would protect animals from abuse and mistreatment. Here we have this ridiculous guide which tells people not to walk their dog in the heat of the day or feed it at the table. DEFRA are taking people for fools.”

However, as an RSPCA spokesman pointed out, “A new washing machine or pot plant comes with instructions, currently most pets do not. We think the new codes of practice will improve animal welfare and prevent animal suffering through education.”

What do you think?

It is simplistic, common-sense advice, and perhaps a little heavy-handed, but as anyone who’s viewed a dog overheating in a parked car knows, a lot of people still seem to need it – on both sides of the pond.

Perhaps there should even be a companion volume for raising children.

Shelter dogs used for surgical training

Dogs from the Pocatello Animal Shelter in Idaho are being used in a “surgical skills” lab at Idaho State University, where participants meet once a year to perform tracheotomies, and practice inserting chest tubes and catheters.

When the doctors are done practicing, the animals are euthanized.

According to an Associated Press report, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has condemned the program, and asked that it switch to using mannequins instead of dogs.

Officials with the Idaho Committee on Trauma, which sponsors the yearly surgical skills lab at Idaho State University, say mannequins aren’t as effective for training as live animals. They say they’ve offered the training for 25 years without complaint.

“I’m disappointed this group would suggest we’re doing something illegal, because we’re not,” said ISU professor Alex Urfer, the school’s physical and occupational therapy program chairman. He said his program was accredited three weeks ago by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animals.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine told the Idaho State-Journal it plans to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture this month, alleging the ISU lab violates the federal Animal Welfare Act. He said said the ISU lab uses sedatives and shock collars to keep dogs docile.

According to the organization, based in Washington D.C., only a handful of 200 Advanced Trauma Life Support classes in the country still use live animals for training.

“We have been able to communicate information with other facilities to change their practices,” Dr. John J. Pippin said. “We’re hoping that the light of day will cause people to say, ‘Gosh, we should have stopped using this a long time ago.’”