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Tag: support

Dogs aren’t cure-all for loneliness, study says

DSC09243Someday I am going to do a study that shows 62 percent of all studies do little more than confirm what people with a modicum of common sense already know.

Until then, I will dutifully report on them — dog-related ones, anyway.

A new Canadian study, for instance, concludes that dog owners who live alone and have limited human social support are actually just as lonely as their petless peers.

The Carleton University study’s authors, both of whom own dogs, say that pets aren’t people and can’t compensate for a lack of human relationships, the Vancouver Sun reported.

“Pet ownership isn’t the panacea we think it is,” said co-author Timothy Pychyl, an associate professor of psychology at the Ottawa-based university.  “… The research indicates that pets don’t fill as much of a hole as we might believe they do. If you don’t have human social support already on your side, you’re still going to fall short.”

However, the study acknowledges, dog owners who do have a social life, with human friends, are indeed less lonely than non-dog owners.

Interestingly, that finding didn’t hold true for people with cats.

The part of the study that does seem worthy of study is that dealing with how, among people who live alone and have “insufficient” social ties, high attachment to a dog or cat can serve to only increase the pet-owner’s likelihood of loneliness and depression.

People with limited community connections, the study shows, were more likely to humanize their dog — and to nurture their relationship with their dog at the expense of their personal lives.  Typically, those people were more depressed, visited the doctor more often and took more medications.

“We all know that pets can be there for us. But if that’s all you have, you run into trouble,” Pychyl said. The study’s authors also acknowledged that, often, dogs can serve as a catalyst for more social interaction.

In other words, dogs aren’t the sole cure for loneliness, but they sure can help — which most of us pretty much already knew.

The Carleton study was published in the journal Anthrozoos.

Spork gets reprieve, vet tech speaks out

spork

 
It’s amazing, when you think about it, how much one little dog can shake up the whole world.

We see it over and over again: with Buddy, the dog dragged through Colorado National Monument;  Pepper, the dog thrown off a bridge in Lithuania, Baxter, the paralyzed therapy dog, Baltic, the dog rescued from an ice floe in the Baltic Sea.

All are dogs that — through the deeds they’ve done, the abuse they’ve suffered or the dilemmas they’re in — have captured the public imagination, big time, with an assist from the news media, bloggers, and social networks like Facebook.

It’s a mostly wonderful thing when a dog rises from plain old pooch to international headline.

Most recently, there was Spork, a dachshund leading a quiet life in Lafayette, Colo., until he bit the face of a veterinary technician during a dental appointment.

Spork, because the vet tech and the city decided to pursue the case, appeared headed toward classification as a “vicious dog” — a label his owners feared could have meant a death sentence, kennel confinement or wearing a muzzle the rest of his life.

As Spork’s owners, Tim and Kelly Walker, fought back, the 10-year-old dachshund drew national media coverage. A Facebook page created on his behalf drew 23,759 fans. A “Save Spork!” YouTube video began circulating. Bloggers freely opined, most concluding that the vet tech mishandled Spork’s visit.

On Friday, Spork got a reprieve.

A Lafayette Municipal Court judge granted the dog a 6-month deferred prosecution. If Spork stays out of trouble, all charges will be dropped, ABC7 News reported.

It was the sort of the story that brought out the best in dog lovers, and sometimes the worst.

Since the Aug. 14 incident at Jasper Animal Hospital in Lafayette, the vet clinic and Lafayette city council members received death threats, and veterinary technician Allyson Stone, who had to undergo plastic surgery, has been roundly derided in Internet forums — so much so that, between the critics and her new-found fears, she’s opted to pursue a different profession.

In court Friday, testimony revealed veterinary technician Stone lost inch-wide chunks from her upper and lower lips. Stone told police Spork lunged without warning as she was taking the dog from Kelly Walker for a routine dental cleaning.

Stone said she had used scissors to trim excess plastic from an identification collar she’d placed around the dog’s neck. But she had put the scissors down when she reached for the dog.

Here are excerpts from an interview Stone had with the Boulder Daily Camera after the ruling :

No matter what you think of those remarks, that Spork has been the recipient of so much more human compassion than the human he bit is a little disturbing — at least to me. We all like a distinct hero and a clear cut villain, but real life’s not always that black and white.  The bigger question,  in this particular case, than whose side you are on is, Why must one take a side in the first place?

Ben Stein on the divinity of dogs


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Here’s Ben Stein, on CBS’s Sunday Morning, with some advice on how to get through the recession — or just about anything else.

Pedigree withdraws support of Crufts

After 44 years as a supporter and backer of the Crufts dog show in Britain, the Pedigree pet food company has withdrawn its sponsorship, according to a United Press International report.

A statement from Pedigree’s parent company, Mars UK, said Pedigree would no longer offer nearly $2.4 million in funding to the annual dog show, whose future is now in doubt amidst allegations of animal mistreatment.

Allegations that the prestigious dog show promotes breeding techniques that lead to disease and deformity in purebred dogs were brought to light in a BBC documentary earlier this year. Subsequently, several animal welfare groups and others have opted to to withdraw support and decline to participate in the upcoming show, which is sponsored by Britain’s Kennel Club.

“After careful consideration, Pedigree has decided to withdraw its sponsorship of Crufts,” the company said. “The Pedigree brand has evolved and we are prioritizing initiatives that support the broadest possible community of dog owners such as our successful program the Pedigree Adoption Drive, and our online service for breeders, pedigreedirect.co.uk.”