How do things look from a therapy dog’s point of view?
To see things from Hank’s perspective — maybe even better, given Hank’s shaggy bangs — his owner mounted a video camera on the back of the Old English sheepdog.
The five-year-old dog makes his rounds every other week at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital, with his owner, Tom Whalen, according to a hospital blog called “On the Pulse.”
Whalen said hospital stays — especially those lasting weeks or months — can be overwhelming for children. Hank helps bring them some joy and motivation.
“We are able to give them a new focus aside from what they are currently feeling. It’s amazing to see the positive shift in energy for both the patient and their family after Hank walks in,” Whalen says.
Hank and Tom are one of nine dog-human teams that take part in the hospital’s visiting dog program.
As a child, Whalen says, he spent a lot of time in a hospital when his brother was diagnosed with leukemia.
“I remember how my brother loved having visitors,” he said. “This is part of the reason why I love visiting kids at Seattle Children’s. I’m able to see the amazing affect Hank and I can have. I’ve even seen patients whose parents have told me that their child had not smiled or laughed in days or weeks, but as soon as Hank walked in, they lit up with sheer joy.”
The visits do require some preparation, though. The hospital insists visiting therapy dogs be bathed 24-48 hours prior to a visit. That’s no small task with a 78-pound sheepdog, but Hank (if not Tom) always looks forward to it.
He knows it means a visit to the hospital is coming — and he gets even more excited when Tom places a bright orange Seattle Children’s bandana around his neck.
“Some of the reactions I’ve witnessed are remarkable,” said Whalen. “We once visited a patient that had been unresponsive, but a gentle stroke of Hank’s hair encouraged movement and interaction that their family hadn’t seen in days…
“I am just in awe of Hank’s ability to help heal and I am honored to be on the other end of his leash, helping to brighten these kids’ day.”
(Photos: Seattle Children’s Hospital)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 1st, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, camera, dogs, gopro, hank, health, hospital, medical, mounted, old english sheepdog, perspective, pets, point of view, seattle, seattle children's, seattle children's hospital, therapy dogs, tom whalen, video, visiting dogs
Jenna Beardé made an exception to her “no dogs on the bed” rule when her son, River, said he wanted to read a story, before his nap, to one of their dogs.
Ronnie, a deaf pit bull, jumped up and made himself comfortable, which meant Macy, another family dog, had to get up there, too.
As they settled in, River started reading, and Jenna, who normally reads her two-year-old son a naptime story, sat back and watched.
By about the third book, both dogs — resting on their backs, legs splayed — appeared to be asleep, Jenna told the Kansas City Star, which reported on the video Jenna took after it went viral.
She posted the video to Facebook, and a week later it had been viewed 22 million times.
On top being atrociously cute, the video, in her view, gives some much needed positive attention to pit bulls, which are illegal in several municipalities around Kansas City.
Ronnie, the dog lying closest to River in the video, is a rescued pit bull. Macy, a black and white terrier mix and the first dog the family rescued, was often mistaken for one, prompting her and her husband Michael to move from Prairie Village, which banned the breed.
The couple — hairstylists who own Beardé Salon in Mission — relocated to Spring Hill to raise their family.
Ronnie, between his disability and his designation as a pit bull, had spent 500 days in a shelter, and been returned twice, when they adopted him.
Jenna has documented Ronnie’s life with the family on a Facebook page called Ronnie’s Life. That’s where she first posted the video of her son reading to him.
River also reads to his pet pig — and anyone else who will listen, according to his mother.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 2nd, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bans, breed, dog, dogs, jenna bearde, kansas city, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, read, reading, river bearde, ronnie, video, viral
Finding the heat a little oppressive?
This video is guaranteed to cool you down, refresh your soul if you’re a dog lover, and fill you with joy if you’ve got a soft spot for golden retrievers.
Kim Sirett, a dog walker in Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, took a dozen of her clients dogs and her own golden to the Nainamo River for a swim day earlier this month.
“I grew up with Golden Retrievers and they are all about swimming. If I have five of them on a hike, they congregate at the water and just stare at me to throw a stick,” said Sirett, who operates Pooch Pack Adventures.
“I just thought it would be such an easy, fun day if I had only Golden Retrievers on my hike — all my troubles would go away.”
It’s the fifth year she has organized an annual swim for the dogs, and the largest one so far, according to the Vancouver Sun
She loaded the retrievers, and one yellow Lab, into her van, drove to the river and released them.
Sirett, who specializes in 2-hour off-leash adventure hikes, worked as an executive in the pet industry for 10 years before ditching that job and becoming a dog walker.
She posted a video of the special adventure on YouTube this week.
If you’re impressed with how she leash-lessly controlled a dozen dogs, check out what she did last year:
To raise awareness for victims of domestic violence, she organized “40 Dogs on a Log for a Cause.”
More than $3,000 was raised for Haven Pets and Families. The program helps pay for the care of pets whose owners are afraid to leave abusive situations and seek shelter because they would have to leave their pets behind.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 23rd, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, british columbia, dog, dog walkers, dog walking, dogs, dogs on a log, dogwalkers, dogwalking, domestic violence, golden, golden retrievers, kim sirett, nainamo, pets, pooch pack adventures, retriever, river, vancouver, vancouver island, video
This public service ad from France lays it on a little thick — but maybe that’s what’s necessary to get through to humans so thickheaded and coldhearted that they would abandon a dog.
Launched by French animal welfare group, Foundation 30 Million D’Amis (30 Million Friends), the video begins with a dog at his owner’s side in the hospital.
Through flashbacks we learn the owner had driven his dog to a remote area, ordered him to stay, and then drove off.
When he spots the dog in his rear view mirror running after his car he has an accident — and guess who saves him?
Each year in France, tens of thousands of pets are abandoned — most of them during the summer.
NPR reported a few years back that many such abandonments take place while families are on vacation:
“Every summer an estimated 100,000 domestic animals are abandoned in France by owners who say they are unable to take them along or find someone to look after them,” the report said.
The ad — just the latest in an ongoing campaign by humane organizations against abandonment — is being shown online and on French television.
If nothing else, it reminds us which species is the more loyal.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 17th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 30 million friends, abandon, abandoned, abandonment, ad, animal welfare, animals, campaign, dog, dog owners, dogs, france, french, loyalty, pet owners, pets, public service, summer, television, video
Given America’s continuing decline, and all the threats posed by outsiders who want to creep into our country — and likely into our homes — you just can’t be too careful nowadays.
To make America great again, it’s a good idea to have — at least until that wall gets built and we all live in gated communities — a home security system.
If not for one of those, this young offender — and we can only guess from his name that he is French — might never have been identified.
His name is Josh Breaux.
And he was stealing hugs.
Josh, who looks to be no older than 10, was regularly violating the sanctity of a woman’s home in Pierre Part, Louisiana — brazenly entering her garage, hugging her dog Dutchess and making a speedy getaway.
In this surveillance video, he accomplishes his entire mission in about 15 seconds.
Proving that love can be spread as quickly as hate.
Homeowner Hollie Mallet — far more touched by the display than she was alarmed — shared the video on her Facebook page in hopes of learning the boy’s identity.
She wanted to let him know he was welcome to hang around a little longer.
“Every now and then when he rides his bike he will quickly come and love on my dog or play fetch real quick, but always leaves quick like he doesn’t know if he should be here!” Mallet wrote. “I’d like to tell him he’s welcome to stay and play, she loves the attention!”
Through the post, Mallet learned of Josh’s identity, and she has been conversing with his mother, Ginger Breaux.
“He’s taken a few pics with Dutchess, played fetch, laid in the yard with her in the shade, runs around the yard with her or just a quick stop to pet her and say hi,” Breaux told The Dodo.
“Josh talks about your dog all the time!” Breaux wrote in a comment to Mallet. “Every time we pass he looks to see if she was sitting where he could see her. Just didn’t know he was doing things like this.”
“Hope this sweet little boy Josh continues to come play and love up on Dutchess!” Mallet responded. “A dog is a friend for life!”
Josh, of course, already knows that.
His dog Bella, who the family had since Josh was 2, passed away last year.
“Things have been busy and Josh is active with after school activities so we have not jumped back into taking on the responsibility of starting all over again with a new pup quite yet,” his mother wrote.
“It will happen though.”
I’m sure it will. In a country where love trumps hate, it just has to.
(Photo: Courtesy of Ginger Breaux)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 9th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: america, animals, breaux, dog, dogs, dutchess, facebook, garage, hate, hollie mallet, hug, hugs, identity, josh, louisiana, love, pets, pierre part, security, stealing, stolen, surveillance, trespassing, video
Devices claiming to translate what your dog is thinking into human words have been popping up on the Internet for a good five years now, and some of the more gullible among us have bought them — and even contributed to campaigns to bring them to market.
There’s No More Woof an electronic device — still in the testing stages, of course — that Swedish scientists say will be able to analyze dogs’ brain waves and translate their thoughts into rudimentary English.
There’s the slightly more real but far more rudimentary Bow-Lingual, which claims to be able to translate your dog’s barks into emotions, currently unavailable on Amazon.com
There are apps — real and prank ones — that offer dog-to-human translations, virtually all of which have disclaimers saying that they should be used primarily for entertainment purposes.
And there are legitimate research projects underway around the world, with real scientists and animal behaviorists seeking to determine and give voice to what is going on in the heads of dogs.
But wait a minute. Do we really want to know?
As this bit of satire shows, we might not like the result.
It was produced by Los Angeles-based Rogue Kite Productions, an independent film company created by writer/producer/director Michelle Boley and camera operator/editor Taylor Gill, who pursue projects of their liking when not doing their day jobs.
Their spoof depicts a speech articulating device much like one a group in Sweden claims to actually be working on.
No More Woof aims to “break the language barrier between animals and humans,” the Sweden-based Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery (NSID) says on its Indiegogo page.
NSID says the device records electroencephalogram (EEG) readings from a dog that are then analyzed by a Raspberry Pi microcomputer and translated, through a small speaker, into simple phrases like, “I’m hungry,” or “Who is that person?”
Popular Science declared the project almost certainly bogus — and yet money keeps pouring in from donors.
The No More Woof indiegogo page says more than $22,000 has been contributed to the project.
Not to cast aspersions on the Swedish group’s attempt to move technology ahead, but I think Rogue Kite Productions could put that money to better use.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 31st, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, apps, articulating, bow-lingual, bowlingual, communicate, communications, devices, dog, dogs, emotions, funny, humans, humor, minds, no more woof, owners, pets, reading, rogue kite productions, speech, thinking, thoughts, translate, translation, video, words
Having a gallery opening and appearing on the “The Rachael Ray Show” show in the same week would be quite the accomplishment for any artist.
But this one has only been painting a year.
And he has no hands.
Dagger II burst onto the art scene in March, when Newsday published a story about the paint brush- wielding, three-year-old black Labrador.
Yesterday, in light of his growing fame, there was a follow-up story in Newsday recounting his recent achievements.
Dagger II and his human, artist Yvonne Dagger, met Rachael Ray last month and demonstrated the dog’s skills. Dagger II, wearing his trademark red beret, was said to have hit it off especially well with Ray’s co-host for the day, Regis Philbin. The episode airs Friday.
Friday also marks the gallery debut of Dagger II — also known as DogVinci. His works will be on display at Long Island Picture Frame and Art Gallery in Massapequa Park.
Dagger II and his owner have partnered with that business to sell both original works and limited edition prints of his creations.
Ten percent of proceeds will go to Forgotten Friends of Long Island, a Plainview-based animal rescue and rehabilitation group.
Yvonne Dagger adopted Dagger II after he flunked out of service dog training. It was discovered he had a fear of going up and down stairs.
After laying at her feet as she painted, he attempted his own foray into the art world.
Last Summer, Yvonne Dagger said, the dog who had always quietly watched as she painted began nudging her. She asked him if he wanted to paint and he began wagging his tail. She set up an easel for him, made a brush handle out of a paper towel tube and duct tape, and taught him some commands.
Yvonne helps him load the brush with non-toxic paints.
“Brush,” she tells Dagger to get him to take the makeshift brush in his mouth. “Paint,” she says to get him to apply brush to canvas.
His original paintings are selling for up to $325.
You can learn more about Dagger II, and view more of his works, at his website, DogVinci.com.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 11th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: art, artist, black lab, brush, dagger, dagger II, dog, dogvinci, gallery, lab, labrador retriever, long island, long island picture frame and art gallery, opening, paint, painting, rachael ray, video, yvonne dagger