Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy National Cat Day

From the description of National Cat Day below, It seems like cats do the same things for their families that us dogs do for our families. My family has visited nursing homes and extended care facilities have resident cats that are given free roaming privileges to go visit the patients that they feel like visiting, when they feel like visiting them. They provide services just like us therapy dogs.

National Cat Day, October 29th, was founded in 2005 by Pet Lifestyle Expert & Animal Welfare Advocate Colleen Paige to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of cats that need to be rescued each year and also to encourage cat lovers to celebrate the cat(s) in their life for the unconditional love and companionship they bestow upon us.

So if you have a cat in your life, give them some extra love and special kibble today to thank them for all the unconditional love that they bring to your life.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Update on the starving dog

When I blogged about this poor dog, nobody knew much about him. They found out that his name is Rocky. The police have located the owner and are currently investigating to find out if Rocky escaped or if he had been neglected. Rocky has a very advanced case of Lyme disease that is causing his kidneys to shut down. The West Warwick Animal Shelter (RI) that is taking care of him said that after his blood work came back the vet recommended that he be hospitalized right away. They said that Rocky is still eating and drinking and  making a little progress everyday. The outpouring of support and offers to adopt Rocky on the shelter's facebook page is wonderful to see. At this point Rocky is not available for adoption until the police finish their investigation.

Animal shelters perform countless acts of kindness, helping dogs like Rocky to get better, or helping to reunite a lost pet with their human friends. I'm glad that Rocky has such nice people helping him to get better and caring for him. If you are able to donate to your local shelter, I know that they would appreciate your support.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Support Animal Shelters

At this time it is not known if this dog escaped and couldn't find any food to eat or if he was neglected. My dog friend Glady's companion Heather just posted on facebook about this dog that was found starving on the border of Warwick and Cranston, RI. Either way, it highlights the good work done by the shelters, and the compassion of the good Samaritan that found the dog and cared enough to put him in their car and go for help. The vet has examined the dog and he is heart-worm negative, but Lyme disease positive. The shelter has started giving him treatments for Lyme disease.  The rest of the results of his blood work will be back in a few days. He is currently eating the food the shelter has provided and resting.

If you are not able to care for your pet, please call your local animal shelter or Humane Society to find out what help is available.

Support Animal Shelters!
Animal shelters are great places for you to find a sweet, temperament-tested friend for your family.  My bothers Toby (RIP) and Amaretto were adopted from shelters. Shelters also need your donations to help them provide for the pets in their care. Helping the shelters and the animals that live at the shelters will really make Sahara Smile!

Register Now for new DJPPAT certificate Program Classes

The coursework that my human companions are taking in the DJ Professional Pet Assisted Therapy Program started with a class on the ethics, practices, history and research into Pet Assisted Therapy. In addition to reading and discussing the textbook, every week people who were certified and working in Pet Assisted therapy came to talk to the class to talk about their experiences in a wide variety of institutions. They  also brought their family pets that had been trained and certified to help others! Those pets are the real heroes of the program! There were also field trips to different locations where the therapy pets work to see those amazing pets in action and the important work they do! I'm looking forward to the day that I first am able to do the job!

If you are in the Rhode Island area and are interested in the program, there is a link below, and also on the side bar to find out more about the program. You can register now for the classes that begin on March 13, 2012!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Friends Rosie and Star Receive Canine Good Citizen's Award

My friends Rosie and Star received their Canine Good Citizen's Awards. Rosie received hers this summer and Star received hers last weekend. Rosie and Star are in my class training to become Pet Assisted Therapy dogs with me. I'm going to work hard to earn my Canine Good Citizen's Award too. This is a separate class and test than the Pet Assisted Therapy training, but is something to further reassure people that I have learned my manners and know how to behave properly. This is important when arrangements are being made for me to visit a new facility where the people in charge have not met me.

Congratulations Rosie and Star!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Training class update

My training class on Wednesday had me going to a facility for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Because it was late in the day, most of the people had gone home, but I got to meet a few of the clients. I loved having them pet me. One little boy was afraid of dogs, but I lay down on the floor so he wouldn't be as scared. He touched me ever so slightly and then I kissed his hand.

The training was to see how I would react visiting a place I'd never been before. They checked to see if I got upset riding on an elevator; if I would walk by my companion's side on a linoleum floor, walking up and down stairs and going through a series of doors. I was also being tested on how I reacted to people I didn't know approaching me in a new environment. I think that I did a good job. The lady, Joanne, that works at the facility was so friendly and nice! Maybe I'll get to go back there sometime.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nevada's Cooney's law

Last week in Nevada a law went into effect making animal cruelty a criminal felony. It took lots of people in Nevada getting upset and demanding change after Cooney, a shelter dog, was tortured with a box cutter and killed by his "owner". It makes me so sad to think that there are dogs out there who are intentionally hurt by the people they trust. I can't even imagine it since I am a dog that is treated with love and respect, given lots of attention and everything that I need.

Laws like this are not only important to given justice for the abused animal, it is also important for society. There is a well documented link between people who abuse animals and people who are violent and abuse other people. Investigators discovered that serial killers like Ted Bundy and Jeffery Dahmer were known to have tortured animals when they were children. There are even organizations, such as the National Link Coalition, fighting for animal rights that document the link between violent criminals and earlier animal abuse.

If your state does not have a law criminalizing animal abuse, please call your legislators. Please don't let abusers get away with abusing and killing animals.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Abandoned dogs

Last night on the evening news there was a report of two dogs that were abandoned by their family. The family moved out several weeks before and left the dogs in the third-floor apartment without food or adequate water. They showed how the dog's ribs were sticking out. I wanted to cry seeing how desperately hungry the dogs had become. One of the dogs was so hungry that he jumped out of an open window in an attempt to find some food. The poor dog broke his hip in the fall. Both dogs were emaciated and needed to be taken taken to an emergency veterinary clinic because of starvation in addition to the one that needed emergency surgery on his hip. The police are trying to track down the owners. Criminal charges are expected to be filed. Please click on the link below to see the news report.

Abandoned dogs

I hear my family talk about how these are tough economic times and how people don't have jobs and can't find work. Most likely these people could no longer afford to take care of their pets. Instead of being cruel to them, they should have contacted the local animal shelter or ASPCA to find someone who would be able to care for the dogs. They were probably also afraid of trying to find someone to adopt their dogs because they are pit bulls. Pit bulls are known as a "bully breed" and some towns have laws outlawing pit bull ownership. Most of the bad reputation is related to how the dogs were trained or treated. I have a pit bull friend named Gladys that is the sweetest dog and would never hurt anyone. She has been treated well and has been trained how to behave. She is a certified Pet Assisted Therapy dog and has given her unconditional love to the people she visits. She only wants to help people, just like I want to help people!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Groups Help Senior Citizens Stay With Their Pets

Today we talked about an article that appeared in the local paper. It was about how senior citizens often do without things that they need in order to have enough money to keep their pets. Pets give their companions unconditional love and their human companions want to make sure their pets are taken of properly. The benefits of the bond between seniors and pets was not discussed in the article, but the importance is evident by the seniors doing without food or medicine in order to take care of their pets. The article talked about how people can help seniors take care of both their pets and themselves. There are mostly local organizations that provide assistance, like the one in Dallas, Texas that was featured in the article. Two national organizations were mentioned in the article that help provide food or other assistance. The article also had some advise on to how to find help in your area. Here is a link to the article that appeared in the paper.

Like all labs I like to have a full tummy, but I know that my family also needs to have something to eat. It would make me very happy if someone is helped by reading the article in this blog.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A friend came to visit

This afternoon I heard a noise at our front door and went to check it out. I knew that Jacqie was home from school, Lin was working on the computer, and Terry wouldn't be home for a while, so it had to be someone else. As I poked my nose around the drapes to see who was there, I saw a beagle pawing the door with her eyebrows knit together. She looked scared and sad. I ran to the door and jingled the bells to let my family know to come to the door right away. When they opened the door, they met Sammy, the beagle who was so glad to have a human find her. Immediately she started wagging her tail.

My family checked out her collar and found a tag with her address and phone number. Sammy lived on a very busy road. Cars and trucks often speed down the road. Lots of school buses go back and forth down the street. There is a fire station nearby so fire trucks and ambulances also race down the street several times a day. Immediately, they called the number on the tag and left a message. As they started walking towards the Sammy's house, the phone rang. It was Sammy's family, so relieved someone found her and called them. They said that they'd be right over. As we walked to the corner we saw someone from Sammy's family come running around the corner. He ran so fast I thought even I would have a hard time trying to keep up with him. The family had been looking for Sammy and was so worried about her. When the boy got to where we were standing Sammy started wagging her tail so fast and jumping around for joy!

We were happy to have helped Sammy find her way back home. She had fun running around with me as we were walking  towards Sammy's house.  Sammy's family was so very happy to have home safe and sound. I love happy endings!