Saturday, May 14, 2016

Homesick Sheepdog Escapes, Travels 240 miles on Paws to Reunite with Owner

Pero the English Sheepdog traveled 240 miles to reunite with his original owner

A homesick sheepdog made a remarkable 240-mile journey home to his birthplace in Wales after escaping from his new home in Cumbria.

In an incredible story that echoes the classic story Lassie Come Home, four-year-old working dog Pero is thought to have returned to the village of Penrhyncoch, Ceredigion by foot 12 days after escaping from his new owners in Cockermouth.

He turned up on the doorstep of his original owners Alan and Shan James limping and a little thinner than before, but in otherwise good condition.

To achieve the feat Pero would have had to travel an incredible 20 miles a day, potentially navigating busy motorways including the M6 and M62.

While the tale is reminiscent of fictional hounds like Lassie, who travelled hundreds of miles from the highlands of Scotland back home to Yorkshire, animal behaviour experts say it is not impossible that a dog in real life could make such a perilous journey.

Mrs James said it is a "mystery" how he found his way back home, after being sent to the Cumbrian farm for a trial.

“He obviously wasn’t happy in his new home, the farmer said he could see he didn’t settle. He was shy,” Mrs James, 48 said.

“He took him to gather some sheep and that was the last time he saw Pero, he was going across the field and not thinking of turning back.”

"I thought someone would get in touch because he had a microchip, but on Wednesday night after supper my husband went out and there he was on the doorstep waiting for him.

“He was jumping up at him he was going mad, just jumping around in circles. It’s just a mystery as to how he has turned up on the doorstep.

“They say dogs can find their way home but it’s quite a distance from Cockermouth. My sons go up there every year to shear and they have to use a sat-nav to get home so for a dog it’s quite remarkable.”

Dog behaviourist Stan Rawlinson said working dogs especially tend to have a "natural compass" and sense of spatial awareness.

The couple are now appealing for anyone who may have seen Pero on route between Cumbria and Wales to get in touch so they can piece together how me managed to get home.

After his journey Pero, one of 15 sheepdogs on the James's farm, is unlikely to be embarking on another adventure any time soon.

"I don’t think it would be fair for us to send Pero away again," Mrs James said. "He obviously enjoys his home. I’m sure Pero will see his years out here."

Is it plausible for a dog to walk 240 miles? 

Tales abound of dogs' incredible loyalty and ability to track down their owners, from the fictional Lassie to the real life Greyfriars Bobby who is said to have spent 14 years guarding the grave of his former owner.

Nick Jones of Alpha Dog Behaviour said while "240 miles is in the realm of the fantastic", there were examples of dogs having made such journeys.

Legendary hounds include Bobbie the Wonder Dog, said to have made a journey of over 2,500 miles from Indiana to Oregon in 1924 six months after becoming separated from his owners on a road trip.

Last year it was claimed a dog injured in a hit-and-run accident in Russia walked nearly 200 miles just to find the woman who had nursed him back to health.

For most dog finding their way home even a few miles away is too much of a challenge, but Stan Rawlinson, a dog behaviourist said some dogs, especially working dogs, have an "amazing spatial memory" and "some sort of tracking mechanism to where they live".

He added: "How homing pigeons do it is they work on the magnetism in the earth, which is how we use compasses, so it’s almost like a spatial compass they have in their head, and it is believed dogs could have the same thing."

For a sheepdog, 20 miles a day would be "very do-able", Mr Rawlinson said.

"A sheepdog is used to running round and herding sheep and doing 40, 50 miles in some places. They travel miles and miles in a day."

He added: "The bond between a shepherd and his sheepdog is very close. "It needs to get back to the person it feels totally secure with and that’s how it gets that far."

Source UK Daily Telegraph

Friday, May 6, 2016

Dogs Serve Warm Beer in London Pub

 Let's meet one of Europe's top Bark-Maids! Or is it a Bark-tender?

"We’re absolutely delighted to be opening the doors on the world’s first bar staffed by dogs,” Kronenbourg brand director Ifeoma Dozie told local papers. “It provides customers with a truly unique experience and is the ideal way for us to bring the ‘Alsace-tians’ to Kronenbourg fans.” 

The bar will employ a team of Alsatian dogs to deliver bottles of beer to customers via custom harnesses in the shape of a barrel. 


Some humans will be on hand to make sure the dogs are fully stocked and available to wait on you paw and foot!

This PR stunt will take place for one day only on May 6th at the Bar D’Alsace-tian in London. So no need to be concerned about the long-term economic impact on London's serving people.

Talk about hair of the dog.  Now if only we could have persuaded the Brits to serve cold beer, this might have been worth a visit!


Friday, April 15, 2016

Dog Stands by BFF for 6 Days after Nasty Fall, Both Safe!

Tillie watches over her stricken BFF Phoebe
A "Dog who changed the world." That's what some people are calling one Puget Sound based canine. But her best friend would probably call her...a hero.

NBC reports.

"This is a dog tale about fame and friendship.   11-year-old Tillie, an Irish Springer Spaniel mix  and Basset Hound, Phoebe, age 4, are the best of buds. But last fall, their owner BJ Duft tells us, that bond was tested to the limit.

The two got past the fence of their Vashon Island property and went missing.  As the days passed, BJ feared the worst.

After six days, there was a break in the case.  BJ got the news, “Somebody had reported a reddish-looking dog running in and out of a ravine, kind of barking at the property owner.”

It turns out it was Tillie, trying to get help for Phoebe, who had fallen into a pit about 4 and a half feet deep.

Phoebe had survived on rainwater for nearly a week.  Her friend, Tillie, never left her side.

Word of their adventure went viral, with mentions on Good Morning America, and all over the internet. Even Washington State Governor Inslee honored Tillie at the state capitol.

“You would think that the queen of somebody had shown up.  There was definitely a lot of people there.”

Now, the Milk-Bone dog biscuit company has named Tillie a "Dog Who Changed the World."

Tillie, given the title of A Dog Who Changed the World

Monday, March 28, 2016

UK Mandates Canine Micro-Chipping; Penalties up to $750

At first I thought this was an April Fool. But, on the other side of the Pond, our British cousins are taking No Lost Dogs to a whole new level.  Mandatory micro-chipping becomes law on April 6, 2016  Fines up to $750 will be enforced by police and/or city employees.   The British parliament concluded the micro-chipping  is both humane and cost effective.  Of course, given Americans' natural distaste for anything "mandatory," and instinctive aversion to tracking technology in general, its difficult to imagine a federal mandate. But surely we cant be too far away from some progressive town or county from taking the plunge!

Here's the full story from Britain's Daily Mirror

Dog microchipping becomes compulsory next week - everything animal owners need to know

The new law creating a national canine database comes into force on April 6 but an estimated 1.4 million of the UK's 9m dogs are yet to be chipped

It was once enough to have your dog’s name engraved on its collar.

Not any more. From next week all pet pooches have to be microchipped .

The new law, which comes into force on April 6, will create a central database listing every dog in the UK.

There are an estimated 9  million dogs in the UK, with up to 1.4million yet to be microchipped.

If you have not yet had your pet chipped, here is everything you need to know...

What does a microchip do?
The sterile microchip is roughly the size of a grain of rice and is implanted just under your dog’s skin between its shoulder blades.

Each chip contains a unique identification number that is listed on a national database which holds all the owner’s contact details such as their address and phone number.

If a dog is lost or dumped, a warden will be able to scan the chip and find the owner’s details immediately.

Lee Paris, campaigns manager at charity the Dogs Trust, says: “Having a dog microchipped should give owners peace of mind, because all dogs have the capacity to escape, no matter how responsible the owner is. This will make it much easier to reunite worried owners with their pets.”

Microchips have been a legal requirement in Northern Ireland since 2012, now England, Scotland and Wales are set to follow suit.

Why are microchips a legal requirement?
Nearly 120,000 dogs are dumped or lost each year and less than half of those are reunited with their owners.

That leaves local councils and animal welfare charities facing a £57 million bill to care for and re-home these unfortunate animals. And nearly 7,000 dogs have to be put down each year because no-one can care for them.

Lee says: “The Dogs Trust and other charities are full to the brim. If we can’t take a dog from a local authority after seven days, they have to be put to sleep.

Read more : Dog owner sues family who found and decided to KEEP her missing pedigree pooch

“The microchips could make a huge difference. If local councils can trace the owners within a day, it means we can focus on re-homing dogs that people are genuinely unable to care for any longer and are handed over responsibly.”

Microchipping will also combat the black market in stolen dogs, which is worth more than £100,000 a year in the UK. And it will help police prosecute the owners of dangerous dogs and make things harder for traffickers smuggling dogs into the country and bypassing strict quarantine laws.

Chips are the size of a grain of rice.

What if I don’t get my dog microchipped by April 6?
You will be breaking the law. If you are stopped by a council or police officer and they discover your dog is not chipped you will be given an enforcement notice, giving you 21 days to comply with the law.

Fail to do so and you face a fine of up to £500. ($750)

Lee says: “You can’t drive without a licence and it will be a similar situation for dog owners. It will be your responsibility to make sure your pet is microchipped. ”

How can I get my dog microchipped?
Any vet will be able to do it. They normally charge £20 to £30. Local authorities can also fit a chip. Some do this for free, others charge a small fee.

The Dogs Trust has volunteered to fit microchips at its re-homing centres and community events before April 6.

The charity has now fitted nearly a million microchips, most since the new law was announced three years ago.

Lee says: “This month has definitely been the busiest we have seen for chipping pets as a lot of people have left it late to comply with the new law.

“We have a website with an interactive map to help people finding their nearest re-homing centre or community event.”

What impact will it have on my dog?
Some dogs who are nervous about visiting the vet may get a little stressed, but having a microchip implanted does not hurt.

It is no different to having an injection. Vets are used to chipping much smaller animals than dogs, but if you do have a small breed and are concerned, you can opt for a mini microchip.

Lee says: “I’m a squeamish person, but I’ve seen lots of dogs microchipped and most of them don’t even realise it has happened. It only takes a few seconds and the dogs are ready to go.”

Will my dog be microchipped when I get it from a breeder or re-homing centre?
The law requires every dog over eight weeks-old to be fitted with a microchip. Re-homing centres will chip a dog before finding it a new owner.

Breeders should too, as the law says the first registered owner for all dogs should be the breeder.

This will help prospective pet owners to find out whether the dog they are buying has come from an illegal puppy farm in this country or overseas.

Lee says: “There are lots of things people should do when buying a puppy.

“Buy from a Kennel Club registered breeder and ask to see the dog with its parents.

“But microchipping is something else they can ask about. If the dog they are buying isn’t chipped, they need to ask themselves whether something isn’t quite right.”

Reading a canine microchip

How often will my dog have to be microchipped?
Your dog only needs to be microchipped once as the chip will last its whole life. You just need to contact your database and tell them when you move home or change your phone number.

If you fail to keep those details up to date you face a £500 fine.

Lee says: “If you don’t update those details the microchip is completely useless.”

Friday, March 25, 2016

Tragedy in Brussels Overshadows National Puppy Day in USA

With all the horror taking place in Brussels this week, it was easy to miss the fact that 
Wednesday March 23rd was National Puppy Day!

Happiness, Charles M. Schulz famously observed, is a warm puppy.

The goal of National Puppy Day is "to help save orphaned puppies across the globe and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills."

Humane societies are packed with unwanted litters, strays, pickups from other shelters.
It's important to remember that those cute puppies require plenty of care and training. If you're away for nine hours a day, perhaps a puppy isn't for you.

Also, puppies do grow up. Many puppies are surrendered to the Humane Society around the 5-month mark because they've outgrown the cute stage.

But if you're ready for a puppy, no doubt there's one ready for you. Drop by your local shelter and see if you can find a friend.

Nothing will make you happier!

Extracted from coverage on CNN

Easter Eggs Can Kill Your Dogs: Keep Chocolate Away!

Every year, the Monday after Easter Sunday, Vets are overworked trying to save Dogs that are victims of Chocolate Poisoning.  So please keep your chocolate eggs away from  your chocolate-loving canine friends.  After your Egg Hunts are over, make sure you pick up any unclaimed eggs! Indeed, keep your dogs away from chocolate on any occasion!


Dog Owners Simply Don't Know the Dangers finds UK Survey
A shocking survey for Dogs Trust in the UK has revealed that over 57 per cent of pet dogs have eaten chocolate intended for humans and more than 1 in 10 have become ill from it. Of these, 8 per cent died and nearly a quarter required urgent veterinary treatment.
    Many dog owners are simply unaware of the dangers – 39 per cent of the dogs who’d eaten human chocolate were given it by their owners, while the remainder ate it because it had been just left lying around in the home.
    Chocolate contains theobromine, which is extremely toxic to dogs. Toxic doses vary according to the size of dog and cocoa solid content of the chocolate; the darker the chocolate, the greater the amount of theobromine. As a rough guide, Dogs Trust estimates that 50g of plain chocolate could be enough to kill a small dog, such as a Yorkshire Terrier.

To keep your dog safe, follow these simple rules from Dogs Trust 
● Keep your ‘Chocolate Away’ – hidden out of sight where your dog can’t reach them.
● Never feed your dog chocolate intended for humans.
● If an Easter egg goes missing and you suspect your dog is the culprit, contact your vet straight away.
● Look out for any of the following symptoms: vomiting containing blood, a sore tummy, excessive thirst, excitability, drooling, rapid heart rate and, in severe cases, epileptic-type fits.
● If your dog is displaying any of these signs take him to your vet immediately – there is no antidote for theobromine poisoning so the sooner treatment is implemented, the greater the chance of recovery.
● If you want to give your dog an Easter treat stick to natural doggy snacks.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Yellow Lab ALLEGEDLY Drives 18 Wheeler into Tree

I still don't know whether to classify this story out of Minnesota under Criminal or Funny!

"Labrador retrievers are wonderful, loving, intelligent dogs. They can do lots of people stuff, like fetch bats for a baseball team. One people skill that they are apparently pretty bad at: driving.
A yellow lab (name currently unknown) up in Mankato, Minnesota apparently took a semi truck for a joyride across North River Drive yesterday afternoon and crashed it into the Kwik Trip gas station. As you can see from the above picture, he didn’t quite park it within the allotted lines.
The Mankato Free Press was on the scene and interviewed David Stegora, who saw the whole thing go down:
“I heard the tree snap and I thought somebody decided to turn around, but then it just kept going forward,” he said.
Stegora didn’t understand how the truck was moving by itself, as he couldn’t see the driver. That changed once the dog climbed up near the driver’s side window.
It seems like the doggy hopped into the truck while it was in neutral and somehow threw it into drive. Our friend here was not, however, adept enough a driver to use his newfound powers responsibly, so he crashed it. Mankato police confirmed that, yeah, a dog really did drive a truck:
Police Cmdr. Dan Schisel said the State Patrol took an accident report and the truck was taken off the road. It’s unclear whether the truck’s owner, or the dog, will be in the doghouse over the incident.
“All I know is it was a Labrador,” Schisel said.
This dog probably just saw some videos online of other dogs driving and wanted to be as cool as they are. Can’t fault his ambition."    (Source Mankato Free Press)

According to WTHR in Indiana, Police say the adventurous pup apparently put the idling semi into gear, which sent it on its way. Police filed an accident report and took the semi off the road. No injuries were reported.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Study confirms Dogs More Loving than Cats and ...Humans

Another "D'OH" moment for dog lovers as we're astonished to find good money being invested in studies for which every dog owner already knew the answer. 

Check out those adorable eyes!

A new study done by researchers for a BBC documentary, "Cats vs. Dogs," have concluded there's five times more love generated in a dog when it sees its owner than a cat.

Our love is chemical, say scientists, so that's how they measured it. As we learned last year, when dogs see their owners, they feel oxytocin, a hormone that stimulates pleasure in our brain and helps us bond with our offspring.

This time, researchers tested pets for the "love hormone" before and after they saw their owners. Ten cats and 10 dogs were swabbed for saliva, then played with their owners for 10 minutes. After, the saliva was tested again. While the oxytocin levels were elevated in both animals, dogs showed an increase of 57.2 percent of the hormone compared to 12 percent in the cats. (One dog's hormone actually went up 500 percent!)

This isn't the first study on this subject. Last April, Science magazine revealed staring into a dog's eyes released oxytocin in people, too. Humans "use eye gaze for affiliative communications and [are] very much sensitive to eye contact," says Takefumi Kikusui, from Azabu University in Japan, told in an email. "Gaze, in particular, (over touch, for example) led to the release of oxytocin."
Love is in those droopy eyes
"I was really surprised to discover that dogs produced such high levels of oxytocin," neuroscientist Dr. Paul Zak, who worked with the documentary's results, said. "It was also a nice surprise to discover that cats produce any at all. At least some of the time, cats seem to bond with their owners."
What might come as a surprise, however, is that dogs are also apparently more loving than humans. On average, Zak added, a person's oxytocin levels only rise between 40-60 percent after interacting with a spouse or child.

Maternal Maggie Breaks Out to Comfort Frightened Foster Pups

At a Canadian pet motel and foster care center, Maggie the kindly dog broke out of his kennel to comfort and cuddle with two new, frightened, foster puppies on their first night

Maggie, the maternal dog, actually had a litter of her own who were all adopted out of the humane society a little while before she found a loving home. "We think that's why she got so attached to the puppies," Alex Aldred, who works at Barker's Pet Motel and Grooming, in Alberta Canada where the heartwarming events unfolded, told ABC News.

"We've never really seen it before, where a dog sneaks out to some puppies and is so excited to see them."...

"We left work and then we were watching the surveillance cameras while we were out and we saw Maggie was sitting in front of the puppies' kennels," Aldred told ABC. Aldred said his mother, Sandy, went back to check on Maggie after seeing through the video that she had gotten out of her kennel.

"She kind of directed Sandy to the puppies' kennel so Sandy let her in and she was being really affectionate," Aldred explains, "Sandy stayed in their for about 15 minutes and then said, 'Well it looks like they need each other,' and then let Maggie stay the night in their kennel."

Maggie stayed beside the puppies the whole evening long, and Aldred added that it seemed that the mother dog needed the puppy love as much as the frightened puppies needed her.

"When we came back in the morning they were all still cuddled up together."

Deanna Thompson, who works at the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS), the organization that rescued the puppies, told ABC News, of the pets, "They're between nine and ten weeks old," and, "A little bit playful but shy."

Thompson said she was not surprised by this act of maternal love that took place. "It's innate in a lot of female dogs, especially if they've had a litter in the past. It's just in their nature. We've seen it in a lot of dogs even with male dogs, when they hear other puppies crying they want to console them and make sure they're feeling safe."

AARCS organizes over 2,000 adoptions per year, and Thompson added that the young pups have yet to find a loving home.

Source ABC News

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Levi the Pitbull Takes a Bullet: Three legs, a Giant Heart!

Less than two years after being the victim of a cruel dognapping, Levi the three-legged pitbull is back in the news. This time the courageous canine took on an armed robber who was invading his family home. Levi took a bullet in the shoulder, but was able to save the day for his family. Levi's courage in the face of "enemy fire" earned him international recognition such as this piece in Toronto24.

"Meet Levi. He's a gutsy three-legged canine from Wisconsin that came to the rescue of his owners, after an armed robber broke into their home through an unlocked door. Darcy Cherry and Bob Stenzel pleaded with the thief when confronted in their kitchen. "He had his gun drawn on us and demanded we get to the ground and repeatedly asked us, 'Where's the safe?' and 'Where is the money?'" Cherry told ABC NEWS. That's when Levi - the couple's 15-year-old pitbull - started to bark at the intruder, giving him paws and frightening him into thinking it might be a good idea to get lost. The robber ran off after encountering the provoked pooch - but took a shot at Levi first, with the bullet lodging into the dog's shoulder. Levi is currently on medication, but is expected to make a full recovery."

Not bad for a 105 year old canine -(at least in dog years!)