Browsing "Human-Animal Bond"

A Little More on Service Dogs…

On Friday, we mentioned that Wyoming is considering a bill to make misrepresenting a service animal a misdemeanor, a law that is no doubt simple common sense for many. Then, like clockwork, the story of Patsy Hayes and her latex-detection dog, Andromeda popped up the next day. Patsy Hayes is severely allergic to latex, and Andromeda lets her know latex is nearby, in order to steer clear of it. This story is a timely reminder of the value of service dogs, and of the varied, perhaps unexpected services they can perform.

The word “allergy” conjures up images of swollen eyes, dripping noses, maybe a rash — and in most cases, that is the extent of an allergic reaction. But anaphylaxis, Patsy’s reaction to latex, is far more severe: it can be life-threatening and brought on by extremely low levels of exposure.

Living with severe allergies can be extremely life-limiting, but a detection dog can help to open doors:

Years of training dogs to detect explosives and narcotics for the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies led Gavin to branch out in 2009 and focus on teaching dogs to detect an array of compounds — including nuts, milk, wheat, eggs and soy — that create serious allergic reactions in her clients.

Some of the afflicted, she said, rarely left their homes, didn’t go to school or movies, parks or churches — or even visit friends — out of fear of an allergy attack.

“But after getting a dog,” Gavin said, “they would start going places.”

Not the service dog of yesteryear, but a valuable job indeed!

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Service Dog! Canine Companions for Independence

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Mar 29, 2016 - Human-Animal Bond    No Comments

Healing Horses

In a very cool story out of Mississippi, horses are a source of healing for veterans.

Oak View Stables, partnering with the VA, allows military veterans — some without any prior hands-on experience — to a groom, handle, and ride their horses; interactions that not only create a bond between veteran and horse, but have the power to heal:

“Animals have a healing power. They don’t judge. They listen. They’re gentle giants,” said Jeremiah Shields, Army veteran.

Very true.

Dogs so often take the spotlight when it comes to the realms of work, therapy, service, or simply companionship; it can be easy to forget the importance of horses and the amazing bond we share with them… but it is always great to be reminded!

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Guard Birds: Drone Edition

Check out this video of a raptor taking out a drone:

Video provided by a Dutch company, Guard from Above, that has partnered with police to train these birds to disable drones.

While the idea of a bald eagle squadron guarding the white house may be far-fetched, if the technique can be perfected, we agree with the company’s founder that this is a very cool “low-tech solution for a high-tech problem!”

 

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Oct 26, 2015 - Human-Animal Bond    1 Comment

NAIA President Wins AKC Lifetime Achievement Reward

Congratulations to NAIA President and co-founder Patti Strand for receiving a 2016 AKC Lifetime Achievement Award in the category of conformation!

AKC ANNOUNCES 2016 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS RECIPIENTS

A lifelong dog lover with 46 years experience breeding Dalmatians — a line known for its good health and temperaments — the recognition is a great honor, and a testament to the huge, hands-on role animals play in the lives of the people who make up NAIA!

 

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Circa 1972

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Merry-Go-Round Coachmaster, Multiple Best in Show Winner, and one of the sweetest dogs you will ever meet!

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Patti Strand at an NAIA Conference

A well-trained dog is a happy dog!

We always try to head off for the weekend on a positive note, but it’s rare we find something that makes us smile this much

Yes, it’s a tale as old as time itself: retired farmer takes in homeless dogs, welds together wheel and barrel, ties together and fills with dogs, then pulls with tractor for a trip to the local creek.

You know — the usual!

So what are your plans when you retire?

 

Jul 31, 2015 - Human-Animal Bond    1 Comment

A Great Pairing

Reading this NY Times article on pairing prison inmates up with bomb-sniffing dogs in training, it is hard not to be struck by the reciprocity. Everybody is getting something positive. The inmates give the dogs loads of attention and training, and show higher morale with a “virtually nonexistent” incident rate. The dogs show more maturity and greater endurance. Everybody gets something out of it, and not just on a practical level: inmates receive experience as responsible citizens, perhaps a sense of atonement, while, if you follow the M.R.I. results, the dogs perceive much of the experience — at least the learned odor portion — as one giant reward!

As inspiring as programs like this are, they are but one of the many ways humans and animals make each other stronger, happier — or just plain better every day. I know it’s the end of the week and brains are tired, but how many can you think of off the top of your head?

 

Jet

Project POOCH, founded in 1993, is the first program of its kind for youth offenders. Youth in corrections care for and train shelter dogs for adoption, positively transforming both in the process. This happy guy is Jet, who after months of love, attention, and hard work with his youth trainer is now a Canine Good Citizen, living in his forever home.

May 15, 2015 - Human-Animal Bond    No Comments

Animal-assisted therapy: a big win for kids (and the dogs like it, too!)

Here’s a little something that will be a surprise to hardly any animal lover: animal-assisted therapy (AAT) can be a big contributor to positive results in treatment for physical, social, emotional, or cognitive problems in children.

It has already been documented that adults will see a reduction of anxiety and pain severity with AAT, and there is a ton of anecdotal evidence to support the benefits of animal visitations with children suffering from physical or mental trauma, though we still have a ways to go in collecting and measuring the results.

But so far we do know that hospitalized children are more independent, have better appetites, pain reduction, and less fear of their experience/treatment. Some children with autism have shown remarkable improvement in the presence of a therapy dog, as well.

And, like many working animals, therapy dogs love their work. They couldn’t be happier around their people: the attention, the fawning, the petting — what a tough “job” to have! Talk about a mutually beneficial arrangement!

Animal-assisted therapy is an example of the human-animal bond at its finest — a growing field of study we can count on to yield even more benefits as it is further explored.

 

Girl and her ​​dog.

Kids and dogs are a natural fit — how perfect is is that dogs can help children cope with illness and the recovery process?

Is your canine an URBAN good citizen?

Earlier this week, the American Kennel Club announced its new Urban Canine Good Citizen Test. This was announced without a ton of fanfare, so we will forgive you if you missed it, but it is definitely worth checking out! Like the original Canine Good Citizen program, the urban version recognizes responsible pet owners and their polite, well-trained dogs, with a focus on the challenges of an urban environment:

“City dogs require a very special set of skills, including waiting to cross a street, ignoring food tossed on a sidewalk, behaving in building lobbies and riding elevators,” said Mary Burch, Ph.D., Director of the Canine Good Citizen program.  [also: former NAIA board member and writer!] “Urban CGC reinforces practical, everyday skills for the millions of dogs living in urban areas today, creating safer, more responsible communities.”

Lifestyles and culture are always changing. 100 years ago, it was not uncommon for dogs to live outdoors most, if not all of their lives, and dog ownership was primarily for the very rural or the very wealthy. Today, those dogs are sleeping on their owner’s beds, and dogs being walked down a busy city street is a regular occurrence. What a great time for a program like the Urban Canine Good Citizen — and a great chance for dog owners to become ambassadors for responsible pet ownership!

You don’t need to be interested in having a “title” for your dog, you don’t even need to live in a big city. Simply having a well-behaved dog that is not frightened or distracted by their environment, that can safely and confidently walk past both human and dog on a busy sidewalk is a big win for everybody. For your dog, for you, and for your entire community!

There can be a lot of distractions and challenges for a little dog in a big city!

There can be a lot of distractions and challenges for a little dog in a big city!

 

 

Tribute for a Great Dog

Dare you to read this story without getting choked up:

New Jersey K-9 Judge given hero’s goodbye before he is euthanized

Judge, a 9-year-old Czech German shepherd with the West Deptford Police Department, was euthanized Friday as more than 90 police officers gathered to honor him one last time.

Judge’s excellent service is a testament to how much his people meant to him. Judge himself, and the tribute he received, serves as a testament to how much animals mean to us. And his euthanasia after a long struggle with Cushing’s Disease, is a reminder of how fleeting our time with the animals we work with and care for and love can be. What a great dog!

WEST DEPTFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT
WEST DEPTFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT

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