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

Dog Lovers Aren’t the Only Ones Who Can’t Wait for Westminster!

For many dog enthusiasts, the Westminster Dog Show is the most exciting and highly anticipated sporting event of the year. With a rich history dating back to 1877, top breeders and dog trainers from around the world work a lifetime for the opportunity to have their dogs recognized there.

Most of these breeders belong to AKC kennel clubs where they, along with other dog lovers, volunteer their time and work for the benefit of dogs, responsible dog ownership, and the preservation of their breeds.

They breed their dogs carefully, contribute to canine health by donating to scientific research and test their own dogs before breeding them… then test them again in the show ring.

In the world of dogs, to call Westminster a “big deal,” is a big understatement!

Of course, dog enthusiasts aren’t the only ones who eagerly await Westminster each year. Perhaps you have noticed that in the weeks leading up to Westminster each year animal rights organizations increase their attacks on AKC, purebred dogs, and dog shows exponentially — especially the larger, factory fundraising groups. This isn’t a coincidence: these guys love the Westminster Dog Show! Whether their appreciation comes in the form of carefully timed and targeted opinion pieces bashing the AKC, or more disruptive forms of attention-seeking, it is obvious that the animal rights crowd just can’t get enough Westminster!

And you know what? While we certainly don’t like it, we understand why they do it. Their fundraising and hence their very existence depend on exploiting (disparaging) the work of others. So even though they don’t produce any exciting, constructive, or entertaining events like the Westminster Dog Show themselves, they do know how to capitalize on its success; they’d be crazy not to grab on to the coattails of this, one of dogdom’s most important, venerable and visible events! After all, it is easier to get attention by inserting yourself into someone else’s picture than by doing something positive yourself.

Feb 11, 2015 - Animal Rights    No Comments

Just ‘Cause It’s Legal Doesn’t Mean It’s Ethical

Thank you to everybody who has signed our petition asking Outfront Media to pull PETA’s billboard! And if you haven’t done so already, please sign it today and share it with everybody you know who loves dogs and hates smear tactics (hint: that should mean a lot of people)!

Freedom of speech has few limitations in the United States — even the sensationalist, hateful speech practiced by PETA is protected by the first amendment. That’s why it is so important for companies to draw distinctions between business practices that are legally allowable and ones that are ethically sound.

PETA’s misleading advertisement is intended to hurt dog breeders (specifically, AKC breeders) right before a major dog show takes place.

Help us turn this around. Exercise your freedom of speech now by signing our petition. Doing so will help us save our dogs from destructive groups like PETA with agendas that serve no one but themselves.

Petition Link

Feb 5, 2015 - Education    No Comments

Compassion Fatigue: It Happens to the Best

Here’s a thoughtful article about compassion fatigue as an occupational hazard for veterinarians, its contributing factors, and suggestions for combating it.

Compassion fatigue is defined as:

fatigue, emotional distress, or apathy resulting from the constant demands of caring for others or from constant appeals from charities: “compassion fatigue experienced by doctors and nurses.”

It is most commonly applied to (human) healthcare practitioners and individuals who have gone past the point of saturation with pleas for and/or sensationalist tragedies, but it doesn’t take a leap to see how it could affect veterinarians as well. Long hours, stressed and occasionally abusive owners, not being able to save every animal — even a labor of love can be emotionally taxing.

When we published “Burnout: The Monster in the Rescue Closet” back in 2003, which dealt with the stress, anger, and guilt that can accumulate in those who devote their lives to rescue, it was amazing how many readers wrote us to say “That’s ME in that article!” and gratifying to hear how Vicki DeGruy’s suggestions helped people find balance in their life while still helping animals.

The existence of compassion fatigue (or more simply: “burnout”) has been known in the medical community for a long, long time (it was officially diagnosed way back in the 1950s), so it is doubtful there will be a flurry of epiphanies among veterinarians as there was among people in the rescue community 12 years ago. But the above article is important for spreading awareness to people outside the field. As an outsider, when you see somebody who is intelligent, capable, and lucky enough to be pursuing their life’s dream, it can easy to dismiss the emotional toll of their job.

VeterinaryCare

 

Imposter Service Dogs! Fiesty Comfort Animals! (It Only Takes a Few Bad Apples)

When somebody brings their untrained “comfort animal” to a place pets are not typically allowed and the inevitable disaster ensues, our first reaction is often a grin, because — lets’ face it — these stories can be pretty amusing. Unfortunately, tales of out-of-control comfort pets and fake  service animals also have a very real insidious effect: people start questioning the legitimacy of the service animals they come across.

This is especially troubling for the growing number of people without visible disabilities or injuries who receive assistance from service animals, or those with non-standard service animals (e.g. a Chihuahua), who are more likely to feel the “raised eyebrow” that questions their honor and legitimacy.

Service animals are quite simply, amazing, and the Americans With Disability Act recognizes and protects the essential role service animals play in our society:

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.

We follow animal trends at NAIA, and while we can safely say there is no epidemic of out-of-control comfort animals and imposter service animals, it is definitely a growing issue that we take seriously, and one we will work to find positive solutions for!

 

ExeterBob

Exeter, a service dog trained by CCI, helps Bob cope with the physical and emotional symptoms of Huntington’s disease.

Death Threats for Bow Hunter: Can You Feel The Love?

How do animal rights activists show appreciation to an amazing person who teaches kids hunting and other outdoors skills?

Oh, by sending them death threats and vicious insults of course!

Because what could be worse than getting kids off the couch and off their phones to teach them responsible hunting, conservation, and sparking a lifelong respect of the outdoors? Yes, what a horrible, horrible woman indeed!

We kid, we kid! We think passing on these skills to the “next generation” — especially when so few have regular (or any) exposure to nature — is a pretty great thing!

For more: here’s a radio interview with Jen Cordaro, where she explains why she started #BringaKidHunting, the skills and values that are learned (the virtues of patience and delayed gratification especially!) and the importance of educating kids about hunting and weapons safety.

Hunting

Jan 30, 2015 - Animal Science    No Comments

Potential Seen in Late-Stage Rabies Treatment

We don’t hear a lot about rabies in the United States. Post-exposure treatment is the norm (which has close to 100% success rate if administered promptly — always before symptoms appear), and human deaths from the disease are extremely rare.

And that’s great. If you live in the United States.

But if you live in, say, India, rabies is a very serious and far-too-common disease, especially for the young and poor.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are more than 200 million stray dogs worldwide and that every year, 55,000 people die from rabies, while another 15 million receive post exposure treatment to avert the deadly disease. 95% of these cases occur in Asia and Africa, and 99% of the fatalities are caused by dogs.

And to make matters worse, once symptoms appear, it’s too late: the victim virtually always dies.

But what if you could treat rabies once symptoms appear? That’s what scientists at the University of Georgia are working on. Working with mice to develop new treatments, they have managed to save 50% of the mice beyond the “cutoff point” of neurological symptoms appearing, and they are just getting started:

“This is only the beginning of our work,” said co-author Biao He, a professor of infectious diseases at Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “While these preliminary results are very exciting, we are confident that we can combine this new vaccine with other therapies to boost survival rates even higher and rescue animals even when symptoms are severe.”

Again, here in the U.S. it might not seem like a huge deal, but in parts of the world where contact with rabid animals is commonplace, this could be a huge — think 55,000 huge — lifesaver. What amazing work these people are doing!

“There is an urgent need in many parts of the world for a better rabies treatment, and we think this technology may serve as an excellent platform,” said study author Zhen Fu, a professor of pathology at the college. “Ultimately, we just want to try to save more lives.”

Just how many lives can a mouse save?

Just how many lives can a mouse save?

Jan 29, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    11 Comments

Hypocrisy on Parade: Another Call for Breeding Dogs in Shelters

Hypocrisy on parade in The Coming Shelter Dog Shortage, complete with ideas on how shelters can retain their “market share” in dogs:

The ideal thing would be for No Kill to find some way to co-opt the industry – to make sure there is a big enough supply of shelter dogs for community No Kill shelters to be able to maximize their market share. The most obvious way to do this would be to start importing homeless dogs from overseas.

[…]

Another way to tackle the problem would be for volunteers to breed litters which would then be donated to their local shelter for placement.

What? What… What?!?

On one hand, the author talks about dogs not being widgets… on the other, about shelters keeping or growing their market share. The argument for shelters breeding and placing puppies is one long advertising pitch!

Here’s a novel idea: if there is a shortage of dogs in shelters, rejoice! Then refocus on cats and other pets… and when that problem is solved, be thankful for all the amazing hard work you, big-hearted pet-owners, breeders, and lawmakers have put into creating a world where pets are no longer euthanized for space — and put a “closed” sign on the front door.

Jan 26, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    1 Comment

Concerns About Dog Trafficking Go Mainstream: NAIA Rejoices

Midway through another report on a northeastern shelter importing nearly two thirds of their dogs to meet the public’s demand for pets, we came across this comment from a representative of the AVMA and rejoiced:

There are no federal laws regulating the state-to-state transport of animals for adoption and that has some animal welfare advocates worrying about pet trafficking and the spread of diseases. Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, Chair of the Animal Welfare Committee for the American Veterinary Medical Association and Vice President of animal welfare for the Animal Rescue League of Boston, says guidelines should be developed by veterinarians to ensure the welfare of transported animals.

“There are people who would take advantage of people’s desire for a puppy and so there are some organizations that are simply bringing up truck loads of puppies because they can be sold – even a mutt – can be sold for $400, $500, $600 hundred dollars,” said Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore.

It is so great to hear somebody from the AVMA say this. Dog trafficking is a topic we have long been passionate about at NAIA, and for numerous serious reasons:

  • The emergence or reemergence of communicable diseases into new areas from sick dogs
  • Adoptable local dogs being displaced  — maybe not as small or cute as the dogs coming in, but they need homes too!
  • Unknown, non-communicable diseases in adopted dogs
  • Temperament issues
  • It sustains the myth of pet dog overpopulation, rather than the far more nuanced and regional population issues we face today.
  • A general lack of transparency
  • Transports that don’t (and don’t have to) follow the humane transport laws that govern others who ship large numbers of dogs
  • Ethical questions raised: are some transporters “profiting off the misery” of source areas with overcrowded shelters by moving a few “choice” (i.e. easily adoptable) dogs, while doing nothing to reduce or end the problem of unwanted adoptable dogs at its source?
  • There are also, coincidentally, a large number of pets stolen from source areas, a concern that is tied to “a general lack of transparency.”

We have been beating this drum for more than 15 years. In 2003, when NAIA was quoted in a front-page USA Today article on humane relocation, people called us crazy (and worse!), but concerns have gone mainstream as the public has become more educated and experienced negative consequences.

 For further reading:

Jan 23, 2015 - Animal Welfare    No Comments

Horse Rescue: No Fish Story

It’s always cool when somebody saves an animal from peril. And when that animal is a 1,200 pound horse trapped in the swimming pool, and it requires hours and the cooperation of firefighters, firefighters, a large animal rescue, and emergency management personnel… well, it’s not only cool, it’s the kind of story you can bug your children (and your children’s children) with for years to come.

Horse Rescued From Woodford County Pool

It’s great seeing so many people come together to help an animal like this. The cooperation, making sure both human and horse are safe, and in the end: success!

Definitely a nice way to ride out into the weekend.
Horse Riding