Cat Saves Owners From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

A Maine Coon cat named Gracie is being credited for saving the lives of a couple who were experiencing the deadly effects of carbon monoxide poisoning in their home. Kevin and Annette Shanahan of Reedsburg, Wisconsin went to bed not realizing that the vent of their tankless gas hot water heater had been frozen shut with ice, leading to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide leaking into their home.

Annette got out of bed feeling sick and collapsed in a chair. Gracie began pounding on the bedroom door to wake up Kevin. Kevin woke up thanks to Gracie’s persistent efforts. He was also feeling the effects of the gas but luckily the couple were able to call their son and 911. Emergency responders found lethal levels of carbon monoxide on the 2nd floor of the house.

The couple credit Gracie for saving their lives and think that she sensed what was happening and did her best to alert them. As Annette says, “We were definitely saved by Grace. Saved by Gracie.”

Watch the news video here:

 

SoulPaws Recovery Project: Animal-Assisted Therapy Helps People with Eating Disorders

We’d like to share a bit of news about a project close to the heart of FACE’s very busy Humane Educator Annie Petersen: the SoulPaws Recovery Project. Besides the work she does with FACE to educate young people in our community about pets and animals, Annie has also worked with other organizations like the San Diego Humane Society and the Zoological Society of San Diego.

Annie, who holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Management, has also served as the President of the Association for Human-Animal Bond Studies. Currently, Annie works closely with an amazing organization called the SoulPaws Recovery Project, which she co-founded with Shannon Kopp. The mission of SoulPaws is to offer therapeutic support (including animal-assisted therapy) to those affected by eating disorders.

SoulPaws is dedicated to rescuing shelter animals and utilizing animal-assisted therapy to support sufferers of eating disorders. SoulPaws works with certified therapy animals as well as shelter animals. They also use other therapies like yoga, journaling, and art therapy. Their work was recently featured on the Huffington Post website. Be sure to check out the article and the SoulPaws website to learn more about this great non-profit.

We are very grateful to have such an amazing advocate as part of the FACE team. Thank you for all you do for the animals…and people…in our community, Annie!

 

How We Talk to Animals: All About “Pet-Directed Speech”

Raise your hand if your voice changes when you talk to your pets! If you find yourself using a high-pitched singsong when talking to dogs, cats, birds, and other animals, you’re not alone. In fact, there’s even a term for it: pet-directed speech (PDS). It’s more common in women than men, and is closely related to another type of speech we’re all familiar with: infant-directed speech (IDS).

A recent study published in the journal Animal Cognition took a closer look at PDS…specifically, how women talk to dogs. The results are very interesting. The researchers observed 34 adult women talk to their dogs in 4 different situations:

  • Before separating
  • After reuniting
  • During play
  • While giving commands

When do we most use that high-pitched, singsongy form of PDS? According to the study, it’s when we reunite with our pets after a separation. Before separating, our voices are more low, even, and unaffected. During play, we use questions and attention-getting tactics. Giving commands, we use imperatives and attention-getting tactics.

A story about the study on the NPR website goes into the science behind how we talk to our pets, and how it compares to the way we talk to young children. With both groups, women in particular tend to adapt their communication style in order to optimize the transmission of both their intentions and their emotional state…in other words, to facilitate interaction.

The experts note that women are more likely than men to talk a lot to their pets and use PDS while speaking. In terms of your pets’ reactions…scientists say that puppies are much more responsive to PDS than adult dogs, who show less interest in this type of speech. Another interesting finding? Women who were not mothers spoke to their dogs in a higher pitch than women who had children. Makes sense if your pets are *really* your kids!

 

“Humane Puerto Rico” Initiative Gears Up to Save Animals

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The Humane Society of the United States recently announced the creation of their new “Humane Puerto Rico” initiative. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the U.S. and according to HSUS, there are many dogs, cats, and other animals there that are in urgent need of help. Did you know that the euthanasia rate for shelter dogs and cats is 95%, and that many thousands of homeless pets roam the streets of this island?

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What will the initiative do? There will be a multi-faceted effort to improve the lives of the animals of Puerto Rico in several areas, including:

  • Training law enforcement officers and prosecutors on animal cruelty crimes.
  • Donating law enforcement evidence-gathering kits.
  • Cracking down on puppy mills.
  • A humane education program that will reach every K-12 public school student.
  • New tools and technology for animal shelters on the island.
  • Partnering with Humane Society International on low-cost spay/neuter programs.

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Puerto Rican government officials signed an agreement pledging their cooperation to help solve critical issues such as animal cruelty, the street dog population, and the euthanasia rate. HSUS notes that many tourists visiting Puerto Rico have been struck by the number of homeless animals in poor condition wandering the streets, and have contacted various organizations to see what can be done.

Interested in learning more about the HSUS Humane Puerto Rico initiative? Click HERE for the original story.  For an update on what’s been going on lately, including a contraception program for the free-roaming horses of Vieques, and the launch of the Sister Shelter Project, in which shelter professionals from several states will provide assistance to Puerto Rican shelters, click HERE.

 

A FACE in the Spotlight: Meet Dr. Seth Ganz

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Dr. Ganz and Rebel

In addition to being a surgeon at FACE partner Veterinary Specialty Hospital, Dr. Seth Ganz also serves as a Veterinary Relations Advisor on FACE’s Advisory Committee.   Dr. Ganz’s dedication to saving the lives of pets in need of urgent veterinary care is obvious. “As a doctor, I like knowing that there may be a chance to help an animal and the family when another option isn’t available,” says Dr. Ganz. “I’m just always grateful that I am in a position where I can help!”

Dr. Ganz has a DVM from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. He completed a 3 year small animal surgical residency in Wisconsin and is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Dr. Ganz performs a wide range of surgeries, including orthopedic and soft tissue surgery as well as neurosurgery. What’s his most memorable FACE case? “They are all equally memorable, whether the actual case was more severe/dramatic/unusual, it doesn’t matter,” says Dr. Ganz. Dr. Ganz is grateful for the opportunity to perform surgeries on pets that would otherwise be debilitated, die, or be euthanized for economic reasons.

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Dr. Ganz and Winter

 Dr. Ganz values his collaborative relationship with FACE. “It’s a special group of people and it was started purely as a desire to solve a real problem and make a real difference,” he notes. As for himself, “It’s a chance to be involved with a group that has shown a determination to make a significant impact on the lives of so many animals and their families here in San Diego,” he says. In his role as FACE Advisory Committee Member, Dr. Ganz advises on decisions for funding medical care for potential FACE grantees. “This allows the organization to use donations in the most effective manner and maximize the intended result per donated dollar,” explains Dr. Ganz.

While Dr. Ganz enjoys his work at the hospital and with FACE, he also values spending his off-time with his wife, young twin boys, and a one-eyed pit bull-mix named Winter. Dr. Ganz enjoys running and biking, and hopes to travel to new destinations with his wife when life gets a bit less hectic!

Dr. Ganz enthusiastically recommends that other veterinary practices consider working with FACE or other organizations with a similar mission in their geographic area. “They want to help,” he says. “They want to get their donations to the pets that need them. Vets want to help every patient. It’s a win-win. Enough said!” We couldn’t agree more, Dr. Ganz! Thanks to you and all of your colleagues at VSH for helping us save the lives of pets in need!