“Words of Thanks” Video on FACE YouTube Channel

Hey, did you know that the FACE Foundation has its own YouTube channel?  We get so many wonderful letters from the families of pets saved with the help of FACE grants that we decided to make a video to share some of their kind words.  Hope you enjoy this heartwarming video as much as we do!


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!