Video: Family Dog Found Safe After Being Lost in California Wildfire

There have been so many sad stories of loss coming out of the areas of California currently experiencing devastating wildfires.  The owners of a Bernese Mountain Dog named Izzy expected the worst when they hiked through their neighborhood, destroyed by fire, searching for the body of their dog after she went missing in the firestorm.

They got to their family property, expecting a grim discovery, but still called for Izzy.  To their surprise, Izzy came running towards them, out of the still-smoldering rubble.  Watch the heartwarming video here:

 

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Humane Society of Utah Says “No Thank You” to Food Donation from Pet Store

A recent news story from the Salt Lake Tribune will have animal advocates cheering for the Humane Society of Utah!   Like many animal welfare organizations, Utah Humane is opposed to pet stores selling puppy mill-bred animals for profit.  So, when they found out that a donated pallet of dog food came from a pet store called the Puppy Barn, they said “Thanks, but no thanks.”

According to the article, the Humane Society discovered that the donation came from a pet store after the owners of the Puppy Barn posted a self-congratulatory video of the food purchase and donation on their social media accounts.

Administrators at HSU promptly sent the pet store a check for $900 (the estimated cost of the food) and informed them that they do not accept donations from companies that don’t share their mission.  They also asked the Puppy Barn to take the video down.  A Humane Society employee accepted the donation, not realizing the donors were pet store owners.  After finding out, she was “upset” to have been shown in the video, thanking them for the food.

HSU notes that many animals sold as babies via pet stores often end up in animal shelters as they grow into adults, lose their cuteness, and become harder to handle for inexperienced owners.  As officials at HSU say, “We don’t want to promote buying puppies when we deal every day with trying to find them homes.”

 

Video: Meet “The Dogist” – Instagram’s Most Popular Pet Photographer

Who doesn’t love browsing cute pet photos on the Internet?  If you love a good dog portrait, then chances are Elias Weiss Friedman, aka The Dogist, is your favorite pet photographer.  Elias has nearly 3 million followers on Instagram, as well as a website called The Dogist.  Elias has been traveling all over the world for the past several years, taking beautiful photographs of the dogs that he meets in cities on his travels.

Check out this video to learn more about the man who just might have the world’s best job!

 

How Vets Talk to Clients About Feline Obesity

Obesity is a very common health problem in pets.  Is your dog or cat overweight…and if so, has your veterinarian had a serious discussion with you about the health risks associated with obesity in pets?  A recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science examined how a group of vets in Ontario, Canada talked to clients about their overweight cats.

The findings show that many veterinarians tend to avoid potentially uncomfortable conversations about the less than ideal feeding practices of clients who have overweight cats, and they also often do not have serious discussions about weight management.  Vets are more likely to skirt around the issue to avoid insulting clients.  Their strategies include the use of humor, and addressing the pet directly (i.e. “You sure love your food, don’t you Fluffy?”).

The article notes that many owners of obese pets try to “normalize” their pet’s weight and minimize the seriousness of the problem.  This can be especially true for cats, as they tend to see the vet less frequently than dogs, so there are fewer opportunities for discussions between a vet and owner about feline obesity.

The researchers examined nearly 300 videos of vet-client interactions involving feline patients.  The results show that only a small percentage of the vets had any discussions about the causes and prevention of obesity.  In fact, most of the conversations were generated by a handful of the vets who were more likely to bring up the issue.

What were some of the communication problems identified?  When talking about specific kinds of cat food, the vets were more likely to mention specific brands’ quality and nutritional content, and the clients tended to focus on shapes and colors.  They often could not name the brands they used and said things like the food was “from the natural pet store.”

If clients seemed resistant to talking about feeding habits, the vets often resorted to humor when addressing a cat’s weight.  Talking to the pet as a way of communicating with the client was a common strategy.  This “patient-directed speech” would often take the form of a compliment on the cat’s appearance (nice fur, for example) and then joking conversations with the animal (“You’re not missing many meals, are you?”).

What can be done to improve vet-client communication about pet obesity?  The authors recognize that addressing pet obesity with clients can be a sensitive issue for vets.  However, they stress that there is “a need for a dynamic and individualized response to obesity management in veterinary medicine.”  Pet owners can be resistant to measures like reducing food intake and eliminating treats, but vets need to be more proactive in exploring their clients’ attitudes, asking questions, and providing clear explanations and plans in order to improve communication about pet obesity management and prevention.

And of course, we pet owners should talk honestly and openly with our vets about how we are feeding our dogs and cats, especially if they are overweight.  Awareness about the risks of pet obesity and what we as owners can do about it is important.  Here’s a great website to learn more about pets and weight:  petobesityprevention.org

 

Efforts Underway to Help the Pets of Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

The citizens of Puerto Rico are facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.  Damage from the hurricane as well as shortages of clean drinking water, food, and fuel are creating huge challenges for both residents and aid workers.  What about the animals of Puerto Rico?  The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) recently posted an update on the situation via their blog, A Humane Nation.

HSUS and the Humane Society International (HSI) have been working in Puerto Rico for the past 3 years on the Humane Puerto Rico program, which is designed to support animal welfare on the islands of Puerto Rico and Vieques.  HSUS reports that Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares will be signing an executive order that facilitates collaboration between Puerto Rico, HSUS, and HSI on the care, transport, placement, and veterinary health of the island’s at-risk animals.

HSUS is preparing to transport homeless pets from Puerto Rico to the mainland U.S., where they will be placed with approximately 400 Emergency Placement Partners and prepared for adoption.  In addition to working with U.S. shelters, they’ll also be partnering with other organizations like Wings of Rescue to coordinate the transfer of animals.

While assessment of the situation for Puerto Rico’s pets and shelter animals is still in its earliest stages because of damage to communications and roads, preliminary reports suggest that the wild horse population of Vieques has suffered major casualties, and hundreds of race horses on the main island are also facing challenges.

As HSUS notes, “Puerto Rico is part of the United States. We will double down on our work there to help them through this great crisis, with our full focus, energy, and resolve. This was a 100-year storm, and there’s been so much loss. And to be sure, there is hardship ahead. If there’s ever been a time for the nation to rush in to help Puerto Rico, that time is now.”