November brings many things, not the least of which is the start of the holiday season here in the States. We gather together with family and friends at Thanksgiving
to enjoy the bounty of the harvest, and to give thanks for one another and for our many blessings. Many of us seek out ways to give back, through volunteerism or charitable donations. As breeders of service and therapy dogs, our work at The Acres is entrenched in the goal of giving back to those in need, so we've included some related stories and suggestions for you to make a difference in this month's post.
Whether we like it or not, November also starts the season of shopping. The so-called "Christmas creep
", Cyber Monday
, and Black Friday
(alternatively known as Buy Nothing Day
). This year is no different, and in fact there's a storm brewing
over stores choosing to open, or not open, on Thanksgiving Day. Whatever your view, we'd like to encourage you to vigorously participate in Small Business Saturday
this November 30 - the Saturday after Thanksgiving - perhaps even as an alternative to cutting your Thanksgiving short in order to be first in line at a Black Friday sale. Aussie Doodle Acres
is itself a small business, and we support and give thanks for the success of all small businesses every chance we get.
As in other months, November also seeks to raise awareness about a number issues. In addition to Movember
, this month asks that you learn more about Alzheimer's Disease
, Lung Cancer
, Pancreatic Cancer
, and COPD
. That list gives a lot of reasons to quit smoking, and you can join the Great American Smokeout
if you or someone you know needs to quit. To improve your health whether you smoke or not, take advantage of the antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients in the stars of National Pomegranate Month
and Sweet Potato Awareness Month
, also taking place this November.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy National Blog Posting Month
as you read through this month's offering of health, science, canine interest, charity, and shopping articles we've harvested for your edification and enjoyment. Thanks as always for joining us this month at the DogBlog!
In Health News
Nataliya Kuznetsova | Fotolia
Dogs as Mood Rings
If you're a pet owner like us, I'll bet you've considered installing motion-sensor cameras in your home to track your little beasts' activities when you're away. No more wondering which one eviscerated your favorite pair of house slippers or how that favorite heirloom moved from it's "very safe spot" atop the mantle to the foot of your bed. Well, scientists at Great Britain's Newcastle University had a very different goal in employing motion sensors to monitor dogs. That goal? Monitoring the dogs' owners. The project is still in its early stages, but the hope is to use changes in pet behavior to secretly monitor the (possibly declining) health of the pets' owners. Click the image to learn more.
Canine Parvovirus KS State University | sciencedaily.com
As dog breeders, there aren't many things we can think of sadder than puppies dying of terrible illnesses while still young. Though you may not have heard of it, parvovirus is one such terrible illness, and it's easily passed between dogs. The easy fixes are early vaccination and early detection. Link through the image to the full Science Daily article and learn about the new test that is promising to make early detection much easier and more successful, as well as what to do if you suspect one of your dogs has been infected with the canine parvovirus.
Treating Bone Cancer-Related Pain ASA
If you've ever experienced your pet's change in behavior when it's sick or injured, you have some idea of how the chronic pain associated with bone cancer, increasing steadily over time after diagnosis, might affect your four-legged friend. The pain dogs feel is, after all, quite similar to what we feel when afflicted with the same health issues. So we do what we can to ease their pain and cure their ailments... if we can. On the bone cancer front, there seems to be a new and slightly unexpected weapon against pain. Click the image to read about the neurotoxin that's redefining canine pain treatment, the same way Botox did aging.
More Dog Science
Gregory Berns | LifeWithDogs.tv
Dogs as Smart as Toddlers?
We've written before about the similarities between humans and canines. Anyone who owns a dog swears that they've witnessed their furry friend exhibiting human emotions, or showing signs they really understand what we're saying to them, acting in ways that "must mean they can think like we do." But generally speaking, dogs are creatures of instinct, and don't possess the same level of intellect or cognitive ability as their human counterparts. Or do they? Neuroscientist Gregory Berns, with the help of his colleagues, his dog-trainer friend Mark Spivak, and an outpouring of interest from the local dog-loving community, is revolutionizing the way we think about, and assess the intelligence of, the canine species. Berns and his team put in many hours of hard work training dogs to remain still during an MRI exam, the way people are forced to. Until now, the dogs had to be sedated, which didn't allow effective charting of their brain activity. But all that has changed. Click the image to read about this fascinating development, still in its toddler stages.
Learn to Speak Wag Getty | Huff Post Dogs
Wag wag wag. Wag wag wag. "That's some happy dog you've got!" We all know that a dog wags its tail when it's happy, right? Well, it looks like we're all (partially) wrong. There's a bit more subtlety and diversity in how dogs wag their tails, though they don't do it intentionally. All of this comes out of research conducted by an Italian team at the University of Trento's Center for Mind/Brain Sciences. Dogs, it turns out, have asymmetrically organized brains, just like we do. What does that mean? It means that different cognitive functions are handled by different sides of the brain, to put it simply. Click the dog's wagging tail to find out just what you've been missing, and what it means to other dogs.
Is Your Bear Pregnant? Ask Elvis. Radek Mica | AFP | Getty Images
As you likely know if you're a regular patron of our DogBlog, one of the things we're most passionate about aside from dogs is the environment. As a regular reader, you may also remember our posts about dogs' amazing sense of smell, and how they can be trained into super-sniffers to detect breast cancer (read "...Beast Cancer Awareness Month
"), ferret out allergy-inducing nuts and life-threatening bombs (see "That's nuts!
" and "Better bomb sniffers
"), or find illegal drugs ("April 20
" and "Smelling better
"). So you can imagine our excitement when our own senses led us to this incredible match of environmental action and dogs' innate super snouts. Enter a promising beagle named Elvis, trained for a year by a Kansas handler at the suggestion of a conservationist at the Cincinnati Zoo to potentially detect pregnancy in polar bears, an endangered species. Click on the mama and cub (we know, they're not polar bears), and you can get just as excited as we did reading about this incredibly important development!
Pensions for Police Dogs Huff Post Dogs | Shutterstock
We all know police officers who wear the uniform long enough retire with a pension that helps them meet their needs once they've stopped working. But what about the four-legged police officers, the K9 cops? Certainly they've worked hard enough to deserve a nice retirement too, right? The National K-9 Working Dog, Inc.
, is trying to realize this goal, and make the lives of working and retired service dogs better. The Nottinghamshire police force in the UK is one step ahead of us, though, and starting in December, K9's retired from its ranks will receive roughly $800 per year for three years following their retirement, specifically to cover medical expenses. Click the image to read the Huffington Post article, and find additional detail in the UK's Daily Mail article
Peruvian Dog Mummies
Yes, you read that right. We usually think of mummies as humans in Egyptian tombs. Some of us may even know that the Egyptians frequently mummified their cats and buried them alongside their owners as well. But dogs? Yes, dogs. Where the Egyptians were cat people, it appears the Peruvians were dog lovers. A recent find in Peru lends new evidence to a similar, though smaller discovery in 2006. Click the mummy to read about these honored hounds from 900+ years ago.
ASPCA President Matt Bershadker
If you're thinking about donating to the American Society for the Protection of Animals this year, or if you already have, you may want to read this exclusive Life With Dogs interview with the organization's current President and CEO, Matt Bershadker. Link through his photo to read about how the organization has evolved, what it's working on now, and how you can help.
Give Thanks & Give Back
TB Pledges 5% to HSUS
If you love Tommy Bahama and want to support the Humane Society this holiday season, or any time really, head on over (click the logo above) and check out their new pet collection. You can feel good adding any of their stylish products to your cart, knowing that 5% of your purchase goes to the Humane Society's Animal Rescue Team
Vote ASPCA for The Give Back
Publishers Clearing House
Now that you've read the interview with the ASPCA's President and CEO, Matt Bershadker, you may want to head over to Facebook for the Publishers Clearing House "The Give Back" charity event. Click the image above, "Like" them, and choose which of the three charities you want to receive $50,000! We think you'll know what our choice is. But the runners up receive their own, only slightly smaller, purses.
Answers = Donations
If you're looking for another way to give back without having to touch your own pocketbook, check out this great partnership between the Humane Society and SurveyMonkey. Click the HSUS logo above, take part in surveys, and SurveyMonkey donates to the Humane Society.
A Cause Close to Our Hearts Andrew Sullivan | NY Times
We leave you this month, during this time of thanks and of giving, with a wonderful story and a call to action that are near and dear to us. Service, therapy, and assistance dogs - and those whose lives they improve - are the reason Aussie Doodle Acres exists. We know first hand what an immense commitment of time and resources, financial and otherwise, goes into training dogs for this noble and challenging calling. Last month we encouraged any of you with even the slightest curiosity about your own dog's potential for a life of service to look into it
. And this month, we found this beautiful story, which shines a warm and much-needed spotlight on the great need for assistance and funding that exists among those who find, train, and support the canines that support all of us. Please share this story with your friends, your family... and with anyone looking for a good recipient of their charity this year. Thank you.
With great thanks and warm wishes, until next month...
Cooler temperatures, a fresh crispness in the air, harvesting the crops, and turning all those fragrant fruits and vegetables into hearty soups and delicious pies. Returning rains, and leaves changing their colors. All the things we love about autumn have arrived, and trick-or-treating is just around the corner! Have you planned your costumes (yours and your dog's, that is) for Halloween
yet? If you need some ideas, check out this National Geographic slideshow
As we write this, National Coming Out Day
has just passed, as did Leif Erikson Day
and Freethought Day;
we're at the tail end of National Fire Prevention Week
and National Squirrel Awareness Week
; and National Indigenous People's Day
(perhaps better known to you as Columbus Day) is upon us. Also upon us, still, is the government shutdown. Again. We have something to say about that this month, too. But first, we delve a little deeper into what makes this month great. We recommend cozying up to a nice cup of tea while you read. Happy autumn!
...Breast Cancer Awareness Month
We all know now what the pink ribbon symbolizes. We plan and participate in fundraisers large and small to help eradicate breast cancer, many of us because we know someone who was taken by, or is living with breast cancer. But what about our dogs? Yes, dogs get breast cancer too. (We wrote about it in last autumn's post
.) Spaying female dogs early drastically reduces the risk of them developing breast cancer, and standard remedies available to humans such as radiation and chemotherapy treatments are also used on dogs. But more is needed. People like Luke Robinson, who lost his dog Malcolm to bone cancer, are working to do something about the lack of awareness surrounding canine cancer, and about the prospects for finding a cure. Follow the couple in the image above to Luke's story, and learn about the organization he started, 2 Million Dogs
, and the research being done into environmental causes of cancer that affect dogs and humans alike. We're thrilled that dogs are now helping to sniff out cancer in humans
, but we'd like to see a cure for those humans, and for the dogs too. We encourage you to help spread the word, and to donate to great program's like Luke's.
...National Dental Hygiene Month WebMD
It seems there's another topic that people aren't necessarily aware of when it comes to dogs (though maybe you are if you saw the cool Dog Channel infographic we shared in our 2/28 post
). Your terrier needs her teeth brushed too! Canine health includes dental health, and since your pup isn't likely to brush his own teeth, the burden falls on you. It's not particularly difficult to do, but there are definitely some things you should know before you tackle the task the first time. Check out the WebMD slideshow linked via the image at right for the basics, and follow it up with the ASPCA's thorough guide to brushing for Bowser
, including what you should avoid at all costs. You'll be an expert in no time, and your best friend will thank you for it!
...National Arts & Humanities Month Mary Oliver & Ricky | Angel Valentin for the NY Times
is a rare thing - a best-selling author of poetry. She's also a dog lover and owner, and her newest book is a tribute to them, and to all the richness they bring out in us. Click on the image of Mary and Ricky at left to read the wonderful NY Times article about her and the creation of her canine verses. With 35 poems about dogs and life, and one essay about the dogs Mary has known personally, Dog Songs
will have you barking for more. We recommend reading it to your own best friend, perhaps in the park to celebrate the outdoors where Mary spends much of her time. We also encourage you to celebrate and support the arts, to participate in them and share them with those you love. Check out the Americans for the Arts website
if you need some ideas, or find out how you can participate in or host your own NAHM event
...Health Literacy Month
Being able to ask useful questions and understand the answers when talking to our health care professionals is just as integral as the services they provide to keep us healthy. That's the focus of Health Literacy Month
. To find resources in your area, click on the logo above. To find more information about the (Patient Protection and) Affordable Care Act
("Obamacare") and explore all the options available to you through the insurance marketplaces, head over to HealthCare.gov
And on the topic of dog health... PetMD | PawNation Dogster.com | Shutterstock DogChannel.com
Good Vet-iquette Dogster | Shutterstock
Of course we all want our dogs to be healthy all the time, and there's plenty we can do to give them the best chances of not getting sick or injured. But life happens. Pets get injured, they get parasites, they get old and their health starts to fail. Even when they're healthy, they still need regular trips to the vet to help maintain their good health. And people need some training on how to behave at the vet's office, and how to manage their pet patients while there. We found a great article on the topic (click the image) that provides some good tips for vet visit etiquette.
Really? Again? Bill Clark | © 2013 CQ Roll Cal
Not that we're particularly surprised, but once again Congress can't seem to pull itself together like a grownup and do the job we count on it to do. We're also not surprised that this time, on the verge of fiscal repercussions that could leave us worse off than Tom Joad, we've decided that dog poop is more popular than Congress. By seven points. Check out the new PPP poll
to see what other nasty things we can tolerate more than we can tolerate Congress right now.
Too bad public opinion won't likely get us out of this mess, given that it doesn't yet seem to have mattered much to those on Capitol Hill. We applaud small businesses like Dirty Dog
in Austin, Texas, that help out by providing freebies to those directly affected by the shutdown. But what we really need is for the government to return to full function - now. Not only are people and the health of the nation hurt by this ridiculousness, but animals and those who depend on and benefit from animals are suffering too. The National Parks are closed, for goodness' sake! Click on the image above to learn how the shutdown is affecting animals and animal-related programs, from puppy mill investigations to therapy dog visits.
We look forward to a time when a message on the White House's own website like the one below will be unthinkable. Hopefully that day will come sooner rather than later. Fingers crossed.
Click the message above to visit USA.GOV for current government operational status
Is Your Dog Suited for Service?
Here at Aussie Doodle Acres
, we raise Australian labradoodles that aspire to be therapy and service dogs. We're passionate about it and constantly amazed by all the ways dogs can help us, both innate and learned. It turns our stomachs when we hear about all the people who dress their dogs up with fake vests claiming they're service animals, just so they can bring them into stores, movie theaters, etc. (read about it at Huffington Post
). So we thought we'd encourage everyone out there who has ever even thought about faking it, and all those of you who have been legitimately curious about your own dog's potential, to read this article at Petsit.com (click the image). Maybe you'll find you love it like we do, and that your pup is a real prodigy! Either way, just please promise you won't be one of the frauds, no matter how badly you want to see the next action flick at the theater with your (canine) best friend at your side.
REMEMBER... If it's GREEN, you can click it! BRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIINNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG!!
That's right, it's September, and school is officially back in session! Even though summer doesn't technically end until the Autumnal Equinox
on September 22 this year, here in the States the passing of Labor Day marked our unofficial end to Summer fun, and the start of a new year of learning. Luckily for us at Aussie Doodle Acres
, we love
learning!! We learn so many fun and exciting new things every month when we bring you the DogBlog, and we hope you do too. Sometimes we learn things for the first time, like when we discovered this month that September is National Hunger Awareness Month
, World Alzheimer's Month
, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
, National Preparedness Month
, and hosts National Grandparents' Day
, International Talk Like A Pirate Day
, and the first half of Hispanic Heritage Month
, which starts on September 15. Other times we are reminded of important things like National Literacy Month
, when this year DigitalLiteracy.gov is exploring "how digital literacy and using the internet intersect with the educational environment." We certainly benefit from digital literacy at The Acres, so in honor of National Literacy Month and the new school session, this month's post is taking you to class. We hope you learn as much as we did, and have as much fun too! Enjoy!!
School Supplies ASPCA
Before you march back into the locker-lined hallways to get your learning on, you'll need the right equipment. Back-to-school shopping is exciting already, but did you know you can actually help out animals in need while
you're stocking up for the new school session? It's true! Follow the beagle in the image at left to sleuth out how the ASPCA's WeCare.com
program let's you buy everything from new school outfits to computers, and even textbooks, while donating to the organization at no extra cost to you. But don't stop at school supplies... you can use the same site to book travel, do your birthday and holiday shopping, send flowers, and much more through their over 2,500 participating businesses
. The partnership has raised nearly $3.5 million for the ASPCA so far, and with your help, even more needy animals can be helped.
The ASPCA's WeCare program isn't the only way to do some good while you shop, though. You can help the Doodle Rescue Collective, an organization devoted to the rescue and re-homing of labradoodles and golden doodles in need, by shopping at the Doodle Rescue Collective Store
, or through their partnership with Benefit Wines
. And if you're committed to the environment as much as you are to your furry friend(s), shop for green pet products at Green Dog
As Americans living in the current era, our legacy is and will forever be irrevocably tied to the events of the eleventh day of September in the year 2001
. Future generations may look back on 9/11 in that distant, disconnected way that we now look back on the Boston Tea Party
or the American Civil War
, through textbook narrations and editorial cartoons; understanding in a sanitized way the long-term effects, while missing the emotional and visceral impact that those who lived through it carry with them to the grave.
As lovers of dogs, and breeders of service and therapy dogs in particular, we at The Acres appreciate pointedly the roles that canines played on that fateful day, and in the immediate and extended aftermath of the disaster. This year, Animal Planet ran a documentary to honor the four-legged workers who helped at what is now forever known as Ground Zero
. Click the image to learn more about Hero Dogs of 9/11
, and pass on your story of that historic day to those you love, to those who will carry on that story with vigor to future generations.
As each passing year brings yet another increase in the planet's average temperature
, the cooling and rejuvenating relief of fresh water becomes an increasingly critical factor in the survival of plants and animals. Talking small scale, we as conscientious pet owners accept our responsibility to provide that relief to our furry friends. But many of us failed to see that in the hottest months of summer, when cool water is most needed, it also poses potentially one of the biggest threats to the health of our four-legged. Follow the image above to learn more.
Mazzini et al.
Who among us - dog lovers, that is - doesn't like to think that our K9 friends share a lot of our (human) characteristics? They act like they understand us, they look like they get us sometimes, right? Right. As in, maybe they do, according to new research out of Austria. The findings from the Wolf Science Center address the question of how and why wolves howl... and how much they control their own howling mechanism. Turns out it may have more to do with social relationships than instinct or emotion. Maybe we're actually all descended from dogs. Click the image above to read more from sciencedaily.com.
If you've been a dog owner for some time, you may already know that all dogs exhibit protanopia, better known to us as red-green color-blindness. But unless you're one of the very small percentage of (almost exclusively) men who are living with protanopia or one of the other forms of color blindness
, you likely have no idea how the world looks to a dog. Or to most of the other mammals, for that matter. But look deep into the eyes of the spectacled shepherd above (i.e., click the image) and you can read about, and see visual examples of, our world through canine eyes.
| thinkstock | pawnation.com |
Anyone who has ever had a puppy knows that you don't need much encouraging to want to play, all day, with that four-legged furry ball of fun! But how many of you knew there are certain activities that are particularly important to engage your new pup in while they're still young, and even recommended lengths of time for different activities, to ensure they grow up into well-mannered and adeptly social full-grown dogs? Click the image for the pawnation.com tutorial.
| DogChannel.com | Zoom Room Huntington Beach |
According to the article at DogChannel that you'll find with a click of the image at right, the biggest killer of dogs isn't cancer, it isn't infectious diseases... it's simpler and more complex than that. "The biggest threat to dogs is behavioral problems." Well, enter the newest fad, whose mettle is up for testing... a training "gym" for the average dog owner. Games, agility, obedience, and the vast realm of animal-assisted therapy; any one of these paths might lead your best friend to a bright new future... Let's get training!
| moderndogmagazine.com |
At The Acres we place a premium on feeding our fine labradoodles only the purest natural foods we can find. So articles like these two make us very excited! First, what could be more pure or healthy than a doggie treat made of just one natural ingredient?
| dogchannel.com |
Click the cabbage and see twelve ideas you can use the next time your pooch deserves a reward! Or follow the juggling pup to see 13 fruits that boost your dog's health and tips on how best to serve them, plus 5 to avoid at all costs. Bone appetit!
How many of you read labels when you do your grocery shopping? You probably do if you have kids, or if you're on a diet, but all the time? The trend has certainly been shifting toward all of us being more aware of, and more interested in, what we put in our bodies. But what about our pets? Did you know there are labeling requirements for pet foods, just like for people foods? There are. And evidently the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) only recently added a requirement to list the number of calories on those labels. 'Bout time.
The number of calories in the dog food you buy won't do you any good, though, if you haven't a clue how many calories your dog should be eating. Well, take a little bit of the guess work out of that task with this informative article from PawNation (click the image above). It requires some math, but it's not calculus, so you should be fine! And if you're interested in learning more about the labeling requirements for pet foods, head over to the AAFCO's The Business of Pet Food
page. Your pets are worth it, right?!
#ART&DESIGN Humane Society of the United States
If you have pets, or if you've ever had them, chances are good that you've made sacrifices when it comes to home decorating. You've given up some favorite piece of furniture, or relegated it to a room where the door stays closed and the animals aren't allowed. You've become resigned to the fact that those tiny glass curios can't be on that shelf, or that one, or over there. Possibly you've just given up a bit, and you live with a couch with shredded corners, or you only have the carpets cleaned when the holidays roll around, though they could use it far more frequently. Well, here's some good news in that department. Arna Cohen has written a delightful piece for the Humane Society's All Animals
magazine this month, with some insightful tips to design around your pets, so everyone can be happy. There are still compromises that have to be made, but armed with Arna's good advice, and that of expert Julia Szabo, you can reclaim your home and enjoy having your pets in it at the same time! Plus, check out the pet-friendly furniture designed by Amy McCawley at TheLivableHomeStore.com
, mentioned in the article.
It is no secret that there exists in many parts of Asia, and elsewhere in the world, a dog meat trade. Dogs are food, often a delicacy, and they are captured or farmed, then sold and butchered, at an alarming rate. The number is estimated at 5 million a year. But a partnership between the Asia Canine Protection Alliance (comprised of the Soi Dog Foundation
, Animals Asia
, Change for Animals Foundation
, and Humane Society International
) and the governments of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam has just produced a pledge aimed at "ending the importation and sale of dogs to be used as food." Click the image to read about this wonderful new development, and use the green links above to visit (and donate to!) the four organizations that are fighting for the safety of dogs and human health worldwide.
More current events...
Class dismissed... See you next month!
It's still summer, and boy do we know it at Aussie Doodle Acres
, where temperatures have been cresting 100 on a regular basis. Luckily, we have fresh, cool water (did you know August is National Water Quality Month
?), plenty of shade, and blessed air conditioning! That doesn't stop us from wanting to go on an adventure to someplace cooler, though, especially since August is also American Adventures Month
(find some great adventures here
). As all you parents know, it's also National Back to School Month, and we've packed this month's post with plenty of knowledge that we hope will teach you something useful you didn't already know. Start here with some great tips for traveling with pets
, which will come in handy for your American Adventure this summer. Then scroll on for what we think is some great summer reading! Enjoy!!
What's that you say? Getty Images
A subtle tilt of the head. When we do it, it says, "What?", "Come on, now," or even a mildly condescending "Oh, honey...." But what is your dog doing when she makes this gesture that is so adorable on a canine? The answers might surprise you, and will certainly give you a new perspective on how your pooch perceives the world. Click the image and find out what veterinary behaviorist Dr. Meredith Stepita has come up with.
Do as I do...
Now that you know why dogs cock their heads (or at least some educated guesses as to why), we bring you new findings from Hungary about another aspect of how dogs communicate with their human counterparts. Scientists from Eötvös Loránd University can now conclusively assert that dogs have a level of memory, both storage and recall, that was previously undocumented. Follow the image link above to the ScienceDaily.com article and see how dogs do what we do, even if they don't always do what we say!
When What Dogs Say Saves Lives
That's nuts! Huffingtonpost.com
We've brought you many stories of the amazing ways dogs find to communicate with us, and in particular the ways they can be trained to alert us to specific threats in order to keep us safe. It's why we chose to breed labradoodles, the service dog industry's rising stars; steady and incredibly intelligent and receptive. Well, LilyBelle (pictured) is a golden doodle, but she's clearly incredibly bright and vital to the survival of her 7-year-old owner, Meghan. Link through LilyBelle's image to the heartwarming story of this duo, and the amazing talent LilyBelle displays to safeguard Meghan, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder. The story is short, but includes some great photos that speak volumes. Enjoy!
Better bomb sniffers University of Lincoln
Another area we've touched on often is the critical role of service dogs in the armed forces for the detection of explosive devices. Training service dogs is expensive already, but the very specific work that must be done with potential bomb-sniffing dogs is exceptionally laborious. The added expense, at least for dogs serving in the armed forces and other law enforcement agencies, is footed by the taxpayer. But thanks to a grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research, animal behaviorists at the University of Lincoln (UK) in collaboration with the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory are working to bring the cost down while making the dogs more effective. Read about this win-win with a click of the image above.
Dutchess - a true royal in the world of therapy dogs lifewithdogs.tv
Usually we bring you stories of service and therapy dogs whose jobs it is to help their human companions overcome some illness or impairment, and lead fulfilling lives. Dutchess is such a dog, working mostly with autistic children and teenagers. But in 2011, Dutchess took on her own disability when she was forced to have surgery to remove both of her eyes. Just when these animals couldn't get any more incredible, this beautiful golden retriever, who jumped right back into her therapist role soon after becoming blind, comes along to exceed expectations. Follow the image at left to the article, where you'll find an insightful interview with Dutchess' owner, Mark Condon (pictured). Mark touches on animal assisted therapy, Dutchess' work with autistic kids, and his children's book, A Day with Dutchess.
You'll also find out what they're doing now, and how Dutchess and Mark's book encourage acceptance of all of life's diverse specimens. Give that girl a crown, already!
Susan Spencer-Wendel pushes on with a little help from a friend lifewithdogs.tv
Best-selling author Susan Spencer-Wendel loves her French bulldog, Lenny. She will be the first to point out that French bulldogs inspire extremes in people when it comes to their looks... you either love 'em or you think they're "butt-ugly". But Susan wouldn't trade Lenny for the world, in part because Lenny has played a huge part in helping maintain the quality of Susan's world. Susan is battling ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, which robs her of more functionality every day. Already mostly paralyzed, and having lost the ability to eat solid food or talk, Susan has drawn strength and inspiration from her steady, solid canine counterpart. Click on the pair's image and read Susan's own inspirational (and often hilarious) words about her struggles and triumphs, about the beauty she has found in the twilight of life, and about Lenny, by her side through it all with head held high - ugly or not.
Three Causes Worth Your Attention
Humane Society of the United States
Please urge the US Fish and Wildlife Service NOT to remove protections currently in place for gray wolves, which now "occupy less than 5% of their historic range." Stop states from deciding that unchecked and inhumane hunting practices will be the new status quo, and ensure one day there will again be more than the 6,000 gray wolves that remain in the lower 48 states. Click the image and sign the petition today.
Disasters, natural or otherwise, do not discriminate in who or what they threaten. Animals are just as much in need of preparedness as humans, but need humans to do the planning and work to keep them safe. Read here about the USDA's January regulation
requiring federally licensed animal facilities to have a disaster plan, and click the image to sign the petition urging them not to stop enforcing it, which is exactly what they've done.
Humane Society of the United States
Please help keep our nation's pets from being purchased from Class B dealers under dubious circumstances for use in painful and cruel experiments in research facilities. Click the image above and take the two easy steps outlined there to urge your representative to support the Pet Safety & Protection Act.
Television Goes to the Dogs
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Brendan Smialowski|AFP|Getty Images
It may seem like just a silly gimmick designed to lure in all those dog owners who just have to have all the latest bells and whistles for their pampered pooch. But the science behind this new product might surprise you. Recognized by the Humane Society of the United States (which receives a portion of the proceeds from DogTV through its Pets for Life Program
), DogTV is the result of years of research, and is designed to bring out the best in your dog during all those otherwise lonely hours spent at home when you can't be there to give him love and attention. You can read what Huffington Post has to say about DogTV
, which debuted in San Diego and costs just five bucks a month. Then click on the logo (above left) to visit their website, or on the photo (above right) for the Humane Society's pre-sale promotion deals (there are also coupons for Dog Is Good apparel, PetHub, and PetBest.com). We haven't fully vetted it yet, but hope it delivers as a revolutionary new tool for dog owners.
And A Few More Fun Things
| SuperZoo 2013 | dogster.com |
Before reading this article, we at The Acres didn't even know about SuperZoo... can you believe it?! But now that we do, you can bet we'll be eagerly anticipating each new year's offerings along with the other pet owners and animal lovers across the country. Unlike the more mainstream Global Pet Expo, SuperZoo favors the small business owner looking to find a platform for his or her deserving new product. We appreciate that. Click the image to check out all the best from this year!
| WagAware.com |
We like fun new gadgets and accessories for our pets just as much as the next dog or cat lover, as evidenced by our sharing of the frivolous and thoughtful products at the SuperZoo 2013. But of course we love them even more when they help support worthy causes, and WagAware is just such a product, supporting dog rescue and adoption. Link through the image to this "Buy a charm. Save a dog." company that is destined to be one of our new favorites.
See you next month!
June 26, 2013 | SCOTUS strikes down DOMA & California's Prop 8
It's finally summer here in the northern hemisphere, and while July is typically the coldest month of the year in Australia where our multigenerational labradoodles
have their origins, here in the U.S. it's the hottest. The famous "dog days of summer" come near the end of July, in fact, and at Aussie Doodle Acres that means reminding everyone to keep your dogs cool and well-hydrated! This summer promises again to break records for high temperatures across the country, so until the effects of Obama's new legislation to combat global warming
start to show, try one of the healthy frozen dog treats featured in our last DogBlog post
, and use the button below to link to Cesar Milan's Top Summer Tips to keep your dog cool.
This month also brings one of America's most beloved holidays, Independence Day
, commemorating our successful break from British rule over two centuries ago, and celebrating so much of what makes this country great. We rejoice at the freedoms guaranteed us by our Constitution and by the Declaration of Independence
, and at the prospect of dreaming big and realizing those dreams. This year, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a number of historic and life-changing decisions, and while they may have gotten it wrong in striking down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
, they followed up that egregious error with two stunning and far-reaching opinions that bring us closer to realizing the promise of the Declaration of Independence, that "all men [sic] are created equal." On June 26, 2013, the final day to hand down decisions on the cases put before them, the nine justices of the nation's highest court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act
and overturned California's Proposition 8
- two decisions seen as huge victories and important precedents in the LGBT community's fight for marriage equality, and for full protection under the law.
But getting back to the theme of summer fun, July is also National Ice Cream Month
. So after you've fed some tasty frozen treats to your dog, scoop up some ice cream for yourself and then go burn off those calories with a grass-court game in the style of Wimbledon
, whose finals take place at the beginning of the month. Or if you want to get some exercise with
your pooch, head out to your closest national park and celebrate Park & Recreation Month
. Or come July 14, you can celebrate France's Bastille Day
- or if you're in the privacy of your own home, National Nude Day
Keeping summer as our starting theme, we take you now to a decision you'll likely want to weigh in on if you're wont to travel by government-subsidized rail, and a forecast for this summer's threat of pests, along with some information to help you prepare. Let's go!
Dogs on Amtrak This Summer? Hulton Archive | Getty Images
Whether you're a fan of Murder on the Orient Express
, wish you could take the train from "platform nine and three quarters" to Hogwarts
, or simply enjoy a trip 'cross country on a steam locomotive the likes of the First Transcontinental Railroad
, you'll want to get in on this. Bipartisan House Representatives Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), who introduced the bill
, are hoping your pets (yes, the bill includes dogs and
cats) have expressed to you their strong desire to ride the rails this summer! Just think, you can travel by train along Historic Route 66
, and your trusted companion will be by your side... but sorry, the windows on a train don't generally open for your pooch to crane his head out into the oncoming wind. Still, passing this bill could mean great cross-country fun for us all! We just hope they'll make frequent stops for walks. Read the full story about this Humane Society-endorsed bill by clicking the image at right. All aboard!
But Summer Brings Trouble for the Four-Legged, too... DogChannel.com
Summer beckons us outdoors, into the fresh air and sunshine, to the beach and the surf, to backyard barbecues and late-night bonfires, and into the mountains and woods to pitch our tents and cast a line for the freshest fish. We bring our dogs and they run the fields and coastlines with us. But dogs and humans aren't the only creatures roaming the Earth that find their stride in the summer months. Warm weather also brings out the canine's smallest natural enemies... fleas and ticks and... you name it. Apparently this year the Companion Animal Parasite Council
predicts a particularly prolific summer for ticks carrying Lyme disease. Link through the image at left to the DogChannel.com article, including a list of symptoms to look for if you suspect your best friend has been exposed. To find out if your specific region of the country is at greater or lesser risk for tick-borne and intestinal parasites, or heartworm, check out the CAPC's interactive Parasite Prevalence Map
, which provides state-by-state information for dogs, and when applicable, for cats too. (If you have cats, you'll want to educate yourself about this nasty pest
as well.) Finally, use the link in the DogChannel.com article or the one that follows here to learn All About Dog Ticks & Fleas
. Read up, and be vigilant this summer to keep your whole
family safe, healthy, and happy!
Music Goes to the Dogs this Summer Chad Sisneros | The HSUS
It isn't all bad news for dogs this summer, though, even if the Amtrak bill doesn't pass and the CAPC's predictions come true. That's because this summer will see the highly-anticipated premier of world-famour conductor and composer Stephen Mercurio's A Grateful Tail
. The four-movement symphony will open at outdoor venues across the United States and Europe, and celebrates all things dog, with a historical journey and tribute to famous and heroic canines occupying the first half, and a lyrical performance by esteemed Oscar-winning actor F. Murray Abraham rounding out the second. Link through the image at right to the Humane Society article and interview with Mercurio and Abraham, and learn the sad inspiration for this work that throws a bone to music and dog lovers everywhere.
DOGS HELPING PEOPLE Courtesy of Washington State University
(You Know We Love It!)
Karen Shirk | 4 Paws for Ability
You must know by now that here at Aussie Doodle Acres
, we absolutely can't get enough of stories like this one that feature the amazing canine-human connection and its power to facilitate healing and increased joy on the part of the human in need. At The Acres, we raise some of the most intelligent, unabashedly affectionate, and selfless dogs to come around in generations, and we raise them with the ultimate goal of offering incomparably amazing and reliable service and therapy dogs anyone who needs a little extra help making it through the day. Certainly the young men and women at Excelsior Youth Center
in Spokane, Washington qualify. These kids are in a specialized facility that helps lead them out of drug and alcohol dependency, along with related and contributing psychological challenges. Thanks to the direction and commitment of WSU doctoral candidate Lindsay Ellsworth, their weekly regimen now includes some one-on-one time with local shelter dogs, in what can only be described as the ultimate win-win scenario. Click the image at left to read the full article to find out how a few hours a week with some sensitive canines evidently far surpasses a free pass to the video game room.
There is no questioning the value service and therapy dogs offer to those returning from the front lines, and to veterans with physical and emotional wounds from wars long ended. We've often featured these heroic and loyal dogs at the DogBlog: the semi-retirement of Slick
... the amazing tribute to Soldier Dogs
.... If you enjoy an interesting twist, however, you'll want to read the article linked though the image of Karen Shirk and her German shepherd buddy. And take a minute to visit the site of praiseworthy 4 Paws for Ability
, the organization that helped make this story possible. Or just watch their video here
In this time of life-changing legislation, get to know
Animal Legal Defense Fund
ALDF is a force worth recognizing. Link to Animal Legal Defense Fund here
, use the image below (click it!) to go directly to their interactive map ranking the status of the states of our union when animal protection is the ruler (prepare to experience dignified disgust!), and see the full report here
. Let's hope change is in the making!
The Final Straw... Humane Society International
We leave you this month with a horror story
taking place on the other side of the globe... a place where organizations like the Humane Society and the ASPCA and PETA don't exist... but thankfully, Boai Small Animal Protection Center does. Perhaps you've read about the dog meat trade that remains a prevalent aspect of many Asian cultures, as evidenced at the 2012 Yulin Dog Meat Festival
in China. We were happy to see that Boai staged a vocal protest at that festival. And we're grateful that organizations like AnimalsAsia
exist, and carry on the good work of advocating for those who need it most in countries where support for animals isn't always at the top of the list. Link to the related stories through the image at left and the highlighted text above, and join us in a small show of protest by participating in Meatless Mondays
this year, care of HSUS!
Click the image below for images from the historic day of decision - June 26, 2013
SEE YOU NEXT MONTH!
Happy summer from Aussie Doodle Acres!
We're excited to tell you that very soon, we'll be making some changes to our online labradoodle land. We'll be updating our website, adding content, and in house we'll be shifting our focus even more toward our therapy and assistance dog aspirations! To start, though, we've moved our DogBlog for reasons we'll leave up to you to sleuth out. So stay tuned for the July post, which should be up within the week. Thanks for your continued support, and your love of dogs! Stay cool, and we'll see you soon!
Remember, all the green text transports you to linked websites!
That's right, June has arrived, and with it comes the exciting first day of summer - June 21 this year. Interestingly, the first day of summer this year is also Go Skateboarding Day
, which we just learned about here at The Acres. It was founded in 2003, and if you're a skateboarder or have ever wanted to learn, we encourage you to check out the day's site by clicking on the link in green above. Skateboarding might just be how you choose to get or stay in shape for Men's Health Month
, which is also observed every June. Just be sure to wear a helmet, since June marks National Safety Month
in the United States too. And as if there weren't enough to keep you busy on Friday, June 21, this year it's also Take Your Dog To Work Day
, which, being breeders of working dogs, we think should take top priority for just about everyone! (Check out the second video at "An Awesome Place & A Great Campaign"
in our December 2012 DogBlog
, and "Bring-Your-Dog-To-Work-Day... EVERY DAY
" in our March 2012 DogBlog
for fun, related stories!) Still need something to do? Well, head out to your local blues club to celebrate Black Music Month
, or head out to one of the many parades and celebrations during LGBT Pride Month
, in honor and remembrance of the Stonewall Riots of 1969
Long before the dog- and action-packed June 21, however, is a more ominous day, arriving on the first of the month. June 1 marks the official start to the Atlantic hurricane season, the beastliest storms of which we've written about before, as at the end of our August 2012 DogBlog
. Natural disasters are always terrifying to us, and to our pets, and having a plan in place that includes your four-legged friends is a must. We were reminded of that and of how service dogs like the Australian labradoodles we raise at Aussie Doodle Acres
are often called upon for their special talents, just this past month in the aftermath of the devastating tornado that flattened Moore, Oklahoma. We begin this month's DogBlog with that story.
The destruction and death left behind in the wake of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado
are unbelievable to all of us. And while the people living in or near Tornado Alley are better prepared than most to weather these incredible storms and to rebuild what they've lost, they have still lost, and suffered, and despaired. As for animals, they fall into three groups when natural disasters of this magnitude tear through our lives. There are the pets lucky enough to be kept out of harm's way and close to their families, that help to comfort their frightened human counterparts and give them hope and even smiles in the aftermath. There are those that run away and are lost to their owners, as well as those that lose their lives in the chaos. And in the third group, once the threat itself passes and the dust settles enough to begin the search and rescue, there are the dogs that act as first responders to sniff out survivors, both human and animal alike, and to locate and recover the dead. Click on the image above to read about the specially trained K9s and their uniformed handlers, some of the most important teams on the ground after the Moore tornado passed, and read here about the amazing organization that made them possible: The Search Dog Foundation
Yahoo! News | PUP's Brian Valente & Finn
| HSUS |
Certainly the valiant search and rescue dogs in Oklahoma would qualify for a spot in the running in one of our favorite annual contests. Each year the Humane Society of the United States hosts the Pets of Valor Award, honoring the bonds between big-hearted humans and their adopted or rescued animals, and in particular highlighting an animal that "exhibited an extraordinary sense of courage or resolve by heroically helping a person in need." As breeders and lovers of service and therapy dogs, we at Aussie Doodle Acres hold a special place for dogs that help people in any capacity. If you want to read about the cream of this year's crop, though, click on the photo strip at right and meet the 2013 Pets of Valor award finalists: Rocky, Mabeline, Lilly, Chilly, and Taz (not pictured). To learn more about the award itself, including how you can nominate your own deserving dog (or cat), click on the logo at far right.
In this era of rampant terrorist threats, both foreign and domestic, and with every person and organization operating at a heightened level of awareness and suspicion, we have grown used to the extensive and time-consuming security checkpoints throughout our nation's airports. We barely notice when a handler passes us in the terminal on the heels of a bomb sniffing dog, just as we've long since been accustomed to seeing drug sniffing dogs at the airport, at our international borders, and in the news (how about this interesting recent twist in Washington State
). What we might not be so used to seeing are service and therapy dogs like the ones in the PUP program. These dogs are the kind that inspired us to get into the business, and if we're lucky, maybe one day we can devote all our time to traveling around the world spreading unconditional canine love to jet-setters everywhere. Click on the image to read about Pets Unstressing Passengers, and check out the specifics at Los Angeles International
and Miami International
airports. If you meet any of these friendly fur balls during your summer travels, say "Hi" from all of us here at The Acres!
Dogs = More Bacteria Shutterstock
But wait! It's not all bad! In fact, new research from scientists at North Carolina State University and the University of Colorado confirms not only the greater diversity of bacteria in homes with dogs, but the surprising benefits that exposure to more bacteria brings. Click the image to read more.
Dogs = allergy resistance UCB | lifewithdogs.tv
I know, it sounds counter-intuitive. But as you may have gleaned from the previous segment on bacteria, it has been known for some time that exposure to allergens, and in particular exposure in our early years, tends to reduce our overall sensitivity to those allergens. Follow the image above to read new evidence of this phenomenon.
Dogs = heart health? American Heart Association
Ok, to be fair, evidence suggests a reduction in heart disease risk for owners of any pets, not just dogs. Want to learn more? Follow the eager pup above to the full story.
- What? No time to make your own frozen doggie treats? Check out FreezyPups!!
And we leave you this month with a bit of frivolity for summer. But it's in keeping with what's important to us here at the Acres. In this case, we've found a great puppy product that also does good things for the environment... by reducing waste in a seemingly completely unrelated industry. Click the image at left, and be amazed as we were by what they're doing at Astral, and how your pooch will benefit. The Astrobed is our new favorite product. See you next month!
It's hard to believe May is already here! We're looking forward to Cinco de Mayo
, and of course we have big plans to shower our mothers with love this Mother's Day
(May 12th). We also just learned about World Fair Trade Day
, on May 11th this year, and plan to take advantage of Fair Trade USA's awesome website
for responsible, sustainable gift ideas - including these fair trade flowers
! May is also National Military Appreciation Month, crowned by Memorial Day
on the 27th, and we've included a great piece in honor of our service members later in this post. Finally, May is the national Awareness Month for Skin Cancer
, Brain Tumors, and Mental Health, as well as National Bike Month, featuring Bike-To-Work Week
(May 13-17) and Bike-To-Work Day
. With such a national focus on health, we couldn't help but follow suit and start this month's post with several interesting and important articles that will help you keep your favorite canine healthy and happy. Enjoy!
To Your Dog's Health!
© Dmitriy Kapitonenko / Fotolia
First things first. If you're an avid animal lover as we are here at Aussie Doodle Acres
, you know the importance of spaying and neutering your dog (or cat) to prevent overpopulation and reduce the likelihood and frequency of euthanasia in shelters. What you may not know is how the medical procedure of sterilization otherwise affects your pet's health. A recently published research study spanning 20 years and over 40,000 dogs has concluded that canines that are spayed or neutered live longer, on average, by about 1.5 years. With longer life, however, these animals also experience a change in the liklihood of contracting certain diseases, including cancer. Click the image at left to read the full Science Daily article, and learn about this interesting and unfortunate trade-off that occurs in sterilized pets.
It has become common knowledge in recent years that America has a problem with its weight. The widespread awareness of this was bolstered in part through the success of films like Fast Food Nation
and Supersize Me
, as well as the popular television series, The Biggest Loser
. Obesity has become increasingly common, with more than a third of the United States adult population now categorized as obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
. But American adults aren't the only ones tipping the scales in frightening numbers. With an increase of more than ten percent over the last 30 years, obesity has been passed down to greater numbers of America's children, too. And yes, even our pets are not left out of this tragic trend. According to the results of the 2012 National Pet Obesity Survey
, more than half of all dogs and cats in the United States are now obese or overweight. There seems to be a new bit of good news on the pet obesity front, though, recently published in the Journal of Animal Science
. University of Illinois professor Kelly Swanson and his colleagues have been studying how food and environmental factors have affected animals at the genetic level since they became domesticated, and how this has resulted in an overall shift in pet weight. Read the Science Daily article on their findings and on nutrigenomics
, the relatively new field that may hold the keys to eventually preventing pet obesity at its source... or so we hope.
Worried About Your Pooch's "Pooch"? Read On!
Of course, as in humans, your pet's diet plays a huge role in his or her health, and in maintaining a healthy weight. Aside from making it a priority to buy high-quality pet food that is mostly protein and free of fillers, you can contribute to your furry friend's optimum health with all natural treats made from sweet potatoes, or by making your own treats, like these chips
that you both can enjoy. And according to the article you'll read when you click on the image above, you should add sardines to your pet's diet, and to yours! With a dash of turmeric. Bon appétit!
Equally important to the health of your four-legged buddy, just as it is to your own health, is exercise. One of the best ways for your pet to get a sufficient amount of cardio-vascular activity each day is by playing with toys! As you'll learn in the Humane Society
article linked to the image above, the right types of toys are essential to the overall health of your pet, especially if that pet is left alone at home for hours at a time. Toys can also be a great way for you and your best friend to interact in meaningful ways. Read the full article to learn about recommended toys and activities to keep your best friend happy and healthy while you both have fun!
dogster.com | FitBark
Of course, when we're trying to monitor our own health, or follow a new diet, we generally have a bit more information to work with than we do if we try the same with our pet. That's mainly because we're not with our pets twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the way we unavoidably are with ourselves. Well, now there's a fun new product for all the gadget lovers and health enthusiasts out there who need a better way to monitor their dog's activities. It's called FitBark
, and may just become your new best friend to help your current best friend be the healthiest he or she can be. Click the image for more information, including how to pre-order yours through FitBark's Kickstarter
Helping Our Troops... One Pet At A Time
As promised, in honor of all the armed service members who are the reason May is National Military Appreciation Month, and all the fallen heroes that make Memorial Day a sad necessity, we bring you one of our favorite kinds of stories. People helping people, by helping their animals. The Department of Defense (DoD)
may be ultimately responsible for these service members' deployment orders, but it's the new DoD - Dogs On Deployment
- that is helping ensure that deployed service members' pets are well cared for in their temporary absence. Click the image to read the Dogster.com article about this incredible organization and to see pictures of animals currently in need of boarding. And check out the DoD website
to learn even more, including how you can volunteer, create your own account, or become a supporting business.
Fashionistas Help Rebuild Boston
The day after the Boston Marathon bombings
, Kathy Palmer opened her pet boutique to the masses, human and canine alike. The people of Boston who entered The Fish and Bone
that day shared stories and disbelief and tears, while Kathy shared her safe space and free-flowing dog treats. Inspired by the strength of her city's inhabitants, Kathy worked with her fellow business owners to produce the powerful garment you see modeled on the pooch in the image at right. Click on the image to read the full article, including Kathy's connection to One Fund Boston
, which has raised nearly twenty-eight million dollars for those directly affected by the bombings. Maybe humanity hasn't gone to the dogs quite yet. Not in a bad way, at least. See you next month!
How happy are we that Spring is here again! Granted, we may not be looking forward to getting pranked on April Fool's
, and April 15
is only fun if you're expecting a refund. But for the most part, Spring is an exciting time in the northern hemisphere. (Spring is great where our dogs come from
too, but right now it's winter there.) The return of the sun and with it fields of fragrant flowers... the scent of love in each passing breeze... certainly the animals sense this, and we humans (animals as well!) feel it too. The coming month brings us a host of important days... Earth Day
(April 22), Arbor Day
(April 26 this year)... and World Health Day
, which inspired several of the articles chosen for this month's post. As we leave behind the month of March, which saw the Supreme Court in the headlines as they heard oral arguments
centered around the debate over marriage equality and the constitutionality of DOMA,
we segue into this month's post with a different Supreme Court decision related to another infamous day in April
... and from there we ease you into each subsequent article with a similar, can-you-find-the-common-theme transition... see if you can spot them all, and enjoy!
On an annually historic election day Tuesday just last year, successful voter initiatives in Colorado and Washington
resulted in the decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use in those states. And on a recent Tuesday this March, the highest court in the land cast their vote on a loosely related issue, in the shadow of the historic and far more highly publicized oral arguments surrounding marriage equality and DOMA. The opinion in Florida v. Jardines
passed down on March 26 by the Supreme Court involved marijuana cultivation, and limits the use of drug-sniffing dogs in certain circumstances related to citizens' protections under the Fourth Amendment. It just goes to show, even with their incredible talents, service dogs' reins aren't outside SCOTUS's jurisdictional pull. Click the image to read the full article, and find out which five Justices, including several seemingly unlikely candidates, came down in favor of restricting these K-9 super sniffers and their law enforcement handlers.
Monika Wisniewska / Fotolia
Wouldn't you know it. Just as the highest court in the land rules that the amazing sniffing talents of our four-legged friends have to be restricted, scientists discover the key to improving dogs' ability to smell. With a one million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, researchers from Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine and Auburn University found a diet that helps support optimum olfactory performance in dogs. (Would you believe it calls for more fat?!) As if that weren't enough good news, through a refined testing method the researchers also gathered strong evidence that the overall accuracy of trained sniffing dogs is significantly higher than previously thought. Click the image for all the details about this remarkable breakthrough that will improve the life-saving performance of bomb sniffing-dogs, even if their drug-sniffing counterparts aren't always allowed to show off their newly heightened talents since the recent Supreme Court opinion.
If you know WHO (...get it? Need another Clue
?) originally made this day internationally recognized, then you must know that April 7 is World Health Day
. True, this day is generally associated with people. But at Aussie Doodle Acres
we're constantly interacting with and monitoring the health of our dogs, so we couldn't help relating this day to them. In 2013, the theme of World Health Day will be hypertension
, a chronic medical condition that affects the four-pawed just as it does their owners. And while a diet higher in fat may improve a trained bomb- or drug-sniffing dog's track record, chances are it won't be so good for your canine buddy if she suffers from a chronic health problem such as hypertension. Luckily, the helpful health-conscious folks at Modern Dog magazine pulled together all the details you'll need this April 7 to insure that your furry friend is on track to a long, happy life. Click the image for tips to manage everything from allergies to arthritis to diabetes... Happy World Health Day!
Buckle Up, Bowser
MSN Autos Exhaust Notes
Making sure your pooch is eating a well-balanced diet, and one specific to his particular needs or her unique health issues, will certainly help insure you get to spend many more happy years together. But there are obviously other factors contributing to, or threatening, your best friend's health. If you ever drive your dog to the park, to the vet, to the groomer, to a play date, then you'll definitely
want to read this article from MSN. In response to the apparent lack of effective car safety harnesses for pets, and no crash test data related specifically to animals, Lindsey Wolko founded the non-profit Center for Pet Safety
. With a goal of standardizing animal safety equipment across the board, the Center is certainly an organization we at the Acres will be following closely. Click the image, and read about Lindsey's goals, the related fight encapsulated in the legislative bill sponsored by Grace Spencer, and which major auto company has signed on to help this worthy cause.
PETA's Heroic Mutt Award
Watching out for the safety of our favorite four-legged friends is something we do almost without thinking, as pet owners. But less obvious, perhaps, is how instinctively animals
watch out for our
safety. At Aussie Doodle Acres, our focus is on a special class of dogs
for whom service is a way of life, dogs who act as therapists to their human counterparts... working dogs who keep our soldiers and law enforcement safe, giving selflessly in ways that go beyond the rigorous playtime most of us expect of the beasts that sleep at our feet each night. It's easy to forget that, without thinking, even your dog or ours will surprise us just by following its instincts, its best inner nature. Such was the case with Mole, hamming it up for the camera here, who saved the life of a human stranger purely on instinct. Click on the image to read the amazing story, and see how this beautiful animal who saved a human life was honored by one of the most important human organizations
saving the lives of beautiful animals.
Hall of Fame Therapy Dog
Her name is Lily. Lily is thirteen years old. Lily is a gorgeous 13-year-old terrier, and Lily is a therapy dog. In addition to sharing a name with one of our founding canine matrons, Lily is the epitome of what we strive for in every one of our Australian labradoodles
here at the Acres. Even at the near-elderly age of 13, and somewhat physically limited now, Lily continues to do everything she can to put smiles on the faces of humans young and old... and she doesn't disappoint. Click on the image to read about Lily, her owner Marcia Solomon, and which Hall of Fame Lily was recently inducted into because of her incredible and ceaseless courage, talent, and selflessness. Lily is a prime example of why we started Aussie Doodle Acres, and we hope she brings you the same inspiration in your own endeavors.
Service dogs are still dogs. They love to run and jump and play. They love to lick our faces and bark at birds. They eat and sleep, and some of them, like the military service dog assigned to Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, protect. They save lives, or do their best to.
In the land down under where our breed
originates, ANZAC Day
memorializes the Australian and New Zealand service members who fought at Galipoli during World War I. While there may not have been any service dogs in the ranks of ANZAC back then, there certainly are now - just as there are among our own military forces stationed around the globe.
In the case of Tumilson, a life was lost. And Hawkeye, Tumilson's faithful canine protector, mourned his loss alongside the rest of Tumilson's human family. In fact, Hawkeye refused to leave Jon's side, even in death, and this incredible example of animal compassion gained the labrador more than fame, more than notoriety. The story of Hawkeye and Tumilson
inspired the popular TV show NCIS to devote an episode to service members and their service dogs everywhere - the undeniably important work they do to keep us all safe, and the unbelievable bond they form that never, ever breaks. Thanks to NCIS for shining a spotlight on these heroes. Read about it with a click of the heart-melting image at left, and give thanks as we do to the service men, women, and dogs who give everything they have every day of their lives to keep all of us here at home safe and sound.
Getting To Know Your Dog... Better
The story of Jon Tumilson and Hawkeye clearly demonstrates the close bond that can, and almost always does, arise between man (or woman) and man's (or woman's) best friend. You as dog owners, and we here at the Acres
as dog owners and breeders and trainers, know this all too well from personal experience. We sometimes feel like the connection we establish with our dogs is so strong and uncanny that they really understand us, really know us - and vice versa.
Well, forgive the reference to our earlier article in this post, but buckle your seatbelts. The brilliant scientists at Dognition have developed a fine-tuned system to not only pinpoint your dog's individual strengths, but to help you understand your pup better
, interact more effectively, and bring even more joy and fulfillment to both you and your furry friend every day. You can read what the Huffington Post has to say about Dognition
, and click on the screenshot at right to visit the website and read about the science for yourself. We wish you and your beast the best, always. See you next month!
1. The season marking the end of winter in the northern hemisphere, associated with rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection, and regrowth.
The first day of spring is just around the corner once again, along with the verdant St. Patrick's Day, the flora and fauna of Easter, and The Acres' anniversary! Nearly two years ago, Aussie Doodle Acres was formed with the goal of bringing one of the world's newest, most intelligent and remarkable canine breeds to the forefront of the service and therapy movement. As we look forward and start our third year on the heels of three successful litters of beautiful beasts, we reinvigorate our focus on training these already talented dogs, and reconnect to the thing that got us started in the first place - our passionate commitment to helping others, and our fascination with how animals can facilitate that goal in so many incredible ways.For those looking forward to March simply for sporting reasons, check out how your canine buddy can help you show your NCAA pride in the midst of the Madness; or see the awesome story (and video!) of one minor league baseball team's newly adopted mascot before the start of spring training. But the real focus this month is on helping those in need and honoring those deserving, both human and animal alike. We hope you enjoy, and find something helpful along the way.
Animals helping people...
Erin Burnett | sciencedaily.com
At The Acres, therapy dogs are in our wheelhouse. Raising and training animals to improve the lives of humans with specific needs is what we do, so we're always on the lookout for new ways our animals can help. It seems the home of our lovely Australian labradoodle breed is also the origin of new research into the positive effects of animals on autistic children. Childhood can be difficult enough without added challenges. For those with autism spectrum disorders
, however, socializing with others is often a daunting prospect. But scientists at the University of Queensland have observed that introducing an animal into the mix may be just what the doctor ordered. Click on the photo to read about their encouraging findings.
The month of March was originally named after the ancient god of war, Mars. As breeders of service animals, we know all too well that dogs are no strangers to war. Looking ahead to the imminent end of our country's involvement in Afghanistan, we're happy to see that humans aren't the only ones being retired from that war. Slick, pictured at right, served two tours in Afghanistan, totaling one year, and has now retired from military service having saved the lives of countless human companions with his keen bomb sniffing snout. But at just 5 years old, Slick isn't ready to end his service career just yet. Follow the link in Slick's photo to read the full article and watch the video of the training he's receiving for his next assignment.
People helping animals...
A large part of making sure our service animals are prepared to do their best work is giving them every advantage possible. We feed them food made from the purest, healthiest ingredients that match their ancestral dietary needs... we make sure they get plenty of exercise and time to socialize with humans and other dogs alike. This month, we thought we'd share a few ways you can give back to your pet to say thanks, and to ensure your best friend will be around as long as you are. Try this!
Don't stop once you've found the best no-filler, all natural dog food for your four-legged pals. With the help of Dr. Deva Khalsa, a leader in holistic veterinary medicine, commit to adding years and joy to your canine's life through nutrition and disease prevention. Click the image to see Dr. Khalsa's website and purchase her book, Natural Dog
. Your pup will thank you!
Kevin Moloney | HSUS
Sure, it may sound silly at first. "You want me to do what? Massage my dog?" But as surely as we know that massage can be healing and therapeutic when we've had a long day at work or are suffering from muscle tightness and pain, a growing number of "alternative" veterinarians have no doubt of its benefits for our pets. Click the photo and read all about what they do, and how you can do it too.
Brush your canine's canines!
We all know we should do it, but how many of us really do? Not nearly enough, it seems. Maybe we think it's too difficult. Maybe we don't think it's that important. Whatever the reason, we're wrong. And maybe after reading this informative article
and the infographic below, you'll add Fido's teeth to your morning routine.
People helping people with animals...
In the aftermath of the national economic meltdown, and battling our way to come back through the slow recovery, the reality of how close each of us may be to the possibility of unemployment, wage reduction, and even outright poverty, has hit close to home. Or it has hit home, and sent us reeling. But of those hit hardest, those left with the least to work with in tough times, the pet owners have yet another challenge... how to keep their furry best friends around when they have barely or not enough to feed themselves. For humans, one option is the federally funded food stamps program. But until recently, struggling families were most often forced to abandon their pets as an additional expense, leaving them to wander free as strays or committing them to almost certain death in overcrowded shelters. Enter Mark Okon, and his brilliant Pet Food Stamps
program. Watch the video and read the Huffington Post article
to celebrate with us the innovative and remarkable endeavor that Mark started. Share this resource with anyone you might know who can potentially benefit from his efforts. He inspired us, and we hope his honorable work will have the same effect on you.
People honoring animals...
Facebook Military Working Dogs
As we touched on near the top of this post, and as we've blogged about before (see DogBlog Oct 2012
, Apr 2012
, and Jan 2012
), service (or "working") dogs have become an integral part of our military establishment. With their intelligence, keen senses and responsiveness to highly specific training, canines are able to perform a wide range of tasks that help ensure more human soldiers return home safely each year. For the first time since service dogs were introduced into the ranks over 70 years ago, our nation has seen fit to establish a national monument to these courageous members of our armed forces. This coming October, the U.S. Military Working Dogs Monument
will come to rest at its permanent home at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Until then, it is touring the country as a reminder and testament, honoring the four-legged protectors of our two-legged brethren in uniform. Click on the image to read the full article, view the slideshow of images celebrating these amazing animals and their handlers, and see a video of one dog who lost a leg so his best (human) friends wouldn't have to.
People honoring people who honor animals...
We leave you this month with an invitation. Well, actually, we're sharing an invitation extended by the Humane Society of the United States, to their annual Genesis Awards
. These awards honor those in the media and public spotlight who help to raise awareness of important animal-related issues each year. From those in the news media to silver screen celebrities, the Genesis Awards keep tabs all year and pay homage each spring to these heroes. This year's gala will take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on March 23. Get your tickets now before they sell out, and help support those who support such a great cause all year long. See you next month!