Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
In his book he tells about Lou, who was born of guard dogs on a secret marijuana farm in Mendicino County.
Lou truly was one dog in a million. On the winter day that the ailing, tick-infested feral pup was rescued by Steve Duno, neither dog nor man had a clue as to what they were getting into, or where the relationship would lead.
Last Dog on the Hill tells the story of an indigent young Rottweiler mix who, after abandoning his pack and the hills of his birth, went on to change the lives of hundreds of people and dogs, including the author’s, whose career as a behaviorist and writer was made possible through Lou’s extraordinary intelligence and heart. Lou won the respect of gang members, foiled an armed robbery, caught a rapist, fought coyotes and kidnappers, comforted elderly war veterans and Alzheimer patients in their final days, taught ASL to kids, learned scores of unique behaviors and tricks, amassed a vocabulary of nearly 200 words, helped rehabilitate hundreds of aggressive dogs and saved them from euthanasia. He was also a clown, consummate performer and Steve’s best friend for sixteen years. His story will make readers laugh and cry in equal measures.
Veteran pet behaviorist/author Steve Duno has to date authored eighteen books and scores of magazine and web articles. He has covered a wide variety of subject matter on both dogs and cats, including basic training, aggression, environmental enrichment, behavior modification, breed profiling, trick training, and pet health care. His career in dog training began in 1989 when he rescued Lou, a feral six month-old Rottweiler/shepherd. The offspring of guard dogs on a Mendocino marijuana grow, the sick and injured Lou was both smart and wild. In an effort to tame the intelligent pup, Duno inadvertently began his twenty year career as a behaviorist and trainer. Together, Duno and Lou helped to save hundreds of dogs from euthanasia. Formerly a teacher in New York City and Los Angeles, he currently lives in Seattle with his family and an ever-changing assortment of rescued pets.
To check out his website or order his book see http://www.steveduno.com/
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Smile File straight from the Amazon. Tonic checks in with Hear the World's Global Explorers Trip six days into their journey.
Think of the epic friendships of all time, Butch and Sundance, Thelma and Louise, Turner and Hooch and now add, Charlie and Pacho.
Pacho is a black shepherd mix dog and Charlie is one of the world’s largest rodents, the capybara of the Peruvian Amazon, which I encountered on Hear the World’s Global Explorer’s expedition.
They’re both rescues. Charlie was saved from a family who killed his mother for meat and then tried to keep the rodent as a pet until he got much too big for their two room hut. To be fair, Charlie was the size of a typical guinea pig when he was a baby. Now he weighs more than 70 lbs. He was moved into the Explornapo Lodge, an eco-tourism site on the Napo River, a tributary of the Amazon.
“We tried to release Charlie back into the wild but he kept coming back,” explains Explorama guide Cliver Rioja.
Pacho was similarly found in a village by an American volunteer affectionately called, Pachita, by the local river people. He was a 3-week-old puppy weighing only 2 lbs. She brought him to the lodge and the staff nursed him to health.
Now three years later, this unlikely pair is inseparable. During the days when the equatorial heat reaches around 100 degrees they dive into the Napo river together to cool off. Charlie, with his ineffectual rodent limbs can’t swim so he is relegated to the shallow end. If he goes out too far Pacho nudges him back to safety.
During meal times, the pair has a foolproof system whereby one of them guards the front of the kitchen and one guards the back, maximizing the potential for scraps which they divvy up with their very different snouts and share with each other.
Pacho vigilantly guards Charlie from a testy grey winged trumpeter (a bird that looks like a small ostrich) who wants to pick bugs off Charlie’s back with his beak. It hurts.
And at night when it is finally cool, they cuddle together beneath the stairs of the lodge's dining hall, bodies entwined, no clue they aren’t exactly the same.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Her book, Saving Cinnamon, is set against the backdrop of the war in Afghanistan, and chronicles the love story of Navy Reservist Mark Feffer and a stray puppy he bonded with while stationed outside of Kandahar. When Mark is about to return stateside, he decides to adopt Cinnamon and sets up her transport back to the United States. But the unthinkable happens: Cinnamon is abandoned by the dog handler who was supposed to bring her home and disappears without a trace. Mark and his family start a desperate search for the puppy that lasts forty-four days and ends dramatically when Mark and Cinnamon are finally reunited. This is a touching memoir told by Mark's sister, Christine, who initiated the rescue efforts.
Christine Sullivan has worked in sales and technology for decades before finding her true passion in life—caring for animals in need. She initiated the search for Cinnamon and was instrumental in bringing her home to the U.S. She is the co-founder of New Hope For Animals and continues to work with Operation Baghdad Pups. She now lives in Vermont with her family and dogs.
We are very excited to have Christine Sullivan as part of the "Animal Anthology team". More information is to come.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Rescuers leap at the chance to help 118 test-lab beagles find new homes.
It was on a warm Fourth of July weekend when a group of animal welfare rescue groups finally resolved to rescue the 118 lab-tested beagles confined in plexiglass crates in Madison, New Jersey.
The dogs had spent years confined in solitary boxes with hardly any humane contact, when they were finally rescued by St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center. They'd spent the past few weeks living trapped in a bankrupt research facility, with animal caretakers climbing the fences just to provide food and water for them. Immediately after being freed, animal rescue groups, including Best Friends Animal Society, flew in staff members to help manage the assessments and temporary housing for the beagles.
Its hard to imagine the amazement these floppy-eared dogs felt when suddenly they were whisked away from their previous, isolated life in a climate-controlled facillity into the blazing heat at their temporary rescue facility. Best Friends' Anna Gonce, knowing the heat would be alarming to the beagles, got a tent, generators, air-conditioning units and fans to make them feel more comfortable.
Adapting to temperature variation was only the first of many adjustments the animals had to make as they took baby steps into normal life. The first time they saw actual sunlight was a stunning moment to many of them, along with having to confront grass. Most of the dogs were nervous about stepping on the long, green, waving turf, having lived on hard man-made surfaces their whole lives.
However, being like most cheerful beagles, the canines soon began to become excited about the new possibilities after just a few days. Even in the earliest hours after arrival, "none was unapproachable," says Gonce. They just didn't seem to expect or understand affection from people.
Once the temporary rescue center was open to public the beagles became incredibly friendly."They would race up to the front and wag their tails and lick when you'd stick your finger in." Says Gonce. Not only that, at about 6 p.m. they all would bark in unison for a few seconds, because that was the time the lights would normally go out in the lab where they lived.
"The beagles weren't trained or leash-trained but they were all in quite good health." Gonce says, "Although many need to have a great deal of dental work done on them."
Whatever troubles may have been in their past, there has been enormous interest from people eager to provide homes. Already, nearly every last one has been adopted and sent to good homes. Now the only problems these beagles will face is learning how to walk the stairs, take dog biscuits, and enjoy a soft chair or bed.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The first of four veterinarians from the National Zoo has left for Louisiana to help clean, rehabilitate and release animals affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, NBC4 reports.
The veterinarians will rotate in and out of Houma, La., over the next eight weeks to help at an incident command center, where they will be working with the U.S. Coast Guard to help determine where to release the rehabilitated animals.
Here is a Post gallery of photos documenting efforts to help animals affected by the spill.
-Washington Post, Lori Aratani
Monday, July 12, 2010
We owe most of our success to writers like you for the wonderful contributions of inspiration, hope, overcoming life's challenges and realized dreams related to animals. We welcome stories and poems from contributors of any age.
Our goal is to create anthologies with quality non-fiction writing, fiction writing, and artwork from people across the country. Currently we are accepting writing for our three anthologies: Animal Fiction, Top 100 Animal Tales, and Teens & Animals.
The best writing and artwork will be selected and may get published in the anthology. Anyone is welcome to submit their story or artwork, whether they are an animal lover, professional, teenager, or student.
Our tentative deadline for our current anthologies is December 31, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
ANIMAL TAILS: THE ‘WRITE’ WAY TO HELP ANIMALS!
Calling all writers! Calling all writers! Christine Catlin would like to publish your animal stories.
Christine is gathering stories from animal lovers far and wide to include them in an anthology, a collection of writings from many different authors. She’s hoping to receive enough material to fill three books! Each book will have a unifying theme: Animal Fiction, Top 100 Animal Tales, and Teens & Animals. And the best part is that proceeds raised from the sale of the books will benefit Best Friends!
“The opportunity to write about animals is limited. Especially for teens,” says Christine. As an animal lover herself, she knows how difficult it can be to find publications willing to accept her stories. And Christine has plenty of stories to tell. She’s raised butterflies and owned fish, cats and birds. She began The Anthology Project to encourage teens to write about their connections with animals. That’s why she is accepting submissions from writers regardless of age.
Christine has done a lot of legwork on the anthologies already, securing a literary agent, creating a website and contacting many well-known animal writers to request submissions. So far, notable authors Bob Tarte, Lois Duncan, Irene Pepperberg and Jacqueline Sheehan have agreed to contribute their stories.
Maybe you’ve written a fictional short story about a cat who saves the day or a personal essay about a service dog. Or maybe your talent lies on the artistic side. You’re not left out. Christine is also planning to include artwork in the anthology. Submit your writing or artwork through Christine’s website and you may get published in the anthology and help Best Friends animals to boot!
Right now Christine is accepting submissions until December 31st and plans to publish the books in 2011. So if you have a funny, uplifting or heartwarming animal story, send it to Christine. She’d love to read it, and maybe you’ll be seeing your words in print soon.
Visit her website at The Animal Anthology Project for more information or to submit your story.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
How did you first become involved with animal rescue?
My mother is a psychologist, and when I was 15 years old she called me from her office and said one of her patients had shown up with a dog. [The woman] lived in an apartment where the people next door were cocaine users. They would leave their door open, and sometimes the dog would get into the cocaine and end up getting out of the apartment and wander around in a stupor. One day she found the dog in the middle of the street looking kind of dazed. She couldn’t stand it any more so she took the dog. She was on her way to see my mother and told my mom the story. My mom called me from her office, and asked, “Do you want this dog?” And we took her in.
I became active in rescue and adoption when I met my manager. She got me my first membership to Best Friends as a Christmas gift and made a donation in my name. The donation came with a magazine subscription, and I started reading it. It’s thanks to her that I’ve become interested in participating on a larger scale.
Can you explain the Puppies Aren’t Products Campaign? Why did you decide to become involved, and what is your role?
When I started reading about what Best Friends was doing at their sanctuary in Kanab, I was amazed by their larger goal: that there shouldn’t be any homeless pets.
The first step [of the Puppies Aren’t Products campaign] is to have a no-kill shelter to eliminate the existence of a shelter where they euthanize animals. The second step is shutting down puppy mills to stop the cruel over-breeding that brings new animals into the world when there are plenty who need homes. The third step is to encourage people to rescue or adopt when they look for a pet. If we were able to implement these three steps, we would live in a world where there were no homeless pets. It’s so simple of a concept.
Best Friends isn’t just responsible for the sanctuary. They have different organizational branches in different cities, and they are involved with every aspect of this goal. My part is raising awareness about what it means to adopt, what it can offer you, the lives that you can save, and also educating people about debunking the myth of adopting.
What myth is that?
There are a lot of them. There is a myth that there are dogs [in shelters] who are aggressive or who have some sort of a traumatic past that you’re going to rehabilitate in some capacity. There are also dogs who are not spayed or neutered. I’m also working on debunking the myth that the only dogs you can get in shelters are all sick. People should know that chances are your dog’s going to have a little something. If you put them all in a shelter together, dogs get things from each other. The truth is, you go to the vet for your first check-up anyway when you get a dog, and the vet gives you a little bit of penicillin. You give your dog the penicillin for a week or two, and they’re fine.
When we rescued my dog, Honey, they pointed out a couple of things on her skin and on her lips that they weren’t sure about, and they said, “We think this is this, but we don’t know exactly, and you’ll have to take her to the vet and get her checked out.” We didn’t know how sick she was going to be, but we had some idea that we were volunteering for anything. We had the luxury of knowing that we could afford treatment if she got sick. Not everybody can. Medical bills for dogs are expensive, and you want to ensure you’ve got a healthy dog. If you have the luxury of being able to afford to care for a dog who needs extra care, then go for it. It is unbelievably rewarding.
Do you currently have any dogs?
When Honey died, the best way we thought to honor her would be to rescue a couple more, so we went to a shelter in East L.A., and we got two amazing dogs. We have a Cocker Spaniel named Mama Bear and a Miniature Poodle/Jack Russell mix named Jack Sprat like the nursery rhyme.
Do you bring your pets with you on set?
When I was filming in Dallas, I brought Honey with me, and I had her on set, but I haven’t traveled with Jack or Mama Bear for a couple of reasons. Number one, my boyfriend, Jamie, happens to be in L.A. right now, so we don’t travel with them unless we have to. They have their routines, and they’re so happy at home. They hike every day. To take them to hotel living with just regular walks wouldn’t be as much fun for them. The other reason is Mama Bear is too heavy. She exceeds the weight limit [for riding in plane cabins], and I absolutely refuse to put her in the cargo hold. I would really encourage people, unless you’re moving overseas, unless it’s a one-time deal and you cannot avoid it—please, for the love of God—do not put your dog in the cargo hold. They are traumatized. The temperature down there is freezing, it’s terrifying for them, and it’s so unbelievably noisy.
When you’re not filming, what do you and your dogs do for fun?
Hike. They love to, and it’s great for them. L.A. is perfect because there are canyons and hikes and trails everywhere filled with other dogs. They are social as well, so I like to take them to dog parks. We do play dates, too. It’s like having kids. My favorite thing is family wrestle. Jamie and I get on the floor with the two of them, and we all just kind of throw each other around. It’s our playtime.
Do you have any vacation plans this summer that involve your dogs?
We were thinking about renting an RV and going to different parts of the U.S.—just doing some sort of a trip where we can take the dogs hiking and camping.
How do you see your role within the animal-welfare community growing?
When I signed on to be the [Best Friends] spokesperson, I knew that I would commit to talking about [Puppies Aren’t Products] as much as possible and always try to be as educated as possible. One of the things that I’m trying to do a little more, especially when I’m not working, is local outreach and being physically present at events and adoptions—trying to participate on a smaller scale as well as a large scale. It helps support the local chapters and local outreach.
I’ve really started to relish the chance to go to local events and get involved at a grassroots level. I love meeting people who are so committed and relentless in their efforts; who dedicate unbelievable amounts of their time. I really admire their tenacity. I’ve also been working with the Humane Society of the United Sates (HSUS) to try to stop the Canadian seal hunt.
What was it about the seal hunt that spoke to you?
The HSUS got my attention because I’m a Canadian, and so they approached me saying, “Did you know that this is going on in your country?” And I didn’t, and it’s the largest mammal slaughter in the world. They asked if I was interested in becoming involved and I told them I was. Now, I try to stay in touch with what’s going on and raise awareness that this is happening.
I’ve tried to be involved [with animal rescue] as much as I can just because I think it’s so important. I think the way we treat our animals is a sign of a healthy society. In many, many ways, we’re not doing so well. We need to get better.
Do you think it’s helpful to have a familiar face, a celebrity, to promote your causes?
Thanks to the Twilight franchise, I am definitely known as an actor a lot more than I was before, but it’s not like I’m some big, über-famous movie star. I’m not the most high-profile person around by a long shot, and so I hope that one of the things that shows is that you don’t need the celebrity to be able to get involved; you don’t need to have 200,000 Twitter followers to do something. You just have to do, famous or not. You just give your time. You give your five bucks. Whatever it is, just do. --Megan Bender
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
- Please make sure animals have access to cool shelter at all times plus unlimited cool clean water, and they are well protected from the sun, heat and humidity.
- Do not travel with animals in vehicles; this risk becomes excessive due to lack of airflow below the window line where a pet sits.
- Additionally, interior temperatures can rise within minutes and kill your pet, since vehicles can act like an oven.
- Besides their extra hair being similar to humans wearing a heavy coat, most types of animals can be especially prone to heat stroke due to their inability to sweat all over their bodies.
- Panting is a sign the animal is trying to cool themselves and might need additional assistance such as a fan blowing cool air.
- Even if located under shade, dog houses can be especially deadly due to lack of air flow, even though the sun’s rays might not actually reach the animal.
- Digging of holes often means they are trying to find a cooler place for their bodies and are not comfortable.
- Caged and chained animals are especially at risk because they can’t leave the area to find a cooler place; keep your pets indoors instead.
- Please watch out for and immediately cool any animal exhibiting distress. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency which can become fatal in minutes.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
If you know a Dachshund, you're well aware that this spunky breed is always up for a challenge. You also know that they look really cute in doggy clothes.
Boniface, a Dachshund decked out in a special scuba diving suit, is no exception.
His owner, Sergei Gorbunov, a professional diver in the Pacific Coast city of Vladivostok had a sweet scuba suit complete with helmet made for Boniface, who seemed happy and eager to swim way under the water's surface in a recent demonstration.
Skateboard Dog, Tyson of Huntington Beach, is an incredible Bulldog that delights all who see him scooting and gliding along sidewalks near the beach. He's been on television and in movies, but he's best known and loved by those who see him skating most every day at Southern California beaches.
First raised as a pup by a snowboarder, Tyson was relocated to the beach and went crazy every time he saw skateboarders on an a cement bike and skate path at the beach. Barking and pulling with all his strength, his owners thought that he hated skateboards.
Amazingly, Tyson only wanted to get on the board and ride. He began riding at one year and became quite skilled. Tyson wants to ride every day and is unhappy when he misses a day, his owners say.
Surf Dog Ricochet does amazing work in California, where he recently hit the waves with Ian McFarland, a 6-year-old boy who suffered a brain injury in a car accident that claimed the lives of his parents.
Ricochet was a service dog reject — he was just too prone to chasing birds — who went on to become a “surf-ice” dog, raising money for charities through surfing demonstrations and assisting people with disabilities in other ways.
Most recently, he helped Ian, who used to surf with his dad, overcome his fears and get back in the ocean.
On top of the individuals he has helped, Ricochet's website says he has raised more than $30,000 in an 8-month period.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Saturday, July 3, party for a good cause during the Milkshake L.A. Independence Party at West Hollywood club 650 North, 650 N. La Cienega Blvd., from 10 p.m. to closing. The event raises money for Southern California organization spcaLA. Visitors can sign up online in advance of the event to be on its guest list; those on the guest list get in free before 10:30 p.m. Regular admission is $20.
Sunday, July 4, Acton-based farm animal sanctuary Animal Acres hosts its annual Fourth of July "Pignic," at which guests are invited to feast on vegan hot dogs and ice cream while getting to know the sanctuary's rescued residents. Activities include tours of the facility, opportunities to feed animals, field games, face-painting and more. Cost is $10; reservations aren't required. More information at AnimalAcres.org.
Sunday, July 4, don't forget to protect your pet while celebrating the Fourth of July. If you'll be away from home for the festivities, make sure your pet stays in a safe, quiet area; is not left unattended outdoors (even in a fenced yard); and is wearing a tag with your current contact information just in case he or she manages to make a run for it. Be sure to keep things like alcohol, matches, lighter fluid and citronella candles out of your pet's reach. More safety tips are available from the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.