In Animal News on November 17, 2009 at 9:16 pm
In the style of basketball’s March Madness, food guru Rachael Ray has created Mutt Madness, a competition for animal shelters and welfare organizations across the country. The competition begins with 64 organizations nominated by the public and then selected by a panel of celebrity judges, which is whittled down by half each round, in accordance with votes placed at the website. Sixty-four organizations becomes 32, and 32 becomes 16, then eight, and now the “final four,” where it stands today.
At the website, voters may learn more about each organization’s mission by reviewing its profile page before registering to vote for their favorites.
As an organization progresses through the competition, it receives $1,000 funding for each round in which it remains. The Grand Award Recipient, the candidate with the most votes during the final round of voting, will receive $50,000, with the Second Place Award Recipient receiving $25,000.
Still in the running are Freedom Service Dogs, Inc., an organization that rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to provide critical assistance to people with disabilities; Last Chance Ranch, Inc., which rescues animals from kill shelters but is now in danger of being shut down due to zoning laws if they cannot raise funds to rebuild; Angel’s Gate Hospice and Rehabilitation Home for Animals, a residential home for special needs animals; and Project POOCH, which rehabilitates “unadoptable” shelter dogs by pairing them with incarcerated youth for care and training.
As the competition nears its close, please visit RachaelRay.com/MuttMadness to learn more about these organizations and vote for your favorites. —Sarah Hughes
In Just for Fun on November 11, 2009 at 5:23 pm
Tails upcoming cover star, Victoria Stilwell‘s show It’s Me or the Dog was recently nominated for a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Animal Show. Other nominees are Animal Cops, Dog Whisperer, DogTown,and Rescue Ink Unleashed.
Visit PeoplesChoice.com to cast your vote! Voting ends Dec. 8 at 11:59pm, so vote now!
And be sure to check out Tails’ story on Victoria in the Dec/Jan issue, out soon!
In Animal News on November 10, 2009 at 10:46 pm
November is Adopt-A-Senior Pet Month. What better way to celebrate than by opening your heart and forever home to a veteran pooch or kitty! From the comfort you’ll take in knowing their personality the moment you meet them to the overwhelming gratitude and love they’ll lavish upon you for choosing them, there are so many reasons an older pet might just be your perfect match. If you still need convincing, the ASPCA reminds us of the most important reason of all: “They’re cute!”
Check out the ASPCA’s other reasons to adopt and older dog at ASPCA.org.
Petfinder.com offers hints on caring for your senior pet at Petfinder.com/pet-care/senior-dog-adoption.html and Petfinder.com/pet-care/senior-cat.html.
Ready to adopt? To find a senior dog in your area, go to Adopt-A-Senior-Pet.adoptapet.com. —Sarah Hughes
In Animal News on November 10, 2009 at 7:52 pm
Maybe you’ve seen cats wandering around your neighborhood in the evening, slipping through gardens and under parked cars, and wondered why they aren’t at home with their guardians. These cats, however, are probably feral, not socialized to humans and unsuited for adoption. Living together in colonies, they spend their whole lives outdoors, but the approaching winter season can present challenges with frigid temperatures and snow.
Alley Cat Allies, leading advocate for stray and feral cats, recently launched an online guide with tips on helping keep feral cats warm in winter, including simple instructions for building inexpensive feeding stations and shelters and information on Trap-Neuter-Return to prevent kittens and overpopulation.
“While most feral cats are skilled at finding their own food and place to sleep,” says Alley Cat Allies president Becky Robinson, “providing specially-built shelters and dedicated feeding sites guarantee the cats a warm spot to escape the harsh winter weather and deter them from places they aren’t wanted.”
If you’re interested in helping feral cats this season, you can find the guide online at AlleyCat.org/WinterWeather. —Sarah Hughes
In Animal News on November 9, 2009 at 9:05 pm
Swine flu has spread to a cat. Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Ames, Iowa has identified the first case of H1N1 virus in a 13-year-old domestic cat. After additional testing, the US Department of Agriculture confirmed the university’s findings.
Once the indoor tabby cat became lethargic, refused to eat, and showed signs of troubled breathing, the concerned pet guardians brought the animal in for observation. The examining veterinarians, Dr. Brett Sponseller, a specialist in large animal internal medicine and molecular virology, and Dr. Albert Jergens, an expert with small animals and immunology, initially suspected a gastrointestinal problem or a respiratory condition.
After examining the cat, the vets discovered that the results of those tests weren’t consistent with any gastrointestinal or respiratory problems. Since the pet guardians were recovering from the flu at the time of the incident, the veterinarians speculated a case of humans transferring influenza to a cat. The vets began tests for H1N1 virus and were able to quickly confirm that the cat did indeed have swine flu.
It is not clear how the cat contracted the virus, but additional tests are being conducted to confirm that the family members of the cat had H1N1 and to verify that the flu was transmitted from human to cat. At this time there is no evidence that a cat can transmit the flu to a human. The swine flu outbreaks in domestic pets have been transferred from humans to pets, not the other way around.
Pet guardians should take precautions against spreading swine flu to their pets just as they would with humans. To ensure your pet stays healthy always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, clean your hands before feeding or handling your pet, and keep yourself at a distance from your pet until your symptoms subside. Be sure to bring your pet to a veterinarian should they become ill with flu-like symptoms or exhibit strange behavior.
For more information about swine flu and your pets, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association at AVMA.org. —Megan Bender
In Animal News on November 9, 2009 at 7:47 pm
Pet parents can now receive advice, hear opinions, and keep up to date with the most recent pet news on Animal Magnet Pet Radio, a broadcast of Progressive Radio Network (PRN). The program not only caters to cat and dog guardians, but it extends to the interest of those who care for fish, rabbits, and other companion animals.
Listeners can expect entertainment and information as they tune in online each Tuesday at 1 p.m. EST while host Deborah Wolfe, a bestselling author, columnist, and television animal trainer dishes advice and news about current animal issues. Accompanied by guest experts, Wolfe will discuss not only the concerns of her listeners, but she also tackles platforms such as Michael Vick’s dog fighting and the concerns of animal wildlife.
Rather than advertisers, listeners support this one-hour program, which allows the hosts to exercise their freedom of speech.
For a list of all PRN shows, hosts and events, visit ProgressiveRadioNetwork.com. —Megan Bender
In Animal News on November 3, 2009 at 10:43 pm
National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week is November 1–7. Launched in 1996 by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), this week marks a time to honor all 4,000 animal shelters across the United States, which serve an estimated 6 to 8 million homeless animals seeking refuge each year.
There is no better time to get acquainted with your local shelter. Talk to shelter personnel about how you can support homeless animals in your community this week. You can always lend a hand by volunteering at a shelter, becoming a spay/neuter advocate, or opening your heart to offer a shelter pet a forever home.
Today, 63 percent of American households include pets, but only 10 percent of dogs and 18 percent of cats in these households are adopted from animal shelters. Take this week to celebrate everyone who works to change these numbers in shelter animals’ favor and makes a difference in the lives of homeless pets!
For more ideas on how to celebrate, visit HSUS.org or AnimalSheltering.org. —Sarah Hughes
In Animal News on November 3, 2009 at 10:19 pm
The ASPCA has launched a national disease investigation initiative regarding canine influenza (CIV). Funded by the Morris Animal Foundation, the three-year study will help shelters develop effective testing and control methods to limit the effects of the H8N3 virus commonly known as the dog flu. Under the direction of Dr. Miranda Spindel, ASPCA Director of Veterinary Outreach and Dr. Gabriele Landolt of Colorado State University’s Department of Clinical Science, the initiative will collaborate with ASPCA shelters in Florida, Texas, California, South Carolina, New York, and Colorado where the disease is most prevalent.
Read the rest of this entry »