A Labor Day Salute to Six Hard Working Dogs

Every Labor Day, we like to celebrate the working canine!  Dogs have been working it for thousands of years and have been a key part of fire, police and military units as well as trusted aids to the blind.  Dogs have been man’s best friend in both times of war and peace, in health and in illness and increasingly, they’re being trained to help their human friends in truly innovative ways.  Last year, we highlighted some of these amazing pooches, who assisted cancer patients, provided therapy to soldiers with PTSD and bravely helped with bomb detection as part of the investigation after the Boston Marathon bombing.
This Labor Day, we salute a group of six extraordinary dogs who use their skills in some very surprising ways.
Dog walks in owner’s place in graduation
Joshua Kelly, a student at Idaho State University working towards a degree in geology, had battled epilepsy his entire life.  His trusted black pit pull, Cletus, was an important buddy, who accompanied him on a two-mile walk and bus ride each day to classes.  When Joshua passed away due to complications from his illness in February, it was Cletus who took the the stage on graduation day to receive Joshua’s bachelor of science diploma.   Here’s the Idaho Falls ABC affiliate’s account of Cletusgraduation walk for his owner here:
JJ, the Mastocytosis-sniffing Rescue Dog
JJ is a shelter dog from North Carolina who was rescued by a local Eyes Ears Nose & Paws organization and trained as a service dog.
240x240_96fb179caa6d3e86b0d2af12530306b350aeac17JJ is now an American Humane Society Hero Dog Award nominee for his heroic work with KK, a 5 year old girl living with a rare disorder called Mastocytosis, and often suffers from sometimes life-threatening reactions to anything from the weather or exercize.  JJ’s amazing sense of smell can help detect her reactions and this super pooche’s monitoring skills were enlisted by doctors to accompany them in the operating room when KK needed surgery.  Thanks to JJ, this little girl can attend school and live a more nor

mal life.

Roscoe, the dog that gets her owner’s Alzheimer’s-stricken father to speak
A New Mexico man, Charles Sasser, had been suffering with Alzheimer’s disease began to lose his speech and had trouble forming complete sentences.  But the family’s beloved dog, Roscoe, always a comfort, actually got Mr. Sasser to speak.  This video shows one of the extraordinary encounters. (The Telegraph).
Kai, the accelerant-sniffing dog
Another American Human Society hero award nominee and shelter rescue success story is Kai, a black lab who was trained by the SKai-1.jpgan Antonio, Texas Fire Department (after being retrieved from an Illinois shelter).  A State Farm Arson Dog program trainer took Kai on as a pupil and since then, she has assisted with more than 200 fire investigations and also teaches school children about fire safety as a Fire Department ambassador.
Coulter, the dog that teaches kids to read
Peggy Bennett, a first grade teacher in Minnesota, has a terrific helper in the classroom: Coulter, the Shepard.  She uses flash cards with Coulter, who has learned to respond to the printed commands, like “paw,” “sit,” and “down.”  Coulter then follows the commands on the cards.  Bennett has Coulter in the classroom to connect with the students and to inspire all kids in the classroom to practice their reading and to instill good habits.  
Patella, the dog that spent 60 days in the Philippines doing disaster response
Patella is a gorgeous black Labrador who can “be a bit of a goofball,” but she’s also one of five dogs honored this year with a Canine Excellence Award by the American Kennel Club

Patella is a veteran of numerous disaster relief missions — she has a knack for finding humans — in Colorado, including last year’s terrible Lower North Fork Fire.  She made three missions to the Phillippines after the November typhoon to help rescue some of the missing.  Her extraordinary dexterity means she can navigate through rubble and even climb up and down ladders. And, it seems Patella is passing her skills down to new generations; one of her recent pups is being trained to follow in her mother’s footstepss.
We’re so fortunate to have these talented canines on our side and working hard to make our society safer, smarter and healthier.

categories: General

Nine Ways To Help Your Dog Beat The Heat

It’s August and the dog days of summer are officially here, which can mean extra fun, but also extra care to keep your dog protected and out of super hot conditions.  Here are some of my favorite ways to take advantage of vacation time and beach, pool or lake action with Lucie and our other dog friends.  It’s all about staying cool, hydrated and safe.

doggy essentials to beat the heat


First, if you’re setting sail or going out on a boat, the folks at Paws Republic have developed this ingenious doggy boat ladder (top, center).  It’s easy to set up and is a real help to dogs that are arthritic, older, overweight, or, well, basset hounds like Lucie!
Paws Aboard, Doggy Boat Ladder ($275.00)

Before the group heads out for a day in the water or on the beach, take along training or chew toys that will hold up to moisture, and be sure to pack light.  These Harry Barker, Dock Training Toys are a great option and come in fun nautical/outdoor prints ($12.00)
This clamp-on umbrella from West Marine is great for people AND dogs:  it’ll snap onto a chair, golf bag or just about anywhere else you and your pooch might want to hang out.  It features UPF 50+ sun protection and fold up neatly for travel. Sport-Brella, Versa-Brella ($19.99)
These fun dog floating loungers could turn your dog into a world-class loafer, a la Benjamin in “Mrs. Robinson.”  Coated vinyl and bright colors make it great for hanging in the pool or on the pool deck.  Frontgate, Dog Pool Float & Loungers (from $69.50)
This could be the sleeper hit of the summer for those who like to hang out at home in the ‘burbs:  a doggie-sprinkler attachment for the garden hose can turn your yard into a total water amusement park.  It’s safe (non-toxic, made of recycled plastic) and totally fun.  And has been a go-to hostess gift for dog-owning friends with a patch of grass! Sukia Pet Toys, Waterbone Doggy Sprinkler ($12.99)
Short-haired and/or light colored dogs need sunscreen, just like their humans.  We’ve used Epi-Pet for our Lucie.  It’s an easy to spray Doggy Sunscreen and it’s become a beach bag staple ($17.95)
Okay, there are days when I considered wearing one of these myself, especially down in the subway on a hot & humid commute. But for now, this Kool Kollar, Ice-Cooled Collar is just for the dogs (from $16.95)
Summer hikes can be real downers when the bugs come out.  To protect pets, these Insect Shield Bandanas are treated with safe, effective repellant that lasts up to 70 washings.  From Guardian Gear ($9.99)
How ’bout a freezable dog dish core that keeps water cool for 8 hours?  We love the Frobo — it’s a freezable pet dish that’s also good to take along on the road ($29.99)
Enjoy these dog days!
Have any favorite keep-it-cool tricks?  We’d love to hear your ideas!

categories: General