Monday, February 25, 2008

German police dogs to wear shoes

BERLIN - Police dogs in the western city of Duesseldorf will no longer get their feet dirty when on patrol — the entire dog unit will soon be equipped with blue plastic fiber shoes, a police spokesman said Monday. "All 20 of our police dogs — German and Belgian shepherds — are currently being trained to walk in these shoes," Andre Hartwich said. "I'm not sure they like it, but they'll have to get used to it."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080225/ap_on_fe_st/dog_shoes

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Canine Companion Keeps Soldiers' Spirits High

Photo: Army Command Sgt. Maj. Vaneta Vaughn, the top enlisted soldier with 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multinational Division Baghdad, scratches Dean, the battalion chaplain's dog, behind his ear at Camp Taji, Iraq, Feb. 16, 2008. Dean deployed to Iraq with the soldiers as the battalion's therapy dog. Photo by Pfc. April Campbell, USA

Hearing a noise in the hallway, Dean gets out of his bed on the floor and trots to the door as he searches the cool February air for a clue.

Once he confirms the presence of friendly forces, he cocks his long face around to see if his companion wants to go visit the soldiers in the hallway as much as he does. With all four limbs on the ground, Dean will certainly need the chaplain's help to open the door.

Dean is a 3-year-old black Labrador retriever mix and serves as a therapy dog during his deployment to Multinational Division Baghdad here with the 4th Infantry Division's 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

Army Capt. Phillip Rittermeyer, the battalion chaplain, adopted Dean from a shelter one month prior to the unit's deployment. Rittermeyer, who works with and cares for the dog, brought Dean with him to Iraq on official orders to provide comfort and boost the morale of the "Mountaineer" soldiers during their day-to-day activities as they operate in the northern outreaches of Baghdad province.

"I worked with a dog previously in civilian ministry," Rittermeyer said. "They help comfort people as well as lower stress and blood pressure."

Army Capt. Christi Moreno, who serves as the 3rd BCT mental health officer, also sees the benefit animals like Dean provide to soldiers in a high-stress environment.

"Animals are very therapeutic," she said. "They show unconditional love, and they're not judgmental."

When Rittermeyer must attend a meeting or preside over church services, other Mountaineer soldiers, such as Army Sgt. Tasha Jackson, a supply sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 64th BSB, spend time taking care of and getting to know Dean. Caring for "man's best friend" is nothing new to this dog lover.

"Dean reminds me of my very first dog, Raider, who I had from the time I was in second grade until a few years after high school," Jackson said.

The loving canine helps her overcome some of the difficult times during her deployment. "If I'm having a down day and the chaplain brings Dean over for me to watch," she said, "it usually helps to cheer me up."

Between teaching the playful four-legged creature how to dance and trying not to let the dog walk her when he needs to be taken out, she added, Dean provides her with comfort that reminds her of home.

Dean stays connected with the soldiers by communicating his own needs or wants, as well. "If I'm working, he'll put his head on my lap so I'll pay attention to him," Jackson said.

Moreno said she's not surprised at the effect Dean has on the soldiers. "(Animals) bring the best out of people," she explained. "People tend to have an inherent connection with them."

As their deployment continues, Dean will continue his support operations with the Mountaineer soldiers, often bringing smiles and an eager hand to pet his black-and-white fur wherever he goes.

(Author Army Pfc. April Campbell serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 4th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Myrtle Beach Pet-Friendly Vacation Rentals Join BringYourPet.com

(PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- BringYourPet.com (www.bringyourpet.com) announces the recent addition of two pet-friendly vacation properties in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Ocean Lakes Beach House and Savannah Shores Condo.

BringYourPet.com President Derek Welsh states, "Ocean Lakes Beach House and Savannah Shores Condo offer pet travelers a touch of home while visiting Myrtle Beach. These vacation rentals go above and beyond to accommodate traveling pet owners and we look forward to promoting them on BringYourPet.com."

About BringYourPet.com
BringYourPet.com brings pet-friendly travel options to traveling pet owners from the USA and abroad. The Web site was developed by a staff of pet owners and pet lovers in an effort to provide a place to find the best pet-friendly accommodations available. BringYourPet.com features color photos, complete descriptions, amenities, and property rates, giving visitors easy access to the finest pet-friendly lodging in the country. The company Web site is located at http://www.bringyourpet.com. For information on listing hotels on BringYourPet.com visit: http://www.bringyourpet.com/tour.

About Ocean Lakes Beach House
While staying at this house, you will never be to far away to enjoy fine dining, live entertainment, or relaxing walks through many parks, such as Brook Green Gardens, Huntington Beach State Park, or Myrtle Beach State Park. Guests can enjoy a morning sunrise from their porch or an evening stroll on the beautiful sands of Myrtle Beach.
http://www.bringyourpet.com/lodging/sc/sc2900.htm

About Savannah Shores Condo
The recently renovated two bedroom condo is located in a gated community that offers a putting green, tennis court, swimming pool, and more for guests. Relax near the beach while still enjoying all the amenities of home!
http://www.bringyourpet.com/lodging/sc/sc2800.htm
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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Heat Therapy Helps Latch-Key and Senior Dogs

(ARA) - Six-year-old Charlie got the Christmas present of his dreams -- a Cocker Spaniel puppy. His mom loved to watch the joy in his face when they played together during winter break. But, when Charlie went back to school and his mom went back to work, their puppy joined the legions of latch-key dogs in our country.

They returned home one day to find accidents throughout the house because the puppy didn’t use the doggie door when left alone. The next day, they found a closet full of chewed shoes. The final straw was a new couch, which Charlie’s single working mom struggled to buy on her modest salary, which was rendered unrecognizable when the dog chewed the cushions to bits. Many areas have a number of programs with affordable after-school activities for kids who would otherwise go home to empty houses. But, there are no such programs for our pets who spend their days alone.

Grier McCurdy loved to go trail running with Stella, her yellow Labrador retriever. Early each morning, Stella waited excitedly by the front door, waiting for her to lace up her running shoes. As she got older, Stella slowed down, but was still a willing companion. But one morning, when Stella was only seven years old, she couldn’t walk. The vet diagnosed her with arthritis in both knees and mild dysplasia in one hip. He told her that Stella’s running days were over, and that she shouldn’t even chase a tennis ball anymore. “Me and Stella were heartbroken,” says McCurdy. “I’d get up in the morning to go running, and she’d be waiting there for me. Then she’d start crying when I left without her.”

These stories demonstrate two very different needs for our pets -- but with a common solution -- heat therapy. Many vets are recognizing the benefits of low-level therapeutic heat to treat everything from separation anxiety and stress for the latch-key dog to a variety of bone and joint problems like arthritis. But how can we provide heat therapy for our pets when, for many dogs, a hot tub or Velcro heating pad just won’t work? More and more vets are recommending the use of heated orthopedic pet beds.

“Our dogs face many of the same challenges of urban life we humans do,” says Dr. Karen Halligan, author of “What Every Pet Owner Should Know” and director of veterinary medicine, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Los Angeles (spcaLA). “With more and more of today’s working families busy until late afternoon, we’re faced with a nation of latch-key dogs, often left alone in empty houses for 10 to 12 hours. Also, thanks to the many advances in medical technology over the years, we’re also seeing an increasingly older dog population which presents its own set of challenges for senior pet care. Across the board, I’ve found simple heat therapy to be very effective.”

We can all relate to how good it feels to take a long soak in a warm tub. Our muscles relax and we feel calmer. The same thing is true for our pets. Heat therapy is an extremely effective tool for relieving both arthritis and separation anxiety. According to some estimates, more than 10 million dogs -- young and old alike -- are affected by arthritis. And winter’s cold, damp weather can exacerbate painful symptoms that make it harder to walk, run or climb stairs. Pets in pain can also experience a loss of appetite or demonstrate aggressive behavior -- like chewing on furniture and shoes.

Until recently, pet owners didn’t have a way to provide heat therapy to their pets since traditional heating pads are unsafe for use on dogs or cats. But a new line-up of high-tech orthopedic pet beds by Dolce Vita Pets features a special flat screen heater within an orthopedic foam bed that provides safe, heated comfort to soothe anxious and aching pets.

“When animals get stressed out -- like when their owners leave the house for an extended period of time -- their body temperature drops and their muscles can tighten up,” adds Dr. Halligan. “Resting in a heated pet bed increases blood flow and allows muscles to relax -- the soothing comfort helps to ease stiffness and anxiety.”

The heat therapy combined with an orthopedic bed helps to evenly distribute body weight and eliminate pressure points while relaxing muscles and promoting increased mobility and activity. Heated beds, like the Dolce Vita Therabed (www.dolcevitapets.com), provide safe and uniform heat at vet-recommended temperatures within a supportive cushion that helps your pet (and you!) get a good night’s sleep.

Our pets are part of our family. We do so much to ensure their comfort and well-being -- and they give us so much in return. But sometimes, they need a little extra love and care to help them overcome physical and emotional obstacles. A comfortable and warm place to rest can do wonders to help their overall health and well-being.

Courtesy of ARAcontent
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Thursday, February 14, 2008

FDA Investigation Leads to Several Indictments for Importing Contaminated Ingredients Used in Pet Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations announced that two Chinese nationals and the businesses they operate, along with a U.S. company and its president and chief executive officer, were indicted by a federal grand jury today in separate but related cases. The indictments are for their roles in a scheme to import products purported to be wheat gluten into the United States that were contaminated with melamine. These products were used to make pet food.

Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co., LTD. (XAC), a Chinese firm that processes and exports plant proteins to the United States; Mao Linzhun, a Chinese national who is the owner and manager of XAC; Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products, Arts and Crafts I/E Co. LTD. (SSC), a Chinese export broker that exports products from China to the United States; and Chen Zhen Hao, president of SSC and a Chinese national were charged in a 26-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury today in Kansas City, Mo.

Also indicted were ChemNutra, Inc., a Las Vegas, Nevada corporation that buys food and food components from China to sell to U.S. companies in the food industry, along with ChemNutra owners Sally Qing Miller and her husband, Stephen S. Miller, who were charged in a separate, but related, 27-count indictment. Sally Qing Miller, a Chinese national, is the controlling owner and president of ChemNutra; Stephen Miller is an owner and CEO of ChemNutra. The indictments charge all seven defendants with delivering adulterated food that contained melamine, a substance which may render the food injurious to health, into interstate commerce; introduction of a misbranded food into interstate commerce; and other charges.

The indictments allege that more than 800 tons of purported wheat gluten, totaling nearly $850,000, was imported into the United States between Nov. 6, 2006, and Feb. 21, 2007. According to the indictments, SSC falsely declared to the Chinese government that those shipments were not subject to mandatory inspection by the Chinese government prior to export.

Melamine can be used to create products such as plastics, cleaning products, glues, inks, and fertilizers. Under certain conditions, melamine mixed with wheat gluten can make the product appear to have a higher protein level than is actually present. Melamine has no approved use as an ingredient in human or animal food in the United States. Wheat gluten is a natural protein derived from wheat or wheat flour, which is extracted to yield a powder with high protein content. Pet food manufacturers often use wheat gluten as a thickener or binding agent in the manufacture of certain types of pet food.

ChemNutra contracted with SSC, a Chinese registered export broker, to purchase food grade wheat gluten, according to the indictment. SSC then entered into a separate contract with XAC to supply the wheat gluten it needed to fulfill its contract with ChemNutra.

The indictments allege that the products purported to be wheat gluten were misbranded because the labels incorrectly represented that the purported wheat gluten had a minimum protein level of 75%.

On March 15, 2007, a pet food manufacturer alerted FDA to the deaths of 14 cats and dogs, several reported by consumers and several that died during routine taste trials conducted by the company. The animals were reported to have developed kidney failure after eating pet food that had been manufactured with the purported wheat gluten.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Local Kitty Enters Photo Contest To Benefit Georgia Heartland Humane Society

The Humane Society of the United States is holding a photo contest and we would love for you to participate in it. Our entry representing Georgia Heartland Humane Society is Buster, an adorable little kitty cat that will melt your heart.

A vote for Buster is a vote for Georgia Heartland Humane Society.

If Buster wins the most votes he is permitted to designate the organization to win the grand prize of $5,000….GHHS, of course.

Any “personal” award Buster gets will be auctioned off on E-Bay or some similar manner so that the proceeds can go to GHHS. When you vote you have the opportunity to donate directly to GHHS by indicating that you want to vote for a particular organization. Then click the state and then Georgia Heartland.