Category Archives: Dogs

Pet therapy and how it helps cancer patients

Therapy dogs may improve the emotional well-being of some cancer patients, according to results of a clinical study, the first to document the benefits of animal-assisted therapy in adult cancer patients. The research was published this month in the Journal of Community and Supportive Oncology.

The results show a significant improvement in quality of life for more than 40 patients who took part in a trial at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City, where they interacted with therapy dogs following chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Photo courtesy of The Good Dog Foundation

Photo courtesy of The Good Dog Foundation

The study, conducted by researchers at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, found that patients receiving intensive multi-modal radiation therapy and chemotherapy for gastrointestinal, head or neck cancers experienced increases in emotional well-being and quality of life when they received visits from a certified therapy dog during the course of their treatment.

Increases in emotional well-being were significant over the course of the animal-assisted visits, even as patients underwent marked and significant declines in both physical and functional well-being.

“This study is the first such definitive study in cancer, and it highlights the merits of animal- assisted visits using the same scientific standards as we hold for the cancer treatment itself. It shows the importance of an innovative environmental intervention during cancer treatment,” said Stewart B. Fleishman, MD, principal investigator and Founding Director of Cancer Supportive Services at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. “Having an animal-assisted visit significantly improved their quality of life and ‘humanized’ a high-tech treatment,” he said. “Patients said they would have stopped their treatments before completion, except for the presence of the certified Good Dog Foundation therapy dog and volunteer handler.”

“Thanks to this rigorously designed study, we now have strong evidence that pet therapy is an effective tool to help cancer patients get through challenging treatments,” said Gabriel A. Sara, MD, Medical Director, Infusion Suite at Mount Sinai Roosevelt, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The study has been called another piece of ‘mounting evidence’ of how the human-animal bond can enhance emotional and physical health.

If you would like to pass on the journal article to your oncologist/hospital provider,  you can access it here.

Source:  EurekAlert! media release

Dog of the Year

Forget the Golden Globes…

Don’t even think about the Screen Actors Guild awards…

And even pass by the Oscars…

The awards show of early 2015 was the World Dog Awards, broadcast earlier this month on the CW Network in the USA.

Dog of the Year was Hank, the Ballpark Pup. Hank, a suspected Bichon Frise cross, made headlines last year when he wandered into the spring training camp of the Milwaukee Brewers professional baseball team.   A veterinary check revealed that he may have been hit by a car.  Outfitted in Brewers’ official gear, he became the team’s mascot.  A children’s book, beach towel, and other merchandise have also been produced, with 20% of the proceeds going to the Wisconsin Humane Society.

The title “Dog of the Year” was given to honor the dog that made the most impact on popular culture during 2014.   Hank received his Golden Hydrant statue from celebrity Paris Hilton.

While this award show may be seen my some as ‘over the top’ – Hank’s story helped to highlight the plight of homeless pets and the need for people to think ADOPTION first.

Good dog, Hank.  Good Dog.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

A Greyhound in the Snow

As I write this, the eastern United States is hunkered down for what is reported to be a blizzard with record snowfall.  Only time will tell if this proves to be the case.

Although we hear a lot about caring for dogs in the snow and wintery weather, we sometimes forget that dogs also love to play in the snow.

Here’s a great video of a Greyhound, warm in his new pajamas, enjoying play time in the snow.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

The migration of dogs in the Americas

A new study suggests that dogs may have first successfully migrated to the Americas only about 10,000 years ago, thousands of years after the first human migrants crossed a land bridge from Siberia to North America.

Photo by Angus McNab

Photo by Angus McNab

The study, which looked at the genetic characteristics of 84 individual dogs from more than a dozen sites in North and South America, is the largest analysis so far of ancient dogs in the Americas. The findings appear in the Journal of Human Evolution.

Unlike their wild wolf predecessors, ancient dogs learned to tolerate human company and generally benefitted from the association: they gained access to new food sources, enjoyed the safety of human encampments and, eventually, traveled the world with their two-legged masters. Dogs also were pressed into service as beasts of burden, and sometimes were served as food, particularly on special occasions.

Their 11,000- to 16,000-year association with humans makes dogs a promising subject for the study of ancient human behavior, including migratory behavior, said University of Illinois graduate student Kelsey Witt, who led the new analysis.

“Dogs are one of the earliest organisms to have migrated with humans to every continent, and I think that says a lot about the relationship dogs have had with humans,” Witt said. “They can be a powerful tool when you’re looking at how human populations have moved around over time.”

Human remains are not always available for study “because living populations who are very connected to their ancestors in some cases may be opposed to the destructive nature of genetic analysis,” Witt said. Analysis of ancient dog remains is often permitted when analysis of human remains is not, she said.

Previous studies of ancient dogs in the Americas focused on the dogs’ mitochondrial DNA, which is easier to obtain from ancient remains than nuclear DNA and, unlike nuclear DNA, is inherited only from the mother. This means mitochondrial DNA offers researchers “an unbroken line of inheritance back to the past,” Witt said.

The new study also focused on mitochondrial DNA, but included a much larger sample of dogs than had been analyzed before.

Source:  University of Illinois press release

 

A smartphone for you and your dog

Motorola has unveiled the Scout 5000, a smartphone for dogs

Smartphone for dogs

The device, which is WiFi and Bluetooth enabled, will monitor a dog’s health, track their location with GPS and allow owners, when they are not home, to speak to their dogs using 3G.   A microphone will allow the dog to be heard, too.

There is also a built-in camera so owners can check on what their dogs are up to.

Scout 5000

Motorola says the Scout 5000 will be available in the USA in June and carry a $199 price tag; a version for small dogs will be $91.  The device will come with a year of 3G service, after which owners will need to purchase a data plan.

Technology has, again, gone to the dogs!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Dogs in strollers: real men do it!

I’m so happy to be able to share these photos.

Kenny is a Blue Heeler/Bull Terrier cross.  Now 12, he’s survived a car accident when a puppy and then a stroke in 2011.

Not surprisingly, Kenny has a few mobility issues.  His back gets sore and his left side is weaker.   He gets regular massage and laser treatments from me which help to keep him more comfortable and mobile.

Like many other senior dogs with a few aches and pains, Kenny still wants to join his family when they go out.  Sometimes he makes it into his favourite park but then struggles on the way back to the car.

The solution, when Kenny gets tired, is to put him in a stroller.

Kenny with dad, Jason (photo by Elesha Ennis)

Kenny with dad, Jason (photo by Elesha Ennis)

Many men seem reluctant to be seen walking their dog in a stroller.  I say “Real men are happy to show that they care and love their dog”.  All credit to Jason, Kenny’s dogfather.

Dogs with mobility issues can live full and active lives with a little help.  Kenny is far better off getting the mental stimulation of family outings than he is being left at home.  Senior dog care requires management techniques; strollers and carts can play their part.

It's a long way back to the car...thanks Dad!  (Photo courtesy of Elesha Ennis)

It’s a long way back to the car…thanks Dad! (Photo courtesy of Elesha Ennis)

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

Snow Doggies

DoggyMom.com:

For those of us who have been sweltering in the heat this southern hemisphere summer, check out these snow dogs!

Originally posted on Nikitaland:

I love our dogs! There is nothing that I would not do for them. I will never get tired of seeing them sit in the front door together, side by side, watching the cars, deer (aka “Big Doggies”), an occasional kitty, and the police cars that patrol the area.

BELLA AND NIKITA BY FRONT DOOR

This is Bella’s other new sweater! She looks like a little lady bug in her new pink sweater with black polka dots! I used a neat photo effect on this photo called colored pencil. I love how it brought out Bella’s coloring and defined the bricks on the house.

BELLAS NEW SWEATER2

Bella loves her new sweaters because she is now nice and warm and her butt is now covered well too!

BELLA PINK SWEATER

What is the funnest thing to do when it snows? Build Snow Doggies! Here is my rendition of Nikita and Bella as Snow Doggies! I can’t even tell you how…

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