Category Archives: special dogs and awards

Comet’s Tale – book review

Comet's TaleThis book will make you want to go out and adopt a Greyhound!  Mr Wolf tells the story of Comet, a Greyhound who comes into his life as his health and well-being are seriously under threat.

The author never had any experience with Greyhounds until he is drawn to a charitable group promoting Greyhound adoption at his local supermarket.

A Greyhound who suffered abuse at the track, Comet is withdrawn around most people but decides that Mr Wolf (affectionately called “Wolfie” by his wife) is for her.  She literally sits down next to him and lets him know – take me home.

As Steven’s health deteriorates, he lives on pain killers and can barely walk or do simple household tasks.  This is when he decides that Comet has all of the qualities of a service dog and only needs training.  He looks for trainers to assist him and all scoff at the suggestion that a Greyhound could be a service dog.  So, he trains her himself.

I particularly liked the stories of Comet as she learns to pull Steven’s wheelchair through the airport.  Aided by the photo on the cover of the book (the only photo in this book, which perhaps is its only shortcoming), you can understand when Steven describes Comet’s doe eyes and the looks she would give him to communicate her very articulate thoughts!

I recommend this book for summer reading (if you are currently in the Northern Hemisphere) or curl up with it in front of the fire for winter entertainment (if you are in the Southern Hemisphere).

Happy reading!

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



SOF dogs and their memorial

Photo courtesy of SOF K9 Memorial Foundation

Photo courtesy of SOF K9 Memorial Foundation

Special Operations Forces (SOF) dogs are very special indeed.  These dogs serve on tours of duty in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and help to detect explosives and intervene when their handler or other soldiers are in danger.  Many SOF dogs never make it to retirement because they are killed in action.

A very special statute to honour these dogs has been placed at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  Fort Bragg, which has a SOF kennel, is not far away.

SOF dog statue

When unveiled in July 2013, dog handlers from the various wars including Vietnam and WWII were in attendance.  These men have enjoyed a very special bond with their animals and often the handler adopts their dog once it has been retired from active duty.

Handlers who have lost their dog can apply to have a memorial stone placed in the surround of the statue.  There is also funding available for handlers to have memorials erected at their home base.

The SOF K9 Memorial Foundation welcomes donations to their cause from military personnel and others who want to honour the service of these remarkable dogs.


New team on duty at Christchurch Airport

There’s a new biosecurity dog team on duty at Christchurch Airport.  Meet Helga and handler Kimberly Sell in this article:

Helga on duty, photo by Kirk Hargreaves

Helga on duty, photo by Kirk Hargreaves

New team on airport duty – news – the-press |

In memory of a Schnauzer

When Dave Duffield started a software company named People Soft, he promised his beloved Miniature Schnauzer named Maddie, “If we ever make some money, I promise we will give it back to you and your kind so others can be as happy as we are today.”

Maddie's FundWell, People Soft did make money and Maddie enjoyed ten happy years with Dave and his wife, Cheryl.  They endowed Maddie’s Fund with more than US$300 million and have spent nearly US$136 million through FY2012-13 to save the lives of homeless animals.

Photo courtesy of Maddie's Fund

Photo courtesy of Maddie’s Fund

Maddie’s Fund has a simple mission:  To revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals.

The fund supports a range of activities through grants and also organizes special pet adoption events.

Not a bad legacy for a little Schnauzer!





Hero Dogs – National Geographic June 2014

National geographic June 2014

I have just finished reading the June 2014 issue of National Geographic.  As you can see, the feature story is about the military dogs and the magazine has done a really wonderful job depicting the lives of the soldiers and their bomb detecting dogs.

Some facts:

  • at the height of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US military had a force of approximately 2,500 working dogs
  • MWDs is the abbreviation for Military Working Dogs
  • A dog’s sense of smell is up to 100,000 times more acute than a human’s
  • The Belgian Malinois has been particularly successful in Iraq and Afthanistan because it can withstand the hot temperatures

Happy reading!

A lifesaving dog

Gabriel Campbell is a little boy with such severe dairy and peanut allergies that his family has been unable to go to restaurants and even playgrounds for fear of exposure.

Through fundraising, they’ve been able to welcome Sheba, a trained allergy alert dog, into their family.  Sheba was trained by Angel Service Dogs in Colorado.

This is their story:

Just another example of how special our dogs are, and what special work they can do when properly trained.

Goodbye, Miss Beazley

Photo courtesy of the Presidential Pet Museum

Photo courtesy of the Presidential Pet Museum

My favourite Bush, Miss Beazley, passed away on Saturday after a battle with cancer.

Miss Beazley, a Scottish Terrier, was a birthday gift from George W to his wife, Laura, in 2005.   (She was born on October 28, 2004.) After leaving the White House, she lived with the Bushes in Dallas, Texas.

My condolences to the Bush family.  The passing of Miss Beazley means that Bo and Sunny Obama are the only living presidential pets.

Photo courtesy of the Presidential Pet Museum

Photo courtesy of the Presidential Pet Museum

Source:  Presidential Pet Museum media release


War Memorial pays tribute to animals that served in conflicts – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Soldiers with their dogs stand at the Australian War Memorial (photo by Siobhan Heanue, ABC)

Soldiers with their dogs stand at the Australian War Memorial (photo by Siobhan Heanue, ABC)

On the eve of Anzac Day, here’s a special story about service animals honoured recently at the Australiam War Memorial.

War Memorial pays tribute to animals that served in conflicts – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Golden Retrievers Bring Joy, Healing to Boston

The Golden Retriever comfort dogs are returning to Boston, one year on…great story!

See last year’s story in this blog post:  Luther and Ruthie go to Boston

Originally posted on The Daily Golden:

6 Golden Retrievers from the Lutheran Church Charities K9 Comfort Dogs will be in Boston to help bring joy and comfort to the thousands of people attending the area for the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21st.  2 of the comfort dogs,  Addie and Maggie are already in Boston.  They also plan to visit hospitals and first responders.

lcc3Luther, Ruthie, Hannah and Rufus will arrive in Boston tomorrow and will be stationed at the First Lutheran Church of Boston, 299 Berkley St.- just a few blocks away from where the bombings occurred last year.  The dogs work for about 3 hours at a time and then are given a break.

Here they are with LCC president Tim Hetzner and their wonderful handlers, preparing to leave.

Photo - LCC Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs - Facebook

Photo – LCC Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs – Facebook

President of LCC Charities Tim Hetzner says

Our goal is to bring mercy…

View original 105 more words

Royal visit to New Zealand – the dog connection

Today was the last day in New Zealand for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (aka Will and Kate).  And finally, we have something dog-related from this visit!

The Duke and Duchess visited the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua this morning.  There, they met puppies, dogs in training, and fully-fledged police dogs.

William and Kate cuddle with police dog puppies (photo by Getty)

William and Kate cuddle with police dog puppies (photo by Getty)

A soft toy police dog was a gift to Kate, presumably for Prince George (photo by Getty)

A soft toy police dog was a gift to Kate, presumably for Prince George (photo by Getty)

And after this doggy (and soggy) visit, the Royals are now off to their next stop on the Royal Tour – Australia.   I hope Australia’s dogs will also be able to participate in their visit!