Tag Archives: dogs

A therapy dog to help mourners

Say ‘therapy dog’ and most people will think of hospitals, rest homes, and mental health services.  Some may also think about dogs supporting witnesses when they have their day in court….but now there’s a growing use of therapy dogs in funeral homes.

This video, from the Ballard-Durand funeral home in New York, promotes Lulu, a Goldendoodle, who can be booked on request for funeral services.

The loss of a loved one and funerals, in general, are times of great emotional stress.  How nice it is that dogs are offering comfort in these situations and that they are being accepted by professional funeral directors.

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

Love your dog? Restrain it when riding in the car!

This week has been a very rainy one in Christchurch.  Since I am a mobile practitioner, I spend a fair amount of time in the car.  When stopped at a traffic light, I snapped this photo with my phone:

Dog in car on rainy day

You can clearly see this little white dog sitting on the ledge at the rear window of the car.  I watched while the dog moved around on the ledge and onto the back seat of the car, then back again.

If this vehicle had to stop suddenly for any reason, this dog would go flying!  Just as the driving safely videos show things like drink bottles flying after a crash, so too would this little dog.  If it survived, it would likely need intensive medical care that would be both painful and expensive.

I don’t see enough dogs in Christchurch that are restrained properly using a car harness.  It’s very concerning.

I’ve even met and talked with vets about this subject, and many have admitted that although they know they should restrain their own dogs, they don’t!   Most vets don’t even ask as part of the annual check-up with their clients whether or not their dog travels in a vehicle and, if so, whether it is properly restrained.

We need more people leading from example….

…like the lovely lady who came yesterday to fit her Labrador puppy, Harley, with an auto harness.  She’s training him at a young age to accept being restrained in the car.

Please let me know if your vet encourages you to restrain your dog when traveling in the car.  I’d like to promote them via my Facebook page.  And send me photos of your dog safely restrained in the car!

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

Punishment for owners who leave their pets outside in extreme weather

Illinois lawmakers have endorsed legislation that, if signed, would see owners who leave their pets outside in extreme weather sentenced to up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

The bill has been sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign into law.

A dog being watched by walker Natalia Straley plays in the snow Feb. 26, 2015, at the Montrose dog beach in Chicago.  (Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune)

A dog being watched by walker Natalia Straley plays in the snow Feb. 26, 2015, at the Montrose dog beach in Chicago. (Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune)

Sponsoring Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, said the bill was inspired by recent cases of dogs during the last Northern Hemisphere winter season; the dogs froze to death.

Although the legislation has passed both the State House and Senate, it needs the Governor to make it a law.  The bill has been opposed by the farming lobby, which fears it will interfere in their businesses.

It’s a progressive piece of legislation in my opinion because animals need our protection and a judge can use his/her discretion in terms of sentencing.

And as for farming, this opens a larger debate about consumption, production economies, and animal welfare – all issues that impact our environment and animals here in New Zealand.

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

Source:  Chicago Tribune

Doggy quote of the month for May

‘People teach their dogs to sit; it’s a trick.  I’ve been sitting my whole life, and a dog has never looked at me as though he thought I was tricky.’

– Mitch Hedberg, comedian (1968-2005)

Shaggy Muses – book review

Shaggy muses

Shaggy Muses by Maureen Adams offers a new twist in understanding the writing and lives of five famous women authors.

This book is about the dogs who inspired Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edith Wharton and Emily Brontë.

In this book, you will understand the role that Flush a golden Cocker Spaniel, who kept Elizabeth Barrett Browning company, had on her life and writing.  Her life was isolated and frequented by ill health.  That is, of course, until Robert Browning enters the scene. When Elizabeth marries Robert in a secret ceremony and leaves her family home without her father’s permission, she makes sure Flush goes too.

Virginia Woolf also had a Cocker Spaniel, named Pinka.

Emily Dickinson found solace with Carlo, a Newfoundland.  Edith Wharton’s comparatively long life was filled with the companionship of a series of Pekingese.

I was, however, unprepared for the story of Emily Brontë and her Mastiff, Keeper.  One day, after finding Keeper resting on a bed inside the house, Emily beats the dog bloody with her bare hands.  The author relates the story in terms of ‘typical’ domestic violence behavior and the apparent struggle of wills between Keeper and Emily.  Keeper, in truly dog style, remained loyal to her until the end, accepting her ministrations to his swollen face and eyes.  (I’m afraid, however, that this story has put me off reading any more of Brontë‘s work, most likely for life).

If you like literature and dogs, this book is for you.  I liked the historical context as the author relates the stories of each woman in chronological order.  It puts into perspective the influences on each woman’s life and also how society was changing (Virginia Woolf, for example, had a notable lesbian love affair with fellow author Vita Sackville-West).

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

 

 

New products to help train dogs for explosive detection

The Department of Homeland Security (USA) has been conducting independent assessments and developing products to assist canine explosive teams.

An explosive detection dog in action. Photo courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security

An explosive detection dog in action. Photo courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security

One of the biggest challenges in the training and testing of canine teams results from the explosives materials themselves – especially new homemade explosives. Due to the potential safety risks of explosives, only specially trained federal explosive technicians can provide the material for training and testing. This not only limits training times and opportunities, but also increases the costs since the technicians must travel to a central location for multi-day training events.

Researchers have been developing a new training aid that matches the scent of explosive materials but poses no danger to the trainers, the canines or the environment. It is currently undergoing field testing within federal, state and local canine detection teams. A key objective was to for the canines to react to the non-hazardous, non-explosive training aid the same way they would actual explosive material.

“It doesn’t go boom if you drop it, hit it or light it on fire,” said Canine Program Manager, Don Roberts. “That allows teams to take the training from the very controlled environment we currently have to train in for safety reasons and put it in a real-world scenario – for example putting the odor in a cinderblock and seeing if the dog can find it. We can put this new training aid in car wheel wells, airports etc., without fear that they’ll explode.”

S&T’s partner, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, developed the new training aid, Roberts said. After a number of trials, they’re ready to transfer the technology to the Transportation Security Administration, the primary customer for the aid. The bigger news, according to Roberts, is that the product was also designed to fit first responders’ needs as well.

“The design price point and usability factor has been geared to the first responder community – state and local explosive detection dogs who don’t have the regular training support TSA has. They are the ones who really need these products,” said Roberts.

The training aids are made to be thrown away after being used. These aids can last for over eight hours and can be stored up to two years. The scent can be dissolved in water, as opposed to the previous explosive training materials, which required special handling, transport and had to be stored in a bunker.

Next steps for this program include developing a second scent for training the dogs, and licensing so that the products can be produced outside of the federal government.

Source:  Department of Homeland Security media release

Read my other blog posts about explosives detector dogs:

Doggy quote of the month for March

“It is the same with dogs as with children, if one wants them to be loved, they must be well brought up.”

– Madame Charles Boeswilwald, 19th century French author