The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : October 2014 The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : October 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Montgomery County Moves to Ban 'Puppy and Kitten' Mill Animals from Pet Stores

Montgomery County could become the first local jurisdiction to prohibit pet stores from selling animals sourced from so-called "puppy and kitten mills."

A bill set to be introduced in the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday stipulates that pet stores would only be allowed to sell dogs or cats obtained from animal shelters or nonprofit rescue organizations.

To read more on this story, click here: Montgomery County Moves to Ban 'Puppy and Kitten' Mill Animals from Pet Stores

(To subscribe to The Pet Tree House, click on this icon
in the black drop-down menu on your right. Thank you.)

on Twitter @thepettreehouse

Visit my blog! The News Whisperer, An informative blog of what's going on in your world today!


8 Reasons Pit Bulls Are Better Than Most People

I do and say a lot of ridiculous things, and people don't bat an eyelash. I walk my pit bull down the street, and I get the strangest looks I've ever seen. People look at me, then at my pit pull, then back at me with confusion, disgust, fear, or any mix of those.

Pit bulls get a bad rap, and they haven't earned it. It's the jerks who train pit bulls (and other breeds) to be aggressive that deserve the bad rap. Those are the ones that deserve the "looks" (and in many cases jail time).

But still, I get some mighty odd glares when walking my pit bull. No matter. I'd rather hang out with a pit bull than most people any day. Here's why:

To read more on this story, click here: 8 Reasons Pit Bulls Are Better Than Most People


What A Black Cat Really Thinks About Halloween

Henri really does have it rough. After all, a black cat isn’t looked upon favorably this time of year. Watch as he tries to make sense of the “folly” of Halloween. Too funny!

(To subscribe to The Pet Tree House, click on this icon
in the black drop-down menu on your right. Thank you.)

on Twitter @thepettreehouse

Visit my blog! The News Whisperer, An informative blog of what's going on in your world today!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Houston, Texas - Homeless Man Can No Longer Care for Pup That Found Him - Do You Have Room in Your Home and in Your Heart for Butch?

A young dog in Houston, Texas, currently spends his days on the streets with a homeless man named "Joe." The one-and-a-half-year-old dog, named "Butch," suddenly appeared one day and Joe did his best to take care of the homeless pup that seemed to have no one else.

Unfortunately, Joe already had two dogs that he was caring for when Butch arrived, and one of his dogs does not get along with the newcomer. Though Joe loves Butch, he needs to find somewhere else for the dog to go.

The following information has been stated about Butch:

Butch is about 1- 1 1/2 years old. He had horrible mange and was very skinny when he first appeared. He is very people friendly and dog friendly but not with one of Joe's altered male dogs. He is fine with the other altered male dog.

Butch is not altered. I doubt he has been on heartworm preventative. A friend donated some flea preventative for all of them. But Butch definitely needs a bath!

A good Samaritan is working to help Joe find a home for Butch - the individual has obtained pledges which can be utilized for Butch's veterinary needs and she has offered to be the contact for potential rescue agencies or adopters. Anyone who has questions or who would like to help in some way can email:

Note: Prospective adopters will be screened for suitability by the individual who is taking emails about Butch.

(To subscribe to The Pet Tree House, click on this icon
in the black drop-down menu on your right. Thank you.)

on Twitter @thepettreehouse

Visit my blog! The News Whisperer, An informative blog of what's going on in your world today!


Texas Veterinarian Indicted For Mistreating Dog He Was To Put Down

(Reuters) - A Texas veterinarian accused of keeping alive a dog he had promised to euthanize and using it as a source for blood transfusions was charged on Wednesday with animal cruelty.

Millard "Lou" Tierce, 71, was indicted by a grand jury in Tarrant County on charges of theft, misapplication of fiduciary property and animal cruelty relating to the treatment of the dog, prosecutors said.

To read more on this story, click here: Texas Veterinarian Indicted For Mistreating Dog He Was To Put Down FOLLOW US!

Fish Attacks Kitten, Turns Out Kitten Gets Away

Has nature gone cray?

Viral video shows a fish leaping out of the water to seemingly attack two curious cats.

As one kitty peers over the pond's edge, the other climbs onto its companion's back for a better view. Then the fish, speculated in some reports to be a pike in a Japanese koi carp pond, strikes.

The unexpected turn is not as shocking as it might seem.

To read more on this story, click here: Fish Attacks Kitten, Turns Out Kitten Gets Away FOLLOW US!

The DOH Says Pooches Are No Longer Welcome At Park Slope's Dog-Loving Bar The Gate

Park Slope bar The Gate has long been one of the few places in the city that welcomes its customers' canine companions. But that changed last week when a city inspector slammed the bar with an unspecified fine for allowing dogs into the bar, after someone called 311 to complain. Fearful of further fines, owner Bobby Gagnon has now posted a sign saying that no pups are allowed in. But the sign also expresses indignation that the bar (which doesn't serve food) is being lumped in with restaurants that do. "We are a bar. But we are held to the same standard," it complains.

To read more on this story, click here: The DOH Says Pooches Are No Longer Welcome at Park Slope's Dog-Loving Bar The Gate


Forest Service Warns Against #bearselfies

(CNN) -- Dear park visitors,Please don't take selfies with bears. It's stupid.
Love, the U.S Forest Service.

That pretty much sums up a warning issued recently by wildlife officials at Taylor Creek Visitor Center in South Lake Tahoe, California.

"Bears are unpredictable, wild animals and may attack if threatened," Forest Supervisor Nancy Gibson said in a statement. "We can't have visitors creating dangerous situations for themselves and others. People are risking serious injury or death if they get too close to a bear."

To read more on this story, click here: Forest Service Warns Against #bearselfies


ASPCA Top 10 Safety Halloween Tips for Pet Parents

Attention, animal lovers, it's almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying "trick or treat!" all the way to November 1.

To read more on this story, click here: ASPCA Top 10 Safety Halloween Tips for Pet Parents


Heroic Homeless People Rescue Dog Hit by a Car

A one-year-old Shih Tzu’s life has been saved thanks to a pair of kindly people who have no place to go to even help themselves.  The Michigan pup was badly injured when he was struck by a car, but now he is on the road to recovery.

Earlier this month, Blitz was found in downtown Grand Rapids and was taken by the anonymous good Samaritans to a nearby fire department.  He was bleeding and had road rash and broken bones.  Firefighters brought him to the Kent County Animal Shelter, who sent him to Kelley’s Animal Shelter to treat his injuries.

To read more on this story, click here: Heroic Homeless People Rescue Dog Hit by a Car


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Loyal Police Dog Being Treated Inhumanely On Chief’s Orders

It’s bad enough that we are constantly bombarded with tragic stories about police killing friendly family pets for often no reason at all, and it’s just as sad to learn that police aren’t even treating their own K-9s well.  Jack is a Belgian Malinois police dog who has been forced to live in a squalid cement pen for the last two weeks.  Why?  Apparently because his partner decided to take a promotion with the sheriff’s department.

To read more on this story, click here: Loyal Police Dog Being Treated Inhumanely On Chief’s Orders FOLLOW US!

Man Pleads Guilty in Las Vegas Puppy Store Fire

Las Vegas (AP) — A fledgling boxer pleaded guilty Wednesday to arson and attempted animal cruelty charges, and told a judge he didn't want to be remembered as the man who set fire to a Las Vegas pet store where 27 puppies and adult dogs were rescued earlier this year.

Kirk Bills, 28, stood in shackles, nodded toward his wife in the courtroom gallery, and apologized to Clark County District Court Judge David Barker as he entered his pleas to avoid trial next week on a total of 31 felonies in the Jan. 27 fire at the Prince and Princess pet shop.

To read more on this story, click here: Man Pleads Guilty in Las Vegas Puppy Store Fire


Vet Removes Dog's Eye Without Permission

Tampa Bay, Fla. (WTSP) -- A dog owner got a call on Monday that shook her to the bone.

"I got hysterical," said dog owner Kimberly Hayden. "I was like what are you (the Veterinarian's Assistant) talking about? She was there for a follow up. And she goes, 'no, we extracted her eye.'"

To read more on this story, click here: Vet Removes Dog's Eye Without Permission FOLLOW US!

Why It Matters That PetSmart Discriminates Against Pit Bulls

One of Michael Vick's former dogs died this week.

Hector the pit bull was two when he was rescued out of the NFL player's Bad Newz Kennels.

He then got to live with a wonderful family -- Clara and Roo Yori -- who did all they could to give this dog the great life he so deserved, after his hellish beginning.

Hector even got to work for a while as a therapy dog, while also galavanting around the country with his human parents, proving over and over again that even pit bulls who have suffered through the worst abuse can thrive, and live safely, in loving homes.

To read more on this story, click here: Why It Matters That PetSmart Discriminates Against Pit Bulls


Fish Leaps from a Pond to Snatch Curious Cat in its Jaws and Drag it Beneath the Surface

A curious kitten got more than it bargained for when eyeing up a meal.

In this remarkable video, a kitten is dragged into a pond by a fish at least twice its size after it got a little too close to its prey.

The footage, filmed in Japan, shows the kitten edging closer and closer to the pond's surface, transfixed by the koi carp passing underneath it.

To read more on this story, click here: Fish Leaps from a Pond to Snatch Curious Cat in its Jaws and Drag it Beneath the Surface


National Cat Day 2014 - Presented by Naturally Fresh

What We Do
We live to celebrate cats and help them to find forever homes. Through our large social media presence, all year long we're able to partake in the wonderful world of cats and put the plight of cats in shelters, center stage and educate literally millions but on October's party time!

We encourage you to spoil your fur baby a little more on National Cat Day than any other day (you don't want them to get too demanding do you?) by buying them a new toy drenched in cat nip, giving them something simply scrumptious to eat, offering lots more cuddling and making a donation to  your local shelter in their honor. The best way you can celebrate though is to save a life! So if you can....ADOPT....don't shop.

To read more on this story, click here: National Cat Day 2014 - Presented by Naturally Fresh FOLLOW US!

Eighth Grader Convinces Entire School To Skip SeaWorld

The annual “winterim” trip to San Diego taken by the seventh and eighth graders at Alexander Dawson School in Lafayette, Colo., will be missing one element this year. The students will no longer be visiting SeaWorld, thanks to the efforts of one intrepid eighth grader named Phoebe Goldstein.

Goldstein, a longtime opponent of whale and dolphin captivity, had heard of other schools nearby that took field trips to the marine park. When she heard that her own school was planning a trip, she was shocked — and driven to action.

To read more on this story, click here: Eighth Grader Convinces Entire School To Skip SeaWorld FOLLOW US!

Uber Kittens is Back

Today is National Cat Day – the cutest day of the year. We’ve teamed up with Cheezburger and the ASPCA® for a second year to bring you kittens… literally.

To read more on this story, click here: Uber Kittens is Back FOLLOW US!

Uber Will Deliver Adoptable Kittens Again Today - Use Your Uber App to Have an Uber Driver Deliver a Car Full of Kittens for You to Play with for 15 Minutes

Yes, in celebration of National Cat Day, Uber will once again deliver kittens right to your door. Because that's what Uber does now.

For a cool $30, you can have an Uber driver come to wherever you are with a car full of kittens for you to play with for 15 minutes, if you're a cat person.

Between noon and 4:00 p.m., request the "Kittens" option in the Uber app (use the promo code kittensdc to unlock the option), and an Uber driver will be there, kittens in tow.

The kittens, which are coming from the Washington Humane Society, are adoptable and a rep from the shelter will accompany them if you meet one you want to adopt.

Additionally, Uber says they'll be "matching all donations made to the participating shelters via the Uber app."

Uber says they expect demand to be "very high" in all cities, so be patient with them, they ask. Still, kittens!

My story photo is of adorable Dox, a 3-month-old domestic kitten. He is available for adoption at the Washington Humane Society, #24145656. FOLLOW US!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Meet the Half-Blind Sanctuary Owner Who Hand Feeds His 14 Big Cats and Lets Them Cuddle in His Bed

He has been bitten on the nose by a leopard and had his shoulder separated after wrestling with a full-grown Bengal tiger.

But Carl Bovard, who is blind in one eye, believes living with 14 big cats including two lions, six tigers and a desert lynx, is a risk worth taking to raise awareness about endangered species.

They all spend time living in his Florida home before moving into the outside enclosure and are seen clambering over the pool table and cuddling up in his bed.

To read more on this story, click here: Meet the Half-Blind Sanctuary Owner Who Hand Feeds His 14 Big Cats and Lets Them Cuddle in His Bed


The Cheapest Dog Toy is Right There in Your Own House

In this video Estella demonstrates how unnecessary it is to spend any money on expensive toys for you pet… All you need is a doorstop… You don’t even need a door! And there you go…entertainment guaranteed for hours!


Are Those Spiders Falling From The Sky?

The weather forecast calls for it to be cloudy with a chance of spiders! Erick Reis was leaving an engagement party in Santo Antonio da Plantina in Brazil when he was stunned to see thousands of spiders raining down!

The spiders were crawling up and down silk threads attached to telephone pole wires and trees. The creepy footage was taken in February 2013 and gives the impression of spiders falling from the skies!

As scary as it seems, it turns out that this is a common occurrence with this kind of colonial spider, which is quite social and lives in large communities, catching prey in their huge, interwoven webs. High winds must have blown them out of the woods and into the town!

Share this unusual sight with your friends!


Turkey Still Thinks This Guy Holding a Baby Bear is A Terrorist: Is He?

The photo below, of a Kurdish fighter nursing an orphaned baby bear, is a controversial one. It appeared on The Washington Post's front page on March 8, 2008, alongside a dispatch by Post correspondent Joshua Partlow from northern Iraq, where he was among Kurdish rebels battling an offensive by the Turkish army. The fighters belonged to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a Kurdish separatist group that has waged a three-decades-long insurgency against Turkey.

To read more on this story, click here: Turkey Still Thinks This Guy Holding a Baby Bear is A Terrorist: Is He?


Former Puppy Mill Dog Experiences a Bed for the First Time (Video)

Delilah spent 9 years living in a wire cage in a puppy mill until she was saved by National Mill Dog Rescue. This video shows her experiencing a bed for the first time in her life.

Puppy mills are large-scale dog operations that are notorious for breeding dogs without considering the well-being of the animals. Puppy mill dogs experience endless suffering and little to no care while living in breeding facilities.

Fortunately for Delilah, her time in a mill ended in early October, and it’s all thanks to the National Mill Dog Rescue. After living in a wire cage for nine years, this pooch sure is excited to see her first real bed. The softness of the padding and the warmth of the fabric definitely has Delilah’s approval. This lucky pooch won’t be sleeping in any more wire cages from now on!

Clearly, puppy mills aren’t exactly the most comfortable place for our four legged friends to end up in, but unfortunately, with 2,000 to 3,000 USDA-licensed breeders (aka legal  puppy mills, according to the ASPCA), there could be around 10,000 puppy mills operating in the United States. You can help prevent the proliferation of puppy mills by always choosing to adopt and not shop for a furry friend. For more information, visit the National Mill Dog Rescue website.

Please consider making a donation so more dogs can have the chance to learn about soft beds and most importantly, love:


Howl-O-Ween Adoption Special – October 31 to November 1:Washington Humane Society Hosts $31 Dog Adoptions and $10 Cat Adoptions

Washington, DC – The Washington Humane Society (WHS) is getting in the Halloween spirit and offering reduced adoption fees on cats and dogs! From Friday, October 31 through Saturday, November 1, dog adoption fees will be reduced to $31 (normally $170) and cat adoption fees will be reduced to $10 (normally $85).

Despite the long-standing myth that animals are at risk of potentially dangerous or failed adoptions around Halloween, many animal welfare organizations like WHS are finding that this is not true. All animals, including black cats and dogs, can find loving homes during any time of the year!

All pets adopted from WHS go home spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped. Our standard adoption interview and approval process applies to all adoptions, and a $15 DC dog license fee is required for dogs adopted by DC residents.

WHAT: “Howl-O-Ween” Adoption Special

WHEN: Friday, October 31, 2014 to Saturday, November 1, 2014
                12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Washington Humane Society Adoption Centers
                1201 New York Avenue, NE
                7319 Georgia Avenue, NW

                SPECIAL: $31 dog adoption fees, $10 cat adoption fees


Monday, October 27, 2014

Are Domestic Dogs Losing The Ability To Get Along with Each Other?

Six months ago, I traveled to a small town in Belize. Over a week’s time I had several opportunities to observe the “village dogs”. These are free-roaming dogs that may or may not have owners. My first response to them was sympathy. As a rule they are thin and lack the robust look and activity level of the typical European or American pet dog.

But the more I watched them, the more I started to feel sympathy for my own dogs back at home instead.The Village dogs were free to come and go. They slept in yards and outside the doors of local shops. Some approached people for attention or food, others played with each other without incident. Their body language was loose and relaxed.

After six days of observation, I had not seen one fight between dogs or any aggression towards people. What do these dogs know that the average dog in the United States doesn’t know? Are domestic dogs in “developed” countries losing the ability to get along with each other?

Based on the number of phone calls behavior specialists like myself receive in a month about dog-dog aggression, I’d say the answer is, YES. So, with all the advantages money can buy, why are our pet dogs becoming more and more aggressive with each other?

The answer:
Lack of regular, frequent interaction with a variety of stable dogs of varying ages
Ignorance of dog culture and social communication skills
Expectations that all dogs must get along with each other
Isolation, Confinement, Lack of Good Teachers, Ignorance of Dog Culture, Mistaken Expectations

Typical pet dogs start their socially isolated lives when they leave their litter mates and move in with humans, often as an only dog. Isolation during puppyhood prevents them from learning critical social skills and body language from stable adult dogs and other puppies.

But, socialization is a buzz word that is poorly understood and often dispensed without specific techniques for success.

By the time I met her, Emma had become a statistic; she was the Grand Slam of socialization mistakes. A new client had adopted Emma from a local rescue at 4 month of age. They were told, “This dog needs plenty of socialization”. They were sent on their way to guess what “plenty of socialization” means. The dog spent the next 4 months being flooded with trips to the dog park, leash walks through the crowded streets of the local farmers market, being led right up the noses of other dogs, and a week long stay at a boarding kennel.

As it turns out, Emma’s natural temperament was extremely cautious and she had learned some disastrous lessons about the world. Her owners, like many others, had only good intentions, but no reliable information.They believed what most people believe, “all dogs must get along with each other and with every person they meet“. By 8 months, Emma had become fear aggressive towards other dogs and extremely timid meeting new people.

The village dogs in Belize have so many advantages over dogs like Emma. They are never leashed so they always have the ability to move a safe distance from potential threats. Compared to our dogs, who are tied to us and set out like the goat in Jurassic Park, with no way to escape, the Village dogs learn to use innate body language signals to work out social contact peacefully.

When a pet dog is presented to another dog on leash the result will normally be one of two responses:

Over-exuberance (brought on by a lack of education about social skills)
Avoidance and fear
The first scenario may cause the other dog to “correct” the dog with growling or snapping. The second situation may result in the fearful dog learning to skip all the lower level warning signals and go straight to the bark, snap or bite to protect themselves because it’s the only thing that works.

According to Dr. Ian Dunbar, veterinarian, dog behaviorist, speaker and author, “Free- Roaming Village puppies enter a functional social group. They are low man on the totem pole and they learn pretty quickly who to avoid and when to avoid them.

Dr. Dunbar shares that village puppies are taught the following lessons without overt aggression by stable adult members of the group.

Be polite. It’s not okay to run up to an adult dog’s face
Avert your gaze
Acknowledge your lower rank
Ask for permission to approach, investigate or play

Our puppies and dogs, in order to live safely in our culture, are fenced, crated, confined inside the house and leashed. In general, they have no social group to teach them how to get along with other dogs. So we take them to puppy class to give them at least a few weeks of social exposure. If the owners are lucky, they find an instructor who has an extensive education about puppy behavior from which to learn. But many owners don’t continue the dog’s education into adolescence.

More and more young dogs become unruly and socially awkward. Some become bullies and others are just downright dangerous. A few of these dogs end up being “socialized” in our dog parks. It’s a dog’s natural instinct to avoid dogs that are threatening, but how can a frightened dog avoid an out of control “canine missile” that is barreling towards them across an enclosed park? It is rare for either of the owners to intervene when this happens.

Animal ethologist, Marc Bekoff, Phd, writes in The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint

“Animals at play are constantly working to understand and follow the rules and to communicate heir intentions to play fairly.They fine-tune their behavior on the run, carefully monitoring the behavior of their play partners and paying close attention to infractions of the agreed-upon rules. Four basic aspects of fair play in animals are: Ask first, be honest, follow the rules, and admit you're wrong. When the rules of play are violated, and when fairness breaks down, so does play.”

What Needs To Change to Keep Our Dogs Productively Social?

Operation Socialization: Follow the common sense rules set out by Operation Socialization, an online resource for creating an emotionally and behaviorally healthy puppy

Never force: Take it slow with your dog or puppy. Don’t force him to face something he finds scary or unpleasant. Instead, gradually create a positive association with the scary situation until your puppy confidently and willingly meets the challenge.

Help Them Create Appropriate Distance: Because our dogs need to walk safely on a leash, create distance for them by moving away from other dogs and then evaluating that dog’s behavior. Read Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas to learn how to “arc” around other dogs to simulate natural calming behavior.
Educate Yourself: Take classes where the dogs are treated with respect. Use positive methods that will instill trust in the dog and create safe and favorable associations with other dogs (and other people). Get help from a professional.

Safe Socialization Scenarios: In addition to puppy socialization, consider Day care for adolescent dogs. Many dog day care facilities offer play groups that respect each dog’s play style so that rambunctious players don’t mix with shy or quiet dogs. Your dog should be evaluated by a knowledgable staff member for play “fitness”. Or find a neighbor who’s dog has appropriate play skills that match that of your own dog and get these dogs together for play regularly.
Dogs need fences: Based on laws governing property rights and for the safety of our canine family members, we do need fences. If your dog can see other dogs through windows or fences and their response is to bark, fence fight or become overly aroused, create a visual obstruction so the dog can’t rehearse this frustrated or territorial aggression. Many owners want their dogs to “see” the world go by because it’s the dog’s only boredom busting activity. Give your dog safe chew toys or problem solving “puzzle” activities.Take them for long runs in the park to work off excess energy. Interrupt fence running or window barking and take away the dog’s access to this scenario.

Dog Park? If your dog has a history of aggression or fear, do not take them to dog parks. Dog Parks are for the safe play of socially healthy dogs who have the right to play without being set up as “bait” for other aggressive dogs. If your dog is fearful, it is a short ride to aggression if even other friendly players approach them. Contact a behavior specialist or trainer who will help you to find appropriate activities for your dog and who will teach you how to safely and compassionately improve your dog’s responses to other dogs.

Dogs discriminate. It is to their advantage to be able to decide who is safe to have contact with and who isn’t. Nobody’s dog needs to be friends with every dog they meet and if your dog “corrects” another dog for inappropriately dangerous social behavior, don’t punish the corrector. A dog who growls or snaps at an unruly adolescent is well within their rights to teach the other dog what they are doing wrong. The unruly dog actually needs this kind of response to learn the rules of social interaction. Move the dogs away from each other. Don’t let the “correction” escalate to self-defense.

Sharing is not a survival strategy. Don’t expect your dog to share valuable food or chew items. If your dog covers his filled Kong with his head, freezes and lifts his lip at an approaching dog, understand that this is normal dog behavior and a productive communication to the other dog.The higher the value of the resource, especially food resources, the more likely a dog will actively guard them. If necessary, separate dogs when offering high value chew items.

Be your dog’s advocate. Respect who they are and keep them safe.

There are still many dogs in North America and Europe that are dog friendly, but, the scales are starting to tip towards a new “norm” where dogs have no practical social skills when it comes to getting along with other dogs. We are our dog’s guardians. We take on the responsibility to create lives for them that are safe, happy and productive. We need to become the facilitators of a good social education. We owe them at least that much.

Sharing from: Laura Brody

Meet Tom, the Cat that Comforts Dying Patients at the VA Medical Center in Salem, Virginia

In the final moments of his life, Edwin Gehlert was surrounded by his family and loved ones. But as he took his last breaths, a somewhat unfamiliar face was curled up right next to Gehlert on his hospital bed. That face belonged to Tom, the tabby cat.

"We had seen Tom in and out of daddy's room on a few of our visits," Gehlert's daughter Pam Thompson said. “But on that day it’s like he knew something was different.”

Tom sat with Gehlert and comforted him and his family, placing his paw in Gehlert's hand immediately after his passing.

“I would never have believed a cat could have touched my heart like this cat did, but I truly felt like God was speaking to me that afternoon through Tom,” Thompson said. “It was as if Tom's paw was God's hand leading my daddy up towards that light to heaven, just as I had been begging him to do for weeks.”

Tom is responsible for many comforting stories since arriving at the VA Medical Center in Salem, Virginia, in May 2012.

Laura Hart, the lead physician's assistant at the Salem VA, said she came up with the idea to bring Tom to the palliative care unit after hearing Dr. David Dosa speak at a conference in Denver. Dosa is the author of “Making Rounds with Oscar,” a book about a cat named Oscar who comforted Alzheimer’s patients in a nursing center in Rhode Island.

"We’re trying to make it a home-like environment, which is hard to do in a hospital,” Hart said. “But we know the little things, like a pet, make it more bearable.”

Hart and colleague Dottie Rizzo, the VA's hospice and palliative care coordinator, then began their search for the perfect cat. They found a veterinarian in Salem who asked local shelters for a cat that they think would fit the bill. Salem Animal Shelter immediately thought of their cat Tom. He ended up being the perfect match.

“We have seen first-hand the impact that he makes on the families and the patients and even our staff,” Rizzo said. “A hospice can be a really sad place to be and work and Tom brings a calmness and normalcy to our unit. We try to be a home-like environment and a pet kind of takes it to the level that maybe it is a little more like home here with him.”

Tom helps lift the spirits of patients, families and staff alike, Hart said, noting that families are comforted by his presence, knowing that when they leave the VA their loved ones will find company in a small, furry friend.

“Families don’t want their loved ones being alone, and it’s comforting for them to know Tom is there,” Hart said. “And it’s amazing how many of the families really feel that Tom is there to be with their family member when they die, whether he kind of comes and herds the family into the room right before the patient passes, or he just curls up on a patient’s bed in their final hours.”

And that experience leaves families with a little more peace and serenity in some of their toughest moments, just like it did for Thompson and her family.

“I left the VA that afternoon with a smile on my face and love in my heart knowing that my father was now at peace and on his way to a wonderful new adventure and it was all with the help of Tom the Cat," Thompson said.

How This Baby Orphaned Bat Reacts To Being Loved Will Steal Your Heart - It’s Priceless!

Lil’ Drac is a little orphaned short-tailed bat. This little baby bat was very lucky as it got rescued by Weatherford, Texas Bat World Sanctuary. It is a no-profit organization dedicated towards the preservation of hundreds of bats.

Bat World Sanctuary offers rehabilitation and release programs and even lifelong sanctuary programs to non releasable bats. Bat population is in a rapid decline. More than half of the native bats of USA are endangered. Watch this man giving a loving care to this baby bat.


Feline Panleukopenia Virus Outbreak Hits Indianapolis Animal Care and Control

An outbreak of feline panleukopenia virus has hit the Indianapolis Animal Care and Control shelter, according to WTHR-TV Channel 13, and numerous cats have been infected.

Panleukopenia is highly contagious and often fatal. It is A feline disease similar to parvovirus in dogs. There is no cure for the virus and cats receive supportive care if infected.

Most of the cats at the Indianapolis Animal Care and Control (IACC) have been placed in local rescues and shelters. Those infected will receive supportive care. The virus spread quickly amongst the shelter cats due to close quarters. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and abdominal pain, and is spread through direct contact. Some cats may exhibit no symptoms at all.

The IACC has closed its cat section so the staff can disinfect the area. The shelter will need anywhere from 72 hours to two weeks to decontaminate the cat housing area. The shelter will not be accepting owner-surrenders during this time. Any cat surrendered while the cat section is closed is at high risk for euthanasia. Stray cats will be brought to Indy Feral, A Ttrap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program for community cats. FOLLOW US!

Yakima Valley Pet Rescue Volunteer Finds Four Filthy, Freezing Puppies Stranded in a Crate by the Side of the Highway

 Who knows how long four filthy, freezing puppies were stranded in a crate by the side of the highway – but thanks to a vigilant rescuer, these dogs have a second chance to find loving families.

On Friday afternoon, a volunteer for Yakima Valley Pet Rescue was driving along the highway in Yakima, Washington, when she saw the crate on the side of the road. According to Yakima Valley Pet Rescue’s Facebook page, when the volunteer, named Gina, stopped to retrieve the crate, she saw “four freezing cold and filthy puppies all huddled together in back of this crate.” The tiny pups were pushed tightly together to provide warmth and comfort to one another.

Yakima Valley Pet Rescue took in the four puppies, cleaned them up, and provided them with warm baths. The puppies have now been vaccinated and de-wormed. They have full bellies and are full of hope, thanks to the organization’s staff and volunteers.

The organization stated on their Facebook page on Friday:

We think they are a mix of many, looks like some scruffy wirehair and maybe some blue heeler with that coloring...They are 3.5 months old and the smallest weighs 7.4 pounds. They have nice, soft, medium-length coats. They’re three brothers and one sister.”

The puppies have been thriving with the care of Yakima Valley Pet Rescue’s staff and volunteers. The organization stated on their Facebook page today: “The little highway pups are coming along! They are happy little ones!”

Thank you to the dedicated rescuer who found these dogs! To learn more about Yakima Valley Pet Rescue, including how you can donate to this organization, visit the organization’s website HERE and Facebook page HERE.


6 Common Illnesses to Watch for in Puppies

Your puppy is brand new and you want to protect him. The best thing you can do is to feed him a healthy, balanced diet, says Dr. Jim Dobies, a veterinarian with South Point pet hospital in Charlotte, N.C., and a member of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association.

To read more on this story, click here: 6 Common Illnesses to Watch for in Puppies


Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Prince George's County Police Department, Prince George's County, Maryland - Today is Honoring Our Fallen K9 Hero "Rebel" Lost This Day in 1984 While Searching for a Suspect

On October 26, 1984, at about midnight, Corporal Joseph Wing and his K9 partner responded to Mount Rainier Junior High School to assist patrol units with a burglary in progress.

A perimeter was established and several announcements were made into the building instructing any suspects to surrender. When the suspects ignored those orders, Corporal Wing and Rebel deployed into the school, entering through the boiler room. As the search moved towards the far end of the school, Rebel gave indication to Corporal Wing of possible human presence within a particular classroom. Rebel entered the room, which was completely dark, and became aware of a suspect. As Rebel moved towards the suspect to make apprehension, the suspect stabbed Rebel in the chest. The armed suspect then advanced towards Corporal Wing, forcing him to deploy lethal force. Rebel was rushed to a veterinarian where he died of his injuries.

Rebel served the Prince George’s County Police Department for two years and was the first K9 member of this agency to give his life in the line of duty. At the time of his death, Rebel was five years old.


Top Dogs: Australian Predators Can Provide 24-7 Feral Cat Control

Feral cats are devastating our wildlife, so we need a long-term, sustainable solution. This is where Australia's natural predators come in.

A few moments on the internet will reveal that, as companion animals, cats are rivalled only by dogs. Our love affair with them is hardly surprising: they are elegant, graceful and affectionate animals. But they are also highly adaptable and successful hunters. Sadly our soft spot for them brings with it disastrous consequences for smaller wildlife species, particularly mammals, birds and reptiles.

To read more on this story, click here: Top Dogs: Australian Predators Can Provide 24-7 Feral Cat Control