The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : April 2017 The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : April 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Washington, DC – Humane Rescue Alliance Celebrating National Adopt-A-Shelter-Pet Day This Weekend: 50% Adoption Fees!

All adoptable animals at shelters and in foster available at discounted fee this weekend (Saturday and Sunday).  Standard adoption procedures apply.

WHAT:  Discounted (50%) adoption fees to celebrate                     National Adopt-a-Shelter-Pet Day. Standard                       adoption procedures apply.

WHO:   All available animals for adoption, including dogs,               cats, puppies, kittens and small animals.

WHEN:  Saturday, April 29th and Sunday, April 30th
                                           Noon – 7 p.m.

WHERE:  Humane Rescue Alliance Pet Adoption Centers
1201 New York Ave., NE                                77 Oglethorpe Street, NW
 Washington, DC 20002                                    Washington, DC 20011                    202-576-6664                                                 202-726-2556

WEBSITE:   To view adoptable animals, including animals in foster care, visit

About the Humane Rescue Alliance: 
The Humane Rescue Alliance (formerly the Washington Humane Society-Washington Animal Rescue League) has protected and served the animals of the community for more than 145 years and serves more than 60,000 animals annually. The broad range of programs offered include: rescue and adoption, humane law enforcement, low-cost veterinary services, animal care and control, behavior and training, spay-neuter services, humane education, and many others. The organization is dedicated to ensuring the safety and welfare of all animals, bringing people and animals together, and working with all communities to support these relationships. HRA is based in Washington, DC, the only major urban area in the country that has all of its animal protection programs and services unified in one organization, making the Humane Rescue Alliance a model for the nation.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Prince George's County, Maryland: Prince George's County Animal Shelter Needs Veggies, Apples, Carrots, Lettuce for and Influx of Rabbits Received – Please Share

Its hopping at the shelter! 51 that's the magic number of the day. 51 rabbits came our way. We are on the hunt for some veggies, apples, carrots, lettuce, strawberries, any green leafys. If you have some you can send our way drop them by or let us know.

Prince George's County Animal Shelter
3750 Brown Station Rd
Upper Marlboro, Maryland, MD 20772
(301) 780-7200
Hours 12:00PM - 6:00PM


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Friday, April 21, 2017

Meet Frederik, the World's Most Handsome Horse

Frederik The Great, a breathtakingly beautiful Friesian stallion from the United States, may just be the world's most handsome horse.

Sharing his name with the ruler of Prussia from 1740-1786, the highly acclaimed horse has a muscular build, striking black features and flowing mane.

The beautiful stallion is owned by Pinnacle Friesians where he stands at stud in the Ozark Mountains in the US.

With a Facebook fan page of more than 12,500 followers and a blog to his name, the stunning stallion has amassed quite a hefty fan following.

So popular is the horse that an online gallery featuring artwork of him has been created.

A breathtaking video shot recently shows Frederik galloping freely, with his long black mane billowing in the wind.

'That hair! It's like someone crossed a horse with the hunky lead from a romance novel,' Boredom Therapy wrote.

The equine treasure's legacy will continue with his first offspring born in August 2015.

Vaughn, a Friesian colt, shares the same striking appearance as its father and at just nine months old is completely adorable.

Frederik The Great commands a stud fee of more than AUD$7,500.
By comparison, Frankel, one of the world's greatest ever racehorses, has a service fee of more than AUD$250,000.

Fans of Frederik The Great have expressed their love for the handsome horse.

“Frederik, you are the most beautiful horse that I have ever seen. Only God could create such artistry. Breath taking & magnificent,” one person wrote.

“There will NEVER be a more majestic, handsome, sexy horse on the face of the earth. Never, ever. I wish I could just touch and 'smell' him just once,” wrote another.

He's the real life Black Beauty.

Drawing comparisons: “It's like someone crossed a horse with the hunky lead from a romance novel,” Boredom Therapy wrote, putting Frederik (left) in the same league as heartthrob Fabio Lanzoni (right)


Photographer Amol Jadhav’s Clever Lighting and Framing Techniques Create Optical Illusion Portraits to Help Animals Get Adopted

There are a lot of potential pet owners but some of them need a little bit of inspiration to adopt. Photographer Amol Jadhav and art director Pranav Bhide have created a powerful campaign for World For All Animal Care And Adoptions in Mumbai to spread awareness about their adoption event, and – most importantly – it was effective!

Using clever lighting and framing techniques, the creative duo made a series of optical illusion portraits that contain two images in one. The artists arranged their portrait subjects to create an animal shape in the negative space between them. Everything came together when they turned on a super bright backlight and placed gentle fill light in the front, perfect for the tagline “There’s always room for more. Adopt.”

People heard Amol’s and Pranav’s message – compared to last year, the attendance of the event boosted by 150%, and this lead to 42 adoptions.


Do You Think It Is Cruel to Breed Cats with Genetic Deformities Intentionally?

Controversial Munchkin Cats may be trendy to some people who find them cute, but is it cruel to breed cats with genetic deformities intentionally? You may have seen videos or pictures on social media of these short-legged felines, often affectionately called “sausage cats,” and wondered how their legs get so short.

The short legs of the Munchkin cat come from a dominant genetic mutation. This gene is referred to as a “lethal” gene because if two Munchkin cats mate and both pass on the dominant gene, the kittens will not survive. Breeders intentionally breed Munchkin cats with regular-sized cats or cats that are just shorter and do not have the Munchkin gene to produce kittens with short legs that can be sold for a high price.

Although Munchkin cats, when taken care of, can live about 12 to 15 years on average, there are some health problems that can develop due to their short legs. Lordosis is a condition that causes the spine to dip down and put pressure on the heart, lungs, and trachea, and it can be fatal as the organs begin to grow.

Munchkin cats are also susceptible to pectus excavatum, or a concave chest. This causes the breastbone to sink in. Breeders are quick to point out that these conditions can also occur in normal-sized cats, but vets have found a correlation between the genetic mutation and these health problems.

Some worry that short legs limit Munchkin cats’ mobility, which is especially important for felines. Munchkin cats may not be able to jump high, but they are surprisingly nimble and agile on ground level. Their mobility, for the most part, isn’t terribly affected by having shorter legs.

Breeders also like to point out that breeding cats with a genetic mutation that causes short legs is no different than breeding short-legged dogs like Corgis or Dachshunds. The International Cat Association (TICA) agrees with this argument and accepts the Munchkin cat as a registered breed, but the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) and the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) refuse to recognize the Munchkin. One TICA judge even resigned because of the questionable ethics of breeding a cat with a genetic deformity intentionally.

When it comes down to it, breeding a cat with short legs is done only to please humans, not for the benefit of cats. Sure they may look “cute” to some, but it certainly doesn’t make them healthier and provides them with no specific advantages. And in a world where shelters are full of unwanted healthy cats, should we really be breeding deformed felines for profit?

Andrew Prentis, of Hyde Park Veterinary Centre in Central London, had a word of advice for those wanting a Munchkin cat or breed them. Prentis told the Sun: “Why would you want to breed a cat that effectively doesn’t have any legs? If you want to see a short-legged cat, go and watch a cartoon. Leave the cat alone.”


USDA: We Want The "Right To Rescue" Pets From Hot Cars

Urge the USDA to amend the Animal Welfare Act, allowing concerned bystanders to rescue endangered pets from locked cars.

As summer temperatures rise, so do the number of beloved pets lost to vehicular heat stroke. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), that number reaches the hundreds every year.

This isn't surprising considering that even on a 70-degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise to almost 100º F in just 20 minutes — less time than it takes for a grocery store run. That's dangerously hot by any standard, but especially for dogs, who lack the sweat glands we humans have to regulate body temperature.

Most tragically, nearly all of these incidents happen by accident due to simple misjudgments of time or weather.

But recent "Right to Rescue" laws in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Florida, and Ohio are creating a safety net. In these states, concerned bystanders can now forcefully break into locked vehicles to free trapped dogs (and kids) without facing civil liability. We think it's high time the rest of the country followed suit!

To read more on this story, click here: USDA: We Want The "Right To Rescue" Pets From Hot Cars


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Washington, DC – Humane Rescue Alliance Offering $5,000 Reward for Information Leading to Arrest/Conviction of Person(s) for Act of Animal Cruelty

On the evening of April 18, 2017 the Humane Rescue Alliance responded to the 3200 Block of 28th St. SE regarding a domestic short haired cat which someone had attempted to light on fire while confined in a trap. The incident reportedly happened in that area between 8 PM and Midnight.

The Humane Rescue Alliance desperately needs the help of the community for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this horrific act of animal cruelty. The Humane Rescue Alliance is offering a $5,000.00 reward that will be given to any person who provides such information.

If you have any information about this case, please contact the
Humane Rescue Alliance’s Humane Law Enforcement Department:
Officer Russell

Information will be kept confidential upon request.

The Humane Rescue Alliance protects animals, supports families, and advocates for positive change to create a world where all animals can thrive. We enrich the humanity of our communities by promoting compassion and encouraging people to find joy, comfort and companionship through the love and appreciation of animals.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Video Captured a Massive King Cobra Appearing to Drink Out of a Man’s Water Bottle

Video captured a massive king cobra appearing to drink out of a man’s water bottle amid extreme droughts across southern India.

The extremely venomous reptile ― described by Caters News as 12-feet long ― is seen turning to the higher ups, who cautiously pour the water while holding its tail and a hook near its head, presumably in case it turns on them. The people in the video are wildlife rescue workers, according to Caters.

The video was reportedly shot from a village in Kaiga township. A similar video uploaded to YouTube in 2014 shows a man sharing a drink with another cobra but in an unknown location. (Talk about friends in low places.)

According to Smithsonian’s National Zoo, king cobras can grow up to 18 feet in length. Though they’re considered to be aggressive snakes, they’re said to attack people only when cornered or trying to protect their eggs.

“Throughout its entire range from India to Indonesia, the king cobra causes fewer than five human deaths a year, about one-fifth as many as caused by rattlers in North America,” the zoo’s website states.


Scientists Are Now Digging Up Evidence that Animals Can Also Help Improve Mental Health, Even for People with Challenging Disorders

Being a pet in America is a plum gig. Pets are incredibly well loved: according to a 2015 Harris poll, 95% of owners think of their animal as a member of the family. About half buy them birthday presents. And it's a two-way street. People who have pets tend to have lower blood pressure, heart rate and heart-disease risk than those who don't. Those health boons may come from the extra exercise that playing and walking require, and the stress relief of having a steady best friend on hand.

Scientists are now digging up evidence that animals can also help improve mental health, even for people with challenging disorders. Though the studies are small, the benefits are impressive enough that clinical settings are opening their doors to animal-assisted interventions--pet therapy, in other words--used alongside conventional medicine. "It used to be one of the great no-no's to think of an animal in a hospital," says Alan Beck, director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, citing the fear of causing infection. "Now, I don't know of any major children's hospital that doesn't have at least some kind of animal program."

The rise of animal therapy is backed by increasingly serious science showing that social support--a proven antidote to anxiety and loneliness--can come on four legs, not just two. Animals of many types can help calm stress, fear and anxiety in young children, the elderly and everyone in between.

More research is needed before scientists know exactly why it works and how much animal interaction is needed for the best results. But published studies show that paws have a place in medicine and in mental well-being. "The data is strong," Beck says. "If you look at what animals do for people and how we interact with them, it's not surprising at all." Here's a look some of the cutting-edge science in the field.

In one study, a stressed-out group of adults were told to pet a rabbit, a turtle or their toy forms. The toys had no effect. But stroking a living creature, whether hard-shelled or furry, relieved anxiety. It worked for people regardless of whether they initially said they liked animals.

Animals don't have to be cuddly to help. In a 2016 study published in the journal Gerontology, elderly people who were given five crickets in a cage became less depressed after eight weeks than a control group. The act of caring for a living creature seems to make the difference.

Among the most-studied therapy animals, horses have been involved in medical treatment plans in Europe since the 1860s. Activities like grooming a horse and leading one around a pen have been shown to reduce PTSD symptoms in children and adolescents.

Animals can focus people's attention. When people at an Alzheimer's-disease facility dined in front of aquariums with brightly colored fish, they ate more, got better nutrition and were less prone to pacing. They were also more attentive and less lethargic.

Some research suggests that when children who struggle with reading read aloud to a trained dog and handler, they show fewer anxiety symptoms. "Their attitudes change and their skills improve," says Lisa Freeman, director of the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction.
Guinea pigs

Animals make socializing easier for kids who find it stressful, says Maggie O'Haire of Purdue. In her study, when children with autism had a guinea pig in the classroom, they were more social with their peers, smiled and laughed more, and showed fewer signs of stress.


Street Musician Adopts Kittens Who Stop and Watch His Performance

Meanwhile somewhere on the streets of Pangkor, Malaysia, a passionate musician was giving a performance, but nobody seemed to care or take a moment to listen. The musician, who was rather upset, was just about to finish and call it quits, when suddenly he sees four kittens sitting in front of him, listening to his music!

I’m not kidding you, they were sitting there, bobbing their head to prove that they were enjoying! These kittens, who look like they were just a couple of months old, came in to support the man, telling others that his music was worth listening to! The man, on the other hand, felt better and before leaving, he thanked the kittens for watching his performance.

This just goes to prove that some of us have left humanity far behind, but animals? no, they carry it with them! These kittens definitely made his day.  And the sweetest part of this story was that they were adopted by this beautiful guy!


San Diego, California - Paws'itive Teams is Currently Interviewing Applicants for a Fully Trained Service Dog

Paws'itive Teams is currently interviewing applicants for a fully trained service dog. We feel Rocky would do well with someone with an active lifestyle who can find greater independence with the assistance of a canine partner who has exceptional skills in retrieving objects, tugging doors, assist with undressing, emergency alerts and much more. Applicants must live in San Diego County and have a mobility limiting disability. The first step is to submit a short pre-application through the website. Click here for APPLICATION.

Website: Paws'itive Teams


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Why You Should Never Give Baby Chicks to Children as Easter Gifts

Fluffy chicks and ducklings are popular Easter gifts—they're adorable, soft and irresistible, but they're not always an appropriate gift choice. While spring and Easter cards, children's books and toys tell a sweet story of fluffy chicks, they fail to tell the whole story of these real, live birds and why they should never be given as holiday gifts.

Chicks and Ducklings as Pets

Chicks and ducklings are not novelty toys, they are live, domestic birds that require special care and dedication to keep as pets.

Unless you are experienced in keeping livestock or plan to raise the birds for food, it is important to realize that they require both indoor shelter and outdoor exercise areas. Ducklings also require a safe location for swimming. Both of these birds have special requirements for feeding that a typical pet store cannot meet, and they will also need appropriate care from an agricultural veterinarian experienced with farm birds.

If you are prepared to meet the bird's needs to keep it as a pet, first check local zoning regulations. Many cities consider chickens and ducks to be livestock rather than pets, and they may not be permitted in residential zones. Then, investigate the breeds of chickens and ducks available to be sure you are choosing one that you can properly care for throughout its life — these birds quickly outgrow the cute, "Easter" stage and will live for years. If you are not willing to make the commitment for the bird's lifetime, it is best to avoid becoming involved with animals you cannot handle.

When sweet, peeping chicks are offered for sale each spring, many would-be buyers don't realize the hazards that Easter chicks and ducklings can present, particularly to the young children they may be given to as gifts. These small birds have sharp talons and bills, and they can easily scratch and bite.

The more dangerous threat, however, is salmonella contamination.

Salmonella is a bacterial disease that can be spread through the feces of chicks and ducklings, as well as through contaminated water. When these birds preen, the bacteria can be spread over all their plumage, and simply holding or petting them can transfer the bacteria to humans. The disease causes a range of symptoms, including diarrhea, fever, aches, nausea and abdominal cramps lasting for 5-7 days. While hospitalization for salmonella infections is rare, the elderly and the very young are especially at risk, as is anyone with a compromised or suppressed immune system.

Avoiding any contact with chicks and ducklings is the easiest way to minimize the spread of salmonella. If you do handle these birds, even briefly, washing your hands thoroughly with an anti-bacterial soap immediately afterwards is necessary.

An Unfortunate End
Too many Easter chicks and ducklings are sold as gifts to people who succumb to the birds' cuteness but have no desire or intention to care for adult chickens and ducks. After a few days, children lose interest in the birds and the birds lose their appeal as demanding house guests, and they are often abandoned in local parks or fields to fend for themselves.

Unfortunately, these are domestic birds with no knowledge or experience at foraging or evading predators, and death is inevitable. Those that may survive become part of feral colonies of domestic and hybrid birds that cause problems for park cleanliness and native wildlife. Many cities have been faced with mandatory culls of the birds when the populations grow too large.

Easter chicks surrendered to animal shelters do not face better chances of survival. In the spring, many shelters and humane societies are overburdened with former gifts that have become unwanted chickens and ducks, and finding suitable homes for them can be a challenge. Many of the birds will eventually be euthanized because they are not adopted.

A Note About Dyes
One of the most bizarre practices surrounding Easter chicks and ducklings is dyeing the birds in bright colors to make them more appealing.

While many areas outlaw this practice, it is still possible to buy dyed chicks in the spring. The birds can be dyed in the egg when coloring is injected during incubation. The birds do not appear to be harmed by this practice, but there have been no extensive studies about the effects of the dye on chicks that are not fully developed. When the birds molt, the colored feathers are shed and their typical plumage colors return. Recent hatchlings may also be sprayed with bright or pastel colors that will eventually wear off, but could be ingested as the birds preen. The spraying process may also cause great stress to the birds.

The greater damage caused by dyeing these birds is that the bright colors turn them into a novelty item. This emphasizes the birds as a gift rather than a live pet, and encourages many people to make an uninformed purchase of a bird they will not want to care for when it is no longer pink, purple, blue or green.

Alternatives to Easter Chicks and Ducklings
Instead of giving a live bird that could be dangerous and requires a lifetime commitment of care, there are many more responsible alternative gifts to choose from, including:
  • Toy chicks and ducklings, including plush or bathtub toys
  • Chocolate and candy birds and eggs
  • A visit to a reputable, educational petting zoo
  • Spring or Easter-themed coloring books, storybooks or games
  • A bird house or bird feeder to attract wild chicks
  • Chick or duckling figurines or Easter-themed décor
  • Seeds to grow in the spring
By understanding the needs of chicks and ducklings, you can decide if these birds truly are a good gift choice. This allows you to make a better decision about celebrating spring and Easter without harming birds or risking the potentially unpleasant effects of owning unwanted pets.


Reasons Why You Should Never Buy Your Child a Rabbit for Easter

House Rabbit Society strongly urges parents not to buy their children live “Easter bunnies” unless they are willing to make a 10-year commitment to properly care for the animals. Each year, thousands of baby rabbits, chicks, and ducks are purchased as Easter gifts only to be abandoned or left at shelters in the days, weeks and months that follow Easter.

Margo DeMello, president of HRS, encourages rabbit lovers to support the “Make Mine Chocolate” ™ campaign created by the Columbus, Ohio, chapter of HRS.“Rabbits are not ‘low maintenance’ pets,” says DeMello; they require at least the same amount of work as a cat or dog, and often more. Chocolate rabbits are a great alternative; kids can enjoy them for 10 minutes, and they won’t have to take care of them for the next 10 years.”

Mary Cotter, vice-president of HRS, says that many of the rabbits purchased as Easter pets will never live to see their first birthday. Some will die from neglect, while others will be abandoned in local parks or left at animal shelters. “It is irresponsible for pet stores to push rabbits and other so-called Easter animals during the holiday,” says Cotter. “Unless parents are willing to take full responsibility for the possible 10-year lifepan of a live rabbit, they should buy their children chocolate rabbits instead.”

Most children want a companion they can hold, carry and cuddle, but rabbits are fragile, ground-loving creatures who break easily when dropped. 

Additionally, rabbits are easily frightened by loud noises. It is unreasonable to expect a small child to make a 10-year commitment to taking care of a rabbit. All too often, the child loses interest, and the rabbit ends up neglected or abandoned.

Does this mean no families with children should never have pet rabbits? “Not at all!” says DeMello. “But what it does mean is that parents must be actively involved on a daily basis, and willing to supervise any interactions between rabbits and children. Otherwise, chocolate is the way to go!”

For families willing to make the long-term commitment, here are a few points to consider before acquiring a rabbit:
  • Housing: For rabbits who use a cage, the cage needs to be at least six times the size of the adult rabbit. It should not have a wire bottom, as the wire can cause sores on the rabbit’s feet. There should be room for a litterbox, toys, food and water bowls. Others may choose to forgo a cage entirely, using instead a pen for the rabbit’s home base.
  • Playtime: Rabbits need plenty of exercise and should be allowed at least 30 hours out-of-cage or pen running time in a rabbit-proofed area of the home per week.
  • Outdoors: Rabbits should never be left outdoors unsupervised. They can, literally, be frightened to death when approached by predators such as dogs, cats, raccoons and owls. They can also dig under fences to escape.
  • Litter Box: Rabbits, once spayed or neutered, will readily use litterboxes that are place in one corner of the rabbit’s space; the rabbit’s running space should contain at least one additional box. Use dust-free, natural litter–not the clumping kind, and no softwood shavings.
  • Diet: Rabbits need fresh water, unlimited fresh, grass hay, 1-2 cups of fresh vegetables, and a small serving (1/4 c per 5 lb. rabbit) of plain rabbit pellets each day.
  • Health: Like dogs and cats, rabbits should be spayed or neutered. The risk of uterine cancer in unspayed female rabbits is alarmingly high, and unneutered males are likely to spray.
  • Grooming: Rabbits shed their coat 3-4 times per year; use a flea comb and brush away excess fur.

A person who chooses a baby rabbit as a companion must:

  • Have lots of time, a household that can withstand some chewing, and a stable residence.
  • Expect an unneutered/unspayed baby will spray urine. Know that neutering/spaying (at four to six months) will stop the problem.
  • Expect accidents when baby forgets the location of the litterbox.
  • Allow the energetic young rabbit at least 30 hours a week of free time outside her pen, habitat, or cage.
  • Know the cute baby will soon be an adult rabbit and may have a different personality.
If you think you would enjoy sharing your home with a rabbit, please your local animal shelter, humane society or rabbit rescue group for information about adopting a rabbit. No matter where you live, you are probably within 10 miles of a rabbit who desperately needs a safe, indoor home. If you are not sure you can make this kind of commitment, please consider buying your child a chocolate bunny this Easter instead.


Have You Seen Freddy, The Worlds Largest Dog That Stands 7 Feet, 6 Inches Tall?

Typically, when we think of giant dogs, Great Danes come to mind. We’ve all seen one before and quietly thought to ourselves – that is an enormous dog. Their incredible size is truly something to behold.

Freddy is a great dane from Essex, England and he is no exception. Freddy officially stands at 7 feet 6 inches tall and is the tallest dog in the world.

When Freddy’s mom Claire Stoneman brought Freddy home, she knew he was going to grow into a big dog – as most great danes do. She knew that the average great dane male can weigh up to 190 pounds and stand at about 33 inches tall. What she didn’t know, was that he’d soon grow to far surpass those measurements.

Freddy is over two feet taller than Claire when he stands on his hind legs and he weighs in at over 200 pounds.

Last year he was officially recognized as the worlds largest dog by the Guinness World Records.

While most owners might be put off by his enormous size, Claire says she has nothing but love for her giant fur-baby.

Freddy lives with Claire, her children, and his Great Dane sister, Fluer.

Together, Freddy and Fluer consume an unimaginable amount of food to keep them happy and healthy. Their favorite snacks are said to include roast chicken and peanut butter on toast.

Claire says her grocery bills frequently cost over $15 000 a year alone. Destroyed furniture and other broken household items add thousands more to Freddy’s expenses tally.

“I’d come home and find a sea of foam across the floor. But he’s my baby and I can’t imagine life without him,” said Claire.

Claire’s days now consist of long walks and super sized meal prep for her two fur-babies.


U.S. Air Force Installation Has Added a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response K-9 to Aid in the Fight Against On-Base Sexual Assaults

A U.S. Air Force installation has enlisted a first-of-her-kind recruit to aid in the fight against on-base sexual assault. Only her rank doesn’t exist among lieutenants and captains.

Eielson Air Force Base officials have credited Tessa – a 5-month old golden retriever – with helping seven service members who have come forward to report attacks. 

"It’s been phenomenal having a tiny member of our team accomplish so much positivity in the short amount of time she’s been here," Air Force Capt. Heather Novus, the 354th Fighter Wing’s sexual assault response coordinator, said in a release. “I hope we can smooth the transition for other bases to adopt a [sexual assault prevention and response] K-9, and we would love to assist supporting this idea across other installations and can ease the process for others to adopt what has been a successful program so far.”

Tessa serves as a comfort canine, helping victims of abuse to come forward.

“Tessa brings a stability to reconnect with victims who have emotionally disconnected because of the traumatic event they have gone through,” Shellie Severa, the 354th Fighter Wing’s SAPR head victim advocate, said. “Each individual is different on how they are going to handle their trauma, but one of the biggest things we see with almost all trauma victims is lack of trust, and trust can be re-established through the assistance of a dog.”

Tessa’s mission began in the winter of 2016.

“We are having victims come out of the shadows who were afraid for numerous reasons to report; having a dog in the program is important for them to realize this is a place where they are safe and can rebuild trust,” Severa said. “Tessa has brought many smiles to people engaging with her, and encouraged people to tell their story, which helps them to have a voice again and take back the power they lost.”

The canine’s involvement on base is a visible example of the U.S. military’s efforts to address on-base sexual assault since it was reported only about 3,000 of 26,000 bases were report. The number of unreported cases took a nosedive in 2015. You can read it here: Department of Defense
Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military


Woman Takes Her Therapy Dog to a Furry Convention Thinking it Was an Event for Pets

A woman and her Bernese mountain dog became the unwitting stars of a furry convention this weekend after the woman mistook the gathering as an event for pets.

Cheryl Wassus of Monroe, Michigan, is a volunteer with Pets for Vets, a nonprofit that matches therapy dogs with military veterans. When Wassus learned that Motor City Furry Con in Novi, Michigan, was raising money for the organization, she assumed it must be a pet-themed convention.

It was a reasonable mistake. For those unaware, furries are people who enjoy dressing up in anthropomorphic animal costumes and role-playing. That’s not what Wassus or Link — who has training as a therapy dog — expected.

Wassus’ son, New York Media producer Kenny Wassus, tweeted some incredible photos of the mix-up on Saturday.

“This is just a whole subculture I wasn’t even aware existed,” Cheryl Wassus told New York magazine. “When we set up tables and do promos and educate the public and do outreach, I had no idea the outreach was going to be other human … furry people. I guess you’re never too old to learn.” (Read her full interview with NYMag, which is amazing, HERE.)

Wassus told Cosmopolitan that the convention’s organizers had invited her to do a presentation about Pets for Vets, and that it just never became clear what a “furry con” was.

“I usually try to do some research the night before I go to these events but the website was pretty obscure,” she said.

But the surprise worked out for the best. Wassus, Link and the furries got along famously. Link was a little confused at first, Wassus said, and did some “serious tail-sniffing” at the sight of all the two-legged animals. But it all ended up being no big deal.

“They weren’t offended, though. They just embraced him,” she told NYMag. “It was all good. Just a real interested community.”

Plus, the event was a big win for Pets for Vets ― Motor City Furry Con raised $10,000 for the group.

The media tends to associate being a furry with a sexual fetish, but most furry fans say it’s really not about that.

“In reality, furries are fans of a concept: ‘What if intelligent animals lived among us, or replaced us?’” Laurence Parry, editor-in-chief of furry-centric news site Flayrah, told The Huffington Post in 2014. “From this, all else flows — art, crafts, stories, role-playing and costuming.”


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mother Goose Pecks at Police Officer to Get Help for Her Baby Tangled in Balloon String

A panicked mama goose pecks to get cop’s attention, leads her to baby tangled in balloon string

Police sergeant James Givens is a Cincinnati PD veteran with over 26 years of service on the force, but he has never seen a distress call quite like this one.

At least, James thought it was someone. It was just a regular Monday morning when he was in his car and received an unexpected visit from a mother goose.

The animal wanted to grab the attention of the police officer at all costs.

“It kept pecking and pecking and normally they don’t come near us,” He told to WKRC. “Then it walked away and then it stopped and looked back so I followed it and it led me right over to [a gosling] that was tangled up in all that string.”

When the goose looked behind his back a second time and clearly wanted to communicate with the police officer, he decided to follow her. One of her children was trapped in the rope of a balloon. His little feet were moving, but he wasn’t able to set himself free.

Givens wanted to help the little goose himself but was afraid that mother goose would attack him. Luckily, he had some help from specialist Cecilia Charron.

Even though they called the SPCA Animal Rescue for help, nobody was available to help at the time. That’s why Cecilia decided to help the little animal herself.

Sergeant Givens recorded the entire thing and shared a video of the little goose being freed from the balloon and reunited with the mother, which has quickly gone viral.

Assistant Police Chief Paul Neudigate also praised Sergeant Givens and Charron for a great job.


Meet the Silkie, the Glamorous Supermodel of Domesticated Fowl

You may have seen a chicken or two in your day, but we’re pretty sure these glorious winged creatures are about to blow your mind.

The Silkie is basically the glamorous supermodel of domesticated fowl.

These ornamental chickens are more than just a pretty face; they’re also total sweetie pies. And legend has it that their feathers feel just like silk.

The texture of their feathers resembles a luxurious fur pelt. They’ve also been known to grow a mowhawk-esque crest of feathers on their heads.

The ‘do, the glare... You’re looking at the future frontman of an anarchist-chicken punk-metal garage band. Don’t make eye contact:

Some of them sport elegant pompadours that would put Elvis to shame:

Are these chickens using Pantene, or are they just pure magic? It’s no wonder they inspired their own fan club: The American Silkie Bantam Club was established in 1923 to celebrate the majestic bird.

Chickens have become popular house (or yard) pets, and the Silkie chicken is basically the dream breed. They can survive in warm and cold climates, though they should be kept inside during the winter. They’re sweet, amiable, and so dang cute that they’ll make your friends squeal:

They come in tons of shades, like this stunningly pillow-esque brunette with a baby on board:

Or this snow-white beauty:

And yes, you can even acquire a ginger Silkie. (And they have souls, too:)

Although we don’t know the exact origin of the Silkie, Marco Polo apparently described a bird just like it during his 13th century exploration of China. These chickens caught the eye of the early explorer. It is said that the Silkie was brought to Europe about 200 years ago, where Dutch breeders apparently told prospective buyers that they were a crossbreed of rabbits and chickens. We can understand how they pulled that off. Today, the majority of Silkie chickens are sold for ornamental reasons, cause they’re basically the royalty of fowl.

The chickens have dark blueish-black skin and a majestic wattle:

Although sometimes, they kind of just look like Chewbacca.

They grow feathers all the way down to their toes! Their fluffy feathers make them unable to fly and can be a real pain to clean, but whoever said being beautiful was easy?

And they don’t look quite so proud when their ‘dos get rained on:

Oh, the indignity!

They emerge as mowhawked-little tykes, like hipster babies in Brooklyn:

Slowly but surely, they start to fill out, like this wee little chick:

Silkie chickens have a lifespan of about nine years, so it’s not a commitment to be taken on lightly. Sadly, in recent years, a growing number of chickens have been abandoned in animal shelters. But if you’re ready for the responsibility, you can raise your Silkie as a real pet. Think of it as a kitten who can also produce the eggs for your omelet!

Once they grow up, female Silkies make excellent mothers, and even have been known to adopt baby ducks, turkeys or chickens into their brood:

Go ahead and revel in the fluffy wonder that is the Silkie!