The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spencer, A 2-Year-Old Paralyzed Bulldog Takes his Very First Steps Thanks to Prosthetic Legs

Spencer is a 2-year-old Bulldog, who has been paralyzed in his back legs since he was a puppy. His veterinarian suspects he became paralyzed either from being dropped or from abuse. His guardian, Linda Heinz, found him on her doorstep and took him in. The curious dog has never gotten a chance to walk around like a regular dog.

Linda said he's always been at her feet pleading to be lifted up and carried around to explore the world. Westcoast Brace and Limb took on the challenge to help Spencer walk for the first time. They equipped him with custom braces outfitted with green Crocks for "feet". He took to the prosthetics instantly and ran up and down the hallways at the clinic until he tired himself out.

Soon after, he got to enjoy his first walk on his own with his buddy Porkchop the blind pig. Linda says Spencer is "the happiest creature you'll ever meet. He wakes up happy. He never has a bad moment."


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Talking Dog Device Ready to Hit Market Soon - Would You Get This for Your Dog?

What if your dog could greet you with more than a growl, or announce the reason he's scratching at the door?

It sounds absurd and much like the storyline from the Pixar film, “Up,” but Scandinavian scientists are working to develop a headset that could soon allow your furry best friend to speak his mind.

The Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery is the brains behind “No More Woof” -- technology that aims to distinguish canine thought patterns and then issue them as short sentences via a microphone.

“The brainwaves differ quite a lot from different races as well as individual dogs,” NSID writes on their website. “However it is possible to detect some common patterns and we have no doubt that in the future this technology will open up a vast new era of communication between dogs and humans, or animals in general and humans.”

The research team, who previously brought the world such inventions as the pet flying carpet, weren’t immediately available for comment on Wednesday, but explained the most recent project on their website.

“No More Woof is the result of combining the latest technologies in three different tech-areas - EEG (electroencephalography) sensoring, micro computing and special [brain-computer interface] software,” the researchers wrote.

The operating system relies on sensors in the headset which detect electric signals in the dog's brainwaves. Technology from an in-built processing device then analyses the signal patterns and deciphers them into distinct feelings like anger, curiosity or tiredness.

Sample sentences such as “I’m hungry – but I don’t like this!” or "I'm curious who that is?" will be programmed into the device and emitted through a loudspeaker.

English translations will be available, but Putonghua, French and Spanish language headsets will come later, the researchers say.

How exactly scientists will attach the sensors into a dog's brain has yet to be ironed out. Issues like this, as well as the ethical and social concerns, are the reason why there’s a whole lot more research to be done before the technology becomes available.

The headsets are, however, available for pre-purchase on indiegogo as part of the research funding campaign, with three different versions that range in functionality and price, from $65 for the micro to $300 for the standard version or $1,200 for the Superior customizable mini-speaker, replete with engraved dog tag.

You might have to wait a while for the first prototype to arrive in the mail, but the implications are enormous, the researchers say.

And as friendship is a two-way street, it’s only fitting that the scientists are also aiming to develop a reverse headset for humans to bark their way into the hearts of their canine buddies.

Other applications and accessories the researchers have in their far-sighted future include a “Pavlovian training kit,” with original instructions by the physiologist Ivan Pavlov, to further the owner-pet bond through the use of play and classical conditioning.

“Right now we are only scraping the surface of possibilities,” the researchers write. “The first version will be quite rudimentary. But hey, the first computer was pretty crappy too.”


Friday, February 7, 2014

Labradoodle Creator, Wally Conron, Regrets Designer Dog Craze

He's deemed the man who unleashed the designer dog craze, this wave of Maltipoos, Puggles and Shorkies.

A Doberhuahua? Not quite.

But from that new Super Bowl ad to Hollywood boulevards and nearly to the White House, these pooches with cute names are pretty popular.

Hardly what Wally Conron expected, or ever wanted. back in the late 1980s when he first bred a pair of prize canines and called the result a Labradoodle.

"I've done a lot of damage," Conron told The Associated Press this week by phone from his home in Australia. "I've created a lot of problems."

"Marvelous thing? My foot," he said. "There are a lot of unhealthy and abandoned dogs out there."

No Labradoodles are entered in Saturday's agility competition at the Westminster Kennel Club show, but for the first time in the event's 138-year history, mixed breeds are welcome. Called "all-American" dogs by some and mutts by many, they'll weave, jump and run through an obstacle course.

Only purebreds are allowed in the main event, though, and more than 2,800 of them are entered in the nation's most prominent dog event. The rings open Monday and the best in show ribbon will be awarded Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Conron isn't from the show world. He was working as the puppy-breeding manager at the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia when he tried to fulfill a request from a couple in Hawaii. She had vision problems, her husband was allergic, and they wanted a dog that would satisfy their needs.

After a lot of trial-and-error, Conron came up with a solution when he bred a standard poodle with a Labrador retriever. The mix was a personal triumph, yet not a success outside his lab.

"I was very, very careful of what I used, but nobody wanted Labrador crosses. I had a three-to-six-month waiting list, but everyone wanted purebreds," the 85-year-old Conron recalled. "So I had to come up with a gimmick."

"We came up with the name 'Labradoodle,'" he said. "We told people we had a new dog and all of sudden, people wanted this wonder dog."

Over the years, demand grew for Conron and other breeders. Labradoodles became a hot dog — Jennifer Aniston, Tiger Woods and Christie Brinkley are among their owners — and President Barack Obama's family considered a Labradoodle before picking a Portuguese water dog as the First Pet.

"When I heard he was thinking about a Labradoodle, I wrote to him and said to make sure he checked its pedigree," Conron said.

There's the problem that troubles him.

Conron said there are far too many unscrupulous people eager to make a buck at a dog's expense. Rather than check the history and science, he said "horrific" puppy mills are springing up and producing unstable dogs that go unwanted and eventually are euthanized.

"Instead of breeding out the problems, they're breeding them in," he said. "For every perfect one, you're going to find a lot of crazy ones."

That's a concern Conron has echoed in the past, blaming himself for opening a "Pandora's box" and creating a "Frankenstein."

PETA appreciated that Conron is "speaking out to stop the loss of lives that his 'invention' has created."

"Breeding 'purebred' or 'designer' dogs for exaggerated physical characteristics such as flat faces or sloping hips can cause them severe health problems. The kindest thing that anyone can do for dogs is to adopt them from a shelter — and make sure that they are spayed or neutered," said Daphna Nachminovitch, senior vice president for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Conron said he's never owned a Labradoodle as a pet, and stopped breeding them when he retired 20 years ago.

Since then, he's often witnessed the effects of his work.

"You can't walk down the street without seeing a poodle cross of some sort. I just heard about someone who wanted to cross a poodle with a rottweiler. How could anyone do that?" he said.

"Not in my wildest dream did I imagine all of this would happen," he said. "That's a trend I started."


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Did You Know That Sugar-Free Gum Contains Xylitol, a Sugar-Free Sweetener That is Toxic to Dogs

Sharing from: Pet Poison Helpline

As many pet owners know, xylitol is toxic to dogs and even small amounts of a product with xylitol can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver failure. The most well-known source of xylitol is sugar-free gum. Here at Pet Poison Helpline, we keep a close watch out for this often-deadly ingredient and we are seeing it in more and more products.

Click here:  To see where else this product is popping up and how to keep it away from your curious pups! 

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SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George's County - This Simple Tool Makes it Super Easy to Fight Breed Discrimination in Maryland - Do it Today, So HB 422 Will Pass!

Currently in Maryland, any local government can interfere with property rights and ban or restrict any breed of dog they want. This rips friendly pets from their homes, increasing the number of dogs and puppies killed in shelters.

This is America. Responsible citizens should be allowed to own whatever breed of dog they choose. Indeed, a national survey done by Luntz Global for Best Friends Animal Society revealed that 84% of Americans don’t believe a government should tell citizens what breed of dog they can own. Studies show that the most effective and comprehensive dangerous-dog laws are breed-neutral.

Please ask your legislators to support HB 422 to prohibit local governments from infringing on a pet owner's rights. Politics is not a spectator sport. Together, we can Save Them All.

Please read: MD: Support HB 422 to Stop Breed Discrimination

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Do You Have a Plan for Your Pet's Care, In the Event They Outlive You?

Sharing from: Pets for Patriots

We read a sad story today about a pair of bonded senior dogs left homeless after their owner's death. Don't wait until it's too late to make a plan for your pet's care in the event they outlive you - or even if you are hospitalized, become incapacitated or are otherwise unable to take care of them:

Please read: Pets and Estate Planning

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

VA-Certified Service Dogs Receive Unlimited Access to Veterinary Care - The U.S. Veteran Service Dog Program and Trupanion Will Cover 100 Percent of Veterinary Bills for Eligible Dogs

Sharing from my friends: Pets for Patriots

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), in conjunction with Trupanion, will launch the U.S. Veteran Service Dog Program Jan. 27. The program will allow U.S. veterans with certified service dogs unlimited access to veterinary care. The program enables Trupanion to pay 100 percent of veterans’ certified service dogs’ veterinary bills.

The VA hopes the program will ease the financial stress veterans experience providing veterinary care for their animals. Trupanion says it’s a “win-win-win” opportunity for dogs, veterans and veterinarians. “Veterans and veterinarians no longer have to worry about the cost of the treatment, giving veterinarians the ability to do what they do best—care for pets,” a Trupanion release states.

A spokesman for Trupanion says execution of the program will be simple: “All veterinarians have to do is send us the bill.” Veterinarians can opt to be paid up front as well.

“Whether it’s a regular veterinary practice or an emergency hospital in the middle of the night—they can call us at any time,” the spokesperson says. “They then just need to e-mail or fax the bill to us and we can pay them directly through Vet Direct Pay, a system that allows them to receive direct payment. They can also request reimbursement. ... In that case they send us the bill and let us know how and when they want to be paid. We can even pay them over the phone if they wish as soon as the treatment is over and before the veteran walks out of the building.”

The VA will provide a list of the certified service dogs eligible for the program to Trupanion. Each dog will have a tag with a policy number created by Trupanion similar to the ones current policyholders wear. “All [veterans] have to do is show that to their veterinarian and the veterinarian can rest assured Trupanion will pay the bill,” Trupanion’s spokesperson says.

Veterans who request a service dog and qualify according to a VA evaluation do not pay for the dog or the associated training. For more information on the Veterans Health Administration’s guide and service dog benefits, go to Trupanion has a two-year contract with the VA for the U.S. Veteran Service Dog Program. For more information or if you have questions about the program, call Trupanion at (855) 482-0163.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Washington Humane Society - Do You Need Someone to Foster Your Pet? - Check Out Foster a DC Pet Program - Designed to Help People in Need of Temporary Housing Solutions for Their Pets

Are you in the middle of a move and looking for someone to foster your pet? Or are you wanting to help keep animals with their families while they go through a transitional period? Then you need to check out Foster a DC Pet. Foster a DC Pet is a program based out of Washington, DC and the surrounding metro region designed to help people in need of temporary housing solutions for their pets find a foster home for a predetermined amount of time. "Like" the facebook page to get connected and make sure to check out

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From: Washington Humane Society's Blog
Why you should Foster a DC Pet

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