Golden Retriever Moose relieving pain for others

Since recovering from near-fatal injuries, Moose the dog is helping patients in Cedarville heal
By Jean Bilodeaux, Herald and News

CEDARVILLE – The child is screaming in pain when he enters the Surprise Valley Medical Clinic. Dr. Chuck Colas examines the child and finds he has a dislocated elbow. As the boy continues to cry, a golden retriever rushes from a nearby office and runs to the child. The dog, Moose, soon distracts the boy and he stops crying. “He does that on his own,” Colas said. “It bothers him to hear kids crying.”

Colas thinks Moose reacts to children crying because he knows what it’s like to be in pain.

A Sunday drive
Colas was on a Sunday drive to Alturas when he saw a co-worker and her husband, Lee and Jim Haily, on the side of the highway. He stopped to see if they needed help. The couple said a golden retriever had been hit and left to die. “The dog was severely injured and couldn’t stand,” Colas said. “If I’d had my gun, I would have shot him to put him out of his misery.”

Colas and the Hailys agreed to split Moose’s veterinary bill. “We took the dog to veterinarian, Ryan DePaul, who diagnosed a collapsed lung, bruised liver and some minor scrapes. The dog’s owner wanted to put him down.” “I asked if I could have him and they gave him to me,” Colas said. “People think that because I’m a doctor I saved the dog. I didn’t. Ryan did all the work.”

Moose completely recovered from his injuries. Not only does he help frightened children, but he visits patients and residents at the Surprise Valley Hospital.

There’s more . . . .

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Golden Retriever Valentino needs your help

Money sought for canine dogged by illness

HAYWARD — Valentino the golden retriever has been known for his good temperament since he showed up at the Hayward Animal Shelter on Valentine’s Day five years ago, with burns on his back from hot water. It was never determined whether the burns were accidental or deliberate, and the scarring is permanent. As an ambassador, he has visited schools to teach kids about being kind to animals and senior homes to provide therapy. The shelter uses him to test the temperament of new dogs by introducing them to each other while on a leash. If the new dog lunges or acts aggressively, Valentino simply lowers his head and backs away.”

He has taught me so much about compassion,” said his human mom, Michele Putzke. Last year, he was diagnosed with heartworm, a potentially fatal parasite infection. Shelter volunteers say the treatment consisted of daily doses of arsenic — just enough to kill the parasite, but not Valentino. During the long treatment process, he was forced to remain in a kennel, since any exertion on his part could prove fatal. After months of confinement, he was finally declared free of the parasite nine weeks ago.

Then he was diagnosed with lymphoma. After being treated by a local veterinarian, his cancer is now in remission, but the medical bills are piling up. The shelter is asking for donations to the SunShine Fund to help offset the costs.

The SunShine Fund has been a private tax-exempt group since April 2006, but has been administrated by the Hayward Animal Shelter going back 20 years and was once part of the city of Hayward. The fund helps defray the costs of medical treatment for pets and has paid for everything from replacing rabbit cages to new toys for cats and dogs. It also enables feral animals and pets to get spayed or neutered, said Nancy Bradbury, SunShine Fund president, an adoption counselor and shelter volunteer. “It does what the city can’t do,” she said.

Last week, Valentino visited a senior home but needed to lie down halfway through. For now, he is resting at home. “He loves everybody,” Putzky said. “Everybody seems to have an attachment to him.”

Donations to the SunShine Fund Volunteers Valentino’s Fund may be dropped off at the Hayward Animal Shelter, 16 Barnes Court, off of Jackson Street, in Hayward, or mailed to SunShine Fund Volunteers Valentino’s Fund PMB 135, 26775 Hayward Blvd., Suite. D, Hayward, CA 94542.

Golden Retriever Service Dog Angel is just that

Boy makes wish for ‘Angel’
By Alex Pickett, Independent Newspapers

Seth Preito had a wish. A big furry wish. And that wish recently came true. The Make-A-Wish Foundation presented the 4-year-old Chandler boy, born with a heart defect and rare chromosome disorder, last month with an assistance dog. The golden retriever, Angel, will not only be a furry companion for the boy, but help him stand and balance. Once he gets older, the dog will help guide him around.

At a recent party inside the home of Seth’s parents, Lisa and Mark Preito, the dog plopped down beside Seth and let the boy put his feet on its back. “He likes to pet her with his feet,” said Mrs. Preito.

Seth had his third heart surgery last October. At this point, Seth cannot speak or walk, and his mental and physical development is hampered by his condition. However, Mrs. Preito said her son’s health has been “fantastic” since the last surgery and he is growing slowly. She attributes the growth to Angel helping him stand and building the muscles in his legs.

The idea to bring a dog into Seth’s life originated at Seth’s school — the Blind Children’s Cooperative Preschool for the Visually Impaired. Once a week, the Chandler school would bring in dogs for animal therapy and Seth enjoyed them immensely. Mrs. Preito, at a friend’s suggestion, contacted Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona one year ago to see if they could help.

“We were very excited,” said Laura Toussaint-Newkirk, the communications director for Arizona’s Make-A-Wish Foundation. “It is a very unique wish. A majority of our wishes tend to be Disneyland or shopping sprees.”

Mrs. Toussaint-Newkirk contacted Power Paws Assistance Dogs to find Seth a suitable dog and have it trained. Make-A-Wish Foundation took care of all expenses. Then, he was given to the Preito family and Angel hasn’t left Seth since. “From the time they get up in the morning until the time they go to bed, she is with him,” said Mr. Preito.

Some of the best moments, he said, are after Seth eats. Angel will come up and lick his face. Mr. Preito said at first they weren’t sure if they should let Angel do that, but then thought it was a good way to build a relationship between the two. Basically, he said, they were sharing — Angel lets Seth lie on top of her and Seth lets Angel lick his face.

Assistance dogs do more than help people gain independence
By Brandy Aguilar / 3TV health producer

Not having the use of your arms and legs or being hearing impaired can be very difficult. That’s why gaining independence is important for people faced with disabilities. One way to get back their freedom is with the use of a dog.

Elizabeth Parkinson spends her time as a volunteer puppy raiser for a group known as Power Paws Assistance Dogs, a nonprofit organization here in the Valley. The group’s mission is to provide help to kids and adults with different types of disabilities. “For those people who have never had children or dogs before, it’s a great place to start because you have a support group instantaneously,” Parkinson said.

Power Paws uses mostly Golden and Labrador retrievers. Parkinson has already trained nine dogs. Oakley is her 10th. Puppy raisers start their work when the dogs are only about 7 to 8 weeks old. Their goal is to teach them 90 commands during a two-year span. Some of those are taught before they’re even handed over from volunteer coordinator Kira Anderson.

Her dog Christie is one of the breeders for Power Paws. “We teach them a few basic commands like ‘kiss’ and ‘snuggle’ and ‘here,'” Anderson said. “We tap them and then try to get them to come towards us.”

There’s more plus 2 very wonderful TV news video clips . . .

Buddy and his Separation Anxiety

A dog you cannot leave behind
By Liz Margerum, Reno Gazette-Journal

Chuck McArthur needed a friend and so did Buddy. They turned out to be perfect for each other. “He’ll walk a couple steps in front of me and look back to see if I’m all right,” McArthur said of Buddy. “He keeps an eye on me wherever I go.”

McArthur, 63, has diabetes and lives in a Reno apartment. Buddy, 8, is McArthur’s dog. “Right now, he’s lying on the bed,” McArthur said. “Just kind of kicking back relaxing.”

McArthur adopted Buddy this month from the animal shelter in Reno, where members of the Nevada Humane Society feared the yellow Labrador golden retriever mix would never find a home. Before McArthur, a Vietnam War veteran, showed up, Buddy had been adopted, then returned to the shelter. The dog couldn’t be left alone. “He, unfortunately, suffers from severe separation anxiety,” said Alena Fencl, the society’s community outreach coordinator. “It’s pretty rare.”

Buddy is fine, as long as he’s around people. When Buddy’s by himself, he doesn’t kick back and relax. “It creates a panic attack in the dog,” Fencl said. “They become very destructive. They aren’t doing it because they’re mad. They are just anxious.”

It was difficult to find an owner for Buddy.

There’s more . . . .