Meet 3-legged Golden Retriever Mully

Golden Mully with her Favorite Red Ball

Mulligan or “Mully” is now a part of my Rags to Riches rescue story contest. She is the 28th entry. I am only taking 30 entries, and 10 winners will share a $600+ prize contest. Damn good odds, wouldn’t you say?

Come enter and also check out Mully’s story: Fly Way Home.

Just click here.

A GReat way to support Goldens in need

The second annual, FULL-COLOR-THROUGHOUT, 2010 Golden Retriever Puppy Mill Rescue Team Calendar featuring Goldens rescued from puppy mills all around the country is now available! This calendar like last year’s, was produced by the award-winning producer of the 2008 Dog Writers Association of America’s best dog-themed calendar in the country! And, this year, the calendars are only $12 each!

Just go to http://www.grpmrt.org/order.htm to order.

Medvedev, Putin, Golden Retriever Aldo – Who wins?

President Dmitry Medvedev, left, & Premier Putin, with Golden Aldo leading the charge. (Photo by Dmitry Astakhov)

At the Black Sea resort, Sochi, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin took to the court for a badminton game. However, Medvedev’s Golden Retriever, Aldo, did not want to be left out and seemed intent on joining the game. Btw, I cannot believe how much Aldo looks like my guy Alfie.

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Dr. Papidies: Colorado’s $1 million dog

Yesterday, Dr. Papidies won $1,000,000 in the Cutest Dog Competition. EVERY CENT is going to The Dumb Friends League & the Max Fund, Colorado’s No Kill Shelter.

His rescue adoptive mom, Leslie Capin, MD, is the medical director of Cara Mia Medical Day Spa and Dermatology Associates of Colorado.

Papidies is three years old and has Addison’s disease. He was rescued by Dr. Capin who got him the medical care that he needed. This disease in dogs is very similar to the human variety. It was one of the maladies that afflicted President John F. Kennedy.

Canine signs and symptoms include the following: weakness, vomiting, hypothermia, painful tummy, bloody stools, depression, heart irregularities, low blood pressure, and hair loss. The condition is a life threatening one and requires immediate treatment. Although it can be controlled with medication and close medical monitoring, owners of dogs with this disease must be extremely vigilant as they can go into crisis at any time and die.

Last year Dr Papidies helped Mom donate more than $30,000.00 to different charities. Being the mascot of Dermatology Associates of Colorado and Cara Mia, this adorable guy is involved with all of the benefits and fund raisers. They raised and gave money to Malignant Melanoma research, Psoriasis research, Adam’s Camp (for disabled children), The Rotary club for many of its wonderful charities, and The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

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No Way to Treat a Veteran & his Golden Service Dog – Updated

Luis Montalvan, left, a disabled veteran, and his service dog, Golden Retriever Tuesday, met Sen. Al Franken by chance at an inaugural ball in Washington. The former Army captain was wounded in Iraq.

I’ve posted about Al Franken here, here ,here, & here and continue to be so impressed by what he is trying to do in truly making a difference for his constituents. He is a dog lover, of course, as one would expect him to be. A Labrador Retriever guy, in fact. I love that his initial legislation was inspired by a Golden Retriever named Tuesday, and involves the utilization of service dogs in helping to ease the physical and emotional pain of our returning war veterans.

On Nov 16th the good senator penned a commentary about this, A small way to give back to veterans who gave so much“.

One reason I ran for the Senate was to do right by our veterans, and my first piece of legislation was designed to address this epidemic of mental health issues, if in just a small way. I presented a Senate bill, signed into law last month, that creates a public/private partnership to share the cost of providing approximately 200 highly trained service dogs to veterans who have been wounded physically and mentally. The VA will study the benefits to these vets.

My strong belief is that these veterans will require less medication, reduced human care and fewer hospitalizations, and will become more productive citizens. To me, it’s enough that the dogs simply make these vets feel better. But I hope that the study will demonstrate a strong return on investment and that before long we will see an expansion of this program. …

I think of those veterans who survived battle only to struggle with wounds of war, both physical and mental. Many of them gave up two lives too. But we can do more than remember. We can act, and make a difference.

I am sure that Al is quite upset about this suit and how tough life really is for many of our disabled. This is not a new concern. Many people who have service dogs need to worry about their safety, as well as that of their service animal, as there is sometimes no way to escape the ignorance from what we refer to as human beings.

Amazingly, I can barely see a mention of this in the news, but was impressed by this Nov 24th article by Kevin Diaz in the Minneapolis, MN Star Tribune.

A disabled veteran who inspired Sen. Al Franken’s first legislative victory — a service dog program for disabled veterans — is suing McDonald’s for $10 million after allegedly being harassed, beaten, and told that he couldn’t take his service dog inside a fast food restaurant in New York City.

Luis Carlos Montalvan, a former Army captain who was wounded in Iraq, said he was confronted by restaurant workers on two separate visits, and beaten with garbage can lids on a third when he returned with a camera in hand.

Franken, in an e-mail message to Montalvan last week, called it an “awful, bizarre story.” …

Repaying sacrifice
Montalvan, 36, of Brooklyn, filed suit Oct. 28, a week after Congress approved Franken’s provision establishing a pilot program to pair 200 wounded veterans with service dogs from nonprofit agencies. In championing the legislation, Franken cited Montalvan and his service dog, Tuesday, whom he had met in a chance encounter at a presidential inaugural ball in Washington.

Franken said Friday that the incident underscores the problems of returning veterans. “Captain Montalvan made great sacrifices fighting for our country in Iraq,” Franken said. “I’m not entirely familiar with the facts of this case, but what I do know underscores both the need to help our returning veterans and to raise awareness and increase access for service dogs.”

Montalvan served two tours of duty in Iraq, suffering wounds in a knife and hand grenade attack that left him with spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Tuesday, his service dog, is a golden retriever who helps him with balance, mobility and emotional support.

I read that a group of veterans are planning to protest outside the restaurant today on Montalvan’s behalf. As soon as I learn something, I will provide an update here.

NOV 25 UPDATE: Click here to see the video of Luis, Tuesday and some supporters demonstrating at the respective McDonalds.

Here are two fabulous video clips detailing Captain Montalvan’s and Golden Tuesday’s wonderful working union.

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A small way to give back to veterans who gave so much

Ut oh … Lead & Arsenic in Dog Beds, Toys & Tennis Balls


In the last three years, HealthyStuff.org, a project of the Ecology Center, has conducted over 15,000 individual tests on over 5,000 common consumer products.  Their information represents the largest publicly available database of test data on toxic chemicals in consumer products. Currently, the U.S. government and product manufacturers are not providing this data to consumers.

HealthyStuff.org has tested over 400 pet products, including beds, chew toys, stuffed toys, collars, leashes, and tennis balls. Since there are no government standards for hazardous chemicals in pet products, it is not surprising that there were alarming levels of toxic chemicals found. The results are especially of concern to pets and children. Pets and children are frequently close to floor and commonly put products into their mouths. Exposures are greater, resulting in greater health concerns.

Highlights of Pet Product Sampling

  • 45% of pet products tested had detectable levels of one or more hazardous chemical, including:
  • One-quarter of all pet products had detectable levels of lead.
  • 7% of all pet products have lead levels greater than 300 ppm — the current CPSC lead standard for lead in children’s products.
  • Nearly half of pet collars had detectable levels of lead; with 27% exceeding 300 ppm — the CPSC limit for lead in children’s products.
  • One half (48%) of tennis balls tested had detectable levels of lead. Tennis balls intended for pets were much more likely to contain lead. Sports tennis balls contained no lead.

Pets are the canary in the coalmine in terms of chemical exposure. Cats groom themselves and lick off dust that has been shown to be heavily contaminated with hazardous chemicals. For example, bio-monitoring of cats has shown BFR exposure 23X higher than humans.

This is their press release below. Go on over and check out the database. I have to tell you that the results on purses for kids and also adults (made with plastics) was downright scary. Just look at the results for the Dora the Explorer Activity Tote and Attention Yellow Hobo purse.

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New Database on Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Products Reveals Lead, Arsenic, PVC, & Hazardous Flame Retardants in School Supplies, Pet Products, Cars, and More

HealthyStuff.org Urges Government and Manufacturers to Phase Out the Most Hazardous Substances Immediately. New Efforts to Reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Expected This Congressional Session

(September 16, 2009 – Ann Arbor, MI) A nonprofit environmental research organization released results today on over 900 common products tested for toxic chemicals including lead, cadmium, mercury, bromine, chlorine (PVC) and arsenic. Using an XRF analyzer, researchers at the Ecology Center analyzed the ingredients of pet products, cars, women’s handbags, children’s car seats and more, creating the largest database yet of independent tests of toxic chemicals in consumer goods.

The results can be found on the user-friendly website: www.HealthyStuff.org. Visitors can look up products by manufacturer, brand, or product type and easily generate lists of highly rated and poorly rated products.

HealthyStuff.org tested for chemicals based on their toxicity, persistence and tendency to build up in people and the environment. Such chemicals have been linked to reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, liver toxicity and cancer.

“The more we test, the more we find that the presence of toxic chemicals is widespread in everyday consumer products,” said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director at the Ecology Center, who created the site. “It should not be the responsibility of public health advocates to test these products. Product manufacturers and legislators must take the lead and replace dangerous substances with safe alternatives.”

For the past several years the Ecology Center has spearheaded groundbreaking research on toxic chemicals in toys, cars and children’s car seats at HealthyToys.org and HealthyCar.org. HealthyStuff.org is a compilation of all of these findings and more.

New Key Findings From HealthyStuff.org:

  • Pet Products – HealthyStuff.org tested over 400 pet products, including beds, chew toys, collars and leashes. Since there are no government standards for hazardous chemicals in pet products, it is not surprising that alarming levels of toxic chemicals were found. One quarter of all pet products had detectable levels of lead, including seven percent with levels higher than 300 ppm – the current Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standard for lead in children’s products.
  • Automobiles – HealthyStuff.org tested nearly 700 new and used vehicles, from 1980 to 2010 model year vehicles. The US-made Pontiac G5 and Chevy Cobalt rated best overall 2009 vehicles. Levels of some chemicals found in vehicles are 5-10 times higher than in homes or offices. Since the average American spends more than 1.5 hours in their car every day, this can be a major source of toxic chemical exposure.
  • Children’s Car Seats – Infant and child car seats contain chemical additives that can have adverse health effects on babies and young children. Over half (58%) of car seats contain one or more hazardous chemicals, including PVC, BFRs and heavy metals. Three examples of car seats that had none of the chemicals tested for are: Baby Trend Flex-Loc; the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat; and the Graco Turbo Booster. Despite the toxic chemicals, it is vital to use a car seat for your child because they do save lives.
  • Back-to-School Products – HealthyStuff.org screened over 60 common back-to-school supplies, including backpacks, pencil cases, binders and lunchboxes. Far too many of these supplies are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and 22% contained detectable levels of lead. Overall nearly 90% of back-to-school supplies contained one or more chemicals of concern.
  • Women’s Handbags – HealthyStuff.org tested over 100 women’s handbags and detected lead in over 75% of the bags analyzed. Sixty-four percent (64%) of the bags contained lead over 300 ppm – the CPSC limit for lead in children’s products. Over half of the handbags contain more than 1,000 ppm lead.

Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act

In response to increasing consumer demand for safer products, Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Bobby Rush are expected to introduce a new bill this Congressional session to reform the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – the current federal law for regulating chemicals. These reforms would phase out the most dangerous chemicals from the manufacturing process; require industry to take responsibility for the safety of their products; and use the best science to protect vulnerable groups. To date the EPA has required testing on only about 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals that have been on the market since the law was passed 33 years ago.

“A Made in the USA label should be a guarantee, not a warning,” said Charlotte Brody, National Field Director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition working toward toxic chemical policy reform. “This database of products is further proof that our system of testing and regulating toxic chemicals is broken. We have an opportunity to reform federal law this year and start putting common sense limits on harmful chemicals to protect the health of Americans.”

“HealthyStuff.org is an invaluable resource for busy parents who are concerned about toxic chemicals in children’s products,” said Mom’s Rising President Joan Blades. “But it shouldn’t be up to parents to look up every single item to find out if toxic chemicals are used. We need reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act now.”

HealthyStuff.org tested over 400 pet products, including beds, chew toys, stuffed toys, collars, leashes, and tennis balls. Since there are no government standards for hazardous chemicals in pet products, it is not surprising that there were alarming levels of toxic chemicals found. HealthyStuff.org results are especially of concern to pets and children. Pets and children are frequently close to floor and commonly put products into their mouths. Exposures are greater, resulting in greater health concerns.

Golden Retriever Holiday Specials

With the Land of PureGold being the World’s largest Golden Retriever site, it seems fitting to provide some special holiday goodies for our Golden visitors. You certainly do not want any mad friends, furry or otherwise, who are disappointed when they do not receive any special presents. Quantities are very limited so do not delay if you see something you like!

Please remember that all purchases support our nonprofit’s mission of supplying cancer treatment grants for working dogs and supporting research in comparative oncology, the study of cancers that occur similarly in people and companion animals. Also, given these tough economic times, donations are near non-existent, so we really depend on your purchases to continue doing our important work.

FREE glossy puppy stickers!

In February 2004, we photographed this unbelievably adorable chubby litter of three 5½-week-old Golden Retriever pups. They were simply too sweet for words. With our special message, we believe these stickers are that much more irresistible. These bright 4 inch wide x 1½ inch high Photo Gloss oval stickers are just great to put on all of your gift packaging or on the backs of letters as a type of seal. Folks get a set for free with all purchases from our Holiday Gift Store page.


Free
Keepsake Pawprints Holiday Ornament Kit with $50 purchases

For a limited time only, we’d like to make some folks’ holidays very special. Make a purchase of $50 or more from our Holiday Gift page and you will be able to adorn your wonderful holiday setting with a timeless pawprint of the most cherished member of the family. [Please note that quantities are very limited for this special holiday offer.]

This kit allows you to make a 5½ inch paw impression ornament with no mixing, baking, or mess. It includes everything you need to create your own treasured ornament. And, it is actually great for cats and children too. The kit includes: Plastic shaping ring, wooden rolling pin, plastic straw hole puncher, elegant satin holiday ribbons, air drying non-toxic impression material, and easy to follow instructions. ($18 value)

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For a listing of all of our Foundation’s store specials, go here.

16 Golden Retrievers explain atoms . . . really! – Updated

A crack team of PhD-trained Goldens illustrate the structure of atoms—the particles that make up everything around you. They also show how atoms are weirder than you might think. My favorite part is how they display the cloud effect.

Pets Teach Science aims to demonstrate tricky scientific concepts ranging from quantum physics to chemical structure, with the help of man’s best friend and other furry companions. They just set up shop this week via New Scientist Editor, Richard Fisher, and this Golden clip was their first venture. I say, “Woof Woof. Good job!”

I just subscribed to their Pets Teach Science Youtube channel here, hoping there’s loads more fun to come.

UPDATE
Not to forget the skill of the Goldens in the video, I learned more about the Southern Golden Retriever Display Team, which performs at Crufts every year. Here they are in 2009 from the show 8 months ago.

The Bumpass Hounds . . . continued

oh my goodness!

About a year ago I blogged about The Bumpass Hounds (and Kitties), shown above.

I continue to be in awe of Bill Stevens, the dude in charge of this bunch. As of Nov 11, 2009, the bunch is as follows:  Homer J.,12-year-old rescued Golden Retriever; the senior member of the pack. Jubal, 10-year-old Golden; JEB, 9-year-old Golden; Shelby, 6-year-old Golden; Jack, 5-year-old Golden; Abby, 4-year-old rescued Yellow Lab/Golden mix; Max & Shiloh, 3-year-old Landseer Newfoundland brother & sister; Radar, 1-year-old, blind from birth, rescued red Golden puppy; Alex & Boru, 7-year-old Maine Coon cats; and Jenny, 6-year-old rescued tortie “Ragamuffin” cat. The Bumpass Hounds rescues dogs come from Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue & Santuary (AHGRR) in Delray, West Virginia.

AHGRR pulled Homer out of a shelter. If they had not rescued him, he might not be here now. He is the oldest animal in The Bumpass Hounds and he has “special boy” seniority privileges. They rescued Radar from being put down because of his birth defects and he is a thriving normal pup now; well as “normal” as a blind pup can be.

I just love old Homer, something about his noble endearing face, I guess.

You can visit Bill and his bunch at their blog. Just tell ’em Rochelle sent you.

I was so tickled by Bill’s latest video. Usually his videos show Radar annoying his fur family members, but the cookie clip just was so cute. It was described at Bill’s blog this way:

Every morning after we have our breakfast dad goes off to the salt mines and leaves mom to give us our morning chewies for about 5 minutes of that elusive peace and quiet. However, when he gets home from work, and frequently on weekends, dad will hold muster of the troops for treat call . . . We are usually required to have our butts on the ground in order to receive our ration. Dad usually conducts roll call and sometimes he screws it up. In this video you’ll hear him initially refer to Homer when actually it is J.E.B. receiving his cookie, thus explaining the second call of Homer’s name. Sometimes it’s confusing with 8 or 10 dogs and Homer and J.E.B. are almost identical twins except that J.E.B. is golden and Homer is red; J.E.B. has a blue collar and Homer has a green collar, however, they’re both males and they are both dogs. Well, here’s a video clip of an afternoon cookie distribution formation. Note that Shelby Belle outsmarts the dad and is able to collect two cookies by stealthily, and quickly, placing her mouth at the end of dad’s hand when Homer (the real Homer) is supposed to be receiving his award.

November: Pet Cancer Awareness Month


In recognition of Pet Cancer Awareness Month, board certified veterinary oncologist, Dr. Michael D. Lucroy, is offering his No Nonsense Guide to Cancer in Pets (E-book) at a discounted rate. In addition, a portion of the purchase price will go to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Foundation, earmarked for cancer research in dogs and cats.

The guide details the following: internal and external risk factors for cancer; 10 warning signs of cancer in dogs and cats; ways to diagnose cancer and check for spread; treatment options for cancer and how to evaluate alternative therapies; and, ways to assess quality of life.

While much of the information in his guide is available online via careful digging (we have comprehensive resources at our foundation’s site on canine cancer), folks sometimes can benefit from an already prepared set of materials.

Dr. Lucroy is also including bonus lists of the most important questions you should be asking your veterinary team if your dog or cat is facing a diagnosis of cancer. Contained in the free bonus guide are more than 50 questions you need to ask about chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, along with some general questions for any proposed treatment plan. This free bonus guide also contains his list of 10 great tips to help you get the most out of your initial consultation with a veterinary specialist.

The best part? The good doctor is offering his guide RISK FREE with a 14-day MONEY BACK GUARANTEE! If, after reading his eBook, you are not satisfied, you need simply contact him by email to request a full refund of the purchase price. No questions asked. No kidding.

Draw the Dog . . . so creatively delicious!

Oh my, just discovered the site, Drawthedog.com, today …. even though the incredible ex-Disney animator, Jim George, has been at it since September. The cartoon above is one of his newest, but the fun is also in seeing it created before your eyes. You can do that here.

Also be sure to check out the Golden cartoon, He’ll Be Fine, which was inspired by Golden Hutchie of Northern California. Whoa . . . talk about Separation Anxiety visualized!

Golden Alfie loves his Mugoh Mat!

We have used the same Mugoh Mat for well over a year now with our Golden guy Alfie, wanting to be sure we put it through the paces before sharing it with our supporters. But, our vote is in and we say, DO IT! Let your dogs dry their own paws in 3 Steps or 3 Seconds with a super absorbent Mugoh Mat. It is absolutely the fastest, easiest way to eliminate wet paw prints on your floor.

Mugoh Mats absorb moisture instantly. Made entirely of natural, 100% biodegradable materials, dogs quickly accept them as comfortable to walk on. A soft, super absorbent 2-ply paper towel for the ruffles and burlap (jute) is used for the backing. A natural latex rubber is used to hold the ruffles in place and as a gripping feature on back of the mat. Hand crafted in Oregon, the mats are well constructed and will last for several weeks or up to four months, under normal use from one dog. We’ve used the same one for several months with our Golden guy Alfie.

The soft ruffles on these mats have the same absorbency as the best paper towels or tissue and suck up water from paws on contact. After being wet, the Mugoh Mat will normally dry in a couple of hours. It is disposable and for best effectiveness should be replaced when it becomes frayed or matted. EEco Pet uses only pure, all natural latex rubber that has no chemical additives and virtually no odor. This is important for dog’s sensitive noses. The mat is an ample 28 inches x 34 inches.

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The handsome boy at the top of the page is our old Golden dude Alfie. Yup, old is right, as he is 10½ years of age here. But, never too old to learn new tricks. That’s him on our original Mugoh Mat that we place at the front door after we’ve let him out to do his business. It is great for getting those wet paws after romping on morning dew covered leaves, or after trudging through wet muck from rain or snow.

We have the mat folded up and off to the side so that it does not get worn, and simply put it out once Alfie has gone out. Then, it is all ready for his return. We simply open the door and he knows to go onto the mat and do his “Stand-Stay” command (which is simple to teach btw). Ten seconds later we release him with an “Okay!” and he’s thrilled as he knows a treat is usually coming. That is why he is smiling so sweetly here. He knows this is a fun game.

We only wish you could see the 4 drenched ovals that he leaves behind on the mat, which just does such a great job at sucking out that moisture. We fold the mat in half and put it off to the side so that it is not walked on needlessly, and it dries very quickly.

While this may not be the greatest for repeat sales, we have to admit that this mat is the original one we got to test out the product . . . and has lasted well over a year so far. It’s only had one 60-pound boy’s use, though, so we can’t say how long it will last with a multi-dog home. But, we do know that following our steps, it will last for quite some time.

Come and learn lots more here!

Meet Golden Boston … Retired Guide Dog to Therapy Dog

Bob Armstrong brings his old Golden Retriever Boston (his wife Debee’s retired Guide Dog) to the Kaiser Permanente hospital in Santa Clara, CA. Debee has a new Golden Guide Dog, but happily trains her Goldens so that when she needs to retire them from the work-intensive job as a Guide Dog, they can be transitioned into being just a loving member of the family as well as doing therapy dog visitation work.

Learn more about Boston’s Guide Dog days here.

Why We Love Cats and Dogs

I was thrilled to discover this fabulous Nature film online as I missed its Feb 2009 debut on PBS. Why We Love Cats and Dogs – Pets and the Human-Animal Bond celebrates the fact that we share our lives with 73 million dogs and 90 million cats, their functioning as best friends and oftentimes the best part of our family. This film delves into these intimate relationships via the insights of  animal behavior experts, evolutionary biologists, veterinarians, and pet owners. It was quite impressive to have Dr. Nicholas Dodman and Dr. Marc Bekoff’s involvement.

Dr. Dodman is Professor, Section Head and Program Director at the Animal Behavior Department of Clinical Sciences of Tufts’ Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Bekoff is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. One of the world’s most eminent behavioral scientists, he has written over 20 books, our favorite being this one published in 2007, that we feature at our foundation store: The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy – and Why They Matter.

Vodpod videos no longer available.After watching this did I realize knowing about Tripawd Jerry, his parents,  Jim Nelson and René Agredano, dropping everything to travel with him after his bone cancer diagnosis. Jerry’s legacy lives on at tripawds.com, a wonderful support community for three-legged dogs and their people.

Below, is a video that accompanies an interview that Nature did with René regarding Jerry’s final days.

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Rags to Riches Contest . . . The Story of Dina

A Rescued Dina with her Human Sibling Max

To thank the wonderful folks who provide intake, fostering, and adopting, I have created a $625 prize-filled Rags to Riches Contest.

I want those stories that capture a dog’s ‘rags to wags’ transformation—and am awarding an amazing 1/3 of the entries with prizes! The photo here comes from our most recent, 22nd entry, “Dina”.

We are taking only 30 entries so don’t delay in getting in your story. You can enter here: http://bit.ly/1uLnbY

Her kid’s favorite bedtime story, Dina was written by Nancy Freedman-Smith CPDT as soup for her soul.

Dina was a stray and my first rescue dog. She is the dog who changed the direction of my life. Her story is so interwoven with mine, it is hard to tell where her story ends and mine begins. Her story is my story too. Dina took me down the path of dog training, rescue, pet therapy, and stupid pet tricks. So many trainers I know became trainers because their dogs were difficult, but I became a trainer because my dog was wonderful. Dina took me places I had never been before. She was a once in life time dog, my heart.

In the spring of 1989 I was scurrying home from work to my apartment in East Boston to take Rollo, my wild child German Shepherd mix out to play at the little city park that the neighborhood dogs called their own. As I came up to the top of the hill, I spotted a small black and white Border Collie acting skittish and running back and forth clearly lost and in distress. From a distance I could tell she was in need of a meal, had no ID tags around her neck, and that she smelled faintly of skunk. She would not come to me and I hurried home for Rollo, hoping that if I had another dog with me she would let me catch her.

Minutes later when I returned with Rollo they were best friends at first site. The two took off in a flash to play herding dog games. The dog who would soon be my Dina darted, bolted, turned on a dime and she and Rollo romped until their tongues hung out of their heads with joy. When Rollo and I left for home, the little dog followed us, just out of reach. When I opened the front door, she flew up the three flights of stairs up to my apartment like she owned the place. After filling herself with food and water, she promptly fell asleep with her head on my lap on the living room floor and she never once ducked from my touch again.

When my boyfriend got home he took one look at her and said “no way”, so I took her for a walk around our neighborhood to see if anyone recognized her. Our next door neighbor, an older Italian woman came out of her house and exclaimed, “I know that doggie. She come-a evare day sam-a time. You gotta let her loose so she can go-a home. That soma bodies doggie. That nota your dogie.” On that day I bowed to the pressures of my boyfriend and neighbor, but if I had a do over I would never do what I did, which is set her free and shoosh her away.

I unhooked her leash.

“Go home” I insisted with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.

The dog and I sized each other up. That moment is frozen in my mind. With no thanks to me, Dina was in for a happy ending, but at the moment, she didn’t leave.

Read the rest of Dina’s story and the other entries here.

Rescue is a great and really noble way to obtain a canine companion. First, it allows you to give a dog a great home. And, it often allows you to avoid the pains of puppyhood by adopting an adult dog. But, it takes a special person to try and repair the bad times that rescue dogs have often experienced. For this reason, rescue adoptions are often very serious business. That is, you must prove that you have the time to make the necessary commitment. You also must show that you are a kind and caring individual who can provide intelligently for this needy guy’s or gal’s health needs. To thank our many important rescuers and adopters, we have created this special rescue story contest.

We are looking for irresistible tales that capture your dog’s wonderful ‘rags to wags’ transformation. You know, those truly compelling stories that reside only in the heart. Folks need to communicate just why their rescue dog deserves to be King or Queen for the Day. Please join us in our fun new contest, Cece Kent’s gorgeous Cambridge Collar & matching Cambridge Lead — a set valued at $180 — awarded to our grand prize winner. Cece Kent’s dog fashion line offers a fine touch of elegance, with this gift truly befitting a lucky canine king or queen. Other wonderful prizes from our Foundation Store round out the total $500+ prize package for our top ten tales. Click here to see our entries as they arrive.

This is wrong on so many levels

Do not do this at home. This is not canine freestyle. Asking a large breed dog such as a Golden Retriever to move about on two feet is just so dangerous. It simply shows no respect for a Golden’s bone structure, and how hard such movement would be on the body. Overall, the dance moves are just ridiculous. Imitating human dance is not what freestyle is about. It is about incorporating a dog’s natural movement into a routine. And, don’t get me started on the costuming.

This video just turns the entire exercise and the sport into a comedy routine, which you can tell by the reactions. That is not what we want viewers to get out of this sport.

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Btw, here is how Canine Freestyle is defined by the Musical Dog Sport Association (MDSA):

A dog sport in which training, teamwork, music and movement combine to create an artistic, choreographed performance highlighting the canine partner in a manner that celebrates the unique qualities of each individual dog. It is built upon the foundation of a positive working relationship of a dog and handler team.

I know a little bit about the sport, having trained and performed in it myself. And, of course, I’ve learned from the best, including that of the renowned Carolyn Scott.

Remembering a Gentle Man with a Golden Heart

Ed Eames and his wife, Toni, with Golden guide dogs, Latrell & Keebler

Sadly, the Assistance Dog Movement has lost one of our greatest champions. IAADP’s President, Co-founder, Ed Eames, Ph.D. passed away on October 25, 2009. It is hard to believe that it has been seven years since meeting Ed and his lovely wife, Toni. Although Toni has been blind since birth, Ed lost his sight at age 42. He very much relied on Toni’s skills and access, and along with her deep love for him, this allowed him to flourish in his second, non-sighted life.

An adjunct professor at CA State University-Fresno, Ed spent his career teaching and doing anthropology research at NY’s Baruch College and previously at Temple University. His doctorate was earned at Cornell University with his research based in India.

Ed obtained his initial guide dog from the Seeing Eye and met Toni in 1985 while writing his first book about the assistance dog field, A Guide to Guide Dog Schools. She joined him as wife and co-author of that project. Their second book, Partners in Independence: A Success Story of Dogs and the Disabled, was drawn from their award-winning column of the same name, published for ten years in Dog World Magazine.

Ed is the kind of person who has exemplified the adage, When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.And, it was Ed’s enormous heart and sweet manner and concern for others that endeared him to so many. It was simply impossible to resist this man’s charms once you met him. He just had that kind of effect on folks . . . . and dogs as well.

Ed was a true Golden Retriever lover and one knew that any Golden in the Eames household was one lucky dog. We all know how special our first entry into the Golden world can be, and Ed’s relationship with Kirby, his first Golden Retriever guide dog, was quite unique. Here is Dr. Eames with his Kirby, a Golden who amazingly went on to earn an AKC Companion Dog Excellent title.

However, Kirby’s claim to fame occurred when bone cancer necessitated the amputation of his left front leg, yet did not keep him from continuing his guide dog work. The telling of this courageous story, Kirby, My Miracle Worker, earned Ed a Maxwell award from the Dog Writers Association of America.

Go to my site to learn more about Ed’s story.