All posts tagged: petcare
New trends in animal care
Courtesy of Larimer Humane Society /

Good news! In many parts of the country, animal shelters are morphing into places that are able to do more to benefit the communities they serve. The days when abandoned companion animals were simply housed, fed and kept out of harm’s way while awaiting adoption are becoming a thing of the past, as evidenced by several developing trends.


Shelters are far more animal-centric than ever before. The best of them have evolved into community centers focused on animal welfare— vibrant places devoted to training, behavior modification, research, community interaction, educational programs and a specialized branch of veterinary medicine. Piped-in music, rotating sensory stimulation, manners training, play groups, enrichment, more comfortable bedding, more activities, better spaces: shelters are working to improve life for the animals in every way and at every stage of the experience.

Dog’s name and age: Riley, 7 years

Nicknames: RyRy, Monkey, Piggy and Honey

Adoption Story: My partner had recently lost his childhood dog and sought comfort in going to the Butte Humane Society after work to get his dog fix, giving the dogs there some love. No long after, he brought me to meet Riley and we instantly fell in love.

Riley has FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). She wants to be present for everything mom and dad do. Riley lives a very active life and loves every second of it. She is ball-obsessed (hence the chuck-it by her feet), loves playing fetch, swimming (in any body of water she can find), dog parks, hikes and nature walks. She ends each day by relaxing at home with her two favorite people.


Dog’s name and age: Papa, 9 years

Nicknames: Papa Bear, Papa-san, Umpapa

Adoption Story: It had been 6 months since my fur companion, Sundance Kid, passed. I was cruising the NorCal Boxer Rescue adoptable dog site and Papa immediately stood out because a former (and favorite) manager’s last name is Papa. It felt like a cosmic sign that Papa was the companion for me. I support and volunteer for , this picture of Papa was taken while strutting for for NCBR at the annual Best Friends San Francisco SYM Fundraiser.

A rare genetic mutation could result in dogs being exposed to dangerously high levels of anesthetic agents.

If not identified before surgery, a rare genetic mutation could result in your dog being exposed to dangerously high levels of anesthetic agents.

Scientists at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine initially discovered the mutation in greyhounds and more recently in other common dog breeds.

The research group, a member of the Program in Individualized Medicine (PrIMe), published its findings last week  in Scientific Reports.

Pets Sitters in Paradise

After the family dog died of old age and their two sons started careers, Gregg and Amber Russell faced a quandary common among retirees: Should they look for a new dog and enjoy the fun and companionship dogs offer? Or should they remain pet-free so they could travel wherever and whenever they choose?

Lucky for them, they found a way to do both: as pet sitters for the well-to-do in places as various as Hawaii, southern Spain, the Caribbean islands, British Columbia, New York City and more.

The Russells don’t get paid for pet sitting, nor are they reimbursed for airfare, but they do live in style in interesting locations, usually with the use of the family car and, sometimes, maid service. “We feel like we hit the jackpot,” says Amber.


A black Chilean dog wearing a red bandana made his mark during the New York City subway protests beginning in November 2019.

The protests were ignited by videos documenting police assaults on black and brown youth in the subways. For example, in one, an officer punches a 15-year-old unarmed African American teenager in the face.

Stickers bearing the dog’s image jumping a turnstile appeared on subway walls and trains. They also surfaced in social media illustrations announcing his arrival in New York City.

Name and age: Bella, 12 years

Adoption Story: Bella was at an adoption event outside of PetSmart. Although we already had two rescue dogs, and were not looking for another one, Bella was a beauty and we had a connection. We decided to adopt her on the condition that all the dogs got along. We took her home and it was like she had always been with us. There was never any jealousy, no bad behaviors, she became a part of our pack immediately.

Since bringing her home, she has always been loving and tolerant of the fosters I bring in. She’s just so happy to be with us and part of a family. She is the best.

I wish more people would realize there are really great dogs in shelters that need homes!

Dog’s name and age: Juno, 2 years

Adoption Story: I fostered her mother who was a shelter dog who had nine beautiful puppies and I decided to keep one of the pups and chose Juno. She turned out to be such a sweet natured dog who gets along with everyone. Juno has been very instrumental in working with other shelter dogs. She helps by testing the the temperament of the other dogs at the shelter and we also take shelter dogs out for the day as part of a program called Doggy Day Out.

Juno’s balance, confidence, and spirit almost always have a very positive effect on the shelter dogs. She been the perfect role model for the shelter dogs I introduce to her. I also foster and Juno had been great bonding with foster dogs and modeling positive canine behavior. She’s been great at assisting other shelter dogs as part of their own adoption process.

A new breed of facility dog supports first responders

When Delray runs—ears waving like wings and jowls flying—you wouldn’t guess he’s the first of his kind in North America: an Emergency Medical Services professional peer-support dog. Purpose-bred, highly trained and heavily invested in, the big black Lab has an important job: help the helpers we rely on when catastrophes happen.

Imagine you’re a first responder. You’re routinely present for the worst moments of a person’s life, and far too many deaths. While part of the honor and reward of this high-impact profession, this also puts you at risk for psychological injury. The suicide rate among first responders (paramedics, firefighters and police) is tragically high, and services available for prevention and treatment of occupational stress injuries are still catching up.


About 1.5 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year because they weren’t adopted or had health problems that concerned potential owners.

Agencies often use “Adopt, Don’t Shop!” campaigns to encourage people to adopt from or donate to shelters, but their effectiveness can be limited . How can adoption agencies persuade people to rescue pets who need a home?

In a paper published on Dec. 26 , I investigated the pet adoption problem using advertisements from the online database Petfinder . The paper quantified the language patterns of nearly 680,000 adopted and unadopted pet ads.