<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters - Clear the Shelters]]>Copyright 2017http://www.cleartheshelters.com/ http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/clear.gif Clear the Shelters http://www.cleartheshelters.comen-usSat, 19 Aug 2017 04:10:45 -0700Sat, 19 Aug 2017 04:10:45 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[These Pet Rescue Stories Will Warm Your Heart]]> Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:48:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/julia-and-walter.jpg

Every year, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Of those, nearly 1.5 million cats and dogs are euthanized due to overcrowding in shelters and another 2.3 million are adopted into forever homes. Click on the pets below to read their heartwarming adoption success stories and rescue tales.



Photo Credit: Chrissy, Julia's Mother
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<![CDATA[Cardinals, St. Louis Group in Spat Over 'Rally Cat' Custody]]> Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:52:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17222136197280.jpg

A custody battle is brewing in St. Louis over the now-famous cat that darted across the field during a Cardinals game against Kansas City. 

The feral feline who interrupted the Aug. 9 game while the bases were loaded, won the hearts of Cardinal fans when catcher Yadier Molina hit a home run on the next pitch after the delay, helping St. Louis win 8-5. The cat was credited with inspiring the grand slam, and dubbed "Rally Cat."

A grounds crew worker eventually caught the feisty feline, then lost it when he put the cat down to get treatment for bites.

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The Cardinals released a statement hoping that the cat would be found so the team could “properly care for it.” A day later, the cat was found by the St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach (STLFCO), the animal organization that is currently caring for the feline.

Now, the ownership of the animal is in dispute, with the shelter and Watermon exchanging catty comments on social media. 

In a Facebook post Wednesday updating fans on Rally Cat's health status, the STLFCO said it had received "thousands of inquiries" about adopting the cat. The next day, Cardinals spokesman Ron Watermon told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the center promised to give the cat to the team after a 10-day quarantine ends Monday.

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The STLFCO fired back hours later, writing in a Facebook post that they made no such promise to Watermon and noting that making false statements goes against "The Cardinal Way."

"We have neither the PR staff nor the skilled volunteers to engage in a media dialog with Mr Watermon's old-school PR tactics, so this note will be all we have to say on his position," the statement read.

It goes on to say that the group contacted Watermon earlier in the week and "just now got a voicemail reply from him. Our Board Member team consists of non-paid volunteers who have full time jobs outside of STLFCO. Due to our many commitments and complex schedules, we told the Cardinals we'd be delighted to meet later this month, the first time the entire group can meet with them to discuss the situation."

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Watermon responded to the STLFCO in an email to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, saying, "It is personally hurtful to me, irresponsible and, frankly, childish," Watermon wrote. "There is no need for the organization to personally attack me for doing my job."

Meanwhile, the team is planning a Rally Cat Appreciation Night at Busch Stadium on Sept. 10. Feral Cat Outreach said it hoped the cat will be well enough to attend the ceremony. But as the spat plays out, it remains to be seen whether the guest of honor will make an appearance.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Celebs Share Heartwarming Stories of Their Shelter Pets]]> Fri, 18 Aug 2017 12:41:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/CTS+CELEB+PETS_NYLIVE.jpg

Singer Miley Cyrus, actor Justin Theroux, host Mario Lopez and actress Lori Loughlin share heartwarming stories with People magazine about their shelter pets.

"Glee" star Jane Lynch also talks about adopting her first dog after filming the mokumentary "Best in Show."



Photo Credit: New York Live]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Watch Live]]> Fri, 18 Aug 2017 12:19:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/cts-stream-thumbs.jpg

From coast to coast, animal shelters across the country have partnered with NBC and Telemundo owned stations to host Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption drive on Saturday, Aug. 19.

Check in on some of the shelters participating in this year's event and watch adorable pets meet their forever families in real time.

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<![CDATA[Mass. Shelter Takes Specialized Approach to Pet Adoption]]> Fri, 18 Aug 2017 09:11:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Specialized_Approach_to_Pet_Adoption_in_Hopkinton.jpg

The Baypath Humane Society in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, takes a specialized approach to helping each pet find the right home. Volunteer Kim Melanson says it's not about a pet's physical appearance, it's about their personality and the shelter works hard to match each dog or cat with the right family. 

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<![CDATA[Pets and Car Safety: How to Choose the Right Restraints]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 10:25:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dog+car+restraint.jpg

Clear the Shelters is Saturday, and if you're planning on adopting a shelter pet, you may want to consider a safe way to get them home.

With summer closing to a close, and fall and winter holidays right around the corner, you might be planning a trip — family pets included. But before you hit the road with your pooch in tow, you'll want to consider a few safety measures.

During a crash, or if you slam on the brakes, pets can act as projectiles if they are not properly secured. And they can also distract drivers from keeping their eyes on the road.

The market is full of pet restraining products, everything from harnesses to carriers, however many labeled "crash tested" are based only on manufacturers' claims.

In 2015, the Center for Pet Safety — along with Subaru — rigorously tested carriers and crates to find which devices keep four-legged travel companions safest in the event of a crash. They tested harnesses, crates for bigger dogs, and carriers for small dogs and cats and concluded among the top performing pet restraints are the Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate crate ($500), the Sleepypod Mobile Pet bed carrier (starting at $170), and the Pet Ego Jet Set Forma Frame with Latch Connection (about $150).

The CPS said the Gunner Kennels crate withstood the most significant force generated in the crash study and the two leading carriers fully contained test dogs.

Subaru recommends pet owners choose a crate or carrier appropriately sized for their dog - usually about six inches longer than the dog’s body. Owners should secure crates using strength-rated cargo area anchor straps, not elastic or rubber bungee cords.

"We at Subaru recognize the importance of keeping the entire family safe on the road, including our beloved pets,” said Michael McHale, Subaru's director of corporate communications, in a press release.

There are currently no performance standards or test protocols to verify manufacturers’ claims that their crates and carriers are safe. CPS hopes to establish such standards with data found through their studies.

Traveling safely with pets takes some extra planning, but in the end Consumer Reports says, it's worth it.



Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[How to Make Apartment Living Work for You and Your Pup]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:39:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bergs-dog.jpg

Living in an apartment with your canine companion isn’t much different from living with a human roommate: They don't clean, they don’t pay for groceries and you're starting to suspect they don't even have a job.

But canine roommates present additional, unique challenges.

Arguably the biggest challenge for dog owners in apartments is having to escort their furry friend outside for all exercise — and all bathroom — breaks. That means rain, shine, sleet, snow, 6 a.m. or 3 a.m. or 11:30 p.m. — buddy, you’ve got to put on your pants.


"If you’re living in an apartment with a dog, first and foremost the onus is more on you to get the dog out for all of his or her needs," says Mike Kaviani. Kaviani is the Director of Lifesaving Operations at the no-kill shelter Austin Pets Alive! in Austin, Texas, and he says apartment living can in some cases actually benefit your pup.

"As long as the owner is committed to getting the dog out for fun outings, the dogs actually end up getting more activity and more outings and more time with their person," he says. Kaviani knows from personal experience: He lived in a studio apartment with the first dog he owned as an adult, and he recalls having to "leash him up and go out there."

"As long as you're willing to do that — I mean, he had so much activity." With multiple daily outings, Kaviani realized he and his pup were both getting more activity because of their apartment lifestyle.

"So, I actually think it can be a real win for the dog," he said.

Anthony Newman, a canine behavior consultant in New York City, echoes Kaviani on the activity level of house dogs versus that of apartment dogs.

"Often, in fact, I find dogs in suburban areas suffer from 'suburban dog syndrome,' lacking adequate socialization, exercise and leadership due to lack of regular daily owner-led walks, obedience work and daily off-leash social play in dog parks," Newman says.

He says he noticed his family's dogs, while growing up in the suburbs of St. Louis, had behavior issues stemming from lack of discipline and socialization.

"City dogs can end up being the calmest, most social, peaceful and obedient dogs around," Newman noted.

No matter how committed you are to your apartment dog, however, you're going to have to leave him or her alone sometimes. And since apartments do not have doggie doors, your pup can't just stroll outside for business purposes.

If you know that you won’t be able to get back to walk your pup at the usual time, that’s fine — you can hire a professional or convince a trusted neighbor to come by to walk your dog.

There is likely a dog-walking service of some kind in your neighborhood — research online and ask other dog owners in the area to find a service that works for you. Try to meet the person who’ll be walking your dog if they’re going to be doing so on a regular basis.


You should also give a trusted person in your building a set of your keys; if you’re away and the building needs to be evacuated for any reason, you’ll want someone to help get your pup out, too.

Speaking of neighbors, they present another significant difference between apartment dog life and house dog life.

You should make an effort to introduce your dog to your apartment neighbors, especially those who live on your floor and those directly above you and below you. It’s also a good idea to introduce yourself to anyone in your building with young children — you can let parents know whether your dog is cool with kids. Make clear to your neighbors what your dog's boundaries are, and be consistent in your interactions with them.

Another thing about apartment neighbors is their physical proximity to you.  

It's important to remember that dogs are not silent. Barking is not the only noise dogs make — they like to play, to run around and toss and catch. And it’s fine to play those games indoors with your dog, but if you have people below you, just keep in mind what time of day or night it is when you break out that hard plastic toy your dog likes to throw against the floor. If your floors aren’t carpeted, getting an area rug (probably not an expensive one) will help muffle noises for people below and will also help protect hardwood floors from scuffing.

If your dog reacts to your absence by barking herself hoarse while you are gone, this is a problem (unless you never leave, but that actually sounds like a different kind of problem). Not only will this incessant row irritate your neighbors — maybe enough to complain to your landlord — it’s also a sign that your pup isn’t able to relax when you go out to do the human stuff you have to do.

"Separation anxiety," says Newman, can be a problem for your nervous pet, and then for you and even your neighbors — some dogs bark, or whine, to express their anxiety.

To help curb some of that separation anxiety, Newman emphasizes the importance of creating a calm, relaxing space for your pup within your apartment. If she views the apartment as the place where you and she play around and have fun — and not as the place where you do that AND the place where she hangs out and sleeps in her own bed — "when you leave, [s]he barks and tears the place up. Also guarding, digging, chewing, and other destructive behaviors" can present as symptoms of separation anxiety.

Newman says to help your dog get accustomed to chilling solo in a new living environment, it's best to make sure your pet's "exhausted and fulfilled mentally, physically and socially, and feeling comfortable at home with her bed, toys and chews" before leaving her alone in the place.

Kaviani recommends teaching your dog new tricks or providing them with brain-stimulating puzzle toys indoors to keep them entertained in the smaller space.

So, if you've got an apartment but want a dog, or if you've got a dog but want to move into an apartment, you should start by considering your dog's needs and temperament, Kaviani says. "If the dog can handle being in an elevator with strange people, and sometimes strange dogs," he shouldn't have an unusually rough time adapting to apartment lifestyle.


"Where it can go poorly, or where you’ll find some challenges, though, would be if the context or living environment isn’t conducive to the dog’s needs," says Kaviani. He cautions that if you have a dog with some shyness or some fearful behavior, they may not be comfortable hopping in and out of elevators or winding their way through crowded hallways and staircases. You should do your best to find a living space that won't cause too much additional stress on your pet. 

But, he says, "don't overthink it."

"Dogs don’t need a mansion to live in. They don’t need a certain amount of square footage to meet their standards. Really, when they’re home, they just want to chill with you, their person." The living arrangement would only become a problem, he says, if your work or life schedule isn't "conducive to spending a good amount of time with your dog."

Apartment living with your dog requires a more serious commitment than living with your dog in a house with a fenced-in yard. 

Anthony Newman's tips for moving yourself and your dog(s) to a new apartment:

  • Establish a plan to exercise and socialize your dog multiple hours a day from the get-go. Call and interview walkers, walking services and/or daycares. Do research on the local dog parks. When moving in, especially the first few weeks, exhaust your dog mentally, physically and socially, so he can start to condition the new home positively.
  • When moving in, set your dogs’ beds down (the more the merrier!) as a first item of furniture. Work the "go to your bed" command early and often. Experiment with "long rewards", e.g. Kongs stuffed with wet food and chews like bully sticks.
  • When you initially enter your new home, keep your dog on leash and lead her around to every room. You lead and introduce to minimize marking and other destructive behaviors.
  • Be careful of the first few times you leave her home alone to minimize separation anxiety. If you start the ball rolling, it will worsen; so get off to a good start by having your dog exhausted and fulfilled mentally, physically and socially, and feeling comfortable at home with her bed, toys and chews, before you leave her alone in the place for the first time. Then, leave very briefly and return soon. Repeat as needed, leaving for gradually longer periods. After a week of conditioning, most dogs should be fine being left alone for a few hours.



Photo Credit: Jeremy Berg/NBC]]>
<![CDATA[The Luxurious Lifestyle of New York's Poshest Pooches]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:57:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1LK_3334_NYCDogs_WEB.jpg

Ashley and Cooper get a taste of the high life, New York style. From a five-star hotel exclusively for dogs to a puppy pool party in the Hamptons, it's clear that NYC really has gone to the dogs!

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<![CDATA[Good Human! Dog Training Is About Teaching Owners: Expert]]> http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/206*120/pet+training.jpg

When it comes to training canines, one South Florida-based dog trainer says it's less about teaching the dog and more about focusing on the pet parent.

Holly Blakney is a trainer at Dog Training Academy of South Florida, which offers obedience, agility, trick and therapy dog classes. She says most of her clients attend classes with specific requests, such as teaching the dog to respond to a command like "sit."

However, if dog owners aren’t planning to use commands daily, it might not be worth teaching them, Blakney said. She recommends using training to teach the dog everyday skills.

"When they’re coming in, we want to make sure we’re training the people to train the dogs," Blakney said. "And make sure they know how to communicate with the dog."

Blakney says dogs can be trained by their owners at home, though she notes that its helpful to implement some variation of training because of the socialization element of formal classes.

She has experience working with shelter dogs and suggested that some dogs that end up in shelters are there due to behavioral issues caused by inadequate training.

"Part of the reason a lot of dogs might end up in a shelter is because people are having a hard time living with the dog," Blakney said. "We work on obedience, but I really want to teach them how to live with the dog."

Shelters are among the best places to pick new dogs, Blakney said, because you get a sense of the dog’s actual personality. And that can be helpful when it comes to training.

She also says there is no "best time" to start training your dog. Canines are able to learn new skills throughout their lives.

Nonetheless, Blakney recommends being patient when picking a shelter pet. Selecting a dog with a personality that meets specific wants and needs will prove to be beneficial as the dog develops new habits, she said.

"If you don’t get those butterflies in your stomach when you meet a dog, it’s OK," Blakney said. "You don’t have to feel bad and take a dog to take a dog. Find something that’s going to match your personality and that you can work with."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Meow Factor: The Felines of CatCon]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:28:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/a+pile+of+BUBS-thumbnail.jpg CatCon 2017, a two-day festival of all things feline, returned to Southern California on August 12-13.

Photo Credit: CatCon]]>
<![CDATA[Beth Stern, Katie Lee Talk Clear the Shelters and 'Pethood']]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:53:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/Katie+Lee+Beth+Stern.jpg

Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption drive to help animals in need finding loving homes, will take place on Saturday, August 19.

This year's event hosts, celebrity chef Katie Lee and Beth Stern, stopped by the "Today Show" to talk about the initiative.

They also brought along a few rescues from North Shore Animal League America in Port Washington, New York, who are in need of forever homes.

Stern advised potential pet parents to assess their lifestyle before going through with an adoption, noting "pethood is hard."




Photo Credit: 'Today'
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<![CDATA[6 Free Apps for Pet Owners]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:47:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-77541854.jpg Nowadays, caring for your pet has never been easier and more enjoyable.From finding a pet sitter and setting up play dates to handling medical emergencies and training your pet, there’s an app for that.Whether your looking to better fulfill your pets needs or find resources to help you with yours, these free pets apps have you covered.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Family Dogs Save Grandkids From Venomous Snake]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:55:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/Paco+Saves+Kids.jpg

When a venomous snake slithered into a yard where two young children were playing in Southwest Florida, a pair of four-legged good Samaritans came to the rescue.

Melissa Butt's grandchildren, 4-year-old Zayden and 1-year-old Mallory, were playing in the yard of her Hillsborough County home when her dogs spotted a copperhead snake just inches away from the children. 

Slayer and Paco jumped in and began barking at the venomous creature. The snake attacked the dogs, biting both pooches and injecting them with highly poisonous venom. Slayer suffered deep wounds on his face and snout, while Paco was struck in the leg.

Butt rushed the dogs to an emergency clinic and they were given life-saving antivenin.

"They don't ask for anything. All they want is your love, so it's very hard to see them in need, and not be able to do a whole lot for them," said Butt.

The family received help from the animal rescue group Frankie's Friends, which launched a fundraiser to help them pay for the costly life-saving treatment.

Meanwhile, Paco has returned home and Slayer is still recovering at the clinic.



Photo Credit: WFLA]]>
<![CDATA[Peter Dinklage to 'GoT' Fans: Buying Direwolf Huskies Hurts 'Deserving Homeless Dogs']]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:37:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP182340316464.jpg The staggering success of "Game of Thrones" has led to an alarming trend in the pet world. "GOT" fans, coveting the HBO show’s direwolves, have been buying the closest animal they can find to the striking fictional canines: Huskies. This demand has led to an increase in the irresponsible breeding of this dog.
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Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Newborn Photoshoot Features Adorable Tiny Puppies]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 09:44:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/puppies-3.jpg Baby photographer Kelly Frankenburg of 11 Sixteen Photography in Richmond, Va., love animals and started fostering pets from the city shelter.When her latest fosters arrived, she couldn't help but line the trio of puppies up for a heartwarming photo shoot. Check out the photos of Chihuahua mom, Mama Paris, and her three roly-poly, 2-week-old babies — Tito, Messi and Love Bug.

Photo Credit: 11 Sixteen Photography]]>
<![CDATA[Tiny Shelter Puppies Get Newborn Photoshoot]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 10:10:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sixteen+Photography.jpg

Kelly Frankenburg is a newborn and baby photographer who works out of her home studio 11 Sixteen Photography in Richmond, Virginia. She is also an animal lover.

She, her husband Mark and their two children recently started fostering animals from city shelter Richmond Animal Care and Control, People Pets reported.

The most recent critters to come under the Frankenburgs’ foster care were a Chihuahua mom, Mama Paris, and her three roly-poly, 2-week-old babies — Tito, Messi and Love Bug.

After waiting a few days for the canine family to settle in, Frankenburg put together a few newborn shots, styling the session just like she does for human infants, and found that the pups took to modeling pretty quick.


Get More at People Pets



Photo Credit: 11 Sixteen Photography]]>
<![CDATA[NY Firefighters Adopt Puppy Rescued From Burning Apartment]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 08:41:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Newburgh+Firefighters+Puppy.jpg

A puppy who was rescued from a burning apartment in New York is now being adopted by the firefighters who saved his life.

When Newburgh firefighters responded to the blaze on August 3, they heard reports that two puppies were missing, People Pets reported. Firefighter Chris Baum found one of the dogs and brought it outside to give the pooch CPR. The puppy didn't survive.

They ran back inside and found the other dog, Titus, under a bed.


"I brought him outside and began treating him with oxygen and trying to take care of his burns, assisted by firefighter Jimmy Moore,” Lt. Timothy Dexter said.

After learning that the puppy's owner wasn't interested in keeping the 6- to 8-week-old pit bull, Moore decided to keep the dog and Dexter offered to help him care for it.

Get More at People Pets




Photo Credit: City of Newburgh Fire Department
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<![CDATA[People Pets: 19 Adoptable Dogs and Cats]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 06:16:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/georgia_1.jpg Thousands of pets will be available for adoption Saturday, Aug. 19., during Clear the Shelters. Here are 19 adorable dogs and cats available at partner shelters across the country.
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Photo Credit: Miami Dade County Animal Services]]>
<![CDATA[Let's 'Clear the Shelters' on Saturday, August 19!]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 12:46:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2017+CTS+Collage+TopLine+2083x854%5B1%5D.jpg Every summer, animal shelters and rescues are filled to the brim with new spring litters and homeless pets. Shelters run on all cylinders to match pets with new forever families. Their efforts result in many pets finding new loving homes, but unfortunately some pets are left behind and live in shelters for months or even years until they are adopted. Inspired by a North Texas pet adoption effort led by our Dallas NBC and Telemundo stations, all of our NBC and Telemundo-owned stations decided to step up to the plate to help their local animal shelters and communities 'Clear the Shelters' every summer.
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Photo Credit: NBC Universal]]>
<![CDATA[How to Introduce New Pets to Your Other Furry Family Members]]> Mon, 14 Aug 2017 12:03:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Dog-Cat-GettyImages-151350785.jpg

You're certainly not alone if you think that two pets are better than one, but bringing home a new pet doesn't always go smoothly when there's another animal already in the house.

Introducing your new pet to resident pets that have already been in your life can be a tricky process, one that's going to require some patience, according to guidelines from several animal welfare groups. They and experts say pets can be territorial, defensive, attached to the hierarchies they know or temperamentally different.

You may want to make the introduction over a long holiday weekend or even take some time off work to ensure that your new friend gets along with other furry family members before leaving them alone together, according to Kenny Lamberti, acting vice president for companion animals at the Humane Society of the United States. And be aware that pets need some private space to take a break by themselves.

But the best way of ensuring that all-important introduction goes smoothly comes even before you find the new pet, according to Lamberti. Telling a shelter worker about the kind of pet you already have, like a picky pooch or a clingy cat, will help them figure out which animals to show you.

"I think of it like match.com for the pet. The more information you can go with to wherever you're acquiring your new pet can help minimize the possibility of it not going well," he said.

Once you do find a new pet and get them in the car, you may not want to head straight home, at least with a new dog. It's often recommended that you introduce them outside of the home, on neutral ground. And no matter what animal you bring home, get ready for what might be a dayslong process.

"The one really important rule is you want to spend as much time ... before you start leaving them to themselves. You want to ease into that," Lamberti said.

The Humane Society's detailed guidelines for introducing a new dog to an old one boil down to do it on neutral territory, watch their body language, go at their speed and keep a close eye on them at home, reinforcing positive interactions with treats. Read more.

PAWS, the animal advocacy group, breaks down the neutral territory meeting further, suggesting using positive reinforcement and watching body postures in case you need to intervene. Read more.

For cats, the Humane Society recommends having realistic expectations — they just may not get along — keeping the new cat in confinement for a few days while introducing the cats' smells to one another before a face-to-face meeting. Read more.

Introducing a dog and a cat? The Animal Humane Society recommends these steps: Separate the animals at first, feeding them on either side of a closed door before starting to introduce them in a place that neither considers its sanctuary area and go through those face-to-face sessions before leaving them alone together. Read more.

Should something go wrong and the animals aren't getting along, bring in a trained behaviorist or trainer to facilitate, Lamberti said. You may also have to adjust your own house rules, too.

"The process can take a few days to several months, and as much as owners can consult trusted professionals like their veterinarians and trainers, the smoother the process should go," said Bob Vetere, chairman of the Pet Leadership Council.

But don't lose hope! Vetere took the recent movie "The Secret Life of Pets" as an example. (Disclosure: the move was produced by Universal Pictures, whose parent company NBCUniversal owns this station.)

"Max was none too pleased about his new 'brother' Duke's arrival at first, but eventually they become the best of friends," he said. "While understandably life isn't always like a blockbuster movie, this does happen often and things can get better with patience and persistence."

If it all sounds daunting, remember that there are plenty of rewards for getting through it — and not just for you. 

Lamberti has owned several dogs and fostered more, he said. His current dog is "an old man" now at 14, but when he'd hit middle age, a foster dog Lamberti brought home made him feel like a puppy again. 

"It kind of invigorated my dog, it gave him a play partner. He got this spark of youthful exuberance," he said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wounded Stray Dog Finds Forever Home Thanks to Texas Shelter]]> Mon, 14 Aug 2017 11:20:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/peggy+CTS.jpg

Quarantine, is where no dog wants to be.


But for strays at the Grapevine Animal Shelter in North Texas, their time at the shelter often starts in quarantine, which is also the first step to getting help.

“We try to give every animal the opportunity to be healthy and then find, you know, a great family,” Kristina Valentine said.

Peggy, a 3-year-old terrier mix, is one of those animals. 

The small fluffy dog with a sweet demeanor faces a painful reality: The lower half of Peggy’s right-front leg is missing.


"It may have been stuck in something, and it's trying to heal on its own," Valentine said, noting an infection on the dog's wound that the shelter needed to care for before Peggy could be placed for adoption. 

Dr. Jason Steinle of Northwest Animal Hospital said Peggy's leg may have been caught in a fence or wire, "something that would have cut through that or a trap potentially."

“The body’s been trying to deal with this for a little while, it didn’t just happen yesterday,” Steinle said.

Valentine explained that medical care for homeless animals like Peggy isn't cheap, and shelters work on a limited budget. Thanks to donations and the team of vets at Northwest Animal Hospital in Grapevine,
 Peggy received the surgery she needed — including getting spayed. 

“She’s strong, she’s happy and healthy, and she’s already adjusted to the absence of this limb," Dr. Steinle said. "She's a pretty remarkable dog."

After healing from her surgery, Peggy was treated for heartworms before she was finally adopted into a forever home. 

Peggy is just one example of the lengths shelters will go to save the life of an animal.

“What makes me happy is knowing that we have the ability to make a difference for them,” Valentine said.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Infested With 100,000 Fleas Gets Life-Saving Blood Transfusion]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 13:47:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/227*120/080317+Dog+Covered+in+100k+Fleas.jpg

Veterinarians at a Canadian hospital saved a dog covered with tens of thousands of fleas that were siphoning the pup's blood, leaving him weak and on the brink of death. 

Rascal, a 14-year-old terrier, was infested with about 100,000 fleas when he was taken to the Nanaimo Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia. He'd been rescued from a severely neglectful home, but his case was so critical the local ASPCA didn't have the means to give him the help he needed.

At first, they thought the dog was covered in dirt. But a closer look revealed fleas, flea dirt and flea eggs. The dog had lost 85 percent of his blood, and vets said the terrier was in critical distress.

"Fleas feed on blood, which is why poor Rascal was in critical distress when he came into our care. He was literally dying from fleas,” said Tina Heary, BC SPCA senior animal protection officer.

Vets immediately decided to give the pooch an emergency blood transfusion after they found another dog that was a universal blood donor. The procedure took about four hours.

For now, the terrier is recovering in a foster home and will eventually be put up for adoption.

“We strongly encourage pet guardians to consult their veterinarian about flea prevention, which costs considerably less than having to treat an infestation," said Heary. "It is also important to note that flea control products for dogs are very different from flea treatments for cats and that using the wrong product can be toxic for your pet."

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<![CDATA[Emaciation, Spoiled Food: Puppy Mill Problems Persist]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 14:31:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/puppy-mills.jpg

Susan Franz’s kennels landed on the Humane Society of the United States’ “Horrible Hundred” list for the third time this year after an inspection found a multitude of fleas and a dog with a crusted lesion on her neck and red, inflamed skin on her rear legs. Four dogs listed in her records were nowhere to be seen. One was dead, Franz said, and the others had been “donated,” the report said.

Franz’s Belton, Texas, business was among 55 repeat offenders in the 2017 report, intended to warn the public of problem puppy mills and puppy dealers in the United States.

Earlier inspections of the kennels turned up a dehydrated puppy and piles of abnormal looking feces on the floor of one kennel that were crawling with worms, according to the Humane Society.

A woman who answered the telephone at the number listed for the kennels hung up and a message seeking comment was not returned.

Five years after the Humane Society’s first report, it continues to find horrendous conditions across the country — emaciated dogs with open, festering wounds, rats feces in food, and puppies with mange. Its “Horrible Hundred” is not meant to be comprehensive, but to expose conditions prevalent among disreputable dog breeders and brokers.

The Humane Society publishes the list each year to draw attention to the persistence of problem, but this year the task was more difficult than in the past. In February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture removed thousands of animal welfare inspection reports from its website, citing privacy concerns and litigation.

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said it has reposted many of the inspection reports, except those that contain personal information that is protected by the federal Privacy Act. Only reports involving individuals or homestead businesses have not been restored, said Lyndsay Cole, a spokeswoman for the inspection service. She said the USDA did not know how many reports had been reposted versus how many had not.

“They put a tiny sliver of the inspection reports up in a difficult search format,” countered John Goodwin, the senior director of the society’s Stop Puppy Mills campaign, who accused the USDA of protecting breeders who had abused or neglected animals.

This year’s report was compiled from state inspection records in those states that inspect puppy mills, USDA records preserved before the agency removed them, court records, consumer complaints, investigator visits and media reports, the Humane Society said.

It showed Missouri topping the list for the fifth year with 19 kennels followed by a three-way time among Ohio, Kansas and Pennsylvania, each with 12. Last year, Iowa had the second largest number of kennels, then Kansas, Ohio, Nebraska and Pennsylvania.

But if the USDA has made it more difficult for the public to obtain inspection reports, progress in curbing puppy mills has been made in cities and towns across the country, Goodwin said. Two hundred and fifty-one local governments have outlawed the sale of commercially raised puppies in pet stores, up from 100 at the beginning of last year.

Opponents of the legislation — who argue such laws could shut down businesses — have backed state-wide laws pre-empting such local laws. Arizona and Ohio have approved pre-emption laws, though they are under appeal, Goodwin said. 

Goodwin noted that of the top 25 pet retailers, only one, Petland, still sells puppies, and it questioned the USDA’s decision to remove the inspection reports and called for a balance between privacy and transparency.

“As a responsible pet store chain, Petland has established buying standards that are based on inspections conducted and reported by USDA inspectors,” its president, Joseph J. Watson, wrote in a letter to the USDA in February. “Petland stores are required to obtain USDA inspection reports for every puppy that originated from a regulated kennel. Access to reports via the (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) website is critical in this effort.”

Dog sales make up less than 2 percent of the pet industry’s $70 billion yearly business, Goodwin said.

Puppy mills typically keep their dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary kennels, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. To maximize profits, female dogs are bred repeatedly with little time to recover between litters and they are killed when they can no longer reproduce, it says. Puppies often arrive at pet shops or in new homes with diseases ranging from parasites to pneumonia, it says.

Many people do not know that the mother of a puppy bought in a pet store is trapped in a cage at a puppy mill, according to Goodwin. And dogs ordered online sight unseen were also likely born in a puppy mill. He recommends adopting a pet through a shelter or a rescue organization or if bought from a breeder, insist on seeing how the mother dog lives. Reputable dealers want to screen potential buyers to make sure their puppies are going to good homes and so do not sell them in stores.

There could be up to 10,000 puppy mills in the United States, although an accurate count is difficult because breeders often operate out of view and with no oversight, the ASPCA says. Some 1.8 million puppies are born in such conditions each year, according to estimates.

Many of the puppy mills are in the Midwest, especially in rural areas where family farms have been devastated by industrial agriculture and some have turned to breeding dogs to make a living.

Missouri is centrally located and has more than 100,000 farms. In the 1980s, most of the dogs were being raised in chicken coops because the chicken business had been taken over by conglomerates, Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation. In the 1990s, the same situation occurred with hogs. The problem has been hard to tackle because many kennels are hidden away, according to the alliance.

Missouri has made progress in eliminating more than half of its puppy mills — from 2,000 kennels in 2011 to 800 now, according to the alliance. There are 50,000 fewer breeding dogs confined in puppy mills as a result.

The drop was a result of the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act, passed in 2011, which increased the standards of care and for the first time gave the state’s attorney general the power to prosecute kennels, according to the alliance. A special unit was established in the Attorney General’s Office, the governor appropriated an additional $1.3 million and the number of inspectors was increased from seven to 18.

The state began requiring continuous access to water and the outdoors for the dogs, hands-on veterinary exams, improved floors and space requirements that at least double the federal standard, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Facilities with violations are inspected more often, and those with substantial and ongoing facilities are to be closed.

But now the alliance and other animal welfare groups are gearing up to fight any rollback of regulations. As Gov. Eric Greitens reviews all regulations with the goal of eliminating those that affect businesses negatively, they are urging the public to oppose any repeal of ones governing puppy mills.

“We know the dog breeding industry is committed to repeal of regulatory protections,” Kathy Warnick, the president of the Humane Society of Missouri, said in a statement on the group’s website. “Many caring, passionate Missourians and animal welfare organizations worked very hard for years to put into place regulations protecting the thousands of dogs in breeding facilities.”

The governor’s office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The USDA enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act, passed in 1966 and most recently amended in 2008, and which sets basic standards for animals bred for sale. The Humane Society and other animal welfare groups have criticized the standards for being so minimal that licensed dealers can keep hundreds of dogs in small, stacked cages with no exercise as long as they are provided with basic provisions such as food and water. They want breeders to be required to provide more space for the dogs, regular exercise, better veterinary care and the removal of wire floors in the cages.

Last year, the USDA revoked the licenses of seven puppy mills that had appeared in past “Horrible Hundred” reports, but the Humane Society called such revocations rare. More than two dozen of the problem puppy mills identified in its last few reports have closed, but it charges that many puppy mills are never inspected at all and others are protected by inspectors who fail to record violations accurately.

An internal audit at the USDA in 2010 indeed found that its own enforcement process was ineffective against problem breeders and dealers. Its inspectors took little or no action against most violators, relying instead on educating them about the regulations, a strategy that seems not to have worked. The audit noted that from 2006 through 2008, when 4,250 violators were re-inspected, 2,416 had repeatedly violated the Animal Welfare Act.

In addition, the USDA inspection service leveled minimal fines even after Congress had tripled the maximum penalties allowed, and it reduced the fines awarded to encourage violators to pay rather than demand a hearing, the audit said.

And some large breeders circumvented regulations entirely by selling animals over the internet, the audit found.

After the audit, the inspection service created standard procedures for all inspectors to follow, hired a kennel specialist, and sought stiffer sanctions in cases involving problematic breeders or dealers, it said. It revised the definition of retail pet store to ensure that animals sold over the Internet and by phone- and mail-based businesses are better monitored for overall health and humane treatment, it said.



Photo Credit: Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation]]>
<![CDATA[Teddy the Barbershop Dog Is Owner's 'Best Addition' to Business]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 10:38:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TEDDY-THE-BARBERSHOP-DOG.jpg

Inside a Connecticut barbershop, there’s a doggy in the window — he’s a star named Teddy.

The famous pup spends his days at Paulie’s Professional Barber Shop in South Windsor, waiting to greet arriving customers.

“He's a barber dog,” said shop owner, Paulie Lachance. It’s a title Teddy the Dog takes very seriously.

Along with a trim or shave, customers get a haircut companion. Tom Aiello said that’s one reason he loves to stop by.

“I think it's fantastic. He's one of the team guys,” said Aiello.

Teddy is a terrier mix who joined Lachance’s family back in October 2013. His story, however, wasn’t always a happy one. Teddy was found roaming a field in Tennessee, starving and eating mice after he was tossed out of a car. 

“They said he was emaciated. He was very, very thin, skin and bones," Lachance recalled.

Teddy was sent to Connecticut to live with a foster family who happened to be one of Lachance’s clients.

"I told him I had always wanted a shop dog, and the guy almost fell out of the chair. He's like, 'I got the perfect dog for you,'" said Lachance,

Fate and an adoption event brought the two together.

“He has been the best addition to my business and my personal life,” said Lachance.

Lachance credits Teddy with keeping his business booming. He said nine out of 10 people are at his shop to see Teddy, and the haircut is just a bonus.

“People walk by the shop every day and honestly just make their way in here just to say 'Hi' to the dog,” said Nick LaRusso, an employee at the barber shop.

The barbers at a Paulie’s Professional Barber Shop admit Teddy is tough competition. He takes his tips in treats, has the most clients and is pretty much famous.

“He is a celebrity! I joke all the time that I am going to run him for mayor and I think he could win,” said Lachance.

Elected official or official barber shop dog, there is no doubt this pup is proof that a rescue animal can reach new heights and our hearts.

“You got all the love you can handle and you are saving a life,” said Lachance.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[13 Zoo Animals Rescued From War-Torn Syria]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 10:11:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_ANIMALS_ALEPPO_081117_1-150246835202400001.jpg

An animal charity rescued 13 zoo animals from Aleppo, Syria, with the assistance of the Turkish government. The animals were moved to their new home in Jerash, Jordan, on August 11.

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<![CDATA[What Kind of Dog Best Fits Your Lifestyle?]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 05:03:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Dogs-GettyImages-180680638.jpg

There are a million reasons why people love dogs. They make great companions, provide a slew of the health benefits and love unconditionally.

Yet, there are lots of valid reasons why some people opt out of bringing home a furry friend. From cramped living quarters, to allergies, to busy work schedules and social lives, caring for a dog is a huge commitment, so it’s important to make sure your lifestyle is compatible with your four-legged friend’s.

Fortunately, dogs come in all shapes, sizes, personality traits and energy levels, and chances are there’s a pup who’s right for you.

Use the filter above to see what kind of dog could potentially match your lifestyle:



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[People Pet Vet: Tips for Adopting a Shelter Dog]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 05:18:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/People+Pet+Vet1.jpg

People magazine's pet vet Dr. Evan Antin provides tips for adopting shelter animals ahead of the third annual Clear the Shelters event on Aug. 19. Antin's checklist includes lifestyle consideration and breed types.

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<![CDATA[Millennials Are Buying Homes With Dogs in Mind: Survey]]> Thu, 10 Aug 2017 07:32:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-695647308-%281%29-dogs.jpg

Despite criticism that millennials spend too much cash on their avocado toast, the group is leading the nation as home buyers. A new survey reveals that dogs may be a prime motivator in their purchases, according to NBC News.

One in three millennials decided to buy a home because of their furry friends, according to the new survey by Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage. By comparison, 25 percent of millennials were driven by marriage while 19 percent cited the birth of a child as an incentive to purchase a home.

Potential reasons for the focus on canines include the lack of space for pets in apartments and the desire for dog-related amenities nearby, such as dog parks and washing stations.

"It felt inhumane having a dog live in a third-floor apartment without any space to run around," said Gwen Werner, 25, who bought a house with her husband in May and rescued a German Shepherd mix in June.



Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[People Pet Vet Talks Clear the Shelters]]> Wed, 09 Aug 2017 14:07:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Talk+Stoop+Clear+the+Shelters.jpg.jpeg

People magazine Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle and celebrity pet vet Evan Antin stop by “Talk Stoop” to chat with Cat Greenleaf about the effort to “Clear the Shelters” on Aug. 19.

Dr. Antin’s biggest piece of advice for those planning on adopting a cat or dog: “Going to a local rescue or shelter and visiting with the dogs, and realizing whether or not this is a good move for you,” he says.

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<![CDATA[Tips for Traveling Safe With Your Pet]]> Wed, 09 Aug 2017 13:28:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-454008386.jpg

One of the most stressful parts of pet ownership is what to do with your four-legged companion when you travel. While some pet owners opt for boarding, others choose to bring their furry family members along.

If you’re looking to hit the road or fly the skies with your canine companion or feline friend, American Kennel Club the has some tips to make the trip as smooth as possible.

Health Checks: Bring your pet to the veterinarian for a check up before going on a long journey trip. Make sure all vaccinations are up to date and obtain a record showing proof of up-to-date vaccinations. Health certifications are required for airline travel.

Ask the vet about potential health risks at your destination, like Lyme disease, and what the necessary preventive measures your pet needs to take.

Crates: If traveling by car, pets should be confined to a crate or carrier in the back seat. This will prevent distractions as well as protect the animal in the event of a collision. It can also keep your pet from getting into trouble in a hotel or at your host's home. Airlines also require that pets travel in a carrier or crate, whether they are flying in the cargo hold or plane's main cabin. Contact your airline directly for information on their pet policy. 

Crates are available from most pet supply stores. Look for these features when purchasing and check out these crash-tested options:

  • Large enough to allow the pet to stand, turn and lie down.
  • Strong, with handles and grips, and free of interior protrusions.
  • Leakproof bottom covered with absorbent material.
  • Ventilation on opposing sides, with exterior rims or knobs to prevent blocked airflow.

Have Proper ID: In the event that your dog or cat slips away during the trip, you significantly increase the odds of recovery by making sure they can be properly identified.

  • Make sure your dog has a sturdy leash and collar. The collar should have identification tags with the dog's name, your name, and your home phone number, as well as proof of rabies shots.
  • Mark your pet's crate with your name, contact number, destination phone number, and photo of your pet. You should also carry a picture of your pet.
  • Consider a permanent form of identification, such as a microchip.

Traveling by car: Bringing your pet along for a road trip requires more than just throwing a crate in the back seat, especially for long distance trips or if you plan on being away for a long period of time. 

  • Get your pet geared up by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car.
  • Bring food, a bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first-aid, and any travel documents. 
  • Be sure to pack plenty of bottled water, and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle. Traveling on a full stomach can also cause pets to become car sick.
  • Keep the car well-ventilated. If the dog is in a crate, make sure that fresh air can flow into the crate.
  • Don't let pets ride cars with their heads outside the window. Dirt and other debris can enter their eyes, ears and nose and cause injury or infection.
  • Make frequent stops to allow your pet to go to the bathroom and get some exercise. Be sure to clean up after your pet. 

Traveling by plane: Most airlines have their own set of rules for canine air travel. Call ahead for information and make arrangements in advance of your trip.

  • All airlines require health certifications and proof of vaccinations.
  • Federal regulations require pets to be at least 8 weeks old and they should be weaned at least 5 days before flying.
  • Try to book a nonstop flight and avoid plane changes when possible. Some airlines will not transport animals when it is extremely hot or cold. 
  • Dogs must be in an airline-approved crate when transported as cargo. Some airlines allow certain breeds and sizes to travel under the seat in a crate or carrier.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Office Cats' Work Toward Forever Homes]]> Wed, 09 Aug 2017 07:04:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Office_Cat_Fostering_Program_a__Purr_-fect_Combination.jpg

Cedar Bend Humane Society is offering a "Office Cat" program where pet friendly businesses are encouraged to hire (foster) temporary workers (cats) to fill in positions of "Office Cat" until a permanent position (adoption) can be secured. 

The program allows the cat to experience enrichment outside of the shelter, and provides additional room at the shelter, allowing CBHS to save more lives. KWWL's Laren Moss reports.

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<![CDATA[Prison Dog Training Programs Rehabilitate Canines and Cons]]> Thu, 10 Aug 2017 09:53:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_552486075185.jpg

When Christy Nielsen was searching for a new dog, she didn’t go to a pet store, or a breeder or even a shelter. Instead, Nielsen found her Pomeranian, Tinker, at the Omaha Correctional Center.

Tinker is one of hundreds of dogs that has been fostered by inmates at the prison as a part of their Canine Compassion program.

“I see the closeness the inmates have with the animals. They really take good care of them,” said Nielsen, an associate director of nursing at the prison.

Across the country, prisons and animal shelters are forming partnerships that put inmates in charge of training unruly dogs, giving both parties a chance at a fresh start. 

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Carol Byrnes is a professional animal trainer based in Spokane, Washington. Once a week she volunteers with local shelter Spokanimal, leading obedience classes for inmates and their dogs at Airway Heights Corrections Center.

“A lot of the dogs come from high kill shelters. Sometimes it’s life or death for these dogs that get to come here,” she said.

Byrnes was initially hesitant to get involved, but she developed a passion for the program after seeing the transformative effect it had on participants, both human and canine. For inmates and dogs who start off as distant or hard to reach, “as the program progresses, they open up, they blossom, they gain confidence, they gain social skills and the ability to problem solve and negotiate difficulties,” she said.

Prison animal programs have been gaining traction in recent years, though the first documented account of a dog used for inmate rehabilitation can be traced back to 1925.

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The details of each program differ but most follow the same basic guidelines. Dogs with behavioral issues who are not yet ready to be adopted are sent to live in a cell with their caretakers. For up to 16 weeks, the inmates are responsible for walking, feeding and playing with their dogs. Inmates also take part in formal obedience classes, teaching their animals the basic commands like sit and heel. In order to take part in the program, inmates have to exhibit good behavior for at least one year prior.

"I enjoy the challenge of training them. I like having the hard cases,” said Chris Williams, an inmate dog handler at Southern New Mexico State Correctional Facility in Las Cruces.

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For Williams, the Prisoners and Animals Working Toward Success program, or PAWS, has provided an incentive to stay on the right path. “I spent most of my time locked up in maximum security before coming to this state. I used to be a big trouble maker and then I got here and got involved in the program and I’ve been doing pretty good,” he said.

Renee Waskiewicz, a hearing officer who oversees PAWS at the prison, said it has helped the inmates correct some of the behaviors that may have landed them in jail in the first place.

“The men in our pods have created so much loss, not only in their lives but in their families’ lives and lots of victims’ lives,” she said. “These dogs have really shown them compassion for other living things. Empathy.”

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Kimberly Collica-Cox, associate professor of criminal justice at Pace University in New York, has studied how the symbiotic relationship between humans and dogs can be useful in prisons. Collica-Cox helped develop a program through Pace that uses animal assisted therapy to teach incarcerated mothers better parenting skills.

“What we find is that dogs can trigger feelings of safety in humans, which will allow them to sort of open up and communicate more, which can be very helpful in a correctional setting,” she said, adding that there’s a great deal of research to support these findings.

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One study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine showed that human-animal interactions can actually lead to lower blood pressure and heart rate, two physiological indicators of stress. Psychologists studying a prison-based animal program in the UK concluded that working with animals helped inmates develop a deeper sense of responsibility and trust. This resulted in enhanced communications between peers as well as with staff.

Since they started bringing dogs from the SPCA for Monterey County into Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad, California, Lt. David Lopez said he’s seen a significant decrease in conflicts. “There’s a lot less incidences, a lot less crime and a lot of inmates are trying to stay out of trouble so they can meet the prerequisites to become an inmate dog handler,” he said. “The dogs have brought humanity into this prison setting.”

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Although working with the dogs can be difficult at times, for Justin Chinn, an inmate at the Omaha Correctional Center, saying goodbye is always the hardest part. Even though it’s been nearly two years since they parted ways, Chinn said he still misses the first dog he ever trained, a black lab named Maisy.

“She was a handful. It was tough with her but after about a week it was wonderful,” he said. “It felt good to know that I brought out the good in the dog and she brought out the good in me. And to know that she went to a good home with kids. She’s living a good life.”



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[9 Cats That Won't Make You Sneeze]]> Mon, 07 Aug 2017 12:36:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-99192954_high-cropped.jpg If you love cats but suffer from allergies, don't be discouraged. Here are a few breeds that won't send you running for Benadryl.

Photo Credit: Brenda Carson/Getty Images/Hemera]]>
<![CDATA[Find a Shelter]]> Mon, 07 Aug 2017 13:10:37 -0700 ]]> <![CDATA[Weeks-Old Puppy Offered in Exchange for Drugs]]> Fri, 04 Aug 2017 13:29:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC_drugpuppy0804_1500x845.jpg

A North Carolina woman rescued an abused 10-week-old puppy after his owner tried to give the pooch away in exchange for crack cocaine at a Charlotte gas station, NBC afiliate WCNC reported.

Fearing the dog would be traded for drugs, Kaitlyn Cappelluti offered the man $50 for the young puppy. She took him to the South Charlotte Dog Rescue where he is being treated for dehydration, skin burns and an infection on his docked tail.

The shelter says he will be available for adoption at the end of the month.

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<![CDATA[Rescue Dog Helps Indiana Teen Overcome Seizures ]]> Fri, 04 Aug 2017 07:55:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/seizure+dog.jpg

For Lisa Reid, watching her son Ryan have his first seizure at age 13 was horrible.

“As a mother, I felt helpless,” she said.

Reid was considering adopting a dog for her son to help his previous emotional issues, but the seizure in Nov. of 2016 pushed her to go through with the adoption.

The Reid family went on to adopt Charlie, a golden retriever puppy, at a time when Ryan was having eight to 12 seizures a day. From the moment Reid went to adopt the puppy, she said Charlie bonded with Ryan.

Reid then took Charlie to I Wanna Go Home Rescue in Dyer, Indiana. Organization founder, Sue Hanlon offered to train the puppy to become an emotional support animal for Ryan.

As Ryan continued having seizures, missing school and going for testing, Charlie began to play a larger role in the family. Reid said when Ryan was having a seizure, Charlie would alert her by barking. 

Charlie helped Reid respond faster to her son's seizures and ensured he received the care he needed. The dog also helped Ryan relax.

“If Ryan gets in a mood, Charlie can clam him down,” Reid said.

Looking back, Reid seems at ease with her decision to adopt Charlie. Ryan has been seizure free since January and is now stable enough to spend his first summer at a Boy Scout camp.

Charlie is currently being trained at I Wanna Go Home Rescue by an ex-Highland, Indiana, police officer to become a fully certified service dog, free of charge.

“If you help someone who is sick, why would you charge?” Hanlon said.

I Wanna Go Home Rescue is one of over 700 shelters across the country participating in Clear the Shelters on Aug. 19. 



Photo Credit: Lisa Reid]]>
<![CDATA[Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe in the Summer Heat]]> Fri, 04 Aug 2017 05:26:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-118910906.jpg

With record temperatures around the country, it is important to keep your dogs in mind when it comes to keeping cool. Check out these tips for keeping your pets safe in the heat.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dr. Woof? Canine Joins Texas Rehab Center's Therapy Team]]> Fri, 04 Aug 2017 05:15:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/Karmen+Companion.jpg

A canine companion is the newest addition to the Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation in Grapevine.

Karmen is more than just a cute face, she's been trained in more than 50 commands to assist in physical therapy sessions.

She helps with balance, grip strengthening and dexterity training.

"You get patients, that wouldn't even think about getting on the ground, getting on the ground on their hands and knees and coming and petting Karmen and saying that she doesn't have to get up when she could come to see them," said physical therapist Travis McCracken. "People with shoulder injuries saying they would rather just stroke and pet Karmen instead of doing some of our exercises, which is funny, but in reality is more functional."

The 2-year-old Labrador-golden retriever mix is a product of Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit organization that trains service dogs. The Irving facility opened two years ago. She is the first dog to be placed in a Baylor Scott and White facility.

Canine Companions breeds Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, and a cross of the two to be assistance dogs. Volunteers nurture newborn puppies for eight weeks before they begin basic obedience training over a period of 14 to 18 months, according to the organization’s website.

The dogs then graduate to professional training, where they learn dozens of commands over the course of six to nine months. After training is successfully completed, the dogs are matched with adults, children or veterans with disabilities, or professionals in health care like Karmen.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[How to Keep Your Pet Cool During The Dog Days of The Summer ]]> Fri, 04 Aug 2017 06:32:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/072517.jpg

If you find South Florida’s scorching temperatures unbearable, chances are your pet does, too.

Dr. Ian Kupkee, a veterinarian at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic in Kendall, sees about a half dozen pets that suffer from heatstroke each summer. He says pets that are left in hot cars, garages or even screened porches are susceptible to heatstroke. 

“Pets who are left in hot cars are the victims who usually make the most dramatic headlines, but the cases we see are usually the ones where pet owners are caught unaware,” Kupkee said, adding that home garages can easily reach temperatures in the mid-90s during the day.

“Unless the garage is air-conditioned, this is not a safe place for a pet,” he said. “The same goes for screened porches. They are simply too hot.”

When it comes to protecting your furry friend from the sweltering heat, there are a number of steps pet owners can take. Here are some tips to prevent heat exhaustion and keep your pet cool.

Take your pet for walks during the cooler hours of the day

According to Dr. Kupkee, walks and intense playtimes should happen early in the morning or after sunset.

Check the temperature of the pavement

If the concrete is too hot for your hands, it’s also too hot for your dog's paws, Dr. Kupkee says. As a precaution, place water on the pads of your dog’s feet when going for walks in the early morning or late evening.

Keep a kiddie pool in the backyard

Filling a kiddie pool with a few inches of water can help keep your pet cool while they are playing outside.

Know the risk factors

Pugs, English bulldogs, Shih-Tzus and other “smush-faced” breeds -- also known as Brachycephalic pets -- are at high risk of heatstroke, according to Dr. Kupkee. The throats and breathing passages of these animals are flatter and smaller, making it more difficult for them to inhale oxygen. Cats in this category include Persian, Burmese and Himalayan felines. If your pet falls under the Brachycephalic category, take extra precautions to make sure they stay cool.

Smaller dogs -- like Dachshunds and toy breeds -- are also a common victim of heatstroke, Dr. Kupkee says. These short legged dogs tend to be closer to the ground and will feel the heat of the pavement 10-40 degrees higher than the ambient temperature.

Take extra precautions for pets with health issues

Overweight, obese or elderly dogs are less able to handle the heat than other dogs, Dr. Kupkee says. Dogs who suffer from heart problems are also at risk.

Carry enough water for you and your pet

Hydrate your pet often during the summer months and when you’re out for walks or playtime.

Be aware of the signs and symptoms

Panting excessively is a common symptom of heat exhaustion. Other symptoms include dizziness, weakness, seizures, lethargy or diarrhea. If your pet is suffering from heat exhaustion, their gums and tongue may also appear to be bright red. Take your pet to the veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic if they show any of these signs or symptoms.



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