Monday, December 26, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Needing a Forever Home!

Great dog, but needs to be the only dog; not good with other dogs. Great with cats and loves outdoor activities. She used to Kayak with her mommy. Mommy can’t keep her and is sad. She wants to make sure she goes to a good home. She loves to play ball or chase a stick, is up-to-date on her shots, and is spayed. Her Vet is Readlyn Veterinary. Whoever adopts her will also get a free dog training lesson in your home. She must be an indoor dog and a part of your family.

The contact person for her is her mommy: Linda Estrada - you can email Linda at:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Staying warm!?

Toxic Food Guide for Pets

What Not to Feed Dogs and Cats

Dogs and cats are curious by nature, particularly when it comes to food. They're also very good at begging for a taste of whatever we may be eating or cooking. As cute as they may be, though, our pets can't always stomach the same foods as us — some food can be toxic and even deadly to their health.

Use this toxic food list as a guide to preventing accidental toxic exposure to your four-legged companion.

Alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and affects pets quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure. Desserts containing alcohol or yeast-containing dough are often the unknown culprits.

Coffee, tea, energy drinks, dietary pills or anything containing caffeine should never be given to your pet, as they can affect the heart, stomach, intestines and nervous system. Symptoms include restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination, excessive panting, increased heart rate and blood pressure levels and seizures.

Different types of chocolate contain various levels of fat, caffeine and the substances methylxanthines. In general, the darker and richer the chocolate (i.e., baker’s chocolate), the higher the risk of toxicity. Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, dogs may experience vomiting, diarrhea, urination, hyperactivity, heart arrhythmias, tremors and seizures. Learn about chocolate toxicity.

Fatty Foods
Foods that are high in fat can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Pancreatitis often follows the ingestion of fatty meal in dogs. Certain breeds like miniature schnauzers, Shetland sheepdogs, and Yorkshire terriers appear to be more susceptible to a bout of pancreatitis than other breeds. Fight the temptation to share fast food leftovers, junk food or foods cooked in grease with your dog.

Fat Trimmings and Bones
Table scraps often contain meat fat that a human didn't eat and bones. Both are dangerous for dogs. Fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, may cause pancreatitis in dogs. And, although it seems natural to give a dog a bone, a dog can choke on it. Bones can also splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations of your dog's digestive system. Watch this vet video about dogs and bones.

Fruit Toxins
The specific problem with persimmons, peaches, and plums are the seeds or pits. The seeds from persimmons can cause inflammation of the small intestine in dogs. They can also cause intestinal obstruction, a good possibility if a dog eats the pit from a peach or plum. Plus, peach and plum pits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to both humans and dogs should the pit be broken open and consumed.

According to Pet Poison Helpline, grapes and raisins have been known to cause acute renal (kidney) failure in dogs. With kidney failure, a pet’s ability to produce urine decreases, which means they are unable to filter toxins out of their system.

Unfortunately, the reason for kidney failure and the amount of grapes/raisins necessary to be toxic to pets is unknown, so all cases of ingestion have the potential to be grave. Depending on the size of the dog, as little as four grapes/raisins can have an adverse effect on your fuzzy friend. Learn more about grape and raisin toxicity.

Milk and Dairy Products
It may be tempting on a hot day to share your ice cream cone with your dog; however, milk and milk-based products can cause diarrhea and other digestive issues because adult dogs are deficient in lactase necessary for digestion of milk. Ask your veterinarian for safe alternatives.

Wild mushrooms — which may be found growing in your backyard or on the nature trail where you walk your dog — contain toxins that will trigger numerous organ systems, including the kidneys, liver and brain. Nervous system abnormalities, seizures, coma, vomiting, and death can all result when a dog consumes mushrooms.

Nutmeg can also be stored in the pantry with other potentially hazardous substances for pets. Often used as a spice for baking, nutmeg's rich, spicy scent is attractive to dogs. High levels can be fatal. Signs include tremors, seizures and nervous system abnormalities.

Abundant in many cookies and candies, certain nuts should not be given to pets. Almonds, non-moldy walnuts and pistachios can cause an upset stomach or an obstruction of your dog's throat and/or intestinal tract; macadamia nuts and moldy walnuts can cause toxic poisonings. Moldy walnuts can contain toxic chemical products produced by fungi which cause seizures or neurological signs. Lethargy, vomiting and loss of muscle control are among the effects of nut ingestion. Learn more about nuts dangers to dogs.

Onions and Garlic
Onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate which is toxic to cats and dogs. The ingestion of onions, onion powder, or even cooked onion causes a condition called hemolytic anemia, which is characterized by damage to the red blood cells. In other words, onion toxicity can cause the red blood cells circulating through your pet’s body to burst. A small amount can be toxic to your dog or cat.

Raw Eggs
Have you ever accidentally dropped an egg on the kitchen floor while your dog is nearby? Be careful: there are two problems with allowing your dog to eat raw eggs. First: your dog could possibly get food poisoning from bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli. Second: excessive consumption of raw eggs may result in biotin deficiency that can cause skin problems and affect your dog’s coat. Feeding your dog cooked eggs is a safer bet.

Raw Meat and Fish
Raw meat and raw fish, like raw eggs, can contain bacteria that causes food poisoning. Certain kinds of fish such as salmon, trout, shad, or sturgeon can contain a parasite that causes "fish disease." If not treated, the disease can be fatal within 2 weeks. The first signs of illness are vomiting, fever, and big lymph nodes. Thoroughly cooking the fish will kill the parasite and protect your dog.

Rhubarb, a vegetable, contains oxalates which trigger abnormalities with the nervous system, kidneys and digestive tract. Rhubarb is commonly used in recipes for pies, jams, jellies, sauces and juice.

Believe it or not, common table salt is poisonous to your pet—but it’s not usually from table scraps. The source is often what surprises pet owners: pets often experience salt toxicity as a result of eating household play dough, swallowing too much ocean salt water or ingesting paint balls, which are loaded with salt. Salt toxicity can be very severe and results in neurologic signs such as poor coordination, seizures and brain swelling, and needs to be treated carefully by a veterinarian.

Xylitol is a sugar substitute commonly used in toothpastes, mouthwash, sugarless gum, certain cough medicines and children's chewable multi-vitamins. It also used in many baked goods and candies. This product is recommended for diabetics and those following a low-carbohydrate diet. However, xylitol is extremely dangerous to your dog.

Ingestion of the product will cause the rapid release of insulin in dogs and result in hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia results in vomiting, weakness, and sometimes seizures. In some cases,xylitol poisoning can result in liver failure. As little as one stick of xylitol gum could be toxic to a 20-pound dog. Learn more about xylitol poisoning.

Yeast Dough
Unbaked dough that contains yeast can expand in your pet’s stomach or intestines. As the yeast ferments, it releases gases, resulting in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and even life-threatening bloat and a twisted stomach. Some yeast dough also ferments into alcohol, which contributes to signs of lethargy and alcohol toxicity.

SOURCE: VPI Pet Health Zone

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Consumer Warning: chicken jerky products for dogs (China)

FDA Issues Dog Treats Warning

November 18, 2011 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an important bulletin warning consumers that chicken jerky products (also marketed as chicken tenders, strips or treats) may be associated with serious illness in dogs.
Over the past 12 months, the FDA has observed an increase in the number of complaints regarding canine illnesses associated with consumption of chicken jerky products imported from China.
These complaints have been reported to the government by both dog owners and veterinarians.
FDA had previously issued a cautionary warning regarding chicken jerky products in September 2007 and a Preliminary Animal Health Notification later on in December of 2008.
Unfortunately, so far, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. The FDA continues to conduct extensive chemical and microbial testing but has this farnot identified a contaminant.

What to Watch For

Chicken jerky products should never be considered a substitute for a balanced diet. These treats should are intended to be fed only occasionally — and in small quantities.
The FDA is advising consumers who still choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky to monitor their animals closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding these products including:
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased activity
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (sometimes with blood)
  • Increased water consumption
  • Increased urination
Blood tests may indicate kidney failure. And urine tests may show Fanconi syndrome (increased blood sugar). Although most dogs are likely to recover, some deaths have been reported.

What to Do

If a dog shows any of these signs, the FDA urges consumers tostop feeding the suspected products immediately.
Owners should consult a veterinarian if signs or symptoms are severe or persist more than 24 hours.
So, take precautions. And be sure to tell everyone you know.
You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day!

Hug a hero!  (or take your hero to hug Veteran)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Duke Needs a Home!

Here is some info about him:  Loving home needed for a wonderful dog named Duke. He's sweet, lovable, and very pretty. He's a medium-size lab mix about 6 yrs old. Needs a fenced yard to run. He needs a new home because he isn't getting the attention he deserves.  He has no special food requirements or other needs except for a loving, forever home.  See his adorable pictures below.  Please contact LeAnne Siggelkov at (308) 539-0251.

Seeing-Eye-Goose Befriends Blind Dog

Take a gander at this animal odd couple!

A blind Boxer named Baks has gotten a whole new lease on life thanks to a good samaritan goose named Buttons. Yes, you read that right. This is not a joke.

Baks has been taken under the 'wing' of Buttons, a four-year-old goose who now leads her vision-impaired pal around everywhere either by hanging onto him with her neck, or by honking to tell him which way to go. How hilarious is that?!

Owner Renata Kursa of Lublin, Poland, was heartbroken when poor lil' Bak was left blind after an accident last year. But gradually Buttons got him up on his feet and starting walking him around. They're inseparable now - they even chase the postman together,' Kursa tells the Telegraph UK.

Go Buttons! What's good for the goose is also apparently good for...the...boxer.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Terry Hertges and Zoey

Click on the image to view the video!

WATERLOO (KWWL) - Zoey's a goldendoodle, which is a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle.

Zoey is a volunteer at the rehab department at Covenant Medical Center. Of course, she doesn't visit alone. The tail wagging pal comes with her owner, Terry Hertges of Elk Run Heights.

"I enjoy doing things with my dog. Taking her places you normally can't, and I enjoy seeing people get to see her and the happiness it brings them," said Hertges.

Terry and Zoey are part of P.E.T. P.A.L.S., which is a group of volunteers who visit local nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and other facilities.

Terry actually has a special tie to P.E.T. P.A.L.S.

"My mom was one of the first members when it started way back in the 70s perhaps. So, I grew up knowing about it. She had french bulldogs," said Terry Hertges.

When Terry adopted Zoey, she knew she'd be perfect for P.E.T. P.A.L.S. because Terry said Zoey loves everybody.

Any patient that's interested gets a chance to give Zoey a pat.

"Ask if they want to give her treats. Hopefully try to get them to relax a little. Make their day a little happier," said Hertges.

According to many studies, dogs have a calming and therapeutic effect, which Terry Hertges knows first-hand. She recently had knee surgery, and her husband brought Zoey to visit her, so she knows these visits help patients.

Terry was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2008. She said these visits with Zoey really help take her focus off of her own medical issues.

"I've found helping people in other ways helps me not thinking poor me. So I enjoy doing stuff like this and helping other people," said Hertges.

Neither Zoey nor Terry have to do much to bring a smile to a patient's face. The pair plans to visit rehab patients about twice a month.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

Friday, September 30, 2011

Milk Bone Dog Biscuit Product Pull

Milk Bone Dog Biscuit Product Pull

Written By: Susan Thixton

The FDA website had no information of this recall, so I called DelMonte. I was told "this is not a recall, we voluntarily pulled the product because mold was discovered after the product was in the market place." When I asked too many questions of the DelMonte consumer representative, she told me I was going to need to talk with 'someone else'. She took my name and number, I've waited three hours - no return call.

So, if your pet eats Milk Bones, please look for code #90967, UPC 24000-92502, lot code 12071k on the box. The product could contain mold to which we have no idea how dangerous this might be.

Should DelMonte ever decide to return my call, or post information on this 'product pull' on their website, I'll post it here.

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author, Buyer Beware
Co-Author Dinner PAWsible

Friday, September 16, 2011

Help save Buster!

I have a 4 year old golden male going to be put down on Monday if no one takes him. He is being given to the vet today to be kenneled and then put down on Monday morning. He is super cute and has had a really rough life. His current owners tried to give him what he needed but was not able. he became outdoors chained up. he growls and can be protective. all he needs is positive behavior modification and a lot of patience. he has had a terrible life; putting him down would be better for his sake. I really want to show him that life can be good with the right people. no small kids. not sure about other animals, he currently lives with 2 chows that are also having problems.

I am their dog trainer and they haven't been training and just called me today to let me know I have till Monday to find him a home.

please any suggestions or help. I can't take him; I live with my parents who are old. my heart is breaking for him.

his name is Buster. unfortunately I have no pictures. he is a dark red and is only approx. 40lbs. who ever takes him will get 4 free private lessons in your home, if more than 20 min travel there will be a travel fee. 4 lessons is worth $350.00

Please help!!!

Wagging yours,
Karen Anderson

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

FDA Updates

Keep yourself informed by reading the FDA's notifications in the Animal
and Veterinary section.  Current news about vaccines, recalls and other
pet health issues get posted on the following website:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Merrick Pet Care Recalls

Merrick Pet Care Recalls

Doggie Wishbone (Item # 29050, Lot 11031 Best By 30 Jan 2013)
Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 8, 2011 - Merrick Pet Care, Inc. of Amarillo, Texas is recalling a single lot of its Doggie Wishbone pet treat (ITEM # 29050, UPC # 2280829050, Lot 11031 Best By 30 Jan 2013) because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Merrick Pet Care has made the decision to recall the Doggie Wishbone pet treats in the abundance of caution. 248 cases of this lot were manufactured and shipped to distributors in 10 states. Those distributors have been notified. Only one lot of Doggie Wishbone is affected by this recall. No additional Merrick Pet Care products are involved in this recall. No other Merrick brand products are involved.

Salmonella can affect animals and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products. People handling the treats can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the chews or any surfaces exposed to these products. Consumers should dispose of these products in a safe manner by securing them in a covered trash receptacle.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers immediately.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

The Doggie Wishbone was shipped to distributors and retailers throughout the US. These individuals have been notified and have activated their recall procedures.

No illnesses have been reported to date and there have been no consumer complaints for this product. This issue was identified through routine sampling by the Food and Drug Administration.

At Merrick Pet Care, the safety and efficacy of our products are our top priority. We apologize for any inconvenience due to this recall. Consumers who have purchased the Doggie Wishbone with the lot code 11031 are urged to return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-664-7387 M-F 8:00am – 5:00pm CST.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thanks for the Memories, Yoda!

The original Corgi Respite Team in 2000. (L-R) Luke, Yoda and Broni

Thoughts on Respite at the time of Yoda’s retirement.......

by Jon McNamee

Yoda and Luke were born to Broni in our front room. They were 2/5 of a great litter and from the beginning we knew that we were not going to be able to break these brothers up. Others told us that male litter mates would be a problem but we kept them because, in our hearts, we knew that they belonged together.

Their lives began as show dogs. Luke was beautifully colored and flamboyant while Yoda had all the structure you could ever want in a male Cardigan Welsh Corgi but he was decidedly more laid back. After a few shows, we came to the conclusion that the perfect show dog would be one with Luke’s personality and Yoda’s build.

Yoda really didn’t like show business all that much and Luke, while pretty, was a bit small for a male Cardigan so we reluctantly decided to stop showing them. We soon realized that these guys had to have something to do besides hanging around the house and taking the occasional walk. Our friend Bonnie Sines was a charter member and organizer of the local Pet Pals organization and she encouraged us to take the initial training and start visiting. I liked this idea and thought that they would be great with folks in nursing homes. After the initial training and temperament testing, we were advised that nursing homes might not work so well because Corgis are built so close to the ground. The temperament testing team asked that we consider participating in the Respite Program at the River Hills School in Cedar Falls.

The Respite Program brings special needs kids in on weekends for fun, games and interaction. Lori is great with all kids, but I had never been that comfortable around them and especially handicapped kids. We made an initial visit without the dogs and it relieved some of my fears but I remained apprehensive. I didn’t think that I wouldn’t be very good at dealing with the children and I even convinced myself that they would make the dogs edgy and uncomfortable I couldn’t have been more wrong.

We began our relationship with the kids of the Respite Program in October of 2000. Yoda and Luke and Broni visited the River Hills School once or twice a month. They walked miles of hallways, they splayed out on the cool floor and reveled in the petting and pampering that was lavished upon them. Kids who couldn’t stay on any task for more than a couple minutes would brush them, pet them and toss them treats for as long as we would let them.

A memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life is of a profoundly autistic and physically challenged boy I will call Seth. When we first met Seth, he was reluctant to interact with the dogs but Luke was determined to make him a friend. Seth would sit on the floor and Luke would lie beside him.  Eventually Seth reached out and gave a quick touch but nothing more. He liked to walk with us as we toured the hallways but he would not hold the leash. Then we discovered if we held his hand along with the leash he would walk the dog. It soon became clear that Luke and Seth were developing a special bond. We couldn’t understand what Seth was saying, but we were sure that Luke could. As time went on, Seth got more and more attached to Luke. When it was time to leave, he would insist on walking us to the door. One Saturday, as Luke and I started out the door, Seth wrapped his arms around me and gave me a hug. I’ve had a lot of hugs in my life, but that one ranks as one of the best. Needless to say my heart melted and any residual apprehension I might have had dissolved without a trace.

The Respite kids eventually “age-out” of the program and we stopped seeing Seth. At about the same time, Luke started acting like he had a sore hip and we took him in and discovered that he had bone cancer. The prognosis was poor and a bright light went out of our lives on the day we had to say good bye. Shortly after Luke’s passing, we learned that Seth had also passed away. Our sadness was tempered by the thought that on some far-distant, sun drenched grassy hill; a boy who was denied the ability to run, sing and laugh in this world was playing with a little blue-eyed friend that he made on Saturday mornings at the River Hills School.

Respite moved from River Hills to the Deere Center a few years ago and most of the original kids have graduated. Sunny joined the crew after he retired from the show ring and after Broni passed away he and Yoda kept up their monthly visit schedule.

Last Saturday, just a month short of his 11th anniversary as a Respite volunteer, Yoda made his final visit. His vision is failing and with that comes a bit of confusion which makes us think that the experience might be more stressful for him than fun so we decided to announce his retirement. He has been a great friend to a lot of kids and he has done a lot of good. Sunny will carry on the tradition even though he’ll, no doubt, miss his partner.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dog Obedience Training Classes

Dog Obedience Training Classes with Volunteer Certified Trainer Gary Harrington.
There are two sessions - each lasts for 7 weeks.
Tuesday Session: July 12 - August 23
Wednesday Session: July 13 - August 24

Cost is $85 in advance or $95 on the first day of class and all proceeds benefit the Cedar Valley Humane Society. 

Reserve your spot at

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dog Shampoo Warning

The FDA has issued a warning about the dog shampoo Douxo Seborrhea Shampoo (0.1% phytosphingosine), distributed by Sogeval Laboratories, Inc., of Coppell, Texas. It has been associated with asthma attacks in humans using it to bathe their dogs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day!

Snow, snow, snow!!  Hopefully our 4-legged friends are having
 fun romping through the fresh snow today!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Younker's Community Day

Younker's Community Day booklets are for sale again! If you need more or weren't able to attend the banquet, e-mail and we will see that you get them. The cost is $5.00 for each with P.E.T. P.A.L.S. keeping the entire amount. 

We are in need of people to sit at a booth for presales in Cedar Falls. The dates and times are : Feb. 18, 19, and 23 from 12:00-2:00. Also, we will need people to sit at the booth during the actual sale on Feb. 26 but haven't been assigned a time yet. If you are able to help, please contact us at either or

Thank you all for your support of P.E.T.  P.A.L.S!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter Discontent - Article from Waterloo Courier

Click here to View Article
Winter of discontent: Owner’s mopey mood lifted by energetic pooch
By META HEMENWAY-FORBES, | Posted: Sunday, January 23, 2011 11:30 
Temps are cold, daylight is in short supply and there aren't enough carbs in my cupboard to make up the difference. There's just something about this year's dark, icy grip that, for a couple of weeks recently, made me want to curl up on the sofa with bad TV and a good blanket and wait for spring.
I'd been aware of my mood but had put little effort into reversing the temporary mental slump, figuring the winter blahs would pass.
Then I noticed my pup in a funk. The golden retriever who brings me slobbery toys to throw suddenly seemed mopey. The dog that normally follows me around the house, plays a mean game of tug of war and sleeps at my feet had become glum, down, depressed.
Dr. Lindsey Keller of Pawsitive Pet Care in Waterloo said the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists doesn't know if dogs get the winter blues as people sometimes do.
What veterinarians do know is, ruling out physical illness, depression can be an explanation for a dog's change in behavior. Symptoms can include inactivity, changes in eating or drinking habits and disinterest in things they normally find enjoyable and comforting.
Major changes in a dog's life - loss of an owner or pet companion, moving to a new home, a new baby coming into the home - can trigger depressive behaviors.
But seemingly small things can upset a pooch's emotional applecart, too.
"Any kind of change in their routine or schedule - if they're not getting the play time or exercise they're used to getting, that can be a trigger," Keller said. "It can even be a change in your attitude and your voice. Dogs are very perceptive to that type of thing. If you're moping around, they're very perceptive."
Rudy's routine had changed, and I was to blame. While I moped about, cursing the cold, I took away what my best friend loved the most.
As the temperatures plunged, so had the frequency of our walks. With a warm, water-resistant coat, Rudy is raring to go in any weather. I, however, need several layers of clothing plus boots, hats and mittens to get out the door. And even then it feels too cold.
I'm ashamed to admit that for more than a week I canceled our outdoor excursions, even as Rudy stood hopeful at the front door. He'd follow me to the kitchen, sit near the leash and plead with his soulful, almond-shaped eyes.
Then one night I went to bed, and he didn't follow me. Wandering the house in search of him, I found him in my son's bed, curled up, staring out the window. He longed to be outdoors, catching scents in the breeze, plunging his nose into the snow and cursing the squirrels who dared crossed his path.
It was then I realized that, as his leader, I'd led this beautiful creature right down in the dumps. Now it was time to lead him out.
"When we have a dog (in which) we suspect depression, the first thing we tell owners is keep them engaged and they'll snap out of it," Keller said.
Our walks resumed immediately, and play time is even more frequent than before. My beloved pup once again follows me around the house, happily soaking up my positive energy. Gone is the winter of our discontent.
For a moment, I was proud of myself for rescuing my pup from his dark days. Until I considered that maybe it was Rudy who saved me from mine.
Copyright 2011 All rights reserved. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Here are some of our visitors!  Thanks Linnea Ulrich for sharing the pictures!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Friendship Village

 Pat C. and Donna R. pose with their dogs before going in to bring joy to some of the residents at Friendship Village in Waterloo, Iowa.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Many kinds of animals are used in therapy, including dogs, cats, elephants, birds, dolphins, rabbits, lizards, llamas, and other small animals. Such animals are often referred to as comfort animals.

Physical Benefits

  • Improve fine motor skills.
  • Improve wheelchair skills.
  • Improve standing equilibrioception (balance).
  • May lower blood pressure, risk for stroke or heart attack, and decrease depression.

Mental Benefits
A 2007 meta-analysis found that animal-assisted therapy is associated with moderate effect sizes in improving outcomes in autism spectrum symptoms, medical difficulties, behavioral problems, and emotional well-being.

  • Increase verbal interactions among group members
  • Increase attention skills (i.e., paying attention, staying on task).
  • Develop leisure/recreation skills.
  • Increase self-esteem.
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Reduce loneliness.
  • Learn to trust.