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RESCUE GROUPS GO THE EXTRA MILE

PET GUIDE

48 Hot

Tips &Toys

Harper’s heart healer

+

SHELTER DOGS ON A MISSION HEALTHY SNACKS & CHEWS DOG + CAT = HAPPY HOME

SPRING/SUMMER 2018

TEST YOUR PUP’S

IQ


Helping Your Pets Have Longer, Healthier Lives TO RUN, JUMP, PLAY, SNUGGLE, MAKE YOU LAUGH, KEEP YOU WARM & FILL YOUR HEART.

Learn more about Morris Animal Foundation and how you can help make the world a better place for all animals. Visit us at morrisanimalfoundation.org/usatoday. Morris Animal Foundation’s mission is to bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals. Founded by a veterinarian in 1948, we fund and conduct critical health studies for the beneďŹ t of all animals. Learn more at morrisanimalfoundation.org. 720 S. Colorado Blvd., Suite 174A Denver, CO 80246 | 800.243.2345


KILL FLEAS & TICKS LIKE A MASTER

Arm your dog against fleas and ticks with the killing force of FRONTLINE® Plus Rely on FRONTLINE Plus to kill fleas and ticks, plus flea eggs and larvae, preventing a new flea infestation. Its protection lasts a full 30 days. No wonder it’s been trusted by vets for nearly 20 years. Frontline.com

VET RECOMMENDED FLEA & TICK KILLER

FRONTLINE Plus is a Merial product. Merial is now part of Boehringer Ingelheim. FRONTLINE® is a registered trademark of Merial. ©2018 Merial Inc., Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. FLP18_PetGuide (04/2018)


IT’S NOT JUST A LICK It’s a pathway to highly contagious disease

Your social dog is at risk for contracting dog flu wherever and whenever they meet other dogs. That’s why it’s vital to vaccinate your dog today. Tell your vet you want to prevent dog flu.

See if your dog is at risk — take the social dog risk quiz on DogFlu.com.

Copyright © 2018 Intervet Inc., d/b/a Merck Animal Health, a subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc. All rights reserved. US/NCI/0218/0004


PET GUIDE SPRING/SUMMER 2018

34

WHO RESCUED WHOM?

The healing power of a pet

FEATURES

DION LEONARD

40

MENDING A BROKEN HEART

Fitness trainer Bob Harper’s dogs were key to his recovery

48

SEARCH AND RESCUE

Transforming shelter dogs into first responders

54

GOING THE DISTANCE

Rescue groups transport pets to their forever homes

60

PUPPY 101

What you need to know before bringing home a new furry family member

3


PET GUIDE TRENDS HAPPY DOG

66

Hosting a bark-filled birthday party

70

Tips for traveling with your pup

74

Take your canine for a walk on the wild side

HEALTHY DOG

74 12

78

Pose with your pooch at doga class

82

Acupuncture isn’t just for people

GOOD DOG

86

Meet the star of Animal Planet’s Dr. Jeff: Rocky Mountain Vet

92

Your dog might be smarter than you realize

UP FRONT DIET

8

Healthy food to feed Fido

10

Delicious DIY dog treats

THE TAIL END

96

Personalized book tells your pup’s story

PRODUCTS

12

Keep your canine on trend with these finds

All product prices and availability are subject to change.

Need pet care? There’s an app for that.

SOCIAL

18

Readers share pics of their happy pups

ADVICE

ON THE COVER:

Fitness trainer Bob Harper and his dog, Karl PHOTOGRAPHER:

Deborah Feingold

4

PET GUIDE 2018

20

Should you buy liability insurance?

22

Create pet household harmony

26

Make your canine your colleague

30

Pooches can be allergy-prone, too

66

NEW ORLEANS CITY PARK ARCHIVES; GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY THE COMPANY

TECH

16


FEATURED CONTRIBUTORS

PREMIUM PUBLICATION EDITORIAL

DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes jbstokes@usatoday.com Coco and Harper

CINDY KUZMA Kuzma, based in Chicago, writes about health, fitness and related topics for several national publications. A marathoner herself, she was struck by the way Gobi, a tiny stray, stole the heart of ultrarunner Dion Leonard during a race across the desert — one of three incredible tales in her story about dogs who rescued humans (page 34).

Max

MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington mjwashington@usatoday.com

MATT ALDERTON A freelance writer for more than a decade, Alderton specializes in business, culture, science, technology and travel. Originally from Denver, he now lives in Chicago with his partner, Jeff, and their 15-year-old Boston terrier, Roxy, whose travels with her humans inspired Alderton to petition pet parents and advocates for their top pet-friendly travel tips (page 70).

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council jcouncil@usatoday.com

ISSUE EDITOR Debbie Williams EDITORS Amy Sinatra Ayres Tracy Scott Forson Sara Schwartz ISSUE DESIGNER Miranda Pellicano

Ellie

Murphy

DESIGNERS Amira Martin Gina Toole Saunders Lisa M. Zilka

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Matt Alderton, Brian Barth, Margaret Buranen, Stacy Chandler, Chrystle Fiedler, Lisa Hornung, Cindy Kuzma, Nancy Monson, Kristen Seymour, Stephanie Stephens, Adam Stone, Debbie Swanson

ADVERTISING

VP, ADVERTISING Patrick Burke (703) 854-5914 pburke@usatoday.com ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Justine Madden (703) 854-5444 jmadden@usatoday.com

FINANCE

PROVIDED BY THE CONTRIBUTORS

BILLING COORDINATOR Julie Marco

STEPHANIE STEPHENS

KRISTEN SEYMOUR

A digital journalist, producer and on-camera host based in Los Angeles, Stephens has interviewed more than 250 celebrities and also writes about complex health topics. She is active in animal advocacy and rescue efforts and has interviewed Bob Harper three times, including on the red carpet and for our cover story (page 40).

Seymour writes about pets, fitness and wellness, contributing to several digital and print publications. She lives in Florida with her two rescue dogs, who enjoy walks, meditation and yoga. “I love how quickly my dogs calm down when I settle in, focus my breathing and make space for them to join me,“ Seymour says (page 78).

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved herein, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or reproduced in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the written consent of USA TODAY. The editors and publisher are not responsible for any unsolicited materials.

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STORY L A BEL | U P FRONT

UP FRONT PET GUIDE

DIET 8

|

PRODUCTS 12

|

TECH 16 |

SOCIAL 18 |

ADVICE 20

Meet Mr. Wigglesworth Follow his adventures on Instagram: @thisdogwiggles

ANIMAL PLANET

TEAM RUFF VERSUS TEAM FLUFF This adorable 15-week-old guy was given the Underdog Award at Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl XIV, which aired on Super Bowl Sunday in February and featured 90 puppies from 48 rescue groups. Team Ruff's Mr. Wigglesworth was adopted by a social media executive and now lives in New York. 7


UP FRONT | DIET

Feeding Fido Nutritious options for your four-legged family members BY PAM GEORGE

Perfect for puppy!

Y

our furry friends deserve food that tastes good and is good for them. Look for ingredients that are natural, easy on their tummies and won’t exacerbate allergies. Here are some options:

GETTY IMAGES

Healthy treats start training off on the right paw.

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PET GUIDE 2018


GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

Newman’s Own peanut butter biscuit dog treats are made with organic barley flour and contain no wheat.

Petcurean’s Spike jerky treats are grain- and gluten-free and come in four varieties. $10.99 for 4-ounce bag,

Fedwell uses all-natural ingredients and no grain in its dog food and treats. $36.99 to $98.99, fedwell.com

$2.99 for 10-ounce bag, target.com

chewy.com

Canidae’s PURE line of pet treats is made with natural ingredients such as pumpkin, peas and sweet potatoes.

Cuddles are grain-free, bite-size cookies made with wild-caught fish and pumpkin. $11.99 for 12-ounce bag,

Parkers jerky treats are free of gluten, grains, wheat, corn, soy and artificial ingredients. $5.99 for 1.25-ounce

$7.59 for 6-ounce bag, petflow.com

thehonestkitchen.com

pouch, parkerstreats.com

I and Love and You’s Naked Essentials lamb and bison recipe is a dry, gluten-free, grain-free non-GMO dog food. $23.56, amazon.com

Stella & Chewy’s pet food is made with grass-fed beef, cage-free poultry and wild-caught fish. Prices vary; visit

Just Right by Purina is a direct-toconsumer dog food that’s tailored to each pet’s dietary needs. $19.99 to

stellaandchewys.com

$62.99, justrightpetfood.com

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UP FRONT | DIET

DIY Dog Treats

W

ant to try your hand at whipping up a healthy batch of goodies for your canine companion? Food blogger Sally McKenney (sallysbakingaddiction. com) shares her recipe for homemade treats, a favorite of her dogs Jude and Franklin.

INGREDIENTS: • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter •

¾ cup nonfat milk

1 large egg (or ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce)

2 cups wholewheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/3 cup oats (either wholerolled or quick oats)

2-3 strips cooked bacon, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

In a large bowl, gently mix peanut butter, milk and egg. Add flour and baking powder, then mix in oats and bacon until dough is heavy and thick. Use your hands or a floured rolling pin to roll the dough into ¼-inch thickness and cut into shapes using cookie cutters or a knife. Arrange on baking sheets and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until very lightly browned on the bottom. Remove from the oven and bake on the other side for 10 to 12 more minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving to your pup.

Consult your vet about any allergies your dog may have or questions regarding ingredients.

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PET GUIDE 2018

SALLY MCKENNEY; MEGAN BRODIE PHOTOGRAPHY

Peanut Butter Bacon Dog Treats


UP FRONT | PRODUCTS

Posh Pooch Treat your pup like a top dog BY ZOE KING

Keep treats fresh in this ED Ellen DeGeneres "May Cause Good Behavior" jar. $14.99, petsmart.com 12

PET GUIDE 2018

Have some fun with these silly dog toys, shaped like a mustache and giant tongue. $10 each, uncommongoods.com

PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

Fine dining (or chewing) awaits with this Chow Chow Mein toy. $10, barkshop. com


STICKY ICKY YUCKY GUNKY SMELLY

A Leading Multi-Cat Clumping Litter AFTER POURING DRAMATIZATION: REFLECTS CLEANING AFTER 24 HOURS

ARM & HAMMER CLUMP & SEAL SLIDE, the revolutionary non-stick clumping litter ™

NO MORE SCRAPING • 7-DAY ODOR-FREE HOME • SLIDES RIGHT OUT • 100% DUST FREE

Find us on

ArmandHammerSlide.com


UP FRONT | PRODUCTS

This Rad Dog waterproof travel bowl weighs less than an ounce and folds up to fit in your pocket. $11.95, myraddog.com Keep your dog safe and stylish in this Pet Life Reflecta-Sport rainbreaker. $24.99, petsmart.com

Your pup will be a dapper dude in this ED Ellen DeGeneres bow tie comfort harness. $27.99, petsmart.com

Laura Ashley’s Hunterhill pet carrier has a large storage pocket and includes a collar clip to keep your pup secure. $45, lauraashleyusa.com

Dress Spot for the beach and beyond with this Coast dog collar and leash, both in matching blue crab design. $24.50 each, coastapparel.com

Keep your pet secure on the go with this water-resistant Pet Gear Happy Trails stroller, which folds flat for easy storage. $169.99, kohls.com

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PET GUIDE 2018

Rad Dog’s Release N Run collar features a built-in leash, which retracts when not in use. $39.95, myraddog.com

PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

Your pup can make a statement in this Top Paw Little Rebel dog tee. $9.99, petsmart.com


$O3FF


UP FRONT | TECH

Ryder

Doggy Downloads Helpful apps offer easy, on-the-go pet-care options

W

hen her nearly 3-year-old dog, Ryder, was a puppy, busy marketing director Olivia Wheat didn’t want to leave the energetic mini Australian shepherd alone in their Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment for too long. With mobile dog-services app Wag!, she cultivated a set of trusted caregivers to walk and visit Ryder as needed. “Scheduling a walk is so quick and easy — I can do it with the push of a button before getting on the subway

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PET GUIDE 2018

in the morning,” says Wheat. “They always respond by text, so I know it’s OK if I have to stay at work a little longer.” While it may seem unconventional, pet owners and experts view apps as not only a convenient solution to pet care, but one that instills a heightened sense of comfort and awareness.

HOW IT WORKS Most mobile pet-care apps operate

similarly: You download it to your smartphone or tablet, enter your location and pet’s information, then review possible caregivers. Payment and booking are done online, and the caregiver is provided access to your home (via a key or garage code, for example). Once you’re set up, you can book a walk with less than an hour’s notice, although advance planning is recommended. Caregivers are prescreened, but not all apps use the same process,

GETTY IMAGES; OLIVIA WHEAT

BY DEBBIE SWANSON


so it’s worth checking into the level of vetting offered. You can also ask potential caregivers for references, read their online reviews and request a meeting. Available services vary; most apps offer GPS-tracked walks, boarding and home visits. Some have nationwide coverage, while others are regional. Costs of services and insurance policies vary, so read carefully.

MODERN CONVENIENCE Many see the ability to locate nearby caregivers online as a natural solution. “I own a tech company, so I rely on apps for a lot of my day-to-day life interactions,” says Jen Greyson of Salt Lake City. She turned to the Rover app after a pet sitter canceled just before she was to leave on an important work trip. After securing a trusted connection, she was able to travel as scheduled. “Bentley was happy and content,” recalls Greyson, who travels frequently. “The ease of use and ongoing communication delivered right to my phone was fantastic.”

PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

ON THE RECORD The data shared by apps gives pet owners real-time information. “We know when the walker arrives, get a map of where they went on the walk and a notification when the walk is complete,” says Dan Saaks, a full-time consultant in New York City, who uses the regional app Barkly Pets for his dog, Olive. Communication with the walkers is easy, he adds, “and handy for discussing specific details.” Wheat says she prefers live updates over relying on a sitter to relay details. “I don’t even have to ask — I know who arrived and the exact times,” she says. “I can follow their route,

and it even tells me where Ryder peed or pooed. And the walker sends me comments and photos from the walk, which I love.”

someone who works professionally with them,” says Lockhart. “If your dog has underlying behavioral issues, then having a pet lover versus START OFF ON experienced pet THE RIGHT PAW handler may result in Jessica Lockhart, unexpected issues.” behavior director for Be present at the American Society first, she says. Have for the Prevention of a meet-and-greet, Cruelty to Animals’ or plan the first Adoption Center, says walk when you can mobile apps can be personally send your great for expanding a pup off with your pet owner’s support approval. system, if used She also properly. recommends First, consider your booking the same dog. Is he a carefree, few walkers, a social pup that loves feature most apps everyone, or does he — DAN SAAKS, support. “This can have some challenges? Barkly Pets app user help to maintain “Many (caregivers) predictability for identify themselves as pet lovers. your pet, which goes a long way in There’s a large difference between helping to keep him both mentally someone who has owned pets and and physically healthy.”

We know when the walker arrives, get a map of where they went on the walk and a notification when the walk is complete.”

App Store rating: 4 stars

Wag!

Google Play rating: 3.7 stars Compatibility: iOS9.0 or later, Android 4.0 and up

App Store rating: 4.9 stars

Rover

Google Play rating: 4.3 stars Compatibility: iOS8.0 or later, Android 4.1 and up

Barkly Pets

App Store rating: 5 stars Google Play rating: 4 stars Compatibility: iOS8.0 or later, Android 4.1 and up

RATINGS INCLUDE INPUT FROM EMPLOYEES AND CLIENTS. ALL RATINGS SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

17


UP FRONT | SOCI A L

PARKER Golden doodle, 10 months Romero family Reston, Va.

GINGER Chiweenie, 2 Catherine Healy-Wilkie Norton, Mass.

Dog-gone Happy We asked our social media followers to share pics of pups in their “happy place”

FOLLOW US!

@usatodaymags

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PET GUIDE 2018

SAM Red Heeler, 8 Sharon Fetter Puyallup, Wash.

GINNY Lab/border collie mix, 1 Emily Saunders Schneider Reston, Va.

LUCY & PHOEBE Mixed breeds, 9 and 1 Tim Brunner Chantilly, Va.

BUDDHA Saint Bernard, 7 Simone Hofmann Monument Beach, Mass.


ELLIE Labrador mix, 3 Krystal Pellicano Ashburn, Va.

HARPER Boxer mix, 10 months Matt Williams Chantilly, Va.

PROVIDED BY THE OWNERS

TAQUITO & COCO Pomapoo and Havanese mix, 4 Steffi Shemanski Arlington, Va.

SIMBA Shih Tzu mix, 5 January Payne Columbia, Md.

JULEP Mixed breed, 1 Holly Chichester Vero Beach, Fla.

JOEY Jack Russell terrier, 14 Dana Taylor Richmond, Va.

ZEUS Weimaraner, 12 Maria Walkup Reston, Va.

RUDY Cavapoo, 5 months Jennifer Dell’Orto Reston, Va.

ZOEY Mixed breed, 1 Kaitlyn Oaks Long Island, N.Y.

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UP FRONT | A DV ICE

Bad Dog Why you should consider liability insurance for your pooch

Y

ou never want to imagine that your sweet dog could hurt anyone, but if he does, and you don’t have the correct type of insurance, you could feel a big financial bite. Liability insurance pays for other people’s injuries and damages, up to the policy’s limit, when you or your dog are responsible. You could be on the hook for some or all of their medical bills if you don’t have enough — or any — liability coverage. The average liability claim for a dog-bite

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PET GUIDE 2018

injury in 2014 was $32,072, according to a report by the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm. Dog-related injury claims accounted for more than one-third of the money that homeowners insurance companies paid out on liability claims that year. Homeowners and renters insurance policies include liability protection, and many cover dogs. But some companies have opted to charge more to insure certain breeds, such as pit bulls, or ask customers to sign liability waivers for dog

GETTY IMAGES

BY BARBARA MARQUAND


bites, the report says. Some lower the liability limit for dogs or exclude dogs altogether.

HOW TO GET YOUR FURRY FRIEND COVERED If your homeowners or renters insurance excludes your dog, you can buy a stand-alone animal liability policy that covers injuries your pet may cause. Available limits range from $15,000 to more than $1 million, says Dori Einhorn, owner of Einhorn Insurance Agency in San Diego, which sells canine liability and other insurance. The price depends on many factors, including the dog’s size, whether it’s spayed or neutered, whether it has previously bitten someone and the coverage amount. Annual prices for a small dog can be less than $200 a year for $25,000 of coverage, says Deborah Turner, president of the Dean Insurance Agency in Altamonte Springs, Fla., which

sells policies at dogbitequote. com. Most dogs are insurable, including pit bulls, she adds. If your homeowners or renters policy includes your dog, but you want more coverage, you could buy an umbrella liability policy, which kicks in after you reach the limits on your home or auto insurance policies.

EVEN GOOD DOGS NEED INSURANCE Many dog-bite claims happen because of the situation — not because the dog is vicious. Einhorn recalls how an elderly woman was scratched when a dog lifted his paw to shake hands. She wound up in the hospital with an infection and medical expenses topped $80,000. The dog’s owner had liability coverage, and the insurer paid the bills. “You can have the nicest dog in the world” and still end up responsible for an injury, Einhorn says.

Canine Coverage

Follow these tips to make sure you and your dog are insured:

1

Check your homeowners or renters insurance policy to see whether the dog is excluded from the liability coverage. Call your insurance company or agent if you’re unsure.

2

If your policy excludes the dog, check with other insurance companies to see whether they will cover it. Compare quotes.

3

Buy a stand-alone dog liability policy if you can’t find affordable coverage for the dog under a homeowners or renters policy. You can insure more than one dog on a policy.

4

Teach your dog to be a good citizen. You might be able to persuade an insurer to offer coverage if you can show that you’ve taken your pet to obedience classes. Training can also prevent misbehavior that could lead to an injury. Check out the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen program, which awards a certificate you can show the insurance company after your dog goes through training and passes a 10-step standardized test. — Barbara Marquand writes for NerdWallet, a personal finance website and USA TODAY content partner. 21


UP FRONT | A DV ICE

Perfect Pair Help Fido and Fluffy’s relationship start off on the right paw

W

hether you already have a dog and are considering getting a cat, or vice versa, it’s important to plan the pets’ introduction and do your part to set the relationship up for success. Dr. Robin Ganzert of American Humane recommends these tips to promote household harmony:

1

MAKE A PROPER INTRODUCTION

If you already own a cat and are adopting a dog, for health and safety reasons, don’t take your cat for a meeting at a shelter or other establishment that houses multiple animals. Instead, the introduction should take place at your home. If you would like to add a cat to your dog-only household, ask a local shelter’s adoption counselor whether they have any dog-savvy, confident cats that can meet your dog under controlled conditions. If this is not possible, an alternative is to have your dog meet a cat that belongs to a friend or relative. This will help gauge your dog’s reaction and temperament toward felines.

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PET GUIDE 2018

SEPARATE THE ANIMALS

When no one is home, the animals should always be securely confined in separate spaces, so unsupervised interactions are not possible. Over a few days, rotate which animal has freedom and which is confined, to allow them both plenty of time to investigate each other’s scent. If the dog obsessively digs at the separation barrier or barks at the cat for more than a day or two, the interaction likely won’t work without proper training, and you may need the help of a professional. Once the dog is calmer and the cat is relaxed, eating and using the litter box regularly, you can proceed to the next step.

GETTY IMAGES

2


UP FRONT | A DV ICE

3

MAKE LEASHED INTRODUCTIONS

4

ALLOW UNSUPERVISED INTERACTIONS

Unsupervised time together can occur after the cat and dog have been around each other for a significant period of time (a month or so), and you are certain they will not hurt each other.

WHEN TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE If your cat is introduced to a new dog and is growling, hissing or swatting, give kitty (and dog) a break and try again on another day. A cat who continually hisses and growls at all dogs will likely not want to live with one. 24

PET GUIDE 2018

Your cat may tolerate the dog, but she may stop eating, drinking, using the litter box or visiting with family members — all signs that she’s not happy with the arrangement. Likewise, if you are looking for a cat for your dog, and your dog displays questionable behavior (lunges, snaps at or growls) around an aggressive cat,

try again with another, calmer cat. If he continues to display negative behavior around multiple cats, he probably should not live with one. If in either of these circumstances you are still committed to making the relationship work, you will likely need the assistance of a professional animal behaviorist.

GETTY IMAGES

Allow both animals to be in the same room at the same time, but keep the dog securely leashed. Continue with this type of introduction until the dog is calm and ignores the cat, and the cat continues to eat and relieve herself normally. If there is any fear or aggression displayed on either animal’s part, stay at step 2 longer. Continue the process until the dog and cat seem happy and relaxed around each other. When no one is home, continue to keep them secured in separate areas.


UP FRONT | A DV ICE

Canine Colleagues Pet perks create happier workplaces for dogs and humans

M

ost employees are relieved when they don’t have to head to work on the weekend, but that’s definitely not the case for Spock. The 6-year-old French bulldog is always eager to arrive at the offices of ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s in South Burlington, Vt., with his owner, Lindsay Bumps, in tow. “Occasionally on Saturday mornings, he will sit by the front door as I enjoy my

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PET GUIDE 2018

coffee on the couch. I think he’s ready to go to work and is like, ‘Hey, lady, let’s go!’” says Bumps, who works in public relations for the company. “If we’re on vacation for an extended period of time, he drags me to the front door on our first day back. Given he’s only 25 pounds, it’s entertaining to have him attempt to drag me into the office.” Bumps says that Spock works with 30 to

GETTY IMAGES

BY AMY SINATRA AYRES


Office Etiquette

If you’re lucky enough to work at a place that welcomes dogs, there are some aspects to keep in mind before you make your pup your newest coworker. Here are some tips from Dr. Liz Stelow, a veterinary behaviorist, and owners who regularly take their dogs to work:

Meet Spock!

BEN & JERRY'S; GETTY IMAGES; LINDSAY BUMPS (2)

He’s a “K-9-to-5er” working at Ben & Jerry’s in Vermont. Follow his adventures on Instagram: @k9spock.

40 canine colleagues on a daily basis at Ben & Jerry’s, just one of many companies, including Bank of America, Petco and Amazon, that allows its employees to bring their pups to work, at least occasionally. Last year, the Department of the Interior became the first federal agency to welcome dogs in the office on designated “Doggy Days.” At Amazon, bringing dogs to work is in the company’s DNA. One of the online retailer’s first employees brought a dog, Rufus, to the office, where he gained mascot-like status. A team member would even help Rufus click a mouse to execute the company's major product

releases 20 years ago. Today, more than 6,000 dogs are registered to come to work with their owners at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, including Charlie, a 7-year-old golden retriever. He accompanies his owner, executive recruiter Brita Altig, to work every day. His first stop once he arrives? A visit to the reception desk, where he knows he’ll find a bucket of complimentary treats. “Whether he is playing at the dog park (on Amazon’s campus) or just hiding out under my desk, he seems really happy,” Altig says. Making sure your dog is happy and comfortable in >

uMake sure you fully understand your company’s pet policy and liability. uKnow where in the building pets are allowed, where your dog needs to be on a leash and what facilities are available for pets. uYour dog will need to be fully housetrained and know basic obedience skills and commands like come, sit and stay. uHe or she should be current on vaccinations and spayed or neutered. uIntroduce him to the new environment slowly, on short, leashed tours. uBring treats, a quiet and familiar toy and a comfy bed or blanket. — Amy Sinatra Ayres

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UP FRONT | A DV ICE

Meet Charlie!

FRIDAY

JUNE 22 Mark your calendar for Take Your Dog to Work Day. Check with your employer to see if your pup can become your canine colleague for the day.

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PET GUIDE 2018

the office is key, says Dr. Liz Stelow, a veterinary behaviorist at the University of California-Davis. Although your dog might love getting the chance to spend more time with you, not every pooch will enjoy the office atmosphere, she says. “What if he’s afraid of strangers, doesn’t get along well with other dogs or gets territorial about his bed, or snarky when he has a treat? What if he gets loud or destructive when ignored?” Knowing your dog and being flexible if it doesn’t work out is important, Stelow adds. Bumps, who previously worked as a veterinary technician, recommends introducing your dog to the office environment in small increments, “making it as enjoyable for the dog (and other colleagues) as possible.” Altig suggests socializing your dog early on around large groups of people and other dogs. “It took Charlie about one

week at work to become comfortable in the new environment. After that, it was a piece of cake.” she says. Amazon’s offices have dog-friendly events and amenities, and canine companions are even allowed in meetings. “The dogs help to create a really nice sense of community and provide some comedic relief throughout the day,” Altig adds. Stelow agrees. Having dogs around at work “can be uplifting and fun for the employees, even the ones without dogs,” she says. “It can be really nice for the dogs, too.” Going to work with Bumps has proven to be perfect for Spock, who shares his workplace adventures — and his home life — on Instagram (@k9spock). “Having Spock at the office with me every day is the biggest work perk,” says Bumps. “Even beyond the endless supply of ice cream.” l

BRITA ALTIG; GETTY IMAGES

The golden retriever loves tagging along to work with owner Brita Altig, executive recruiter at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.


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UP FRONT | A DV ICE

Pooch A-Choo Like people, dogs can struggle with seasonal allergies BY STACY CHANDLER

W

HENRI’S STRUGGLE That’s what happened with Henri, a 7-year-old French bulldog who lives with Nori and Lori Morimoto in St. Petersburg, Fla. When Henri was a little more than a year old, the couple noticed welts in his armpits and on his paws. Some became so inflamed they bled. “It was horrible,” Lori recalls. They took Henri to the vet, and he was prescribed oral medications. In the short term, the prescriptions helped, but “we were in and out of there all the time,” Lori says. “We’d start (the medication), and it’d get under control

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... come off of it, and it’d start up again. It was just a vicious cycle.” They were referred to a veterinary dermatologist who administered an allergy test to pinpoint Henri’s allergies.

Henri

In addition to seasonal pollens, he was reacting to human dander and horsehair (difficult to avoid, as the Morimotos live on a horse farm). With that knowledge, the veterinarian developed a shot for Henri that the Morimotos give him every five days, and he gets another injection at the dermatologist’s office every six weeks. A potato and whitefish-based diet, an antihistamine and oral medication to minimize itching are now part of his daily routine, and the Morimotos treat him with baths and a topical spray when he has flare-ups. >

GETTY IMAGES; LORI MORIMOTO

hen spring arrives, many of us humans are reaching for the tissues and allergy meds. Turns out our dogs may be suffering, too. Instead of respiratory symptoms, most dogs with seasonal allergies have dermatological reactions — irritated skin, ear or paw infections and a tendency to lick, bite or scratch the affected areas. In fact, skin allergies are the top reason dogs require medical treatment, veterinarians report. While many of those reactions start out seasonal, without treatment, the allergies and the problems they cause can last all year long.


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UP FRONT | A DV ICE

If all that sounds like a lot of work, it’s because allergies in pets are a bit trickier to treat than they are in humans, says Dr. Chris Cook, a veterinarian specializing in dermatology at several BluePearl pet hospitals in Michigan. While dogs are allergic to most of the same things we are, the ways they’re exposed to the allergens are different, he says. For the most part, we breathe in our allergens, which means air filters and deep cleaning can make a big difference. Dogs, however, pick up allergens through their skin. “That’s their world. They’re living in the biggest concentration of allergens — on the floor or outside on the grass — and they’re walking on it and lying on it all day long,” Cook says. “So I think because of that, it’s a different presentation and probably why it seems to be a lot harder to control in many cases than with people.” He adds that typically, at an initial appointment for allergy symptoms, a veterinarian will first rule out other causes of itchy skin, such as fleas, infection and food allergies. If seasonal allergies are diagnosed, and shortterm solutions like antihistamines, immunosuppressants and topical remedies aren’t working, the next step is an allergy vaccine. “What you’re doing with a vaccine is you’re trying to retrain the body in essence to learn to not be allergic to these substances,” he says. “You’re retraining the immune system to react to them in a nonallergic way.”

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WHEN TO SEEK TREATMENT

Signs of trouble

Dr. Chris Cook, a veterinary dermatologist for several BluePearl pet hospitals in Michigan, says a dog with allergy symptoms will often bite, chew or lick their skin to alleviate itching. Trouble areas can be anywhere on the skin, but most often are ears (in addition to scratching, a dog might shake its head in discomfort), wrists, ankles, muzzle, groin, underarms, around the eyes and in between toes.

Even if a dog only suffers for part of the year, you don’t want to wait it out, Cook stresses. Left untreated, a small allergy problem can become more serious. “Once you make that diagnosis, this is a lifelong condition,” he says. “You’re going to be talking about management with something for the rest of that animal’s life. It’s very unlikely that the dog’s going to outgrow those allergies down the road.” The good news is that with professional help, seasonal allergies can be managed, making everyone happier. It’s certainly worked for Henri. “He is a completely different dog,” Lori says. “He looks beautiful … he’s much more comfortable. You can tell he’s a lot happier dog; he has a little more spunk in his step than when he was sick.” l

GETTY IMAGES

CHALLENGING TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT


Beagles

Terriers

Boxers

Allergy-Prone Pooches

About 10 percent of all dogs develop environmental allergies, according to Rover. com. The pet-sitting service company reports some breeds are more susceptible, such as:

Shepherds

Bulldogs

Dalmatians

Retrievers

Irish setters

Stop the Itch

These at-home tips, used with your vet’s approval, can help your sensitive pooch with allergy relief:

GETTY IMAGES

Baths help to control the amount of allergens on your dog. Try a hypoallergenic shampoo that includes soothing ingredients like aloe, oatmeal or evening primrose oil.

Wipe down your dog to remove allergens after walks. Pet grooming wipes are a quick way to remove dander and allergens when a full bath isn’t possible.

Supplements such as biotin or omega-3s can help suppress itching and improve your dog’s coat health.They come in chewable tablet or powder form.

Sulfodene products such as sprays, creams and ointments use a Food and Drug Administrationapproved formula for treating irritation, red skin and hot spots. — Jacqueline Bennett, Rover.com

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WHO RESCUED WHOM? Three stories that exemplify the healing power of a pet BY CINDY KUZMA

wners might buy food, provide shelter and cover medical expenses for their pets, but don’t for a minute think dogs are the main beneficiaries of the human-canine relationship. In fact, we’re genetically hard-wired to feel deep fulfillment from tending to our furry friends, says Meg Daley Olmert, director of research at Warrior Canine Connection, an organization that helps military veterans train service dogs for fellow veterans. Calming a whimpering puppy or stroking a dog’s fur provokes a surge of oxytocin — a hormone that promotes trust, calmness and social bonds — just like caring for a child. That’s an incredible reinforcement for acting generously. “One of the great things about the (nervous) system is that it truly is most powerfully triggered by giving love, not receiving,” she says. >

DION LEONARD

O

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WHO RESCUED WHOM?

LEX KNAAK was a healthy, happy 23-yearold, planning a move to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. In mid-July 2016, he suddenly developed severe back pain, then collapsed. His diagnosis? An unexplained spinal cord bleed that left him paralyzed from the chest down, with partial use of his hands. Knaak, now 25, returned from rehab to a life he didn’t recognize. He’d once thrived on social interactions; now, he felt isolated and limited. “I’d just bought my first car a couple months before — a newfound freedom. And I lost it in an instant.” That October, his mother, Casey — then working at a rescue organization — brought home a foster dog named Little Foot. The 3-month-old Chihuahua had arrived at the shelter with a front foot that was turned completely the wrong way. X-rays revealed a genetic abnormality that couldn’t be repaired. He’d never walk on it. That doesn’t seem to bother Little Foot, whose true personality bloomed in the family’s home. On three legs, he runs circles around their dog, Noel, and chases their cats Blinky and Fergus. His impish

A

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behavior earned him the new name Loki, after the Norse god of mischief. Knaak and Loki — who quickly became a permanent family member — bonded at first sight. Loki often sits on Knaak’s lap as he surfs the web; other times, they play fetch or tug of war. And after months of feeling powerless, Knaak has found ways to help with feeding and training Loki. “Seeing Loki think he’s a normal dog, it’s finally clicked in my mind that there are programs, resources out there that will help me live a

normal life — I just have to look into them,” he says. “Like him, I can do pretty much anything an able-bodied person can do. I just have to do it differently.” Now, he’s taking courses at Bakersfield College and recently completed a 5K on a borrowed hand bike. He’s hoping to get his own arm-powered bike soon, complete with a basket for Loki. “Alex has dealt with all this with such grace,” Casey says. “But now with Loki, he seems even more focused and more determined to go forward.”

CASEY KNAAK

ALEX + LOKI


DANNY + MONI

ANNY SHELTON knows how it feels to be stereotyped. He’s 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighs more than 300 pounds and plays defensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns. “As a football player, I’m seen as a big, scary guy,” he says. And for a time, his emotions matched those perceptions. His family was torn apart in May 2011, when his older brother was fatally shot over a neighborhood dispute. That fall, Shelton arrived at the University of Washington struggling to manage his grief and dangerously close to self-destruction. Sensing he was missing something in his life, he searched classified ads and adopted a pit bull puppy. “My middle name is Saileupumoni, which means ‘search for the truth’ in Samoan,” he says. “I named her Moni because I knew she would be something special to me.” Bringing Moni around campus made oncedifficult conversations flow. Every time he explained how docile and loving she was, he felt his emotional walls break down. Caring for her

GREG MURRAY

D

demanded work and dedication that carried over to other aspects of his life. Soon, Shelton and then-girlfriend, Tamara Mariano, adopted a second dog, and the once-reckless athlete became the go-to guy among family and friends for canine questions. “They know how involved I am with wanting to be the best dog parent,” he says (and in fact, he was named 2018 Pet Parent of the Year by pet insurance company Petplan). When Shelton proposed to Mariano in 2016, their two newer

dogs donned tuxedos. The wedding was in February, with their pooches — of course — in the wedding party. The couple has capped its furry family at four for now and donate time and money to Cleveland-area shelters. And after he retires from the NFL, Shelton plans to attend veterinary school or open his own shelter. “My dogs are a big part of my family,” he says. “I want that for those dogs in the shelters — and I want that for families who are struggling, families who need a dog in their lives.” >

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WHO RESCUED WHOM?

Dion Leonard now travels the world speaking about his race experiences and the profound affect Gobi has had on his life.

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DION LEONARD

DION + GOBI


lazing heat. Freezing cold. Blisters, vomiting, even hallucination-inducing fatigue. Scottish runner DION LEONARD knows to expect the unexpected when he lines up at an ultramarathon, a race that might span multiple days and hundreds of miles. But even he was taken aback by what occurred at the 2016 Gobi Desert 250km (155 mile) race. A tiny dog joined him on day two of the seven-day journey — and kept up with him, stride for stride, for about 80 miles. Leonard soon put his own thoughts of winning the race aside, sharing his meager food rations and carrying her across streams. After the race, he couldn’t leave the dog he now calls Gobi behind. There was just one catch in bringing her back to his home in Edinburgh, Scotland — a lengthy quarantine process. Leonard left Gobi with a trusted race official while he waited for the necessary paperwork. When she escaped from the home where she was staying, a heartbroken Leonard flew back to find her. Seemingly against the odds, Leonard and Gobi were reunited, a tale told in nail-biting detail in his 2017 book, Finding Gobi: A Little Dog with a Very Big Heart. The experience of searching for a small dog in a big country where he didn’t speak the language proved humbling, even for a super-tough athlete. “I realized I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed to reach out to other people to help. That’s never really been a big strong point of mine,” Leonard says. He attributes that, in part, to his challenging childhood. His father, Garry, died when Leonard was 9 years old. Shortly afterward, his mother revealed that Garry wasn’t his biological father. For the rest of his preteen and teen years, Leonard fought with his mother and eventually moved out at age 15. Although he’d grown up to have a stable career and a loving marriage with his wife, Lucja, caring for Gobi gave Leonard a new chance to offer the selfless compassion he’d missed in his youth. “Gobi needed someone to stand up and be there for her,” he says. “She opened up my heart to a place I hadn’t really been before.” Leonard recently sold the book’s rights to a film

PAUL DE SOUZA

B

“GOBI NEEDED SOMEONE TO STAND UP AND BE THERE FOR HER. SHE OPENED UP MY HEART TO A PLACE I HADN’T REALLY BEEN BEFORE.” — DION LEONARD

production company, and a movie is in the works. He now travels the world to race and speak about his experiences. The best moments come, he says, when he’s able to talk to children who’ve read the young readers version or picture book edition of Finding Gobi. “I think about how terrible my life was back then and I just say to them, ‘I would never have believed that I would be standing up in front of you when I was your age, with three books and a movie deal and all of these incredible experiences,’” he says. “For kids who have had similar childhoods, I would hope hearing the story could be the thing that changes someone’s life.” l

Leonard’s book, Finding Gobi: A Little Dog with a Very Big Heart, is currently being adapted into a movie.

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MENDING HEART A BROKEN

BY STEPHANIE STEPHENS

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GETTY IMAGES

FITNESS TRAINER BOB HARPER AND THE HEALING POWER OF A DOG’S LOVE


K ARL Harper’s two dogs provided emotional support and served as walking companions during his recovery from a massive heart attack.

V IV IE N N

E

GETTY IMAGES; @BOBHARPER (2)

W

hen fitness icon Bob Harper collapsed onto the floor of a New York City gym in February 2017, his adoring dog, Karl, sat patiently in the corner as he always did, waiting for his owner to finish his strenuous workout. On this day, however, the loyal 10-yearold Havanese mix would have to wait for one of Harper’s friends to take him home from the gym. The former trainer and host of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, Harper, 52, had a near-fatal “widow-maker” heart attack and was in full cardiac arrest — his heart stopped. To put it simply, he was dead. He was also very lucky. A doctor happened to be at the gym and administered CPR and activated an automated external defibrillator, delivering a powerful electric shock to try to restore a normal heart rhythm. Paramedics who arrived used the device a third time before carefully moving Harper to a gurney for hospital transport. Because of his dedication to fitness, Harper seemed among the least likely to have a heart attack, which was ultimately caused

by high levels of Lipoprotein(a) or Lp(a) in his blood, a genetic condition that results in excessive amounts of cholesterol in the arteries. Diet, exercise and even lipid-lowering medications have little effect on those levels, which increase the risk of serious cardiovascular problems. Harper was aware that relatives had died of heart attacks, but had no idea he had the condition. >

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THE BEST MEDICINE Looking back, Harper remembers fainting after a workout six weeks prior to his collapse, and some dizzy spells, but at the time he didn’t really attribute these events to a specific cause. “When I woke up after two days in a coma in the hospital, I faced the fact that life can turn on a dime,” he says. “I was very depressed. Now I’m super appreciative of the time I have, and I want to focus on

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making the most of every day.” He’s stayed strong and motivated throughout his recovery process, in part because he wants to experience more joy with his two dogs, Karl Lagerfeld and Vivienne Westwood — named for two of Harper’s favorite fashion designers. Two days before he was discharged from the hospital, Harper had a surprise visitor. “Friends brought Karl to the hospital, and I feel like it was the best medicine Bob got,” says friend Kate Angelo of Los Angeles, who with mutual pal Cristi Conaway-Murphy, headed for the Big Apple as soon as they learned of Harper’s heart attack. “All the color came back to his cheeks — just pure joy. Karl brought him step-by-step back to his old self,” Angelo says. Conaway-Murphy has seen firsthand how near and dear Harper’s dogs are to him, and how pivotal they have been to his mental and physical recovery. “Studies show

GETTY IMAGES; @BOBHARPER

Friends brought Harper a special hospital visitor, hoping Karl would lift his spirits and motivate him to stay mentally strong.


“ALL THE COLOR CAME BACK TO HIS CHEEKS — JUST PURE JOY. KARL BROUGHT HIM

IF YO U CARE,

BE THERE

Bob Harper has shown some love to the pet rescue community by donating his time and enthusiasm to the

STEP-BY-STEP BACK

North Shore Animal League

TO HIS OLD SELF.”

for Hallmark Channel’s Kitten

America, based in Port Washington, N.Y. In a video Bowl IV in 2017, Harper introduces his rescue dog,

— KATE ANGELO, friend of Harper’s

Karl, as “the best dog in the world.” He says, “Karl and I definitely encourage you to adopt a rescue, a kitten — or

you’ll live longer if you have a dog,” she notes. “Dogs do brighten everyone’s day.”

GETTY IMAGES

SAVING EACH OTHER America’s beloved trainer was raised on a cattle farm in Nashville, Tenn. “I used to watch my mom make big baby bottles to feed the calves,” he says. “I got my first dog, Waldo, a German shepherd, when I was a kid, maybe (age) 8 or 9, and I loved him. He was such a great little dog, and I think that’s when my love affair with dogs began.” He adopted Karl in 2010 from a Los Angeles-based dog rescue organization after a friend insisted that, “You need to meet this dog.” “He was found on the streets of Baldwin Hills in South LA, and he was just so emotionally broken and catatonic when I met him,” Harper says. “I was going to save him, and now, it’s Karl who’s saved me.” Harper remembers the first time Karl wagged his tail — a few weeks after he adopted him. “It was amazing, because he was just so afraid,” he says. “I took him everywhere with me and just kept holding him. I had no expectations, really, but we were always so bonded.” His canine companion is not a purebred Havanese, says Harper, but he does exhibit many of the breed’s desirable >

a pet.” In 2016, he donated a personal training session in New York City and Los Angeles, via the online auction site Charitybuzz, to benefit the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). “Without the help of dedicated volunteers, animal shelters wouldn’t have enough support and resources to do all the good things they do,” says Tina Reddington, director of the ASPCA Los Angeles volunteer program. For ways you can volunteer, donate and adopt, visit aspca.org.

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DO YOU HAVE A HAV?

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character traits. “He’s so devoted. He’s a good watchdog, and he doesn’t shed — so he’s hypoallergenic. He’s regal, stoic and eager to sit on my lap all day if I let him.” During Harper’s slow and arduous recovery, when even walking around the block was at first a behemoth challenge, Karl was by Harper’s side. “It was the only exercise I was allowed to do, and I had

an identity crisis. It was really hard on me emotionally to try and be OK with not going to the gym.”

AND VIVIENNE MAKES THREE As Harper got stronger, he began walking faster and more frequently than Karl was capable of doing. Then someone told him about a purebred Havanese in a pet store in the New York City enclave of Chelsea, and that the dog had been there six months. He says he wouldn’t typically purchase a dog from a store, opting to adopt a rescue instead, however, last June, his curiosity piqued. Against the caution of friends who thought he shouldn’t take on any more stress, Harper optimistically met Vivienne, which he describes as a “bundle of energy, smart and independent.” Store management told Bob that if he reimbursed them for

GETTY IMAGES; @BOBHARPER

Those who love the Havanese breed sometimes refer to them as “Havs” or “Neezers.” According to the American Kennel Club, the dogs are outgoing, funny and intelligent as well as active, curious and sociable. The group says the easily trainable Havanese are good with children, don't shed much, require a weekly groom but minimal exercise, and are eager to please.


“I AM SO APPRECIATIVE OF THEM AND THE WONDERFUL, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE THEY GIVE ME.” — BOB HARPER

Karl and Vivienne are frequent stars on Harper’s Instagram account: @bobharper

her vaccinations and spay that he could just take her. Their encounter was definitely meant to be. Vivienne, now almost 2 year old, is also “obsessed with Karl, and with food,” says Harper. “At first, (he) wasn’t having any part of her, but now they’re really attached to each other.”

Karl has taken on new youthfulness, he says, and runs joyfully around to keep up with her. “She loves everyone and wants to jump on them to say ‘Hi!’ ” Harper says. “Unlike Karl, she wants to sit at my feet like I’m Cuban royalty.” Harper is considered fitness royalty by many, and although The Biggest Loser was canceled in mid-2017, Harper will forever be associated with the transformational TV series that ran for 17 seasons. “I’d been a trainer in LA for such a long time, working with so many celebrities and agents,” he says. “When the show was first discussed, my name got thrown into the mix with many trainers, and after six weeks of auditions, I got the job.” For now, Harper stays busy with the dogs, with appearances on television and radio, and with promotional appearances for his newest book, The Super Carb Diet, which hit bookshelves in late December.

IT’S OK TO MISS A WORKOUT The nutrition expert is still eating a balanced diet, he says, with more plant-based foods for optimum heart health. It also includes fish, chicken, egg whites and Greek yogurt. And he doesn’t freak out if he misses a workout. “Workouts are still very important, but they don’t rule me anymore,” he says. “Yesterday, I walked a lot in the city. It was enough for me and very liberating. I do yoga and CrossFit, but not at such a high intensity >

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as before — I just do them longer. I’m also doing Soul Cycle, and I started boxing again.” During recovery, Harper and his close friend, Sean Stephens, who was with him when he had his heart attack, worked out together, away from the crowd, until Harper’s confidence returned and he’d mended his relationship with the gym. “At first, I was very afraid of being there,” Harper says. “My former happy place was a fearful place, the place where I dropped dead. Nice people would ask how I was, and it made me anxious.” Today, he works out with

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Vivienne and Karl in tow, Stephens says. “Vivienne brought a breath of fresh air to Bob’s life. Their companionship helped him become himself again, and as his friend, it made me so happy to see that. He’s recovered now and back to being as healthy as he can be.” Harper adores both dogs and likes to spoil them with regular Super Carb Diet is pampering appointments. Harper’s sixth book “Our groomer, Shiro at Dogma (in on health and New York City), does a really great fitness. job,” Harper says. “Nothing makes me happier than when they are bathed and fluffy. Karl has straight hair, and Vivienne’s hair is crazy soft, almost like a poodle’s.” Even though his trusted companions are living in style, Harper feels he’s truly the lucky one. “I am so appreciative of them and the wonderful, unconditional love they give me and that I can give them,” he says. “I couldn’t be happier and luckier that both these dogs have come into my life.” l

@BOBHARPER; BARNES & NOBLE; NBC UNIVERSAL; GETTY IMAGES

Harper promotes nutritional food choices as well as a healthy body image, a topic he discussed along with psychologist Jennifer Hartstein on the Megyn Kelly show in January.


HOUNDS AND HEART HEALTH provide proof dog ownership actually causes a decrease in risk for cardiovascular disease, and qualify that other factors might come into play. According to the study, ”Dog ownership is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in single households and with a reduced risk of cardiovascular and allcause death in the general population.” Single dog owners showed a 33 percent decrease in risk of death compared with single people who did not own a dog. The amimals could alleviate social isolation, depression and loneliness, the study says. Dog owners also tend to spend more time outdoors and get more physical activity. Fitness expert Bob Harper agrees with this assessment.

He suffered a massive heart attack last year due to an undiagnosed genetic condition. During the initial recovery process, walking his dog, Karl, was part of his journey back to health. “When I came back home, I was told I could not go to the gym. I could do one thing: Get outside and walk, so I went outside with my dog and with a book on tape. I made time for myself, and it cleared my head and motivated me.” Outdoor physical activity with Karl and his second dog, Vivienne, remains a priority for Harper. “The two of them walk with me (wearing) harnesses and on a long leash. They’re so easy to walk together.” — Sean Rossman and Stephanie Stephens

GETTY IMAGES

Dogs are known to be a man’s best friend, and they may just be his best medicine, too. A massive scientific study shows having a dog could mean you have a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, the world’s leading cause of death. That’s good news for dog lovers, especially if they are among the 30 million Americans diagnosed with hypertension per updated federal guidelines. The study, published last November in Scientific Reports, claims to be “by far the largest investigation” into the links between dog ownership and health. The researchers used data from nearly 3.5 million Swedish residents to compile their findings. The researchers can’t

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UP FRONT | STORY L A BEL

R OM

FROM

RESCUED TO

RESCUER Foundation turns shelter dogs into first responders

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

BY NANCY MONSON

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GETTY IMAGES XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

STORY L A BEL | U P FRONT

W

hen a hurricane, tornado or earthquake hits, a train derails or a building crumbles, some of the first responders on-site are canine-human rescue units — many trained by the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF). 49


RESCUED

TO

RESCUER

In August 2017, 15 SDF teams were deployed to affected areas in Texas following Hurricane Harvey. In September — an exceptionally unfortunate month for global disasters — 16 SDF search-andrescue teams were sent to Florida after Hurricane Irma; seven were dispatched to Mexico City to search through rubble after a devastating 7.1-magnitude earthquake, and five traveled to Puerto Rico and surrounding islands after they took a hit from the catastrophic Hurricane Maria. In January, 18 teams were deployed to Montecito, Calif., after heavy rains led to deadly mudslides that swept away homes and families. The goal for all of these teams: Find survivors in the detritus of a disaster.

A WIN-WIN ARRANGEMENT The SDF is a one-of-a-kind nonprofit organization that trains dogs rescued from shelters to become rescuers themselves. It was founded in 1996 by retired schoolteacher Wilma Melville, after she and her search dog were deployed to the Oklahoma City bombing site. Struck by the fact that there weren’t enough search dogs to meet emergency demands — at that time there were only 15 teams nationally that were certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — Melville came up with the win-win idea for SDF: Not only would they create more canine disaster search teams, but shelter dogs would be rescued from an uncertain fate. SDF’s National Training Center is set on a sprawling 125-acre campus located in Santa Paula, Calif., 90 minutes north of Los Angeles. Over the course of eight to 10 months, SDF trainers teach dogs to comb through the rubble of natural and man-made disasters, working in simulated environments in their specially designed “Search City,” “Earthquake House” and “Industrial Park” (which contains derailed train cars). >

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PET GUIDE 2018

The High Cost of Training At any one time, there are between 17 and 22 dogs on the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) campus. Training costs $20,000 per dog and $50,000 per human-canine team, but SDF offers the professionally trained dogs at no cost to fire departments and other disaster response agencies nationwide, along with ongoing training and care. Dogs that are accepted into the program who don’t make it as search dogs are still taken care of for life by the organization.


To pass training, dogs must be able to find victims in

30

ILLUSTRATIONS: AMIRA MARTIN; ERICA JACQUES

seconds or less

Firefighters, from right, Doug Van Iwaarden with Sadie, (Orange County Fire Authority), Robert Goertzen with Bailey, Jason Dobbins with Diva, Josh Flores with Cajun and Manny Sampang with Eva (Los Angeles County Fire Department) at a 2016 search team graduation ceremony.

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TO

RESCUER

UNLIKELY HEROES Most of the dogs recruited are unlikely to be adopted by families because of their exuberant personalities. “What others see as bad behaviors, we see as talent and potential,” says Denise Sanders, SDF’s communications and development officer. Volunteer recruiters visit shelters around the country looking for rescues — typically sporting and hunting dogs like Labradors and golden retrievers, shepherds, border collies and mixed breeds — who are bold and fearless, agile and focused, with a super-high drive and energy to match. To see whether they’re search-dog material, shelter dogs must first pass a screening test involving a toy. “We look for dogs that need, not just want, to possess

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that toy,” says Sanders. If accepted by SDF, the dogs are put through a rigorous program and treated like competitive athletes, undergoing obedience and agility training, and receiving individualized diets and supplements to help them perform at a peak level. Working with a handler, the stakes are raised incrementally. To successfully pass training, the dogs must be able to find their trainers, posing as victims, in 30 seconds or less in a 10,000-square-foot pile of rubble. “No technology can match a dog’s speed and accuracy in finding people trapped in the wreckage of a disaster,” says Sanders. “Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell and an ability to ignore all other scents and noises when they receive a task. They also work quickly and can negotiate dangerous

Are You and Your Dog Search Material? The certification process is lengthy and expensive, but if you have the time, money and inclination, visit sardogsus.org for more information.

KEVIN HESS; ILLUSTRATIONS: AMIRA MARTIN; NATIONAL DISASTER SEARCH DOG FOUNDATION (6)

Rocket demonstrates search techniques at the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation's training center grand opening last year.


and unstable terrain — they have four-wheel drive on paws.” Upon graduation from SDF, the dogs are placed with first responders nationwide for additional training. “SDF carefully interviews prospective handlers and their families to make sure they can care for the dog and understand the time commitment involved,” says Sanders. “They have to train several hours a day, several days a week.” Eventually, the first responders can seek certification by FEMA, and state and other agencies as search-and-rescue teams, after which they can be deployed for missions. “Before SDF introduced its program, only 15 percent of the dogs that trained to be search dogs became certified,” says Sanders. “SDF boosted that rate to 85 percent.” Having graduated 192 canines since its inception (“passing the leash” from SDF trainers to their new handlers) and making sure their teams keep up their skills, the organization is currently looking to continue its mission by rebuilding after losing “Search City” and a railroad car in the 2017 Thomas Fire, the largest wildfire in California history. “Our goal is to make sure our canine-human response teams are ready at all times to be deployed,” says Sanders. “We never know when the call is going to come, but we know it is not a matter of if, but when.” l

meet

SKYE A spry border collie mix, Skye was picked up as a stray by a South Dakota humane society. He was evaluated by a National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) volunteer who discovered he had just the right search-dog qualities, and after training, was paired with Andi Sutcliffe of Texas Task Force 2 in 2013. In 2017, the pair completed their eighth deployment, in Texas following Hurricane Harvey.

meet

ROCKET Mixed breed Rocket was facing euthanasia at a California shelter in 2012 when SDF volunteer Andrea Bergquist first evaluated him. Unfortunately, he flunked the testing, but was so adorable the Bergquists adopted him. A year later, SDF retested him, and he passed with flying colors. The Bergquists donated Rocket to the program, and he was teamed with firefighter Mike Stornetta of California Task Force 4 in 2014. Their deployments include hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017.

meet

RILEY Unlike most of the shelter dogs that come to SDF, Riley was donated by a family that found the high-energy Labrador retriever difficult to train. Riley was matched with firefighter Eric Gray of California Task Force 2 in 2009, and the team has been deployed to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the Nepal earthquake in 2015, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017 and the Montecito, Calif., mudslides this year.

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SANDI MAHNCKE; GETTY IMAGES

Reach Out Rescue and Resources volunteer Alex Mahncke and Nutmeg are all smiles prior to her 2016 trip from Georgia to her new home in Maryland.


Dedicated volunteers transport rescued animals to their forever homes

BY CHRYSTLE FIEDLER

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lmost every weekend, Pam Owens, a clinical laboratory scientist in Cane Ridge, Tenn., gets up before dawn to help unite pets with their future families, as a volunteer with All American Dachshund Rescue’s (AADR) transport team. She adopted >

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1. Gracie, left, prepares for the drive to her new home in Virginia last year. All American Dachshund Rescue (AADR) volunteer Janis Reeser’s dog, Pal, provided companionship during the trip. 2. Reach Out Rescue and Resources (RORR) volunteer Jeanna Scott says goodbye in 2017 to a dog she fostered.

a dachshund from the group three years ago and “was so impressed by AADR that I wanted to help,” says Owens, who now pays it forward by driving dogs to their new homes.

DRIVING THE DACHSHUNDS Often, people think they can’t adopt dogs located in other cities or states, but AADR, as well as other organizations that offer transport services, literally goes the extra mile to prove that’s not the case, fulfilling the group’s unofficial motto: “Rescuing one until there are none.” AADR coordinates the adoptions of dogs, specifically dachshunds, that have been surrendered to the group. Dachshunds can be smart, loving and playful, but owners are often not prepared for their independent STORY L A BEL

1. Gracie, left, prepares for the drive to her new home in Virginia last year. All American Dachshund Rescue (AADR) volunteer Janis Reeser’s dog, Pal, provided companionship during the trip.

2. Reach Out Rescue and Resources (RORR) volunteer Jeanna Scott says goodbye in 2017 to a dog she fostered.

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“Anything I can do to get these dogs out of a bad situation and into a good one is a win-win.”

3. RORR volunteer Alex Mahncke loads Ziggy for a 2016 transport trip from Georgia to Maryland.

4. Wings of Rescue pilot Derek Harbaugh on a flight last year.

5. Karen Kelly, who fosters dogs for RORR, hugs Dora goodbye in April 2017.

6. RORR volunteer Jill Wolfe has some laughts with two dogs transported from Georgia to Pennsylvania in 2017.

7. AADR transported Gracie to her new owners, Reed and Elizabeth Lawrence, in 2017.

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JANIS REESER (1,7); SANDI MAHNCKE (2, 3, 5, 6); WINGS OF RESCUE (4)

personality. Some find them loud, willful and difficult to housetrain. “Surrendering a pet to a rescue group is much better than dumping a dog at a shelter,” says Diane Irwin, AADR’s founder and president, “because we can learn about the dog’s personality and place it in the best possible home.” Adoptions are approved after the animals receive proper veterinarian care and have been spayed or neutered. Then, Wendy Mendola, the lead transport coordinator, and her team map out routes. “I send a group email asking for volunteers to drive specific legs (of the trip),” she says. Volunteers are asked to drive about 50 to 80 miles one way (one or two segments), just about every >

a dachshund from the group three years ago and “was so impressed by AADR that I wanted to help,” says Owens, who now pays it forward by driving dogs to their new homes.

DRIVING THE DACHSHUNDS

- PAM OWENS, All American Dachshund Rescue volunteer

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Often, people think they can’t adopt dogs located in other cities or states, but AADR, as well as other organizations that offer transport services, literally goes the extra

mile to prove that’s not the case, fulfilling the group’s unofficial motto: “Rescuing one until there are none.” AADR coordinates the adoptions of dogs, specifically dachshunds, that have been surrendered to the group. Dachshunds can be smart, loving and playful, but owners are often not prepared for their independent

5

personality. Some find them loud, willful and difficult to housetrain. “Surrendering a pet to a rescue group is much better than dumping a dog at a shelter,” says Diane Irwin, AADR’s founder and president, “because we can learn about the dog’s personality and place it in the best possible home.” Adoptions are approved after the animals receive proper veterinarian care and have been spayed or neutered. Then, Wendy Mendola, the lead transport coordinator, and her team map out routes. “I send a group email asking for volunteers to drive specific legs (of the trip),” she says. Volunteers are asked to drive about 50 to 80 miles one way (one or two segments), just about every >

4. Wings of Rescue pilot Derek Harbaugh on a flight last year. 5. Karen Kelly, who fosters dogs for RORR, hugs Dora goodbye in April 2017. 6. RORR volunteer Jill Wolfe has some laughts with two dogs transported from Georgia to Pennsylvania in 2017. 7. AADR transported Gracie to her new owners, Reed and Elizabeth Lawrence, in 2017.

JANIS REESER (1,7); SANDI MAHNCKE (2, 3, 5, 6); WINGS OF RESCUE (4)

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3. RORR volunteer Alex Mahncke loads Ziggy for a 2016 transport trip from Georgia to Maryland.


STORY L A BEL

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“Anything I can do to get these dogs out of a bad situation and into a good one is a win-win.” 7

- PAM OWENS, All American Dachshund Rescue volunteer

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Wings of Rescue (WOR) pilot Ric Browde loads animals in his plane at a Memphis, Tenn., airport last year. Browde estimates that WOR pilots will fly at least 10,000 animals to safety this year.

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they just want to help that animal get from point A to point B,” says Irwin. “We could not do what we do without them.” Each dog has different needs and the volunteers do whatever it takes to put them at ease. “Once I had a dog that howled or barked unless I sang to him,” says Owens. “So, I sang all the way from Lewisburg, Tennessee, to Bowling Green, Kentucky. ... Anything I can do to get these dogs out of a bad situation and into a good one is a win-win.”

FLIGHTS FOR FURRY FRIENDS The mission of Wings of Rescue (WOR), based in La Quinta, Calif., is to supercharge transport by flying pets out of overcrowded shelters, mainly in Southern states, to other facilities throughout the Pacific

Northwest and East Coast that can place them for adoption. “On January 20 of this year, we transported 132 (animals) from Louisiana to Idaho,” says Ric Browde, the group’s president. “Once the plane landed, there were lines of people who wanted to adopt out into the parking lot.” Wings of Rescue coordinates efforts with shelter directors like Julie Johnson, executive director of the Bakersfield Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in California. “Ric lets us know when there is space on transports going from our area,” says Johnson. “It’s a wonderful way to save pets’ lives.” The second part of WOR’s mission is to assist with relocating animals in areas devastated by natural disasters. “We’re considered the Red Cross for pets,”

GETTY IMAGES; WINGS OF RESCUE

weekend. Transport is arranged for several dogs or just one. “If a dog needs to go to his forever home, we don’t wait,” says Irwin. On the day of the transport, team members update each other and adopters about their journey, sending texts and photos along the way. “It’s a very rewarding experience,” says Mendola. “In 2017, AADR rescued 215 dogs, from puppies to seniors, and placed them in forever homes.” AADR focuses its efforts on the East Coast from Florida to Maine and as far west as Colorado. According to estimates by Wendell Morse, AADR’s vice president, its volunteers drive nearly 100,000 miles annually through rain, sleet, snow, wind, construction, accident delays, tolls and breakdowns. “Volunteers’ hearts are so big,


MONEY MATTERS One of the biggest challenges for animal rescue groups is raising the funds needed to finance their efforts. All American Dachshund Rescue spends an average of $450 per animal, and in 2017, accrued more than $100,000 in vet bills. The group’s fundraising activities include selling an annual rescue dachshund calendar, online auctions and ticket sales to a “wiener roast.” Reach Out Rescue and Resources has also done some creative fundraising. The group raised more than $2,000 selling custom-made sub sandwiches assembled and delivered locally by volunteers and also sells homemade Christmas and Valentine chocolates. Wings of Rescue (WOR) receives donations through online sites such as The Greater Good (greatergood.com). For a January 2018 rescue trip, Ric Browde, the group’s president, solicited donations via WOR’s Facebook page. “I asked everyone to give just $5 each,” says Browde, who needed $16,000 for the mission. “We met our goal within four days - it all came from the kindness of strangers.” - Chrystle Fiedler

says Browde. “When there is a disaster, we’ll be there immediately to bring relief.” During 2017’s historic hurricane season, WOR flew 60 flights and 4,500 pets out of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, each of which were hit by Category 4 storms in a four-week period in August and September. “It’s the most massive operation we’ve ever done,” says Browde. In addition to Browde, Wings of Rescue has more than two dozen pilot volunteers, many with their own planes that have pressurized cabins for the comfort of the furry passengers. According to Browde, the organization has flown more than 27,000 pets to safety and anticipates it will transport at least 10,000 more in 2018. As rewarding as this work is, Browde would rather not be in demand. “Our greatest wish is that everyone would spay or neuter their pets so shelters would be empty and our services would no longer be needed,” he says.

SAVING THOSE MOST IN NEED Since 2010, Reach Out Rescue and Resources (RORR) in Westminster, Md., has been saving animals from high-kill shelters in Maryland, Georgia and West Virginia, focusing on those that are most in need: senior dogs, black dogs and cats, and hound dogs. “People feel that senior animals are at the end of their

lives, but they (may) still have a lot of life to live and love to give,” says RORR transport coordinator Heather Shaw. She explains that black dogs and cats are often not adopted because of superstitions, while hounds are sometimes discarded if they can’t hunt or when the hunt is over. RORR runs two volunteer transports and helps fund efforts to retrieve any dog that needs to be immediately saved from a shelter. “RORR contacts each shelter advocate, who in turn asks for pledges from the public to cover expenses,” says RORR adoption counselor and foster coordinator, Barbara Povinski. This money covers vet expenses, including spaying or neutering, and, if necessary, boarding fees, although most dogs are fostered prior to transport. Many of RORR’s volunteers work full time, including Shaw. “You make it work and find the time, evenings after work, phone calls on my lunch break and weekends for events and fundraisers,” she says. Povinski and other volunteers stay motivated by their love of animals and the difference they are making in these pets’ lives. “When you foster a dog you’re literally saving a life,” Povinski says. “And when you adopt a pet, you are actually saving two lives, the dog you give a forever home to, and the one you make room for at a rescue.” l

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PUPPY 101 BY AMY SINATRA AYRES

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Prep work to consider ging a new pet home n i r b e r o f e b


It’s easy to fall in love with the idea of having a puppy: endless playful energy, a precious little face, round little belly and that mysteriously sweet puppy smell. But raising a pup isn’t all fun and games. It also takes time, planning and patience. Whether you’re just considering adding a puppy to your family or you’ve already decided you’re ready to hear the pitter patter of little paws, there are some important things to consider.

TRAINING TAKES TIME

make sure you have a flexible enough schedule to help him through training, Mengel adds. In addition, she recommends training classes for all puppies. “It’s socialization with dogs and with other people,” she says. “In terms of temperament, some dogs are going to need a little more training. You just have to be prepared for that.”

FINDING THE RIGHT FIT As you consider which breed to get, take into account your lifestyle and the sorts of activities you want to do with your new pet. >

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“Definitely think about the time commitment because puppies are different from adult dogs in that they’re going to need to be let out more; they’re going to need more training,” says Dr. Grace Anne Mengel, who runs the Primary Care Service at the University of Pennsylvania’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital.

One of the most timeconsuming exercises of puppyhood is housetraining. “You definitely want to think about how you are going to manage pottying,” Mengel says. The general rule is that puppies' bladders can wait about one hour longer than their months in age. For example, if you have a 2-month-old puppy, you don’t want to leave him for more than three hours during the day without providing outside time. As they get older, that time can expand, but when you first get a puppy, you want to

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Puppy-Proof Your Space Puppies have a welldeserved reputation for getting into everything — and that means you’ll need to go the extra mile to make sure your home is safe for them. According to PetSmart, one of the best ways to do that may sound silly, but it works: Get on your hands and knees and look at your home from your puppy’s perspective. The things you might have overlooked can be quite tempting to your new little guy. PetSmart also offers these puppy-proofing tips: • Remove tablecloths that have fringe or hanging tassels. • Tie up any dangling window blind cords. • Check for electrical cords that are accessible or frayed. • Remove houseplants, some of which are toxic to dogs. • Stow away household cleaners and detergents. • Create barriers around space heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves and candles. — Amy Sinatra Ayres

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“If you want a dog where you can come home and sit on the couch with the dog, then you want a low-energy breed,” Mengel advises. “If you want a dog that’s going to be your running buddy and go out and hike and (jog) with you, then a higher-energy dog is appropriate — but think about the energy level of the dog.” The dog’s breed will give you clues to how big she might get, how much grooming and exercise she will need and what activities she’d be likely to enjoy with you. For those who live in an apartment that allows dogs, low-energy, short-nosed breeds like French bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers are often

popular, Mengel notes. But that’s not to say that a larger breed is out of the question — even Great Danes can be perfectly happy on the couch in a small space, she says. If you’re planning to have your dog travel with you, you might want to consider a smaller breed — one that would likely be allowed on an airplane in a crate under the seat in front of you. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an exercise partner, a large, high-energy pooch is your best bet. “I do a lot of sporting events with my dogs which I really enjoy. It’s a great stress reliever for people, and the dogs really enjoy it,” Mengel says. “There

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Make sure the enegy level of the breed will mesh with your lifestyle.


(are) a whole lot of activities you can get into with your dog if you have the time and the interest. If you’re thinking about, say, agility or even dock diving, then you might think about what breeds might enjoy those activities.” Some breeds are also better suited to more experienced owners because they’re likely to be more stubborn and therefore more difficult to train. For first-time puppy owners, you might want to consider an easier-to-train breed, like a Labrador retriever. The American Kennel Club (akc.org) offers online tools to help prospective owners select the right breed. If you decide to adopt a puppy, it is helpful to know as much as possible about it, Mengel says. If the rescue or adoption shelter has information about the dog’s history and its parents, those things can provide clues about how big the puppy might get and probable personality traits.

Also, there are some essentials you’ll want to have on hand, including a crate, food and water bowls, a comfortable bed or blanket, a martingale collar or harness, a 4-foot to 6-foot-long leash and puppy-safe toys. The martingale collar adjusts so your puppy is less likely to slip his head out of it if he pulls or plants his feet during a walk. And you should avoid a retractable leash because it can be dangerous if you hit the wrong button and the pup runs across the street, Mengel advises. She also sugggests asking your veterinarian for food recommendations. There may be a formula for the specific size of your puppy. If you change foods, you’ll want to make it a slow transition to avoid stomach upset. She says you may want to

PUPPY ESSENTIALS

Arm & Hammer odor-absorbing puppy pads. $14.99 for 50-count, target.com

Wahl odorcontrol shampoo with eucalyptus and spearmint. $5.99, amazon. com

KONG’s puppy toy can be stuffed with a treat and helps with teething. $4.85 to $6.91, petsmart.com

Magisso dog bowl with bone-shaped center to slow down eating. $40, bloomingdales. com

GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

PUPPY CHECKLIST Once you’re ready to bring your puppy home, you should set up a visit with your vet to get a physical exam and start (or continue) his series of vaccines.

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TOP DOGS

You want to make sure you're bringing the right puppy home at the right time in your life. steer clear of a pricey bed for now because your pup may decide to use it as a chew toy.

FIRST NIGHT TO FOREVER HOME Getting acquainted with a new environment can be a difficult transition for a puppy, so you’ll want to bring him home on a weekend if possible. “I’ve had a couple litters myself, and I send the puppies home with a familiar toy,” Mengel says. It might be something that has the scent of the puppy’s mom or littermates. And, be prepared to offer comfort yourself. “Sometimes I’ll put (the puppy) in the crate, but I’ll sleep next to the crate the first night.” Mengel recommends crate training. It helps with potty training, she says, and is a safe,

comfortable space for your puppy. “Even if you go out for a few hours, you can put them in their crate and know that they’re not going to chew electric cords or get into trouble.” And circling back to training, Mengel says these types of classes can help equip your puppy with the tools he needs to react well in the different situations. She says she’s always inspired by the slogan of a trainer located near her: Eight weeks of training is better than eight years of wishing you had. That’s a good reminder that dogs can live 10 to 15 years, so you want to make sure you’re bringing the right puppy home at the right time in your life — and that you’re starting out on the right foot. l

For more than 25 years, the family-friendly and eager-toplease nature of the Labrador retriever has kept him at No. 1 on the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) list of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. The ranking is based on AKC’s purebred dog registry and includes the 190 breeds currently recognized by the group. Here are AKC’s top five most popular breeds for 2016:

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Labrador retriever

2

German shepherd

3

Golden retriever

4

Bulldog

Beagle — Amy Sinatra Ayres

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TRENDS

Party Animals Make your dog’s next birthday one to remember BY AMY SINATRA AYRES

B

reak out the party hats, versions and includes a dog cake canine-safe treats and mix, grain-free chicken tender goody bags — it’s time treats, a balloon-like squeaky toy, to celebrate everyone’s favorite a plush cake toy and a party hat family member: your dog. for $39.99. Hosting a birthday party for On the other end of the your pooch can be a way to have spectrum, Los Angeles-based fun and disconnect from the Hollywood Pet Parties offers demands of day-to-day life, says high-end “barkday parties” Arden Moore, a pet health and starting at $500, helping clients safety coach who’s pull out all the planned parties with stops. A designer anywhere from four will make your pet to 500 dogs on the a custom outfit for guest list. She’s also the event; they’ll the author of Dog coordinate a DJ or Parties: How to Party band, photographer with Your Pup. and videographer, “You’re instilling and provide pet good doggy manners interactive games, in a fun setting. table arrangements, You’re getting the pet-safe cuisine PupBox’s birthday chance to live in and even a sketch party box. $39.99, the moment and artist. (They also petco.com you’re boosting the plan a number of friendship bond that specialized events you have with your dog. To me, that include pet weddings, it’s a win-win-win,” says Moore. showers and “barkmitzvahs.”) Dog owners can host parties Hollywood Pet Parties business on a wide range of budgets. If partners Adina Slotsky and Dan you’re not looking to spend a McClintock say it helps to pick a lot, you can do it yourself with a theme for your party, and their PupBox from Petco. This partymost important advice: “Make in-a-box comes in his or her sure everything is pet-safe!” >

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GETTY IMAGES; PETCO

Fun with Fido!


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Pooch Party Planning Tips

Whether you want to host a handful of canine pals in your backyard or work with a high-end pet party planner, here are some basics to help make the birthday bash a success:

Choose your guest list carefully: “You need to make sure that the dogs are up-to-date on their vaccines, healthy and actually social and they like each other,” says pet party planner Arden Moore. That could be just two dogs who are your pooch’s buddies, or a pack of 10 that you know won’t create canine chaos when they get together.

Pick a location: The number of dogs on your invite list will determine the best place to have your party. “If it’s a cozy little party with five or less dogs, maybe you can have it in your fenced-in backyard,” Moore says. “Big parties with 10 or more dogs require added supervision, so a dog-training center or dog park might be better suited.”

Establish party zones: Designate a corner as the bathroom area and stock it with scoopers, plastic bags and a trash can. That way, your main party area and refreshment station will stay clean. “You just don’t want to be stepping on doggy landmines while you’re playing a game,” Moore says. Set rules: “This is not a party where the people drop off their dogs and go to Starbucks. This is a party where the people have to participate, too,” Moore says. You may want to ask that owners keep their dogs on leashes, and have only one dog per person. She also suggests hiring a well-regarded trainer or pet sitter to help.

Serve dog-safe food: Hollywood Pet Parties offers a variety of cakes made with dogsafe ingredients, such as carob, peanut butter and yogurt. Other options include meatloaf, apples without the core, seedless watermelon and salt-free pretzels. Moore says you should ask the dogs’ owners about allergies and avoid serving the humans food that could be dangerous for pets. “Dogs possess powerful noses and can sniff out food quite well,” she says. “Ensure that the people foods served are safe for dogs in case there are spills.” And if you serve alcohol, be sure the dogs are kept away from it.

Don’t forget the goody bags: Much like at a kid’s birthday party, it’s not over until everyone gets treats to take home. They can include toys and snacks, or even a coupon for a bath or petsitting services. A safe and successful dog birthday party can be a good time for the “four-leggers and the two-leggers alike,” Moore says. “People need to celebrate, need to be in a good mood. Who better to celebrate than their dog, who’s always in a good mood, who lives in the moment?” Moore adds. “I say paw-ty on!” 68

PET GUIDE 2018

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Choose interactive games: Keep everyone busy and entertained with party games. Hollywood Pet Parties likes to do tug of war or treasure hunts. Moore shares some games she came up with to keep the human attendees involved, like Snoopy Says, a version of Simon Says focused on basic obedience commands such as sit or stay; Canine Musical Chairs using hula hoops and set to the song Who Let the Dogs Out? and Canine Tunnel of Love, where you and your pup have to wiggle through an agility tunnel. “It’s hilarious,” she says.


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TRENDS

Fur-st Class Ensure that traveling with your canine is easy, safe and affordable BY MATT ALDERTON

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helpful for dog parents like Christy Nielson of Tempe, Ariz., mom to rescued border collie mixes Kodi and Kai. “My husband and I … consider our pups our fur children,” Nielson says. “We like to hike and play in the snow with them, so we take them whenever we can. Additionally, hiring a dog sitter to come stay with them while we’re away can be really expensive,

so sometimes it’s more affordable to take them along.” Whether you’re traveling for vacation, retirement or relocation, the following tips will keep your fourlegged travel companions comfortable and cared for en route.

BEFORE YOUR TRIP Just because dogs can travel doesn’t mean they

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et-setters are becoming pet-setters. In its 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, the American Pet Products Association found that 37 percent of dog owners take their pooches on road trips, compared with just 19 percent 10 years ago. And it’s not just highway rest stops going to the dogs; planes and hotels also are feeling the puppy love. The trend is especially


@HARLOWANDSAGE; CHRISTY NIELSON; GETTY IMAGES

should. “Staying home is a must for sick, injured or pregnant animals,” says PETA spokesperson Ben Williamson. “If dogs suffer from motion sickness, get overstimulated easily or get physically or emotionally upset when their routines are disrupted, the best option for them may be to stay home.” According to Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, once your dog’s cleared for takeoff, you should do the following prior to travel: • ATTACH A CURRENT ID TAG. Include your name, phone number, your pet’s name and a current rabies tag; a temporary tag with your hotel information also is a good idea, as is having your dog microchipped. • SEE YOUR VET. A thorough checkup and current vaccinations are necessary, as some airlines and states require a vet-issued health certificate. • CALL AHEAD. Confirm the pet policies of airlines, hotels and campgrounds well in advance. Note that Amtrak permits small pets for train rides up to seven hours, while cruise ships and Greyhound buses generally prohibit pets. • RESEARCH YOUR ROUTE. Research pet shelters and animal control agencies at your destination and along your route. Knowing where to call will save time and reduce stress if your dog gets lost. • PACK SMART. Bring portable food and water dishes, familiar toys and blankets, medications, a soft muzzle and vaccination records.

and Reese — they start with route planning. “If we are driving, we … find dog-friendly parks along the way, and make sure that we set aside enough time for restroom breaks and playtime,” says Vega, who broadcasts her dogs’ adventures to 1.6 million Instagram (@ harlowandsage) followers. Nielson also plans pet-friendly pit stops. “Many restaurants have snacks for your dogs,” she says. “At Starbucks, it’s Puppuccinos. DQ (Dairy Queen) will do plain hamburger patties for less than a buck.” Because accidents happen — even on the road — pack paper towels and pet-stain remover. And don’t forget to bring water and ice for rehydrating at rest stops. Safety is paramount. Because loose dogs in cars can distract drivers, jump out of windows and take flight during collisions, pets should be restrained with canine seat belts or kept inside kennels, according to Williamson, who says owners should never leave dogs alone in the car or allow them to hang their heads out the window; the former leaves them susceptible to heatstroke and the latter to eye injuries.

All Aboard!

Brittni Vega’s three dogs, Indiana, Reese and Harlow get ready for a 2016 excursion.

Road Trip!

Kodi and Kai load up for a 2017 trip to Colorado with owner Christy Nielson.

FLYING WITH FIDO If they’re small enough, dogs can typically fly in the main cabin, provided they remain in a kennel beneath the seat in front of you. Larger animals must be checked as baggage, which some animal

DRIVING WITH DOGGO When Salt Lake City couple Brittni and Jeff Vega road-trip with their three dogs — Harlow, Indiana

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If you play fetch or take them on a long run right before heading to the airport, they’ll be more likely to relax and sleep on the plane.” — KRISTEN BOR, dog owner

welfare advocates advise against because of potential health and safety risks. Although many airlines boast pro-pet policies — United’s PetSafe program, for example, promises a climate-controlled and pressurized cargo environment, specially trained

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staff, a dedicated 24-hour call-in desk and pet-friendly loading procedures. Pet parents can make flying safer and more comfortable for dogs by following the advice of Dr. Sarah Nold, veterinarian at pet insurance company Trupanion: • CONFIRM ELIGIBILITY. Most airlines have maximum weight and minimum age requirements, as well as breed restrictions. • MAKE YOUR CANINE COMFORTABLE. Carriers must be small enough to fit under an airplane seat, but large enough for dogs to comfortably stand up, turn around and lie down. Dogs who aren’t used to being in carriers should be acclimated over a period of weeks to months before travel. “Your veterinarian can give suggestions to make the transition easier, such as positive reinforcement when in the carrier,” Nold says. • MIND THE SEASON. Because they’ll likely spend some time on the

tarmac, and cargo holds may not be climatecontrolled, don’t allow pets in cargo when outside temperatures are extreme. • USE MEDICATION SPARINGLY. Used judiciously, vet-approved medications or herbal supplements can help treat anxious pets. Flights with her dog, Charlie, have taught Kristen Bor of Salt Lake City, to think ahead. “Tire your dog out as much as possible before the flight. If you play fetch or take them on a long run right before heading to the airport, they’ll be more likely to relax and sleep on the plane,” says Bor, founder of the outdoor travel blog BearfootTheory. “You’ll also want to restrict their food and water for at least six hours before the flight and make sure they go to the bathroom before boarding — many airports have dog relief areas now,” Bor says.

HOTELS FOR HOUNDS AAA reports that there are more than 12,000 petfriendly hotels across the country. To choose the right one, Kim Salerno, founder and president of Trips With Pets says you should consider: • FEES: Although many hotels charge $50 or more per night per pet, free options

KRISTEN BOR/BEARFOOT THEORY

Kristen Bor and boyfriend Ryan Travis took dog Charlie along on their 2017 vacation to Mammoth, Calif.


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CHRISTY NIELSON; GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

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Christy Nielson, second from right, and husband Justin, far right, traveled to the Grand Canyon in 2016 with dogs Kodi and Kai, and some dogowner friends.

include budget brands such as Motel 6 and Red Roof Inn, midscale brands like La Quinta Inn & Suites, and higher-end boutique brands such as Aloft Hotels and Kimpton Hotels. • RESTRICTIONS: Many hotels have limits on the number and size of pets allowed. • AMENITIES: Pet amenities such as welcome baskets, pet beds, bowls and dog treats indicate a hotel is truly petfriendly. Also, look for hotels that have a “clean, well-lit and safe area” for potty breaks; pet-friendly Airbnbs with yards are great options for dogs that need space. Finally, give as much thought to what your pets will do as where they’ll sleep. “If you plan to go on vacation with your pet, make sure you include them in your vacation planning. Don’t just bring them along and make them stay in the hotel,” says Salerno, who suggests looking for hotels near hiking trails, beaches, breweries and other dog-friendly attractions. And if Fido at any point can’t tag along, look for a reputable pet sitter or daycare facility. “When we were on a ski vacation in Sun Valley, Idaho, the local doggy daycare cost less than $25,” Bor says. “We dropped our dog off in the morning, and while we were skiing he was playing with other dogs the entire day. When we picked him up, he was exhausted and ready for bed, which made our hotel stay much easier.” l

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TRENDS

Congressman Bill Archer Dog Park in Houston

Dream Dog Parks Take your pooch for a walk on the wild side in a wacky, wonderful setting

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bout eight years ago, Pat McNeely, a graphic designer in Johns Creek, Ga., was flipping through a local newspaper when an ad caught his eye. Purina’s pet food brand, Beneful, had launched a national contest inviting owners to design the dog park of their dreams — or perhaps more to the point, of their dogs’ dreams. The winner would receive $10,000 and a one-year supply of dog

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food, while the company would kick in $500,000 toward renovating a local dog park based on the winner’s design. McNeely huddled with his family to come up with a vision that their Siberian husky, Koda, would be head over paws for. They were regulars at the nearby Newtown Park dog run, which McNeely describes as a “rundown field with bare patches in the grass and a little mudhole of a water faucet with

a couple bricks around it. It was better than nothing, but it wasn’t anything to brag on.” The family’s plan for a dog park makeover included boulders for clambering on, bridges and tunnels, a paw-shaped splash pad and a covered picnic table for humans to escape the heat of summer. They specified artificial turf and a rubberized mulch walking path that would withstand

GETTY IMAGES; HARRIS COUNTY PRECINCT

BY BRIAN BARTH


A well-designed facility should stimulate physical and social activity for dogs, while appealing to our aesthetic sensibilities. the scampering and digging without devolving into a mud pit in wet weather, along with other features, both fun and functional. Much to their surprise, they won. In June 2011, Koda and his human companions attended the grand opening of the revamped and renamed Newtown Dream Dog Park. “Every once in a while, a dog will run up to me at the park with this smiling look on its face, like, ‘Can you believe this place?’” says McNeely, who still regularly visits with Koda, now 14. “That makes it all worthwhile to me, just seeing their faces and watching them play.” Beneful repeated the contest annually through 2016, paralleling a growing trend of dog parks designed as fanciful canine playgrounds, now found in cities throughout the country. Dog parks have been the fastestgrowing type of municipal park for more than a decade. But the approach

of simply putting in a fence and calling it done — less a “park” than a smelly canine relief area — doesn’t cut it anymore, says Leslie Lowe, a landscape architect in Whitefish, Mont., who specializes in dog-park design. In Lowe’s view, a well-designed facility should stimulate physical and social activity for dogs, while appealing to our aesthetic sensibilities. Increasingly popular features include separate areas for large, small and elderly animals; multiple access points to prevent the testy confrontations that arise at entryway bottlenecks; agility courses that resemble those you might find at a military base for basic training; and sandboxes for digging and a variety of water features. “I get my ideas from seeing my dogs playing on beaches and rocks and river edges in nature,” says Lowe, who raises wirehaired pointing griffons, a hunting breed. “I try to re-create some of that in parks.”

Newtown Dream Dog Park in Johns Creek, Ga.

DOG PARK ETIQUETTE There are various hazards inherent in bringing large groups of dogs together in a small space. To minimize harm, keep the following rules in mind:

If your dog is sick, is not spayed or neutered, is in heat or younger than 4 months, leave him or her at home.

Don’t bring food (human or dog) or glass containers.

Make sure your dog has a collar, current vaccinations and a license (where required by law).

Do not bring more than three dogs per person to the park.

GETTY IMAGES; CITY OF JOHNS CREEK

Prevent digging by your canine, but if unsuccessful, fill any holes left behind.

Only bring toys if your dog likes to share. — Brian Barth

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Congressman Bill Archer Dog Park Houston This 17-acre facility is divided into separate play areas for large and small dogs, each with its own walking loop, agility course and enormous boneshaped pool, plus showers for rinsing off afterward. Open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk; free

Newtown Dream Dog Park Johns Creek, Ga. This park boasts separate areas for small and large dogs, artificial turf, sprinklers and an artfully designed obstacle course. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (opens at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays); free

Hugh Rogers WAG Park Whitefish, Mont. Mountain views form the backdrop for this park, which features an agility course, a large pond, beach and dog-washing station. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; free

NOLA City Bark New Orleans This facility includes a water play zone, shade pavilions and lawn and forest areas to explore. Open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (opens at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays); Memberships cost $48 per year; Tourist permits available for $10 76

PET GUIDE 2018

Fred Anderson Dog Park Chicago This 1-acre park includes water features, areas for large and small dogs and an adjacent stage that features regular musical performances for your listening pleasure. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; free

HARRIS COUNTY PRECINCT (2); RUSSELL INGRAM PHOTOGRAPHY; LESLIE LOWE; NEW ORLEANS CITY PARK ARCHIVES; CITY OF JOHNS CREEK

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HEALTH

Downward-Facing Doggies Pause, pose and relax with your pooch in doga class

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onsidering two of yoga’s most recognizable poses — downward-facing dog and upward-facing dog — are named for stretches our four-legged friends do naturally, you might think that your dog would be a great addition to your yoga time. If you’re open to trying dog yoga — or doga — then you might be right.

UNDERSTANDING DOGA Doga isn’t a new concept — dogs have

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been welcomed in yoga classes since the beginning of the new millennium. But what the activity entails still causes some confusion, because it is fairly open to interpretation. Doga is a partner practice, but the degree to which your four-legged friend participates varies. The main objective of any good doga class is to provide a space for dog and human to bond. In some classes, the dog is held by or balanced on the human in a variety of poses; in others, the dog rests nearby

GETTY IMAGES

BY KRISTEN SEYMOUR


while his person bends and twists. The latter is the case for Dawn Celapino’s doga classes at Leash Your Fitness in San Diego. “We don’t pick our dogs up or use them as props,” says Celapino. “The dog breathes your energy. The people aren’t there to chat — just to meditate quietly, and the dogs follow suit.” Celapino, who broke the world record for the largest dog yoga class ever in 2015 with 265 dogs (the previous record was 250), begins most classes with a walk, stopping to do standing poses while putting the dogs into a sit. “You can’t expect them to just sit there for an hour,” she explains. “We really only get on the mats for the last 20 minutes of class.” Suzi Teitelman, owner of Doga Dog in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., has the owners and their dogs move into postures and use each other as props. But don’t try putting your pooch in a headstand. “The postures the dogs do are extensions of postures they naturally do — like down and up dog,” she says. Falling somewhere in between is Nicole Vykoukal of Austin Doga LLC in Texas. In addition to teaching the humans calming yoga poses for stress reduction, she shares gentle, calming dog massage and energy-cleansing techniques for the canines.

was pleasantly surprised. “Yoga is such an interesting journey because it’s all about being present in that moment, on that day, and it dovetails so nicely with what dogs bring to our lives.“

The main objective of any good doga class is to provide a space for dog and human to bond. Another common misconception about doga, according to Vykoukal, is that it will instantly improve a dog’s behavior. Although even hyper dogs often settle down quickly, it’s not a replacement for obedience training. “I leave dog training up to the professionals,” she says, adding that she focuses on creating a deeper connection between dogs and owners.

DOGA DO’S AND DON’TS DO: BE OPEN TO IT. Lori Mills, who attends doga at Leash Your Fitness, was initially unsure about taking her high-energy Australian shepherd, Kenzie. “I sat near the back in case we had to leave,” she laughs, recalling her first class. Mills and Kenzie already did almost everything together — camping, paddleboarding, hiking — but the doga classes have given Mills a new understanding of the human-canine connection. “I find that when I’m calmer, so is she. I bring my energy down, she relaxes.” DO: PLAN ACCORDINGLY. “Consider a doga class like any other environment where you’re going to have high density of dogs, like a dog park,” says Vogelsang. That means your dog should be up-to-date on preventive care, and that ill dogs should stay home. She also recommends talking to the instructor ahead of time, because a class that takes place mostly on the mat might be a great way for you to bond with a senior dog, while a class that begins with a run is probably a better option for a younger, energetic >

GETTY IMAGES

SETTING EXPECTATIONS Regardless of the class you choose, it’s important to have realistic goals about what your dog will experience. Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, a San Diegobased veterinarian, has participated in doga classes with her golden retriever, Brody. “The benefit is the fact that you are spending time together, and you’re doing it in this calm, intentional way,” she says. She admits that she was concerned when she first heard about the trend, assuming people were moving dogs into positions that weren’t designed for their unique biomechanics, but she

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Dog owners twist into Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes) pose at a 2017 Leash Your Fitness doga class in San Diego while their canine yogis relax beside them.

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POSES TO TRY AT HOME

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) From hands and knees, push through your hands and balls of your feet. Send your tailbone into the air, straighten your legs and arms, and drive your heels back toward the ground. Put your dog into a sit or down position, and don’t respond if he sniffs around a bit at first. He’ll settle down eventually. Tadasana (Mountain Pose) Stand with feet hip distance apart, hands at your sides, as your dog sits at your feet.

Savasana (Corpse Pose) Lie on your back, close your eyes, breathe deeply and let your dog follow suit at your side. Relax and enjoy — you might even drift off!

GETTY IMAGES; ILLUSTRATION: LISA M. ZILKA; RICK NOCON; GETTY IMAGES

dog. Additionally, if the class involves lifting your dog, you will not want to bring a large dog — or even a small dog who dislikes being held. DON’T: FORCE THE ISSUE. If your dog is uncomfortable or aggressive with other dogs, a class may not be the best idea. You can still get your doga on, though, by booking a private lesson (most instructors offer them and say clients find them very rewarding) or following along using a video or DVD, like you’ll find on Teitelman’s website, dogadog.org. Of course, if nothing else, you can always get into the most basic aspect of yoga with your dog on your own by sitting quietly, breathing deeply and enjoying being together. Begin with just a minute or two of meditation — no loud voices, no belly scratches — and you just might be amazed at how quickly your bond grows. l


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HEALTH

Pups and Pins Alternative pain treatment isn’t just for humans

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cupuncture, or the practice of inserting small needles at specific points along the body, has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries, usually to treat pain in humans. In the U.S., acupuncturists began formally training veterinarians in the practice in the 1970s. Dr. Nell Ostermeier, a certified veterinary acupuncturist at Lombard Animal Hospital in Portland, Ore., typically uses acupuncture on dogs for pain management, especially for chronic conditions, such as arthritis; for ongoing or acute discomfort from an injury or to reduce inflammation and

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increase mobility. She adds that acupuncture is also helpful in the treatment of numerous illnesses. “You can use it for kidney disease, liver disease, asthma and allergies because of its effect in boosting immunity.” Dr. Michelle Elgersma owns Kalmeren Veterinary Acupuncture in Pittsburgh. She performs acupuncture on patients in their homes, particularly large, senior dogs with mobility issues. Elgersma often gets referrals from veterinary oncologists. “Acupuncture is a good adjunct to cancer therapy because it helps the animal’s immune system,” she explains. “Used

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BY MARGARET BURANEN


WHEN TO TRY PET ACUPUNCTURE before surgery, it helps with healing.”

GETTY IMAGES

A HOLISTIC APPROACH Ostermeier likes to use acupuncture in combination with traditional Western medicine: “Taking an integrative approach, so we can get the best results for the patient. And we often get those results quicker, in combination.” For example, she suggests treating a dog with an ear infection

by using both an anti-inflammatory or antibiotic drug in addition to acupuncture, as a way to boost the dog’s blood circulation and help the medication work faster. “In Chinese medicine, we’re looking at emotion, behavior, environment — how they may affect the illness,” explains Ostermeier. “We work with the whole mind and body connection.” The number of recommended

acupuncture treatments will vary depending on the dog and medical condition. “A very high percentage of pets will show improvement — very subtle to very significant — in a couple of treatments,” Ostermeier says, adding that she asks clients to commit to at least three treatments. Elgersma, who prefers to do five or six treatments on a patient, if possible, concurs. “Sometimes I see >

Veterinarians may recommend this alternative treatment method to help: Alleviate pain from chronic conditions such as arthritis Relax muscles to increase mobility Boost immune system Increase blood flow and circulation

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Acupuncture needles are extremely thin — slipping between tissues instead of tearing them.

MEET THESE PUP PATIENTS

VINNIE

COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTION Like other vet services, treatment costs can vary widely based on

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A very high percentage of pets will show improvement — very subtle to very significant — in a couple of treatments.” — DR. NELL OSTERMEIER, veterinary acupuncturist

time, says Ostermeier. “It’s an investment in the long-term health of the pet, and it’s more cost-effective than some Western medicine treatments. It’s common to use half or less of traditional anti-inflammatory drugs, so the cost balances out and results in a happier animal,” she

adds. Acupuncture also can treat several conditions simultaneously at no additional cost. For example, in an older dog with arthritis, “We’re not just treating for back and hip pain, but also for age-related issues — improving kidney and liver function and general cognitive function,” Ostermeier says. The first treatment can often take more of a vet’s time, so subsequent treatments typically cost less. Ostermeier says that after the first two or three sessions, the time between treatments can usually be longer, further reducing costs. Both vets stress that acupuncture, while effective for many animals, is not a miracle cure. “For an older dog, it helps with the quality of life, says Elgersma, but it won’t turn him into a puppy again.” l

MAGGIE Maggie, 12, had a painful limp due to an inflamed tendon in one leg. In April 2016, Ostermeier started treating her with acupuncture and Western medicine. Maggie is now back to playing outside, medicine-free and gets acupuncture every six to eight weeks.

GETTY IMAGES; NELL OSTERMEIER (2)

improvement after the first treatment. Usually it’s between two or three treatments.” Because acupuncture is so individualized, Ostermeier stresses the importance of regular communication with the pet’s owner. “I want to hear about the slightest change in behavior or something not positive,” she says. “Then, if needed, I can adjust the acupuncture points I use, or (I know) I want to stick with that (exact) treatment.” Both veterinarians say owners sometimes worry that the needles will hurt their dogs, but Elgersma explains that acupuncture needles are much smaller than regular injection needles. They slip between tissues rather than cut them.

Vinnie is an 11-year-old Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix with heart disease and sinus problems. His owner, Dr. Nell Ostermeier, of Lombard Animal Hospital in Portland, Ore., has been treating him with acupuncture since April 2015 to relieve sinus congestion and improve blood circulation, which eases the stress on his heart.


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EDUCATION

Rocky Mountain Vet TV fame hasn’t changed Dr. Jeff Young’s core mission

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r. Jeff Young has developed a fan following as the star of Animal Planet’s Dr. Jeff: Rocky Mountain Vet. The Denverbased, straight-talking, tattooed, flip-flop-wearing veterinarian is known for his mission of helping to control the pet population by spaying and neutering animals, often at little or no cost. And he fulfills his quest to help as many animals as he can by literally taking his show on the road.

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ANIMAL PLANET; GETTY IMAGES

BY LISA HORNUNG


GETTY IMAGES; ANIMAL PLANET

HELPING UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES

animal, and just send you out the door.”

Young began his career in Grand Junction, Colo., at the Roice-Hurst Humane Society, where he and his staff return regularly to do spay and neuter outreach. For example, in January, his team, along with local volunteers, helped RoiceHurst sterilize 132 animals free of charge, thanks to the fundraising efforts of several nonprofit groups. It was just one of the many trips his team makes annually to care for needy animals. Viewers of the Dr. Jeff show, which just finished filming its fifth season, have seen the crew travel to Native American reservations, Mexico and Romania to help control pet populations. The group operates on stray dogs, but also treats pets owned by people in these underserved areas where there are no veterinarians nearby or owners can’t afford care. “This is the stuff I was born to do; this is the stuff I love to do,” Young says. His motivation, he adds, is simply to help people and their pets live better lives. “I’m a veterinarian, and I want to help more animals,” he says. “And if I’m helping animals, I’m helping people, too. I don’t want to be so cynical that I think if you can’t afford (a procedure) then you shouldn’t have the

Young grew up in a military family that moved all over the world, but his roots lie in Indiana. Both sets of his grandparents owned farms, one with soybeans, corn and pigs and the other a dairy farm. “I spent a lot of summers on those farms,” he says. “That got me interested in animals. I also had a dog die when I was really young, and I felt helpless and couldn’t do anything for it. So, from a long time ago, I just wanted to be a vet.” He graduated from Colorado State University’s veterinary school in 1989, and then began working for Roice-Hurst. A year later, he opened Planned Pethood Plus in Wheat Ridge, Colo., with a primary focus on low-cost, high-volume spaying and neutering, but today it’s a full-service vet clinic. Planned Pethood strives to keep costs >

A VET IN THE MAKING

LOW-COST CARE Dr. Jeff Young’s practice offers affordable dog spay services

$200

Typical starting price at Denver-area practices

$70

Typical starting price at Planned Pethood Plus

Young volunteers his time at several local organizations, including National Mill Dog Rescue in Peyton, Colo., where he and Susan Rieger, center, recently assisted the group’s founder, Theresa Strader, with the care of Lilly, a 12-year-old terrier.

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If we educate people and we continue to do this, the animals will be healthier, and we’re going to give them better homes.” — HECTOR MARTINEZ, veterinary technician

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low so that people of all income Young holds Samwise, an albino wallaby, after levels can afford its services. For an exotic animal expert example, it charges $70 to $90 to neutered the animal. spay a dog, while the typical vet Samwise’s surgery was charge is around $200 to $300 featured in a February at other Denver-area practices. 2017 episode of Dr. Jeff: Rocky Mountain Young will also often negotiate Vet. prices with pet owners so they can afford the services. One of the ways Young’s practice funds this low-cost care is through donations to his foundation, Planned Pethood International. The group has also received grants to fund outreach trips within the U.S. and overseas, and a training center in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, where Young teaches veterinarians from all over the world. He doesn’t charge the vets for the training or lodging, but requires they perform community service as compensation. The foundation also runs a rescue and adoption center, Planet Pet, in Denver. “Our goal is to keep bringing in donations and grants so that we can keep doing this,” says Susan Rieger, the foundation’s adoptions and nonprofit manager. “(Young’s) been doing it for so long, he has no idea how much he’s given away. No idea. He doesn’t care. If he can make it work, he does it.” >

Veterinarians Jeff Young and Petra Mickova-Young have taken in several hard-luck pets over the years. An orange tabby cat was brought to their clinic last year with a severe leg injury. The owner opted to euthanize the cat rather than pay for surgery, so the Youngs decided to save the kitty and keep it as their pet. “He’s a really cool cat,” Young says. Previously kept outdoors, “He thinks he’s in heaven now because he’s no longer outside.” Their golden retriever, Fred, came to them last year under similar circumstances. A family brought him in because he had eaten something and needed to have the object surgically removed. “The owners wanted to put him to sleep, rather than taking a sock out of his belly,” says Young. He refused to euthanize Fred and asked the family to turn the dog over to him. They agreed, “And we got him healthy, and he’s been our dog ever since,” Young says. — Lisa Hornung

ANIMAL PLANET; GETTY IMAGES

THE VETS’ PETS


THE FIRST STEPS TOWARDS BALANCE

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The staff of Planned Pethood Plus in Wheat Ridge, Colo., helps pursue Dr. Jeff Young’s goal of offering high-quality, affordable veterinary services.

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A FAMILY AFFAIR Young’s vet tech and friend, Hector Martinez, has been working for him for about 15 years, and believes their outreach efforts will have far-reaching effects. “There’s going to be less animals that are out there suffering, and they’re going to live so much longer. I’ve been working with (Young) for years, and he has always been trying to educate people (on responsible pet care). If we educate people and we continue to do this, the animals will be healthier, and we’re going to give them better homes.” Young, Martinez and the rest of the clinic’s staff have become a sort of tight-knit unit, but the business is truly a family affair. Young’s daughter, Melody Obuobisa, is the practice manager, and his wife, Dr. Petra Mickova-Young, also provides veterinary care and shares the same energy and work ethic as her husband.

Mickova-Young, who grew up in Slovakia, met Young in 2010 while in the U.S. for veterinary school training. The two married in 2014, and now live on the second floor of the clinic. “We have a very singular vision when it comes to animal welfare, spaying and neutering, veterinary policy, so that was always there,” Mickova-Young says. “Jeff’s an incredible human being. He’s got a huge heart; he’s got a great personality, and he’s got the right amount of cockiness, which I really like,” she adds with a laugh. “He’s just a genuinely, really, really good person.” l

ANIMAL PLANET; GETTY IMAGES

EDUCATION


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EDUCATION

Beyond ‘Fetch’ Your dog may be smarter than you think BY ADAM STONE

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THE NEW SCIENCE New scientific research gives us a glimpse of the complexity of the canine mind. Celebrity dog trainer Cesar Millan recounts a number of recent examples on cesarsway.com: • Dogs can understand subtle gestures. Point to an object, and a dog will look not at your hand, but at the intended target, and will even follow the direction of your gaze. • They know when you’re distracted. Researchers at Austria's University of Vienna found that dogs will disobey when your back is turned — not surprising. They will also sneak a forbidden snack if you are facing them, provided you are distracted by the TV or a book. • A researcher at the University of São Paulo in Brazil has trained her dog to make requests using a customized computer keyboard by placing a paw

GETTY IMAGES

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lsa and Bamboozle, Blue and Pingpong, Goose and Elmo — Chaser, a border collie, knows the names of all her toys and just where to find them. Dubbed by some as the smartest dog in the world, she recognizes the names of more than 1,000 objects. Yet, Chaser is perhaps not unique. “We get letters from people all over the world who have re-created these same results,” says Deb Pilley Bianchi, who has worked alongside her father, John Pilley, professor emeritus of psychology at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., to train Chaser. Recent studies suggest dogs are far smarter than we give them credit. They can learn the names of objects and recognize pictures of human faces. They seem able to reason out problems, and when we examine their brains, the wiring looks a lot like ours.


SÉBASTIEN MICKE/PARIS MATCH

on symbols for “walk,” “food,” “water,” “toy” and “play." Such feats do not surprise Brian Hare, a Duke University animal biologist and coauthor of The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs are Smarter than You Think. “Dogs have minds. It’s not just that they are learning things through trial and error. They can actually think about what you are thinking about. They can remember things. They know different individuals. They can make complex social decisions based on what they think you want or intend,” he says. Dogs also feel more

intensely than previously suspected. Hare points to research showing a canine equivalent of the human “oxytocin loop,” the chemicalhormonal mechanism associated with love and bonding in people. “When you touch your dog, or when your dog makes eye contact with you, that increases oxytocin in you and in your dog,” he adds. We may not know exactly what a dog feels, “but we know that the exact same physiological response that we have — what we feel and call love — is happening in dogs.”

IN THE SCANNER Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at Atlanta’s Emory University and author of What It’s Like to Be a Dog, has spent six years training dogs to be still in an MRI machine, allowing him to scan the brains of more than 90 dogs. He found a striking pattern: The part of your brain that lights up when you see a familiar face? That same neural reaction happens in dogs. That makes sense, given that dogs have for tens of thousands of years lived in such close proximity to humans. “They are >

Chaser, seen here in 2011 in trainer John Pilley’s, Spartanburg, S.C., yard, has memorized the names of more than 1,000 toys and also knows how to classify them by function and form.

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Gregory Berns, author of What It’s Like to Be a Dog, has been studying the workings of the canine mind by training dogs like these at the University of California Berkeley in 2016 to lie awake in an MRI scanner.

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PET GUIDE 2018

dimensions that 2-year-old human toddlers display,” Bianchi says. All this has implications for pet owners. If our dogs are really that smart, maybe we should be interacting with them differently. “Your dog has the ability to understand some of the things you say, but it is up to humans to be clear about what they are saying,” Berns notes. He explains that,“People tend to babble incessantly; we talk to dogs in a constant state of gibberish. If we want to leverage a dog’s intelligence, we need to talk less and use words more judiciously. Make every word count.” At the same time, dog owners need to recognize that each animal is different, with its own special strengths and learning styles. “My dog doesn’t do well on memory games. When I tell him to stay, he just wanders off. But I don’t think he is being dumb or disobedient,” Hare says. “Instead, I look for training on things that he is good at. We need to understand what they are capable of and create strategies that let us make the most of these relationships.” l

How smart is your dog? While there’s no standard IQ test for canines, various trials can give owners insight into their pet’s distinct intellectual capacity. Associate professor Brian Hare founded Duke University’s Canine Cognition Center. In addition to a free online course on dog emotion and cognition, he offers a series of games intended to paint a picture of doggie smarts. An example: You hide food or a toy in one place and then point the other way. What does the dog do next? “This is a way to see how your dog solves problems, and then we compare that to how tens of thousands of other dogs responded,” Hare says. “For my own dog, I thought he was just normal, but when we compared him to all the other dogs in our database, it turns out he makes a huge amount of eye contact. I had no idea! So now I feel like I know my dog better.” — Adam Stone

GREGORY BERNS; GETTY IMAGES

socialized through being around us, and they have learned to recognize us,” Berns notes. “It shows that we are not amorphous blobs to them. They see faces as incredibly important.” But is recognition the same as intelligence? Just because a dog can recognize a toy or a person, does that mean the animal is “smart” in the usual sense? Some of the Chaser experiments help to answer that question. In one telling scenario, a trainer puts a small pile of toys out of sight and then asks Chaser to retrieve certain familiar objects, calling them by name. Chaser obliges. Tucked in among her toys is a stuffed Charles Darwin doll that Chaser has never seen. Told to “get Darwin,” she’s puzzled at first, but eventually deduces that the unfamiliar Darwin name correlates with the toy she doesn’t know. Remarkably, she retrieves the correct object, a strong indication of abstract reasoning, reflection and intelligence. Chaser’s abilities “show a capacity to understand abstract concepts and make mental inferences … in the same

KNOW YOUR DOG


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THE TAIL END

Published Pup Make your dog the star of the story BY DEBBIE WILLIAMS

Written by Maia Haag

breed styles, each with five color options, to best match your pooch’s appearance. I See Me then creates an illustrated tale of your dog’s inner dialogue and daily observations. Visit iseeme.com to make your best friend a best-seller.

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PET GUIDE 2018

Illustrated book

Custom bandana

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ver wonder what your furry friend is thinking? I See Me’s latest personalized book, If My Dog Could Talk, delightfully deciphers your trusted companion’s thoughts in a rhyming story. You can choose from 12 animated


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PET GUIDE 2018  
PET GUIDE 2018