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SELECTING THE BEST PET INSURANCE Al

PET GUIDE so

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ss w Ne

n ta ds

2020

Pup Empire LISA VANDERPUMP EXPANDS HER BRAND

PLUS AWESOME ANIMAL ADVENTURES

FIDO FILMS REMAIN A FAVORITE

ADOPTIONS ON THE MENU AT DOG CAFÉS


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Sh ow n

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a v er a ge


PET GUIDE 2020

46

PAWSOME ADVENTURES

There’s no “sit” or “stay” for these active animals

FEATURES 34

ANDREW MUSE

COUTURE CANINES

Dog fashions may be the perfect fit for your Fido

40

VANDERPUMP’S PUPS Bravo reality TV star builds a doggy empire

52

SATISFYING SIPS Canine cafés offer espresso, appetizers and adoption

3


PET GUIDE

24

DEPARTMENTS HEALTH

58

Time with dogs may improve your well-being

60

Regular vet visits help keep you and your pet close

62

Cannabidiol products help relieve pain for some canines

DIET

64

Vegan dog owners are sharing their diets with pets

68

Many cats and dogs in the U.S. are overweight

ADVICE

72

Get tips on how to select the best pet insurance

76

Help animal-wary friends become comfortable around your dog

GIVING

12

UP FRONT PRODUCTS

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12

These dog crates look great Treats taste better from cute containers

78

Find ways to share your time with adoptable pets

82

Shelters allow volunteers to rent dogs for a day

84

Program connects specialneeds children and dogs

POST SCRIPT

88

Military dogs honored with U.S. postage stamp

TECH

16

Innovative gadgets make pet parenthood easier

20

Hair won’t be a horror with these top vacuums

Owners cook up yummy names for dogs

24

This portraiture may be perfect for your pet

ENTERTAINMENT

26

Rita Mae Brown’s novels are purr-fect reading

28

These pet photography books are on pointe

30

Movies starring dogs continue to please audiences

ON THE COVER

Animal advocate Lisa Vanderpump PHOTOGRAPH

Betsy Newman Photography

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PET GUIDE 2020

88 All product prices and availability are subject to change.

SUP DOG PHOTOGRAPHY; USPS; KOHL’S

TRENDS

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FEATURED CONTRIBUTORS PREMIUM PUBLICATION EDITORIAL

Max

DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes jbstokes@usatoday.com

Coco

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council jcouncil@usatoday.com

Cookie

MARGARET BURANEN

ALLISON ENTREKIN

Buranen lives in central Kentucky and is the pet parent of a beautiful long-haired tortoiseshell cat. When she’s not writing about shelter programs that allow volunteers to “borrow” dogs like library books (page 82), she enjoys reading mysteries, especially those with animal characters (page 26).

The author of For the Love of Dogs: An A-Z Primer for Dog Lovers of All Ages, Entrekin is a self-professed “dog nut,” who got along quite well with Lisa Vanderpump, owner of six pups and star of Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules (page 40). Entrekin lives in Atlanta with her husband, two children and a Boston terrier.

MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington mjwashington@usatoday.com

Harper

ISSUE EDITOR Tracy Scott Forson

Murphy

Elsa

Gus & Bailey

ISSUE DESIGNER Lisa M. Zilka EDITORS Amy Sinatra Ayres Harry Lister Megan Pannone Debbie Williams DESIGNERS Hayleigh Corkey David Hyde Debra Moore Gina Toole Saunders INTERN Liya Savasman

Butterfly

Wendell

Buddy

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Bryan Alexander, Rasha Ali, Karen Asp, Margaret Buranen, Jonathan Chan, Allison Entrekin, Ruksana Hussain, Quinisha Jackson-Wright, Elizabeth Montgomery, Peggy J. Noonan, Jayne O’Donnell, Marina Pitofsky, Shameika Rhymes, Adrianna Rodriguez, Grace Schneider, Sarah Sekula, Kristen Seymour

ADVERTISING VP, ADVERTISING Patrick Burke | (703) 854-5914 pburke@usatoday.com ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Vanessa Salvo | (703) 854-6499 vsalvo@usatoday.com

PROVIDED BY THE CONTRIBUTORS; ILLUSTRATIONS: LISA M. ZILKA

FINANCE

QUINISHA JACKSON-WRIGHT

SARAH SEKULA

Jackson-Wright is a freelance writer based in California. She covers topics including culture, careers and finance. In her spare time, she visits a local rescue shelter and has plans to adopt a pet soon. She was pleased to learn and write about dog cafés (page 52) and how this trend connects fellow pet lovers and helps place dogs in forever homes.

As a writer, photographer and video host, Sekula covers stories about travel, fitness and extraordinary people. When she’s not exploring the world, she’s at home writing about such topics as animals who travel to adventurous locales with their owners (page 46) and elaborate pet portraits (page 24) that are as cute as they are creative.

BILLING COORDINATOR Julie Marco 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.

PRINTED IN THE USA This is a product of

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UP FRONT PET GUIDE

PRODUCTS 8 | TECH 16 | TRENDS 22 | ENTERTAINMENT 26

Pup Poses

A photo may be worth 1,000 words, but these dog photography books may leave you speechless.

DANCERS & DOGS

PAGE 28

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UP FRONT | PRODUCTS

DogFriendly Décor Crates that look great BY KRISTEN SEYMOUR

P

lace your little furry friends in your furniture with these aesthetically pleasing pieces:

This Zoovilla Triple Door Crate, available in black and white, has a single front door and double side doors for easy entrance — and cleaning access. $179.99, basspro. com

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PET GUIDE 2020

The Gray Barn’s Haney-Jardine lattice wooden pet crate/ end table won’t look a bit out of place in your living room, whether your dog is in it or not. $216.99, overstock.com

PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

Function and fashion make a paw-fect pair with this DenHaus Bowhaus modern crate furniture, available in two sizes and colors. $499.99 to $599.99, denhaus.com


CONGRATULATIONS, SIBA!

Congratulations to Siba, the 2020 WESTMINSTER KENNEL CLUB BEST IN SHOW WINNER. With her striking beauty and confident disposition, the 3-year-old Standard Poodle won over the crowd and the judges. We’re proud to be a part of Siba’s amazing victory, fueling her with the advanced nutrition of Purina® Pro Plan® SPORT® Performance 30/20 Chicken & Rice Formula.

FIND THE NUTRITION FOR THE CHAMPION IN YOUR LIFE AT PROPLAN.COM/MYPLAN The handler or owners of this champion may have received Pro Plan dog food as Purina ambassadors. Purina trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A.

Meet Purina. Find out more at www.Purina.com

Looking for your next career?

PRO PLAN IS AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL COMMISSARY OR EXCHANGE STORE.

We’re grounded in the same principles you have perfected through your service. Join our mission.

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UP FRONT | PRODUCTS

Simple and sleek, this wooden end table crate will blend well with your home’s décor while giving your pup a comfy spot to sleep. $249 to $349, orvis.com

Durable and secure without sacrificing style, the New Age Pet ecoFLEX Habitat ’N’ Home InnPlace dog crate will give your pup an ideal den. Starting at $159.99, petsmart.com

Does your doggo deserve a room with a view? The Trixie outdoor wooden pet home has a charming balcony. $102.24, chewy.com

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PET GUIDE 2020

Elevate any crate’s style with this Molly Mutt rough gem crate cover, available in a variety of sizes. $45 to $149, mollymutt.com

PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

Make a statement while keeping Fido secure in Archie & Oscar’s Brooke doublewide credenza pet crate. Starting at $1,085.37, wayfair.com


Enjoy Your Yard ASMUCH

ASTHEYDO

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Viviana FaBrizio

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Available at


UP FRONT | PRODUCTS

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PET GUIDE 2020

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Moving is the best medicine. Keeping active and losing weight are just two of the ways that you can fight osteoarthritis pain. In fact, for every pound you lose, that’s four pounds less pressure on each knee. For information on managing pain, go to fightarthritispain.org.


UP FRONT | PRODUCTS

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PET GUIDE 2020

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Nature’s Dog Ch ew

Healthy Plaque Reducing Dental Treats • Patented Design Helps Clean Teeth • Freshens Breath • Gluten Free • GMO Free - Soy Free • No Artificial Colors or Preservatives • Highly Digestible • Available in a Mini Size for Smaller Dogs

Proudly Made in Denver Contains Prebiotics, Kelp, and Omega 3 & 6 from Salmon Oil @indigenouspet

www.indigenouspet.com • 844.661.4055


UP FRONT | TECH

Tail-Wagging Tech

Get real-time tracking, escape alerts, health monitoring, custom reminders and a built-in light — all with up to 20 days of battery life — with the Whistle GO Explore Health + Location Tracker. $129.95 plus

Smart gadgets for good pets BY KRISTEN SEYMOUR

subscription, shop.whistle. com

F

rom feeders to litter boxes to toys and more, the pet industry is going high tech. Here's a roundup of some of the most innovative smart products around:

The Petkit Fresh Smart Digital Feeding Bowl has a built-in digital scale, an app that tracks food consumption and can pair with a Petkit Activity Tracker to monitor calories consumed and burned. $42.99,

With a four-way microchip lock, this PetSafe Microchip Entry Cat Door uses radio-frequency identification to read your cat’s microchip or collar so that Fluffy can come and go without welcoming stray friends in. $89.95,

petco.com

chewy.com

PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

Reward good behavior from up to 100 feet away with the touch of a button using the PetSafe Manners Minder Treat & Train Remote Reward Behavior dog trainer. $175, chewy.com

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PET GUIDE 2020


Proud to be odor-free

•7 day odor-free home, guaranteed


UP FRONT | TECH

Day or night, you can keep an eye on your pets when you’re away — and even speak to them — with the Pet-Peeps PetCam Interactive 2-Way Audio Indoor Pet Camera and Monitor. $134.99, overstock.com

Clinically tested musical compositions will help your dog relax. The iCalmDog 5.0 system offers audio programs for all stages of life and every situation. Starting at $49.95, icalmpet.com

The Litter-Robot 3 Connect is a Wi-Fi-enabled, automatic, self-cleaning litter box that’ll give your favorite feline fresh litter for every use — without you needing to scoop a thing. $499.99, litter-robot.com

With preset cleaning cycles that automatically spray, brush and remove tough stains, the Bissell SpotBot Pet Portable Carpet Cleaner makes the ickiest part of pet ownership easy. $179.99,

The iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher dog toy propels balls automatically every time your dog returns one to the device. $115.99, Bed Bath & Beyond

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PET GUIDE 2020

The High Tech Pet Power Automatic Door pairs with an ultrasonic collar so that your pet — and only your pet — can go in and out at will, while you retain full control with four access modes. $419.99, petsmart. com

PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

bestbuy.com


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UP FRONT | TECH

Hair-Raising Robots Vacuums can be run via apps, empty themselves — even serve as pet cams BY JONATHAN CHAN

P

ets are great. Pet hair? Not as great. If you agree, maybe it’s time to get a robot vacuum cleaner designed to keep up with your pet’s constant shedding. These automated devices can be set to run on a schedule, so the only thing you have to do is empty their dust bins. Superior robot vacuums can find their way around a room, root pet hair out of carpet fibers and vacuum it up. Here is Reviewed.com’s list of the five best robot vacuums for pet owners:

$1,166.99, macys.com

iRobot Roomba i7+ Meet the first robot vacuum that can empty itself. A vacuum in the charging base suctions everything out of the bin into a sealable bag. That means you don’t have to see, touch or smell what the iRobot Roomba i7+ collects. Also for your convenience, the Amazon Alexa- and Google Homecompatible i7+ has a host of smart features. $599.99, bestbuy.com

Neato Botvac D7 Connected The Neato Botvac D7 Connected stands as a milestone in robot vacuums. It is the first that you can tell when, how and where to clean — all from your smartphone. The D7’s large wheels and D-shaped design allow it to climb high-pile carpet and get flush against walls. $599.99, Bed Bath & Beyond

PET GUIDE 2020

$999.99, lg.com

Eufy Robovac 11S If dog hair is the furriest thing on your floors, the Eufy RoboVac 11S is worth checking out. The slim design allows the RoboVac to jam its brushes into places where pet hair often gets swept away. This model also boasts quiet operation, so it’s unlikely to irritate your pets. $219.99, eufylife.com

20

LG HOM-BOT Turbo+ CR5765GD Considered the next step in robot vacuums, the LG HOM-BOT Turbo+ does a great job cleaning floors, and it has multiple cameras that you can access anytime through Wi-Fi. It’s the two-for-one deal of onboard cameras pet owners will enjoy: You get a robot vacuum and a mobile pet camera to keep track of your furry loved ones. GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

ECOVACS DEEBOT OZMO 930 Start, stop and schedule cleanup from your phone with just the sound of your voice with the ECOVACS DEEBOT OZMO 930. It’s Amazon Alexa- and Google Assistantcompatible. You can also create virtual barriers — lines you don’t want the vacuum to cross. The opposite is also possible. With a single swipe, the app tells the 930 to go over a certain area multiple times. This feature works really well with high-traffic locations, such as near food bowls.


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UP FRONT | TRENDS

TOP 10 DOG NAMES FOOD-THEMED

1

2

3

4

5

PEPPER

GINGER

KONA

OREO

PEANUT

BELLA

LUNA

LUCY

DAISY

LILY

MAX

CHARLIE

COOPER

BUDDY

ROCKY

FEMALE

MALE

From Rover to Rosé Food-themed pet names trend upward in 2019 STORY BY TRACY SCOTT FORSON ILLUSTRATIONS BY LISA M. ZILKA

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PET GUIDE 2020

E

njoying a nice mocha in the morning or unwinding with a rosé after work are among life’s simple pleasures, especially when Mocha excitedly wags her little tail when you grab the leash and Rosé falls asleep nestled in your lap. Like man’s best friend, food can satisfy, delight and comfort. So, it’s no wonder more pet owners are paying homage to their favorite delectable drinks and dishes by naming their dogs after them, according to Rover.com. “The names we give our pets are a direct reflection of what we care about most, and food-inspired names are no different,” says Kate Jaffe, trends expert at Rover.com, an online resource for pet owners.


6

7

8

9

10

SAMMY (SANDWICH)

COOKIE

MOCHA

SUGAR

BISCUIT

ZOE

LOLA

MOLLY

SADIE

BAILEY

MILO

JACK

BEAR

DUKE

TEDDY

Although no food-themed monikers ranked in the top 20 dog names for 2019, Rover.com researchers noticed a significant uptick in the category: The name Cheerio jumped 65 percent; Kale increased 70 percent, and Rosé skyrocketed 183 percent. Sugar, Bacon, Doughnut and Dumpling all gained in popularity. “One of the most fun trends we’ve seen is the battle between health food names and carb-inspired names. While some pet parents are taking cues from the latest health trends with names including Keto, Kale and Tofu on the rise, many pet parents aren’t willing to give up their greatest indulgences with names like Cupcake, Croissant and Brioche topping this year’s list,” says Jaffe.

THESE THREE PUP NAMES REALLY TOOK OFF:

ROSÉ

CHEERIO

SKYROCKETED

JUMPED

65%

KALE

183%

INCREASED

70%

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UP FRONT | TRENDS

Picture-Perfect Pets These extraordinary animal images are next-level

M

eet Mike Dempsey and Brooks Morrison at a dinner party, and chances are, you’ll be entertained for hours. They may explain that their jobs often involve stunt mats. You may hear about the time they staged a French bulldog’s photo to look as though he was being launched into a basketball hoop. They might share their daydream of customizing a van to look like a dog, so they can drive it around the country as a pet-photography studio on wheels. “To announce that you are a pet photographer is a hilariously great thing to say in a room full of strangers,” says Dempsey. “Everyone wants to hear more.” Since launching their Los Angelesbased company, SUP Dog Photography, in 2018, the longtime buddies have orchestrated loads of wildly creative photo shoots. It’s all thanks to a mix

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PET GUIDE 2020

of fun stunts and Photoshop crafting. In other words, if you’d like a photo of your husky doing a flip off a diving board or your cat hanging onto a ceiling fan by its teeth, they can probably make it happen. So how exactly do they go about snagging these epic shots? “First, we have everyone complete our small questionnaire to give us a better sense of who they are and what they’re looking for. If their cat is constantly hungry, we’ll try to work that into the narrative. If their dog is scared of the garbage disposal, we’ll utilize that knowledge. If the owner is obsessed with movies, we’ll re-create some famous movie moments with them and their pets.” To accomplish precisely the right shot, they have a slew of tricks up their sleeves. For example, if they need a midair shot, they have the pet owner

jump and land on stunt mats or bounce on a trampoline. Or if they aren’t up for that, the owner can lean on a ladder or stool. In post production, those props can easily be removed. At the end of the day, the best photos come about when there’s plenty of collaboration. “Because the images can be a bit more demanding than a quick portrait, it’s always great when the client is even more excited than we are,” says Dempsey. “If you’re down to hang out with us for a few hours and laugh as we figure out how to get a dog to sit on a swing, you’re going to get an awesome photo.” Regardless of the request, the goal is always the same: to create a great memento for the clients to look back on, one that immortalizes their pets in a weird, unforgettable manner. Dempsey and Morrison say they eventually would like to give pups

SUP DOG PHOTOGRAPHY

BY SARAH SEKULA


GETTING THE SHOT J.B. Shepard, owner of Baltimore-based Puptrait Studio, shares his photo-taking tips: 1 For most pups, nothing is more distracting than another dog, even if they have lived together most of their lives. If you can, photograph them separately. 2 Rewarding a pet with treats during shoots is a balancing act. If you give them too many treats too quickly, they’ll never settle enough to grab the shot. Alternatively, if you don’t reward pups consistently or wait too long to deliver, they’ll become dismissive of your offers. 3 Consider having your dog wear or interact with a costume or prop, especially accessories like hats and sunglasses. Some of my favorite costumed shots were taken in the exact moment a hat began to slide off but was frozen in time with a quick shutter speed.

J.B. SHEPARD/PUPTRAIT STUDIO (2); SUP DOG PHOTOGRAPHY

4 Use manual exposure settings. Dogs are one of the few subjects you can photograph that can be completely black or white. When working with furry subjects, what you want to expose are either the finer texture details (white fur) or the sheen details (black fur). But programmable exposure modes tend to struggle with both of these extreme situations as they’re limited to calculating exposures from points or averages.

a full Hollywood photo shoot experience complete with glam squads, wardrobes and stunt teams. Oh, and star trailers and a groomer and customized dog treats. “We’re both into skate culture, too, so we’d love to do more images with pets getting big air.” Terran Bayer, owner of San Diego-based Westway Studio, photographs everything from cats and dogs to horses, guinea pigs, bunnies, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, skinks and even a fish. Clients’ questionnaires describe the animal’s history, personality, favorite activities, allergies and training. For Bayer, most sessions take place outdoors. She collaborates with pet owners ahead of time to decide on the right location. There’s even an option to shoot at a nearby 800-acre ranch where pets and owners can go hiking, off-roading or relax in hammocks

by the lake. After the session, pet parents are invited to the studio to view the best images and choose wall art or photo albums. “The trick is to find what motivates each animal, then use it to get them where they need to go and praise them for a job well done,” says Bayer. Her most memorable moments involve getting really, really dirty. “I’ve been inside cattle food troughs, smushed up against the walls of actual pig pens, have almost been taken out by ocean waves, and I’ve had more run-ins with animal poop than I’d like to admit,” says Bayer, who enjoys photographing animals who don’t typically have training. “I think the funniest are the overly enthusiastic animals, the ones who are so excited that they just wiggle with joy the whole time,” she says. “Working with pets is the absolute best thing in the whole world.”

5 Use harsh light. When you’re trying to pick up fur details, use harsher light to produce harder shadows and make those individual hairs more prominent.

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UP FRONT | EN TERTA INMEN T

Purr-fect Prose Rita Mae Brown’s cat helps her pen mystery series BY MARGARET BURANEN

Sneaky Pie

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PET GUIDE 2020

PROVIDED BY PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

P

et owners do a lot with their animals — exercise, travel, shop, snuggle — but author Rita Mae Brown is well-known for including her cat, Sneaky Pie, in an unusual activity for a feline: They co-author novels. For more than 30 years, Brown and Sneaky Pie have shared credit for writing the Mrs. Murphy Mystery series. The 29th title, Furmidable Foes, will be released May 19. The main animal characters in the series are a sweet corgi, Tee Tucker or just Tucker for short; and two cats: Mrs. Murphy is the clever and sensible tabby, and Pewter is a fluffy gray diva who hates to get her paws wet, but doesn’t want to miss any of the action. The three animals live on a farm near Charlottesville, Va., with their owner, Mary Minor “Harry” Harristeen, and her husband, Fair, an equine vet. The overly curious Harry usually gets too close to dangerous people before realizing she’s in trouble. That’s when the animals team up to rescue her. Wildlife, horses and regional details add to the books’ appeal. Brown says that financial need inspired her to write the first mystery. In 1988, a prolonged writers’ strike eliminated her income from TV writing. “I looked around and saw my cat Sneaky Pie and said, ‘I’ll write about cats because lots of people like them.’” Mrs. Murphy is based on Sneaky Pie, who has since passed on, although she still receives co-author credit. The other animal characters are also inspired by pets Brown has known. She used friends who had been high school sweethearts


Rita Mae Brown and pets

MARY MOTLEY KALERGIS; PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE; HAYLEY OSBORNE

Furmidable Foes as the models for human protagonists Harry and Fair. Did she think her first Mrs. Murphy book, Wish You Were Here, would launch a bestselling series of 20-plus titles? “No, and nobody wanted to publish the first one,” says Brown, who was an established author before Sneaky Pie joined in the fun. “Finally, my agent told the publisher she wouldn’t submit any of my books if they didn’t publish this one.” Maintaining reader interest in an established series can be challenging. Brown says that it’s always tricky deciding how much to explain for new readers without boring existing fans. Cathy Howell, cataloging supervisor at the Lexington Public Library in Kentucky, says that Brown’s books have a large following. “She consistently sells well. Her popularity has not fallen off over the years. When I see that she has a new title coming out, I know that we’ll need to order several copies.” Howell says that mysteries of all types circulate well at the library. Publishers and librarians generally refer to mysteries with animal characters as “cozy mysteries,” which allow readers to get involved solving a case without scenarios that are as brutal and bloody

as they often are in police procedurals and other types of mysteries, Howell adds. Brown, whose love of all kinds of creatures extends beyond the pages of her books, often rescues animals. She currently has one blind and two one-eyed horses. She cares for a disabled dog named Hopalong Cassidy and an abandoned puppy, Nero, who was nursed by a mother cat. Brown has some idea why her Mrs. Murphy mysteries are so popular. “Most people are working so long. I try to give them a bit of laughter, something to take their minds off of their troubles.”

Brown and horse Sherman

A church project goes deadly wrong when a garden seems to produce poisonous plants. Available May 19. $28, Penguin Random House

More Mrs. Murphy titles Whiskers in the Dark Probable Claws A Hiss Before Dying Tall Tail Tail Gait Nine Lives to Die The Litter of the Law Sneaky Pie for President The Big Cat Nap Hiss of Death Cat of the Century Santa Clawed The Purrfect Murder Puss ‘n Cahoots Sour Puss Cat’s Eyewitness Whisker of Evil The Tail of the Tip-Off Catch as Cat Can Claws and Effect Pawing Through the Past Cat on the Scent Murder on the Prowl Murder, She Meowed Pay Dirt Murder at Monticello Rest in Pieces Wish You Were Here

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UP FRONT | EN TERTA INMEN T

Pliés and Pups ‘Dancers & Dogs’ offers the perfect pairing BY LIYA SAVASMAN

P

eople appreciate ballet for its precise positions and graceful choreographed moves. Dogs, on the other hand, personify freedom — wanting little more than to run wild without constraints. That contrast gave St. Louisbased photographers Ian Kreidich and Kelly Pratt, a husband-and-wife team, the idea to take pictures of ballet dancers … posing with dogs. “It was just our little project to start with,” says Pratt of what eventually evolved into the book Dancers & Dogs. “We started out in St. Louis, and then we kind of branched out and after it went

viral, it was just amazing.” Since coming up with the concept in 2017, the pair has traveled to more than 10 cities across the country and photographed 100 dancers and 100 dogs. Fans, who helped fund the project via Kickstarter, became their motivation, Pratt explains. “People were really wanting a book from our project, and really, we just wanted to have a finished piece.” The book features dancers striking graceful poses with canine companions, exhibiting how perfectly two opposites can create something beautiful.

DANCERS & DOGS

A portion of proceeds benefits Stray Rescue in St. Louis. $49.95, dancersanddogs.com

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PET GUIDE 2020


FOCUS YOUR LENS ON BOOKS FEATURING MORE

camera-ready canines:

PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHERS

Award-winning Australian photographer Alex Cearns captures the strength and spirit of 60 wonderfully flawed dogs in Perfect Imperfection: Dog Portraits of Resilience and Love. $19.99, Harper Collins National Geographic photographer Vincent Musi offers a glimpse at several breeds in The Year of the Dogs. The photos are rich in color and character with commentary that may make you laugh or cry. The personality of

each dog — mixed breed, purebred and rescue — flows off the pages. Dog lover or not, you’ll find yourself entertained as you turn each page. $29.95, Chronicle Books Delightful photos accompany heart-tugging true stories of rescued greyhounds in Alex Cearns’ For the Love of Greyhounds: Adopted Greyhounds and their Happy Ever Afters. This book captures the sweet and amusing nature of the breed. A percentage of the book’s proceeds will be donated to rescue organizations. $19.99, Harper Collins

Not only is Canines of San Francisco a collection of cute and humorous dog photos, it is also a tour of the city. Mark Rogers takes you to some of San Francisco’s most iconic landmarks. $25, Weldon Owen In Cool Dogs, Cool Homes: Living in Style With Your Dog, Geraldine James incorporates dogs into stylish homes, demonstrating that fur babies and chic décor can coexist. $29.95, Simon & Schuster

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UP FRONT | EN TERTA INMEN T

Scoob!

Barkbuster Films Dog stars capture the hearts of moviegoers

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ith 2019’s The Art of Racing in the Rain, a live-action remake of Disney’s classic Lady and the Tramp and this year’s Call of the Wild, Scoob! and Clifford the Big Red Dog, it may seem like canines — real and animated — are suddenly taking theaters by storm. But dogs have been darlings of the screen since film’s beginnings, says Robin Ganzert, author of Animal Stars and president and CEO of American Humane, the nonprofit that monitors on-set animal safety to provide the “No Animals Were Harmed” certification.

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“The very first dog to ever appear in a film was a spaniel in (Thomas) Edison’s 40-second film clip when he was experimenting with making a film,” Ganzert says. Made in 1894, the dog had a bit part, watching a man exercise in Athlete With Wand. “The dog was very boring, but I love the fact that there was a dog in the very first film clips.” From there, dog “actors” have had a meteoric rise. Some furry legends include Blair, the collie who starred in the 1905 movie Rescued by Rover, which was the first major role for a dog in film and resulted

ILLUSTRATION: DAVID HYDE; WARNER BROS. PICTURES

BY AMY SINATRA AYRES


The Art of Racing in the Rain

K.C. BAILEY/DISNEY; DOANE GREGORY; SMITHSONIAN

Lady and the Tramp

in the name Rover remaining ubiquitous to this day; Jean the Vitagraph Dog, a collie who starred alongside Helen Hayes in silent films in the early 1900s; and Rin Tin Tin, the German shepherd credited with financially saving the Warner Bros. movie studio with the successful film series, and who nearly won an Oscar, Ganzert says. “Rin Tin Tin actually made a little bit of movie history, a little bit of a scandal,” Ganzert says. “In 1929, he received the most votes for best actor, but Academy Awards members did not want to be seen as less than serious. So, they didn’t give the votes to the dog. … That just goes to show how much people have loved dogs since the very beginning of film.” What makes dog movies so successful? “Who doesn’t love a cute story with dogs or animals?” asks Nicole Ellis, a certified

professional dog trainer with Rover.com and author of Working Like a Dog. “They are heartwarming and often connect to us, as most animal movies involve a bond between a dog and someone or something. I personally am always rooting for the dog in any movie I watch.” Ellis’ own dogs have worked in movies and television. Dog movies have evolved over the years, with 1974’s Benji creating “an incredible awareness of shelter dogs,” says Ganzert, and prompting adoptions all over the world, while the 2015 dog movie Max “really educated so many people about the importance of military working dogs and what they do for people,” she says. “We are seeing more and more dogs who are heroes and play an important helping role such as military and service >

American Icon Rin Tin Tin pin at the National Museum of American History

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Up

TOP DOGS If there were such a thing as an Oscars for dogs, these five canine roles would prove worthy. Here’s a USA TODAY ranking of the best dog performances on the big screen:

Lassie

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dog star. “It’s great to see generations moved ... to embrace the healing power of the human-animal bond and the important role that man’s best friends play in our lives,” Ganzert says. “I believe ... that dogs make us better humans, and that’s why I think film and entertainment just really shows us that.” l

Dug from Up: Dug is the best movie dog because Dug is basically your dog. At least, that’s what it felt like when Pixar gave a voice to all your best friend’s little quirks. “I hid under your porch because I love you” and “Squirrel!” really feel like sentiments your dog thinks, and that’s why you love him/her.

2

Marley from Marley & Me: Marley (sob) is great (sob). He’s cute (sob) and loyal (sob) and we miss him (sob) very much.

3

Beethoven from Beethoven: The perfect balance of adorable and mischievous, the Saint Bernard helps a family through growing pains.

4

Buddy from Air Bud: He can play basketball. Buddy does not need more to make him great. You hear that, all you sequels where he played football and whatnot? Basketball was enough.

5

Hercules, aka The Beast from The Sandlot: One of the most misunderstood dogs in movie history just really liked baseballs. Especially priceless ones signed by Babe Ruth. Plus, he was better as a team mascot than “The Beast.” Old Yeller

— Kelly Lawler

ILLUSTRATION: DAVID HYDE; BOB GREENE/PARAMOUNT; DISNEY (2)

dogs, such as in Megan Leavey — with the military working dog, Rex — and the movie Max,” Ellis says. And last year, Brandy, Brad Pitt’s character’s patient and heroic dog in the Oscarnominated Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, nearly stole the show — and potentially helped a breed that’s often maligned, Ganzert says. “I really loved the fact that a pit bull has such center stage” in the film, she says. In fact, the four-legged actress won the movie’s only award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, the Palm Dog Award. Still, the classics maintain a stronghold on the hearts of dog lovers. In a 2016 national American Humane poll, the 1957 Disney movie Old Yeller was the favorite animal family movie of all time; the 1989 Tom Hanks movie Turner & Hooch was the favorite animal buddy movie, and the legendary collie Lassie, whose first movie debuted in 1943, was named favorite

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Penny

wearing the Sophisticated Pup Ruffle Coat

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haute

HOUNDS Are canine clothes a good fit for your pooch? BY KAREN ASP

FETCH PORTRAITS/SOPHISTICATED PUP

T

here was a time when the essentials of food and shelter were all owners felt compelled to provide for their dogs, but things have changed. With more people considering their pets members of the family, today’s pups are getting the royal treatment, which may mean dressing them in fine fashions. This is an obvious shift from a few decades ago when dressing a dog in a sweater or a coat would have raised a few eyebrows. “When I started my company in 2003 and began walking my dog in a sweatshirt, I was viewed as a freak of nature,” says Dara Foster, CEO and founder of New York Citybased PupStyle, a brand of products for and about pets. “It was shocking, odd and new.” Today, dogs are adopted for more than just finishing table scraps or guarding the home. According to recent American Pet Products Association data, nearly 60 percent of dog owners surveyed consider their pet like a child or relative. Spending reflects that, with pet parents shelling out about $75 billion on their fur babies in 2019. That’s a $30 billion increase over 10 years. So, it’s not surprising that clothing is now part of the pet product industry, and pups are being dressed in top fashions by leading designers and brands, including Ralph Lauren and Burberry. Designing or selling garments for dogs doesn’t come without challenges, and there are certainly questions that pop up when fashion extends beyond functionality, namely if it’s OK to dress up your dog. Because your dog can’t answer that question, experts weigh in. >

60% OF DOG OWNERS

consider their pet to be like a child or relative

$75 BILLION

spent by pet parents on their fur babies in 2019

$30 BILLION

increase spent on pets over 10 years

SOURCE: American Pet Products Association


haute

HOUNDS Designing for Dogs

modeling the Teddy Sweater by Tustus, available at Sir Dogwood

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Beatrix

modeling the Teddy Hoodie by Tustus, available at Sir Dogwood

searching for dogwear with a similar level of style and design quality they look for in their own clothing,” she says. When she chooses clothing for the site, she’s inspired by garments and accessories she’s never seen before. Well-made pieces with amusing patterns or unusual elements always catch her eye. Although Olajide is not a designer, she is creating a Sir Dogwood-branded line available later this year. You don’t have to be a designer, though, to figure out what the biggest challenge in dog fashion is: nailing the sizes. Just like people, dogs come in different shapes and body types. Not only are there variations within a breed, there can also be variations at certain weights. “An English bulldog and lab might both weigh 50 pounds, but their bodies look nothing alike,” O’Hollaren says. Couple that with the fact that — unlike the human fashion industry — there are no industry size standards for dogs, so a large in one brand could be a medium in another. That’s one

reason you’ll often find things like Velcro straps on dog clothing. “Adjustability is key to getting the right fit,” O’Hollaren says. Because of this sizing challenge, the options may not be as plentiful for large dogs. “It’s a myth that only small dog owners are interested in pet fashion,” Olajide says, adding that people with pit bulls, Great Danes and other large breeds have purchased clothing from her store. “Yet many brands only offer their clothing in small sizes, which can make it more difficult to clothe larger dogs.” Although she carries some garments for dogs up to 130 pounds, she plans to address size inclusivity with her new line. Pet parents who shop at Sir Dogwood’s website will find instructions on how to measure their dogs for the perfect fit. Designers also need to keep safety in mind. “You have to design products for dogs like you would for babies,” Foster says. That means pet fashion designers have to exclude anything that can pose a hazard.

SIR DOGWOOD

Arnie & Marv

It’s one thing to design fashions for humans who can provide feedback, but it’s different when your client can’t share likes or dislikes. That’s why many designers look to human fashion for inspiration. Michelle O’Hollaren, owner and designer of Sophisticated Pup in Chicago, let her own sense of style be her guide. When O’Hollaren created her business in 2006, she focused almost exclusively on extravagant dog coats. One of her favorite designs was a ruffle coat, inspired not by her pug, but her own tastes. “I was wearing a similar coat I really liked, so I created a version for dogs,” she says. Chaz Olajide, founder of Sir Dogwood, an online retailer headquartered in Chicago that sells dogwear and accessories, started her business because she was so disappointed by the lack of modern, well-designed pet clothing available. “I launched Sir Dogwood as an alternative online destination for pet parents


ILLUSTRATIONS: DAVID HYDE

Is Your Dog Fit for Fashion? You might think your pooch looks adorable in the latest fashions, but do dogs really want to wear clothes? Many garments serve a purpose and aren’t solely a fashion statement. Consider raincoats, which have become the new pet essential. “They keep your dog dry and clean, which means less cleanup when you get home,” Foster says. There are also collars, leashes and coats with LED lights to increase dogs’ visibility and sweaters to keep them warm. But what if you are dressing purely for fashion? Does your dog care? After 20 years in this business, Foster has a theory. “I don’t think dogs understand that they’re wearing clothes,” she says. Dogs might enjoy it because their humans do. Owners may smile or exude positive energy while dressing their pets, and “dogs read these social cues.” There may be a selfish reason, too. “We dress our dogs because it makes us feel good and gives us a way to share our love for our dog and maybe show off their personality,” says Kristen Levine, a pet living expert in Tarpon Springs, Fla. “If dogs don’t seem to mind it and — even better — if they enjoy it, it’s OK for them to wear clothing.” She recommends choosing a color or fabric that complements your dog’s coat, length and personality. That being said, not every dog is a fan. To acclimate dogs to the idea, O’Hollaren recommends introducing them to clothing as soon as you can, preferably as a puppy. Yet, if you notice any signs that your dog is unhappy, uncomfortable or afraid of

wearing clothes — for instance, your dog seems anxious, runs from you, cowers or pouts when you get out a piece of clothing, or you notice changes in body language or personality — your dog probably isn’t a good candidate, Levine says. If your dog doesn’t exhibit any of these signs, it might be OK to experiment with canine clothing. As you do, give treats so your dog associates the clothing with something positive, Foster says. You can always test the waters by starting with something relatively minor like a bandana, Olajide adds. When you graduate to clothing, leave it on for short periods of time at first. Avoid pieces that affect your dog’s movement or rub or compress them. “Be sure your dog can easily breathe, bark, wag, walk, run and eliminate while wearing the gear,” Levine says.

Even more importantly, consider the climate so that your dog doesn’t overheat. “Think first about where you live and what season it is, and dress your dog just as you would a kid,” Foster says. If you’re in 80-degree weather, putting your dog in a hooded sweatshirt isn’t a good idea. Finally, evaluate your dog’s lifestyle. “If your pup is a nature enthusiast who can’t get enough of muddy puddles and squirrel chasing, a cute scarf or sassy collar charm is a better fit than a cashmere sweater,” Olajide says. So, what might the future of dog fashion bring? Expect to see an increase in sustainable fashion, vegan collars and leash styles, Olajide says. According to Foster, the next trend may be clothes that keep your dog comfy while she watches TV and enjoys afternoon naps: leisurewear. l

“Be sure your dog can easily breathe, bark, wag, walk, run and eliminate while wearing the gear.” — KRISTEN LEVINE, pet living expert

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HOUNDS

Fashions for Fido Outfit your dog in these stylish designs

Reverse the satin two-for-one F&R for VP Pets Windbreaker Baseball Jacket for a quilted bomber-style look. Starting at $12.50, vanderpumppets.com

Modeled after a riding coat, The Mackintosh boasts water-resistant fabric, a color-coordinated lining and gold buckle making it the perfect raincoat for your pup. Available in four colors. $30, caninecouturecollection.com

Your pup will be a trendsetter in this Louis Dog Lace Tunic with Italian cotton and Japanese embellishments. $106,

Try the cotton Lazy Crocodile tank or tee from And Blank, each available in five sizes. Starting at $25, sirdogwood.com

These Frisco Dinosaur Print jersey pajamas are lightweight and perfect for dogs or cats. $9.99 to $13.99, chewy.com

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PET GUIDE 2020

Keep your canine cozy and warm in any city with this Chicago Style Dog navy hoodie with orange letters. $31.99,

The Academy coat from the Canine Couture Collection pays homage to members of the military who love dogs. $55,

sophisticatedpup.com

caninecouturecollection.com

PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES; GETTY IMAGES

poshpuppyboutique.com


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VANDERPUMP DOGS

L IS A WITH FU RRY FRIEN D S

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PET GUIDE 2020


ANIMAL MENAGERIE HELPS REALITY TV STAR AND ENTREPRENEUR LISA VANDERPUMP ENJOY LIFE BY ALLISON W. ENTREKIN

GETTY IMAGES

isa Vanderpump hardly has time to breathe. The executive producer and star of Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules owns five restaurants in two states, a wine company, a lighting collection, a dog boutique and an animal-rescue center. Heck, she even has her own line of emojis. But as busy as she is, ask Vanderpump about the pets she shares with her husband, Ken Todd, and she has all the time in the world to stop and talk. “We have six dogs, and each one is so important to us,” she says. >

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HUSB AND KEN TODD & LISA

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“Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” that Binky had spent most of her life in a cage, Vanderpump took the dog to Villa Rosa, her sprawling Beverly Hills estate, in an attempt to cheer the pooch up. “Of course, I realized I couldn’t part with her,” Vanderpump says. Her two golden retrievers, Rumpy and Avery, are an inseparable pair that love to roam Villa Rosa’s grounds. And Schnooky, a cocker spaniel, “is just (a) bad little dog,” Vanderpump laughs. “He’s the worst behaved of all of them. He’s very beautiful, and he acts like it.” Vanderpump acknowledges that many people think having six dogs is a lot — ”but to us, it’s nothing,” she says. As a child growing up in London, she always wanted dogs, but her parents’ busy work schedules only allowed for cats. Now that she has her own menagerie of canines, she says she and Todd happily do the dirty work themselves. “Like cleaning up poop,” she laughs.

VANDERPUMP DOGS; GETTY IMAGES

FIRST OF ALL, THERE’S GIGGY, a Pomeranian who frequently appears with Vanderpump on her reality show and has more than 24,000 Instagram followers. Due to a heart condition, Giggy must stay wrapped in warm clothing at all times and rarely leaves Vanderpump’s side. “We monitor him constantly to make sure he’s well and fit,” she says. Then there’s Puffy, a rescue Pomeranian who joins Giggy in Vanderpump’s light-pink bed each night. Like Giggy, Puffy goes practically everywhere with his owner, be it a trip to Las Vegas or around the block. Binky is a wheaten terrier that Vanderpump rescued through her own center. After hearing


VANDERPUMP DOGS; GETTY IMAGES

“And it’s worth it — they offer such wonderful companionship and round out our lives with unconditional love.” Between owning a rescue center and adopting dogs herself, Vanderpump says she’s convinced that animals placed in forever homes understand they’ve been given a second chance. “I do think they know and are grateful,” she says. “They very much embrace their new life.” In the case of Vanderpump’s dogs, that life includes running around with other animals of all varieties: two miniature horses (named Diamonds and Rosé), four swans and a retired show horse named Prince Tardon. Vanderpump explains she’s up early in the mornings to feed all the animals and late at night to put the horses back in their barns, but to her, it doesn’t feel like work. In fact, one of her favorite ways to relax is to exercise Prince Tardon with a ride next to the Los Angeles River. “I’ve been blessed to have a horse before, but I’ve never had a horse like him,” she says. “He is just so beautiful and smart. I’ve taught him to talk. People think that’s ridiculous, but he speaks to me.” Even with so many animals in her care, Vanderpump says she’d love to have more, including rabbits, and perhaps cats. But she worries about the large hawks that come onto her property, so for now, she’s content with her current little zoo. Besides, she has quite a few other obligations vying for her time. She regularly travels to Las Vegas to check on Vanderpump Cocktail Garden, her upscale lounge concept, and she’s a regular fixture at her four Los Angeles-area eateries: Villa

Blanca in Beverly Hills and TomTom, PUMP and SUR in West Hollywood. While all are popular, SUR is perhaps the busiest due to the fact that Vanderpump Rules, a spinoff of sorts of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, centers around the lives and loves of its staff. Fans of the show from all over the world come to see SUR for themselves, which can make it challenging for Vanderpump to get any work done. “I can’t walk farther than six feet without somebody saying, ‘Lisa, can I take a picture with you?’” she says. “It’s actually quite difficult to go around and do your daily business.” Vanderpump says that while she had no doubt her reality show, which just wrapped its eighth season, would be successful (“I try not to associate myself with failure”), she never could have anticipated what a pop-culture phenomenon it would become. Since its debut >

THE VANDERPUMP DOG FOUNDATION helps rescue and rehabilitate homeless dogs. For details, visit vanderpumpdogs. org

VANDERPUMP DOGS RESCUE CENTER, BOUTIQUE & CAFE

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VANDERPUMP DOGS INTERIOR

VANDERPUMP CUSTOMER

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“(Our pets) offer such wonderful companionship and round out our lives with unconditional love.” her to her fans, it’s animal rights. “Wherever I go, people will say to me, ‘Thank you for what you do for the dogs,’” she says. And what she does for the dogs is significant. In 2016, Vanderpump learned about China’s annual Lychee and Dog Meat Festival in Yulin, during which thousands of dogs are tortured and slaughtered for food. “I’ll never forget her reaction,” says John Sessa, executive director of the Vanderpump Dog Foundation. “She went into a cold sweat and started crying.” Vanderpump vowed to use her fame to raise awareness of the issue, and her efforts led to the creation of a documentary about the festival and passage

GETTY IMAGES; VANDERPUMP DOGS

in 2013, Vogue has called it “America’s perfect reality show,” and it has been nominated for two MTV Movie & TV Awards and two People’s Choice Awards in the reality-show category. “I think the key is that it’s about an authentic group of people whose lives are intertwined. It isn’t a manufactured show,” she says. Audiences are also drawn to Vanderpump herself. Despite her Rolls-Royce and oversized baubles, her wicked sense of humor and passion for causes such as LGBTQ rights, foster parenting and suicide prevention make her relatable. But if there’s one cause that has most endeared

VANDERPUMP PETS MERCHANDISE


GETTY IMAGES; VANDERPUMP DOGS

DOGS P RO V ID E A FEEL - G O O D FA C TO R

of a congressional resolution calling for an end to the cat- and dog-meat industry. “We were able to get the ear of Congress, and once you have the ear of Congress, you can make change happen,” Vanderpump says. The Vanderpump Dog Foundation helps rescue and rehabilitate homeless dogs; since 2016, it has placed 1,300 of them in permanent homes. The nonprofit is partially funded by proceeds from the adjoining Vanderpump Pets boutique and grooming parlor, which offers beautification services, a retail shop with Vanderpump Dogbranded items and even a bakery

for dog lovers. “There’s definitely a feel-good factor,” Vanderpump says. “People come in to sit on the couch and work on their computer with a cup of coffee and a puppy on their lap.” But it’s not all cuddles and coos. Maintaining a rescue center and puppy boutique can be messy work, and Sessa says Vanderpump doesn’t leave it to others to do the less glamorous jobs. “People see her with her perfect hair and perfect makeup, but what they don’t see behind the scenes is her cleaning up dog poop and washing her hands and then smiling for the cameras,” Sessa says. “It’s a juggling act for sure.” Is it one she can continue to maintain? “Oh, my God, yes,” Vanderpump laughs. “Some people don’t understand. They’ll say, ‘Can you be doing all this?’ And yes, it can be difficult balancing my time. But luckily, restaurants are a passion for me. Design is a passion. Dogs are a passion. So as long as I fill my days with jobs I love doing, it’s as I say: ‘Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ ” In fact, you might even find time to pause, talk about your animals and smile at the happiness they bring. l

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Adventurous

ANIMALS K ICK E R + A NDREW 4- ye a r - o l d go l d e n ret reiver PA R K C IT Y, U TAH

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These intrepid dogs and cats are living their best lives

ANDREW MUSE

I

BY SARAH SEKULA

f you follow Kicker the dog on Instagram (@kickerdogmuse), you know he isn’t the type of golden retriever who is content solely with a game of fetch, a quick trip to the park or hanging his head out the car window. He seems to be most in his element when tearing down Alaskan slopes on a snowboard, kiteboarding in Oregon or ice climbing in Utah. “Kicker has been psyched on adventure from the moment I got him at about 8 weeks old,” says his owner, Andrew Muse. “I plopped him down in the snow when we first got home, and he started going crazy running around. I’ve made certain that every time I introduce him to something new that he’s safe, comfortable and happy. Because of that, he trusts me with pretty much any activity.” Fast forward to age 4 and Kicker has >

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OL L I E 7 - ye a r - o l d te r r i e r m ix TO K E T E E FA L L S, O R E .

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OLLI E + ST EP H E N MO UN T S N E FFE LS , CO LO.

fearlessly chased down more wild experiences than most humans likely will in a lifetime. Take foilboarding behind a boat, for example. It’s like wakeboarding, but the board has a hydrofoil attached to the bottom, which raises it several feet off the surface of the water. Been there, done that. Kicker also has been rope swinging from an arch in Utah. Those are just some of the adventures checked off his — or his owner’s — bucket list. He’s also mastered paragliding (in his own climbing-grade harness, of course) and kiteboarding. Ultimately, though, Muse thinks Kicker’s favorite activity is backcountry snowboarding. “He gets to use all his senses and just be free,” he explains. “Kicker picks up all our adventures so quickly; it’s amazing.”

STEPHEN MARTIN

THESE DOGS PUT LASSIE TO SHAME His long list of outdoor pursuits is so unusual that people around the world are taking notice. In fact, he’s racked up nearly 67,000 followers on Instagram. This begs the question: How exactly did this all begin? How did Muse coax his dog into fully embracing these escapades? A lot of it, he says, comes down to training. Above all, you need to be able to keep your pup safe. So, having him listen intently and take direction well is crucial. Beyond that, a good adventure dog is one who is in tip-top physical shape and has an adventurous spirit. “Kicker is a far

superior athlete than I am at this point,” says Muse. “Everyone always comments how muscular he is.” It’s equally important not to push your dog too far and to only bring your pet on adventures that you have already mastered. If you aren’t in complete control on skis or a snowboard, for instance, don’t bring your dog along; the pup can be seriously injured with one wrong move. “Make sure to have the proper gear, such as climbing-grade harnesses or life jackets for adventures on the water,” says Muse.

“Always have enough water for your pup, and bring snacks for longer adventures because they burn energy and get hungry as well. The biggest thing is just make sure you’re set up so that you’re not putting yourself or your pup at risk.” Likewise, none of this works out well if you and your dog aren’t exercising patience. Just ask Stephen Martin, a Colorado photographer who summits 14,000-foot mountain peaks with his 7-year-old terrier mix, Ollie (@explorewithollie). For them, waking up at 3:30 a.m. and conquering these treks >

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HOW TO P RE P YO UR PET

“Test their paws. Test their patience. Test their packs, the amount of food and water they’ll need, and just their overall ability to tackle more difficult environments. Dogs are resilient. They will push themselves through just about anything to be right next to you, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need to train and be prepared, too.”

“Cats are adventurous by nature. The point is to find out if they’re willing to enjoy the outdoors with their humans, on a leash. Some do. Others don’t; it’s a matter of cat personality. Cats are both very curious and very lazy. It takes much time and patience. The most important rule is: safety first. Don’t take your cat to places that are unknown to you, be always aware of the possible dangers (like unleashed dogs) and don’t engage in activities in which you’re just a beginner.”

— Stephen Martin

— Alessia Sapori

F O R DO G S:

OA HU, H AWAI I

is a common occurrence. So far, they’ve summited 38 peaks of at least 14,000 feet (14ers). But, of course, it didn’t happen overnight. Neither did the robust number of Ollie's Instragram followers, which is now more than 21,000. “When we first started out on adventures when Ollie was young and still learning our training cues, he would bolt up and down the trail using a lot of his energy quickly,” says Martin. “It only took him a few hikes to figure out that this wasn’t going to work when we are doing a 14-plus mile 14er. He quickly started slowing down and pacing himself off me more so as to

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conserve his energy for the long haul.” For these two, it was all about baby steps. Martin was new to hiking, just like Ollie. “We worked up the mileage and time on the trail in steady increments,” says Martin. “We hiked 2 miles, then 4, then 6. Then we went back to 2 miles again, but at a higher elevation. If your goal is to hike a 14er with your dog, you need to test both you and your pup’s limits by putting in the miles. Many 14ers can be over 6 miles round trip, and that’s at elevation. Don’t take the lack of oxygen and elements in the mountains lightly.” Overall, the rewards are beyond worth it for Martin. “Cresting the

summit of a huge mountain just in time to watch the sunrise along the horizon are some of the most exhilarating moments I have ever experienced, and I know Ollie feels the same,” says Martin. “To see him sit atop his accomplishment, bask in the sun as it brings warmth to us both, looking over the mountain ranges just overflowing with happiness and joy, there is just nothing like it.”

FELINES ARE GETTING IN ON THE ACTION When you think epic excursions, cats don’t instantly come to mind. And swimming through salt water off the

ALESSIA SAPORI

HO K U L E 'A + ALESSIA 2½ - ye a r - o l d d o me s t ic s h or t h air mix

F O R CATS :


ANNEKA RAINS

coast of Honolulu is certainly one activity that most cats would abhor. But not Hokule’a (@hokuleathe surfingcat). When Alessia Sapori and her boyfriend adopted this shy kitty, he started following them everywhere, even into the shower. “He likes very warm showers, especially after playing out in the rain,” she says. “He doesn’t mind the water at all and, yes, we were very surprised.” It dawned on his owners, who are avid surfers, that Hoku (who now has an Instagram audience of nearly 5,000) might want to paddle out into the ocean with them on a board. Turned out, he trusted them completely and sat still on the board just like he does on the couch. He is perfectly happy surfing 2-foot waves as long as not many people or dogs are around. When there are no waves to catch, Hoku just sits (or snoozes) on the board, basking in the Hawaiian sun. He’s even OK on a board by himself if the ocean is flat, and a typical surf session for him lasts about 30 minutes, as long as it’s not windy. He hates wind. “Once he makes a specific meow sound, we know it’s time to go back to the beach,” Sapori says. “Then we rinse off the salt from his fur with his warm solar shower and give him lunch.” That’s just how he rolls. And if you think his adventurous spirit is an anomaly, you’d be wrong. Search Instagram for #adventurecats, and you’ll

M OOSE 2-ye ar-o l d S ibe rian S KY KO MIS H, WAS H.

DU CKI E 8-m o nth-o l d to rto ise she l l S N O Q UALMIE PASS , WAS H.

see more than 200,000 photos of cats accompanying their humans on outdoor excursions. Think camping, climbing boulders, trekking through the snow or jogging. You name it, there’s likely a cat that’s attempted it. Anneka Rains and Ryanne Cando can attest to that. They discovered their cats, Moose (@moosetheadventurecat) and Duckie, have a fondness for trekking the trails near their Seattle home. “Moose (a 2-year-old Siberian) once walked an entire 8-mile hike without us picking him up — though it took eight hours to complete, since he’s slow,” says Rains. “But he’s also ridden on our shoulders for entire hikes. During our snowshoeing adventures, he doesn’t walk as much because the sound of the snowshoes scares him.” Duckie, their 8-month-old tortoiseshell cat, on the other hand, is still an explorer-intraining. At her age, it’s too cold for her to walk on hikes. So, she gets bundled up in a blanket and carried for now. Just having Duckie along is a good start. Some say the key to getting a pet to approach adventure with gusto is to start early. Rains started both cats at about 8 weeks old. And Kicker and Ollie tackled adventures at a young age, too. However, Rains has heard success stories with cats as old as 12. The good news: After you get your pets hooked, they will most likely be your unflappable sidekicks for life. l

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W EL C OME

Cafés and breweries catering to dogs and their humans offer pet ownership on the menu

GETTY IMAGES; @REALHAPPYDOGS

BY QUINISHA JACKSON-WRIGHT

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PET GUIDE 2020


ROBERT DEUTSCH/USA TODAY (4); CANDY PILAR GODOY

andy Pilar Godoy loves to visit dog cafés with her rescue pups Marcelo and Boogie. She regularly visits them in her native New York City, where Boris & Horton, known as the first dogfriendly café in the city, opened in 2018. Unlike many cat cafés, where people visit to interact with felines that live on the premises — most of which are up for adoption — the dogs at Boris & Horton are brought in by their owners. However, adoption and fostering events are held on weekends, says Logan Mikhly, who co-owns the business with father Coppy Holzman. Holzman says he and Mikhly came up with the concept after seeing dogs tied up outside coffee shops while their owners were inside sipping lattes and cappuccinos. “We both like to drink coffee, and we both like dogs,” says Holzman. “We would go to places, and one of us would have to stay outside while the other went in. And so we said it would be great if there was a place where we could bring our dogs inside and hang out.” Since it opened, Boris & Horton has helped place more than >

B OR IS & HOR T ON

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400 dogs in homes, primarily partnering with Muddy Paws Rescue, Foster Dogs and Animal Care Centers, says Mikhly. “I love cafés in general,” says Godoy. “Sitting and drinking a cup of coffee is always pleasurable, but being able to do it with my dog at my side is the cherry on top.” Godoy says what she enjoys most is the fun, safe space where she and her dogs can interact with other dog owners. Café patrons often exchange helpful information, such as the best local vets, fun parks and upcoming social events, including crafting classes, trivia nights and

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“doga” (dog yoga) classes. Godoy has even hosted a few pug meetups at Boris & Horton, where owners and their pups got to enjoy dog- (and human-) friendly cupcakes. With the blessing of the city’s health department, dog owners are able to buy their refreshments — either at an inside counter or, with their pooches at their side, at a street-side kiosk — and then carry them into the doggie den. On one side is a small group of tables, while on the other is canine-themed merchandise. Like Holzman and Mikhly, Natassa Contini,

owner of Château Le Woof, a pet market and café in Astoria, N.Y., noticed the lack of petfriendly establishments in her city. “I had a pit bull, and I would walk the dog looking for (a pet-friendly coffee shop) in the neighborhood, but there was nothing around,” Contini recalls. “I had a dream about (a dog café business). The next morning, I looked at my then-partner and said, ‘Hey, a dog café!’ He asked, ‘What would you name it?’ The first thing that came out of my mouth was ‘Château Le Woof.’” In 2015, she opened

Château Le Woof near her home with hopes that locals would show interest. They did, with business growing so rapidly that in 2018, she relocated her store to a 2,500-square-foot space. There are two spaces to the venue — one where customers can enjoy brunch, and the other with a dog play area. “We also offer dog walking services, as well as grooming,” Contini says. “We built in a French-themed dog salon on the dog side where the groomer runs his own business within my business.” Contini says she has learned valuable

CHÂTEAU LE WOOF

CH ÂT E AU L E W OOF


SCOTT PORTER; GETTY IMAGES

lessons about what patrons are looking for in a dog café. Rather than simply having a space to drink coffee and work quietly, she says many pet owners come to Château Le Woof for a sense of community. “People want to go to a place where they’re comfortable, relaxed and welcome,” she says. “In my location, the bonds we’ve created have been incredible. People become friends and get to know one another. It’s not a coffee shop where they’re stuck on their laptops or phones.” Coffee drinkers aren’t the only people interested in spending time with dogs while they dine. Scott Porter reasoned that beers pair well with beagles and boxers. He’s the owner of Fido’s in Tigard, Ore., which is known as the “world’s first dog tap house.” After visiting a local cat café with his son, Porter observed there were quite a few restrictions on interacting with the cats, some of which had been noted in dissatisfied patrons’ Yelp reviews. “People were naïve about cats. They paid to go in and play with the cats, but

F ID O’S

the cats just want to be left alone,” notes Porter, a longtime entrepreneur. “My son said, ‘If they just had dogs, it wouldn’t be a problem.’ I put all this together with my interest in taprooms and (the idea for a dog tap house) hit me.” Porter faced several challenges to comply with local building codes, as most didn’t allow for a hybrid food and pet-focused establishment. After many meetings with local city and health department officials, he finally completed the paperwork, and Fido’s opened to the public in February 2018. While Fido’s mission is to create an environment that helps place dogs in loving homes, many customers are initially attracted to the food and beverages. The tap house offers 40 different craft beers, with a mankind menu that offers pretzels, flatbread and pulled pork. Dogs can dine on pulled pork and sausage. There’s also a room where customers can visit with Fido’s rescue dogs that live on the premises. Running such a specialized business is no easy feat, but Porter says it’s been worthwhile. He’s met new people within the beer industry and through local charities, many of whom volunteer their time with rescue dogs. “It amazes me how much time people dedicate to a cause they love,” says Porter, who gets sentimental each time a foster dog finds a new home. Since Fido’s opening, 72 dogs have been adopted. The process includes a mandatory three-day wait to ensure an applicant’s decision is not influenced by one too many craft beers. “The final adoption day is extremely rewarding,” says Porter. “I cry almost every time a dog goes home with a family.” l — USA TODAY writer Matthew Diebel contributed to this article.

Doggie Dining Whether out on the patio or indoors, more establishments across the nation are creating dog-friendly spaces. These locations are sure to be fun for your furry friends: Bring your pup to the patio at Art & Soul in Washington, D.C., where the dog menu offers sirloin and nonalcoholic beer. At Perk-N-Pooch in Sandy Springs, Ga., customers can groom their dogs while enjoying a cup of joe. For an entrance fee, guests of The Dog Cafe in Los Angeles can spend time with pups who are available for adoption or fostering. PG & J’s Dog Bar in Louisville, Ky., is an indooroutdoor, off-leash dog park where pets and owners can kick back, interact and grab a drink. “Pour a cup. Fetch a friend,” is the motto at the Jacksonville Dog Cafe in Florida, a truck that travels around the town and has facilitated more than a dozen adoptions. You and your dog can “sit, stay and play” together at Wag & Brew in Alexandria, Va. A self-described resort, pets and owners can enjoy free puppy playtime daily and $5 Sunday Playday. 55


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PET GUIDE

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ADVICE 72

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Puppy Love

Dogs’ companionship may extend humans’ lives and improve their mental health, studies suggest.

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HEALTH

Dose of Doggie Studies show canines help boost owners’ physical and mental health BY ADRIANNA RODRIGUEZ AND JAYNE O’DONNELL

A

at studies published from 1950 to May 2019 that evaluated dog ownership and its association to mortality. The research included 10 studies that yielded data from more than 3 million participants. By walking a dog 20 to 30 minutes a day, owners meet the American Heart Association’s recommended weekly activity of 150 minutes of moderate exercise to improve overall cardiovascular health, says Keith Ferdinand, a professor at Tulane University School of Medicine. According to Ferdinand, who was not involved in the

GETTY IMAGES

ttention, dog owners: Your furry friend could extend your lifespan, and not just because those daily walks mean you’re feeding your Fitbit. In a 2019 study, scientists found that dog owners were likely to live longer than those who didn’t have dogs. They had a 24 percent risk reduction for death from any cause, according to the study published by Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Heart Association. The meta-analysis looked

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study, dogs address multiple factors that contribute to cardiovascular diseases, including mental and physical health. “Having a family pet may assist a person with managing stress, increasing activity and decreasing isolation and loneliness,” Ferdinand says. Dogs’ need for daily constitutionals is a benefit for many owners, and so is their seemingly endless

capacity to offer affection and companionship, which can positively affect mental well-being. “When we think about loneliness, we need attachment figures, and pets meet that need,” says Nancy Gee, human-animal interaction research manager at the Mars Petcare Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, who notes that showing other people pictures of your pet and

Having a family pet may assist a person with managing stress, increasing activity and decreasing isolation and loneliness.” — KEITH FERDINAND, professor, Tulane University School of Medicine

talking to your dog are both typical and healthy behaviors. Hugs and kisses aren’t the only ways pets can help stave off loneliness. They’re sometimes magnets that draw people together. Nearly 55 percent of respondents say their pet helps them connect with other people, and 51 percent say their pets make them “feel less shy,” according to research presented at a Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Companion Animals summit by Mars Petcare and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute last May. It remains to be seen whether pets make people healthier or if healthier people are more likely to own pets, says former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who spoke

at the conference last year. He suggests that you don’t have to own a pet to reap the rewards of their companionship and affection. It’s “worth investing in the research” to better understand how interaction and ownership affect health. Kelly Schulte of Highland Park, Texas, isn’t surprised by the findings. Her dogs are “never mad or bitter” and really curb her anxiety, she says. Her small rescue dog, Karma, helped her recover from a recent surgery and follows her around like, well, “a puppy dog.” “My dog is always there for me and brightens my day,” says Schulte. “I never feel lonely at home because she is always by my side. Before I got her, I felt lonely a lot.”

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Carefree Kisses Proactive health care protects everyone BY AMY SINATRA AYRES

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aking your pets to the veterinarian regularly not only helps keep them well — it may keep you and your human family healthy, too. “One of the reasons we vaccinate pets is actually to protect people as well,” says veterinarian Andrea Sanchez of Banfield Pet Hospital in Vancouver, Wash. “At Banfield, we’re very focused on preventive care.” Once in a while, there’s an alarming news story about a dog passing a disease to a person, such as one last year about a man in Germany who died after contracting the disease from his dog licking him. It’s a story that

would frighten any pet owner, but thankfully, contracting a disease this way is thought to be extremely rare, Sanchez says. “I’m not familiar with this pet’s medical history ... so I can’t comment on this particular case. What I can tell you is pets lick their owners every day, and while it’s not impossible, this particular situation — while incredibly sad — is probably very rare,” she says. “The good news is there are a number of preventive measures pet owners can take to greatly reduce the risk of their pet, or themselves, contracting diseases.” Banfield veterinarians recommend at least two wellness

GETTY IMAGES

HEALTH


GETTY IMAGES

SYMPTOMS TO WATCH FOR

exams each year for your dog and cat, and keeping them up-todate on vaccines, year-round treatments against parasites, fecal exams, de-worming and any other preventive measures as recommended by your veterinarian based on your pet’s individual medical history, lifestyle and needs. “Doing a full exam twice a year can help catch a lot of problems before they start,” Sanchez says. “As veterinary professionals, we tend to worry more about the pets that aren’t coming in for their annual checkups and screenings. Those are the ones whose families might be more at risk,” she says. Another key part of preventive care is dental hygiene because dogs and cats do have a lot of bacteria in their mouths, Sanchez says. “Your veterinarian might tell you to brush your pet’s teeth

every day, give them certified dental treats … and take your pet in to get their annual dental cleaning,” she says. “We often recommend professional dental cleanings to reduce the plaque and tartar and therefore the bacteria that are in your pet’s mouth, (the) majority of which can be under the gum line, and you don’t even know it’s there.” Still, with preventive care, Sanchez says you shouldn’t let potential risks affect the benefits of having a loving relationship with your pets. “The ability to bond with your pet is extremely important to their behavioral well-being,” she says. “We should be more worried about how we’re connecting with and caring for our pets than whether we might contract rare diseases from them. Your veterinarian can advise on ways to prevent disease and bond with your pet that are safe for you and your family.”

If only your pets could tell you when they don’t feel well. Because they can’t, it’s up to you to keep an eye out for signs of potential illness. “If you notice anything out of the ordinary, make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible,” says veterinarian Andrea Sanchez of Banfield Pet Hospital. “Are there changes in eating, drinking, energy level, urinating or defecating? Do you notice any new itching or scratching?” This also includes any changes in their usual behavior or routine. “Maybe you notice they’re pacing at night, whining more or sleeping in a far corner of the house when they typically sleep on their bed,” Sanchez says. “Any of these changes are reasons to contact your veterinarian.” Sanchez emphasizes that symptoms of infectious diseases are highly variable, and these changes don’t necessarily mean that your pet has a medical issue. “Symptoms vary between diseases and infections and depending on the (type of) pet, so it’s important to talk to your veterinarian if you notice anything out of the ordinary,” Sanchez explains. “Based on a thorough examination, your veterinarian can test for, diagnose and treat your pet based on their individual needs.” — Amy Sinatra Ayres

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HEALTH

CBD for Canines? Products shown to ease pain and seizures in pets BY PEGGY J. NOONAN

P

eople use CBD oil and medications to relieve pain, ease anxiety, improve sleep and more. Now some veterinarians are recommending CBD products to give dogs the same benefits. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is not the same thing as marijuana, which the American Veterinary Medical Association cautions can be “scary and dangerous” for dogs. It is made from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa L., which the Harvard Health Blog describes as “a cousin of the marijuana plant.” Here are four CBD products that veterinarians say are good options to help dogs:

ELLEVET HEMP CBD OIL AND CHEWS FOR PETS Researchers at Cornell University’s Companion Animal Hospital evaluated ElleVet to see how well the CBD in it was absorbed by dogs, then conducted a study to see if it helped with osteoarthritis. “We found some fairly significant clinical benefits in terms of pain

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ABSC CBD OIL reduced seizure frequency in

89%

of dogs with epilepsy. SOURCE: Colorado State University College of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

relief, mood interactions with their owners, ability to move around,” says Cornell veterinarian Joseph Wakshlag, who led the studies. ElleVet CBD is available in oil and chew forms. Cornell used ElleVet oil in the arthritis pain study, Wakshlag says. When ElleVet developed chews, the Cornell team tested the product and found “absorption from the chew was as good or better” than the oils, he adds. Wakshlag, who does some consulting for ElleVet, says the company is the only one he knows of that has a product that effectively treats osteoarthritis.

RECEPTRA NATURALS PURE CBD OIL Veterinarian Scott Stevenson of Paw Call, a house-call veterinary practice in Henderson, N.C., was a bit skeptical when CBD oil first became available.

After trying it with pets for more than a year, he now recommends CBD because “it’s worked; it’s helped.” “Receptra is very, very closely monitored and very purified,” Stevenson says. In terms of the highquality CBD products he’s tried on pets, “it seems to be the one that’s working the best.” CBD has been useful for pain, anxiety, seizure disorders and “a multitude of things,” Stevenson says. Dogs who needed medications for pain, epilepsy and other conditions were able to stop taking them or reduce the dose, which lowers the risk of side effects, he adds. CBD has also helped dogs with separation anxiety and noise phobias, says Stevenson. He uses it to treat “rescued animals that have anxiety because of what they’ve been through” and says it’s helped rescued “war dogs” who are suffering from a lot of anxiety and pain. Bottom line, “it just makes everybody’s quality

of life better,” Stevenson says. “I do think it’s worth trying because I’ve had no side effects, no ill effects, nothing, unlike most products that come out on the market now.”

HEMPRX BY RX VITAMINS FOR PETS

of CBD products varies widely, and dogs and cats don’t like “that skunky marijuana taste,” she says. HempRx has a “kind of woody flavor, and I rarely have an animal that won’t take it,” Krause says.

ABSC PURE ORGANIC CBD OIL

Veterinarian Angie Krause Studies by uses HempRx veterinarian by Rx Vitamins Stephanie for pets in McGrath and her house-call practice, her team at Boulder Holistic Vet in Colorado State University’s Boulder, Colo. College of Veterinary “I see great results with Medicine and Biomedical seizures and anxiety,” Sciences showed ABSC Krause says, but “a mixed Pure Organic CBD Oil was bag” of results in dogs well tolerated by dogs with arthritis. with no adverse There are a effects. McGrath As with range of CBD was lead most medications, products, and researcher check with your dog’s different strains on multiple vet before providing CBD products or of cannabis clinical trials treatments. may help using the different things, product. In 2018, Krause explains. When her small pilot study looking for CBD products showed the CBD product for dogs, it’s really reduced seizure frequency important to make sure in 89 percent of dogs with they’re palatable. The taste epilepsy.

As with most medications, check with your dog’s vet before providing CBD 63 products or treatments.


DIET

I’m vegan! My name is Betsy, and my owner is James Scott, founder of the Texas Veggie Fair.

Plant-Based Pups Can dogs really go vegan?

D

espite the small number of Americans who are vegan or vegetarian — just 3 percent and 5 percent, respectively, according to a 2018 Gallup poll — interest in plant-based diets seems to be on the rise, with fast-food chains offering more vegetarian options and the increased availability

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of vegan goods. And now, some vegans are passing on their plant-based preferences to their dogs. Pet diets tend to reflect the choices of their human counterparts, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). “Interest in, and availability of, >

JAMES SCOTT; GETTY IMAGES

BY RASHA ALI


Share Curiosity. Read Together. w w w. r e a d . g o v


plant-based diets are growing in popularity in the North American pet-food market,” the AVMA study notes. Even major pet food companies such as Purina, Pedigree, Natural Balance and PetGuard have entered the vegetarian and vegan realm by offering plant-based options. They use protein from ingredients such as brown rice, barley, peas, spinach and potatoes. James Scott, a vegan who founded the Texas Veggie Fair, started feeding his Chihuahua mix, Betsy, a plant-based diet when he first found her roaming the streets as a puppy. Scott is concerned that some mass-produced pet food could contain meat from diseased or dying animals, which he wouldn’t want to give to his canine companion. Though he can’t definitively say whether a plant-based diet has made Betsy any healthier, he does believe it helped her recover faster from living on the streets. “She started getting bigger and filled out,” Scott says. “She was smaller than she should’ve been as a puppy. I feel like it contributed to her getting healthier faster.” According to the AVMA study, there is little scientific evidence to back up claims that a vegan or vegetarian diet is beneficial to dogs. Lindsay Rubin, vice president of v-dog, a vegan dog food company, provides anecdotal evidence of its benefits. “We’ve seen dogs live into their 20s on our formula,” says Rubin, who lists “increased mobility, decreased allergies, better bowel movements and

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VEGAN

Vegans abstain from eating animal products, such as meat, dairy, eggs and seafood.

VEGETARIAN

Vegetarians avoid eating meat, but eat dairy. Some also consume seafood or poultry.

excellent weight maintenance” as benefits of dogs eating vegan pet food. Megan Shepherd, doctor of veterinary medicine and a clinical assistant professor at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, says it’s important to remember that dogs are omnivores and not herbivores (which eat only plants). If you’re going to feed your dogs a plant-based diet, it’s important to make sure you’re picking foods formulated with the proper nutrition to sustain them, she says. “Plant-based diets are generally going to have a lower digestibility just because of the inherent high fiber nature of the diet, and so it’s just important to make sure that both enough protein as well as all the essential amino acids are included,” Shepherd says. “One amino acid in particular that is of concern with vegetarian diets is methionine.” Other important nutrients to consider when picking food for your dog are omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and fat-soluble vitamins, specifically vitamin A and vitamin D. Shepherd says while these nutrients can be found in plantbased diets, they’re generally easier to find in meat diets. She also notes that plantbased sources may be rich in certain nutrients, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your dog will be able to digest them. “While it’s important that pet owners feel comfortable with what they’re feeding them, it’s important to keep in mind that dogs aren’t tiny humans,” says Shepherd. “They have different requirements.” l

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DIET

Plump Pets Many cats and dogs in the U.S. are overweight BY MARINA PITOFSKY

D

oes your furry friend always beg for the last bite of table

this point, we’re not expecting to see any major shifts toward progress.”

scraps? If so, it might be time to get serious about putting

UNDERSTAND OBESITY

the leftovers away.

Pet health is more complicated than just overeating and taking too many cat naps. Obesity in pets can be caused by poor lifestyle, hormonal imbalances, genetics or bacteria in your pet’s digestive tract, according to Ward. “People want it to be, ‘Oh, you’re just feeding them too much.’ It’s just not that simple,” Ward says. “It can be everything.” The study also finds that nearly 80 percent of veterinarians and 68 percent of pet owners report that they tried to help their pet lose weight, using tactics such as reducing calories, increasing exercise and introducing prescription weight-loss diets. “We know that they are trying something,” Ward says. “But most people are just feeding their pets the same food, but less of it.” Pet owners should worry >

The majority of cats and dogs in the United States are overweight or obese — 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs, according to a 2019 survey of pet

60% 56% OF CATS &

OF DOGS

in the U.S. are obese or overweight. SOURCE: Association of Pet Obesity Prevention

owners and veterinarians. Even more troubling: The percentage of pets that are specifically considered obese — defined as excessively overweight — is on the rise, the Association for Pet Obesity

Prevention survey shows. In 2013, 17 percent of dogs and 27 percent of cats were obese. In 2018, 19 percent of dogs and 34 percent of cats were obese. “It’s disappointing,” says Ernie Ward, a veterinarian and founder of the association. “At

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DIET

less about the amount of food that their pet is eating, Ward says, and more about ensuring their pet is getting enough nutrients and calories for the animal’s breed and level of activity. OF PET OWNERS Asking your say they received veterinarian about no dietary advice a “therapeutic for their pet from diet,” comprised their vet. of food designed by doctors to have different levels of fiber or fats, is one way to make sure your pet is healthy and full, he says.

40%

TOSS THE TREATS Treats are the major obstacle when it comes to your pet’s weight, according to Ward. If you want healthier treats, look for options that have no more than 10 calories per serving. “Most of the treats that are on the market today are so full of fat and sugar, and that

makes your dogs crave them even more,” he says. Ward gives his own dogs baby carrots, a sweet option with just a few calories each.

DON’T FALL FOR FADS Ward warns against owners adopting fad diets to help their pets lose weight. “If you want to start a fight, simply ask people what they feed their pets,” he says. Whether you feed your pet a no-grain diet or only raw meat, Ward says dog and cat food companies often make widespread promises that may not work for your pet’s individual health. “Each bag is proclaiming that a different diet is going to work,” Ward says. “Suddenly, science isn’t involved. It’s like an ideology.” Some trends have been successful for many different animals, such as substituting a portion of your pet’s kibble for vegetables like green beans and sweet potatoes, he says.

Pet owners shouldn’t be afraid to raise health concerns with their veterinarians because they can be key to identifying solutions. Only 38 percent of pet owners say their vet suggested a weightloss diet or routine, according to the survey. Twenty-two percent say they “had to ask,” and 40 percent say they “received no dietary advice.” “Not having these conversations is at the detriment of the pet’s health,” Ward says. “Often, by the time I see a pet, it’s a 24-pound cat, so there’s already damage or a tremendous risk.” l

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TALK TO YOUR VET


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ADVICE

$1+ BILLION

The estimated worth of the pet insurance industry

GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY THE WILLISES

SOURCE: North American Pet Health Insurance Association

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Protected Pets Insurance plans help owners prepare for injuries and illness BY GRACE SCHNEIDER

J

ust months after Sonja and Stephen Willis adopted Fritz, their feisty Chihuahua leaped from Sonja’s lap and badly sprained a back leg. The pup’s pitiful limp led the Willises to pack Fritz off to the veterinarian for antiinflammatory medications and pain pills — then later, for surgery to permanently repair his trick knee. At $2,500, the surgery fee was steep, but the Willises felt relieved that they’d lined up pet insurance that covered the exam and drugs, plus $1,000 toward the surgery. “You never think you’re going to need it,” says Sonja Willis, a retired school secretary from Fritz Leavenworth, Ind. “I would do it over again, and I wish I had more (coverage).” Count the Willises among a small but growing army of pet owners who are insuring their dogs and cats to cover vet bills for illnesses and injuries. They bought their policy from PetFirst, a Jeffersonville, Ind., company that’s been an early success in pet insurance, an industry that now tops $1 billion. In December, MetLife announced its plans to acquire PetFirst.

Pet insurance has grown with the overall pet industry, which has soared from $17 billion in the mid-1990s to an estimated $75 billion in 2019, according to the American Pet Products Association, as owners adopt four-legged buddies like Fritz and make them honored family members. Merchandise and services that were once unheard of — clothes, car safety seats, refrigerated foods, Fitbits and treadmills for cats and dogs, and even funerals and cremations — are now standard. Some employers also offer pet insurance as a benefit with life, medical and other coverage. In veterinary medicine, the realm of treatment has expanded rapidly to include MRIs, chemotherapy, hydrotherapy, cataract surgery and acupuncture. “Most people that own cats and dogs would do anything to save them,” says Lansdon Robbins, PetFirst co-founder. That means footing bills for what’s become increasingly sophisticated medical intervention. While it’s smart for pet owners to have pet insurance, not all companies and policies are the same, says veterinarian Jennifer Quammen, president of the board and public relations

chairwoman of the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association. Quammen says she advises clients to look around and be sure they understand what policies cover, such as vaccines and emergency treatment. Phillip Koenig, a boxer lover, says he insures show dogs that he sends on the road with handlers. It’s reassuring to know that if there’s an accident or illness, the handler can get right to a vet. It paid off when one of his boxers sprained his leg and needed steroids and pain pills while traveling, says Koenig, who is insured through the American Kennel Club. Common claims for PetFirst include gastrointestinal illnesses, arthritis, cancer, seizures and heart disease. Puppies often need treatment for highly contagious parvovirus, plus extraction of “foreign bodies,” such as Christmas tree ornaments and shoes. Cats, which make up about 15 percent of premiums, tend to get respiratory and urinary tract infections, upset stomachs and ear and eye infections. For Fritz, the Willises’ Chihuahua, the couple pays about $20 a month in premiums. Last year, the couple renewed and increased coverage because “Fritz is pretty special to us.” — Grace Schneider writes for the Louisville (Ky.) Courier Journal.

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HOW TO PICK PET INSURANCE Some tips from the experts:

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Find out how your premiums will increase as your pet ages or if you make any claims.

5

Examine the companies’ definitions and handling of pre-existing conditions.

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Talk to your veterinarian and research your options. 6

Check into add-on options that provide specific coverage, such as dental care and travel insurance.

Insurance providers should clearly explain the details, including the limitations and exclusions, of coverage for routine or wellness care, as well as emergency treatments and conditions that require extensive care.

3

Pet insurance plans are generally reimbursement plans. You pay the bills upfront and are reimbursed by the insurance provider. Ask the insurance provider how claims are processed and the time frame for reimbursement. If you’re concerned about covering the expenses upfront, ask your veterinarian about payment options.

SOURCE: American Veterinary Medical Association

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All of the charges, including copays, deductibles, add-on charges and other fees, should be clearly explained.

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It’s best to find out your options ahead of time, so you don’t have the stress of trying to make payment arrangements during an emergency.

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Some insurance providers will not insure a specific pet or breed, or may limit the number of pets you can insure, if the pets are considered “high risk.”

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ADVICE

Welcoming the Wary Help your fearful friends feel comfortable around your dog STORY BY SHAMEIKA RHYMES ILLUSTRATIONS BY HAYLEIGH CORKEY

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our dog may be your best friend, but not all of your pals will share your affection for your fur baby. Believe it or not, some people are just afraid of dogs, but there are a few ways to help your animal-wary acquaintances get comfortable around your pets. The medical term for the fear of dogs is cynophobia. According to Tameka Brewington of Charlotte, N.C.-based Real Talk Counseling, cynophobia is common. Some research suggests that 1 in 20 Americans are afraid of dogs. It’s often a result of a childhood interaction, she says. “Children have overactive imaginations and at times will interpret things

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in a manner that distorts the interaction,” Brewington says. That means even the perceived threat of danger from a peaceful animal can be enough to instill fear. “I was about 9 when a neighborhood kid threatened to let his Rottweiler off the leash for no reason,” says Wilmington, Del., journalist Chris Stevens, 38, who still fears dogs. Los Angeles resident Tyler Young has been keeping her distance from dogs since she was 5. “I panic when I come into contact with animals that aren’t in cages or on leashes. My heart starts racing, and my mouth gets dry,” says the 31-year-old writer.


While it’s likely difficult for pet parents to understand why anyone would be afraid of their dog, Brewington says an awareness that someone is fearful is the first step to making him or her feel more comfortable. Here are some ways you can help loved ones and visitors calm their anxiety around your pets:

or (training platform). This creates a safe space in the area that will (benefit) the dog and the guest.”

3 Attempt to understand what the issue is. Is your guest anxious alone with your dog, but at ease when you’re around? If possible, accommodate the person, says Brewington. “If a person is willing to work on their fear, meet them with support.”

4 Find out guests’ comfort level before they visit, says Brewington. Don’t wait until they’re at your front door to mention you have a dog. Your pet’s welcoming excitement and close-up curiosity might trigger some fearful friends.

Tucker on his training platform

KHARA SCHUETZNER

1 When entertaining at home, Gianna Spriggs-MacDonald, who lives with five dogs in Charlotte, N.C., lets her pups play in the yard. She also uses baby gates to separate people and pooches. Khara Schuetzner, owner of The Doggie Spot groomers in Shawnee, Okla., says: “Teach the dog to go to a place such as a mat

2 Show your dominance. Your dog’s obedience to commands such as “sit” and “stay” will help cynophobes relax, suggests Schuetzner, also 2020 chair of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. Schuetzner says teaching behavior cues will help the dog learn who to approach.

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A Volunteer ‘Tail’ Helping at an animal shelter can save lives

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s a kid with an intense love for animals, I was no stranger to animal shelters. Every time my family wanted a new pet, we’d head to the shelter to rescue a cat or two. Yet, I’d never thought about volunteering at one until I spent time in Kanab, Utah. While most people are drawn to Kanab for its proximity to Zion National Park, I arrived to volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, an organization dedicated to ending the killing of cats and dogs in shelters. During my long weekend there, I read to a dog who had been so abused that he suffered profound brain damage, handfed a Chihuahua who was learning to trust humans again, clicker-trained parrots, socialized puppies and worked with two

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dogs who were rescued from a dogfighting ring. That weekend opened my > eyes to the massive effort it takes to rescue pets. I knew then that I wanted to be part of the movement, and as soon as I got home, I began volunteering at my local shelter.

VOLUNTEERS FUEL THE RESCUE MOVEMENT The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that every year, 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats enter U.S. shelters. So how do these havens have enough human power to keep their rescue efforts afloat? That’s where volunteers come into play. “Our shelter volunteers complete enough hours to equate to more than 10 full-time staff

members,” says Dani Wagner, volunteer coordinator at the Allen County SPCA in Fort Wayne, Ind., which has about 200 active volunteers per month. “If we had to account for that much staff, we’d only be able to do a fraction of the things we do for our community every year.” As a result, the options of what you can do at a shelter are almost endless. When I began volunteering at Allen County SPCA about five years ago, I wrote profiles of the shelter’s dogs and cats for its website. Once my schedule opened a little, I began working with the dogs. Since then, my husband has joined me, and every Sunday, we spend several hours walking and socializing dogs and taking potential adopters through the shelter >

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BY KAREN ASP


WORD OF MOUTH Sharing your adoption story could help an animal find a home.

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to see available pets. We also participate in outreach events where we bring adoptable dogs into the community, participate in fundraising and join fun projects like wrapping Christmas presents for dogs. I’ve even driven dogs to and from the veterinarian as part of a program my shelter offers. This is only a snapshot of the things you can do at a shelter. Volunteers can answer phones, assemble mailers, help with landscaping, do laundry, take dogs out for day excursions, house shelter animals at their homes overnight, foster and transport animals. Many of these jobs, such as making fleece toys and blankets for the animals, can be done from home. Even just being a cheerleader for the shelter can help. “With our limited bandwidth, we need to keep getting the word out to the community about our animals,” says Laura Chavarria, executive director of Nashville Humane Association (NHA) in Tennessee. “For that, we rely heavily on what we call our street team, people who can share adoption stories, talk about the shelter on social media and advocate for adopting from a shelter or rescue versus other ways of getting animals.”

BECOME A SUCCESSFUL SHELTER VOLUNTEER Ready to volunteer? Chavarria recommends first checking out the reputation of the facility. Not all rescues and shelters will meet your standards. Others may have missions you don’t align with, she says. Check an organization’s website and social media and ask around about it. Once you’ve found a shelter or

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rescue, reach out to learn what types of positions are available, thinking Chris Pataluch and wife Karen about any skills or expertise you possess, and what’s required to apply. Asp, the author, The Allen County SPCA, for instance, requires a background check and volunteer membership fee for all new volunteers, who are also asked to attend with the Allen an orientation. However, many shelters allow online orientation. Some County SPCA shelters, like the NHA, ask that you shadow another volunteer for a day. in Indiana once a week. How much time you commit is up to you. Chavarria says that 800 of NHA’s 1,300 volunteers help out at least two hours a week. No matter what you’re doing or how much time you’re giving, be as open as possible when you start, Chavarria says. Engage and communicate with staff and other volunteers and follow the shelter’s social media pages. If there’s a problem or you’re not satisfied with your tasks, talk with the staff and see if you can shift duties. Know this about shelter volunteering: While it is rewarding, it’s not always glamorous and can be physically and emotionally difficult at times. After all, you might have to clean up poop and other excrement; you might get scratched; you might have to work with angry members of the public; your allergies might flare up; you might see abused animals or those too sick or injured to save. For these reasons, people often tell me they could never volunteer at a shelter. It’s simply too sad, they say. Yet, what’s really sad is the roughly 1.5 million animals being euthanized in shelters across the United States annually. That’s one reason to adopt from a shelter or rescue: You’re not only saving that life but the one you’ve made room for at the shelter. Despite the potential sadness of having to say goodbye to a loved animal, the shelter has become my happy place. I’m not only surrounded by a community of like-minded souls, I’m also part of the fight to save animals. And every time I see a match between a person and one of my shelter’s charges, especially if it’s an animal with a challenging history, I can’t help but smile. l

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Rent a Rover Check out a dog for the day BY MARGARET BURANEN

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MICHAEL KLOTH; CHELSEA BURRUS/LEXINGTON HUMANE SOCIETY

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nimal shelters from Kauai, Hawaii, to Bangor, Maine, now allow local residents to borrow adoptable dogs. Checking out a shelter dog can be almost as easy as checking out a book from the library. “The public loves our Check Me Out program,” says Ashley Hammond, fundraising director for the Lexington Humane Society (LHS) in Kentucky. “They’re able to come out and enjoy the dogs without making a decision (or commitment) to adopt.” However, after spending time with lovable litters and furry friends, many volunteers do decide to adopt. “Our Doggie Day Out program is a gateway to ownership,” explains Kristen Hassen, director of the Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) in Arizona. “If your local animal shelter doesn’t do this, encourage them to.” Hassen considers Doggie Day Out part of PACC’s fostering effort, which is “just as important as adoption for saving lives,” she says. For animal lovers and shelter dogs, the arrangement is mutually beneficial. People enjoy playing with the dogs and may use the time to get to know animals


MICHAEL KLOTH (3); RANDY METCALF (2)

they’re considering adopting. For shelter dogs, the chance to get out of their kennels for even an hour or two is a gift. They also benefit from extra attention and meeting new people — perhaps even bumping into a new owner. The shelters often dress the dogs in brightly colored “Adopt Me” bandanas or vests, so they are noticed by prospective parents. Adoption messaging on the clothing is important when the animals are in public, says Hassen, whose volunteers don’t need to do too much to please the pooches. The canines enjoy the simple things. “The dogs are exhausted while they’re here. The constant barking and being

around strange animals is very stressful,” Hassen explains. “Just a quiet car ride and a chance to take a nap on the back seat really help them.” LHS volunteer Becky Johnson agrees. “They just want to lie down where it’s quiet.” After walking a dog, she often parks her car in a serene area, allowing the pooch to nap while she reads. “I love being with the dogs. Walking with them

de-stresses me after a workday, and it gives me a chance to get some exercise,” she says. For dog lovers whose days are full, the PACC program allows some overnight Pawjama Party visits to help accommodate busy schedules. Hassen also suggests bringing a dog along for a family outing. “Most people can fit some time with a dog into their busy lives.”

Our Doggie Day Out program is a gateway to ownership. If your local animal shelter doesn’t do this, encourage them to.” — KRISTEN HASSEN, director, Pima Animal Care Center, Tucson, Ariz.

Getting to know a dog is a walk in the park for Doggie Day Out volunteers.

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Best Medicine Therapy dogs help special-needs children BY ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY

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ogs can be exceptional teachers. At Phoenix nonprofit

Raising Hope Dogs, four-legged friends are partnered with professional therapists to help children from low-income families who are dealing with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and behavioral challenges. Raising Hope Dogs believes including trained dogs as part of the therapy team can accelerate progress. According to Greta Jorgenson, whose 9-year-old son Quanah has been paired with a border collie named Dandy to help with his autism, the program had a positive effect on her son’s life. “He’s more outgoing. He’s more social, especially in a new group setting with people or other kids that he doesn’t know. He’s more able to go up and say, ‘Hi, I’m Quanah. You know Dandy?’”

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The duo of therapist and dog >

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Our National Parks The National Mall welcomes millions every year, but what they see is hardly welcoming.

It welcomes the world to our most significant monuments and memorials. But like many national parks, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., desperately needs our help, including $350 million in federal funding for maintenance, repairs, and preservation. You can help with a simple letter. Visit NPCA.org/mall. Or call 1-800-NAT PARK.


GIVING

participates in therapy sessions with the kids and helps them meet specific goals.

— Elizabeth Montgomery writes for the Arizona Republic.

CAUSES FOR PAWS Many companies have established pet advocacy programs to improve the lives of animals in their communities. Find out how these businesses are helping pets thrive:

uFamily Promise is one pet-friendly organization that’s received grants from PetSmart. The Wichita, Kan.-based group helps keep pets and their homeless parents together while consistent housing is secured. Since 1994, PetSmart has given more than $400 million in grants to organizations that support nonprofits, municipalities and animal welfare groups that help enrich lives through the human-animal bond, according to the company.

uThe Petco Foundation’s work for animals continues all year, but in May, the organization turns its attention toward life-saving efforts for pets with cancer. A $3,000 grant from the Petco Foundation helped save the life of Kiss, a dog diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma on her leg. For more than a decade, the Petco Foundation has helped pets fight cancer, and from May 2-31, you can donate online or in-store to help save lives.

uWhile they’re waiting to

Giving Back

A Community Thrives awards grants to nonprofit organizations that focus on wellness, education and arts/ culture.

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find their forever homes, pets can keep their bellies full and dispositions cheery, thanks, in part, to Purina, which donates necessities to shelters nationwide. In 2018, the company gave more

than 12 million pounds of food and cat litter to facilities in need. Purina also donated more than $500,000 to service-dog training and contributed to grants that covered more than $100,000 in adoption fees.

uThe Bissell Pet Foundation helps place available animals in homes through its Empty the Shelters events. During the campaign, would-be pet parents can adopt an animal for a reduced fee, while the Bissell Pet Foundation handles the remainder of the costs. In 2019, shelters in 26 states participated in the drive. Since 2016, more than 25,000 pets have been adopted.

uWhen disasters strike, the human tragedy can sometimes overshadow the devastation experienced by pets. That’s where Pedigree Foundation steps in. Nonprofit shelters located in areas declared a disaster by the Federal Emergency Management Agency can receive up to $5,000 to help with medical supplies, food and other needs. Since 2008, the foundation has provided more than 5,500 grants to various projects, according to the foundation.

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“For some kids, that may be more physical therapy. For kids with autism, a very common therapy goal is to get over a strong dislike of food,” says Beverly Damore, the group’s executive director. The organization also hosts an annual HopeDog Challenge, a day of sports competitions for kids and teens with autism. Jorgenson noticed her son’s progress at the event. “(Quanah) gets a little bit of everything at the games. He’s able to have more confidence speaking in front of other kids that he may not know; he’ll talk about the dogs to warm up with other kids,” she says. Raising Hope Dogs recently received a $10,000 grant from A Community Thrives, which is sponsored by the USA TODAY Network. “This grant is going to allow us to keep living the dream and (follow through with) the plans we made for this year — to get more dogs through training and working with kids,” Damore says. l


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Military Dogs Forever Commemorative stamps recognize canine heroes

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he United States Postal Service (USPS) recently honored America’s military working dogs with commemorative Forever stamps featuring four different breeds that commonly serve in the U.S. armed forces: Belgian Malinois, Dutch shepherd, German shepherd and Labrador retriever. The booklets feature blocks of four stamps with stylized geometric illustrations in a patriotic red, white and blue color scheme. The stamps were released in August and will be available for a year. “There has been positive feedback to the fact that we honored military working dogs,” says William Gicker, acting director of USPS’ Stamp Services. “These dogs played an important role, so they certainly were well deserving of a stamp.” USPS receives about 30,000 requests for stamp designs annually. Postal services staff and the

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Military working dog stamps can be purchased at usps.com and Postal Service branches across the country.

Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee review themes and make recommendations to the postmaster general. In 2019, military working dogs were suggested, and Postal Service Art Director Greg Breeding sketched the concept for the stamps. Artists across the country are considered for stamp illustrations. In this case, it was San Francisco-based DKNG Studios. “Being able to illustrate some of our favorite animals while also paying tribute to military working dogs was a special experience,” says Nathan Goldman, founder and creative director at DKNG Studios, which brought Breedings’ sketches to reality. “The opportunity to work on a postage stamp design for USPS is a huge honor for any designer,” says Goldman. “But this project was especially meaningful to us.”

UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE

BY RUKSANA HUSSAIN


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