Monday, April 30, 2007

Very Special Canine Moms Looking For Permanent Homes

Patterson, NY – April 30, 2007 – As Mother’s Day approaches, Guiding Eyes for the Blind is seeking permanent, loving homes for some very special moms – their exceptional brood dogs who will give birth to the next generation of guide dogs.

“Guiding Eyes broods provide such a vital service to the blind community. Their puppies will grow up to be guide dogs and allow safe travel, independence and new opportunities for vision-impaired people,” said Vikki Iwanicki, program manager at the non-profit’s Canine Development Center (CDC, in Patterson, NY. “We don’t keep our dogs in a kennel environment. That is why we’re looking for more homes for our breeding dogs. We want them to live happy, active lives in loving homes, and return to the center periodically for breeding.”

Most of the dogs in the program are Labrador Retrievers, although some German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers also participate. Prior to being placed in the Brood/Stud Program, the dogs are born and socialized with other puppies at the Center. They are then raised and trained by volunteer “Puppy Raisers” across the Northeast who teach them basic obedience and house manners, and socialize them in a variety of environments. Those dogs that have an exceptional temperament and good health, are selected to be Broods or Studs for the program. These “cream of the crop” dogs are usually available for placement at about 16 months old.

In order to qualify to take home a Brood, volunteers must live within an hour and a half of Guiding Eyes’ Canine Development Center in Patterson. They must agree to exercise the dog for three miles every day, keep the dog in excellent physical shape and follow some simple rules (such as keeping the dog on leash in any unfenced area). The dogs are great with children and other pets, and are highly adaptable to most living situations.

Guiding Eyes provides free veterinary care, including all flea, tick and heartworm preventative medication, free instruction in dog handling and obedience, and a 24-hour veterinary hotline. Once the dog is retired from the program, Guiding Eyes will neuter or spay the animal at no charge, and the foster family can adopt it as their own.

Iwanicki and her husband, John, even provide a home for a brood themselves. “We have loved every minute of our time with our precious girl, Hattie,” said John. “She has brought us immeasurable joy and has transformed us from couch potatoes to avid walkers. But more important, we have loved seeing her puppies grow up to be guide dogs. When you see the enormous difference that a guide dog brings to the life of a blind person, you can't help feeling proud of the small part you played in getting them there. I highly recommend the program to anyone who is looking for a furry family member and wants to do something to help others."

About eighty percent of the dogs in the Brood/Stud Program are female, and are brought to the CDC when they are in heat or to give birth. But there are males too, known as “studs”, that are also looking for homes. Volunteers interested in harboring a stud should live within one hour of Patterson, NY given the short notice that they may have when their stud’s services are needed. They are also required to exercise the dog three miles each day, keeping it healthy and happy.

“Many fosters tell me their male dogs really enjoy going to the Center for their ‘dates.’” Iwanicki laughed.

Perhaps one of the most fulfilling aspects of the program is that fosters are invited to the graduation ceremony of any of their “grandpuppies” that graduate as guide dogs.

“When I saw my first grandpuppy graduate as a guide dog I thought I would burst with pride!” said Iwanicki, “It’s immensely satisfying to know that Hattie’s puppies will grow up to change the world for a blind person.”

If you are interested in fostering a dog as part of the Guiding Eyes for the Blind Brood/Stud Foster program, please contact Linda Hines at 845-230-6424, or toll free at 1-866-GEB-LABS. For more information, you can also visit the CDC online at

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Funny cat video

In case you need a few laughs today! One of these vignettes (the third one I think) had me laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes.

Humane Society's Most Humane U.S. Cities

The Humane Society has just come out with a listing of the most Humane cities in the U.S. To learn if your city is on the list and read why (or why not), click here.

Boston, where I live, scored pretty well (number 7) but it looks like the city has some work to do in some areas! Where did your city fall?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Still more foods added to pet food recall

From the Daily Star in New York: Chenango Valley Pet Foods of Sherburne has begun voluntarily recalling pet foods manufactured with a certain shipment of rice protein concentrate, according to a media release from the company.

The action was taken after the company was informed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it shipped a concentrate contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastics and fertilizers that may lead to illness or fatalities if consumed by animals. The pet foods were sold to customers in Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, which in turn sold the products to their customers through mail order catalogs and retail outlets. Read more.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Why no dog photos?

I hate to say it, but there seem to be a lot more cat lovers among our readers than dog lovers! We've had photo submissions of people's beloved felines, but almost no pictures of canine companions. So, dog lovers out there, it's time to speak up and send in your photos. We couldn't even choose a Cats vs. Dogs winner for April because we had no dogs!

Send your submissions to

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Our new e-newsletter issue is out!

You can read it online at:

But beware, the link for the new Kids Corner project is wrong in the newsletter (it goes to last month's project, "How to Make a Chocolate Mouse"). If you want to read "How to Frame Your Pet," click here!

Spay, neuter bill moves forward in California

Mandatory spay, neuter bill for pets advances

By STEVE GEISSINGER /MediaNews Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO — After a delay to fix what lawmakers called serious flaws, a somewhat less ambitious statewide plan to force household pets to be spayed and neutered easily cleared its first, key legislative hurdle Tuesday.

The measure by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, was approved by the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on a 7-2 vote, along party lines.
Read the rest here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

KMart to offer Pet Health Check and Adoption Programs

Celebrating Pets! Select Kmart Stores to Offer Pet Health Check and Adoption Programs for National Pet Month

From PR Newswire: Pets are increasingly important members of today's families. They are living indoors in record numbers, going to the pet spa, doggie daycare and pet psychologist and even
celebrating birthdays with a party. In recognition of our customers' growing concern for the health and happiness of their pets and to support local pet shelters, select Kmart stores will be offering pet health check and adoption programs in May to celebrate National Pet Month. Read more.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Menu Foods expands recall again

From CNN:

(CNN) -- The nationwide pet food recall was expanded Wednesday to include products containing rice protein laced with melamine, a toxic agent, the Food and Drug Administration said.

Before this latest announcement, the FDA attributed pet illness and deaths to recalled pet food with wheat gluten found to contain melamine, a component of fertilizers and plastic utensils.
Also on Wednesday, Menu Foods, the company that recalled more than 60 million cans and pouches of wet cat and dog food on March 15, added one of its Natural Life brand products to its recall list. It added two product dates to eight of its already recalled pet foods.
Read the rest of the article on CNN.

New Prairie Dog Coalition interview online

We've posted a new interview with Lindsey Sterling Krank of the Prairie Dog Coalition out of Boulder, Colorado, on Our Place to Paws. If you'd like to read about these special creatures, their importance to the ecosystem and ways you can help, click here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Lazy Bailey

Another submission from Subscriber Jamie Knowles

Monday, April 16, 2007

Snow Bunny

Submitted by Gloria R., Canaan, New York

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pets in nursing homes

I found this story online about nursing homes that allow residents to keep their pets with them. One resident even took a trip to the local shelter and was allowed to adopt a cat and bring it back to the nursing facility.

I think it's a wonderful idea, and I've never understood why people should be separated from their pets once they need nursing care. The article talks about how much companionship and comfort the animals offer.

If you'd like to read more in the Examiner-Enterprise, click here.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sonz in the snow

Submitted by reader Tim N. of Montpelier, Vermont

Thursday, April 12, 2007

In Memoriam: Kurt Vonnegut


The crucified planet Earth,
should it find a voice
and a sense of irony,
might now well say
of our abuse of it,
'Forgive them, Father,
They know not what they do'

The irony would be
that we know what
we are doing.

When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth would say,
in a voice floating up
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon
'It is done'.
People did not like it here.

- Kurt Vonnegut

Here's a pretty girl (rescued from the streets)

Submitted by Our Place to Paws Subscriber Jamie Knowles, who runs Four Paws and Tail Rescue in Maryland.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Another item added to Canadian recall

Del Monte Foods Canada has recalled its Jerky Treats Beef Flavour Dog Snacks with a best before date of Aug. 16, 2008.

To read a full article on the topic, click here.

And for more information from Del Monte Foods Canada, click here.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Daisy and Her Music Box

Happy Passover & Easter from Our Place to Paws!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

More pet foods added to the recall: April 5

I really am getting scared to feed my pets commercial food. Below is a link to the latest information and list, with more cat and dog foods added today.

The Food and Drug Administration also warned consumers today not to use American Bullie A.B. Bull Pizzle Puppy Chews and Dog Chews manufactured and distributed by T.W. Enterprises, of Ferndale, Wash. -- they could be contaminated with Salmonella. Read more at the link below.

May your pets be safe!

More pet foods added to the recall: April 5

I really am getting scared to feed my pets commercial food. Below is a link to the latest information and list, with more cat and dog foods added today.

The Food and Drug Administration also warned consumers today not to use American Bullie A.B. Bull Pizzle Puppy Chews and Dog Chews manufactured and distributed by T.W. Enterprises, of Ferndale, Wash. -- they could be contaminated with Salmonella. Read more at the link below.

May your pets be safe!

Dog Biscuits Added to Pet Food Recall

Dog biscuits sold under Sunshine brands as well as private labels sold by grocery, mass merchant, and dollar stores have been added to the Pet Food recall. They were marketed at Wal-Mart under the Ol'Roy brand.

To read more click here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Something a bit more cheerful: dog performs Heimlich maneuver?

A Maryland woman, Debbie Parkhurst, recently reported that her two-year-old Golden Retriever saved her life by performing a canine version of the Heimlich maneuver. Parkhurst said her dog, Toby, pushed her to the ground and started jumping up and down on her chest when he saw that she was choking.

Strange, but true! Click here to read the story.

Dogs are amazing!

More updated news on the pet food recall

This April 3 article from Halifax Live gives more detailed information about the pet food recall, including latest news and products on the list.

I know many people have been agonizing over the pet food recall, and we can all only hope that there will soon be nothing but better news to report. I have poured through the list regularly to be sure that my own pets weren't fed any of the foods on the list, but it's pretty scary when the list keeps growing!

May your pets be healthy!