A Book Celebrating the Life-changing, Life-saving Love of a Dog

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Story: Curing depression through the human-animal bond

Helpmates, companions, best friends. Dogs have been there for us, possibly for the last 27,000 years or so. Our histories intertwine and we seem to know inherently they are good for us — and now, science backs it up.

But can they literally become an antidote we need to conquer serious illness?

Dog as Healer

Exploration of the dog as healer is at the core of  Julie Barton’s new memoir, “Dog Medicine.”

In brave and honest detail, Julie shares her struggles with depression — discovery through recovery — weaving together reflections and memories to recount the interior life of her illness, and how the connection with a golden retriever called Bunker (above) saved her from probable suicide.

Through rich, evocative language, Julie lures and captivates the reader:

The two of us were braiding our energies. We were tying all of our untied strings together. We lay with each other on warm summer afternoons, slumbering side by side, slowly building a promise to travel this life together. His love for me would not wane. He would remind me, with wagging optimism, of his unbridled love for life, how to be in the present moment and let my troubled thoughts melt away.

I thought of the suicidal plans that used to linger at the edge of my mind. As if a miracle had come, the endless sorrow lost its power with this dog by my side. Something about him began to close that awful chapter in my life.”

Finding Love and Self-acceptance

The book’s subject is solemn, yet its message is uplifting and hopeful — and relatable for anyone who has been lucky enough to experience the vital force and selfless charity of a “soul dog’s” love (I had Haley’s).

I couldn’t put the book down and devoured it in one sitting — with my dog by my side, of course.

Get Help for Depression

An estimated 350 million people suffer from depression around the world. If you suspect you may be one of them, you can find help at these sites Julie suggested in an email to me:

If you’re looking for a dog to adopt — or perhaps even just take for walk, please drop by by your local animal shelter.

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DOG MEDICINE. By Julie Barton. (234 pp. Think Piece Publishing, $14.95)

Follow “Dog Medicine” on Facebook and Julie on Twitter.

Images courtesy of Julie Barton

Spotlight on 3 Dashing Adoptable Seniors

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Story: Adopt a Senior Sweetie

Second Chance Cocker Rescue is pawing it forward by finding homes for cocker spaniels in California. They sent in this story to share.

There are three senior fellas looking for their forever families. Maybe it’s you?

This week, we rescued not one, but three senior boys. All three of these sweet seniors need foster homes while they wait for us to find them permanent homes. They are also eligible for our Sanctuary Program where we pay for their medical bills for the rest of their lives.

alvinAdorable Alvin

First was Alvin, a sweet 10-year-old boy living with a family in Modesto. He needed medical care but they couldn’t afford his vet bills so they called us. We were delighted to be able to say we could help. After a few tests, it turned out that Alvin probably has Cushing’s disease and he will be tested for that. With the proper meds, he will live a normal, happy life.

 

vayleValiant Vayle

Then we heard about Vayle, a 13-year-old boy in the Animal Friends of the Valley shelter. He had been turned in several weeks before by his family. The shelter contacted us to rescue him, but before we could respond, a family had adopted him. We were delighted — that is until they changed their minds and brought him back. This time, we made sure we got him. He is adorable.

 

corwinCutie-pie Corwin

Last, but certainly not least, Carolyn found 10-year-old Corwin at the the California City shelter. She fell in love with that cute face. Who wouldn’t?

 

 

 

All of Second Chance Cocker Rescue dogs are behavior-tested and receive an exam, vaccinations, spay/neuter and heartworm testing. Interested in adopting? Fill out their application here.

Follow Second Chance Cocker Rescue on Facebook and Twitter.

Images by Second Chance Cocker Rescue

Old Dogs Deserve Better – Amazing Ideas for #GivingTuesday

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Idea: Give Compassion to Homeless Senior Dogs

The Grey Muzzle Foundation is working hard to create more happy tails for homeless senior dogs this #GivingTuesday. Here are a few ways you can help.

Dogs of Every Age Deserve Loving Care

I’m supporting their “Hospice Care for Homeless Senior Dogs” fund to help dogs that are too sick or fragile to be adopted get out of shelters to live their final days with dignity and love.

Sadly, senior dogs are often abandoned in shelters at this stage of their life, left to die alone and afraid.

Soft Beds for Sweet Faces

Senior bones can be achy and resting on the hard, concrete shelter floor helps seniors sleep better — and can give them a better chance at finding a forever family by helping their mobility.

You can provide a bed here.

Safe, Warm, Home

Senior dogs are less likely to be adopted, yet they deserve the chance to live out their golden years, months or weeks in a place of love, security and peace. Grey Muzzle provides funding and resources to nonprofit shelters, rescues and sanctuaries nationwide to make sure no no old dog dies alone and afraid.

Donations made today through this donation page are eligible for matching funds from Network for Good.

Be a Senior Dog Superhero Today

You can help even more by spreading the word. Get shareable graphics, “copy and paste” tweets, Facebook updates and more with the Grey Muzzle #GivingTuesday Toolkit.

We believe old dogs contribute positively to our quality of life and have much to teach us about patience, respect, responsibility, loyalty and unconditional love.”
— Grey Muzzle

Follow The Grey Muzzle Organization on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

Image via Grey Muzzle

Last Minute, Zero Stress, No-Sew Dog Costume

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Idea: The Best Dog Costume This Halloween is Right in Your Hands

Canine behavior experts agree that dog costumes are a bust and I’m guessing that most pups would prefer a little less stress on this crazy, energy-filled day, so instead of reaching for a physical costume, go digital!

Here are my top three photo apps to dress-up your pup! And you’ll still get to share the pics on Facebook!

  1. Line Camera – Halloween stamps available for in-app purchase include favorites like Snoopy and Hello Kitty. The app has plenty of cute decorations from independent artists, too. Free on iPhone/Android.
  2. Rhonna Designs – Spooky Junque, festive stickers and even Halloween Washi tape! $1.99 on iPhone.
  3. Photo Editor by Aviary – Make your mutt moustachioed! Top with glasses and brows and they’re Groucho Marx! Effects and frames, too. (Or explore today’s deeper cultural significance like Harper here who’s modeling the Muertitos stickers, $0.99). Free on iPhone/Android.

Here’s to Happy Haunting with your hound!

Dogs and Ebola: Should We Be Worried?

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Story: The Facts About Ebola and Our Pets

Sadly, Excalibur, the dog of Ebola patient Teresa Romero Ramos (pictured), was euthanized in Spain despite there being no documented cases of dogs becoming sick with Ebola or spreading it to people or animals. According to experts, authorities could have quarantined the dog instead.

The panic over Ebola has spread to our canine friends. But is that justified?

Here’s the latest from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

The ongoing epidemic of Ebola in West Africa has raised several questions about how the disease affects the animal population, and in particular, the risk to household pets. While the information available suggests that the virus may be found in several kinds of animals, CDC, the US Department of Agriculture, and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) do not believe that pets are at significant risk for Ebola in the United States.”

Learn more:

Update: The AKC Canine Health Foundation just published a new report, “Ebola: Understanding Viral Transmission, Pathogenesis and Why the Dog is Part of the Conversation,” concluding that “…there is currently no evidence that exposed dogs become productively infected and shed Ebola virus.”

A Two-Legged Legacy: Wheelchairs for Rescue Dogs

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Idea: Help Disabled Homeless Pets with Good Reads

Faith, a two-legged doggie hero, was featured on the cover of Animal Wellness Magazine in 2007.

Born with a deformity, she learned how to walk upright and soon became an inspiration for overcoming the odds – Oprah even called her “one of her favorite guests.”

Faith gained celebrity status for her work with U.S. soldiers, and she and Jude [her mom] often traveled to airports, USOs and other places where they would find injured or returning soldiers.

Her positive attitude, even in the face of her disability, made a huge impression on the troops and earned her the title of honorary E5 Sergeant, out of Fort Lewis. Four thousands troops attended the ceremony.”

— “Faith, the Two-Legged Dog” by Ann Brightman

She also visited schools to help kids learn to read.

In honor of her recent passing, Animal Wellness, one of my favorite resources for my blog about canine cancer wellness, will “pay this love forward and help other dogs like Faith the Dog who have mobility issues,” by donating 25% of subscription sales toward purchasing Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchairs for rescue pups.

A 1-year subscription is $24 and includes six issues (print and digital versions), 12 natural health reports and a coupon book. Use promo code FAITH.

Follow Animal Wellness Magazine on Facebook and Twitter.

Image from Animal Wellness Magazine

A 9/11 Heroine Returns to Ground Zero

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Story: Last Known Surviving Search and Rescue Pup Who Worked at Ground Zero Still Helps Others

Now a senior at age 15, we will #NeverForget the bravery of search dog Bretagne.

Dr. Cindy Otto, a veterinarian who cared for the search dogs after 9/11:

You’d see firefighters sitting there, unanimated, stone-faced, no emotion, and then they’d see a dog and break out into a smile. Those dogs brought the power of hope. They removed the gloom for just an instant — and that was huge because it was a pretty dismal place to be.”

She now wears her vest to help children learn to read.

Read Bretagne’s story and vote for her in the American Humane Association’s annual “Hero Dog Awards.”

Image by Denise Corliss