Feelings: Feast or Famine?

By Qin Sun Stubis

I was brought up in Communist China during the ‘60s when giant political waves took the nation for a disastrous ride. The Revolution controlled our lives in every way, and families were no more than grassroots communal groups in which meals were shared and bricks were hand-pressed in wooden molds for air-raid shelters.

Growing up, I never saw my parents being close as a couple, holding hands or kissing. I never heard them expressing their feelings for each other. As a matter of fact, no one ever used the word “love,” not even to us children. We were taught at a very young age that emotions were only indulged in by bourgeois societies where people were weak.

At the age of six, I encountered the word “love” for the first time in political slogans such as, “We love our motherland” and “We love the Communist Party of China.” I was led to believe that love was patriotic, not personal. I was asked to pledge loyalty to the country and taught to have compassion only for working-class people.

Sadly, I never felt the missed hugs and kisses because I didn’t know life could be otherwise. I lived in a society at a time when human affection was a taboo and my parents could only transmit their feelings to me through a gentle pat on my shoulder, a pair of smiling eyes cast my way, or an offer of the last morsel of my favorite food from a meager family meal….

Whether I am compensating for what I didn’t get while growing up, or merely becoming acclimated to the lifestyle here in America, I greatly enjoy my freedom to express my affection these days. Every time I give a hug or a kiss, or say “I love you,” I’m making up for lost time.

Now, in America, a land known for its bounty, some worry about a kind of excess I never thought could exist: Too much parental devotion and attention, popularly known as “helicopter parenting.” They believe that, like sugar and diabetes, excessive attention, whether prompted by love or pathological protectiveness, can cause children to suffer from unhappiness, disobedience and misbehavior.

Can endless hugs, kisses and affections really hurt people? Can love erode discipline and happiness? Are we confusing love with indulgence? To me, love will always be sacred and a necessity of life, like soil to plants. But like soil, it alone is not enough to produce a bumper harvest of happy and successful lives.

Love is not always like a red, red rose. It can be manifested in constructive criticism, a warm cup of tea or taking away a child’s electronic device for the night, all for the well-being and ultimate happiness of a person you truly love and care for.

As a parent, love will always be that positive energy I use to propel the healthy growth of my children and to induce their awakening sense of responsibility. To me, there is no such thing as too much love.

You can reach Qin at qstubis@gmail.com

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American Humane Reports 1 Billion Animals Helped in Past 12 Months

By Mark Stubis

American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, has released its annual Impact Report, detailing major victories and advances made over the past 12 months in furthering its 141-year-old mission of ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals, as well as promoting and nurturing the life-changing, life-saving bonds between animals and people. The report is available here: https://www.americanhumane.org/app/uploads/2018/06/Impact-Report-2018-FINANCIAL-VERSION-SPREADS-M.compressed.pdf

In just the past year, American Humane programs directly touched the lives of some 1 billion animals around the globe – more than any other humane group of its kind – and won top honors from leading charity watchdogs for effectiveness, efficiency and transparency. Among the major successes revealed in the report…

• The American Humane “No Animals Were Harmed®” program successfully kept some 100,000 animals safe on film and television productions, increasing the number of our safety reps worldwide by 13.2 percent.

• The American Humane Conservation program helped protect 250,000 remarkable and endangered animals living in the world’s zoos, aquariums and conservation centers – nearly doubling the number of magnificent and disappearing creatures living under our science-based humane standards.

• The American Humane Rescue program saved, sheltered, and fed more than 600,000 animals in desperate need, including the thousands of animal victims of devastating hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

• The American Humane Farm Program worked to improve the lives of nearly 1,000,000,000 animals living on farms and ranches, helping to ensure adequate space, air and water quality, proper temperature, humane treatment, and the ability to express natural behaviors.

• American Humane researchers released the results of the world’s first rigorous scientific study of its kind measuring the power of therapy dogs to help the families of children with cancer.

• The American Humane Military Program, which has been working for more than 100 years to serve those who serve our country, reunited retired military dogs with their former handlers, created new national standards for the training of lifesaving service dogs, and paired veterans struggling to cope with Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury with highly trained rescued shelter dogs – saving two lives, one at each end of a healing leash.

• American Humane reached billions of people around the globe with critical information and tools to help the most vulnerable, preserve disappearing species, and advance the humane treatment of animals. Two of these efforts won international awards for their creativity and effectiveness. The first was a multi-media campaign to help veterans coping with Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury obtain lifesaving service dogs. The second was designed to combat what scientists are calling a “Sixth Mass Extinction” and advance the humane conservation of the world’s remarkable and endangered animals via leading zoological institutions working to rescue, rehabilitate, and preserve critically threatened species.

                     Wealth of Awards for Good Stewardship
American Humane also won much recognition for its good stewardship of funds and efficiency in turning charitable donations into effective action with more than 91 cents of every dollar spent now going directly into life-changing, life-saving programs. American Humane was named a “Top-Rated Charity” with an “A” rating by CharityWatch, received three stars from Charity Navigator, and was among the fewer than 1/10th of 1 percent of U.S. charities to make the Better Business Bureau’s “Wise Giving Alliance” list.

“Since 1877 one organization has been first to serve the most vulnerable wherever and whenever they are in need, and we have been the driving force behind virtually every first in rescuing and protecting the abandoned, the hurt, and the defenseless,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “Today, our programs directly improve and save the lives of some one billion animals each year – more than any other humane organization. With the help of the public, our dedicated volunteers, and the support of our remarkably generous donors, we are proud to continue our legacy of providing caring, compassion and hope to more of those in need than ever before.”

Read American Humane’s full 2018 “Impact Report” here: https://www.americanhumane.org/app/uploads/2018/06/Impact-Report-2018-FINANCIAL-VERSION-SPREADS-M.compressed.pdf

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21 Heroic Hounds Competing to Become America’s Top Dog

America’s animal lovers have spoken, and after more than half a million votes from across the country, 21 courageous canines are advancing to the semifinal rounds of the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and Zoetis, and broadcast nationally on Hallmark Channel. The heroic hounds were chosen by the American public to advance to the semifinals from a field of 266 remarkable candidates. The public is now invited to visit http://www.HeroDogAwards.org between now and July 11 to vote once per day for their favorite in one of the seven Hero Dog categories. The seven finalists will be flown to Los Angeles to take part in the star-studded eighth annual Hero Dog Awards gala on September 29 at the Beverly Hilton, where one will be chosen as the 2018 American Hero Dog, the top honor a dog can receive. This must-watch event for animal lovers will be broadcast in the fall as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel.

In both the semifinal and final rounds of the competition, the winners will be determined through a combination of votes by the public and a special celebrity judging panel. New judges for the 2018 Hero Dog Awards campaign represent a variety of celebrity dog lovers including: Miranda Lambert, Kristin Chenoweth, Carson Kressley, Carrie Ann Inaba, Erik Estrada, Jamie Chung, Michelle Beadle, Danielle Fishel, Mark Steines and Carlos and Alexa PenaVega. Returning judges include Lisa Vanderpump, Adrienne Maloof, Bailee Madison, Carolyn Hennesy, Ashlan and Philippe Cousteau, Laura Nativo, Lorenzo Borghese and 2011 Arson Hero Dog winner Jerry Means. The top dogs in each category will win $2,500 for their designated charity partner and the winning 2018 American Hero Dog’s charity partner will receive an additional $5,000 for a grand total of $7,500. Each charity partner is dedicated to advancing the role of dogs in our lives and, as with American Humane, focuses on the importance of the powerful connection between people and animals.

The seven categories for 2018 are: Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, sponsored by K-9 Courage from Zoetis Petcare (a U.S. business unit of Zoetis); Military Dogs, sponsored by K-9 Courage from Zoetis Petcare; Therapy Dogs, sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food, the official pet food of the 2018 Hero Dog Awards; Service Dogs, sponsored by Modern Dog magazine; Emerging Hero Dogs, a category that pays tribute to ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things; Search and Rescue Dogs; and Guide/Hearing Dogs.

Over the past seven years, Americans have cast millions of votes for more than a thousand dogs, all seeking the coveted title of American Hero Dog. The program reaches more than one billion people each year and draws the support and participation of top celebrity dog lovers from all over the world. Hosts, judges, award presenters, and entertainment acts have included Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Pauley Perrette, Katharine McPhee, Alison Sweeney, Bindi Irwin, Derek Hough, Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Gary Sinise, Chelsea Handler, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, John Ondrasik, Naomi Judd, Lori Loughlin, Eric Stonestreet, Danica McKellar, and many, many more.

“For thousands of years, mankind has had a special relationship with dogs, and the American Humane Hero Dog Awards are our way of honoring the best of our best friends,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane president and CEO. “This unique awards show celebrates the unbreakable human-animal bond, which has been a core part of our organization’s mission since 1877.”

“The Hero Dog Awards recognize some of America’s bravest heroes on both ends of the leash,” said philanthropist and presenting sponsor Lois Pope. “From those who defend our country to those who help us heal, guide us, protect us, and help find the lost, every single contender exemplifies the courage and heroism we seek to spotlight in this campaign. Our goal is not only to honor these magnificent dogs but to inspire America to reflect on the outsized contributions that animals make in our lives each and every day.”

Key dates for the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards contest include:

• Second-round voting: May 16 – July 11
• Third-round voting: July 25 – September 5
• American Humane Hero Dog Awards event in Los Angeles – September 29

All voting rounds open and close at 12pm Pacific Time on the dates listed above.

Meet the 21 incredible Hero Dog Awards semifinalists!

Here are brief descriptions, written by the hero dogs’ owners/handlers:

Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs category (sponsored by K-9 Courage from Zoetis Petcare)

• K-9 Flash (Detroit, MI) K-9 Flash was found in an animal shelter when she was only 9 months old. She was picked up on the streets of Everett, Washington, with no home, no name, and no family. We were starting a Narcotics K-9 course at the Washington State Patrol Academy in Sept of 2005, when we were evaluating dogs in shelters who possess a good hunt, air scent, retrieve, and prey drive. Flash excelled in all of those areas, so we took a chance on her and included her in the class just one day before she was to be euthanized. Once she had her chance, Flash excelled in Narcotics detection and graduated as the only dog to score 100 percent on her certification. She was assigned as the first Narcotics K-9 on Patrol at the Yakima Police Department while assisting two DEA Narcotics Task Force Teams, Regional SWAT Team, and the Patrol Division. K-9 Flash had over 3,000 deployments in her career with over 2,200 narcotic- related finds and seizures. When Flash retired in 2013, she was just getting started. Because of her fortitude and her will to be successful, she inspired her handler to start a national nonprofit to take care of retired K-9 heroes like her with medical assistance, food, and end-of-duty services. Most people don’t know that when K-9 heroes like Flash retire they lose all funding from the agencies they served. Therefore in 2016, K-9 Flash was the sole inspiration for the start of Project K-9 Hero. She now has her own children’s book and travels the nation reading it at schools and inspiring children.

• K9 Odin (Katy, TX) – Howdy! My name is Deputy Andrew Blauser and I work for the Waller County Sheriff’s Office in Texas. I would like to tell you about my partner K9 Odin. Odin is a 4-year-old German Shepherd. I received K9 Odin on a grant from the organization K9s4Cops in April of 2017. We completed our lengthy academy training in August of 2017. What I would like to share with you occurred on Thanksgiving Night of 2017. I am sitting at home with my nine months pregnant wife and my family, enjoying their company on Thanksgiving at our home in Katy, Texas. I see the horrible news that a Texas State Trooper named Damon Allen had been shot and killed along I-45 while working holiday traffic. The person who did this fled the scene in an unknown direction. Hours pass and suddenly I get a call from a coworker who tells me to come to work, that they had found Trooper Allen’s suspected murderer, that he had again attempted to take a deputy’s life, and fled into a wooded area. I quickly got ready, kissed my family goodbye, loaded up Odin and rushed to the scene. While I cannot discuss specifically what occurred at this time, the decision was made that because of the murder suspect’s actions, Odin would be utilized to capture the murder suspect. Odin performed perfectly and bravely captured the suspect so that no other police officers would be hurt that day, myself included. In fact, the next day my son was born. Odin made sure I survived to see my son born. K9 Odin is my Hero Dog and my best friend.

• Kano (Seward, KS) – Kano is a 1-year-old Red Nose Pit Bull. Kano is still very much a large puppy and belongs to me. Kano is the FIRST pit bull police K9 in the state of Kansas. Kano is a single-purpose detection K9. Kano is trained to locate marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy. Kano is a rescue from Negras, Mexico. Kano was rescued by Animal Farm Foundation and Universal K9. Kano was named Kano based on a character from Mortal Kombat based on his facial markings. Kano and the dogs in the Universal K9 program were invited to the ICMA conference. ICMA is the largest annual event in the world for local government managers and staff. Leaders from all over the country were at this conference and could watch these dogs work. Since being on the street, Kano has assisted with three drug offenses, including approximately eight grams of methamphetamine, $7,500 worth of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. Kano has not only been helping get drugs off the street but also serving as a positive model for the pit bull breed walking through the school, and retirement home with me. Kano embodies the true meaning of “Street Dog to Police Dog” a phrase used by Universal K9 Director Brad Croft! These dogs are not only rescued from shelters but they rescue their handlers as well!!! Kano and the other dogs in the program will be on the cover of “K9 Cop” magazine.

Emerging Hero Dogs category

• Willow (Las Vegas, NV) – Willow is a survivor of the South Korean dog meat trade. His owners turned him in to the slaughterhouse because he was old. Neglected, with cut ears, matted hair, a mouth of bad teeth and an infected tongue, he was allowed to be rescued because he “didn’t offer much meat.” He was one of the lucky ones. Arriving in September of 2016, Willow is spreading awareness on social media and making public appearances to educate people on animal welfare topics (including the dog and cat meat trade) through non-traumatic and non-graphic ways, and presenting resources to help more of his four-legged friends. Willow travels internationally in foamboard form and poses with trade survivors. His campaign, “I Am Willow, I Am Not Food” raises flight funds for dogs. He is the mascot for a newly created Animal Rights Club at a local school, helping students advocate for change in the classroom and aiding their school in becoming the first vegan option cafeteria in the State. We are developing educational tools to use in an animal welfare speaking series for schools and conferences. He is also getting therapy dog certification to spread awareness to disabled children through animal-related books/reading programs. Willow is a voice and inspirational leader for millions of animals, not just those subjected to the dog and cat meat trade. People listen, learn and respond to Willow. He is a vehicle for raising awareness. Willow is an EMERGING HERO who will grow that status into something that makes a lifelong paw print in the animal welfare world.

• Josh (Sun Valley, CA) – Josh was born with a cleft palate and taken into the shelter to be euthanized at birth. He lay at the shelter, hungry and cold with his umbilical cord still attached. Two well-known rescue groups, Paw Works and Leave No Paws Behind, joined paws to save him. The call came in to me, asking if I would take him. I said yes. He arrived cold and stiff. I worked on him around the clock. After 48 hours, he started to fight and thrive. I started his own Facebook page for him, and he quickly became an internet sensation, proving to the world that birth defects don’t need to be a death sentence. Josh and I ended up landing the cover of Modern Dog magazine. It was then that I knew he had a purpose. He inspired me to start a non-profit, naming it Josh & His Critters. Josh is four years old. He saves the worst of the worst-off on death row, including animals with birth defects, terminal animals, and animals in critical need of emergency care, etc. Josh also saves cats, rats, turtles, birds, gophers, pigs, lambs, goats, and rabbits and we find them loving homes. Josh will save anything with a heartbeat. Josh continues to rehabilitate all creatures great and small. Josh’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. He’s made it into the local paper, and been in the news twice for his ongoing efforts here in Los Angeles, California. Josh will continue to educate the world that all animals deserve a second chance at life, no matter how young, how old, sick, or injured they are.

• Noah (Mineral Point, WI) – What would you do if you were a pup that was born without eyes and used a wheelchair because of handicapped back legs? You become the world’s most beloved anti-bullying dog, and ambassador for blind and handicapped animals! This is Noah, a pup that travels to schools with lessons about tolerance, acceptance, and disabilities. He is an outstanding visual for kids to see that it’s okay to be different, just like him! Known as “the anti-bullying dog,” Noah sends a strong message that it is never okay to pick on other people who are handicapped, disabled, or “different.” Rescued by Saving K9 Lives, given a Muffin’s Halo, and a donated wheel chair by Mango on a Mission, Noah has proven to the world that he can do anything a “normal” pup can do. When he’s not in the classroom, you can find Noah at nursing homes, freely giving his love to seniors. His innate ability to love makes him a favorite guest. He also enjoys skiing on the slopes of Wisconsin with custom-made skis to fit his wheelchair! Noah was a semi-finalist in the Hero Dog Awards in 2016. He’s been in People Magazine, and was recognized as Wisconsin’s Dog Hero in 2017 for the work he has already accomplished in his young life. To those who said he should be euthanized because of the seriousness of his handicaps, Noah can show you a thousand reasons why he was spared from certain death. Noah is a champion for the underdog, as he, himself, is an underdog. Roll on, little hero. Roll on in your wheelchair, that is!

Guide/Hearing Dogs category

• Frances (Staten Island, NY) – At the age of 32, I lost my eyesight from a rare complication after battling breast cancer. Over the next six months, I would have to relearn everything from crossing the street to sorting laundry. Then, the universe threw me the ultimate curveball – I found out I was pregnant! When people asked me how I planned on traveling with my baby, I responded, “I’m going to get a guide dog.” In September of 2016, Guiding Eyes for the Blind matched with me with Frances, a female yellow Labrador. Since then, “Franny” and I have become partners in both parenting and advocacy work for visually impaired parents. Now the mother of two daughters, I depend on Frances to help guide me to pre-school, doctor’s appointments and extracurricular activities. When “Franny” is not helping me meet the demands of motherhood, she accompanies me to help educate kids through our Visually Impaired Education Program (VIEP). Aimed at grades K-2, VIEP’s mission is to engage school-aged children through classroom interaction with the blind/visually impaired community; helping diminish stereotypes associated with blindness. Frances attends every presentation, a beautiful reminder about the important work of guide dogs. I believe Frances deserves to be the American Hero Guide Dog because her partnership allows me to be the woman I want to be. She helps me juggle all that comes with being a working mom while educating our community about living with vision loss.

• Xaverie (Berlin, NH) – Being born blind and autistic, I have always had difficulty communicating or being social with others. My pet dogs were my only interest. Through them, I developed a strong passion for dogs, who eventually became my best friends. Xaverie was brought into my life in August 2017. Simply by chance, one of my community associates had a family member who was a puppy raiser and referred me to apply for a guide dog. The thought of having a dog by my side when I did my community volunteering was exciting. Dogs were my passion. I currently volunteer in the community five days a week, participating in various social activities, and Xaverie is by my side every day. Since Xaverie came into my life, my communication and socialization skills with others greatly improved, often using Xaverie as a choice of topic in conversation. I am more confident in myself to approach new obstacles and travel independently with less fear. Xaverie has shown me the responsibilities in care and well-being of her that only I can provide gaining some more of my own independence and responsibilities. Once a week, we attend a daycare center where I read a short story book in Braille to the children. I also use this time to introduce Xaverie, along with education and an explanation of the importance of guide dogs and their purpose. The kids are very interested and understand the “no touch” rule of all service dogs. I can’t imagine my life without Xaverie by my side. She helped me expand my boundaries. Xaverie is my Hero Dog.

• Klinger (Folsom, CA) – As Klinger jockeyed for position with his twelve 5-week-old siblings in the whelping kennel at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, little did he know that at the same moment, his future human partner was in a Life-Flight helicopter after being struck by a car while riding his tandem bicycle. In the spirit of meeting a unique need, two years later, Klinger became the first-ever certified dual-purpose running guide dog in the USA. After Richard Hunter, USMC blind veteran, had recovered from his injuries, his entire family became hypervigilant about distracted drivers, knowing that Richard was still running solo with his limited vision. Klinger not only offered Richard a new sense of freedom and his family peace of mind, Klinger’s success paved the way for other guide dog teams to follow in his paw-steps. Though Klinger is limited to running six training miles in Richard’s neighborhood, he became Richard’s most frequent running guide, helping him train to become the second blind runner in the USA to complete a 100-mile run. Klinger’s friendly and gentle disposition has made him a wonderful ambassador to educate the public about guide dog etiquette. His welcoming eyes easily find those of a dog lover in a quick glance, making it challenging for people to ignore him. Klinger offers love, companionship, laughter and a sense of safety to Richard, and watches him intently while at home waiting for the opportunity to harness up and get to work.

Military Dogs category (sponsored by K-9 Courage from Zoetis Petcare)

• Summer (Mount Airy, MD) – My canine partner’s name is Summer, a 7-year-old female Labrador and war dog. She was deployed with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan in March 2012. While deployed, she conducted routine patrols, searching and finding numerous weapon caches and IEDs, clearing routes, and getting caught in several fire fights. In 2014, Summer and I became a TSA K9 team for the Amtrak Police Department, Washington, D.C. Since partnering up, Summer and I are responsible for the safety and security of Amtrak passengers, personnel and infrastructure. Daily, we conduct tactical train rides from Washington, D.C. to New York City, perform sweeps and protection for VIP’s and foreign dignitaries, and provide mutual aid with surrounding police departments during bomb threats and VIP arrivals. We provided K9 sweeps for the 58th Presidential Inauguration Candlelight Dinner and Ball held at Union Station in Washington. We also provided coverage and security for Pope Francis’ visit to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City in 2015 due to his itinerary being near the railroad. Summer wears her Afghanistan Campaign Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Ribbon and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Ribbon on her vest while on duty, proudly showing she participated and served with the United States military. Together, we play a vital role in the war against terrorism every time I attach her leash and put on her vest. Thank you for your consideration for this prestigious award!

• MWD Jig M834 (Lambertville, MI) – On March 18, 2013, my husband and I opened our home to this four-legged Hero named MWD Jig M834, and since that time have been taught many lessons by this amazing boy. This story is a bit different because it’s not about what happened on the battlefield, but how Jig chooses to live his life. Jig served as an Improvised Detection Dog for the U.S. Marine Corps. We know very little of his background, but know he served overseas from 2008-2011. He was excellent at his job so the Corps kept him on to help “sell” their Improvised Detection Dog program at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Jig’s military career ended with a diagnosis of oral melanoma. Upon his adoption, veterinarians said they could not give a time frame for his expected life span; it could be weeks, months or years. Jig had undergone chemo while at Lackland and would have to undergo five more rounds under our care. He has triumphed over that hurdle, only to be faced now with a devastating diagnosis of laryngeal paralysis polyneuropathy, a condition that will one day take his life. Emergency surgery was performed to permanently open his airway and allow him to breathe easier. A complication of that surgery has been bouts of aspirational pneumonia, which each time lands him in the critical care unit, fighting for his life. Now Jig fights a different battle….the battle against time. One day the complications will take him, but until then he takes on life like a hero, like a true warrior, and does it with no accolades, only grace. Semper Fi Jig!

• Sergeant Fieldy (McAllen, TX) – Sgt. Fieldy is an 11-year-old Black Lab with the heart and energy of a 3-year-old who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and retired in August 2014. I am his handler and I met him in South Carolina as part of a group of specialized units formed to combat the number-one threat in Afghanistan: Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). We were deployed to Afghanistan in February 2011. We both experienced first-hand the effects of IEDs when a vehicle struck a pressure plate during a patrol and injured the occupants. Knowing that we were both targets for insurgent observers, we worked tirelessly to detect explosives. He alerted me and found yet another IED, a 60-pound plastic barrel containing homemade explosives. During our deployment, Sgt. Fieldy found several more IEDs ad their components, which helped save countless lives during our tour. After his deployment, he was taken back for refitting and training, and I returned home. I later found out that Fieldy deployed two more times to Afghanistan and continued to find more IEDs and save many more lives. After serving four tours, on Aug. 7, 2014, with the help of American Humane, I was finally able to adopt him. Since then he has very much enjoyed his retirement. In Nov. 2014 he participated in the Veterans Day Parade in New York City. And in July 2016, he was honored with the K-9 Medal of Courage award on Capitol Hill, and has been recognized for his bravery and courageous sacrifice on several other occasions. He has made a life-changing impact on my life. He is my hero!

Search and Rescue Dogs category

• Ruby (East Greenwich, RI) – In October of 2017, a teenage boy went missing from his home in the town of Gloucester. After 36 hours and failed attempts to find him, the Gloucester Police Department requested the services of the Rhode Island State Police K-9 Division. K-9 Ruby and I answered the call and responded to the scene along with other K-9 teams. As part of normal protocol, I briefly interviewed the boy’s mother. During their conversation, it was revealed that the boy’s mother had volunteered her services working with Ruby six years ago at the RISPCA and fostered her each time she was returned. After hours of searching, K-9 Ruby and I were ultimately successful in finding the missing teenager, but unfortunately, he was found in grave medical condition. The state police and EMS services removed the boy from the scene and transported him to a local hospital where he made a full recovery. If it were not for the effort of the state police and especially K-9 Ruby, that young boy’s life may have been lost. You can think what you may, but I believe that was Ruby’s way of saying thank you to the boy’s mother for taking care of her during her rough beginning. Ruby was given a chance at life and ended up saving a life. With the efforts of two organizations (RISP and RISPCA) and a handful of amazing and dedicated people, great things can happen. Ruby will also be featured in a soon-to-be-released award-winning film, which documents her rescue, her rigorous training to become a certified Search & Rescue K9, and accompanies her on her first official searches with her handler, Daniel O’Neil.

• Piglet (Lancaster, CA) – “Piglet” is a 7-year-old Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, rigorously trained and certified to find answers for families on land and in water. Piglet and handler Lori Wells are dedicated volunteers, serving many communities. They’re frequently called upon to assist law enforcement in their search for the missing. Lori and Piglet commit hundreds of hours annually to training and testing. This ensures they’re always ready when called to search. Piglet’s built a solid reputation with law enforcement throughout California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, not only for her unswerving work ethic and talented nose, but also for her infectious “smile.” She always makes friends at events and fundraisers. Everyone wants to “Kiss the Pig.” But it’s out in the field where she’s most effective, an unparalleled search resource and comfort to the families she’s helping. Piglet was called to locate a drowning victim. Searchers had spent seven days in the lake with no luck. On day eight Piglet deployed and found the subject. Another example was when she deployed in a remote wilderness area to find a missing father/husband. After long hours in the field, Piglet found the subject who, sadly, was deceased. Though this is not the outcome wished for on any search, Piglet’s diligence and tenacity in making the find allowed the wife and nine children the ANSWERS needed to move forward. Like her smile, Piglet doesn’t fade or give up!

• Skye (Dallas, TX) – Skye was found wearing NE. tags and found in SD., and no luck in finding his owner. A volunteer recognized Skye’s drive and reached out to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. All of the disaster dogs from the foundation are rescued from shelters, trained to be disaster search dogs. They go from Rescued to Rescuer. In October of 2013, I was partnered with Skye and since then, we have been on seven deployments for disaster search and rescue. Our most recent deployment was a 15-day deployment to Hurricane Harvey. On a side note, Skye also rescued me! My father passed away in March of 2016 from a rare form of liver cancer and my oldest sister passed away in December of 2016 from a glioblastoma. I found out about my sister’s passing the day before Skye had major back surgery. Not only is Skye still a disaster search and rescue dog, but every four weeks, Skye also comes with me and serves unofficially, as a therapy dog at TX Oncology. I receive human plasma infusions every four weeks to prevent further damage to my lungs. I have no/low antibodies and as a result, get chronic pneumonia and now bronchiectasis. This disease is managed with the help of the infusions. The patients love to see Skye! When I train with Skye, I forget about all of the negativity in my life and in this world, and enjoy every bit of sweat equity that I put into training and watching Skye do what he was meant to do and what he loves to do. With him, the “Skye’s the limit!” I am blessed!

Service Dogs category (sponsored by Modern Dog)

• Sampson (Foosland, IL) – Going to college in a science field while being partnered with a service dog presented an obstacle. Service dogs were not allowed in laboratories. This began a long, winding road of overcoming resistance through persistent education to change policies. Sampson is the first service dog to gain access to a biology laboratory and now a research laboratory at the University of Illinois, which has promoted policy change nationwide. Sam is an official laboratory member of a world-renowned research laboratory. We are currently working to launch a two-year research study measuring the impact a service dog has in a laboratory environment. The findings could possibly assist in developing a national model for service dog accommodations. We have worked with the American Chemical Society, providing a template for service dog accommodations in chemistry laboratories. We volunteer time to community and veteran organizations promoting service dog awareness and education. We share our journey. We work as peer-mentors for people with service dogs helping them cope with brain injuries, psychological disorders and PTSD. The Facebook page for “Theo: The Service “Lab”rador and Sampson the Service Dog” provides inspiration to people around the world. We are changing policies. We have been able to provide hope and change because Sam is always there doing his job. He is my partner. None of what has been accomplished would have been possible without Sampson by my side. His “this is the best day ever” attitude is an inspiration to me and so many others.

• Charlie (Goose Creek, SC) — When the bullets were flying, there was no one more important than the person in front and behind you. We’d say, “I got your six,” which means we take care of each other and watch each other’s backs. Now that I’m a veteran, I no longer have my battle buddies to provide reinforcements. Instead. I have my service dog Charlie who watches over me. He’s my armor, my second in command, my battle buddy, my hero. I enlisted in the Air Force as a young girl of seventeen and became a combat photographer. On my third combat deployment with the Army infantry, I sustained a traumatic brain injury and cervical spine trauma from blast exposure. I tried very hard to stay in service, but my body was degenerating verses improving. Devastatingly, I was medically retired at the age of twenty-eight. Through fellow disabled veterans, I discovered the power of a service dog and applied for one from America’s VetDogs. After 2 years, I was paired with Charlie and my life has changed for the better. Not only does he offer help through several tasks such as counter balance, item retrieval, seizure support, hearing impairment support and nightmare interruption, but his very presence alerts people that I am a disabled veteran who needs assistance. He makes it okay to be vulnerable and embrace my new normal. He’s empowered me. He’s liberated me from myself. As far as service dogs go, he’s extraordinary. As far as battle buddies go, he’s the best I’ve ever had. Charlie is truly my hero.

• Roxy (Canton, NC) – Hello, everyone. My name is Justin. I am a disabled veteran from the Iraq war. I was deployed to Iraq as a U.S. Army infantry soldier. While in Baghdad during my 2006 deployment, I was blown up by an IED. I now suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Once I was out of the military, I received Roxy as a fully trained PTS Service Dog from Off Leash K9 Training in Asheville, North Carolina. Roxy is trained in basic and advanced obedience, with three Canine Good Citizenship Awards. Roxy has been trained to indicate on my anxiety, so she can help alert me before the PTS gets out of control. She helps provide a distraction, so I can concentrate on something else besides the PTS. She helps me on a daily basis with simple life tasks. If it wasn’t for her showing me that it’s okay to be in society, I probably wouldn’t be here today. I take Roxy to our local V.A. hospital to help share Roxy’s ability with other Veterans. We enjoy bringing happiness and joy to the veterans of the V.A. Most people have never seen a pit bull as a service dog, but once they meet Roxy and see what she does, you can tell how much they really enjoy meeting her. We really hope Roxy can be the next top Hero Dog, to help continue to show the world that pit bulls are good dogs, but also amazing service dogs. We appreciate your time in reading our story. Please help Roxy get to the top! Thank you for your support. God bless our Troops and our veterans until they all come home.
Therapy Dogs category (sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food)

• Chi Chi (Phoenix, AZ) – Chi Chi is a quadruple amputee who is inspiring people all over the world. She was left for dead in South Korea where she was found in a garbage bag with her legs bound, worn to the bone, and already necrotized. The only way to save her life was to amputate portions of all four of her legs. When she first arrived at our home, she was afraid of people, but with time and lots of love and grace, she realized that she is safe and no one will ever hurt her again. She forgave and decided to trust people again. She quickly adapted to her first set of custom prosthetics and now loves spending her days as a certified therapy dog sharing her joy and cheerful demeanor with people of all ages. Recently, she had surgery to remove cancer tumors, so she is a cancer survivor. When people meet Chi Chi, they are inspired by her courage, perseverance, ability to overcome adversity and her never-give-up attitude. She exemplifies resilience and forgiveness, and openly shares her love and compassion in abundance. Her sweet-tempered and gentle spirit opens people’s hearts and her perceptive spirit senses where her love is needed. When people hear Chi Chi’s story and experience her attitude of joy, they are often inspired to face their challenges with renewed courage and a fresh perspective. Chi Chi brings joy everywhere she goes and her optimism and smile spreads quickly to others. She positively impacts thousands of people all over the world via her online therapy work through her social media account.

• Jeanie (Lake Charles, LA) – Once homeless and crippled, this three-legged dog went from rescue to certified therapy dog. Jeanie works for a children’s advocacy center where she comforts children who are questioned by forensic investigators in physical and sexual abuse cases, violent crimes, and even homicides. She and her owner volunteer at hospitals, schools, nursing homes, reading programs, and veterans’ homes, where Jeanie bonds with fellow amputees. Jeanie was rescued in south Louisiana when she was five months old and was adopted after a deformed front leg was removed by a local vet. Jeanie spent a day with traumatized elementary students who witnessed a shooting in their classroom. She helped an apprehensive child speak to officers after witnessing a murder/suicide. In both cases (and others), she provided a diversion from the horrors of those events. She attends counseling w/amputees, attends children’s grief therapy, comforts students during finals week, and visits schools’ special ed classes. A veterans’ home resident with dementia who had been crying for two weeks was calm and content, even joyful, during a visit with Jeanie. A video of the pair went viral on social media. Jeanie deserves to be the American Hero Dog because she truly makes a difference by giving love, hope and comfort to those who need it most, especially frightened and traumatized children. We hope to inspire other counseling, advocacy and law enforcement agencies to consider the benefits of therapy dogs.

• Bandit (St. Robert, MO) – Bandit is a Great Dane rescued at 14 weeks, who has spent his entire life giving back to others and not allowing his deformities to hinder him from serving those who serve our nation. He uses his deformities to show others that you can’t let being different hold you back. He works with soldiers on suicide watch, reminding them of the true meaning of unconditional love, helping break down emotional barriers. He has provided emotional support and strength to our wounded warriors, providing mobility assistance through physical therapy and being someone they can lean on. Our warriors see Bandit’s scars and deformities, and it provides strength and proof that they, too, can overcome. On a daily basis, he can be found at the USO putting smiles on our service members’ faces while they embrace him. Oftentimes they have not seen their own dog for many months. Bandit to them is a connection to home, a beacon of hope. When Bandit is not interacting with our troops, he provides support to our military family members. He works within school systems to help enhance their reading skills by allowing them to read to him, making it less intimidating for the student to learn to read. On occasions he provides support to children mourning the loss of their parent or loved one by sitting by their side and letting them know he cares. Bandit has given a lot to our nation’s heroes his entire life and I think it is time we celebrate his heart and devotion by naming him the next American Hero Dog before he retires.

For more information about the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®, and to vote daily in the contest, please visit http://www.herodogawards.org. For more information on sponsorship opportunities email Mari Harner at marih@americanhumane.org or call 1-800-227-4645.

About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit http://www.americanhumane.org.

About Lois Pope, The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., and LIFE (Leaders in Furthering Education)
As one of America’s leading philanthropists, Lois Pope has positively impacted the lives of individuals at the local, national and international levels. She has established three separate organizations dedicated to helping those in need. These organizations are the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., Leaders In Furthering Education (LIFE), and the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation. For more than 20 years she has been the driving force behind the Lois Pope LIFE Center at the University of Miami School of Medicine, The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, and a groundbreaking new program with American Humane in Palm Beach County. Lois Pope has recently donated several Lois Pope Rescue Vehicles. Each rescue vehicle is a 50-foot long response unit, complete with a Ford F-350 truck and trailer, which is specifically designed and outfitted to provide an array of animal emergency services and cruelty responses within the region.

On October 5, 2014, Mrs. Pope saw the completion of a decades-long dream – the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which was dedicated by President Obama in Washington DC. It will stand in perpetuity as a reminder to the public and legislators of the courage and sacrifices of the four million-plus living disabled veterans and all those who died before them, as well as the need to be vigilant in assuring their support and understanding the human cost of war. Through her advocacy, October 5 every year will serve as a National Day of Honor for disabled veterans.

A mother and a grandmother, Lois has trained for and completed five New York City Marathons.

About Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Channel is Crown Media Family Networks’ flagship 24-hour cable television network, distributed nationwide in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to 88 million homes. As the country’s leading destination for quality family entertainment, Hallmark Channel delivers on the 100-year legacy of the Hallmark brand. In addition to its signature new, original movies, the network features an ambitious lineup of other new, original content, including scripted primetime series, such as “Good Witch,” “When Calls the Heart” and “Chesapeake Shores”; annual specials including “Kitten Bowl” and “Hero Dog Awards”; and a daily, two-hour lifestyle show, “Home & Family.” Additionally, Hallmark Channel is the exclusive home to world premiere presentations of the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame franchise. Dedicated to helping viewers celebrate life’s special moments, Hallmark Channel also offers annual holiday programming franchises, including “Countdown to Christmas,” “Countdown to Valentine’s Day,” “Summer Nights,” “Fall Harvest” and “Winterfest.” Rounding out the network’s diverse slate are some of television’s most beloved comedies and series, including “The Golden Girls” and “Frasier.”

Hallmark Cards, Inc. owns and operates Crown Media Family Networks.

For more information, please visit http://www.crownmediapress.com
To visit the network website, please visit http://www.hallmarkchannel.com
Hallmark Channel on Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube

About Zoetis
Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products, genetic tests, biodevices and a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2017, the company generated annual revenue of $5.3 billion with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information, visit http://www.zoetis.com.

About Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food
Chicken Soup for the Soul understands the unique relationship between people and pets. Health conscious consumers have been feeding their cats and dogs Chicken Soup for the Soul wholesome and balanced, super premium pet food for over 15 years. Holistic in nature, the entire line of products is made from only the finest ingredients: real meats (chicken, turkey, duck and salmon), fruits, vegetables and herbs. With no added corn, wheat, soy, artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives, Chicken Soup for the Soul pet food is inspired by your love for pets, and promotes overall health and well-being for dogs and cats. The products are proudly made in the USA, and feature rescued shelter pets on every bag. Core and grain-free formulas and a line of treats are available in independent pet specialty stores nationwide and online.

A portion of all proceeds from the sale of Chicken Soup for the Soul pet food goes to help shelters and pets in need through Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Fill-a-Bowl … Feed-a-Soul™ program. The program which was launched in association with the American Humane aims to provide a million meals to shelter pets annually. http://www.chickensouppets.com.

About Modern Dog magazine
Modern Dog — “the best dog magazine ever” and the #1 dog publication in North America — is a must-read for dog lovers. Your source for the best ideas and solutions for life with dogs, Modern Dog features training tips, insight into your dog’s behavior, the best gear, wellness, rescue, DIY how-tos, contests and more! A large part of Modern Dog’s mission is to support rescue and the organizations that work tirelessly to help dogs in need. Find Modern Dog online — http://www.moderndogmagazine.com — on newsstands across North America, and on all major social platforms. Modern Dog, your guide to a better bond with your dog!

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Free Your Dog from Fears, Anxiety, and Phobias

Even though a good dog owner is attentive to their furry friend’s physical needs – feeding them, bathing them, and playing with them – they sometimes overlook a dog’s emotional needs. Not because they are a terrible owners, but because it can be hard to identify the triggers of a dog’s fear, anxiety, and stress, or FAS.

Dogs can experience a number of phobias, anxiety, and especially fear. In From Fearful to Fear Free: A Positive Program to Free Your Dog from Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias (HCI Books – $22.95), a dog’s fear is a big issue that dog owners don’t fully understand, and these four powerhouses in the world of veterinary medicine and behavior made it their mission to educate dog owners about this health concern.

This book explains how FAS is the underlying cause of many concerning behaviors such as excessive barking, aggression, destructive behaviors, and house-soiling. This is also the source for deterioration of the human-animal bond, and can make a trip to the veterinarian, pet groomer, or boarding facility miserable for pet and owner alike. Left untreated, these negative experiences can lead to devastating consequences and permanent damage. Unfortunately, many well-meaning owners misinterpret or overlook the often subtle signs of emotional injury and turmoil, or think that the pet will simply “outgrow” it. This leads to unnecessary trauma and suffering.

Not only does Dr. Marty Becker (who is a board member at American Humane) and his colleagues address FAS and share their own experiences concerning it in this book, but they also include detailed techniques, and helpful resources, as well as implement the benefits of Dr. Becker’s Fear-Free™ program, which is embraced by tens of thousands of veterinary healthcare professionals and hundreds of thousands of pet owners (fearfreepets.com and fearfreehappyhomes.com).

Thoroughly explained and well guided by these three veterinary coauthors and one highly respected pet trainer, this team combined years of experience to help dog owners understand their pets’ emotional needs. Through their owners, this book can help dogs live a happy and healthy, long life.

In this in-depth manual you’ll learn:

• The most effective prescription sedatives for keeping dogs calm and happy during thunderstorms, fireworks, and other stressful events.
• The positive steps you can take to keep your pet occupied, calm, and content while you’re away at work or play.
• Simple, practical tactics for helping your dog learn to love going to the veterinarian’s office—literally pulling you into the practice instead of avoiding it!
• How to easily groom your dog and give him medication.
• Tips to tame the chaos when guests arrive in your home or when your dog encounters other dogs and people on walks.
• Ways to tackle some of the common behavior issues that often have a root cause of FAS, while also improving your communication and bond with your pet.

About The Authors

Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian,” has spent his life working to create better physical and emotional well-being for pets. This commitment led him to create and launch the Fear FreeSM initiative, an educational certification program to train veterinarians and pet professionals to ease the fear, anxiety, and stress of the pets in their care. Dr. Becker was the resident veterinarian on Good Morning America for 17 years, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the American Humane Association. He is an adjunct professor at his alma mater, the Washington State University College of Veterinary medicine, and practices at North Idaho Animal Hospital. https://fearfreehappyhomes.com

Dr. Lisa Radosta is a board-certified veterinary behaviorist who graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and later completed a residency in behavioral medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She has owned Florida Veterinary Behavior Service since 2007. Dr. Radosta lectures nationally and internationally and has written textbook chapters, scientific research articles, and review articles. She is the section editor for Advances in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery and has been interviewed for numerous magazines, newspapers, and television shows as well as Steve Dale’s Pet Talk. She serves on the Fear Free™ Executive Committee and the AAHA Behavior Management Task Force.

Dr. Wailiani Sung is a board-certified veterinary behaviorist with a passion for helping owners prevent or manage behavior problems in companion animals, enabling them to maintain a high quality of life. After completing graduate degrees in psychology with special interest in animal behavior, she received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine form the University of Georgia. Dr. Sung owns All Creatures Behavior Counseling in Kirkland, Washington, where she focuses exclusively on treating behavior problems in dogs, cats, and birds. She frequently works with local area animal shelters, and veterinary practices to help animals with behavioral issues.

Mikkel Becker is the lead trainer for FearFreePets.com and specializes in reward-based training with a focus on helping animals (and their people) learn to calmly their fears and gain greater confidence, freedom and peace on the other side. Mikkel is a Certified Behavior Consultant Canine (CBCC-KA), a Karen Pryor Certified Training Partner (KP-CTP), a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), a Certified Dog Behavior Counselor (CDBC), a graduate from the SFSPCA Dog Training Academy, a graduate of the Purdue Dogs and Cats Course, a communications graduate from Washington State University, and has completed an internship at Jungle Island where she specialized in orangutan care. Mikkel has been the resident trainer for Vetstreet.com, the resident trainer for Dr. Wailani Sung, and she regularly consults on cases both at Doggy Haven and at animal rescues, including her work as the behavior consultant at Homeward Pet Adoption Center. She is the co-author of five books and a regular contributor to national publications. Mikkel feels infinitely blessed to speak truth that can help change the lives of pets and their people for the better each and every day.

Available wherever books are sold, or to order directly from the publisher, contact: http://www.hcibooks.com or (800) 441-5569.

From Fearful to Fear Free
A Positive Program to Free Your Dog from Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias
Marty Becker, DVM. Lisa Radosta, Wailani Sung, and Mikkel Becker
ISBN: 0757320791 – $22.95 – April 2018

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Learn to Protect Yourself (and Your Best Friends) During National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Every year more than 4.5 million Americans, more than half of them children, are bitten by dogs. As part of the National Dog Bite Prevention Week® coalition, American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, encourages adults to protect both children and dogs, and learn the importance of pet owner responsibility.

“Dogs are our best friends, providing love, comfort and protection,” says Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “But it’s up to us humans to be good friends to them as well by protecting everyone around us – ourselves, our kids, and our dogs – from the dangers and consequences of dog bites.”

Dogs can bite for many reasons, including improper care and/or a lack of socialization. All dogs, even well-trained, gentle dogs, are capable of biting however when provoked, especially when eating, sleeping or caring for puppies. Thus, even when a bite is superficial or classified as “provoked,” dogs may be abandoned or euthanized. Therefore, it’s vitally important to keep both children and dogs safe by preventing dog bites wherever possible.

“A dog bite can have a profound effect not only on the victim, but on the dog, who may be euthanized, and the dog’s owners who have to cope with the loss of a beloved family member,” said Dr. Kwane Stewart, Chief Veterinary Officer for American Humane’s “No Animals Were Harmed®” program, speaking at the National Dog Bite Prevention Week Coalition kick-off event in San Diego on April 5. “All those who have a canine companion need to make sure they know the steps they can take to prevent their dog from biting someone.”

To reduce the number of injuries to people and the risk of relinquishment of dogs who bite, American Humane offers the following suggestions:

For Children:

• Never approach an unknown dog or a dog that is alone without an owner, and always ask for permission before petting the dog.
• Never approach an injured animal – find an adult who can get the help s/he needs
• Never approach a dog that is eating, sleeping or nursing puppies.
• Don’t poke, hit, pull, pinch or tease a dog.

For Dog Owners:

• Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog, even if it is a family pet.
• Interactions between children and dogs should always be monitored to ensure the safety of both your child and your dog.
• Teach your children to treat the dog with respect and not to engage in rough or aggressive play.
• Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
• Never put your dog in a position where s/he feels threatened.
• Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep him/her healthy and to provide mental stimulation.
• Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
• Regular veterinary care is essential to maintain your dog’s health; a sick or injured dog is more likely to bite.
• Be alert, if someone approaches you and your dog – caution them to wait before petting the dog, give your pet time to be comfortable with a stranger.

American Humane also offers a free online booklet available for families with children called “Pet Meets Baby,” providing valuable information on introducing a new child to a home with a pet – or a new pet into a home with a child: http://www.americanhumane.org/interaction/programs/humane-education/pet-meets-baby.html.

Consider these statistics and tips provided by National Dog Bite Prevention Week® Coalition members:

• Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one third of all homeowners liability claim dollars paid out in 2017, costing almost $700 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm®, the largest writer of homeowners insurance in the United States. An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the I.I.I. found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide increased to 18,522 in 2017, compared to 18,122 in 2016 – a 2.2 percent increase. The average cost per claim increased by 11.5 percent. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims was $37,051. in 2017, compared with $32,230 in 2016

• Insurance company State Farm reports that in 2017, it paid over $132 million as a result of 3,618 dog-related injury claims. The average cost paid per claim was $36,573. State Farm is also one of the few insurance companies that does not exclude homeowner or renter insurance coverage because of the breed of dog owned. The company reinforces that responsible pet ownership and educating children about how to safely interact with dogs is key to reducing dog bites.

• “There are more than 70 million good dogs in the United States but veterinarians know that no matter the size or breed, any dog can bite,” said Dr. Mike Topper, AVMA president. “Veterinarians also know the majority, if not all bites, can be prevented through education. Your veterinarian and its association, the AVMA, have extensive resources designed to keep your pup a happy, healthy member of your family and community.”

• The U.S. Postal Service says the number of postal employees attacked by dogs nationwide reached 6,244 in 2017 – more than 500 fewer than 2016. Among the tools used to drive such incidents down are interactive training techniques for mail carriers to protect themselves when approached by dogs – training that is supplement each year through communication – and the carriers’ mobile scanning devices, which now have the ability to provide alerts for delivery addresses where dogs may be present. The Postal Service encourages customers to be responsible pet owners and keep dogs away from the carrier when deliveries are being made.

About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit http://www.americanhumane.org today.

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The Killing of MLK: 50 Years Later

By Mark Stubis

Who can believe it was 50 years ago last night that Martin Luther King Jr. was struck down in Memphis? I was nine years old and was the first in my family to learn what happened. I ran into my parents’ room in New York City and told them what I’d just heard on the news. My father sat up in bed, struck the sheets with his fists, and shouted, “What is happening in this country!?”

Much has changed since those days, including the quality of the leadership of this nation. It breaks my heart to remember the soaring, lyrical and compassionate speech Robert Kennedy gave that very evening in Indianapolis with virtually no time to prepare and against the advice of his security team and even then-mayor of Indianapolis Richard Lugar, who didn’t even dare set foot in the black district where RFK delivered his remarks.

Kennedy’s central message was:

“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness, but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice towards those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”

And we had a politician who was able to touch the hearts of a crowd of devastated, poor black citizens standing in the chill rain with Aeschylus’ immortal words: “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

We must remember that there used to be such leaders, thinkers, and speakers as Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. I can only hope that despite the past and current darkness (or because of it) we may see such leaders again.

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Don’t Lose Your Best Friends Forever: ID Pets on American Humane’s “Every Day is Tag Day”

Each year, approximately 10 million pets are lost in the United States, and more than 6 million animals wind up in the nation’s animal shelters. Tragically, only 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats in shelters without ID are reunited with their owners. To prevent the heartache of losing a pet, American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, created “Every Day is Tag Day™,” a nationwide effort held annually on the first Saturday in April. The event unites thousands of animal care and control agencies, veterinarians, and humane organizations in the common goal of urging pet owners to equip their pets with ID tags and/or microchips to maximize the chance of their safe return if they stray from home or are lost on vacation.

Many pets have tags and most who have been adopted from shelters in recent years have already been microchipped by the staff there, but you should check to make sure your pet has at least one form of identification, and preferably two. Microchipping provides an additional layer of protection in the event the pet’s collar and tag fall off or are removed, and many shelters check for microchips when receiving an animal. The tiny electronic capsule embedded under the animal’s skin contains a code which links the pet to its owner through a database. Like ID tags, microchips need to contain current contact information. They do little good if you have moved. There are many databases online where you can register the microchip to help increase the chances of being reunited with your lost pet. New online technologies can also offer protection but check them out thoroughly first.

Tips to Make Every Day Tag Day:

• Make sure your pet wears a collar with a current ID tag, rabies tag, and city/county license. Include a contact name, address, and daytime and evening phone numbers.

• Keep your pet’s licenses, ID tag, and microchip current. Make sure to update the tag if you change your address or phone numbers.

• When moving or traveling, place a temporary tag on your pet with the phone number of someone who knows how to reach you.

• Remember that even indoor pets need tags. Many strays in shelters are indoor pets who escaped and got lost.

“Losing a pet is a nightmare for any pet owner, but pets with ID tags and microchips are much more likely to find their way home to their loving family,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping these lifesaving items current. So please take a little time on Saturday, April 7 to make sure your pets are equipped in the event they get separated from you. Let’s all work together to ‘Make Every Day Tag Day’ so more pets than ever can be reunited with their owners.”

For more information about Every Day is Tag Day, and for tips on giving your pets ID tags and microchipping them, please visit http://www.americanhumane.org/tagday.

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