Dogs Love Baby Talk, Study Says

Dear dog moms and dog dads, fret not. When your pup saves people from a house fire, learns a new trick that would make the family proud, or simply behaves like the good boy that he is, you are not delusional to spend a few minutes babying him. You don’t even need to get him a comfy armchair or mouth-watering treats, researchers at York University say that dogs appreciate baby talk or high-pitched “dog speak.”

“Obviously we know that dogs can’t learn to talk, so we wanted to know whether dog-speak also has a function for dogs, or whether it is simply something we tend to use with our pets in a culture where we think of dogs as part of the family, like fur-babies,” lead author Alex Benjamin told HuffPost […]

The researchers wanted to see if the dogs were interested in the high-pitched intonation used for them or if they were responding to the actual words said to them. After conducting speech tests with 69 adult ones, the research team discovered that dogs were most likely to engage with people who mix dog-directed speech (high-pitched tone) and dog-related content (“Who’s a good boy? You’re a good boy!”).

“I was a little surprised that in the second experiment, neither content, nor prosody ― which [is] intonation of the voice ― was driving the dogs’ preference,” she said. “I think it is really interesting that our dogs are able to use both acoustic and content information to determine what speech might be meant for them.”

So next time, when somebody says that you’re just being a crazy dog mom or dad, give them the scientific basis of your adoration. Perhaps using baby talk could help you guys communicate, too.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Women And Dogs Survive Five Months In Open Water

Without a doubt, dogs are resilient animals. Whether they have been lost for 9 months or trapped in a drain for 3 years, they will often persist. Now, dogs Zeus and Valentine may have set the record for surviving out at sea. Along with their humans Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava, the team remained on their damaged sailboat for nearly five months.

“When I saw the gray boat on the edge of the horizon, my heart leapt because I knew we were about to be saved,” [said Appel.] “Because I honestly believed we were going to die within the next 24 hours.”

On a trip from Hawaii to Tahiti, the pair encountered a storm, which flooded their engine and destroyed their mast. Communication lines also took a hit, and distress signals went unnoticed. Moreover, the four sustained two shark attacks. After 98 days, the US Navy came to their rescue.

“I’m grateful for their service to our country,” Appel said in a Navy statement. “They saved our lives. The pride and smiles we had when we saw [the US Navy] on the horizon was pure relief.”

Who says only cats have nine lives?

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Family Dog Protects Owners From Rattlesnake

Without words to express themselves, dogs rely on actions to demonstrate loyalty to their humans. A London dog rescued his entire family from a house fire and was awarded a PSDA Gold Medal. While there are no official honors for Nala the Boxer, she is still a hero to her family, whom she protected from a rattlesnake.

“She waited until we were safe. She stood her ground. She didn’t like whimper or anything when she got bit,” [said 10-year-old owner] Cole [Lewis.]

The perpetrating snake was a Mojave green, a highly poisonous reptile. Thanks to Lewis’ stepdad, the Boxer made it to the nearest veterinary clinic in time to fully recover. Nala’s skyrocketing medical bill did little to faze the family, who are eternally grateful for her sacrifice.

“She saved my life, and I just want to hang out with her now because she’s my hero,” Cole said.

Dogs and snakebites are nothing new, but it’s Fido’s continued heroism that never fails to warm my heart.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Therapy Dogs Are Helping Kids Learn To Read

Over the past few years, therapy dogs have improved the lives of the handicapped. They’ve eased the pain of those suffering from PTSD and even helped baby cheetahs improve their social skills. In another attempt to aid those in need, dogs from Tail Waggin’ Tutors are helping children with anxiety learn to read.

The new “dog-friendly” atmosphere makes use of the same principles used with therapy dogs… It relaxes the child and allows them to focus on reading instead of waiting for… feedback. Patting or petting the attentive dog also helps put the child at ease.

If cute puppy videos are helping the entire population of Facebook get over Monday blues, these dogs must be doing wonders. Fortunately, the dogs cater to children anywhere in the world, as the program is international. And for the most part, it seems to be working.

“When [people] ask why the kids read to a dog, I say, because a dog is not going to correct them,” said Shilo Perlman, a library assistant in youth services. “We’ve heard from many parents who will say, ‘You know, my child will not read at home, won’t pick up a book. She’s afraid she’s going to make mistakes. But she will read to the dog.’”

Looks like man’s best friend may also be man’s top educator!

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Surfing Dogs Raise Funds For Orphan Pets

Dogs have been known to help people and fellow animals alike. From planting trees to assisting baby cheetahs, we can rest assured that they care about the world. After Hurricane Harvey, there is a particularly fascinating story involving our furry friends that caught my attention. Some surfing dogs are looking out for their own, raising funds for orphan pets.

The 12th annual surf competition for dogs raised $80,000 to help orphan pets at the Rancho Santa Fe-based Helen Woodward Animal Center, including more than 60 rescued dogs and cats from Hurricane Harvey.

The Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon lasted 6 hours and attracted over 5,000 guests. Dogs, separated into weight classes, surfed in 10-minute heats. To be honest, I’m not sure what I am more impressed with — the funds raised, the cause that the funds are supporting, or the fact that these dogs are practically amazing athletes.

The canine surf fest also included a costume contest for pooches to show off beach wear and freestyle surf competition, where points were awarded for creativity.

I am bummed to have missed such a lighthearted event. But more than that, I am also proud that our two-legged friends have been participating in relief efforts — and doing fantastic jobs at it! Truly, anything is paw-sible.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Deaf Dog Rescues Lost 3-Year-Old

We all know dogs are capable of achieving amazing feats — that is just completely irrefutable. They rescue their owners from gas leaks, help calm veterans with PTSD, plant trees to restore burnt forests, track survivors of an earthquake, and even comfort anxious cheetahs.

Dogs do these awe-inspiring acts, sometimes in spite of their own disability. A partially blind and deaf dog recently became an honorary member of the police as he rescued a three-year-old girl who was lost in the Australian bush in Queensland.

Seventeen-year-old blue heeler Max stayed with the girl, named locally as Aurora, overnight and then helped lead her grandmother directly to her location after a huge search and rescue operation . . . Aurora wandered off alone on Friday afternoon and was found safe in bushland 2 kilometres from her house at around 7.30am local time on Saturday, according to ABC News.

100 volunteers were involved in the emergency search, but it was the deaf dog that eventually led to Aurora after camping with her the whole night. Queensland Police showered Max, the deaf dog, with praises and tweeted that he is now an honorary member of the police force.

[Aurora’s grandmother Leisa Marie Bennett] told ABC News: “I think [Aurora] was a bit overwhelmed by the tears and the howling, but I explained to her how happy those tears were. It could have gone any of 100 ways, but she’s here, she’s alive, she’s well and it’s a great outcome for our family.”

I swear, dogs just never run out of life-saving surprises for their human friends. And for rescuing a 3-year-old girl, Max truly deserves his yummy one-of-a-kind treat from the Queensland police.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Shelter Dogs Gifted Comfy Armchairs

Three months in, 2018 has truly been proving itself the year of the dog. While blockbuster hit Black Panther has drained shelters of its midnight cats, dog advocates are getting downright creative. On account of Tinder and the magic of Harry Potter, more and more pups are striking gold with forever homes. Still, not every shelter tenant gets lucky. Looking to keep their waitlisted canines comfortable, the Knox County Humane Society is taking in donated armchairs.

“Our purpose is to keep the shelter pups off the cold floor,” [said] animal control officer Tanner Smith.

Naturally, kennels aren’t the most happening of places, but comfy couches tend to ease stress. Volunteers first disinfect the chairs before one of 80 pups calls dibs.

“It has made the shelter pups feel more at home,” he explained. “We have noticed a huge drop in stress here as well as quieter kennels.”

I’m all about adopting, but shopping may not be out of the picture — for armchairs anyway.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Shelter Sorts Dogs Into Harry Potter Houses

Across the world, animal shelters share one problem in common: overpopulation. A lack of potential owners willing to adopt mixed-breed and disabled dogs forces many establishments to euthanize their four-legged tenants. Still, many are pushing to give shelter animals a better life. Vancouver is battling puppy mills, while Semper K9 is training shelter dogs to help retired veterans. Now, the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando is sorting its dogs into Hogwarts houses in the hopes of their adoption.

“We want people to look at the dog for their behaviour and personality and what their talents are,” [said] Stephen Bardy, Pet Alliance’s executive director.

By grouping the animals according to their characteristics, Pet Alliance discourages breed discrimination. The shelter takes in nearly 1,800 animals a year — mostly from irresponsible pet owners. The new method allows visitors to more thoroughly determine their best fit.

“We want people to start talking about their own lifestyles and personalities and allow us to match a dog to them not based on looks or breed.”

Encouraging first-time owners to adopt a pit bull may be a stretch — but a pit bull in Gryffindogs? You can count me in.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Be A 5-Star Hostess At Your Local Animal Shelter

For stray pups and wandering felines, an animal shelter is a stepping stone towards a forever home. Or at least it should be. Some promising residents become therapy dogs, while others find families through dating apps (yes, you read that right). Others don’t seem to hit the jackpot. If you’re an animal lover but lack the extra space for a furry friend, volunteering at a shelter might be the perfect side hustle.

As with any non-profit, making a difference isn’t just a monthly stint. Charity groups, especially those that cater to animals, require time commitments. Before diving into the deep end, arrange your schedule. Anyway, most organizations will indicate a minimum amount of hours for students or working volunteers.

Be ready to train. Depending on what you sign up for, training programs may or may not be required. After all, you don’t want to be chasing after a Road Runner stray without the proper equipment. When it comes down to actual tasks, work with your skills and strengths. Do you have an eye for photography? Snapping headshots of handsome adoptables may be the job for you. Are you hands-on and nifty with a comb? Grooming might be your thing.

Animal shelters are all about their tenants and like any hotel, require a load of maintenance. Beyond the animals, you can participate in clerical or manual work. Accountants are totally underrated, despite a slew of paperwork and finances pulled from medical care, neuter-and-spay services, and food alone. Similarly, anyone familiar with carpentry could construct pens and crates.

Supporting your cause remotely is also highly doable (and effective), especially in this day and age. Spread the word by posting your experiences on social media, handing out fliers, and inviting experts to speak at special events. If you have a nickel to spare, gather supplies. While most needed items are often laying around your storage cupboard, others are a little more elusive. Pay a visit to your local Pet Smart. Use Facebook to your advantage to call for donations. Consult sites such as Amazon or eBay — with caution!

If you’re big on events, there’s no going wrong hosting a fundraiser. Whether it be a birthday bash, a school fair, or simple food drive, donate your earnings to your favorite shelter. Even better, allot time to highlight your cause through a speech, video, or game. Learning is always fun when it’s, you know, fun.

At the end of the day, if you’re itching for a companion but can’t yet set aside the funds to care for one permanently, foster them. Falling in love with your temporary house guest may leave you in a sticky situation. Still, the outcome (usually adoption) is often heartwarming one.

Puppies in pet stores may certainly be more attractive than grown ones behind cage doors. Nevertheless, any dog’s eagerness to love and accept you are often immeasurable, regardless of breed or age. They are, after all, everyone’s favorite friend.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Pet Dog Rescues Owners From Gas Leak

Historically, dogs are famed for being highly affectionate companions. Some will risk their lives for two-legged family members, whether or not there is a bone at the end of the tunnel. Despite the heroism of man’s best friend, breed-specific bans remain intact (save for those that are now abolished). Yet pit bulls, a most-feared animal, continue to ride against the odds. Just a night ago, Ruby, a three-year-old pittie, saved Ronene Ando from a dangerous gas leak.

“Typically she only barks for one reason, and that’s if someone is at the door,” [said Ando.]

For an hour and a half, the therapy dog refused to let up. Ando then followed her persistent pup into the basement, where she discovered a leak in her propane heater. Had it not been for Ruby, Ando and her husband would’ve potentially succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Dogs are typically intuitive. I believe that breed is even more so with all the research I’ve done, and I think that was it, hands down.”

Remember, folks, if you’ve come across a pit bull with a rap sheet, it’s likely due to abuse or neglect. All dogs are good dogs.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends: