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.

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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.

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Denver Outlaws Cat Declawing

Major cities like Vancouver may have banned the sale of puppy mill animals in pet stores, but other issues are still neglected. Pet owners are over-vaccinating their animals and, even worse, abandoning them. To combat animal cruelty, the city of Denver has stepped up to the plate and banned the declawing of cats.

“We don’t even call it declawing anymore,” Dr. Enid Stiles, a veterinarian from a Montreal suburb, said. “We have decided to call it partial digit amputation. It’s like you’re removing their knuckles,”

Denver is the first city to join another eight in California that have supported the ban. However, while the procedure is unnecessary, it remains entirely legal in Canada. Fortunately, few vets are willing to perform the surgery.

“I have a distinct impression that for new veterinarians, coming right out of schools, more will not want to perform the procedure,” she said. Some veterinary schools have even stopped teaching the procedure, Stiles added.

Cats may be chronic scratchers, but the behavior is nothing out of the ordinary. Purchasing a scratching post will save you the cost of surgery, and spare your cat from a lifetime of pain.

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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.

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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.

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Shelter Dog Adopted Thanks To Popular Dating App

When shelter dogs are out of luck (because, let’s face it — not everyone is as big a dog lover as the South Korean president), there isn’t much hope that remains. A few fortunate pups might end up as therapy dogs, but otherwise, burdens weigh heavy on shelters themselves. Realizing its need to take a different approach to potential pet parents, Animal Ark Rescue set up a Tinder account. For star resident Henry, it totally paid off.

“I vaguely remember silly things from Tinder in my single swiping days,” [coordinator Miranda] Morrison, who is now married, explained. “I think I once matched with pizza? I thought, what if I make Henry a profile? That would be worth a shot.”

Henry’s profile claims that the lovable pooch enjoys road trips and hiking. Morrison even outlined Henry’s perfect date, which involves Netflix and cuddling. While the adorable mutt has yet to score a new home, Tinder has helped AAR up its adoption inquiries.

“I know Henry deserves true and unwavering unconditional love for the rest of his life. He leaves paw prints on the hearts of those he loves,” she said.

Looks like finding love on Tinder may go beyond just romance.

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Montreal Lifts Breed-Specific Ban For New Bylaw

Both California and Vancouver’s efforts to promote the adoption of rescue animals is shaking up the pet community. Latest to catch on to the trend — or rather, undo an error — is Montreal. The breed-conscious city lifted a ban on pit bulls for a revised bylaw.

“The pit bull-style dog will no longer be considered a dangerous breed in Montreal,” [Coun. Craig] Sauve said. “We’ll have a global approach that includes all dogs and I believe it’s the right approach for Montreal.”

The city will also be slashing the need for special permits and mandatory muzzling. To better understand specific breeds, Montreal is consulting behavioral experts. A hand-in-hand decision with Quebec, Montreal is taking a more global approach to animal safety.

“What we want is to make sure Montrealers are safe (and) we want to prevent dog bites,” she said.

Perhaps our world isn’t so “dog-eat-dog” after all.

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Man Drives Abandoned Dog Cross Country To Family

No matter the distance, lost dogs usually find their way home — even if it takes 9 months. But sometimes, the distance between a furry friend and his family are too great. Such was the case for pit bull Zimba, who hitched a ride with his savior on a 1,30o-mile road trip home.

“We called the number and spoke to his mom. The story is as follows: His mom’s boyfriend left Kansas to come to Maryland for a brief stay with their dog. However while he was here, the couple broke up. And the “now ex-boyfriend” abandoned Zimba. He would not return her phone calls.” [said the Caroline County Humane Society.]

With no airline to fly Zimba back to Wichita, former employee Zach offered to drive the pooch home. It’s safe to say Zimba’s mom breathed a sigh of relief, as she was unable to make the trip due to her (human) children.

“Kind of like The Wizard of Oz story with Zimba playing the part of Dorothy…there’s no place like home.”

With the pair making pit-stops for interviews, Zimba may not have it so bad after all.

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Here Are The Best Ways To Help Disaster Victims

Over the past month, areas in Asia and the United States have been hit by the most devastating floods and hurricanes the planet has seen in years. Despite the wreckage, many have been eager to help. While it may seem simple enough to plan an independent search-and-rescue, it isn’t always the most efficient option. Here are the best ways you can help disaster victims.

Donations in kind may seem the most practical, but monetary donations go to much better use. This allows groups to determine exactly what is needed. Direct your funds towards general relief, which can easily be accomplished online. Do research before deciding where you want your donations to go. You want relief groups — even the big dogs — to be transparent about where the money is ending up. There are also scammers taking advantage of times like this, so be extra diligent when donating.

As with any disaster, injuries are inevitable. This is where help goes beyond your wallet. Consider providing medical assistance. Groups that accept emergency medical kits are often specific about its contents. Some of the items include insulin, asthma inhalers, and various medicines. For the non-squeamish, you can opt to participate in blood drives. Otherwise, it’s also a perfectly good opportunity to overcome your fear of needles. For all you know, a single prick can go a long way.

Because disasters are known to displace hundreds (or thousands), food banks are also a good place to start. As with most organizations, it’s best to donate money. However, you can also be involved in food drives and help out at soup kitchens. Periodically, food banks will also be affected by flooding, among other factors. Preparing meals quickly and systematically is vital.

Some groups provide aid for specific people. Find out what you can do for persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and children. This may involve direct rescues, which are best carried out in organized efforts as opposed to individual ones. Instead of scrambling to father a group, sign up with volunteer portals. This may also give your efforts more direction and help avoid ending up in random, hazardous areas.

Of course, when accounting for the entire family, it’s best to keep your four-legged member in the picture. Sadly, owners and their pets are often separated, whether by accident or deliberately. While it may be liberating to berate irresponsible pet owners, it’s better to get involved in animal rescue. Animal organizations are active in pet evacuations and also offer resources on pet-friendly housing for found pets. You can also donate to shelters or — even better — adopt a dog or cat. Other relief efforts involve the distribution of pet food and handling of the animals at shelters.

Ensuring your own safety is the most important part of giving back. Without you, there would be no chance to do so. If you feel your contributions are minuscule, remember that you are part of a larger community doing good. And, who knows? Your drop in the ocean could cause a ripple.

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Pet Insurance Is Now A Thing

Nowadays, pets are pampered more than ever before. From posh buggies to personalized raincoats, it wouldn’t be surprising if pet insurance soon became a reality. Well, luckily for pet owners in Silicon Valley, it is.

Lately, employee benefits have extended to pet insurance for dogs and cats as businesses look for more ways to attract and retain workers.

Rich Lang, senior vice president of human resources at VMware in Palo Alto, said offering pet insurance as an employee benefit aligns with the company’s core value of building community.

My Pet Protection offers plans from $40 to $66. But what exactly does it cover?

The price covers accidents, illnesses and preventive care such as vaccinations, flea medicine and wellness exams — but not preexisting conditions.

The cost of insurance almost pays for itself because of the coverage for monthly heartworm and flea medicine, and tests or shots.

As an avid animal enthusiast with an accident prone dog, I have definitely hopped on the bandwagon. Will you be signing your pet up for insurance?

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