By Linda Cole
Colleges and universities often bestow honorary degrees to individuals for outstanding contributions or distinction. Sometimes it’s a four legged individual that impresses committee members. Ellis, Samson, Zeeke and Elvis are dogs who received honorary degrees for their contributions to their humans, and Dylan received a posthumous award for his owner.
Amanda Davis is legally blind, but having a disability didn’t stop her from realizing her dream of getting a law degree. While she was getting her undergraduate degree at the University of Tampa, she was paired with a black Lab named Ellis after she applied for a guide dog from the Seeing Eye in Morristown, NJ. Davis was accepted into the New York Law School to continue her education, and Ellis was by her side the entire time. The school made room in the classrooms and gave Ellis time for breaks when they were needed. When Davis and Ellis crossed the stage on graduation day in 2012, she received her law degree and Ellis was given an honorary degree for his outstanding work as a service dog.
In 2011, a 2 year old yellow Lab named Samson graduated from and received an honorary degree from Oklahoma University. He entered the hallowed halls of higher education as an eight week old pup. Occupational therapist and faculty member in the Rehabilitative Services Department, Dr. Mary Isaacson, would spend the next two years training Samson as a service dog. Part of his training included learning how to hold open doors, retrieve objects on the floor, and turn lights on and off. Samson completed his education, donned his cap and gown, and graduated as a certified service dog ready to assist someone living with a disability in Oklahoma. When Samson received his honorary degree, he sat and shook the Dean’s hand, like any other graduate. The 300 other graduates were thrilled to share their special day with a dog they knew and loved.
By Suzanne Alicie
Although I’m not in the market for a new dog at the moment, when the time comes I will get a rescue dog. There are plenty of great dogs in need of a forever home out there. But what if you’re looking for a rescue dog to adopt, yet still want to get a purebred or a specific breed? That’s when you need to know how to find a rescue program for the type of dog you’re looking for.
Check with Breeders
Many dog breeders are approached when a dog needs a home, but they can’t take in all the dogs of a breed so they need to be able to tell people who to get in touch with for a rescue. Because breeders specialize in a specific breed, they often know a lot of people who deal with the same kind of dogs. When a person cares deeply about a breed and wants to be helpful, they will know of a reputable rescue where you can find the dog you’re looking for.
Simply use your search engine to find rescue groups and then narrow down the search with the breed you are looking for. BUT keep in mind that not all rescues are the same. Do a little research, check out their website, and try to locate people who have worked with the rescue to make sure it is a reputable program. Facebook is a great way to find out what people think of an organization and what their experiences have been.
By Linda Cole
Training any dog can be hard if you aren’t consistent and dedicated. Small dogs, which include terriers, come with big attitudes and aren’t afraid to take on big jobs. These dogs are intelligent, agile and tenacious. Dogs under 22 pounds or standing under 16 inches are considered small, although there are some small breeds that weigh a little more and are taller. If you want a small dog that’s easy to train, there’s a nice variety to pick from, including the breeds listed below. Carry a pocketful of CANIDAE Pure Heaven treats, and these dogs will practically train themselves! LOL.
This breed has been in the top ten most popular dogs for the last decade. The Yorkie may be small, but he’s all terrier, with an expertise in rooting out and catching rats and other small rodents. The breed was developed in northern England’s Yorkshire County to control rodents in coal mines and textile factories. Earlier dogs were larger than the breed we know today, and fearless when it came to doing their job. It wasn’t long before high society adopted the Yorkie as a companion pet, and that’s when the breed was bred down to the size we know today.
The smallest of the Spitz family of dogs, the Pomeranian is descended from Northern breeds like the Norwegian Elkhound, American Eskimo Dog, Samoyed and Schipperke. Before this breed was bred down to their 3-7 pound size, Poms weighed up to 30-35 pounds. The dog was developed in Pomerania, a small province in today’s eastern Germany. This compact little dog can excel at agility and obedience, or be happy hanging out in the lap of the one he loves.
By Julia Williams
The sand cat might just be the cutest of all wild cats, and it’s also one of the smallest. Don’t let that sweet face and tiny body fool you, though – this desert wild cat is tough as nails! Well yeah…it would have to be, to survive the harsh conditions where it lives.
Found in both sandy and stony deserts, the habitat of the sand cat (Felis margarita) ranges from North Africa’s Sahara Desert through the Middle East into Central Asia. Although “sand cat” might seem to be a nickname related to its habitat, it is the cat’s actual name. Also called the sand dune cat, these plucky felines have adapted to the extreme temperatures and dry conditions in the desert. Their feet are thickly padded with fur to insulate them from the hot sand. They have large ears which help them hear their prey, and they are excellent hunters – a small rodent like a mouse does not stand a chance against a sand cat!
This hardy feline can survive in temperatures ranging from 23° F to 126° F. During extreme heat, the sand cat stays cool by retreating to an underground burrow. They use abandoned fox or porcupine burrows, but are also good at digging and will enlarge the small burrows of gerbils or other rodents.
Perhaps most impressive of all is that sand cats do not need to drink a lot of water. Although they do drink water when it’s available, if necessary they can get the moisture they need from their prey. This allows them to live comfortably in areas that are far from a water source.
By Linda Cole
Two stray dogs living on the streets of Terre Haute, Indiana met and “fell in love,” or so the story goes. Life took an abrupt turn, however, when the two became separated. But one of the dogs wasn’t going to let anything stop him from being reunited with his best four legged friend.
Four and a half year old Ben, a mixed breed, and one year old Jade, a German Shepherd mix, were well known strays that called the streets of Terre Haute home. How they met is anyone’s guess, but over time an incredible bond grew between them. The dogs were looked after by locals in the community, but the pair remained skittish of humans. When Jade became pregnant, the Terre Haute Humane Society (THHS) decided it was time to rescue both dogs.
Since they were comfortable with each other, the shelter kenneled them together until Jade gave birth to six healthy puppies. It was decided that they would be better in a foster home environment until the pups were weaned, and were moved to the home of Kali Skinner, one of the THHS adoption counselors. According to Skinner, “Jade was timid, but a very caring mother.” When the pups were old enough, they were put up for adoption and all quickly found forever homes.
Ben was overjoyed to see Jade when she returned to the shelter, and life was good until a young couple stopped in looking for a dog to adopt. Courtney and Jason Lawler fell in love with Ben, but they didn’t want two dogs. The couple’s three year old son, Peyton, and one dog would be all they could handle – or so they thought. Ben was led away from the shelter and his best friend, and Jade was left alone in the kennel. This might have been the end to this sad story of two friends saying goodbye, but Ben had other ideas and wasn’t about to be separated from his love.
By Langley Cornwell
When I was young, I used to love scavenger hunts. I think I was first introduced to hunts at Girl Scout Camp and from then on, I was hooked. I remember asking my parents to organize a scavenger hunt for my birthday party that year and the trend took off. Several of my friends followed suit, and we had loads of fun racing around gathering random things. Eventually we got too cool to run around the neighborhood gathering stuff, and the scavenger hunt craze fizzled out among my pals.
I had not given my scavenging days much thought until I ran across an article about Geocaching. According to The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Website, geocaching is a free real-world outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Players try to navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Players may then share their experiences with an online community of cachers. Currently, there are about 122,615 active caches in more than 210 countries.
Geocaching is a compound word including GEO for geography, and CACHING, which refers to the process of hiding a cache. This is not to be confused with cache in computer terms, which usually refers to information stored in memory to make it faster to retrieve. In this context, cache refers to a term that is also used in hiking/camping as a hiding place for concealing and preserving provisions. Geocaching containers are usually weather-resistant vessels holding a logbook along with an array of coins, plastic toys, key chains and other small items for trade.