Category Archives: shelter dog

Can You Tell if Your Dog is Depressed?

By Linda Cole

Dogs can get down in the dumps just like we can. Depression can be a serious and life threatening condition if it’s not recognized and treated. However, dogs can’t tell us when they don’t feel right, so the only way we can tell if something is wrong is by observing how they act.

A dog’s personality can be just as complicated as their owner’s. Just like us, dogs have their own favorite areas of the home where they feel secure and comfortable. If that area is an out of the way spot, like under the bed or in a closet, it can be misread as the dog hiding. A depressed dog may hide, but he could also just want a quiet place to relax. There are other symptoms to look for that are better indicators of depression.

Symptoms of depression in dogs

Depression works much the same with a pet as it does for us. There’s an apparent lack of interest in food and sometimes even water. If your dog misses one or two of his CANIDAE meals, there’s no cause for concern as long as he’s still drinking water. But if his lack of appetite lasts longer than a 24 hour period, and he isn’t drinking water, you should have your vet check him out to make sure there’s not a medical problem or injury that’s causing him to not want to eat or drink. Sometimes a depressed dog may go the other way and overeat.

Besides loss of appetite, other symptoms to watch out for can include no energy (lethargy) in a normally active dog or sleeping more than usual. A depressed dog may appear to be easily startled by a noise or another pet or person in the same room. A dog that wants to be left alone, won’t move his head to look at you when you call his name, or paces from one room to another and can’t seem to find any place where he’s comfortable, is showing symptoms of depression. Your dog may be depressed if he constantly follows you around the house or yard but doesn’t want to interact with you, especially if he always has in the past.

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How Facebook Helps Pets In Need

By Linda Cole

Anyone with a Facebook account understands the addictive nature of this social networking site. It’s a place where anyone can go to meet new people (with the proper precautions), get information and find pets that are in need of homes. The site even helps lost pets that have gone through natural disasters get reunited with frantic owners who were searching for them. Facebook is helping to change the plight of pets, one animal at a time.

Natural disasters affect not only the people who experience them directly, but those of us who only witness them via TV reports and now, social media. This year’s violent and deadly tornadoes have given new meaning to “keep your eye on the weather.” People who live in tornado prone states aren’t taking warnings and watches for granted this year. We can’t do anything about the weather, but we can help those affected by it in ways that weren’t possible five years ago.

Several days after the Joplin tornado, my Facebook news page was filled with posts from people who’d found pets in a demolished home or wandering aimlessly among the rubble. I also saw a number of posts from pet owners asking if anyone had seen their pet. It struck me then that Facebook had become a sort of “bulletin board” for lost and found. This is not what we see on TV news reports. Oh sure, we get some personal stories, but we don’t get the day-to-day activities that go on after a natural disaster. I gladly shared each post I saw hoping it might help reunite pets with their owners. It was my only way of trying to help. But the power of social media cannot be denied, and I know that sharing someone else’s post might lead to a person who was able to help in a way I couldn’t.

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Is Your Dog Optimistic or Pessimistic?

By Linda Cole

My dog Keikei smiles all the time, except when she’s begging for her CANIDAE TidNips™ treats. Then she has the most pathetic, pleading eyes I’ve ever seen! In general, she’s a happy dog. I would say she’s a pretty positive little girl. New research claims dogs can be optimistic or pessimistic, and that if a dog shows separation anxiety, they are also showing pessimistic tendencies. According to the research, if your dog frantically barks as you drive off, destroys furniture, chews up socks and decorates your door with scratch marks, they are pessimistic. A research team from the University of Bristol in England came to this conclusion after testing 24 dogs to see how they would react to a bowl full of food placed in a controlled positive position, and an empty bowl in a negative position.

The study was conducted with shelter dogs. Each dog was taken into a room with a researcher where the person played and talked to the dog for 20 minutes. The next day, the person stayed for five minutes and then left the dog alone. They wanted to test the dogs for signs of separation anxiety.

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International Homeless Animals Day

By Julia Williams

In 1992, the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) introduced National Homeless Animals Day and Candlelight Vigils, created as an innovative educational tool for informing the public about pet overpopulation. Since then, ISAR has commemorated the day annually to promote new campaigns, programs, ideas and solutions to the pet overpopulation epidemic. Now, because of the ever-growing support by animal lovers worldwide, they’ve rechristened it International Homeless Animals Day.

On the third Saturday in August, organizations and individuals around the globe rally together to raise awareness about pet overpopulation. International Homeless Animals Day activities include candlelight vigils, adoption fairs, microchip clinics, blessings of the animals, and heartfelt speeches given by council members, veterinarians, humane officers and shelter personnel. Other activities include slideshows, rallies, dog walks, open houses, award ceremonies, live music, raffles, and games.

Eight Ways to Observe International Homeless Animals Day

1. Download a free candlelight vigil packet from ISAR.  It includes guidelines for organizing a successful vigil event, with tips on site selection, reaching target audiences, poems, songs, sample press releases and more.

2. Check out ISAR’s Event Schedule to find an International Homeless Animals Day Candlelight Vigil Observance in your area.

3. Participate in ISAR’s 9th Annual Virtual Vigil and light an online candle for homeless animals.

4. Adopt a homeless animal. If you have room in your home and heart, one of the best ways to celebrate International Homeless Animals Day is to give an animal the blessing of a better life. No, this won’t fix the pet overpopulation problem overnight, but it will give one beautiful animal a family to love and a place to call home.

5. Help your local animal shelter by volunteering your time or donating supplies. Shelters run on shoestring budgets, and they’re in dire need of volunteers to help with feeding, walking, socializing and simply loving the homeless animals in their facilities. You can also support your local shelter in honor of International Homeless Animals Day by donating pet food, blankets, dishes, grooming tools, toys and other things they need.

6. Have your family pet spayed or neutered. Sadly, millions of healthy, adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters every year. Not every city has the ability or the funds to run a no-kill shelter, and euthanasia is the tragic result of an imbalance in supply and demand. Responsible pet owners recognize the importance of having their family pet “fixed,” which helps to decrease the supply of animals in need of a home.

7. Become a foster parent for homeless pets. For various reasons, animal shelters often need to place puppies and kittens, as well as adult dogs and cats, in temporary foster homes. Thanks to fosters, countless homeless animals can be in safe, loving environments until they’re ready to be adopted.

8. Help feed the homeless animals by donating to wonderful pet-related charities such as The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank. CANIDAE is proud to support this fine organization with donations of their premium quality pet food, which is used to help feed homeless animals. 

Please join me in observing and supporting International Homeless Animals Day on August 21, 2010.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Famous TV and Movie Pets Adopted From Shelters


By Linda Cole

Shelters are a great place to find wonderful animals, and you need look no further than the dogs and cats you’ve seen in TV sitcoms, commercials and movies. Many famous dogs and cats were found in local shelters where millions of animals are just waiting for the right person to come along. These famous pets show how special all animals are no matter where they come from, and prove that with patience and commitment all pets are trainable. Here are some of the most famous TV and movie pets adopted from shelters.

Higgins played “Dog” on the popular TV show Petticoat Junction that aired from 1963 to 1970. He became a famous pet and a household name after starring in the 1974 movie Benji. A well known animal trainer, Frank Inn, adopted Higgins as a puppy from the Burbank, California animal shelter. Frank said Higgins was a dog filled with talent, and the dog proved it by learning new tricks on a regular basis. His specialties were yawning and sneezing on command as well as climbing ladders and opening mailboxes. He was a dog with facial expressions that could say it all.

Spike of Old Yeller fame, was adopted from a shelter in Van Nuys, California by the famed dog trainer, Frank Weatherwax. Working with the young Black Mouth Cur, Frank trained him to be a well adjusted family pet who was eager to please. When Frank heard they were looking for a dog for the movie Old Yeller, he took Spike to audition for the part. The casting executives at Disney thought Spike was too easy going. They wanted a meaner and tougher looking dog. After a few weeks of intense training, Weatherwax got a new audition for his dog, and Spike entered the history books as one of the most memorable canines of all time. I bet you cried at the end of the movie – I know I did.

Nora became a YouTube sensation with her amazing rendition of Bach. The talented piano playing cat was adopted from a shelter in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Nora is a self taught kitty musician who really seems to enjoy her practice sessions. Nora is indeed an amazing feline and her unique ability to tickle the ivories earns her a spot on famous pets adopted from shelters. Nora is definitely the cat’s meow when it comes to pets with musical talent.

Clyde played Marley in the film Marley and Me. He is one of 22 dogs used in the movie. Five dogs were adopted from shelters and Clyde was rescued from a breeder. He is the dog with the most screen time and was perfectly cast to play the endearing pup we fell in love with.

Morris the 9-Lives cat is one of the most recognizable famous pets of all time. In 1968, animal trainer Bob Martwick was going through a Humane Society pet shelter in Hinsdale, Illinois. Lucky, aka Morris, was adopted from the shelter just hours before he was to be put down. He became known as the finicky cat and starred in commercials from 1969 until his death in 1975. Any cat now used to play Morris is required to be rescued from an animal shelter or cat rescue.

Mauri played Murray in the TV sitcom Mad About You starring Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser. He was adopted from a California shelter by animal trainer, Boone Narr. Betty Linn, Mauri’s current trainer, says he’s much smarter than his character on the show, who had a problem with getting lost and walking into walls. This famous pet definitely has a sense of humor and his favorite tricks are pretending to relieve himself (which gets people’s attention), shaking his head, rolling over, sneezing and crawling.

Moose was a Jack Russell Terrier we know better as Eddie from the hit TV sitcom Frazier. Moose wasn’t a pet adopted from a shelter, but he’s a famous pet who gave his first owners so much trouble that they gave him away to a Florida company who trains animals for roles in TV and movies. After six months of training, Moose was on his way to a trainer in Los Angeles, and from there TV history was made when he landed the role of Eddie and stole our hearts.

These are just some of the famous pets who were adopted from shelters, each one a unique and talented animal who left us smiling.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

What Does an Animal Shelter Volunteer Do?


By Julia Williams

If you love animals, becoming a volunteer at your local shelter is definitely something you should consider. You will be making a difference not only to the animals that reside there, but to the shelter and to your community. Words can’t adequately describe the rewarding feeling you get from helping these beautiful four-legged souls that are without a family to love and care for them.

Since most shelters operate on shoestring budgets, volunteers are an essential part of their daily operations. Although there is no central data reporting agency for animal shelters, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that 6-8 million dogs and cats end up in America’s shelters every year. That, my friends, is a lot of animals who desperately need some TLC.

There are a variety of tasks assigned to volunteers; some include working with the animals, some do not. You can walk dogs, socialize cats, clean cages, help with feeding, watering and grooming, do adoption counseling or administrative tasks. Some volunteers choose more than one “job” so they can contribute wherever help is needed most. Shelters also need foster parents to care for animals in their home – you can read more about that here.

Most shelters ask for a two hour commitment every week. That said, they usually won’t turn you down if you have a sincere desire to help but only have a few hours every month. They do, however, expect volunteers to honor whatever time commitment they’ve made. They need to know you’ll be there when you say you will, and if your life is in flux, it’s unfair to the shelter and the animals to make promises you can’t keep.

Getting started as an animal shelter volunteer is easy. You fill out an application, and typically attend a “new volunteer” orientation. Shelters use this orientation to familiarize volunteers with their operations, and to make sure this new relationship starts off right. It’s similar to starting a new job, except you don’t get paid, at least not with currency you can spend. Shelter volunteers get paid with emotional dollars they can put in their personal bank of pride and self-appreciation.

I’ve volunteered at three different shelters throughout my life. My first was at age 17 (the minimum age requirement varies, but is usually between 16 and 18). I signed up as a dog walker, because I felt bad that the dogs had to be cooped up in kennels all day long. The excitement and happiness the dogs exuded when I approached with leash in hand was palpable. They all clamored to be chosen to get out in the fresh air for some exercise.

Those dog walks were always enjoyable, but I’ll never forget one in particular. There was a dog at the shelter I knew quite well, since she had belonged to a friend. I took her out to the large open field and decided to unleash her, because I was certain she wouldn’t run away. The moment I unleashed her, she took off like a rocket across the field. Soon she was just a tiny speck, and as I stood there with the leash, I contemplated how to explain this to the shelter staff. I was certain my dog walking days were over. Much to my relief, Trixie reached the end of the field, then turned around and raced back to me.

At another shelter I was a cat socializer (sometimes called a cat cuddler). The primary duty was to give the shelter cats some much-needed love and attention. I cared about all the cats I interacted with, but sometimes I’d feel a special connection to one of them. Paige was a cat I considered a “lifer.” She’d been at this no-kill shelter for at least a year, and I didn’t think she’d ever get adopted because she had a bit of a split personality. I’m good at reading the body language of cats, and most give you clear signals when they want you to stop petting them. Not Paige. One minute she loved the attention and the next, she’d claw my hand to bits. I could never tell when she was about to go psycho on me. But as it turns out, even a cat like Paige can get adopted if the right person comes along. I’ll always remember the day I came in to find Paige gone. I dreaded asking, for fear she had been put down for some reason. But no – Paige had found her forever home!

Volunteering at a shelter is something I highly recommend for all animal lovers. If you’re like me, it may make you sad (and mad) to see so many beautiful animals without a loving home. Yet it will also fill your heart with happiness to know that you are enriching their lives as they wait to find a family of their own.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.