The unconditional love from dogs is a perfect match for assisted living residents.

Across the country, assisted living residents are deriving great satisfaction from furry, four-legged friends accompanied by their owners who welcome the opportunity to give back to others.

“My mom has Alzheimer’s,” said Sue Travis, who visits The Peninsula, an assisted living/memory support community in Pembroke Park, Fla., with her dog, JR. “Whenever I visit, it becomes the basis of my conversation with my mother.”

Her mother was the impetus behind Sue becoming a pet therapist.

“Mom told me about a woman who brought her dog to visit the residents. I thought why can’t I do that,” she explained.

Both Travis and her dog, Junior, began visiting The Peninsula. When he passed away, she found another golden from a Golden Retriever rescue organization. In Junior’s memory, she named him JR.

JR loves interacting with residents, who look forward to his weekly visits. Intuitively, he knows which residents will reward him and he’ll visit residents’ rooms if they are unable to join the group.

At the suggestion of a rescue group trainer, Sue Roncoroni and her dog, Issy May, became trained for dog therapy. Roncoroni and Issy visit Spring Meadows of Lansdale, a personal care community in Lansdale, Pa., nearPhiladelphia.

Sue, a retired teacher, and Issy May are known to dress in costumes for their monthly visits.

“Pet therapy is much more than a dog having gentle disposition,” explained Roncoroni. “For their work in assisted living communities, dogs need to be trained to walk around walkers, not jump or do anything to throw someone off balance and especially follow the command, ‘drop it’.”

Issy May underwent special testing to become a therapy dog and JR is being certified by the local Human Society.

Gene Grizzle runs a pet therapy group that visits The Palace Royale, an assisted living community in Miami, twice a month. He organizes 12-18 dogs with their handlers including his own standard poodle, Rambo.

“Many residents had dogs of their own. These pets bring back memories,” said Grizzle. “It’s amazing how they open up and tell you stories.”

Grizzle’s group is affiliated with Therapy Dog, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Fall marks the peak season for fleas, evidenced by a 70 percent increase in flea prevalence over the previous season. To help stop the spread of fleas and ensure pets are protected this season and all year, Veterinary Products Laboratories (VPL), the makers of Ovitrol® X-Tend™ Flea & Tick Spot On® products for Dogs and Cats, has donated $15,000 worth of the flea and tick treatments to five animal shelter organizations located in regions known for having a high prevalence of fleas year-round; a total donation of $75,000. The donation will supply each shelter with enough product to protect 120 pets from fleas and ticks for an entire year.

Shelter organizations work tirelessly to ensure the humane treatment of animals and to find homes for thousands of homeless pets. To help scratch the itch of pesky parasites and prevent flea infestation this fall, five shelter organizations each received donations of 1,440, one-month doses of Ovitrol® X-Tend™ Flea & Tick Spot On®products for Dogs and Cats.

Ovitrol® X-Tend™ Product Donation Recipients:

  • Arizona Humane Society (Phoenix, Ariz.)
  • Humane Society of Greater Miami (Miami, Fla.)
  • Humane Society of Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.)
  • Seattle Humane Society (Seattle, Wash.)
  • The Greater Birmingham Humane Society (Birmingham, Ala.)

“We are passionate about helping our shelter partners by protecting pets against fleas and ticks while relieving the expense of preventive care,” said Betsy Watkins, director of the VPL division. “Providing comfort and protection to animals in need is humbling and we thank each shelter partner for the hard work and time they devote to ensuring the well-being of every pet they help.”

Fleas are the most common external parasite found on untreated cats and dogs, and become even more prevalent during the fall; biting and feeding on the blood of their host. Fleas can consume 15 times their own body weight in blood and may lay up to 40-50 eggs each day, leading to rapid infestation of both the host and its environment if left untreated. Flea infestation on pets can cause severe irritation and itching, which can lead to hair-loss, inflammation and secondary skin infections. Severe cases of infestation, like those often seen by animal welfare professionals, can result in serious blood loss, anemia and possible death of the pet.

“Fleas are more than just an itchy nuisance to pets as they can cause severe distress, and more importantly, can transmit diseases such as tapeworm and the bacteria that cause cat scratch fever,” said Dr. Tom Kennedy, parasitologist. “Topical treatments have proven successful to eliminate fleas and prevent subsequent re-infestation, offering animal welfare organizations and pet owners an easy solution to protect their pets.”

Ovitrol® X-Tend™ Spot On® products for Dogs or Cats offer pet owners a powerful and affordable solution to eliminate fleas and ticks. As a fast-acting, topical prevention and control method, Ovitrol® X-Tend™ topicals start killing fleas on dogs and cats within 15 minutes, while also killing mosquitoes. The effective formula is administered through an applicator, specifically designed to make application easy for pet owners, without mess. Each dose protects for an entire month. Ovitrol® X-Tend™ topical is available through licensed, practicing veterinarians for a suggested retail price of $29.99 for each 3-pack.

For more information about Ovitrol® X-Tend™ Flea & Tick Spot On® products for Dogs or Cats call 1-888-241-9546 or visit www.Ovitrolxtend.com.

Petco today announced Apple Pay is available for use at all of its more than 1,300 Petco and Unleashed by Petco retail locations. Petco is among the first national retailers to support transactions using this new form of payment. Available nationwide at Petco and Unleashed by Petco stores, Apple Pay will transform mobile payments with an easy, secure and private way for pet parents to pay for goods and services.


Image courtesy of Apple

“We’re pleased to be among the first retailers to offer Apple Pay technology to our customers,” said Jim Myers, Petco CEO. “We’re constantly striving to make the lives of pet parents easier and their pets’ lives healthier. While we know our customers enjoy spending time in our stores, we also know their time is valuable. Making transactions faster and easier through Apple Pay will help make our store experience better and allow pet parents to get back to what’s important – spending time with their pets.”

Petco and Unleashed by Petco stores have offered customers the opportunity to use mobile technology to complete transactions wirelessly since 2012. Known as “Tap and Pay,” the system allows certain credit cards and mobile devices to use Near Field Communications (NFC) technology to send a customer’s payment information without swiping a card. Thousands of Tap and Pay transactions are completed in Petco stores each week at more than 1,300 Petco and Unleashed by Petco stores nationwide.

Apple Pay will work with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch, upon availability. Apple Pay is easy to set up and users will continue to receive all of the rewards and benefits offered by their credit and debit cards. Transactions completed through Apple Pay allow customers to safely store credit cards on the iPhone and authorize payments through their device. Through mobile wallet technology, customers can pay for purchases by holding their iPhones close to a sensor at the cashier. The transaction can be completed in seconds, allowing customers to move more quickly through the line.

Security and privacy is at the core of Apple Pay. When you add a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on your device. Each transaction is authorized with a one-time unique dynamic security code, instead of using the security code from the back of your card.

For more information about Petco or to find a location near you, visit petco.com. For more information on Apple Pay, visit: http://www.apple.com/apple-pay/

PoundWishes, a non-profit and web site focused on ending the needless euthanasia of 3-4 million shelter pets each year due to health problems, shelter overcrowding or lack of resources, today announced it has granted 150 PoundWishes in its first six months of operations. PoundWishes connects local animal rescue groups with pet lovers nationwide to raise money to rehabilitate sick, injured or abused shelter pets. Launched in March, PoundWishes is the only group focused on providing shelters with donations to nurture these special needs pets back to healthy, happy and adoptable. The site also posts adoption listings.

PoundWishes was inspired by Mckenzi Taylor who was diagnosed with leukemia at age two and received help during her illness from The Make-A-Wish Foundation. Although she was very young at the time, she never forgot how that special recognition made her feel. Now a healthy 12-year-old, she worked with her parents to create PoundWishes so she could give back some of that feeling to the neediest of pets.

“Being sick can make you feel alone and invisible. I was lucky to have a lot of help but when I visited a shelter recently I recognized the look in the sick pet’s eyes and I knew I had to do something,” said Mckenzi.”I’m so proud we have been able to help so many pets so and I’m just amazed by the generosity of the people who have donated so these pets can have a second chance.”

What is a PoundWish?
PoundWishes are posted by rescue groups to fund the urgent healthcare needs of the pets in their care. The PoundWishes granted so far include surgeries on broken limbs, medication for skin conditions and retraining and rehabilitation from the effects of abuse – whatever is necessary to get the pet ready for a new forever home.

PoundWishes is currently looking for new shelter and rescue partners and is actively building its pet lover community. The organization hopes to double its impact in the next six months by granting 300 more PoundWishes by the end of the year.  Pet lovers who want to get involved can visit www.PoundWishes.com.

India became the first cruelty-free cosmetics zone in South Asia.

Humane Society International/India’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign is celebrating an historic victory for animals as India bans the import of animal tested cosmetics. Coming just a few months after implementation of a national ban on cruel cosmetics testing in India’s labs, the import ban now makes India the first cruelty-free cosmetics zone in South Asia and an example for other nations to follow.

HSI's BeCrueltyFree India Makes History as India Bans Import of Animal Tested Cosmetics

The ban comes in the form of Rule 135-B that states, “Prohibition of import of cosmetics tested on animals. No cosmetic that has been tested on animals after the commencement of Drugs and Cosmetics (Fifth Amendment) Rules, 2014 shall be imported into the country.” The notification will come into effect on 13 November, 2014 (30 days from the date of notification).

Alokparna Sengupta, Humane Society International/India’s #BeCrueltyFree campaigns manager, said; “With today’s historic ban on the import of newly animal-tested cosmetics, India has made history for animals in South Asia. This is a huge achievement that could not have been possible without the compassion of our government, consumers and industry. We feel confident that if this vision is applied to other areas of product testing, this can be a defining moment in the modernization of India’s safety science, with potentially hundreds of thousands more animals spared pain and suffering.”

Gauri Maulekhi, Trustee, People for Animals, a #BeCrueltyFree India partner, said: “India has shown outstanding leadership by so swiftly advancing first a ban on cosmetics animal testing and now a ban on animal-tested cosmetics imported from overseas. By working so diligently with the #BeCrueltyFree India campaign, our policy makers have put India on the map as a country transforming its laboratories and regulation from outdated test methods to state-of-the-art science. Animals, consumers, scientists and companies have everything to gain from such modernization.”

HSI/India’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign has been instrumental in achieving the final import ban. In June, HSI met with the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan, to present a petition of more than 70,000 signatures supporting an import ban. Support from more than 30 legislators also has been critical, with special thanks to Mrs Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Shri Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, Shri L.K.Advani, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi andSupriya Sule.

India’s dual test and import ban mirrors that of the European Union and is the latest victory in a string of achievements for the #BeCrueltyFree campaign globally. Earlier this year #BeCrueltyFree campaigners inAustraliaBrazilNew ZealandTaiwan and the United States have all celebrated the introduction of bills proposing national cosmetic animal test bans. Efforts by #BeCrueltyFree China also resulted in China removing mandatory animal testing for many domestically produced cosmetics.

Otis, the golden retriever, was in his golden years when bone cancer pain threatened to shorten his life. As a participant in a clinical trial aimed at pet dogs, he was given a single treatment with a pain therapy called SP-SAP that was developed by a local company, Advanced Targeting Systems (ATS).

Advanced Targeting Systems Inc Otis

The story of Otis’ relief from cancer pain is well documented in a video accessible at www.ATSbio.com/vet. “Otis Gets His Wag Back” shows Otis before treatment and after. It is clear from Otis’ body language and gait there is change for the better, while the tumor has doubled in size.

Bone cancer at advanced stages often leads to animals being euthanized for pain-related issues. There are better options.  Pain shouldn’t be a life-threatening disease for your pet.  SP-SAP prevents chronic pain signals from reaching the brain. The pet’s brain no longer knows it is in pain from the cancer, but can still feel normal acute pain that can be treated with traditional pain care.

A study sponsored by ATS has promising results that were published in the November 2013 issue of the journalAnesthesiology. Pet dogs receiving SP-SAP displayed significantly less pain than dogs receiving traditional pain care, with no visible side effects and an improved quality of life.

With the hope of translating these results to humans, a clinical trial testing SP-SAP on terminal cancer patients has begun. Early results are promising, but additional patients are needed. See http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT02036281 for more information.

Benefits of SP-SAP:

  • Permanent relief from cancer pain
  • Single injectable dose
  • Successfully tested in dogs
  • In human clinical trials

Over 50% of pets are considered overweight or obese, with numbers climbing steadily. Just as with people, pet obesity has become an epidemic in the U.S.  Dr. Mark Verdino, Animal League America Vice President and Chief of Veterinary Staff, states, “The most common cause for obesity in animals is over-feeding and lack of exercise. In this regard, most overweight animals can easily be put on a path to lose weight.”

Pet Obesity Awareness Day


In honor of National Pet Obesity Awareness Day on Wednesday, October 8th, North Shore Animal League America would like to share some important Pet Health Tips for you to incorporate into your four-legged family member’s life:

  • Have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian to develop a plan for healthy living. Unchecked obesity in pets can lead to debilitating diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer and more.
  • We love to snack, and so do our pets.  Although satisfying, unhealthy snacking can put on a couple of unnecessary pounds.  Avoid from feeding snacks and table scraps to your cat or dog.
  • Exercise with your pet.  From running an errand to going for a jog, take your dog with you.  Exercise is quite essential for your pet’s health as it increases strength and longevity.
  • Wellness through water.  Water is key for digesting food and will help your pet’s body absorb important nutrients.  Make sure your pet’s bowl is filled with clean, clear water on a daily basis.
  • Feed on a schedule.  Avoid accidental overfeeding by sticking to your pet’s recommended daily feeding guide.
  • While preparing and cooking your own meals, it is best to keep your pet in another room.
  • Make sure additional food is not just lying around as it will only encourage your pet to eat more than his/her daily diet suggests.
  • If you are going away, make sure to leave clear diet/feeding instructions with the person who will be looking after your pet.
  • If you have more than one pet, feed them separately.
  • When purchasing pet food, look for the words “complete and balanced nutrition” on the label.  Consult with your veterinarian for more information regarding your pet’s specific diet.

While Pet Obesity Awareness Day is designed to bring awareness to this issue, appropriate feeding and exerciseevery day is needed to solve it.

For more information on pet safety and care, visit our Expert Advice page.

For more information on adopting a rescue animal, visit our Adopt page

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced that 68,805 dogs and cats were adopted during the three-month 2014 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, an increase of 16,789 over the same period last year. Over the five years of the $100K Challenge – held annually since 2010 – contestants saved a total of 282,679 lives.


“When we mapped out the design of this contest six years ago, we were aiming to inspire new innovations and dramatic increases in lives saved,” says Bert Troughton, vice president of strategic initiatives at the ASPCA. “The rest was up to the more than 200 shelters who’ve competed over the last five years, and they knocked it out of the park. Not only did they increase lives saved by nearly 60,000, but they’ve redefined what’s possible and given shelters everywhere both hope and new, successful strategies for saving more lives.”

The ASPCA and Rachael Ray today awarded this year’s $100,000 grand prize to Central California SPCA inFresno, Calif. and a $25,000 Community Engagement Award to Kansas City Pet Project in Kansas City, Mo. In total, $550,000 in grant funding was awarded today to help competing shelters continue to save even more lives, and more than $2 million has been awarded to shelters in 38 states during the five years of the contest.

All her life, Rachael Ray has been an advocate for animals and a supporter of animal welfare groups. Her love for animals and for her pit bull, Isaboo, inspired her to create a pet food called Nutrish® to raise money for animals in need. Ray donates her proceeds from the sale of Nutrish® to organizations like the ASPCA so they can implement programs like the $100K Challenge and support shelters and animal organizations around the country.

The ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge is a groundbreaking contest that challenges animal shelters across the country to come up with innovative ways to engage their communities and get more homeless cats and dogs into loving homes. For information about the 2014 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, please visit www.aspca.org/100K.

K9 Fit Club® – the nation’s leader in canine and human fitness – is reaching out to pet owners across the country, asking them to GET OFF YOUR BUTT and WORK OUT WITH YOUR MUTT ™ to raise awareness for National Pet Obesity Day on October 8, 2014, and help their pets achieve wellness and greater vitality.

“K9 Fit Club aims to change lives, one dog at a time,” explains Tricia Montgomery, founder and president of K9 Fit Club.  “Excess weight for dogs brings on numerous health risks, with obesity playing a role in decreased life expectancy.  It’s time to regard pet obesity as the epidemic it really is, and for pet owners to use their passion and take action.  K9 Fit Club is committed to making this change.”


Image courtesy of K9 Fit Club

During the month of October, K9 Fit Club is offering a promotion for fitness and pet enthusiasts who enroll in K9 Fit Club’s online training certification program.  “Certified K9 Fit Club Trainers can make a tremendous and positive impact on pet and human health.  Our certification program provides convenient online training, tools, information, a pop up K9 Fit Kit™, and support from K9 Fit Club – everything needed to add to an existing business or a start up business in any community,” says Montgomery.  The course, usually offered at $599, will be available at $450 from October 1-31, 2014. (Use Promo Code POD14)

Dr. Ernie Ward, DVM and founder and president of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) also urges pet owners to fight against pet obesity.  “A 2013 APOP study found that 52.6 percent of dogs and 57.6 percent of cats were overweight,” said Ward, who serves as an advisor to K9 Fit Club.  “A host of preventable diseases are directly linked to obesity in pets.”  The 2014 study is underway, and veterinarians can participate in assessing their patients on October 8, with forms available at petobesityprevention.org.

Adds Montgomery, “My hope is that pet owners take the opportunity to contribute to the better health of our pets, and that K9 Fit Club makes it possible with flexible certification training.”

Nestle Purina issued a press release today referencing the disclosure of the so called “scientific testing” behind its lawsuit and smear campaign against Blue Buffalo. In its press release, Nestle Purina pretends as if it is making this disclosure voluntarily. Nothing can be further from the truth. Blue Buffalo, staunchly defending its integrity, has been fighting with Nestle Purina in the court for months to force it to reveal the purported “science” behind its claims so the public can see the basis of these unfounded allegations.  Nestle Purina has fought and resisted this at every turn hiding behind legal tactics and obfuscations, while at the same time continuing to promote this “science” as having been performed by an unidentified “highly sophisticated, independent lab.” Only now, having run out of delaying tactics, on the eve of losing its fight in Court to keep its testing hidden, Nestle Purina has finally made this disclosure.

It has now become abundantly clear why Nestle Purina fought so hard to keep it secret – Nestle Purina apparently has no confidence in its “science” or its expert, and understandably so. It turns out that the “highly sophisticated, independent lab” it promoted as the foundation for its smear campaign is in reality an individual of dubious scientific credentials who works out of a lab in his home (“Windsor Laboratories”). His analysis was performed with a rudimentary microscope under less than optimal conditions with questionable methods and record keeping.

Blue Buffalo welcomes anybody who is interested to read the scientific review of Nestle Purina’s testing, which Blue Buffalo has submitted to the Court. The report can be found under http://www.BlueBuffalo.com/PurinasJunkScience. This critical analysis was prepared by Dr. Vinayak Dravid, a world-renowned expert in material science and microscopy. As it is clear reading Dr. Dravid’s report, Nestle Purina is basing its allegations on junk science.

Notwithstanding Nestle Purina disingenuously pretending as if it’s making this disclosure voluntarily, Nestle Purina appears to be alarmed by the public disclosure of its junk science. Nestle Purina is attempting to muddy the waters and take the attention away from it by adding a list of new unfounded allegations to continue its malicious attack. With numerous quotes in its press release from its Chief Marketing Officer, Nestle Purina makes it clear that this entire lawsuit is simply a marketing campaign disguised as a legal case.

As with the previous allegations, Blue Buffalo rejects the new Nestle Purina allegations and looks forward to the opportunity to reveal them for what they are in the Court.

The case is Nestle Purina PetCare Company v. Blue Buffalo Company Ltd., Civil Case No. 4:14-cv-00859.


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