Dog Shields Disabled Boy from Wasp Swarm

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by Bethany Meissner

Taking a midday walk is usually an easy way to relax and get some gentle exercise. For one family in the UK, their lunchtime walk became the opposite of relaxing when they ran into a swarm of wasps. Thankfully the family dog protected the mother’s disabled son, Darragh.

According to The Express, Lynsey Hayes took her 12-year-old son, Darragh, and their family dog, Bobo, for a midday walk. Darragh has cerebral palsy and used a special disabled bike on the walk. When the group was moving along a canal bank, they came across a large wasp nest.

Lynsey shared that “Bobo was running and started barking continuously….Bobo was being stung and when I ran over to pick him up, the wasps attacked me.”

Lynsey was worried about her son. She told The Express that she kept “shouting out to him to keep pedaling.” Bobo, the family’s shih-tzu bichon fries mix protected Darragh. Lynsey says that she was stung countless times, but Bobo kept the swarm from getting to her son. “How Darragh didn’t get stung I don’t know. If it wasn’t for Bobo taking the brunt of the wasps coming towards us, we both could have been seriously ill” she told Kent Online. She told the reporter that “wasps were stuck to him.”

Preventive Vet, based in Oregon, notes that multiple wasp stings can be fatal. In fact, Lynsey’s vet instructed her to keep a close watch on Bobo, in case his breathing changed after all those stings, because that could be the first sign of trouble. We’re glad that brave little Bobo turned out alright with no reported problems after his heroic actions.

Friendly Swiss Cat Guides Lost Hiker to Safety

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by Bethany Meissner

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Photo credit: Reddit user starspace1

If you sprained your ankle while hiking by yourself, you might get a bit worried. If you then realized that the only trail back was closed, you’d probably get a little scared. However, if you happened to be hiking near the village of Grimmelwald in Switzerland, a local cat might come to your rescue.

According to the Independent, a Hungarian hiker, sc4s2cg posted on Reddit that he was hiking in the mountains around Grimmelwald when he ran into trouble. The route that he meant to take back to the village was marked as closed. With his ankle sprained, the hiker wasn’t sure of a good alternate route.

Then he spotted a cat. Thinking that this might be something to share with his family back home, the hiker began videotaping the encounter. When he shared the story and video on Reddit, he added English subtitles to the adorable video.

The sweet black and white kitty began rolling around in front of the hiker, as though to get his attention. When the hiker stood up, the cat did the same. The cat glanced over her shoulder, possibly making sure the hiker would follow, and then began to walk down to the village with her tail held high.

As the pair continued their walk, the cat would occasionally meow and glance at the hiker, as though confirming that he was still with her. When the pair got back to the village, they went their separate ways with the hiker telling the cat “We’ll meet again” in Hungarian. The hiker shared on YouTube that, at the time of the hike, he wasn’t sure what foods cats could eat so he didn’t offer any food to the cat and “was hesitant to pet her!” However, a week after he left the village, he learned that his family back home had adopted a kitten in his absence! He wrote that he is now a “confident cat feeder and cat petter!”

Although the Hungarian hiker’s video is from 2013, other hikers have also seen the friendly cat. One Reddit user, starspace1, shared that the friendly cat joined her and a friend on a hike just a few months ago. Other commenters on Reddit shared that the cat belongs to a couple who own a local hostel. Reddit user VaysaK also saw the cat and commented that it’s “cool how cats unite people across the world.” We completely agree.

Irish Wolfhound Alerts Owner to Early Morning Fire

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by Bethany Meissner

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Photo credit: WKRN-TV

Two-year-old children might not know how to alert their parents to a fire, but two-year-old Jack did just that in early September. Of course, Jack is an Irish Wolfhound.

According to WKRN-TV, around 4 a.m. on a Wednesday morning a fire began in the utility room of Jack’s home outside of Nashville, Tennessee. The young dog insistently woke up his owner, Mark Lawrence. Mark was able to climb out a window and call 911.

While waiting for the fire department, Mark, who works as a firefighter at Nashville International Airport decided to use his own training. He knew that every moment counted so he turned his own garden hose on the fire. He was able to douse and extinguish the flames. Because of Jack’s early warning, the damage to the house was limited to the utility room where the fire started.

Mark’s brother also lives in the home and was uninjured. Mark credits Jack for that, “If it hadn’t been for him, who knows? He saved me and my brother’s life tonight.” Jack turns three in December – we bet he’ll have a heck of a celebration!

Rescue Cat Acts as Guide Cat for Her Best Friend

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by Bethany Meissner

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Photo credit: Shar Davis

Guide dogs are probably familiar to you, but what about a guide cat? Well, Mabel the cat in New Zealand, is one for her blind feline friend, Murdock.

According to Stuff, a New Zealand news and information site, Murdock and Mabel arrived as kittens at the Wellington SPCA from different litters. Both litters were caught by SPCA inspectors in early 2016 and brought to the Wellington SPCA’s veterinary clinic. Unfortunately, before he was caught, Murdock developed a severe eye infection. Veterinarians at the clinic needed to remove both his eyes, leaving him completely blind.

The head veterinary nurse at the clinic, Heidi Olsen, fostered both Mabel and Murdock. That’s when the two kittens became friends and forged a bond. It was their adopter, Shar Davis, who saw that Mabel was acting as Murdock’s guide cat. She realized that Murdock was learning to climb the stairs in her home by following Mabel’s scent!

Mabel does more than a typical guide dog would though. Not only does she help Murdock stay clean, she also sometimes gets him out of tight situations. As Shar told Stuff, “If he gets himself stuck, he’ll just meow and she will come and free him.”

After he learned from Mabel how to find the food and the litter box, Murdock now can get around on his own. The two are still super close and have a tight bond. When they hang out together, they present an adorable sight so Shar has even set up an Instagram account just to document these two fantastic felines.

They’re not only capturing hearts on Instagram. The best friends have also been featured in their local newspaper and on the cover of the New Zealand Salvation Army magazine! Looking at Mabel and Murdock would make anyone smile, but has special meaning for Heidi, their former foster mom. She told Stuff that it’s “amazing to see Murdock’s progress from when he first came in with such badly infected eyes, to how happy and healthy he is now.”

Rescued Chihuahua Rescues Elderly Owner

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by Bethany Meissner

Who would save your life if you fell out of sight and couldn’t get up? For one elderly Florida woman, her savior was a little Chihuahua she had rescued from a shelter.

According to ABC Action News, in 2010 a woman was unable to keep her Chihuahua, Sassy, when she needed to move into a nursing home. Thankfully, Marie Alexander spotted Sassy at a shelter and gave her a new home. Six years later Marie told a reporter, “I am so glad I got her at that shelter.” Marie is glad not only for the love that Sassy has provided, but also for Sassy’s persistence and determination that saved Marie’s life on August 13, 2016.

Marie Alexander is 92 years old. Her home is fenced in with some brush and shade. On August 13, after checking her mailbox, Marie turned to walk back along her stoned pathway to head inside. Unfortunately, she tripped, fell backwards, and hit her head. Marie couldn’t get back up to get inside and call for her. Because she hadn’t planned to be outside long, Marie didn’t have her phone with her. Because of the way her yard is setup, Marie wasn’t easily visible to passing cars or people. Her injuries were so bad that Marie was unable to crawl into shade as the Florida heat rose with the day.

Thankfully, she had Sassy. “She follows me everywhere,” Marie later said. That habit turned out to be a lifesaver for Marie.

Sassy took watch over Alexander and barked at every car that came by the house. Like the legendary Lassie running for help to save Timmy, Sassy “ran down every car that passed,” Marie said.

When she wasn’t chasing down cars, Sassy kept an eye on Marie. Sassy would lick Marie’s face and laid down next to her.

After five hours Sassy was still barking at cars and comforting Marie. According to Women.com, a couple finally walked by and noticed. Sassy ran to them and barked to get their attention. Because of Sassy, they saw Marie on the ground and got help for her.

Marie was rescued and taken to the hospital. Her dehydration and bruised ribs were treated. While she was at the hospital, Sassy didn’t relax. The family said that Sassy kept looking for Marie until she came home to receive Sassy’s kisses.

Marie said that animals aren’t always noticed, “People don’t give them credit for what they do.” However, Marie and her family will never make that mistake. Marie knows that Sassy rescued her as much as she rescued Sassy.

Therapy Dogs Comfort Survivors of Apartment Explosion

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by Bethany Meissner

“I truly believe dogs can make a difference,” said Trish Menjivar, a member of The Go Team Therapy Dogs. Her team did just that for survivors of an apartment explosion in Silver Spring, Maryland.

According to WJLA.com, an explosion rocked the Flower Branch Apartments late on the night of August 11. At least 90 people lost their homes. Those people included dozens of families. Many of the people were Hispanic or Latino, and not all spoke English.

Thankfully, the community rallied to help the affected families. People gave food, clothing, temporary housing, money, and time as translators, organizers, parental support, and resource counselors. The Go Team Therapy Dogs of Frederick also wanted to help.

Debi Haba, one of the group organizers, suggested visiting the survivors. Martha May told us that her first thoughts were “Let’s go! When can we go?” and “How soon can we go?” Those sentiments were shared by Bethany Hershberger, who said that her immediate response was that she wanted to go “instantly.” In the end, five dogs went with their handlers to Silver Spring.

Gary Pigott is co-owner of Sit Means Sit Frederick where the team is based. He talked with the Frederick News-Post about the team’s work with people, including the survivors of the explosion. Gary said that a visit from therapy dogs “cheers them up and it lets them kind of have an outlet for stress or trauma or grief.”

When the team arrived at the Flower Branch Apartments, they didn’t have to wait long to start helping. “People came up and we just started talking,” said Debi. She had brought her dog Buck, a white American Staffordshire. Buck has lost some use of his back legs due to a medical problem, but that doesn’t stop him from providing love and comfort to people who need it. For visits, Buck likes to ride around in a red wagon so he doesn’t get too tired while visiting.

Buck, like every dog in the team, has a trading card with a photo on one side and his vital stats on the other. People who visit with the dogs collect the cards as a memento. One little boy in Silver Spring made up a game with the cards. According to the Go Team’s Facebook page, the little boy matched each dog’s card with the dog. Matching the right card to the right dog “made him ridiculously happy!” Putting a smile on the children’s faces meant the team was accomplishing their goal.

The first part of the team’s visit was next to the explosion site where families waited anxiously. While there, the dogs wore booties on their paws to protect them from broken glass and hot asphalt, according to Martha. Her dog, Zoey (who is also a blood donor!), made friends with many people. However, one little boy stood out to Martha. That little boy was so in love with Zoey that he asked his mom if he could keep her. Martha told the little boy that maybe someday in the future he could adopt a dog from a shelter who could very well be his own little Zoey.

Martha rescued Zoey when the pup was six months old. At that time, Martha says that she never could have imagined Zoey as a therapy dog. She was rambunctious and needed a lot of training. Martha said that her work with Zoey has made her believe that you should never “turn up your nose at any dog’s abilities.” If you want a therapy dog, she said, “rescue a dog, any kind. You never know what a dog can be.” She credits mutual trust and respect for Zoey’s accomplishments.

Bethany shared a similar story about Gus, who is her first dog ever. When she got him, “Gus was a terror to take anywhere.” Now, after training and working closely together, Gus “likes the interactions with the people. He’s as happy as can be.” All the handlers we spoke with shared that their dogs know that it’s time to work when they put on their vests. Although the dogs are friends and play together when not working, they know not to roughhouse when on the job.

Trish and her husband, Hugo, brought their dogs Smash and Mayhem to the visit. Despite their names, their dogs are gentle when working. In Silver Spring, they were allowed off leash, with Trish and Hugo following close behind. Mayhem, a Siberian Husky, wandered through the crowd of people before sitting next to a woman who spoke Spanish. Hugo, who is fluent in Spanish, spoke with the woman while she petted Mayhem. Trish said that it was like Mayhem “knew that woman needed him.” The woman told her sad tale to Hugo, but seemed to find some comfort in petting Mayhem while she spoke.

After the visit, the dogs were all tired. Martha said that she thought it was “the most exhausted [the team had] all been” and that Zoey “napped immediately” when they got home. Smash, Mayhem, and Gus also took extra naps. Several handlers explained that it takes a lot of energy for dogs to stay focused and well-behaved. All the handlers agreed that it was worth it to them and to their dogs. Debi said that it was “very gratifying” to be able to help and Bethany said that it “felt so good to help those kids.” “I think we gave the volunteers a little break,” said Martha, and that “parents knew their kids were okay” and starting to smile during the visit. Some of those smiles are visible in the photos the team posted to their Instagram account.

When we asked Bethany what stuck with her most about the visit to Silver Spring, she said that she “kept thinking about those kids.” Bethany continued, “with the dogs, they were happy.”

Lost Cat Survives Snowstorm, Returns Home 19 Months Later

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by Bethany Meissner

Have you ever felt the panic of losing your pet and been told to never lose hope? A Canadian family learned that even when hope seems impossible, there still might be a happy ending.

The Moore-Dingwell family’s cat, Will, went missing during a snowstorm 19 months ago on Prince Edward Island. According to CTV News, the storm was so intense that “you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.” Then, over a year and a half after that horrible storm, Norma Moore-Dingwell was moved to tears. This time they were tears of happiness. She found Will simply sitting in her yard. In Norma’s words according to CBC News, “I didn’t believe it was him. When I realized it was, I cried.”

Norma and her husband also took practical action and brought Will to New Perth Animal Hospital for a full checkup from veterinarian David Lister. “The condition of [Will showed] he certainly hadn’t been living in a home and probably hadn’t really been in a barn where there was food. He’d just have to live on what he was catching and he obviously caught enough to survive,” said Dr. Lister.

The veterinarian did find a few problems. Will was thin, had lost part of an ear (likely because of frost bite) and even picked up ear mites. However, otherwise he didn’t seem to have any physical problems despite his extended absence.

Perhaps most importantly, Will seemed happy to be back with Norma. According to the New Perth Animal Hospital’s Facebook page, “Will was so excited to be back with his owner that he was nothing but purrs,” and “is most certainly on the mend.” The veterinarian told CBC News that Will “seemed quite friendly. He hadn’t reverted back to being a feral cat.” In fact, the veterinarian shared that Will “was taking all the attention he could get – chin rubs and head rubs.”

Darren Dingwell, Norma’s husband, also noted on their page that he and his wife “are so very grateful to have him home!” The couple also was thankful to the staff at the animal hospital for taking such good care of their prodigal cat. Now, Will is at home, resting a lot, and basking in the love of his family.

Will has made it obvious to his family that he remembers more than just how to get home. Norma shared that Will even “remembered where his room was.” Of course, given all that Will has gone through, he probably could take just about any room he wanted, just so long as it was a room in his home.

HALO, PURELY FOR PETS® WINS ECO-EXCELLENCE AWARD™ FOR BEST PET FOOD, AND TWO OTHER HONORS

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America’s Best Loved Holistic Brand Continues to Shine Bright in Pet Industry

spot's stew

Tampa, Fla. (August XX, 2016) – Halo, Purely for Pets® wins NCW Eco-Excellence Award™ for Best Pet Food for 2016. This award coupled with a recent “Best Canned Cat Food” review from ConsumerSearch and recognition from iHeartCats as one of “5 Big-Hearted Companies that Give Back,” showcases how Halo continues to shine bright among its competitors in the pet industry.

“We are gratified and humbled by this recognition,” said Halo CEO Myron Lyskanycz. “Our goal each and every day is to be ‘purely for pets’…holistically nurturing the health of the companion animals that do so much to enrich our own daily lives.  It’s our passion and our promise.”

The Eco-Excellence Awards recognize excellence among children, adult and pet lifestyle brands that stand out for their social and environmental sustainability. More than 500 products were reviewed and over 350,000 people voted this year. Other 2016 Eco-Excellence winners include The Honest Company, Organickidz, California Baby, and John Paul Pet.

Additionally, ConsumerSearch honored Halo Spot’s Stew® for Cats Wholesome Chicken Recipe. According to the consumer research site, the #1 ranking is based on expert and user reviews, saying Halo “looks remarkably like a home-cooked stew for people” and “its chunks of butcher-quality meat are great for cats.”

The beloved pet product company was also recognized for its philanthropy in a feature post on iHeartCats, entitled “5 Big-Hearted Companies That Give Back to Cats.” Halo shares space on the list with Petco, PetSmart, Embrace Pet Insurance and iHeartCats.

Halo believes its widespread recognition stems from using only WHOLE meats, never any rendered meat meals, such as chicken meal or by-product meal. WHOLE meat is more digestible, more bioavailable, and more delicious for pets.

ABOUT HALO, PURELY FOR PETS®  

For over 30 years, Halo, Purely for Pets® has created holistic pet products of uncompromising quality. Halo, America’s Best Loved Holistic Brand, believes nutrition is the single most important factor in the quality of a pet’s life. Our holistic diets use only real meats, never any “meals.” Plus, when you choose Halo, we feed it forward, donating over 1.5 million bowls of Halo to shelter pets annually, in partnership with Freekibble.com. Halo sponsors the Humane Society of the United States Pets for Life program and many more animal rescue efforts. Learn more about Halo’s natural dog food, natural cat food, treats, supplements and grooming products at www.halopets.com.

# # #
Denise St. Jean
for Halo, Purely for Pets®
crumpetscorner@gmail.com 310.795.4811

Collie Detects Toddler’s Cancer

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by Bethany Meissner

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Photo credit:Express

A scary aspect of cancer is that it can be easy to brush off the early warning signs and delay seeing a doctor until it’s too late. Two parents in England are grateful to their collie, Bessie, for convincing them to take their toddler to a doctor without delay. Bessie may have saved the little girl’s life.

According to Express, Philip Wood and his wife originally thought that their young daughter, Phillippa simply had a normal bad bug this May. Then Bessie started acting strangely. Bessie “wouldn’t leave Philippa’s side,” said Philip. “Her behavior was totally different to how she usually is.”

That convinced the couple that something to take their two-year-old toddler to the doctor. “Because of the way the dog was acting, we knew there was something wrong,” as Philip put it. The doctor made a quick diagnosis. The toddler had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Although the diagnosis wasn’t a happy one for the parents to hear, having it made early may have saved Philippa’s life.

Now Philippa is in aggressive treatment. She turned three on August 24 and her parents aren’t sure that she completely understands what’s happening. Philip has wondered if his little girl might think that this is all a punishment. Although she’s undergoing chemotherapy, it’s early in her treatment and she hasn’t yet lost her hair or much weight.

According to The Gazette, family friends organized an Alice in Wonderland-themed charity night for her on August 26. Her parents want to give back to everyone who has helped Philippa. They’re also hoping to take Philippa to Disneyland at the end of her treatment. As Philip said, “it’s nice to see her being a normal toddler.”

Cancer treatment isn’t easy. Philip told reporters that “It can be quite stressful. When she receives her treatment she goes under anesthetic and we’ve got to struggle with her sometimes. She puts up a fight.” Thankfully, due to Bessie, Philippa’s cancer was caught early which means Philippa has a better shot at winning that fight.

Philip and his wife are grateful to their beloved dog for alerting them and possibly saving Philippa’s life. “We have so much to thank Bessie for,” said Philip. “If it wasn’t for the dog, we might not have taken action as quickly as we did.”

Sweet Shelter Cat Saves Bobcat Kitten

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by Bethany Meissner

In May, a woman in North Carolina found a small, abandoned “unusual looking kitten.” Hoping to save the kitten’s life, she brought him to Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation in Waynesville, North Carolina.

According to the Citizen-Times, Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation’s animal care manager, Erica Chacon, realized that the kitten was actually a bobcat, and that he would need mother’s milk if he was going to survive.

Thankfully, Sweet Pea, a nursing mama cat, and her four kittens arrived at the animal rescue on the same day as the bobcat, now known as Bob. Chacon shared that within 15 minutes, Sweet Pea had welcomed Bob. She said, “Sweet Pea and Bob loved each other so much.”

The staff at Sarge’s consulted with a biologist from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. A veterinarian from the Western North Carolina Nature Center also began regular checkups on Bob. The team came up with a plan to let Sweet Pea care for Bob, then when he was ready to be weaned, he would be released.

Early in July, Bob went to the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Lees-McRae College. While still enclosed and safe, he’ll learn how to hunt and take care of himself. During his training, the center plans to introduce him to another bobcat. They hope to release Bob into the wild in spring of 2017.

The director of the Rehabilitation Center, Nina Fischesser, complimented Bob’s early caretakers. “The Sarge’s staff did such a good job with him – he looks really healthy,” she said. Bob owes his life to Sweet Pea who took him in and literally nursed him back to health.