Category Archives: Professor Scamp Ph.D (Pretty Happy Dog)

Vol. 10, No. 15 – April 26 – May 9, 2017 – Professor Scamp Ph.D

•  Because my mom is spoon feeding me and I am still drinking water I have made it to another issue . I’m not in pain (just pooped) so I think that this is okay with me. In fact, 2 days ago I actually jumped out of bed (couldn’t get in by myself).

I have prepared a collage of my photos for you to remember me by. Maybe you can cut it out and put it on your refrigerator.

•  Oh my friend, I was so sorry to read that Scamp is having a tough time! I truly hope he is doing as well as can be and has 2 months at least! There is just nothing, nothing, that rips your heart out more, than having a dear friend and family member like Scamp take ill….they should just live forever in my book!
My heart hugs your heart!
Patty Jenkins

•  SPAN is providing $10 spays and neuters for low income cat and dog friends.
In the SPAN Thrift Store parking lot
110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main)
May 12, Please call to schedule an appointment 584-3823.

•  Canine Companions for Independence®, the national non-profit organization that provides assistance dogs free of charge, has established a new volunteer chapter to serve and support Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Founded in 1975, Canine Companions’ mission is to enhance the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. Children and adults with a wide range of developmental and physical disabilities use Canine Companions assistance dogs for help with practical tasks, as well as for the social and emotional benefits these loving and devoted animals provide.

By establishing the new Valley to Sea Chapter, Canine Companions will better serve the needs of the local community through support of clients, volunteers, and donors.  Elizabeth Howell, the Chapter President and six-time volunteer puppy raiser said, “We are excited to bring together our existing constituents with new members through our volunteer chapter to raise awareness and funds for Canine Companions’ life-changing program. As a result, we hope more residents of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties will benefit from and contribute to Canine Companions.”

Canine Companions provides four types of assistance dogs. Service dogs assist adults with physical disabilities by performing daily tasks. Hearing dogs alert their partners, who are deaf or hard of hearing, to important sounds. Facility dogs work with clients with special needs in a visitation, education, criminal justice or health care setting. Skilled companions enhance independence for children and adults with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities.

Canine Companions assistance dogs aren’t just the ears, hands and legs of their human partners. They’re also goodwill ambassadors and best friends.

Established in 1975, Canine Companions has six training centers across the country. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. For more information, visit or call 1-800-572-BARK.

Vol. 10, No. 14 – April 12 – April 25, 2017 – Professor Scamp PhD

•  I know that you want a health update. I’m still kicking but very tired and lethargic. No wonder because I stopped eating about a week ago (still drinking some water). I have been offered hot dogs, hamburger meat, chicken and even filet mignon (I deserve it) but nothing appeals to me. I would probably be better if I could eat but just not happening.

Thanks to those of you who have made suggestions about what to feed me and your concerns. Even though I am not a religious dog thanks for you who have offered your prayers. My vet always said that I should go on a diet but not this way.

I have also stopped barking so can’t tell the family when I need to go outside.

I’m still walking around the house with my head up and spending time in several different rooms so still very petable and lovable.

”I still want to look good so I am being groomed after a nice bath.”

Hopefully I will make it to another issue but just don’t know. I will be 15 in May so would be nice if that would happen.

I’ve had a real good life living with wonderful people and Savana for the last six years. They even let me sleep in bed with them but I haven’t been able to jump in bed for a while so I need to be picked up which doesn’t go over too big if I decide it’s time to get in bed at 3am.

I am told that my article will continue in the Breeze in my memory so I will still be with you in your hearts and minds.

I want to thank my editor for hiring me to write my article (he did get a good deal though just paying me in dog treats). And all of my readers and friends that I have made and especially  Scampclub members. To Victoria Usher for helping with some of my columns and to my sponsors who help make the Ventura Breeze possible.

SPAN has a new little mascot at their store. They named her Cielo (Heaven in Spanish) or blue since her fur is blue gray.

•  Dear Scamp:

I hope SPAN has time to tell you how much we enjoyed your part of the Breeze.  You have been an entertainment and teaching lesson to all who love animals.

Not too long ago SPAN said good bye to our mascot and best fur-ever friend.  It was a heart ache I am afraid we will repeat one day,  as our furry friends never live long enough.

SPAN had to say good bye to Gizmo, but with the help of the doctors at Ventura Vet is was less painful.

SPAN has adopted a new little girl kitty (see the photo of Cielo), not a kitten, not an adult, but a teen.

She is starting to help fill the hole left when we lost Gizmo.  It will take time.

We  wish you many more months of love.

•  A “howlingly funny canine comedy” SYLVIA opens at the Rubicon Theatre on April 19. Always fun to have a play about a dog but don’t be disappointed the dog is an actor.

•  In honor of National Police Week, the National Police Dog Foundation(NPDF) honors all K-9s that have fallen in the line of duty during 2016. In an effort to showcase their appreciation for these K-9s, the NPDF will send each of their department heads a letter of remembrance for their fallen K-9. They will also receive a copy of the iconic photograph of a K-9 in front of the Law Enforcement Memorial Wall. The photo is from the art photography book Solemn Vow, taken by well-known author/photographer Jim Corbett. Jim donates all proceeds of the book to the aid of active and retired K-9s. The department heads will make a presentation, on behalf of the NPDF, to the handler of each fallen K-9 as tokens of our gratitude for their service.

Ventura has four K-9 officers and handlers who do a great job protecting us from the bad guys.

•  We know that dogs have a guilty look, but can they actually be guilty? Well, according to this study, the answer is… kind of. Here, researchers show that dogs are capable of “deceptive-like behavior.” In a set of experiments, dogs tended to lead a human “competitor” away from food when that human would keep it for himself. However, the same dogs happily lead their “cooperative” owner to the noms, who would give the food to the dog. Bad dog!

“Deception, the use of false signals to modify the behavior of the receiver, occurs in low frequencies even in stable signaling systems. For example, it can be advantageous for subordinate individuals to deceive in competitive situations. We investigated in a three-way choice task whether dogs are able to mislead a human competitor, i.e. if they are capable of tactical deception. During training, dogs experienced the role of their owner, as always being cooperative, and two unfamiliar humans, one acting ‘cooperatively’ by giving food and the other being ‘competitive’ and keeping the food for themselves. During the test, the dog had the options to lead one of these partners to one of the three potential food locations: one contained a favored food item, the other a non-preferred food item and the third remained empty. After having led one of the partners, the dog always had the possibility of leading its cooperative owner to one of the food locations. Therefore, a dog would have a direct benefit from misleading the competitive partner since it would then get another chance to receive the preferred food from the owner. On the first test day, the dogs led the cooperative partner to the preferred food box more often than expected by chance and more often than the competitive partner. On the second day, they even led the competitive partner less often to the preferred food than expected by chance and more often to the empty box than the cooperative partner. These results show that dogs distinguished between the cooperative and the competitive partner, and indicate the flexibility of dogs to adjust their behavior and that they are able to use tactical deception.”

The Humane Society of Ventura County has hired Greg A. Cooper as its Community Liaison.

As community liaison, Cooper will coordinate speaking engagements, media briefings and requests. He also will oversee charitable giving programs and donor cultivation for the HSVC and its operations.

Cooper began his relationship with the HSVC in 1990 while working as a photographer for the Ojai Valley News. Since then, Cooper has worked as a volunteer photographer for the shelter documenting their animals, staff, facilities and fundraising events such as the annual Santa Paws.

Cooper, a native of Ojai, graduated in May 1996 from Western Kentucky University with a double major in photojournalism and anthropology.Prior to his experience with Western Kentucky, Cooper was hooked by photojournalism in 1988 while attending classes at Ventura College. He would spend the next eight years finishing up an associate’s degree, traveling abroad, working part-time in photo labs, shooting freelance and working as a staff photographer.

Chad passed on at 17. He received eight  flower arrangements, over 70 condolence cards and contributions to all the places he worked as a therapy dog including  Foster Library Paws for Reading where dogs and humans volunteer to have children read to them.  Chad’s buddy Livi is a little out of sorts, so her humans are keeping her busy working at the VA and the hospital and library as a service dog. This wonderful family  have three dog tags on the memorial at EP Foster from the Paws For Reading program, Magic, Nina, and now Chad.

Vol. 10, No. 13 – March 29 – April 11, 2017 – Professor Scamp PhD

•   I think that something bad is happening to me that I want to share. A few weeks ago, I started coughing, lost my appetite (I love eating) and became very lethargic. About a week ago I was in my backyard and collapsed. My family took me in the house and set me on the bed – they seemed very concerned.

They took me to this nice lady that I go to see sometimes. Usually she sits on the floor with me and we play a little bit. This time she set me right onto the table. She poked me all over and even smelled my ears and mouth and put a round metal thing all over me listening to my heart and lungs.

She then told mom and dad that I have a congestive heart failure (I have always has a heart murmur).

As she explained what this meant to them, they looked as if they were going to cry. She told them “no more walks or running, just keep him as comfortable as possible.”

She gave them three pills for me to take. The two little ones are no problem, but the bigger one that I could normally eat with my food is tough because I’m not eating much. So mom has to try to get it in my mouth and get it to go down.

I’ve enjoyed writing to you all these years, and hope I still can for a few more months at least.

By the way, the nice lady is Marianne Regnier, DVM at Ventura Veterinary Hospital.

•   A dog food product sold nationwide is being recalled due to a potential health risk.

Blue Buffalo Company voluntarily recalled some of its BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs. The company says the product could have elevated levels of beef thyroid hormones.

Ingesting high levels of beef thyroid hormones could cause weight loss, increase heart rate, restlessness and increased thirst and urination in dogs. Long-term effects include vomiting, diarrhea and rapid or difficult breathing.

The FDA says it has taken one report of a dog showing symptoms. That dog has now fully recovered.

The affected products have the UPC code 840243101153 and a best by date of June 7, 2019. If you have the product at home, the FDA says to stop feeding it to your pet, and contact your veterinarian.

For more information on the recall, visit the Blue Buffalo website.

•   Even though most everybody loves cute animals (especially dogs)some bosses still don’t understand why they should be in the work place.

Fearing  litigation from  allergy sufferers,  personal injury claims to those that just don’t like animals (hard to believe) are just some of the reasons  that company leaders might be skeptical of joining the dog-friendly office trend.

Is there a way to persuade him or her to allow pets to hang out with you at work?

Maybe this will help. New research from Central Michigan University offers a reason for dog-friendly offices.

The study had groups complete short tasks that involve creativity and cooperation, such as coming up with a fictional 15-second ad, and see how having a dog present for the experiment affects outcomes.

It seems that dogs are great for collaboration. Both the participants themselves and outside experts who rated the videotaped tasks said that adding a dog to the mix made people more trusting and more helpful. In short, just having a dog around seems to do wonders for teamwork.

“When people work in teams, the presence of a dog seems to act as a social lubricant,” said lead author Steve Colarelli . “Dogs seem to be beneficial to the social interactions of teams.”

Why do dogs have such wonderful impact on how we treat each other? The answer offered by the researchers will come as no surprise to most pet owners–it seems that having animals nearby just makes us happier, and people who feel better tend to be nicer.

So if your boss is not sold on opening your office to canine companions, you might want to show him this study. And if you need to apply a little more pressure, earlier research showing that dogs also reduce stress, or this useful post from my colleague Christine Lagorio-Chafkin on overcoming objections to dog-friendly offices might also be helpful. My boss even lets me sleep with him.

•   There are a few new state laws regarding animals that I would like to share with you:

“As long as you call authorities first you won’t be held legally liable for breaking into a car with an animal trapped in the car in heat or cold .”  Not sure what authorities need to be called so this may be more symbolic than anything else.  And how the authorities decide if breaking in is warranted?

“Dog kennels and pet hotels (I would like to stay in a hotel if they serve food) must check on animals once each day (is that enough?) and provide elevated platforms for cat and enclosures.” What? Why do cats get such special privileges? Savana never even wags her tail.

“Carbon monoxide gas chambers are banned in animal shelters for killing animals .” Shouldn’t all forms be banned? Why just this method?

“A dog involved in criminal fighting will no longer  automatically be labeled “vicious “which leads to it being killed .  These dogs will be evaluated to see whether it can be rehabilitated to safely reenter society or be placed in a facility.”  I think those who present criminal fighting should automatically be labeled “vicious “which leads to them being killed.

Vol. 10, No. 12 – March 15 – March 28, 2017 – Professor Scamp PhD

(Jaime) This is a wonderful drawing of my friend Gus by Jaime Baker. If you want a nice drawing  of a dog or person text Jaime at 805-794-1808 or email him at

•   The Canine Adoption and Rescue League(CARL) has announced an expanded Pooch Parade and is now accepting walker and vendor registrations for the 20th Annual Pooch Parade and Pet Expo.

The Pooch Parade is C.A.R.L.’s largest fundraiser of the year, and a major touchstone for the local rescue community. The day begins with a charity walk that leads into a large festival celebrating pets. Dozens of animal rescues, non-profits, and vendors are expected to exhibit at the beachside event.

The fundraiser is greatly expanded for its 20th consecutive year. C.A.R.L. has moved the Pet Expo to Shoreline Drive, adjacent to Surfer’s Point , the Expo has been restructured with a focus on broadening its appeal.

“The Pooch Parade is about raising funds, but it’s also about raising awareness for the plight of rescue animals,” commented C.A.R.L. President Mary Saputo.

Beer and wine will be served at the Expo for the first time, and contests, games, and activities are planned for kids.

The Pooch Parade is on May 7. To learn more about the event, register for the charity walk, or register as an exhibitor, visit

Canine Adoption and Rescue League (C.A.R.L.) is a 501c3 registered non-profit, no-kill, all-breed dog rescue and sanctuary. Since 1996, C.A.R.L. has rescued and placed thousands of unwanted, sick, abandoned, and homeless dogs. Dogs in the adoption program are placed in pre-screened, loving and secure homes.


Sheriff Geoff Dean, Senior Deputy Shawn Pewsey, Captain Randy Downard, Tara Diller, Director-VC Animal Services, Donna Gillesby, Deputy Director-VC Animal Services, Commander Ron Nelson and  Assistant Sheriff Eric Dowd at Todd Road Jail.

•   This brought a smile to my face for sure. February 28th was the greatest day ever for inmates and their new best friends. A day that had been in the works for nearly two years! The day Pivot brought their first dogs into Todd Road Jail. Rusty, Brando, Lipit, and Chance all arrived and were met by the Ventura County Sheriff Office officers and others. The team of employees at VCSO & Todd Road Jail Facility have embraced Pivot’s canine educational outreach program.

The day was amazing from the moment the dogs were removed from the transport van and escorted to the lush green grass of the newly installed play yard. They were introduced to the staff, posed for a few pictures and then were greeted by their inmate friends. The morning was filled with smiles and tears of joy.

It takes courage to believe in second chances. Pivot’s program is designed for second chances, a win-win for both humans and “last chance” dogs.

Pivot’s  mission is to encourage Individuals to find their voice through innovative animal literacy based programs that are designed to develop personal and vocational skills by becoming responsible, productive members of the community. Each individual student learns patience, compassion and responsibility by caring for, training, and finding forever homes for last chance shelter animals.

Check them out at or call 889-4800.

R.I.P. dear Ruckus

Ruckus, 3 years old, died tragically on Harbor Boulevard when he ran into the street.
Beloved by many, missed by many.

Vol. 10, No. 11 – March 1 – March 14, 2017 – Professor Scamp PhD

•   Haole, Ventura’s surfing dog, will ride with Grand Marshal Mary Osborne when the St. Patrick’s Day Parade marches up Main St. on Saturday, March 11. Haole, an 8-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, wowed hundreds of thousands attending the 2017 Rose Parade as well as millions more watching on TV with his surfing skills on a float equipped with a wave machine. Haole, whose name is pronounced “Howl-ie” lets John and Kim Murphy live with him.

I am practicing dry runs getting ready for my surfing debut except that I even hate taking baths so I may never make it into the water.

•   JFK Airport has debuted some of The Ark at JFK, the airport’s much-ballyhooed luxury pet terminal. The Equine & Livestock Export Center and Aviary In-Transit Quarantine, along with the “Pet Oasis.

While the first two have very specific purposes the Pet Oasis is intended as more of an all-purpose animal wellness center.

The center is amazing and offers veterinary care and basic services, provide information on travel requirements for pets, customs clearances and quarantines, making sure animals get on the right flights, along with things like micro-chipping, check-ups when animals arrive at JFK, and premium service individual animal reports available including photograph and information on activity.

•   I have fresh appreciation for us dogs sniffing behavior, after reading a new book(of course I can read if I can write) “Being a Dog: Following the Dog into a World of Smell,” by Alexandra Horowitz, a professor of cognitive science who runs the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College.

In it, she explains the elegant engineering of the dog’s olfactory (I’ve never worked in a factory)system and how familiar canine behaviors like licking, sneezing and tail-wagging have associations with smell.

Her dog is Finn (short for Finnegan)an affable, glossy black 9-year-old mixed breed.

“There are many ways to sniff, and the human method is not the best,” Dr. Horowitz said. Sniff researchers (ya really) have found that people have about six million olfactory receptors and  dogs have 300 million(so we win that contest). Humans sniff once per 1.5 seconds and dogs, five to 10 times a second.”

“They even exhale better than we do(another win for us),” Dr. Horowitz continued, describing a sort of doggy yoga breath. Dogs exhale through the side slits of their nostrils, so they keep a continuous flow of inhaled air in their snout for smelling. “This gives them a continuous olfactory view of the world.”

“Dog sniffs are designed to send odor-carrying air along its length”, she said, “humidifying, warming and cleaning it along the way to the back of the nose (maybe to our tails also which is why mine is curved).”

•   by Victoria Usher

World-class dog breeders are planning on gathering together in Shanghai for The World Dog Show in 2019 where they will show off their greyhounds, Great Danes, cocker spaniels, etc. to a large audience.

The World Dog Show has been hosted in a different city every year since 1971. Activists (and me) are against having The World Dog Show in China because of the annual Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival that China has in the city of Yulin every year. Somewhere around 10,000 dogs are slaughtered at this dog meat festival for human consumption.

Activists are standing up and saying (and barking) that unless the Chinese government stops the Yulin festival completely The World Dog Show should be held somewhere else.

There are also some people who feel that having the dog show in Shanghai is a good idea because it could raise more attention and awareness to companion animals and hopefully help establish laws that will protect animals.

SPAN lost a beloved member of their family recently with the passing of Gizmo . They are all grieving. They have renamed their donation fund the Gizmo fund. He was the perfect mascot and is deeply missed.

Vol. 10, No. 10 – February 15 – February 28, 2017 – Professor Scamp Ph.D

From my friends at C.A.R.L.: Canine Adoption and Rescue League (C.A.R.L.) wishes a very happy birthday to longtime volunteer Betty Siegfried. Betty recently turned 80, and has been a fixture at the dog rescue since July 2006. Betty began her volunteer career as a dog walker. Lately, she spends her volunteer time sitting in one of C.A.R.L.’s several enclosed grassy areas. There, dogs can run free, play fetch, and enjoy Betty’s company.

Betty began her volunteer career as a dog walker

As Betty is fond of saying, “it’s never too late to start volunteering. Even a simple visit to the dogs brightens their day and lets them feel loved while at the rescue.”

Betty’s favorite dog at C.A.R.L. is Shady, a senior German Shepherd girl. Shady is very close with Betty, and the two are often seen sitting together.

Canine Adoption and Rescue League (C.A.R.L.) is Ventura County’s largest all-breed, no-kill, non-profit dog rescue and sanctuary. To learn how to adopt, volunteer, or donate, visit or call  644-PETS (7387).

•   Us (or is it we?) dogs are even more wonderful then I thought. Brian Hare, a Duke University professor of cognitive neuroscience, is helping pioneer what he calls “dognition” to explore the mutually beneficial relationship between humans and dogs (I don’t think it takes much research).

He said the abilities dogs have developed over time enables them to understand human instruction so closely (that’s how we know when you are taking us for a car ride before you even tell us). These abilities seem closely tied to human interaction, and corresponding social cues.

“I love reading the Breeze especially Professor Scamp.”

Hare explained that in some ways, canines have the ability to process human behavior better than do chimpanzees, the closest living evolutionary relative to humans. Domestic dogs have the ability to understand so-called cooperative-communicative social cues that allow them to quickly and accurately complete social tasks with only simple guidance from an instructor.

Are certain breeds better a given task than others? For example, do German shepherds and Labrador retrievers make better forensic investigators than bulldogs? (I could help find hidden food in prisons)

Each breed, and perhaps individual, has its own strengths and weaknesses when solving problems. Because there is so much variation between different dogs, this means that every dog can contribute to improving our understanding of dog psychology.

•   An exciting new accomplishment in animal rescue, the Lange Foundation’s Safety Net Program in Lancaster will be celebrating its first anniversary this summer. Since its launch in August 2015, the Safety Net Program has helped approximately 700 families keep their beloved pets during times of need, rather than surrendering their pets to the already overcrowded shelter. To celebrate its one-year anniversary, the Safety Net Program is partnering with the Lancaster Animal Shelter to offer discounts on pet adoptions on Saturday, August 20.

The Safety Net Program’s one year anniversary event will be held all day at the Lancaster Animal Shelter and is focused on finding permanent homes for as many animals as possible. The event features discounted cat and dog adoptions for $35 or less plus a free gift for newly adopted pets. In addition, $50 spay and neuter certificates will be handed out to pet owners who already have animals at home.

The Lange Foundation’s Safety Net Program is a unique relief system that offers resources to pet owners who need assistance with care for their pets. As with many communities, the pet owners living in California’s Antelope Valley can find themselves struggling with practical realities and financial burdens of pet ownership – realities that can often lead owners to surrender pets to public animal shelters.

The Safety Net Program provides solutions and alternatives that help keep pets with their families through these hardships. Assistance comes in many forms including help with landlord issues, spaying and neutering, vaccinations, pet food and supplies, veterinary care, temporary boarding as well as assistance to those who cannot afford the redemption fees to reclaim their impounded pets.

The Lange Foundation’s Safety Net Program is maintained by donations. The Lange Foundation rescues hundreds of dogs, cats and horses each year by placing them into permanent and loving new homes.

•  You, like most, consider pets to be more like family members than furniture. But courts do not. In the eyes of the law, animals are property. So although pet custody battles are often passionate and sometimes truly wacky, courts think of them more prosaically: as part of the “property distribution” in a divorce.

That’s why an amendment to Alaska’s divorce statutes, which recently took effect, is making news in the world of animal law. It makes Alaska the first state in the country to require courts to take “into consideration the well-being of the animal” and to explicitly empower judges to assign joint custody of pets. In a blog post, the Animal Legal Defense Fund called the well-being provision “groundbreaking and unique.”

The Alaska bill also allows courts to include pets in domestic violence protective orders and requires the guardians of pets seized in cruelty or neglect cases to cover the cost of their shelter.

Vol. 10, No. 9 – February 1 – February 14, 2017 – Professor Scamp, PhD

“I like surfing as long as I don’t get wet”

•  A unique Tournament of Roses Parade float featuring surfing dogs and other talented animals set a new Guinness World Record.

The Lucy Pet’s Gnarly Crankin’ K-9 Wave Maker float set the world record for the longest and heaviest float in Tournament of Roses Parade history. The float weighed 74 tons and was 126 feet long.

Lucy Pet Products is a family-owned and operated pet product business based in Thousand Oaks. Proceeds from the brand directly fund its 501 (c) (3) non-profit Lucy Pet Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to reduce pet overpopulation and the euthanasia of over 80,000 dogs and cats per week in the United States.

•  From the San Francisco Chronicle about just how wonderful man’s best friend is (that’s me):

Each week, patients at the Support Hospital of Brasilia receive visits from a special breed of therapist: dogs trained to help them recover from disease or injury.

Big and small, from German shepherds to Shih Tzus, the dogs get into bed with some patients to snuggle during the 15-minute visits. Folks who are more mobile may take an animal to a crafts class, or play with it in the hallways.

Designed for people who have advanced-stage cancer, live with chronic disease or are recovering from trauma, the program of canine interactions assists with both mental and physical rehabilitation.

“A bit of the sadness goes away,” said Jaqueline Castro, a 27-year-old patient with a degenerative nerve disorder who received three visits in a month.

The project began about five months ago and now counts 60 volunteers who bring their pets to the hospital in Brazil’s capital each week.

But not just any old mutt can make the cut: Only about one out of every 10 dogs whose owners volunteer is accepted, according to program coordinator Nayara Brea.

The animals must pass extensive health checks and undergo training, as they are brought right into the wards of the hospital. They must be exceptionally calm to avoid stressing out the patients. They can’t bark, and they have to be gentle with both humans and other canines.

A therapy dog “accepts the patients without any judgment,” said Valeria Carvalho, who brings her miniature Schnauzer, Paola, to the hospital. “People start to have a different perspective on life, on health.”

•  This was sent to me by my friend Ken Winter and is just too funny to not share:

A guy is driving around the back woods of Montana and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty house ‘Talking Dog for Sale’  so he rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard.

The guy  goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there and asks do you talk?

‘Yep,’ the Lab replies.

After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says ‘So, what’ s your story?’

The Lab looks up and says, ‘Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government  so  I told the CIA.’

‘In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.’

‘I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running .’

‘But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in.’

‘I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.’

‘I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired.’

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

‘Ten dollars,’ the guy says.

‘Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?’

‘Because he’s a bullshitter. He’s never been out of the yard’

•  by Victoria Usher

There are now plans being put in place to have some much needed upgrades made to the well-known 3.5-acre Conejo Creek Dog Park in Thousand Oaks, which is located on 1350 East Avenida de Las Flores. The renovations for the dog park are expected to be happening in either late March or early April of 2017. The main improvements that are going to be made to the popular Thousand Oaks dog park include a paved parking lot to replace the dirt parking lot, a permanent restroom to replace the portable toilet that is there right now, better landscaping, new concrete walkways, and improved fencing. The district has been wanting to make these renovations for about six years and now they will finally be able to make these changes happen and give dogs and their owners an even better Conjeo Creek Dog Park.

•  Savana asked me to print this. She has been nice lately so I did.

So how does a parent figure out what kind of cat to bring into a home The MU Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction University of Missouri is raising money for a research project called Feline Friends to study the possible benefits of placing adoptable cats in homes of children with autism.

Children with autism who have pets exhibit greater social skills than those without pets, according to a 2015 study by Gretchen Carlisle, a post-doctoral fellow at the research center. The objective of the Feline Friends project is to give families of children with autism better research-based information about choosing a pet for their home.

“In social media, people just hear this — dog, dog, dog,” Carlisle said, gesturing toward a photo in her office of a dog in a red collar sitting obediently.

Dogs may not always be the best companion animal for children with autism, though. Some children with autism have a sensory sensitivity to noise, for example, so a dog’s sudden barking can be more upsetting for them than for a child without autism. Dogs can also be more “in your face,” Carlisle said, and are often much larger than cats.

The behavior of cats that come from shelters can be unpredictable, and that’s an undesirable characteristic for an animal living in the home of a child with autism. For that reason, the research center will measure the behavior of the cats before they use them in the study to make sure they’re calm enough.


Vol. 10, No. 8 – January 18 – January 31, 2017 – Professor Scamp PhD

•   The “MY VENTURA” that is mailed to your home from the city has many wonderful dog classes for dogs and our companions so be sure to check it out.

•   The Herman Bennett Foundation has launched several programs to help prevent over population of cats and dogs. Some programs include offering 100% prepaid payment vouchers for the spaying/neutering of cats and dogs to qualified low income pet owners with vouchers performed by qualified Veterinary services.

In November, 2015, the “Foundation” established a subsidiary Thrift Store, “Save a Life Thrift Stores of Ventura County, LLC”, located at 601 Mobil Ave. in Camarillo to supplement their funding .

The Herman Bennett Foundation and Save a Life Thrift Stores is supporting new program “Medical Assistance for a  Military Service Dogs.”  Save this date, Friday, February 3 at the Poinsettia Pavilion  for the Valentine’s Sweetheart Dance Fundraiser from 6-10pm.  Dance to the live music of the 4 piece Band “Coso Live” with  catering provided by Bistro 13 of Camarillo.

Limited seating is available for fifty couples only! Go online to reserve  Purchase your tickets at $225.00/couple.  All supporters are mentioned in their publications and website.  If you wish to donate or volunteer, visit either The Herman Bennett Foundation website or call  445-7171 or Save a Life Thrift Stores website or call (888) 876-0605 for free donation pick-ups.

•   The Humane Society of Ventura County has appointed the Rt. Rev. William Downey to its Board of Directors. Downey, Regionary Bishop of the Liberal Catholic Church for the Province of the United States, and his wife Anita have been volunteers at the HSVC for several years, mostly performing home checks of potential pet adopters. The couple live in Ojai with their six dogs – all rescues from the HSVC’s shelter.

“I can’t conceive of life without dogs,” Downey said.

The Humane Society of Ventura County is a private, nonprofit organization founded in 1932. It does not receive federal, state or local tax dollars to operate and relies solely on private donations.

Cobi Monroe Osborne-Klemme April 28, 1994 – November 22, 2016

The family of Cobi is saddened to announce the passing of our beloved cat. At the advanced age of 22, she passed peacefully a way with her family at her side. We mourn her loss, but celebrate her long and well lived life, sharing it with her guardians Jeff And Roger. Cobi enjoyed snacking, collecting solder energy on her window perch and riding in her Radio Flyer wagon.

Vol. 10, No. 7 – January 4 – January 17, 2017 – Professor Scamp PhD

Brownie Troop collected towels for animal shelters.

•   Brownie Troop 61686 recently teamed up with Anacapa Animal Hospital in Ventura for their annual drive to collect towels for the local animal shelters. The girls participated in the drive as a part of earning their Pets badge. Dr. Burner gave the girls a tour of the hospital, where the girls were able to see X-rays and ultrasounds kept on file and learn about the different aspects of medical treatment. Prior to their visit, they studied about pet care, with a booklet provided by Anacapa Animal Hospital, created for Girl Scouts.

•   This is good news for people and dogs that are in need of help. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Detention Services Division will be launching a new interactive inmate program named “R.U.F.F. Road” (Rehabilitation Utilizing Furry Friends) scheduled to start in January 2017. The 16-week collaborative program allows inmates who are instructed by expert dog trainers to train shelter dogs in preparation for adoption.

The Sheriff’s Office has established a partnership with PIVOT Animal Assisted Education Outreach, a non-profit organization that aims to give dogs facing euthanasia at local shelters a second chance by providing them training that makes them more adoptable.  The inmates will teach basic obedience, house training, and socialization skills through positive reinforcement.

Inmates will be selected for the program based on completion of an application, good behavior, participation in other Detention Services educational/vocational programs, and an interview with program staff.

This program allows inmates a chance to give back to their community by training dogs to be well-behaved American Kennel Club Good Citizen Pets.  While the dogs learn good behavior, trust, and skills that improve their adoption chances, the inmate’s gains patience, confidence, self-pride, communication and job skills.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and Pivot hope to help the community by allowing jail inmates an opportunity to choose a different path in life; a life free of crime.  Pivot is one example of many organizations willing to work tirelessly to find and save last chance shelter dogs using inmates in county jails.

And the Ventura County Probation Agency has announced the start of “Pawsitive Steps,” a unique dog rescue/canine training program at the Juvenile Facilities in Oxnard.

The Probation Agency is also working with PIVOT on the canine program, which is set to begin in January 2017. The program name “Pawsitive Steps” (what great names)was chosen by youth and staff at the Juvenile Facilities.

“The Pawsitive Steps” program offers last-chance Ventura County shelter dogs and at-risk youth an opportunity to work together toward mutual rehabilitation. The program is designed to save shelter dogs and change the lives of at-risk youth,” said Deputy Probation Officer Debbie Navarro. “The Pawsitive Steps program will help Juvenile Facilities youth develop personal and vocational skills through the career pathway component of the program. Youth selected for the program will learn patience, compassion, empathy, restorative justice principles, and responsibility by caring for, training, and ultimately helping find forever-homes for dogs” .

“Dogs will be selected from local rescue groups and the Ventura County Animal Services shelter. Over the course of 12-16 weeks, program staff will instruct Juvenile Facilities youth in canine training techniques. The dogs will reside full-time with the youth at the Juvenile Facilities.”

At the completion of the program, the dogs will be available to the public for adoption. The program offers youth the opportunity to receive certified training that will help them find employment upon release. For additional information, please visit

My cousin Dolce Vita is so cute she could be a movie star. Maybe I could be her leading man.

•   Cesar Millan Cesar’s Fifth Natural Dog Law says, “Dogs are social pack animals with a leader and followers. They are happiest when they have this structure because the followers want to be told what to do and know what the leaders expect of them. By the time a dog is an adult, it knows its pack position instinctively and is not going to change it. This is why you can’t turn a follower into a leader. If you put a dog like that in charge, it will become anxious or fearful because it won’t know what to do.”

I try to lead Savana but she just ignores me.

Vol. 10, No. 6 – December 21, 2016 – January 3, 2017 – Professor Scamp PhD

I don’t know who the guy in the phony beard is but he gave me a treat so I liked him.”

Happy holidays to all of my wonderful readers.

•  The ASPCA has assisted federal authorities with the removal and sheltering of approximately 156 dogs from a dog fighting operation in eastern North Carolina. The victims have been transported to a temporary shelter for immediate care. Cruelty to animals is just not acceptable. People that do this should go to prison for a very very long time.

•  by Victoria Usher

A French mastiff by the name of Hooch was recently named Hero Dog of the Year and given an award by the 2016 American Humane Organization in a Beverly Hills ceremony. The was the sixth year of the awards and the finalists were being celebrated for all types of commendable things. Some dogs comfort those who are sick, some help police officers, and others even rescue those who are lost.

Hooch was nominated for being a strong survivor. Hooch was rescued three years ago by Zach Skow, founder and operator of Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue in Tehachapi, California. Zach Skow said that the rescuing goes both ways. When Hooch was found, he had been emaciated, had a broken tail bone, and had his ears badly cropped. These things were clear signs of abuse. With the help of Skow, Hooch slowly regained his health. Even after everything he’s been through Hooch is still kind to people and trusts them, that’s what makes him Hero Dog of the Year.

“I figure if I stay here I’ll get my presents first.”

•  Three to four days a week, Philadelphia veterinarian Clint Kuban drops off his 3-year-old German shepherd, Tsunami, at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center for her eight-hour shift.

But the pooch isn’t just participating in agility, obedience and search training — she’s also on the front lines of cancer research.

Kuban is one of six fourth-year students at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Tsunami has worked on the center’s ovarian-cancer-detection research project since it launched in 2013 to study whether odors emanating from ovarian tissue can provide a reliable method for early detection.

Using a “scent wheel” — a circular device with 12 ports used to introduce multiple sources of scent researchers can isolate the exact volatile organic compounds that the dogs can smell. In these 10- to 15-minute smelling sessions, Tsunami’s nose is more than 90 percent accurate in identifying malignancies.

“There is no machine that is as powerful and as specific as what our dogs can do,” says Kuban. “Canines smell up to 1,000 times more accurately than humans, and they have up to 300 million olfactory receptors as opposed to out 6 million.”

Tsunami and the two other dogs in the program — a 3-year-old springer spaniel and a 5-year-old yellow Labrador retriever — were selected for their precise hunt drive and specifically trained to identify the cancerous compounds, first in tumor samples and then just plasma samples, explains Dr. Cindy Otto, director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.

The canine study is hoping to increase survival odds through early detection. Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the US, according to the CDC. More than 80 percent of patients are diagnosed at a late stage, according to the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.

“By isolating the chemicals of cancer that the dogs can smell, the team hopes to one day create an electronic sensor that can detect cancerous tissues early,” Kuban explains. “The end goal is actually not to have dogs in doctor’s offices doing diagnoses.”