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.


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