August 8, 2014
by Sam Bourne

Can Your Dog Get Ebola? The Answer May Surprise You

Can your dog get ebola
The news has been running stories nonstop about this latest outbreak of the Ebola virus — and for good reason. Of the 1,323 reported cases, 932 have been declared dead, making this highly transmittable contagion one of the most lethal.

And now that a person with Ebola, Nancy Writebol, has been brought stateside and admitted into a hospital in Atlanta, people in America are finally starting to take notice. Many are concerned about how the outbreak will affect them.

But what about our pets?

Understanding Ebola

Ebola is a virus that causes the victim to bleed uncontrollably, both internally and externally. The virus takes 3 weeks to fully mature, and during the incubation period the victim often presents with headaches, weakness, a fever, and a sore throat.

Once mature, the virus causes the sufferer to lose function of their liver and kidneys. They will also start to hemorrhage blood from both inside and outside of their body.

Luckily, Ebola can only be transmitted via bodily fluids and tissues — it is not an airborne virus like the flu. That said, if it is contracted the victim has a 50% chance of survival — and that is being generous. Some sources put the mortality rate as high as 90%.

“But what about my dog?!”

Can Your Dog Get Ebola?


So, can your dog get Ebola?

As it happens, cases of Ebola have been reported in monkeys, apes, rodents, pigs, bats, porcupines, and dogs.

Dogs are likely to contract Ebola as a result of eating or coming in contact with an infected animal, likely a fruit bat or a mouse. If your dog is notorious for bringing home little “presents” it may be a good idea to keep a closer eye on them.

An important caveat is, while dogs are able to contract Ebola, they do so asymptomatically. That means, while they can be a carrier of Ebola, they won’t present any of the signs and will therefore remain unaffected by the condition.

The fact that they can be a carrier, however, means that they are able to pass the virus on to us, which could present a problem. The odds that you would eat a fruit bat are very low (I hope), but the odds that your dog would lick your face after eating a fruit bat are much higher.

What Can I Do?


For starters, try not to worry about it.

The outbreak has been, by-in-large, contained to West Africa (aside from Nancy Writebol, who has been quarantined and is under constant surveillance). The risk of you or your dog coming into contact with a carrier of Ebola is astronomically slim.

If you do suspect that you, your dog, or anyone else may have contracted the virus, stay calm. Contact your physician and vet, as well as the CDC, as soon as possible. The most important thing when dealing with a virus like Ebola is containing the outbreak.

Unfortunately, as of now, there is still no cure for Ebola, but researcher are working around the clock to finally put this virus to bed.

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Center for Disease Control – Ebola Virus Antibody Prevalence in Dogs and Human Risk 
NY Times – Atlanta Hospital Admits Second American With Ebola 
Yahoo News – US Ebola Outbreak ‘Possible’ But Likely Not Large: CDC Chief 
DogChannel – Ebola Virus and Our Dogs

August 7, 2014
by Sam Bourne

Finding Rover – Facial Recognition to Help Lost Pets Get Home

A lost pet is never an easy thing to deal with, but thanks to technological advancements, finding them again is getting easier every day.

Meet Finding Rover

Microchipping alone has been responsible for the safe return of thousands of runaway pets. Also, things like social media have made it possible for pet parents in need to alert a wide audience all at once.


Taking things a step further, has been using facial recognition software to help find people’s lost dogs. By uploading photos of your lost pet, Finding Rover generates a profile based on eight distinct features (eyes, ears, nose, etc.) and runs it through a database of recently uploaded photos from shelters across the country. If Finding Rover finds a match, they ‘ping’ you back with the results.

For the Cox family in San Diego, Finding Rover helped them reconnect with their lost Shiba Inu, Roxy. They plugged in a few pictures of their lost pooch and within a few hours they got a hit from a local rescue saying they had found her.

Close, But No Cigar


The Cox’s story is touching, but the truth is that their situation is more unusual than one might hope. For a program like Finding Rover to be truly effective, it needs wider implementation. As it stands, the innovative facial recognition program is only available in select cities. But that is mostly because the program is still building an audience.

Once Finding Rover gains some traction, more shelters will begin uploading pictures of recent rescues. If shelters start using the system, pet parents will be more inclined to register their pet. The more the system is used, the more data is entered. The more data the site collects, the more effective the program becomes. If everyone with a dog registered with Finding Rover today, and if every shelter uploaded photos of recent rescues, returning a lost dog to their rightful family would be as easy as 1…2…3.

So for a few families, like the Cox’s, Finding Rover is a very handy tool. For most families, however, the best approach is still going door-to-door and posting flyers around the neighborhood. Most pets are still found by scouring the surrounding area and going to local shelters.

The Takeaway


Programs like Finding Rover are sure to make the process of finding a lost pet much simpler, and pet parents and shelters should be encouraged to participate. However, while these services are still in the development stage, people dealing with a runaway pet should rely more on traditional methods (i.e., posting flyers and searching neighboring yards) to recover their lost pal.


August 7, 2014
by Sam Bourne

Canine loyalty and protecting the safety of the pack


Dogs have long been a source of love and inspiration due to their unwavering commitment to their companions. Regardless of the type, canines never take friendships for granted — canine loyalty is paramount among all breeds.

One dog in Atlanta, Georgia, proved his loyalty when Michael Mason spotted the four-legged hero outside of his local church on July 22, 2014. Standing over his injured friend, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Herman protected his fallen companion by the side of the road. Mason was so touched by the gesture that he snapped a photo of the duo, sending it to a friend and asking for help.

According to WSB-TV Atlanta, the image took off and went viral, even earning a Facebook post from actress Kylie Szymanski, one of the stars of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” Following the massive popularity of the photo, Herman was picked up by Fulton County Animal Services – the employees provided his moniker. They’re hoping to find the hero dog a new home.

However, Herman isn’t alone in watching over and protecting his friends.

What makes dogs so loyal
From bomb sniffing dogs saving soldiers’ lives overseas to seeing-eye companions guiding vision-impaired owners, there’s no shortage of uplifting stories about the loyalty of canines. Cesar Millan, the renowned dog trainer, discussed the long-winding history of dog companionship and the reason behind this animal’s steadfast loyalty to owners and their families.

Dogs are naturally pack animals, making friendship a standard aspect of their personalities. Whether the pack is made up of humans or other dogs, these furry friends love to be part of a collective. Whenever they lose a member, even for a short while such as soldiers deploying overseas or owners going on long vacations, dogs feel like a part of themselves is missing.

They’re also an affectionate species with instincts that cause them to form bonds. They want to share love and feel it, too. This drives dogs to contribute to their pack and protect fellow members from danger. With Herman and his injured friend, he was following his natural instincts to watch over a member of his proverbial family.

The relationship between dogs and friendship dates back thousand of years. Herman is merely one example of the loyalty and companionship that canines exhibit when the people – or animals – they love are hurt or in danger.

August 5, 2014
by Sam Bourne
1 Comment

From Homeless to Heiress – How a Twice Rejected Rescue Finally Hit it Big

This is Lady, the old Labrador who walked 30 miles to return to the family that gave her up — only to be given up again! old Labrador Lady Lady is a senior black lab that was sent to the shelter after her original owner passed away. Lucky for her, she did not stay in the shelter for long. Lady was quickly snatched up by another family. However, this stop was a brief one on Lady’s journey. After appearing unable to coexist with the family’s puppy, the old Labrador was given back to the shelter.

From there, Lady was adopted by another family. Typically, the story would end here, but  because of Lady’s unyielding determination, she escaped from her new home and made the 30 mile trek back to the family that gave her up. Unfortunately, her arduous return was not met with the kind of open-armed response she had hoped. After the amazement of the moment had passed, it was back to the shelter for Lady, with both adoptive families now firmly opposed to having the old Labrador in their home. old Labrador in the woods Luckily, word of Lady’s amazing journey made it to some major news outlets. Before long the internet was abuzz with peoples’ opinions and comments on her story, as well as offers to give this loving old Labrador a good home.

Moreover (and likely the most incredible facet of this tale) Lady’s story made its way to noted  animal rights advocate – and the heiress of the Wrigley Gum fortune — Helen Rich. Rich decided that Lady had taken more than enough lumps for one lifetime. It was high time that someone helped Lady carry her load, and Helen Rich decided to be that person.

Rich had her assistants fly out in her private jet and pick up Lady, taking her from shelter life and escorting her briskly into the lap of luxury. Lady now lives, along with 300 other pets in need, on Rich’s 120 acre farm in Florida where she will never want for anything ever again. Not old Labrador - Its an AIRPLANE! If only all rescue stories had such a happy ending. At least for Lady, her days of wandering through the dark looking for a home are over.

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Source: UpRoxx – This Is The Heartwarming Tale Of How A Rejected Shelter Dog Made It Rich NY Daily News – Dog that walked 30 miles back to previous owners who didn’t want her finds new home

July 31, 2014
by Sam Bourne

Diabetic Girl’s Tearful Reunion With Stolen Service Dog


After a long and arduous time apart, 11-year-old Alayna Barnes was finally reunited with her long lost service dog, Major. And after missing the dog for nearly a month, Alayna was ecstatic to see her best friend and savior walking down the terminal at the Little Rock Airport.

A Girl and Her Dog


Alayna and Major’s relationship is a special one – not only are they best pals, but Alayna also relies on Major’s keen sense of smell. A diabetic, Alayna is unable to internally regulate how much insulin is in her system – a problem that, if left unchecked, could quickly send her into a diabetic coma. However, thanks to his finely tuned and specially trained nose, Major is able to sniff out and alert Alayna to any changes in her blood sugar.

A Service Dog Stolen


During what was supposed to be a routine training reinforcement session, Major left for Colorado with his trainer, Julie Noyes. However, things quickly went off the rails.

Suspecting that Major was being abused, Noyes acted rashly and took the service dog, refusing to send him back to his family. Aghast at the allegations, the Barnes family immediately retaliated by pressing charges against the rogue trainer, demanding that she return their daughter’s service dog and answer for her crimes.

The matter escalated quickly, with Noyes coming close to being extradited back to Arkansas and charged with a felony. The charges were eventually dropped after, realizing she was between a rock and a hard place, Noyes decided to return Major to the Barnes family if they agreed to drop the lawsuit.

A Service Dog Returned


Now back with his loving family, the first thing Major did (after giving kisses to everyone in his family) was to get straight back to work, detecting a change in Alanya’s insulin not two minutes after deplaning.

The second stop Major made was to the vet to make sure the precious pup was still in tip-top shape after the whole ordeal. He was.

Now a complete family again, Major and Alanya are both in high spirits. “He’s so excited to be home,” Alanya told reporters. And you can be sure that his excitement was met in kind by his best pal.

Source: – Diabetic girl reunited with service dog who was essentially stolen