Dog Breeds Susceptible to Bloat

7 Mar 2017 | Filed in Dog Breeds

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Bloat is a potentially deadly condition in which the stomach distends. It can twist out of shape, causing a dangerous retention of gas and cutting off circulation. Dogs suffering from bloat need immediate medical attention. According to the ASPCA, even dogs who get treatment right away have a mortality rate between 25 percent and 40 percent. It can strike any breed at any age, but some large breeds are more likely to develop this emergency condition than others. Have a question? Get an answer from a Vet now!

Dogs and Bloat

Symptoms of bloat include a distended abdomen, lethargy, pale gums, abnormally fast heart rate, struggling to breathe and more. The condition can be caused by numerous factors, including eating too fast or exercising before or after a meal. This condition can affect any breed, but large, deep-chested breeds are especially prone to it. These breeds include Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, standard poodles, boxers and others whose chests are deeper than they are wide. If you are concerned about your dog’s susceptibility to bloat, ask your veterinarian for advice on avoiding the condition. If you suspect that your dog has symptoms of bloat, contact your vet, or take your dog to an emergency veterinarian, immediately.

Tips for Newly-Adopted Dog Owners

6 Mar 2017 | Filed in Dog Adopted

Creating a safe space is crucial when bringing home a new dog.
Creating a safe space is crucial when bringing home a new dog.

When you bring home a newly-adopted dog, you can expect her to be confused and unsure of herself for the first few days. If she comes from a shelter, she might not have experienced the same type of lifestyle that she finds in your home and could be overwhelmed and nervous. Find out as much information as possible about her former life, her behavior and personality. Expect that it will take a few weeks or possibly months before she settles down and regains her confidence.

A Safe Space

Give the dog her own safe space by providing her with a bed in a corner of the house that is peaceful and quiet. Show her that it is hers by giving her a treat in the bed and spend time sitting there with her. Each time you take her to the bed, give her the command by saying the word “bed” and reward her when she gets into it. Prevent children and other pets from interfering with her when she is in the bed, so that she learns it is a refuge when she needs one.

Feeding Time

Feed the dog the same food she has been eating, if possible. If you don’t know what she has been getting, start her off with good quality kibble in small quantities to avoid an upset stomach. If she is underweight, feed her four small meals a day instead of two large meals for the first month to help her digest the food and to prevent her from overeating. Provide plenty of fresh water at all times and watch her carefully for any signs of vomiting or diarrhea. Once she is eating the food without any side effects, you can gradually introduce treats and home-cooked dog food, if you prefer.

House Training

If your newly-adopted dog has lived most of her life outdoors or in a cage, she might not understand that she can’t soil where she sleeps. Anticipate her needs and take her outside immediately after she wakes up in the morning, directly after meals and last thing before bedtime. If she is a puppy or older than 7 years, she may need to go more often. Wait outside until she eliminates, then praise her enthusiastically every time. If she has an accident indoors, ignore it and clean it up with an enzymatic cleaner to remove the smell. Avoid punishing her, because she may not understand that she has done wrong and it will confuse her.

Preventing Anxiety

Your newly-adopted dog might bond with you so well that she becomes terrified of losing you. This could take the form of separation anxiety, which manifests in destructive behavior, excessive barking, soiling or even aggression towards family members and other animals. Begin leaving the dog alone for short periods of time soon after you bring her home, so she becomes accustomed to you leaving and returning.

Lauren Bacall, Actress and Dog Lover, Dies at Age 89

1 Feb 2017 | Filed in Dog News

A star of Hollywood’s golden age, Lauren Bacall, died in New York City on Tuesday. Bacall was known for many memorable roles, co-starring many times with her husband, Humphrey Bogart in movies such as “The Big Sleep,” “How to Marry a Millionaire,” “Designing Woman,” “Key Largo” and “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.

Besides her beauty and talent, the actress was well known for her love of dogs. In many photos throughout their lives, Bacall and Bogart were seen with their many dogs.

In an interview with NBC New York, Bacall’s neighbor Bill Karam, spoke of interactions with Barcall and his dogs. “She said to me, in this deep voice, ‘What’s your dog’s name? I said, ‘Blanche.’ And she said, ‘Miss Dubois?'” Karam said he last saw her about three months ago and she immediately recognized his dog. “She was always engaging with the dogs. She loved her dogs,” he says.

In 2008, Glenn Close visited Bacall and interviewed her about her love of dogs, specifically her Papillon Sophie.

“I was always a dog yearner. I didn’t have a dog growing up in the city with a working mother. As an only child, I yearned for someone to talk to,” Bacall tells Glen Close in an interview on BogieOnline. “When I was sixteen, we got a champagne-colored Cocker Spaniel and named him “Droopy.” He was very male. From the first moment, he was very possessive of me. All my dogs have been possessive of me. We eventually mated Droopy and kept one of his girl puppies—Puddle. I went to Los Angeles for a screen test when I was eighteen years old. My mother followed me out later. The dogs came, too.”

We have compiled a collection of our favorite photos of the late glamorous actress, who truly knew what it meant to be a movie star.

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She will be dearly missed by many, but she will surely be met by many wagging tails.

Dogs That Dig Furniture

27 Jan 2017 | Filed in Dog Training

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Why dogs dig at your furniture

The ancestors of our modern dogs had no comfy beds or couches to lounge on, of course, so when they wanted a comfortable spot to lounge, they’d simply make one.

Dogs today retain the instinct to do that. Dogs who spend time outdoors will dig a nest-like depression in the soil or dry grass that comfortably fits their body contours, and lounge there, alternately napping and surveying their territory.

Why a digging dog can be a problem

When indoors, this instinct is still active, and dogs will try to arrange the surface where they wish to lounge to fit their body. If this means digging a hole in the seat of your brand new lounge chair, the cost to repair or replace that cushion will never even enter your dog’s mind.

How to live with a dog that digs

One possible answer is obvious – keep the dog off the furniture, period. Provide your dog with her own personal blankets and pillows that you do not mind getting ruffled up.

If you wish to allow your digging dog to share your comfy furniture, but don’t want her to dig into it, lay a blanket or other durable fabric on the seat, with the edges tucked down around the sides of the cushion. When your dog indulges her instinct to dig a nest, she will untuck the blanket and rumple it up, instead of trying to dislodge and rumple the upholstery.

Flying With Dogs

30 Dec 2016 | Filed in Dog Training

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Michelle Christner of Pittsburgh figured she’d save on kennel costs by taking her Miniature Pinscher foster dog, Cricket, on her flight to Florida. After all, she never had trouble flying with her Yorkshire Terrier-Poodle mix Mary Poppins, or her son’s Toy Poodle, Lil Bo Beep. Second thoughts emerged when she arrived at the airport and introduced Cricket to the leather flight bag meant to house her for several hours. After a five-minute struggle and some shoving, she finally got the feisty 8-pound pooch into the bag.

“Everyone within a mile of us is now hearing the frantic barking of what appears to be a completely insane Tasmanian devil disguised as a Min Pin. She was barking like she was going to attack someone — anyone,” recalls a mortified Christner. Her foster dog crooned at her feet throughout the flight — despite medications approved by her veterinarian, but often discouraged by others, including the American Veterinary Medical Association.

“She barked and clawed at the [bag’s] netting to actually make a hole so she could stick her head through,” Christner says. Ignoring a chew toy, the pooch “chewed on my shoe.”

The experience taught Christner some lessons about the right and wrong way to pursue canine air travel — a subject that divides animal lovers.

To fly or not to fly?

Breeders and dog fanciers routinely fly dogs without trouble. Airlines assert that air travel is safe for dogs, as does the Air Transport Association of America. But American Kennel Club spokesperson Lisa Peterson adds a caveat: “We certainly believe it’s safe to fly with your dog on any commercial airline flight, provided the owner takes certain pre-flight precautions.”

Several humane organizations and some veterinarians warn of hazards for dogs in the cargo holds of planes, citing incidences of dogs injuring themselves as they claw at the crate to try to escape or escaping when crates open accidentally on a tarmac. Don’t fly pets if possible, especially if the pet isn’t small enough to fit in a carry-on kennel you can take into the cabin, advise the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States.

Since record-keeping by the U.S. Department of Transportation began in May 2005, 30 pets became injured during air transport, 17 pets became lost and 49 pets died, according to a DOG FANCY review of federal records as of March 2007.

“I much prefer having the dogs travel with the owner inside a car or van because they can take breaks when appropriate, stretch their legs, and are being handled by people who know and love them,” advises Texas A&M University animal behaviorist Bonnie Beaver, DVM, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists diplomate, and past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “While many dogs travel successfully by air, I know of the horror stories where problems occurred.”

But, recognizing flying is sometimes unavoidable, experts advise that there is a lot to think about if you’re going to try it.

Practical advice

1. Definitely fly your puppy in the cabin as you coo and feed him tiny treats like beef extract on the tip of your finger, advises Tufts University veterinary behaviorist Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

For a young pup during the crucial formative time in his life, being jostled in a cargo hold as a noisy plane takes off and lands is akin to taking Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at a theme park. Any “horrendous experience,” Dodman says, “can have long-lasting, lifetime effects.”

2. Choose the quickest direct early-morning or evening flight to ensure your dog travels when temperatures are favorable in the cargo hold and on the tarmac — and fly direct to ensure he doesn’t end up in a different city from you. Avoid flying during extreme weather — hot or cold.

“In general, I discourage people from flying with dogs that cannot actually be in the cabin with them,” Beaver says. “There are air traffic delays that can become real problems, and I certainly discourage dogs from flying if there is not a direct connection from origin to destination. Humans have enough problems making connections.”

3. When buying a crate or kennel, be sure it’s large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down in. Look for a sturdy one with locking bolts and strong metal doors. The strongest have four metal rods that fasten the door to the container, the federal government says. Further secure the door by adding tie wraps that can be cut in an emergency.

Many injuries, deaths, and escapes happen when dogs chew their way out of a plastic crate, push the door open, or take advantage of a broken or improperly latched lock. For example, a Golden Retriever named Skipper “lost teeth, cut his gums, and lost toe nails” as he chewed and scratched to try to get out of his kennel during a cross-country flight to Seattle in June 2006, according to a Continental Airlines report to the federal government. When another dog — a Greyhound named Gianna — arrived on a December 2006 Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle, she was discovered with her mouth and jaw stuck on the front gate of her kennel.

4. At home, get your pet accustomed to the travel carrier or kennel for at least one month, lest he put up a fight like Christner’s Cricket.

Joan Carlson, executive director of Florida’s Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County, took deliberate steps to acclimate her cousin’s new mixed-breed puppy, Little Bella, for a flight from Orlando to Philadelphia: She put special treats and toys in the carrier, as well as Bella’s meals. She let Bella walk in and out of the carrier at will. Gradually, as days wore on, Carlson closed the carrier to make Bella stay inside for a short time, then increasingly longer periods. Carlson eventually took Bella in the carrier on a short car ride to get her accustomed to the idea of motion. When the pair finally flew, Bella “was a little whiny at first,” Carlson says, but “it was her safe place. It was very easy to adapt to being in a crate and being on a plane.”

5. Don’t assume your pet will be accepted on the flight. Reserve a space for your dog — whether he travels in the cabin or in the cargo hold. Airlines have limited spots for animals.

6. Be sure your dog is fit to travel by getting him checked by a veterinarian a week to 10 days before your trip, as airlines require. Realize that pre-existing conditions could become a problem anyway. For instance, older dogs can have borderline kidney disease without their owners realizing it. They compensate by drinking lots of water, Dodman says. If such a dog gets on an airplane without free access to water, Dodman says, “you can precipitate renal failure.”

7. Don’t feed your dog for four to six hours before flight time, HSUS advises. A small amount of water before the trip is OK. Freeze a margarine tub filled with water and place that ice — not water — in the kennel’s water tray. That way, water won’t dump into the kennel and onto your pet, but hydration will be available as the ice melts.

8. On your dog’s collar, attach two pieces of identification — a permanent ID with your name and home address, and a temporary ID with the phone number where you can be reached during your travels. Also helpful: a microchip or tattoo as permanent ID. The more ID, the better.

Know your dog

As with many situations, it’s important to trust your gut when considering flying your dog. If you suspect your dog is a nervous Nellie who couldn’t take the flight, you’re probably right.

The drug maker Novartis Animal Health estimates that 15 percent of dogs suffer from some degree of separation anxiety, which, Dodman says, makes them poorer flight candidates. “Those dogs can’t be left alone,” he says. “They can actually chew through metal. They’re like Houdini dogs.”

Christner, for one, says her foster dog, Cricket, won’t be taking another plane trip. “I don’t think she was cut out to fly. She did not like to be confined and it made her crazy,” she says. Unless her name has been blacklisted after the Cricket fiasco, Christner says she will continue to travel with her other two dogs, “as they are true travelers.”

Why Dogs Bite

27 Nov 2016 | Filed in Dog Problems

Every year in the United States, 800,000 dog bites are severe enough to need medical treatment; 17 are fatal. Fifty percent of all American children are bitten by a dog before the age of 13. Literally every dog has the potential to bite. Luckily for us, most don’t. Understanding what causes this phenomenon might help you to avoid becoming next year’s dog-bite statistic. The following are six common reasons why dogs bite.

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ThinkstockDominance aggression

In cases of dogs who bite due to dominance aggression, members of the dog’s human family are most often the victims. Innocently attempt to move a dog off the bed to change the linens; push down on his rump to ensure compliance with a sit command; step over a dog who’s resting inconveniently in the doorway and the dog erupts in a “you’d better not do that” vocal warning, followed by a bite.

In each situation, the dog believes that he is in charge – that his humans have not earned the status to tell him what to do. Dominance aggression is most commonly – but not exclusively – seen in unneutered males and in confident breed types, such as rottweilers, chow chows, Lhasa apsos, English springer spaniels, Old English sheepdogs and Rhodesian ridgebacks, to name but a few. Obedience training as early as possible can abate a dog’s tendency toward dominance aggression, but dogs who are naturally and intractably dominant aggressive must be closely monitored and kept clear of situations known to trigger the negative behavior. Hollywood trainer Shelby Marlo, author of “Shelby Marlo’s New Art of Dog Training: Balancing Love and Discipline,” states, “Management is underrated. There is nothing wrong with knowing the dog’s limitations and living within those boundaries.”

Protection of valuables

The protectiveness some people seek when acquiring a dog can prove to be a liability. Some dogs believe the only way to protect their valuables is through an act of aggression. A dog’s list of valuables may include food, toys, territory (a house or a car) or even their human family members. Dogs have been known to “protect” one family member from another, driving crying children away from their mothers or chasing amorous husbands out of bedrooms.

The protection of territory is most often seen in males of guarding/herding breeds, such as German shepherds and rottweilers, while certain cocker spaniels and Labrador retrievers – females more often than males – put on ferocious displays over toys and chewies resulting in punishing bites to hands and faces.

Again, early training and/or lifelong management are the only solutions.

Fear aggression

The fear aggression response is most often directed toward strangers. Veterinarians learn early in their careers: when in doubt, muzzle. Like people, dogs are naturally fearful of unfamiliar and potentially threatening situations. A dog raised in a quiet adult household will be distraught by noisy, fast-moving youngsters. The dog may bark and lunge to drive them away and deliver a stinging nip to children who do not heed the warning.

There is no particular breed or gender predilection for fear aggression, but these biters commonly lack early socialization to a wide variety of people and experiences. ASPCA Vice President of Behavioral Medicine, Amy Marder, V.M.D., states that “with a dedicated owner and a responsive dog, fear aggression can be greatly improved.”

Maternal aggression

The first two to three weeks after a female dog gives birth, her puppies rely on her for all they need to survive: warmth, nutrition, stimulation to prompt elimination and protection. Even the most outgoing, well-trained dog may show signs of maternal aggression if she feels her newborns are at risk. No training is indicated here, rather an awareness of the new mother’s innate need for a safe space. By limiting visitors to the whelping box to one to two adult family members during those first couple of weeks, the new mother will stay relaxed and focused on the job at hand. There will be plenty of time for socialization once the pups’ eyes are open and they are toddling about under their own steam.

Redirected aggression

An attempt to break up a dog fight is the most common scenario for this category of biting. Two canine opponents are barking, posturing and biting at each other when all of a sudden hands reach in and grab at collars, tails and hind legs. The adrenaline-pumped dogs blindly whip around and land oral blows to body parts of the interrupters.

Fights are best broken up by loud noises or strong blasts of water when available. However, sometimes that is not enough. If you must lay hands on fighting dogs, stay as far away from the mouth as possible and move swiftly and decisively.

Pain-induced aggression

While pain-sensitive breeds like Chihuahuas are common perpetrators, any dog may bite if hurting, depending on the degree of pain. An otherwise gentle dog will bite a beloved owner’s hand trying to soothe, bandage or examine wounds. Like us, each dog has a unique pain threshold and tolerance. A sweet floppy-eared dog suffering from otitis externa may bite on getting his ears tousled; a dog with hip dysplasia may turn on a handler pressing down on his hips to enforce the sit command.

Of course, any dog can be provoked to bite by overly zealous physical disciplining.

Pestered beyond limits

There are dog biting incidents that don’t fit into the aforementioned categories. Perhaps a new category is required, called “Pestered Beyond Limits.” Bites in this category are often prompted by children (or adults) who simply don’t understand that even a dog has limits. Hug a sleeping dog, blow puffs of air in his face, put a rubber banded knee-sox on his nose to turn him into an “elephant dog,” ride him like a pony, stuff him inside a pillowcase just to see if he’ll fit, poke, prod, tickle him, and sooner or later, the dog will say “NO!” the only way he knows how – through a bite.

There are three keys to bite prevention: learn to understand canine behavior, take the time to socialize and train all dogs – the younger the better – and teach children to respect all dogs, starting with their furry buddies at home. With this accomplished, there is no telling how low bite statistics can go.

If you are approached by a menacing dog:

do not attempt to run

stay quiet, and remember to breathe

be still, with arms at sides or folded over chest with hands in fists

avoid eye contact

The Dog And The Meter Reader

In 1997, the safety division of Con Edison, New York City’s utility supplier, set a goal of a 20 percent reduction in worker accidents for 1998. By October, they were on target in every category except dog bites, having surpassed 1997′s 24 bites in the third quarter. Bernard Duffy, project specialist for Environmental Health and Safety, and The ASPCA worked together to create a mandatory half-hour program for all Con Edison customer field representatives. The program aimed at preventing utility worker/dog interactions and minimizing injury should an interaction take place.

Field worker Edwin Gomez credits this ASPCA Bite Prevention Workshop for saving him from a serious injury. Upon arriving at a customer’s home to read the electric meter, Edwin Gomez followed Con Edison’s company policy, and requested that the family dog be secured in another room. That done, Gomez went to work. Before he finished, however, the dog escaped from isolation, flew at Gomez and grabbed his arm.

Fortunately, Gomez remembered the advice he learned at the Bite Prevention Workshop: “If bitten, push into the dog’s mouth instead of pulling away.” And push he did, using his flashlight against his arm for added pressure. Sensing he was no longer in control of the bite, the dog let go and ran away, leaving Gomez shaken but with no more than a couple of small punctures in his sleeve and a sore arm from the tetanus shot he got “just in case.” At last count, dog bite incidents were reduced by more than 50 percent from last year.

Working Like a Dog Beyond the Office

21 Oct 2016 | Filed in Dog Life Style

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Doyle, an 11-year-old black Labrador Retriever, spends a lot of time in the air these days with his owner, retired surgeon Peter Rork, M.D.. But Rork’s no ordinary pilot: His cargo is almost strictly of the canine variety. After retiring from practicing medicine, Rork co-founded Dog Is My CoPilot Inc. in 2012, a nonprofit organization based in Jackson Hole, Wyo., dedicated to flying dogs from low-adoption, high-kill areas to areas with shelters able to place the dogs in homes with loving families.

The most rewarding part, he says, is the follow-up photographs when he sees the puppies that are in the arms of the children with their big smiles and new families. “It’s a win-win situation,” Rork says. “I feel like Santa Claus with my sleigh every time I taxi away with the dogs.”

But unlike that other legendary flyer, it’s not a bright-red-nosed Rudolph at the helm of Rork’s “sleigh.” Rather, the cockpit’s shotgun seat — and the sidekick duties — belong to his wet-nosed “co-pilot” Doyle.

Since Dog Is My CoPilot was founded, Rork and Doyle have logged more than 400 hours, and just this past February, they flew their 1,000th dog to safety. All that flying gives Rork plenty of quality time to spend with his canine pal. “He just curls right up and does fine,” he says, adding that dogs, like people, adjust to the altitude without issue.

“I like the company,” Rork says. “He’s my best friend. We’re really a team, and Doyle truly is my co-pilot.”

Working Overtime with Canines

Rork certainly isn’t alone; many workers report having better days when they’re allowed to work alongside their canine companions. A recent study by Virginia Commonwealth University found that employees who brought their dogs to work experienced a reduction in stress level scores of about 11 percent during the workday, while workers who didn’t bring their dogs experienced up to a 70 percent increase in those same stress-level scores.

Dogs also help us interact better with one another, an important attribute even — and maybe especially — in high-intensity workplaces. “Dogs have a way of softening the environment,” says Alan Beck, Sc.D., director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette, Ind. “So if you’re having a meeting, a dog gives a focus of attention and takes some of the pressure off. You now have something common to talk about besides how much you’re charging me, or why you want this raise, or why a particular law won’t work.”

That’s how it is for U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert of California’s 42nd District, who brings his 6-year-old MiniatureDachshund Cali to work on Capitol Hill every day.

“Sometimes, you know, people come in here that may not agree with me,” Calvert says. “Almost everybody loves dogs, so Cali takes the edge off.”

Calvert remembers a specific time when a four-star general came into his office to discuss serious business. “Cali just launched into the office and jumped on top of him and started licking his face,” he says. “He had to smile at that. I could tell he loved dogs, too, so we knew he was a good guy.”

As chairman of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee and a member of several other congressional committees, pressure often looms large for Calvert. Having Cali around, he says, provides some relief. On a typical day, Cali can be found springing onto the laps of staffers and roving from bed to bed — both Calvert’s Legislative Director Rebecca Keightley and Deputy Chief of Staff Tricia Evans keep dog beds by their desks and dispense a hearty amount of treats. During the workday, Cali has free rein, often hopping up on Calvert’s couch to play or nap, or propping herself right up on his desk to, as Calvert puts it, “help with paperwork.”

Less Stress, More Wags

Having dogs around also provides physical benefits. That’s certainly the case for Matthew Offord, a Conservative Member of Parliament for Hendon, a suburb of northwest London. While he spends many of his days out meeting his constituents, on office days, Offord often brings his 3-year-old Jack Russell Terrier Max to work. Offord’s workplace isn’t quite as open to dogs as is the U.S. Congress. “Dogs, except guide dogs, are not generally allowed in the Palace of Westminster, but one or two slip through,” he says.

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Why bring Max along? “Parliament can be a very fast moving, and at times stressful, environment,” Offord says. “There is nothing quite like giving a dog a pat to relieve stress. Taking Max out for walks lets me have 20 minutes to myself to mull things over and think things through.

“Taking him for a quick walk also offers an opportunity to get away from sitting at a desk to get a bit of exercise,” he says, “both for me and my staff, who enjoy taking him for walks if I am in the chamber or a meeting.”

For Offord, there are social benefits, too. “When I am out in the constituency, Max often acts as an icebreaker,” he says. “I think some people feel a lot more comfortable when they can share stories with me about their dogs as well. He’s a particular favorite with the children at a residential care home, who sometimes find it easier to communicate with Max than the adults around them.”

Four-Legged Counselors

The uncanny ability of dogs to help people interact with one another and relax in stressful situations is one of the many reasons neurologist Gayatri Devi, M.D., director of New York Memory Services in New York City, brings her 4.5-year-old German Shepherd Dog mix Lola and her 5-year-old Boxer mix Gage to work with her each day. “I think the idea of a dog in a doctor’s office is unusual,” she says. “But they make the patients feel better. … Kids, if they’re afraid to be in the doctor’s office, they will see the dogs, get excited, and forget where they are. People with dementia who are nervous when they come in the office, they become so busy petting the dogs they are not as concerned or worried anymore. For the most part, just seeing the animals, it’s such a calming influence.”

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Attorney Kent Woods has experienced the calming influence his dog Walter, a 2.5-year-old Bulldog, has on his co-workers and clients firsthand. Woods specializes in tax, bankruptcy, and general courtroom representation at Woods Erickson and Whitaker LLP in Henderson, Nev. While conversations in his office are often about money, personal fortune, and conflict, which can get serious, “as a general matter, people trust people who have dogs,” he says. “They know you have empathy and take good care of things. Generally, it helps people feel relaxed and at ease in their lawyer’s office, and it relaxes the tension.”

When it comes to the firm’s 14 other staff members, Woods describes Walter as a delight to everyone. “They get a lot of the same benefits that I do,” he says. “They get a good laugh every time Walter comes into their office, or begs for a treat, or asks to play tug of war.”

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For Woods, the benefits are pretty simple, too. “It gives you something to talk about with your employees and your co-workers,” he says. “It’s relaxing to have him sit around. He tends to sit at my feet under my desk, which gives me peace of mind. It’s like having your family with you all the time.”

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