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 Featured On This Week's Program

Animal Radio for June 24, 2017  

Kitten Rescues Soldier
Josh Marino & Scout

Josh Marino and ScoutA young soldier left the battlefield in Baghdad with traumatic brain injuries and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after a mortar attack. Right before he was to give up on life, a stray cat walked up to him, placed his paws on his leg and saved his life. Josh Marino is here to tell his story of Mutual Rescue. Watch the video.

Josh Marino's story goes back to the winter of 2008. He was deployed with the U.S. Army from 2007 to 2008. During this deployment in Iraq, Josh was wounded by an insurgent mortar attack, which left him with a traumatic brain injury. Spending the rest of his deployment in Iraq was also traumatic, leading to the development of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

When Josh returned to the states, he felt he brought the war home with him. He states that unfortunately this can be said about a lot of the guys returning from war. He claims they don't know what they are going to do with the experiences they've had. Some of the guys just never learn how to process it. Unfortunately, Josh was one of those guys, one who didn't know how to process it.

Josh dealt with a lot of people who told him to suck it up and drive on, while others told him it just wasn't something that they could see when they looked at Josh, therefore there wasn't anything wrong with him.

After dealing with this type of adversity for so long, it eventually wore Josh down and took him to the point where he was ready to take his own life.

Josh actually wrote a suicide letter on his computer. He then printed a copy out and left it on his desk. He also had prepared the method he would use. At that point, he decided to go outside and smoke one last cigarette and then go back inside and take care of it.

When Josh went outside, he sat down on the barracks in the rain with a cigarette in his mouth, thinking about the worst part of his life.

Drawing of Josh and ScoutWhile sitting there, Josh heard a little tiny meow underneath the bushes next to him.
The next thing he knew, out stepped this tiny black and white tuxedo kitten. It turns out this kitten was one of a litter of strays that were living underneath the barracks. However, this one little kitten would keep coming back to him. Josh ended up giving him food every day and the kitten would jump up on his lap and spend time with him.

Josh said it was like in the stroke of a second; all of a sudden his life was saved by the most unexpected source. He stopped thinking about all of his problems and started thinking about all of the kitten's problems. Josh now had a purpose again and a reason to keep on going.

A couple of months after first meeting this kitten, Josh was outside the barracks and he couldn't find the kitten anywhere. He then learned that the animal control officers had picked up all of the stray cats. Josh had no idea where they'd taken them.

All of this shook him up a bit, but during the months that he had taken care of this kitten, Josh gained the confidence to keep going and pursue what he needed to do.

One thing Josh did during this time was to strike up a conversation with a girl he knew from high school. One thing led to another and eventually they started dating.

On Memorial Day of 2009, this girl came out to visit him at the base. It was a hot day so they decided to go swimming, but first they needed to purchase bathing suits. On their way to do this, they noticed an adopt-a-thon going on. Josh's girlfriend had lost her cat a few years back and wanted to look at the cats. Josh didn't have a problem looking at the cats for his girlfriend, but stated he didn't get more than three feet down an aisle of carriers when a little black and white paw shot out and started hitting him in his arm.

Josh was so surprised when he looked in the carrier and saw that same little black and white kitten that he had befriended months earlier. Josh claims the odds are pretty stellar that he would ever see this kitten again. But some things were meant to be, and Josh pulled that little guy out of the carrier right then and there and demanded to adopt him.

On their way back to the barracks after doing all of the paperwork, Josh passed by a Calvary statue on base. He had thought about calling the kitten Ian Fleming because it looked like he was wearing a tuxedo just like James Bond. But after seeing the statute, he realized that the kitten was looking out for him and decided that the kitten was going to be his "Scout."

Josh feels that Scout had a pretty big "paw" in putting him on the path that he is on today. Josh recognizes that he had a very dark period in his life and he was able to get through it. He now sees his purpose is to help other veterans who are in dark places to see if they can get through it too. Josh claims he always recommends animals to help them through these times.

Mutual Rescue is asking for anyone with a story like this, where an animal turned out rescuing the person that rescued them, to come forward and share their experience. Mutual Rescue presents compelling evidence that when people adopt animals, their own lives are often dramatically transformed in positive ways as well. Extrapolating that powerful dynamic, entire communities also benefit immensely through greater compassion for all beings.

Pheromones In Puppy Training -Dr. Debbie

Dr. Debbie WhiteSo you just got a new puppy and you have all your training tools at the ready, the collar, leash and dog crate. But beyond that, do you have the one thing that can make your training tasks easier all around? Tap into your puppy's own sense of smell using canine pheromones, and ease your new pup's training and transition into the home.

Pheromones are scent signals emitted by all animal species, including humans. Various pheromones work under the radar to influence the perceptions and behaviors of others within a species.

Shortly after whelping, a pheromone is emitted from the bitch's sebaceous (oil) glands located between the mammary glands. The pheromone, dubbed the canine appeasing pheromone, reassures the puppies, calms them and facilitates nursing. The bitch stops emitting this pheromone as the pups mature, but all dogs retain the ability to "read" this pheromone. Not only do older dogs recognize this pheromone, but it continues to have a natural calming effect on canines of all ages.

In veterinary behavior cases, the dog appeasing pheromone is used for dogs with noise phobias, car travel anxiety, separation anxiety, and other fearful situations. Various forms are available including pheromone collars, plug in diffusers and sprays. The canine appeasing pheromone doesn't sedate the dog; rather it decreases fear and excitability.

The dog appeasing pheromone is also helpful for newly adopted puppies. Those first few days to weeks in a new home are full of changes for the pup faced with novel environments far from the comfort of mother and siblings. The dog appeasing pheromone has been shown to ease the transition of the pup into new home and improve sociability and training during a pup's critical socialization period.

Pheromone Research
For skeptics that need to see the proof in the studies, veterinary behavior studies have examined the positive influence of the dog appeasing pheromone. When comparing treatment responses for dogs with separation anxiety, the use of the dog appeasing pheromone equaled the benefit of the anti-anxiety medication, amitriptyline.

One study looked at 66 puppies as they settled into new homes after adoption. Approximately half of the puppies wore a pheromone collar and half wore a placebo. The study found that puppies wearing a pheromone collar displayed significantly fewer nuisance behaviors like vocalizations or scratching within 3 days of adoption. Pups wearing the pheromone collar woke their owner's less during the night and displayed fewer signs of distress and vocalizations throughout the course of the study.

The researchers concluded that pheromone collars helped both the pup and family. Pups were less stressed and adapted easier. By decreasing the pup's stress and fearful behaviors, the pet owners found a more enjoyable bonding experience with the new pup and faced less frustration through the training process.

In another study, puppies 8 to 15 weeks were enrolled in an eight-week long puppy socialization and training class. Half wore a pheromone collar and the other half wore a placebo collar. The pups wearing the collar were calmer in the face of novel experiences and displayed less fear, anxiety, and aggression. In the end, the pups with pheromone collar not only were less nervous, but had fewer behavioral problems and learned better. And a long-term effect on sociability was recognized in dogs up to one year after the class and study was completed.

Pheromones and My Pup
NikkiAs the new owner of a nine-week old Bouvier puppy named Nikki, I used both the pheromone collar and diffuser upon welcoming my new pup home. One day before bringing Nikki home, I placed a pheromone diffuser close to the puppy crate, where it would have maximum benefit during her first nights in the kennel away from mother and siblings. Immediately upon leaving the breeder's home, Nikki was fitted with a pheromone collar to serve as a source of reassuring pheromones that went everywhere she did. The pheromone collar has become a tool in Nikki's socialization. It's on her when she meets new people or animals, when she explores new environments, and during puppy kindergarten class.

Did pheromones help in my pup's transition and training? The four hour drive home from the breeders was a dream, no crying or whining the entire trip. Now three weeks later from acquiring my pup, and Nikki never soiled in her kennel during the day or night. I'll admit I had my share of interrupted sleep in the first two weeks, but most of Nikki's night time wakes were for genuine elimination needs. Overall her transition into the home was smooth and lacked the wailing, inconsolable cries of a stressed pup.

The canine appeasing pheromone isn't a magic bullet though. Nothing matches a quality pup obtained from a reputable breeder who focuses on health, genetics, and early socialization. Likewise pheromones do not replace the hard work and consistent training efforts that any new pet owner must provide. However, by adding the the canine appeasing pheromone to your new puppy training, you can help your pup become the best he or she possibly can.

Featured veterinarian known as "Dr. Debbie" on national pet radio program, Animal Radio. Ebook author of "Yorkshire Terriers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Pugs: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Mini Schnauzers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; and "Shih Tzu: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend."

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Animal Radio News - Lori Brooks

Lori and Flo BearEmployers Offer Pet Insurance
There is a new and fast-growing trend for employees being offered by generous companies. It's employer-sponsored benefit plans that insure the family pet, dogs, cats, ferrets, birds or potbellied pig against accidents and illness. Some 5,000 companies, including Microsoft, Yahoo, Xerox and Hewlett-Packard, now offer pet insurance, sometimes covering part or all of the cost, in an effort to lure talent but also to recognize the strong emotional bonds between people and pets. Luckily for animal lovers, the nation's largest pet insurer says it is a side of the insurance industry that is growing rapidly. Only a small fraction of pet owners in the United States carry pet insurance. An estimated 1 to 2-percent of the nation's nearly 90 million pet dogs and more than 94 million pet cats are insured.

Chinese Man with DogChina Switches From One Child to One-Dog Policy
China may have scrapped its one-child policy, but one Chinese city (Qingdao) has now instituted a one-dog policy. Those who own more than one pooch will be required to surrender their furry friends to an adoption agency. The policy also bans a number of what they term to be "ferocious" dog breeds, among them Dobermans, Pit Bulls, and Tibetan Mastiffs. Owners are now required to register their pets with authorities and anyone who violates the rules will be fined the equivalent of $60 US dollars. According to one report in The Guardian, the controls were implemented because more and more people are breeding and raising dogs, which has led to and increasing number of dogs disturbing residents. The number of dogs as pets in China has soared in recent years. Dogs in China used to be mostly kept for jobs, like guards, herding or even meat. Now, pet pups are considered a status symbol. These laws look like they are trending because this latest city is not the first to enact a one-dog policy. Several other Chinese cities, including Shanghai, have done the same, limiting the number of dogs per household.

DexterNervous Students Can Practice Speeches in Front of "Audience Dog"
Devon Wallick had written nine drafts of his commencement speech and recited it for his professor, delivered it to his roommate and practiced it in front a mirror, but at that point, the 22-year-old who was about to finish a master's degree in accounting, had not yet rehearsed in front of Dexter. Dexter is an English Springer Spaniel with giant white paws; soulful brown eyes and floppy ears that are great at listening to students give speeches. He's one of eight DC area dogs on the American University business school's roster of "audience dogs," a volunteer group of dogs whose main duties are to be attentive and nonjudgmental towards university students nervous about public speaking and their presentations. Any AU student with a presentation to deliver can book a 30-minute session with a dog, but must sign a waiver acknowledging the "inherent risks in being near, handling, walking or petting any animals."

PasswordDon't Use Your Pet's Name As Password
When it comes to choosing a password, hopefully you do NOT pick a special date and a pet's name, because that's easy to hack. A behavioral biometrics company did some research and says the answer to finding a secure password is naming your pet a weird name, something incredibly unique after you do some research of your own. If your password is Max7$, after your cat, you aren't alone, but you are putting yourself at risk of identify theft and other cyber crimes. Using special dates, names of children, or pets, can make it easier for hackers and snoopers to get a hold of your online accounts. In order to promote the behavior of choosing a more secure password than your average pet name, behavioral biometrics company BehavioSec teamed up with an animal charity to give five adoptable pets hacker-proof names that are easy to remember. The names are inspired by "historical, religious and mythological sources from cultures around the world, that are both hard to hack and easy for kids to shorten." Some suggestions their experts came up with include Skallagrimsson who is called "Skalla" and is named after a Viking warrior-poet. Another dog was named after a 15th Century Aztec king.

Guinea PigsSwitzerland Enacts Landmark Legislation for Animals
Switzerland is a fairly small country, but it stills boasts an estimated seven million pets living there, not including farm animals. The Swiss have a long history of improving the working and living conditions for animals including landmark legislation in 1992 when it became the first country to include animal rights in their constitution. Then, in 2008, Switzerland introduced a bevy of new animal rights regulations that went even further. With that in mind, here are some of the more interesting laws that Switzerland has put in place to improve the lives of animals in their midst and a few of the reasons it's great to be an animal in Switzerland:
- Guinea pigs must live with other guinea pigs or have regular play dates with another of their species.
- If a cat doesn't have a feline companion at home, it must be able to go outside to socialize or at the very least, be able to see other cats from home.
- Parrots and goldfish are believed to be social creatures and cannot live without a mate.
- Dogs have to be exercised daily, according to what they need, off leash.
- Dogs that are tied up must be able to run around freely for at least five hours a day, (and the rest of the time must be able to move around in at least 200 square feet of open space).
- Clipping the ears or tails of pets is not allowed.
- Before bringing a dog into a new home, a person must provide a certificate of competence demonstrating that they know how to deal with and treat dogs. If they can prove that they've already had a dog, though, they're off the hook.

GavelDog Fails Training - Now Works for Government
Gavel, a young German shepherd, may have failed police dog training school, but he found a role more suited to his talents with the Australian government instead. Gavel did not display the necessary aptitude for a life on the front line, because he loved making friends with the new people he met rather than treating them like potentially law-breaking criminals. Gavel was just too friendly. Still, handlers knew he was special and wanted to put his social skills to good use in another capacity. That's when the Governor of Queensland agreed to take him in at the Government House and Gavel became the Vice-Regal Dog. His duties are to greet the governor's guests and pose for photo opportunities. The staff loves him.

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NEWS UPDATE brought to you by Fear Free. "Take the 'pet' out of 'petrified'" and get pets back for veterinary visits by promoting considerate approach and gentle control techniques used in calming environments.

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