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 This Week From The Redbarn Studios

Animal Radio for October 31, 2020  

Pets In The Classroom
Brent Weinmann, Pet Care Trust

Pets In The Classroom LogoNew research says kids learn better when their classroom has a pet. Even truancy is down. We all remember the class pet. And if you were lucky, the teacher let you take the guinea pigs home for the summer. Brent Weinmann of the Pet Care Trust is making sure all kids get an opportunity to have pets in their classroom.

Pet Care Trust is an organization that was started about 20 years ago through contributions from companies within the pet industry. Their original mission was to figure out how to introduce more people to pets and the joys of pet ownership. They also wanted to make sure it was done in a responsible way. Their main focus has been on kids and to bring pets into the classrooms.

Before a classroom can have a pet, it is the responsibility of the teacher to clear the way with their administration. The Pet Care Trust will then make grants available either directly through the trust or with the cooperation of large national retailers, to help facilitate getting these pets into the classrooms. They try to minimize costs as much as they can, because they know that these types of things usually come directly out of the teachers' pockets.

Pet Care Trust will fund the costs of the cage setup, initial food purchase, toys, treats, bedding, decorations, etc., based upon the type of pet that's chosen. They will also fund part of the animal. The schools will not get a free animal; the school will have to pay part of the purchase. Pet Care Trust feels this will ensure commitment and care from the school for the wellbeing of the animal. But at the same time, they will work with the retailer and the teacher to keep the cost of the pet down.

Pets In The ClassroomPet Care Trust, along with pet retailers, have made a list of pets that their vets have deemed appropriate for most classrooms. The teacher can then pick from that list the pet they would like to have in their classroom.

Brent states that some classrooms have done field trips or online research to figure out what type of pet would be best. They then do a vote and the kids decide what they would like to have in the classroom.

But what happens to these pets on weekends or in the summer? Sometimes the teacher takes them home or the students will split the duties.

While everyone knows there are benefits to having pets in the classroom, such as encouraging pet ownership at home, there is a current study going on to see just what the true benefits are. Could they reduce truancy, reduce bullying, encourage kids to read?

Brent also tells us stories from teachers about children who are uncomfortable or on the autism spectrum. When the teachers know these children are having an especially rough time, they allow them to interact with the animals, which calm them down and get them back in a better place.

It's a win-win situation for everyone!

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"HERO PERSON OF THE WEEK" - Kelly Martin, Selah Ranch All Animal Rescue

Hero the CalfKitty Martin loved her calf so much that she put more than $40,000 into rescuing the steer after it's back legs were amputated because of frostbite. She's the Hero Person this week with a great story to tell about the human-bovine connection.

Kitty was running a small private rescue when someone called her about a calf that had froze to the ground and lost two back hoofs and part of his tail to frostbite. She said when she saw the calf, it was more horrible then she expected. Kitty felt that he had such a rough start in life, she decided to swing for him and named him Hero.

His mother originally rejected Hero and the farmer then sold him to someone who felt they could raise him on a bottle. This wasn't done properly and the calf got weak and couldn't get up off the ground. The weather at the time was freezing, so the little calf just froze to the ground.

Kitty didn't know what to do with Hero, but did some research and found out that this procedure had been done before on another cow named Meadow. The procedure included removing 2-inches of bone and bringing the tendons around to make a pad stump, which was then fitted with prosthetics. Hero had three sets of prosthetics, which were black and white and looked like a Holstein cow.

Kitty was told he would never be able to run and kick, but Hero proved everyone wrong!

Some people thought it would have been more humane to euthanize Hero. Kitty says this whole thing has attracted some of the world's best and some of the world's worst towards her. Unfortunately, Hero has now passed away.

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Using High-Tech To Find Homes
Adi Pinhas, PetMatch

PetMatchAdi Pinhas is using facial recognition technology in his new iPhone app. You upload a picture of the pet you want and it'll tell you all the adoptable animals that look like the original picture. The Verge Magazine uploaded a picture of Lady Gaga and got back an adoptable hamster!

Adi Pinhas, the CEO of Superfish, the makers of PetMatch, originally worked on this technology for other purposes, allowing you to find images with similar content or similar objects and can work on anything. In their grand visions, they are going to release different applications that can do other things, but thought it would be useful to start with pets.

PetMatch lets you upload a picture of a dog or cat, or use one from its gallery. It then searched databases and tries to find you a pet available for adoption that is the closest possible match to the one you posted, out of the millions that are available.

If you combine several photos to make the perfect pet, will PetMatch be able to find the animal? The answer is yes! People are even using images of stuffed animals.

Of course, it's not perfect. If the picture you upload shows an animal at an odd angle, is blurry or otherwise differs from typical shots by animal-rescue groups, there's no telling what it will return for you.

The PetMatch app is currently available only on Apple's iOS operating system and is free. They are improving the application all of the time and are currently working on a version for Android.

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Dr. Debbie WhitePet Halloween Costumes: Spook-tastic or Just Crazy? -Dr. Debbie

Will Fluffy or Benji be dressed up for Halloween this year? Pets are increasingly recognized as family members and often included in the holiday costume craze. But are pet costumes just for human folly, or do pets actually LIKE sporting the costumes, hats and accessories?

Admittedly, I fall among those that do indulge in this practice, but my pets enjoy wearing Halloween costumes.

Years of positive reinforcement with treat rewards, and my dogs will happily wear anything in the off chance of a tasty morsel. The mere sight of a costume starts my Labrador prancing and bouncing as if on a trampoline.

In my home, Halloween pet fun has evolved a step further than most, as I proudly maintain a sizable collection of pet costumes. After 13 years, the collection of doggie costumes includes firemen, doctors, princesses, cowboys, police officers, pumpkins, caterpillars, pirates and skeletons spilling from the overstuffed confines of the cabinet.

My pet costume collection is akin to Katherine Heigl's character in the movie "27 Dresses," in which her mass of bridesmaid dresses fills a closet and generates smirks from others.

Dog in CostumeCall me crazy, but I adore seeing my critters ham it up for Halloween. And clearly I am not alone. According to consumer surveys by the National Retail Federation, 170 million Americans will be celebrating Halloween.

Among those individuals 15.1-percent will be dressing the family pet in costume too. That's a lot of consumer spending on pet wear when budgets are tight, but the smiles and giggles arising from seeing your pet dressed in a spooky or silly costume, is well worth the expenditure.

Some might argue that pet costumes are frivolous or humiliating, but I disagree. Dogs enjoy costumes when introduced in a positive manner, just as they do with gradual acclimation to car travel or swimming. Plus, a dog is devoted companion and wishes to please its owner.

My own dog family adores the celebration and attention they receive. Cats on the other hand, may not enjoy any part of dress up and are often indifferent to the idea of pleasing or serving us, as it is often the other way around.

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." Dr. Debbie's books.

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Animal Radio News with Tammy Trujillo

SchipperkeInsurance Coverage Denied For Certain Breed Ownership
You love your dog, but depending on the breed, your insurance company might not. In fact, your dog's breed might keep a company from providing you with homeowner's insurance. It's all about the money. Insurance companies pay out millions each year on dog bite claims. In fact in 2013, bite claims accounted for one-third of all the homeowner liability claims that were paid out. So now insurers have come up with a list of dog breeds that they consider dangerous and could result in you being denied coverage. The list names specific breeds, but many companies extend the list to also include any mixes of the banned breeds. Here's the list: Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Terries, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Presa Canarios, Chows, Dobermans, Akitas, Wolf-hybrids, Mastifffs, Cane Corsos, Great Danes, Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies. Each company draws up it's own list and its not based on any scientific data. In fact, one report in the media can be enough for a company to decide that a dog breed is dangerous. One company in Atlanta had Schipperkes on their list. Schipperkes are little black dogs that look like foxes and are about 12 inches tall and weigh about 15 pounds.

Find The Perfect Pet App
If you're looking for the perfect dog, yes, you guessed it, there's now an app for that. BarkBuddy is a free iPhone app that showcases dogs for adoption. It's connected to a network of 2,500 rescues and shelters throughout Canada and the U.S. You just swipe your way through pictures of available dogs and stop when you see one that you are interested in. The app then gives you the details on the dog and the organization that has him. Right now BarkBuddy is only available for iPhones, but an Android version should be out soon.

HedgehogsPet Hedgehogs Growing In Popularity
They're cute, they're prickly and in some places they're illegal. Hedgehogs are growing in popularity as pets. Some people say it all started with the video game Sonic, a little blue hedgehog that runs at supersonic speeds and protects himself by rolling into a ball. Some breeders now say they have waiting lists 500 people long. They're easier to take care of than cats or dogs and are hypoallergenic. But hedgehogs are illegal in six states and Washington, D.C. because of worries that they could escape and upset the ecological balance. Hedgehogs also can carry salmonella, but breeders say you can limit the risk by washing your hands after handling them.

Fund For Animals Who Suffered From Treats Made In China
Petco and Petsmart said they would stop selling pet treats made in China. For the past 7 years, dogs and cats have been getting sick and many have died after eating imported chicken and jerky treats. Now, Purina Petcare and Waggin' Train have set up at $6.5-million-dollar fund to compensate pet guardians whose animals suffered. The settlement doesn't admit fault, but it does open the door to damage claims for vet bills or for the loss of a pet. It also requires Nestle Purina to adopt what is being termed enhanced quality assurance measures and to change the wording on their packages. The deal still needs to be approved by the courts, but if it is it would help settle claims related to Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch Dog Treats.

Sharing bed with dogSharing Your Bed With Your Pet Leads to Bad Sleep Quality
If you have a cat or dog, chances are he or she sleeps with you in bed. But new research says that sharing your bed with your pet can lead to bad sleep quality. The Associated Professional Sleep Societies presented data that showed at least 30-percent of pet owners say their pets wake them up at least once per night. Doctors who treat sleep problems are now being urged to ask patients right from the start if they have pets and if they sleep together and are calling animals a hidden factor behind insomnia.

Cure For Parvo?
To anyone with a puppy the word Parvo is just heartbreaking. It's most often a death sentence. But now, researchers may have literally stumbled on a way to treat it. It happened when a company called Avianax in North Dakota was looking for a way to save flocks of geese that were mysteriously dying. They discovered an antibody that's harvested from the yokes of geese eggs that can stop the Parvovirus in as little as two days. Avianax is still running tests and hopes to start selling the parvoOne antibody-based treatment for $75 a dose.

EarListen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1091)

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