Archive for the ‘Therapy Dogs’ Category

Positive Effects Animals Have on Kids….

Posted on March 24th, 2013

For a kid, there can be a big difference between coming home to an empty house after school and coming home to a four-legged friend every day.

While the role of pets in the home has not always drawn support from doctors and clinicians, studies in recent decades have done much to support the positive aspects of having pets in the home. There are a variety of benefits to owning pets with children in the family, from social development to better physical fitness.

You’ve got a Friend in Me

There’s a reason dogs are called “man’s best friend:” they love unconditionally and are naturally great listeners. These qualities lead to perhaps the most important benefits pets can have in the home, which are lessons in social development and interaction.

For quiet or shy children, these characteristics in pets (even animals other than dogs) can help bring out feelings or thoughts that the kids may not have communicated to adults.

Animals can be easier for children to establish relationships with than other people because of their calming influence and the lack of pressure in communicating with pets.

Basic communication—both verbal and nonverbal—has been shown to improve with pets present, as has empathy.

The general theory is that pets give children an easy-going friend that will always be dependable for an open ear. Young children who have not had much contact with people outside of the family, which may only be parents and a few other relatives, can improve their social skills by spending time with another living thing that they care about.

For autistic children or children in particularly difficult situations—such as coping with divorcing parents or a medical condition—pets can be especially helpful. Hospitals, courtrooms, and specialty clinics have begun to use pets to help children feel more comfortable and communicate better. Of course, these benefits are not limited to the hospital ward: Families can help children deal with difficult times by bringing a pet into the home and giving the child a constant friend.

Extra Benefits

In the past, pets were viewed as detrimental to young children’s health. Some doctors asserted than having pets around young children led to a higher likelihood of infection or future health problems.

On the contrary, recent studies have shown that having pets around newborn babies and toddlers can help increase the children’s resistance to allergies later in life.

Owning dogs can also help encourage children to do more physical activity. Instead of viewing it as a responsibility, many children see walking their dog as a chance to have fun and explore with their pet.

Dog ownership has been shown to decrease rates of obesity in adults, and it can also help children who may not be getting enough exercise otherwise.

Pets can be especially fun and beneficial for kids, but studies have shown that those benefits can spread to the whole family. Because pets are typically such calm, stress-free members of the family, they can improve family dynamics and make families feel closer and more relaxed with each other.

Despite the high rate of dogs reportedly eating homework, pets have actually been shown to improve children’s performance in class. Children coming from households with pets tend to miss fewer days of school, and they generally feel more confident about their schoolwork. Studies on the numerical improvement of students’ work due to pet ownership have are forthcoming, but the benefits that pet-owning children feel may be due to the effect pets have on the development of social behavior.

While dogs are the most popular pets in the US, a variety of animals can be helpful at home.



Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.


Congress Passes Legislation Protecting Military Dogs

Posted on December 21st, 2012

ASPCA applauds measure ensuring adoption, veterinary care for retired military dogs

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauds the U.S. Congress for passing legislation to protect military dogs.

Included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, the measure provides significant steps for the protection of retired military dogs by streamlining the adoption process and authorizing a system of veterinary care for the retired animals at no expense to taxpayers.

The Defense Authorization bill now moves to President Barack Obama for his signature.

This provision was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) through the leadership of Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) in the U.S. Senate and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Both legislators introduced similar legislation to assist military dogs, the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, earlier this year.

“Military dogs are true heroes—they play a critical role in our nation’s defense,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “These amazing dogs have been loyal to us in extreme circumstances and deserve to be properly cared for and adopted into good homes after such unwavering service to their country. We thank Senator Blumenthal and Representative Jones for ensuring these heroic dogs’ health and well-being is properly cared for.”

Military dogs successfully perform many important and dangerous duties that can be difficult, if not impossible, for humans. After years of service, military dogs deserve a safe retirement option and may require expensive veterinary care to treat health issues related to their dedicated service. Establishing a long-term, reliable source of support for that care will ensure that our nation’s commitment to the dogs’ well-being extends beyond their period of military service.

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The bill also streamlines the adoption process by standardizing the transfer of retired military dogs from foreign soil back to the United States, where they can be permanently placed into loving homes.

“Military working dogs are so crucial to the safety of our service members, and it is our job to provide them with the love and care that they so honorably deserve when they are retired,” said Rep. Jones. “I would like to thank Senator Blumenthal for his leadership in the Senate and all the organizations, such as the ASPCA, who have supported our efforts.”

“I am pleased that this year’s NDAA will recognize the importance of military working dogs by providing for their care,” added Sen. Blumenthal. “These dogs have saved countless human lives through their vital work and deserve to be honored in this way. I thank Congressman Jones and the organizations that have worked so hard to ensure that these canine heroes receive the care they deserve. I will continue to work with these key organizations to ensure that the Department of Defense implements the provisions of the NDAA that will establish standards of care for retired military working dogs, allow for the transport of retiring dogs working overseas back to the United States, and provide for recognition of their service.”

For more information on the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit

Purina is Searching for America’s Most Pet-Friendly Companies!

Posted on December 9th, 2012

Actor John O’Hurley to Visit Top Business, Present $10,000 Donation to Local Pet Organization; Studies Show Bringing Pets to Work Can Reduce Stress, Increase Productivity

Fifteen years ago, Nestlé Purina PetCare recognized the benefits of allowing employees to bring their pets to work and started a “Pets at Work” program. For a company whose motto is “Your Pet, Our Passion,” it seems natural that every week hundreds of dogs and cats are brought to Purina’s St. Louis campus, and associates and their furry friends enjoy each other’s company every day.

Purina is now conducting a nationwide search to identify America’s most pet-friendly workplaces with the “Purina Pets At Work Contest.” 

Pet lovers can submit a story and photos about how their company is pet friendly, and Purina will help one winning business become even more pet friendly and donate $10,000 to a local pet welfare organization!

WOW – how sweet is that? 

Award-winning actor John O’Hurley, well known for his role as J. Peterman on the television show “Seinfield,” will help pick the winning company and will visit their office next spring to present the Grand Prize – a makeover to outfit the business with pet-friendly materials (valued at $5,000), and a $10,000 donation to a local pet shelter.  O’Hurley also appeared in a video that aired during the National Dog Show Presented by Purina on NBC on Thanksgiving Day to discuss the benefits of bringing pets to work.

“I’ve visited the Purina offices and they clearly believe that spending time with pets can help make life better – for pets and pet owners,” said O’Hurley, who serves as co-host of the National Dog Show Presented by Purina.  “As a lifelong dog owner and someone who shares Purina’s passion for pets, I’m thrilled to celebrate other companies that see the benefits of encouraging pets in the workplace.”

Pet lovers can log on to and tell how pets have made a positive impact on their workplace and why their workday is better – for them and their pet – because their office is pet friendly.  Entrants must describe their employer’s “Pets at Work” program, answer both of the following questions, and provide 3-5 photos that show pets in their workplace:

  • How do pets truly have a positive impact in your workplace?
  • How is having a pet-friendly office mutually beneficial for employees and pets?

The nominations will be judged by three criteria:

  • Does the nomination demonstrate how pets make life at work better for both the employees and the pets?
  • Will the nomination inspire other businesses to integrate pets into their own office environments?
  • Does the nomination include a description of the nominee’s “Pets at Work” program?

Nominations will be accepted until January 15, 2013. The winner will be announced in the spring of 2013.

A recent study* has shown that employees who bring their pets to work tend to have a lower stress level by the end of the day.  Stress in the workplace has been associated with negative physical and psychological outcomes, including a general decline in physical health.  The study found that interacting with their pets lowered the levels of cortisol in the employees’ bodies, a stress-related hormone that can lead to high cholesterol levels, hypertension and depression.

The Center for Disease Control** says that having pets can help reduce blood pressure, in addition to decreasing loneliness, helping to lower cholesterol levels and encouraging physical activity.  The better an employee feels on a regular basis, the more they are able to stay focused and produce quality work.

In addition to these health benefits, pets in the office can:

  • Increase productivity and provide inspiration:  Having pets nearby can help keep an employee relaxed and happy – making work more enjoyable.
  • Improve job satisfaction: At Purina, employee surveys show Pets@Work is a big benefit, and the company also believes it helps with employee retention.
  • Encourage co-worker interaction: Pets add another layer of interaction between co-workers, and otherwise quiet employees can become more engaged when talking to a co-worker about their pets.
  • Promote healthy break time: Dog owners tend to spend their breaks walking and caring for their dogs, getting them on their feet.  Even just taking a few minutes to play with a pet can help provide a mental break and lower stress.
  • Project healthy work-life balance: For many people, pets are a huge part of their lives.  Companies that encourage pets in the workplace show that they care about their employees and the balance between work and home.

Purina provides five simple steps for pet owners to help create a welcoming, pet-friendly program at their workplace. For more information, visit

No purchase necessary to participate or win. For complete contest information, visit for the official rules, nomination requirements and eligibility details.  Valid in the 50 United States and D.C. Void where prohibited.

*Los Angeles Times: “Bringing Your Dog to Work Can Ease Stress, Study Finds,” March 30, 2012;

**Center for Disease Control website (  “Health Benefits of Pets;”

PetArmor® and Operation Freedom Paws Video Shows How Shelter Dogs & PTSD Military Vets Train Together & Save Each Other

Posted on November 1st, 2012

 PetArmor® Encourages All Pet Lovers to Vote for Mary Cortani, CNN 2012 Hero of the Year and Help Our Disabled Veterans Get the Help They Need

PetArmor®, a brand focused on protecting pets by making veterinarian-quality products more affordable, this week announced a unique social media initiative to raise the visibility of Operation Freedom Paws.

Operation Freedom Paws’ mission is to match war veterans, many with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other invisible wounds, with shelter dogs and train them as a team to navigate life together. Operation Freedom Paws’ Founder and Executive Director, Mary Cortani, has been named one of CNN’s 2012 Top Ten Heroes. She is vying, amongst nine others, to be named the CNN “Hero of the Year” for 2012, an honor that spotlights “everyday people changing the world.”

In addition to its work protecting and raising the profile of shelter animals, PetArmor®, the No. 1 generic Fipronil flea and tick preventive at retail, is seeking to encourage fans, friends, veterans and all pet lovers to vote for Mary Cortani as the 2012 CNN Hero of the Year.

“In September, we experienced Mary’s work at Operation Freedom Paws first hand and captured an amazing video, which is now live on our website at, says Alex Kaufman, President & CEO of FidoPharm, the makers of PetArmor®. Mr. Kaufman went on to say that “through the video we see how the dogs and veterans train together and ultimately save each other. Over the next few weeks we will be promoting the video and Operation Freedom Paws through our social media platforms including Facebook®, Twitter and blogger outreach to generate awareness of this incredible organization.”

 “We value our relationship with PetArmor®, which this year alone has donated over 15,000 doses of flea and tick protection and thousands of dollars to rescue organizations across the country,” says Julie Morris senior vice president of community outreach for the ASPCA. “Mary’s commitment to using shelter dogs in her program demonstrates the incredible resilience of these dogs and their desire to love and serve.”

“Operation Freedom Paws trains veterans and others with disabilities to train their own service dogs. We leverage the ability of the canine-human relationship to help our veterans regain their sense of purpose, worth and value to society and their community,” says Mary Cortani. “We are proud to partner with PetArmor® on this project; we share a common purpose and dedication to pets and providing our war veterans with shelter dogs.”

Alex Kaufman added, “We believe strongly in the mission and vision of Operation Freedom Paws and we are honored to help protect the dogs, which are protecting our military heroes who have protected our freedom.”

About CNN Worldwide

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media. For more information, visit

About Operation Freedom Paws

Founded in January 2010, Gilroy, California based Operation Freedom Paws is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that matches dogs with individuals who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) and/or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) symptoms, or other physical, neurological, psychological or mobility needs.

We train the individual to train their own dog, and then certify them together as a service dog team in a 32-week program. Most of the dogs come from rescue shelters. This unique opportunity enables our clients to feel safe and secure, and to manage their day-to-day lives. The very special therapeutic canine-human relationship helps them get back out in their communities and begin to view their future with renewed hope.

About the ASPCA

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Frontline® is the registered trademark of Merial. Frontline® and Merial are not affiliated with PetArmor®.

Purina Dog Chow Promotes Dog Ownership; Helps Patriot Rovers in Process

Posted on July 25th, 2012

Purina Dog Chow knows that dog families are strong because of their dog, so Night Agency wanted to provide a forum for consumers to unite and discuss those experiences.  To do this, they created the Dog Families Know tab on the Purina Dog Chow Facebook page.

Just like a board you would find in a community center, Purina Dog Chow encourages people to share special moments that only dog families can relate to and to be inspired by other stories.

Participants can type a story, post a photo or select a video from YouTube to help bring their stories to life.

They can even use #dogfamiliesknow in Twitter and Instagram to have their stories posted on the Dog Families Know tab.

Along the way, the Dog Families Know community will learn the importance of keep their dog healthy by eating Purina Dog Chow.

Patriot Rovers Dog and Veteran from

From July 15th until July 31st, Purina Dog Chow will donate $1, up to $25,000, to Patriot Rovers, Inc. for every story, photo or video tacked onto the “Dog Families Know” community board – via Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. This is to help support Patriot Rovers mission to “Save Dogs, Help Soldiers and Honor Heroes.”

Patriot Rovers is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide professionally trained and certified Psychiatric Service Dogs, instruction, and therapeutic group camaraderie to veteran men and women struggling with PTSD and traumatic brain injury as a result of their service to our country and restore their physical and emotional independence.

Check it out at!/DogChow