Study finds that neighborhoods with lots of dog-walking tend to be safer than other places to live

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In a study conducted in Columbus, researchers found that neighborhoods with more dogs had lower rates of homicide, robbery and, to a lesser extent, aggravated assaults compared to areas with fewer dogs, at least when residents also had high levels of trust in each other.

As most people probably would predict, barking and visible dogs can keep criminals away from buildings where the dogs are found. However, being active with your pet also seems to play an integral role when it comes to a safer place to live. According to a press release, the results suggest that people walking their dogs puts more “eyes on the street,” which can discourage crime.

“People walking their dogs are essentially patrolling their neighborhoods,” said Nicolo Pinchak, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in sociology at The Ohio State University. “They see when things are not right, and when there are suspect outsiders in the area. It can be a crime deterrent.”

Pinchak added, “When people are out walking their dogs, they have conversations, they pet each other’s dogs. Sometimes they know the dog’s name and not even the owners. They learn what’s going on and can spot potential problems.”

The study was published recently in the journal Social Forces

For the study, researchers looked at crime statistics from 2014 to 2016 for 595 census block groups – the equivalent of neighborhoods – in the Columbus area. They obtained survey data from a marketing firm that asked Columbus residents in 2013 if they had a dog in their household.

Finally, they used data from the Adolescent Health and Development in Context study (which Browning runs) to measure trust in individual neighborhoods. As part of that study, residents were asked to rate how much they agreed that “people on the streets can be trusted” in their neighborhoods.

Research has shown that trust among neighbors is an important part of deterring crime, because it suggests residents will help each other when facing a threat and have a sense of “collective efficacy” that they can have a positive impact on their area, according to the press release. Among the high-trust neighborhoods, neighborhoods high in dog concentration had about two-thirds the robbery rates of those low in dog concentration and about half the homicide rates, the study found.

Results showed that the trust and dog-walking combination helped reduce street crimes: those crimes like homicides and robberies that tend to occur in public locations, including streets and sidewalks. More dogs in a neighborhood was also related to fewer property crimes, like burglaries, irrespective of how much residents trust each other.

The protective effect of dogs and trust was found even when a wide range of other factors related to crime was taken into account, including the proportion of young males in the neighborhood, residential instability and socioeconomic status.

Ohio State’s Institute for Population Research supported the study.

Other co-authors of the study were Bethany Boettner of Ohio State, and Catherine Calder and Jake Tarrence of the University of Texas at Austin.

Source: Ohio State University

Company announces mobile diagnostic testing services for dogs and cats

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Labs and diagnostic testing are an essential part of pet care, but in-office visits can cause stress for both people and pets.

PepiPets has announced that dog and cat owners can now access their new PepiPets Mobile Diagnostic Testing services. PepiPets’ mobile diagnostic testing services provide diagnostic care from the comfort of any pet parent’s home.

PepiPets will work with clients and their veterinarian to ensure that the necessary diagnostic care that a pet’s health requires is delivered quickly.

After booking an appointment at a time that works best for the customer, an experienced PepiPets Veterinarian Technician will come to their home and collect the necessary samples for diagnostic testing. Results are provided in as little as 24 hours following sample collection.

For more, visit



Researchers develop quality of life assessment to evaluate the well-being of dogs

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Researchers from Mars Petcare developed a quality of life (QoL) assessment that evaluates dog health and well-being.

“Well-being is a focal point for dog owners and veterinary professionals alike,” said Nefertiti Greene, President, Science & Diagnostics, Mars Petcare in  a press release. “This assessment will allow us to consistently capture dog health and well-being data…advancing our purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS.”

The assessment is based on a 32-item questionnaire for pet owners to report on their dog’s behaviours and activity. When processed, survey results provide a multi-faceted view of a dog’s health and well-being, covering domains such as energy levels, happiness, mobility, sociability, and appetite.

A new study published in Scientific Reports supports the validity of this QoL assessment for measuring and quantifying canine health and wellbeing.

Results from the study also suggest this assessment can identify general malaise that could otherwise have been undetected when a dog is suffering from underlying pain that may not be easily identifiable.

“From a veterinarian’s perspective, the QoL assessment will deliver valuable information on how veterinary care can help improve pet outcomes,” said Jennifer Welser, DVM, DACVO, Chief Medical Officer, Mars Veterinary Health.

Researchers from Mars Petcare, including Waltham Petcare Science Institute and Banfield Pet Hospital®, developed the quality of life (QoL) assessment. For more information on the assessment and the study visit


SOURCE Mars Petcare

Featured artwork by Barbara Bullington

New poetry book celebrates dogs

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A recently released book of poetry is being described as “an nspirational poetic tribute to dogs.”

“No Bones About It: A Dog Lover’s Inspirational Poems” (2nd Edition), was penned by author and dog lover, Jill Meunier,

Meunier’s poetry speaks of her emotional connection with dogs and of her common bond with dog lovers who find comfort in their pets in good times and in bad times. She rhymes a tribute to a dog she rescued in “Weenie’s Story.” In “Lady in a Dog’s Life,” she shares what goes in the life of a dog lover. In “A Wish Upon a Dog,” she expresses her desire to own a dog despite her landlord’s refusal. “Dear Neighbor” speaks about a dog owner’s concern for a neighbor’s dog.

The book also contains poems written from a dog’s perspective. A dog leaves a message for its human in “Old Dog.” “She’s A Mess” talks about a dog’s description of – and gratitude to – its human. In “Vices Versus,” a dog shares how its human deals with after-work stress at home. In New Puppy,” it shares what it thinks about a newcomer in the house. “I’m Lost” deals with a dog getting lost after it wanders away from home.

Order a copy on Amazon and ReadersMagnet Bookstore.

“No Bones About It: A Dog Lover’s Inspirational Poems” (2nd Edition) is available on Amazon and ReadersMagnet  Bookstore.

Meunier is also the author of “No Bones About It: More Doggone Good Poems.”


Source (and feature photo from):

ASPCA Kitten Nursery celebrates helping 10,000 kittens, announces kitten fosters are badly needed

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The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) ecently announced a significant achievement by caring for its 10,000th kitten through the ASPCA Kitten Nursery in New York City, which relies on the help of supportive foster caregivers to provide lifesaving care to kittens in need.

Since launching in 2014 in support of Animal Care Centers of New York City (ACC), the ASPCA’s facility has served as the city’s first and largest high-volume kitten nursery dedicated to the care and treatment of neonatal kittens who are often too young to survive on their own.

This milestone comes during the height of feline breeding season, also known as kitten season, a time of year when shelters nationwide are overwhelmed with vulnerable and newborn cats.

The 10,000th kitten, named Zanzibar, a 10-week-old tabby kitten with orange fur, arrived at the ASPCA Kitten Nursery from ACC at four weeks of age in need of specialized medical support for an upper respiratory infection. She was placed with an experienced foster caregiver who provided bottle-feedings, medications and socialization to help Zanzibar gain strength and prepare for life in an adoptive home. Zanzibar is now healthy and strong.

“Reaching this 10,000-kitten milestone demonstrates how much we can accomplish when animal welfare organizations, foster caregivers, and veterinary professionals work together to address a life-threatening animal welfare challenge with the utmost compassion and determination,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO.

The ASPCA Kitten Nursery is part of ACC’s mission to end animal homelessness in New York City.

Vulnerable kittens under eight weeks old often require round-the-clock attention as they mature, a resource that many shelters don’t have, so foster programs that support frequent bottle-feeding for the youngest of these kittens and medical check-ups are crucial to help them grow and find loving homes.

In addition to the ASPCA Kitten Nursery, the ASPCA has cared for close to 9,000 kittens through its Los Angeles Kitten Foster Program, launched in 2016, which supports Los Angeles County Animal Care Centers.

New Yorkers and animal lovers across the country are encouraged to make a difference this season by fostering vulnerable kittens. Currently, the ASPCA Kitten Nursery has a particular need for foster caregivers who can provide frequent bottle-feeding and support for kittens who may require regular baths or treatment with medication. To learn more about how to foster kittens in New York City and to complete an online application, please visit


Source: ASPCA

Featured photo: From



‘Have you goat what it takes?’ Farmed animal sanctuaries asking for participants from across the U.S. to compete in the 2022 Goat Games

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Catskill Animal Sanctuary (CAS), one of the world’s leading sanctuaries for farmed animals — is pleased to announce that it will host the third annual Goat Games.

From August 12-15, CAS will be joined by 13 additional farmed animal sanctuaries located throughout the U.S. to rally the support of animal lovers nationwide in support of their life-saving work.

While the goats don’t actually compete, human athletes can sign up for an activity of their choosing, such as running, biking or hiking, to raise awareness and funds for the sanctuary team of their choice. Participants can join this nationwide, virtual event from anywhere in the U.S.

“Covid did a number on us, as it did on nonprofits around the world,” said Kathy Stevens, Founder and Executive Director of Catskill Animal Sanctuary. “Funding plummeted overnight, while the urgent needs of hundreds of animals remained the same.”

Each sanctuary has selected a farm animal as their team captain, and “athletes” will rally behind the farmed animal representing the sanctuary they want to support.

“We want to inspire animal lovers around the country to participate,” said Stevens. “Do whatever it is that you love – whether it’s running, reading, volunteering or knitting!  Once folks pick their activity, they simply invite friends and family to support them as they raise funds for their favorite sanctuary.”

The participating sanctuaries in the 2022 Goat Games include:

  • Catskill Animal Sanctuary — the hosting Sanctuary (Saugerties, NY)
  • Alaqua Animal Refuge (Freeport, FL)
  • Farm Sanctuary (Watkins Glen, NY & Acton, CA)
  • Farmaste Animal Sanctuary (Lindstrom, MN)
  • Heartwood Haven (Wauna, WA)
  • Indraloka Animal Sanctuary (Mehoopany, PA)
  • Iowa Farm Sanctuary (Oxford, IA)
  • Kindred Spirits Sanctuary (Citra, FL)
  • Little Bear Sanctuary (Punta Gorda, FL)
  • Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge (Pittsboro, NC)
  • River’s Wish Animal Sanctuary (Spokane, WA),
  • Safe Haven Rabbit Rescue (Clinton, NJ)
  • Wildwood Farm Sanctuary & Preserve (Newberg, OR)
  • Yesahcan Sanctuary, Inc. (Arcadia, FL)

For more information on The Goat Games 2022 including registering and/or making a donation, visit

About Catskill Animal Sanctuary
Founded in 2001, Catskill Animal Sanctuary is a non-profit, 150-acre refuge in New York’s Hudson Valley. It is home to eleven species of rescued farmed animals with between 275 and 400 residents at any given time. In addition to direct animal aid, the Sanctuary offers on-site tours, a weekly podcast, an award-winning vegan cooking program, and educational programs that advocate veganism as the very best way to end animal suffering, improve human health, and heal an ailing planet.

Catskill Animal Sanctuary is the only U.S. farmed animal sanctuary with highest honors and accreditations from: Charity Navigator (4 Stars), GuideStar (Platinum Rating), Better Business Bureau, and GFAS: Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries


SOURCE Catskill Animal Sanctuary

Seat belts for dogs? University students test out the idea with the help of NY State police

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A group of Clarkson University engineering students recently traveled to the New York State Police Troop B Barracks in Ray Brook, New York to conduct a dog seat belt safety test.

Experimental Methods in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering students Abigail Jacunski, Kristina Franklin and Hannah Orton were tasked with planning their own experiment, executing it and assessing the results.

Explaining the group’s motivation for choosing this topic, Jacunski stated, “There is not much about dog seat belts on the internet. Most of the dog seat belts that are out there haven’t actually been tested — they are just a way to restrain the dog in the car. We wanted to see what is the safest one for the dog.”

A substitute for an auto impact was an important part of this experiment. The solution was the “Seat Belt Convincer,” a device the New York State Troopers use to simulate a low speed auto collision. A car seat with a harness is attached to a ramp and allowed to slide down and impact the padded lower end of the incline.

The students needed a crash test dummy so they purchased stuffed animal dogs and filled them with sand to get closer to the weight of a real dog.

“They designed instrumentation and control circuits to be able to measure the dogs in an impact…and then hopefully identify certain configurations of the harness to be able to tell what’s safe and what’s not safe for the dogs,” explained Dr. Carl Hoover, the course professor.

The results will be put together into a scholarly paper.

Clarkson engineering students in Hoover’s class are encouraged to explore experimental projects that positively impact society, the economy or the environment. Students propose engineering tests based on their own ideas for broader impacts. They develop a formal test plan around a key question, write a procedure, choose measurement techniques, select test equipment, and analyze test data.

Source and feature photo from:

University unveils online certificate in animal assisted therapy

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Students can now earn a certificate in animal assisted therapy from Husson University Online, according to a press release.

“Interactions between humans and animals have proven to have a number of therapeutic benefits,” said Dr. David Rogers, the director of online and distance education at Husson. “This certificate program can teach students how to facilitate effective human–animal interactions — a beneficial skill set that can enhance the health of patients with anxiety and the careers of mental health professionals everywhere.”

Individuals who complete this online certificate program will be able to analyze the physiological and mental health benefits of the human-animal bond. In addition, they’ll gain a stronger understanding of what comprises safe and effective therapeutic sessions between animals and people.

To learn more about Husson University Online’s certificate program in animal assisted therapy, visit

Husson University Online has one of the lowest tuition rates in New England. In addition to being affordable, Husson University Online is regionally and professionally accredited.

Featured image: Andie, an Animal Assisted Therapy Dog, visiting Husson University.

How bad are fleas in your area? You can check a flea forecast to find out

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Just posting this story made me a little itchy, but, when it comes to most pets, discussing fleas is a necessary evil.

According to a press release from the Companion Animal Parasite Council, fleas are one of the most common external parasites in dogs and cats, and are more serious than most people realize with the potential to cause serious harm to the health of pets and their owners.

Also according to the release, in its mission to monitor and report emerging threats to companion animals, CAPC developed the Flea Forecasts to alert pet owners of flea activity in their local communities. These forecast maps are updated daily, based on environmental conditions, and can be found at

The CAPC Pet Parasite Forecast Maps are a collaborative effort from parasitologists and statisticians in leading academic institutions across the United States who engage in ongoing research and data interpretation to better understand and monitor vector-borne disease agent transmission and changing life cycles of parasites. The forecasts are based on many factors including temperature, precipitation and population density.

Flea activity will continue to increase as summer temperatures rise. These pesky pests are often a primary reason for veterinary visits. Fleas cause skin issues in pets, creating a lot of distress for them and their owners. The red, flaky skin caused by allergic reactions to fleas makes pets less cuddly and everyone is miserable.

Cats sleeping on your pillow or dogs snuggling in your bed can leaving behind flea eggs, flea maggots, and flea feces and that can, in turn, result in pets being banished from areas where their family members spend the most time.

Fleas may carry and transmit other dangerous diseases or parasites that affect pets, including Dipylidium caninum, a type of tapeworm and “Cat Scratch Fever.” This disease can infect both dogs and cats, as well as transmitted to humans when a cat carrying infected fleas scratches or bites a person. Although the symptoms are generally mild in humans, some people develop serious complications and require more rigorous treatment.

Keep calm and use preventative medication

The nonprofit Companion Animal Parasite Council stresses that year-round control is the best way to protect our pets from fleas and other harmful parasites and notes that it is important to keep all pets in a household on year-round flea preventive medication to prevent infestations. Pet owners should talk to their local veterinarian about the best method of prevention for their situations.

CAPC also encourages pet owners and veterinarians to regularly consult the Flea Forecasts at

To view the daily Flea Forecast, as well as the 30-Day Pet Parasite Forecast Maps that covers four parasitic diseases (Heartworm, Lyme, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis), visit

More about CAPC and Pet Disease Alerts:

Pet Disease Alerts ( is a nonprofit focused on alerting pet owners to the threat of pet diseases in their local areas. The Companion Animal Parasite Council ( is an independent not-for-profit foundation comprised of parasitologists, veterinarians, medical, public health and other professionals that provides information for the optimal control of internal and external parasites that threaten the health of pets and people.


My review of Siberian Husky Dog Marionette

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If you’re a dog lover and spend any time on, you might come across the product that I’m reviewing. It’s a “Siberian Husky Dog Marionette Yarn Puppet.”

My grandson used to have a really cute dinosaur marionette that he loved. But he grabbed it one time and it got massively tangled up — and that was the end of marionettes for a while. Now that he’s a little older (he turned 5 in February), I thought it would be fun to try another one. I did a little searching on Amazon and came across pictures of the adorable husky marionette. I paid $18 and some change for this product and was excited for it to be delivered.

A few days later it arrived and, upon taking it out of the box, my first thought was that it was smaller than I expected. If you’ve read reviews of other animal-related products that I have written, you know that I’m pretty careful to check the size of things I order now because, in the past, multiple things I have ordered on Amazon have turned out to be smaller than expected based on what was shown in the picture(s).

Before ordering the marionette, I read a few reviews from customers on Amazon, most of whom seemed to be happy with their purchase, and also looked at a few pictures submitted by reviewers. The dog definitely seemed smaller than it did in the product pictures, about half as small. So I thought I was prepared, but, in person, the dog seemed maybe an inch or so smaller than it had even appeared in buyer’s photos.

husky dog marionette

Shown next to my hand to help give an idea of actual size.


My second impression was that the dog has an adorable face in person, just as it did in the pictures on Amazon. I think Husky lovers especially will be drawn to how cute it is.

My grandson was standing right there and I showed him the new marionette, which he immediately wanted to touch. As he did, I realized the body of the dog is made out of what seem to be loose pompoms of yarn. The pictures I had seen had given me the impression that the body would be more like a firm, yarn-covered stuffed animal. The result is that the body of the dog is really delicate. I don’t think it would last very long as a toy for my grandson or for any child. In fact, when I went back and read some of the one-star  reviews on Amazon, which I hadn’t done before, I noticed that someone had written that their children had pretty much destroyed theirs in about an hour.

husky marionette lying down

Up close look at the body of the marionette.

It is also pretty difficult to make its arms and legs move using the crossbar. With other marionettes I have had, their movement has been much more lifelike and natural with very little manipulation of the crossbar, but sitting and laying down were the only two movements that seemed fairly easy to get this little guy to do. He might work in a puppet show in which a dog plays a small part that mostly involves standing or sitting, but would likely be frustrating to work with beyond that since the legs just kind of hang from bars under the yarn.

I’ve decided that this marionette, which is now hanging in my bedroom will be basically just for display as a cute decorative item.

My overall opinion is that the adorable factor for this marionette is very high, but functionality is lower than expected. Given his size and how fragile he is, I’d say the price of this product should probably be lowered by at least five dollars and marketed more as a decorative item than a plaything.