Northeast Ohio Dog Owners Issued Health Alert For H3N2 Dog Flu

Dog owners in northeast Ohio are being alerted to a new strain of dog flu that has just been confirmed in the state. The highly contagious H3N2 canine influenza virus has struck several dogs in Solon, Ohio, causing their hospitalization, Fox 8 Cleveland reports. Veterinarians are encouraging their clients to get their dogs vaccinated against this newest strain of dog flu.

“Even though you don’t come out of the house very often, if you do have people that come over, and bring their dogs over, you don’t know if they’re vaccinated or not,” Solon Animal Hospital Veterinary Technician Laura Neff told the local news station. “It’s definitely the safest.”

Symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge, and frequent coughing that can last for two weeks or more. Other symptoms include fever, decreased appetite, and listlessness during the first few days of infection. If you suspect your dog may have the flu, contact your veterinarian. Avoid bringing your dog to places where other dogs may frequent.

Solon Animal Hospital Dr. Samantha Huston was not surprised that the virus had made its way to Ohio.

“I think that it is alarming. We’ve known about the outbreak since 2015 in Chicago, but slowly it’s been spreading elsewhere,” Huston told Fox 8 Cleveland. “So it was only just a matter of time before it would come into northeast Ohio.”

Staff of the hospital noted on its Facebook page that a vaccination is available for both the newer H3N2 strain and the older H3N8 strain.

“There is now a vaccine that has both strains in it,” Solon Animal Hospital staff wrote on their Facebook page. “We are recommending your furry friend get vaccinated for both strains, especially when boarding or grooming. Due to the flu being highly contagious and possibly fatal we advise to have the vaccination done.”

In addition to Ohio, the H3N2 canine influenza virus is also in the following eight states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas and Illinois.

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Therapy Dogs Needed

Pine Valley Care Center in Richfield, Ohio 
Looking for therapy dog teams, must be current with Bright and Beautiful certification. Please email for more information.
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The Many Reasons Why Dogs Roll in Smelly Poo

The sun shines overhead, while the hum of insects and birdsong completes a beautiful day. On the other side of the park, your pet dog bounces around excitedly. Snuffling the ground, he suddenly stops to enthusiastically roll on the grass before bounding back to you. It is only when you bend to greet him that it hits you: a pungent, foul musky stench. Your dog has rolled in poo.

This is something most dog owners will have experienced during a walk. But why do domestic dogs seem to get such joy from smearing another animal’s faeces on their coat?

“These are animals with a sense of smell that is said to be at least a thousand times more sensitive than our own,” says Simon Gadbois, an expert in canid behaviour and scent processing at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “It seems unbelievable they would want to cover themselves in a smell that even to my nose is unbearable, yet they do.”

Gadbois, who has studied wolves, coyotes and foxes in Canada, also uses domesticated dogs to help track animals in the wild. One of his prized sniffer dogs, a border collie called Zyla, would delight in rubbing herself in beaver excrement whenever they were working in the field.

“In case you have never smelt beaver poop before, it is horrible, really vile, and it stinks for weeks afterwards,” says Gadbois. “It was always beyond me why she would do this. You would think it would interfere with her ability to smell and track other animals, but remarkably it did not affect her performance one bit.”

Humans first domesticated dogs around 15,000 years ago, and we have lived side-by-side with them ever since. It is possible to find shelves-full of research on their behaviour, but there is surprisingly little that explores why dogs have such an affinity towards other animals’ poo.

We asked BBC Earth Readers if they could offer any insights into this baffling, and rather disgusting, canine habit. It seems your dogs will roll in just about anything, from fox and badger faeces to geese droppings and even dead fish.

The most common explanation put forward is that the behaviour is an evolutionary hangover from their days as wild predators. For example, Vesa Valenius and James Turner both suggest it was inherited from wolves, who roll in poo to hide their scent from prey as they close in for the kill.

It is certainly true that wolves will roll in the faeces of other species, and even in the carcasses of dead animals. But one of the few studies of this behaviour in wolves, published in 1986, threw up some perplexing results.

Biologists studied scent-rubbing in two groups of captive wolves in Canada by providing them with a range of different odours. Surprisingly, the wolves were least interested in rubbing themselves in the faeces of herbivores like sheep or horse: the scientists did not see them rub at all on these odours. Food was similarly unappealing. Instead, their favoured scents were artificial odours like perfume or motor oil.

For an animal seeking to disguise its scent from its prey, choosing to smell like something so alien to their natural environment is surprising to say the least.

However, the researchers also found that the wolves’ second favourite scent was the faeces of other carnivores like cougars and black bears.

“I’m very doubtful that scent rolling is of much help in hunting,” says Pat Goodmann, a senior animal curator at Wolf Park in Indiana who has spent several years studying scent-rolling in wolves. “Here at Wolf Park, the wolves are willing to roll in the scent of alien canids and domestic cats. It raises a strong possibility that wild wolves may roll in predator scent too. This would not be a helpful hunting disguise.”

Goodmann also points out that, while wolves may occasionally hunt by ambush, they will more commonly chase their prey down, which does not require nearly as much stealth.

In fact, dogs smothering themselves in strong scents could have another similar purpose inherited from other wild relatives. Rather than hiding them from prey, it could help camouflage smaller canids from other predators.

Samantha Harrison was among those who suggested that scent-rolling it could be a form of camouflage.

The idea might be supported by research published in September 2016 by Max Allen, an ecologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He captured some unusual behaviour by Grey Foxes on remote cameras set up around the Santa Cruz area of California. The normally reclusive grey foxes were regularly visiting sites that male mountain lions used for scent-marking. The footage showed the foxes rubbing their cheeks on ground that had been freshly marked with strong-smelling urine by the mountain lions.

Allen believes the foxes are using the odour left by these large feline predators as a form of odour camouflage, to hide them from other large predators like coyotes.

“Coyotes are so much bigger than grey foxes, but seem to want to eliminate them as there is competition for resources between them,” says Allen. “The foxes cannot really fight back, so they are exploiting the puma scent to get some form of protection. Smelling like a puma might give them time to escape.”

It is certainly an interesting idea. However, it does not explain why larger canids, like wolves, also rub themselves in the scent left by other predators.

Stephen Harris of the University of Bristol in the UK, who has studied red foxes, does not buy the idea that foxes use cat scents as camouflage. Instead, he suspects the animals might be trying to deposit their own scent, rather than pick some up.

“Foxes use their saliva as scent, and also have glands in the region of the lips known as the circumoral glands,” says Harris. “We do not know the precise function of these scent glands, but you see foxes rubbing the sides of their mouths and necks on all sorts of objects. They often seem to do this in response to strong odours. Unusual smells seem to stimulate them.”

Similarly, Pietr Maynard on Facebook told us he had assumed his dog was trying to cover other scents with its own, to “let other dogs understand they are ready to protect their territory”.

However, pet dogs are rarely content with rubbing just their face and necks in the smelly muck they find: instead, they smear it right across their bodies. Philippa Baines told us how her dog Holly would stretch and squirm in cowpats, seemingly to rub the poo deep into her skin.

Goodmann has yet another explanation. She thinks it may be a way for wolves to carry information about where they have been to the rest of their pack.

Her late colleague and founder of Wolf Park, Erich Klinghammer, proposed that scent-rolling may be a way to tell other wolves about tasty treats they found while they were off on their own.

In her experiments, Goodmann found that wolves did not just eat if they found a large chunk of meat. “When presented with a side of elk, they both rolled and ate,” she says. “I speculated that food scent on the wolf’s breath and on its fur indicated that there were more leftovers to scavenge, for wolves that wanted to backtrack to the source of the odour.”

This idea was echoed by Tine Howe on Facebook, who told us dogs roll in poo to carry the scent of prey animals home to the rest of the pack.

Hyenas have also been observed rolling in carrion, and receive more attention from other members of their pack afterwards. Similarly, a study of Ethiopian wolves showed they tended to roll on the ground following a meal, although they were also seen rolling in human excrement and on ground where humans had recently been.

This seems to point to a social function for the scent-rolling, but Gadbois believes it may have a more simple purpose. In the wolf packs he studied in Canada, the lead animal tended to be the first to roll in a strong scent, followed by the others.

“It could be that this is about establishing a group odour,” he says. “In the wolves I studied, if one started rubbing in something like a deer carcass, the whole pack would follow and rub in it. I’ve seen this in coyotes and foxes in the wild, too. It seems to become the odour you share with all the others in the group.”

This idea of sharing an odour to increase the sense of “togetherness” has also been seen in African wild dogs: females will roll in the urine of males from a group they are looking to join. Similarly, dogs in a pack will regularly rub against each other’s scent glands to pick up each other’s scent.

Of course, there are some even more outlandish ideas.

For instance, it has been suggested that dogs and their wild counterparts use strong smells as a sort of insect repellent, although using faeces as the scent of choice seems decidedly unsuited to this purpose. Others have suggested oils in the faeces might help waterproof their coats.

Alternatively, they may be using the pungent odours in much the same way as we humans use perfume, suggest Robert Reppy and Krystal Parks. This idea has also been put forward by animal behaviour specialist Michael Fox in his book Dog Body, Dog Mind. Fox suggests that a squirt of perfume might help discourage a dog from seeking out unpleasant odours.

Meanwhile, dog psychologist Stanley Coren believes it may be an attempt to obtain an estreme sensation. He suggests it is “an expression of the same misbegotten sense of aesthetics that causes human beings to wear overly loud and colourful Hawaiian shirts.”

This hints at a suggestion put forward by readers like Frances Mahan on Facebook: that dogs simply get a kick out of rolling in poo.

Anyone who has watched their dog’s gleeful reaction after rubbing themselves in something disgusting will understand.

“I suspect they get a great big rush of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in reward and pleasure,” says Muriel Brasseur of the Oxford Animal Behaviour Centre. “If it is a behaviour from their evolutionary past that was linked to survival, it could be reinforced by being extremely good fun.”

In other words, Gadbois says, the canid desire to rub in bad smells could be a relic from some ancestor long ago in their evolutionary past. “It may have had a very important function at some point a long time ago,” he says. “Over time that function has vanished, but they still do it. It brings us back to the fact that we really have no idea. Odour is such an important part of their world and we really don’t understand it.”

None of this will be much consolation for dog owners whose pets choose to rub themselves in particularly pungent poo just before important guests arrive. It seems normal dog shampoo can do little to remove the stench, so some readers have turned to more unusual methods. Lynn Mee recommends massaging tomato ketchup into the offending area and then washing it off. We have not tested whether this works.

Finally, we will leave the last word on the topic to Kate Dumont. She has a simple explanation for why dogs roll in faeces: “because they are poo-ches.”

Now that really does stink.

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Dogs Can Talk to Humans, Study Suggests

Dogs have a surprising ability to make humans understand what their barks and growls mean, a study has shown.

Women were better than men at recognising when a dog was being playful or threatening, or feeling fear, scientists discovered.

For the study, 40 volunteers listened to different growls recorded from 18 dogs that were guarding their food, facing a threatening stranger, or playing a tug-of-war game.

Overall, participants correctly classified 63 per cent of the growl samples – significantly more than would be expected by guesswork alone, said the researchers.

Just good friends

Each growl type was also recognised above chance level. The human listeners identified 81 per cent of the “play” growls but were less good at recognising food guarding and threatening growls.

Dr Tamas Farago and his team from Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary wrote in the journal Royal Society Open Science: “Participants associated the correct contexts with the growls above chance.

“Moreover, women and participants experienced with dogs scored higher in this task.”

During play, dogs produced a larger number of shorter, less separated, growls than when they were aggressive or fearful, the research showed.

Play growls and food guarding growls also had distinctively different pitch characteristics.

As well as identifying growl contexts, the volunteers also had to rate growls on a sliding scale according to five emotional states – aggression, fear, despair, happiness and playfulness.

Context had a “significant effect” on reading dog emotions, said the scientists. Playful growls were rated lowest for aggression, and food guarding growls highest.

The scientists concluded: “Our results … indicate that dogs communicate honestly their size and inner state in serious contest situations, where confrontation would be costly, such as during guarding of their food from another dog.

“At the same time, in contexts with assumedly more uncertain inner states, such as in play or when threatened by a stranger, they may manipulate certain key parameters in their growls for an exaggerated aggressive and playful expression.

“According to our results, adult humans seem to understand and respond accordingly to this acoustic information during cross-species interactions with dogs.”

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Pet Therapy Brings Smiles, Comfort to Patients at Hospice of the Western Reserve

MEDINA, Ohio – Delores Wojtas looks forward to visits from therapy dogs to her room at the Medina facility of the Hospice of the Western Reserve.

On Thursday, she got to pet, hug and snuggle with three canine friends.

“I think it’s wonderful,” she said, beaming from her bed as she cuddled her 18-month-old great-granddaughter, Contessa Magnelli, and stroked the soft head of Molly, a shepherd/blue healer herding dog mix with soulful blue eyes.

“Grandma has always had animals. It means a lot for her to be able to visit with them here at Hospice,” said Wotjas’ granddaughter, Lindsey Magnelli.

The therapy pet program is a much-loved volunteer service provided by the non-profit Hospice of the Western Reserve. Patients, family members and staff all benefit from the unconditional love of the animals.

But there aren’t always enough dogs to go around. There are about 10 therapy dogs who visit patients at the Hospice facility, nursing homes and private residences in Medina County, said Marie Jakubiec, volunteer service manager for the Medina site.

So Hospice is looking for more dogs and their human volunteer owners.

“Pet therapy is one of the many ways people can volunteer with our agency,” said Nikki Matala, volunteer recruitment manager for Hospice of the Western Reserve.

“Most people, we find, are animal lovers. The pets give the patients lots of love. It’s also very calming for their family members and the children who are visiting and are stressed and sad,” Matala said.

Right now, the therapy pets are mostly dogs. Occasionally, Hospice will work to arrange a special visit, such as a pig that recently brought smiles to a patient in Summit County.

The Medina facility used to have a bunny named Bob.

“We try to honor patients’ requests,” Matala said.

Therapy dogs must be certified, be insured and have a current shot record and clean bill of health.

Their human owners must attend 16 hours of volunteer education, undergo a criminal background check and take a two-step tuberculosis test.

The pet “parents” said the training for the dogs isn’t difficult.

“It’s basically control and commands,” pet owner Pam Benson said.

Matala said the requirements are meant to ensure that the dogs have a temperament that is a good match for the medical environment. Dogs are brought in ahead of time to make sure they are comfortable with machine noises, hydraulic sounds and loud noises.

Molly’s owner, Marcia Crabtree, said it is important to help the therapy pets adjust to the environment.

“The first time she stepped on one of those rubber mats (under some patients’ beds) she went straight up in the air,” Crabtree said.

But Molly quickly adapted, and she laps up the attention from patients, families and staff.

Crabtree has volunteered with Hospice since 2008 and began working with the pet therapy program four years ago.

She and Molly spend much of their volunteer time visiting local nursing homes.

“She gets petted a lot, she gets hugged. It really brightens her day, too,” Crabtree said.

Ralphie, a giant puddle of fuzzy poodle hair, has been a pet therapy dog for three years. The labradoodle’s potential was recognized by trainers at Gold Star Dog Training in Medina when he was just a puppy.

His owner, Cathy Pronik, said she has a soft spot for Hospice. Both of her parents received Hospice care.

“When I heard about the pet therapy service, I thought, what a nice way to give back,” Pronik said.

Pronik and Ralphie visit the Medina facility once a week.

“He likes the people. He kind of picks up on what’s going on,” Pronik said.

A few months ago, Ralphie came across a family member who was sobbing outside a patient’s room. He immediately went up to her and she started talking to him.

“He stood still and looked into her eyes for five to 10 minutes. It’s like he knew she needed that,” Pronik said.

“They’re intuitive,” Matala said of the dogs. “They know when they’re needed and what is needed from them.”

Hektor, a five-year-old standard poodle, visits the Medina facility every Tuesday.

“He spends as much time with the staff as with the patients,” said his owner, Pam Benson, whose other dog, Oblio – a red poodle – is also a therapy pet.

“Everybody stops to talk to the dog,” Benson said.

Even out and about in Medina, Hektor has his fans.

“I ran into someone at the Farmers Market, and they said, ‘Oh, hi! You’re Hektor’s mom!'” Benson said.

Matala said sometimes the human volunteers get overlooked.

“People get so excited to see the dogs, they forget about the human volunteer. But the dedication of the pet parents is amazing,” she said.

She said Hospice appreciates that all of their volunteers give up their personal time to bring comfort to patients and their families.

“That’s very special. That really touches our hearts,” Matala said.

She said Hospice can always use more therapy pets.

“There’s always a large need for it. It’s a service that people are really excited about,” she said.

She said the presence of the dogs is very calming.

“It’s a really nice way to alleviate stress in a difficult situation. Oftentimes, they’re funny. They give you a good laugh for the day. They make you feel better,” Matala said.

“It gives people something to talk about other than what they’re going through. They can relax, even if it’s just for that moment,” Pronik said.

“You get those moments where you really help somebody,” she said.

For more information about volunteering for the pet therapy program, contact the volunteer team at 216-255-9090.



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Approved Therapy Equipment – Bright and Beautiful


Below is part of the letter that was sent to Gold Star Dog Training from Bright and Beautiful regard approved equipment. Please review and make sure that you understand this information. Please understand that effective immediately Gold Star will only allow buckle collars and a leash when doing Gold Star related events. We at Gold Star Dog Training have never done a condition on a pass and will not do it in the future.

“In a recent B&BTD Board meeting, the issue of approved equipment has been discussed. Approved equipment such as buckle, choker, and martingale collars may be used on visits whereas harnesses and prong collars are allowed with a conditional pass for medical conditions or if necessary for controlling the dog. We want to make sure that all of our teams are using approved equipment so they may be well protected under our insurance, so we are adding approved equipment statements on membership ID badges. These badges will bear “APPROVED TO WORK ON [one of the pieces of approved equipment].”

If you have any questions, please contact Mark at


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Santa Paws – July 23 at Castle Noel from 11am to 5pm


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Jager Needs Help!

Jager has recently graduated from a Therapy Dog course to be a comfort animal in nursing homes and hospitals. Unfortunately, over the past week, he has stopped eating and has become lethargic and distant. He can no longer walk up stairs or get up on his own. The diagnosis is Addison’s or Cancer.

The vet bills have gone over $1,500 at the moment and we still need more. In order to perform the surgery needed to save him, we’re looking at another vet bill of $2,500.

Time is a factor and I appreciate every dime. If you are unable to donate, I understand, but I always appreciate this being forwarded to more people.

Thank you for helping him get back to helping others,

Michael Jordan

Visit this site to donate money:


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Last Known Living 9/11 Search Dog Dies in Texas at Age of 16



COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — The last known living 9/11 search dog has died in a Houston suburb at age 16.

Bretagne (BRIHT’-nee), a golden retriever, was euthanized Monday at a veterinary clinic in the Houston suburb of Cypress, according to a statement from the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service.

Bretagne was 2 years old when she and her handler, Denise Corliss, were part of the Texas Task Force 1 sent to the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan after the terrorist attack brought down the buildings on Sept. 11, 2001. They spent 10 days at the scene searching rubble for human remains.

About two-dozen first responders lined the sidewalk leading to the veterinarian’s office and saluted Bretagne as she walked by for the final time Monday, The Houston Chronicle reported. An American flag was draped over her body as she was carried out of the facility.

Bretagne retired from active duty at age 9. At 15, she was taken by Corliss to the 9/11 memorial and participated in an interview with Tom Brokaw of NBC News. Corliss told NBC’s “Today” that in recent weeks Bretagne began experiencing kidney failure and slowing down.

Bretagne was nominated for a Hero Dog Award from the American Humane Association in 2014. An online biography posted by the organization says that Bretagne served as an ambassador for search and rescue dogs in retirement, often visiting elementary schools.

Bretagne and Corliss met with former President George H.W. Bush at his presidential library late last year.

A post on the Texas Task Force 1 Facebook page remembers “the valiant effort and dedication to finding a victim trapped in a destroyed building that Bretagne showed us on a regular basis.”

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Windsong Care Center Needs Pet Therapy Dogs

Windsong Care Center in Akron has contacted Gold Star and has requested Therapy Dogs to do visits are their location. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact:

Andrew Caruso

120 Brookmont Road

Akron, Ohio 44333

330-666-7373 ext: 109623

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