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.

POSTED ON CLEVELAND.COM

http://www.cleveland.com/medina/index.ssf/2017/03/pet_therapy_brings_smiles_comf.html

 

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Approved Therapy Equipment – Bright and Beautiful

URGENT MESSAGE FOR THERAPY DOG TEAMS

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 Mark@GoldStarDogTraining.org

 

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

santa-paws-july-23

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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: https://www.gofundme.com/2b2rz43a

 

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

Bretagne

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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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24 Brunswick Families Displaced by Fire

If you haven’t heard, there was a horrific fire in Brunswick this week. There are 21 – 24 families without homes. Gold Star Dog Training will be collecting donations for the animals that are now out of homes. If you would like to donate any money, please send it to: Gold Star, Attn: Brunswick Fund, 5271 Yellowstone Drive, Medina, Ohio 44256.

We will be using the money to purchase food, treats, food bowls, leashes, beds etc.

Thank you for all your help.

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Mansfield Reformatory – Ghost Hunt

The Mansfield Reformation Ghost Hunt is schedule for July 2, 2016.

If you want to go to the event, please register by go to: https://www.mrps.org/event-registration/393

In addition, please let Denise know that you are going by e-mailing her at: Denise@GoldStarDogTraining.org

Here is the information on the Ghost Hunt:

Public Hunt admission is $70* per person and includes access to the building from 8:00 pm until 5:00 am and a late dinner of pizza and soda.  Complimentary water, soda, coffee and hot chocolate available throughout the evening.

*All Public Hunts, are $70. 

  • Gates open 7 pm*
  • Check in between 7 pm-8 pm *
  • Guided tour of facility 8:30-9:30 *
  • Independent investigating 10 pm-5 am
  • Must be 18 and over to participate

*Please note, there are no physical tickets for ghost events. An email confirmation is sent automatically to the person who registered. All registered participants will check in with a photo ID.

*The building contains hazards including, but not limited to: steep steps, uneven surfaces, and lead-based paint.  It is not recommended for pregnant women. Sleeping during a hunt is prohibited. For a full list of rules and regulations, please see below.

If you have purchased your ticket online, there is no need to send in a license agreement.  All participants will be required to sign in at check in and present a valid photo ID.

*Any changes to participant registration can be made at the registration table on the day of the hunt. Replacement participants must be at least 18 years of age and provide a photo ID.

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Hospice Fundraiser – Dec 20th – 4:00 – 6:00pm

We have two slots available for the Pet Therapy volunteers for the Hospice Fundraiser on December 20th from 5pm to 6pm. If you would like to work it, please let Denise know at Denise@GoldStarDogTraining.org.

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