Emerging now from a global pandemic, we truly realize how important dogs are in our lives. They are, and have been, a constant source of companionship, joy and calm. In recognition of this,the Dog is Good for Good foundation was created. A tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Dog is Good for Good was founded by the award-winning dog lifestyle brand, Dog is Good. The foundation is devoted to the mission of “People Helping Dogs Help People” and will build awareness and provide grants to nonprofits whose missions embody the human-dog connection.
Covid-19 has brought on numerous human challenges due to job loss, food insecurity and isolation. With ever-changing health conditions and our dependence on technology for remote learning, sustaining work, and maintaining family ties and friendships, our dogs were always there for us. Dog is Good for Good feels that it’s time to step up to the plate and be there for them.
Dogs do an incredible job at providing emotional support to people going through difficult or traumatic situations. Nonprofits whose missions are centered on the power of this bond devote their time in the service of training dogs, staff, and volunteers. Dog is Good for Good recognizes these programs often need funding and a bigger voice. They’re on a mission to do just that.
Leslie Mait, president of Dog is Good for Good says, “Our entire board is passionate about serving and helping people help dogs. Not only will we provide grants, but our national community of volunteers can support these nonprofits on a hyperlocal scale. Through awareness, we can build funding for these programs where dogs have played an important role in providing inspiration, companionship and love.”
The Dog is Good for Good Foundation will focus on small and local nonprofits who understand the power of the human-dog bond. These include:
- Veterans – To reduce anxiety and restore independence
- Youth in Crisis – To build confidence, self-esteem, reduce depression and anxiety, and foster responsible pet ownership
- Elderly – To restore vitality and purpose while reducing isolation and loneliness
- Prison Detainees – To teach dog training skills while giving detainees goals and responsibilities for a path forward
Dog is Good for Good has a near-term goal to touch the lives of 500 people and 500 dogs.
“My husband Jon and I created the Dog is Good lifestyle brand back in 2008 because we respected and cherished the dog-human bond. As a brand, we committed ourselves to doing what was right and always had the best interest of others in mind,” expresses Gila Kurtz, Founder of Dog is Good for Good. “Our hope and mission are that this nonprofit will leverage the Dog is Good message on behalf of the countless organizations that share the same principles as we do.”
NBCUniversal launched its 2021 Clear The Shelters pet adoption and donation campaign that runs through Sept. 19.
Since its 2015 inception, NBCUniversal Local’s Clear The Shelters has helped more than half a million pets find new homes.
Last year’s effort, which included virtual adoptions and online donations for the first time, resulted in more than $1.2 million in donated funds for shelters and rescues.
More than 1,000 shelters and rescues across the U.S. and Puerto Rico are participating in this year’s campaign.
This year’s campaign will again feature online donations through fundraising partner Greater Good Charities, a national nonprofit that benefits people, pets and the planet.
The Animal Rescue Site will host the fundraising and will cover all transaction fees so that 100% of donations will go directly to shelters and rescues in need.
More than $100,000 in matching funds will be available for shelters.
Virtual pet adoptions are also returning to this year’s campaign through WeRescue. The WeRescue app lets users locate adoptable pets in their area and submit their adoption applications directly to shelters.
For more information about NBCUniversal Local’s Clear The Shelters campaign, including participating animal shelters and rescues, along with details on local events, visit ClearTheShelters.com and the Spanish-language site DesocuparlosAlbergues.com. Follow the effort on Twitter @ClearTheShelter, and on social media using #ClearTheShelters and #DesocuparLosAlbergues.
Miami, FL, the number one city for cats with a score of 43.47, is purrfect for the cats that love the feeling of sand between their toe beans. With 642 cat adoptions per capita in 2020 and a high number of pet stores, the coastal city offers animal lovers plenty of opportunities to adopt then shop for their furry new family member. Nicknamed “Magic City” for its remarkable early growth, Miami will certainly need some magic to do the impossible—getting a cat to go in the water.
The Sunshine State makes two more appearances in the top 10 cities for cats, with Orlando, FL filling the number two spot and Tampa, FL taking ninth place. As the only state to make the list more than once, we suggest a rebrand—Florida, the Feline State!
Other cities among the top 10 for cats include Salt Lake City, UT with 981 cat adoptions per capita in 2020, and Denver, CO, with a whopping 1,342 per capita adoptions during the same time frame. Cat parents in Minneapolis, MN know their cats can receive help when needed; the city boasts the highest number of veterinarians per capita out of the 50 cities in our analysis.
The 10 worst cities for cats tend to make it difficult for cat owners to find a cat-friendly home, a local veterinarian, and a pet store. Only three out of the 10 cities have cat cafes—New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA, and Houston, TX. Cat adoption in the worst city for cats, New York, is the lowest per capita out of all 50 analyzed cities, at only 187 adoptions per capita; even if New Yorkers do adopt a cat, their chances of finding a pet-friendly rental are slim, with only 17.3 available rentals per capita. Me-ouch.
Animal shelter adoption is truly the cat’s meow! With increasing rates of returns for animals adopted during the pandemic, we were excited to see such high rates of cat adoption in major U.S. cities. Four out of our top 10 cities for cat adoptions boast at least 1,000 adoptions per capita in 2020, with Denver, CO leading the charge. Both Denver and Salt Lake City, UT, the number five spot, were also featured in the top 10 best cities for cats overall. Oklahoma City, OK made its first appearance in this analysis, coming in at number two with 1,075 cat adoptions per capita. Jacksonville, FL became the fourth city in the Sunshine State to rank in this analysis, rounding out the top 10 cities for cat adoptions with 739 adoptions per capita. Cats finding their forever homes? That’s catnip for us!
If you and your cat are looking for a place to cozy up and call home, Georgia should be on your mind. While ranked sixth among the top 10 best cities to be a cat, Atlanta (or should we say, Catlanta) also comes in first for cat-friendly rentals, with 286.5 rentals available per capita. Austin, TX, ranked seventh for cat adoptions but jumps up to third for rentals, with about 235 listings per capita. Birmingham, AL showed that southern hospitality extends to the four-legged, with 127 cat-friendly listings per capita.
Animal Farm Foundation (AFF) is giving $1000 to animal shelters who no longer arbitrarily breed label their dogs through their Removing Breed Labels grant. These labels are often inaccurate and increase the length of stay for dogs in shelters, as well as, unintentionally, having a negative socio-economic impact on local communities.. Working to end the negative socio-economic impact that companion animal welfare can have on the relationship between dogs and people is at the core of AFF’s ethos.
“Despite scientific evidence proving visual breed identification is inaccurate in dogs,, shelters are still applying breed labels to the dogs in their care, labels which are nothing more than guesses, says Animal Farm Foundation’s Executive Director, Stacey Coleman. “Many third parties then rely on these breed labels—from the adopter’s veterinarian to the landlord and the insurance broker drawing up homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies. This can result in negative repercussions for their adopters on multiple levels—including insurance denial.”
The grant program is for animal shelters that have recently made the decision to remove breed labels from their kennel cards, software databases and in social media posts. An additional criteria is that grantees’ staff should no longer use breed labels or breed stereotyping when talking about individual dogs with the public. They should focus on the individual dog’s personality, quirks and sociability.
AFF’s Director of Behavior and Training, Bernice Clifford, also notes that, “these breed labels come with stereotypes. Stereotypes that influence how people think a dog is going to behave. This can lead to mismatched adoptions. It’s always best to focus on a dog’s observable personality and needs, rather than blanketed stereotypes when making adoption matches.”
To ease the transition and raise awareness of the issues involved in breed labeling, Animal Farm Foundation will provide grantees with access to no-cost, virtual training to help shelter staff break the breed label habit. High quality shelter signage to explain to adopters why dogs are not labeled by breed will also be available at no cost.
Those interested in applying for the grant should visit animalfarmfoundation.org/grants for more information.
Greece has suffered through a summer of hellish heat. Now, experts want to give heat waves names and rankings like the ones assigned to hurricanes and tropical storms. Heat is often called a “silent killer” because while it doesn’t cause the same visible destruction that storms, tornadoes, or fires do, it is one of the deadliest forms of extreme weather in the world.
“Unlike other adverse weather events, you can’t see extreme heat,” Kostas Lagouvardos, research director at the National Observatory of Athens, told the Guardian’s sister newspaper the Observer. He said policymakers and the public need to be aware of the quiet dangers heat poses, and that naming heat waves could be a way to do just that.
The need has become startlingly clear this month. Punishing temperatures in Greece have crushed records, climbing well into the triple digits as the nation bakes through its second major heat wave since June. In the central region of Phthiotis, the National Observatory of Athens recorded the country’s highest temperature since record-keeping began, at 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). The nation’s prime minister called the heat wave “the greatest ecological catastrophe of the last few decades.”
The extreme heat has sucked the moisture out of vegetation, sparking dozens of destructive wildfires that scorched more than 250,000 acres. The blazes forced thousands to evacuate, killed three, and left hundreds homeless. Two fires are still burning just outside of the capital city of Athens. But even absent wildfires, oppressive heat is also devastating in less visible ways, increasing the risk of heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
While heat may be a silent killer, it is the clearest impact of the climate crisis. A major United Nations climate report published earlier this month found climate change has already doubled the odds of heat waves, and the risk will only increase in the coming decades. That points to the urgent need for adaptation, and naming heat waves could be one way to help people grasp the risks they pose.
Lagouvardos’ proposal is that any heat wave with temperatures forecast to be above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) for more than a week should be named and categorized. He added that this process could be more challenging for heat than typhoons or winter storms because a ranking scale would have to include assessments of factors like temperature distribution and population densities. But in other ways, it could be easier. Compared with storms, heat waves are easier to predict in severity and length.
Global climate science and medical experts have long advocated for severe heat waves to have names and rankings. Last year, some researchers, city governments, and nonprofit organizations even formed the Extreme Heat Resilience Alliance, an initiative created with this express purpose.
If Greece acts on these recommendations, it will be the first nation in the world to do so. Last month, Athens became the first city in Europe to appoint a chief heat officer to find ways for the city to adapt to oppressive temperatures.
Madera County health officials in northern California on Monday issued warnings to the public after high amounts of harmful algae were reported in a lake. Staff from the Central Valley Water Board have put out signs around Hensley Lake warning people about harmful bright green algae in the water, urging pets and children to stay away from the algae, which contains toxins that are dangerous to humans and animals if ingested. There are different types of toxic algae, but they all still are a threat to human and animal health. University of Southern California expert Dr. David Caron told reporters, "many water bodies around the country, not just in California ... are reaching a tipping point." Back in July, harmful blue-green algae prompted beach closures and warnings in Vermont, Rhode Island and Ohio.
The U.S. Forest Service in July reported toxic algae was found earlier in the summer in area roughly three miles north of where a deceased family was found. The new Hensley Lake warning is less than 50 miles away from where the family was found. "You have a higher risk of that happening in the summer, and that's because of higher heat and more stagnant water. That's especially important for freshwater environments," Dr. Erika Holland, assistant professor of biological sciences at California State University of Long Beach, told USA TODAY. When nutrients are right in the water, the bloom can grow and during that process harmful cyanotoxins can be released. They're typically visible because of their bright color in the water or as a foamy layer near the surface. Holland said it, "may look like a colorful oil spill."
Doug Plitt, Operations Project Manager with the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers at Hensley Lake, told ABC 30 that a general reaction to look for would be: "Your skin may be irritated, you may notice a rash developing. If you've ingested it, typically you'd get a dry mouth, possibly nausea or vomiting, a headache, or diarrhea."
In California, the most alarming toxin is domoic acid, which can disrupt normal nerve signaling in the brain, causing disorientation and seizures. It can cause death to fish, seabirds, marine mammals and even people. Although the tiny organisms are regularly there, concentrations of them can create enough toxins to seriously sicken people – primarily children – and be deadly to pets. "It can be from anywhere from just a little bit sick to it can cause death within a couple hours or days, depending on how much you are exposed to," Holland said. She added if you are exposed to it and possibly ingested it, you should take a picture of the water and go to an emergency room and contact poison control. For pets, it's best to get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to look for local advisories before going near lakes, rivers, and oceans. Holland said that toxic algae can be found all across the globe and you can usually tell it's presence by it's smell. Local authorities are trying to determine what caused the mysterious deaths of Northern California family in the Sierra National Forest. John Gerrish, Ellen Chung and their 1-year-old daughter, Muji, were reported missing on Aug. 16 and shortly after, they were found dead alongside the Merced River along with their family dog. An autopsy done on the family gave no conclusive cause as to how the family died, but it did rule out blunt force trauma and gunshot wounds as no physical evidence was found. Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kristie Mitchell said the investigation would be treated as a hazmat situation. Holland said authorities would be able to tell if the family died from toxic algae by chemicals present in their tissue, which could be detected in a toxicology report.
From Ft. Collins, CO - Drones have become increasingly popular among outdoor hobbyists, prompting state wildlife officials to voice concerns about the stress the buzzing aircraft can cause wildlife, especially as fall hunting seasons begin and animals prepare for winter. The Federal Aviation Administration said there were 1.1 million small hobbyist drones in the U.S. in 2016, a number that is expected to triple to 3.5 million this year. Colorado Parks and Wildlife Field Services Assistant Director Heather Dugan said harassing wildlife with a drone is illegal. “The definition of harassment is causing any change in the behavior of the wildlife,” Dugan said in a news release. “So if the animal runs, if it changes direction, if it stops eating, that’s harassment. Any change in the animal is considered harassment and it’s illegal.” Use of drones is prohibited for hunting before, during or after outings in Colorado, Dugan said. “The bottom line is, if it’s related to a hunt in any way, you can’t do it,” Dugan said. “For scouting, locating, anything. If they fly before they take an animal, they’re illegal. If they use the drone to locate an animal they may have shot and wounded, they’re illegal.” Penalties for violating drone laws can range from $70 up to $125,000 if hunting purposes are involved, with equipment subject to seizure.
From Bristol, CT - A woman who had a package stolen from her front step discovered the culprit was a black bear. Kristin Levine, of Bristol, posted home surveillance video on Facebook on Monday showing the bear sauntering across her driveway with the Amazon package in its mouth. “Yea so if anyone sees an Amazon package in the Chippens Hill area with my name on it…feel free to bring it back?” Levine wrote in her post. She told NBC Connecticut she received an alert from her security system about five minutes after Amazon dropped off the package and was “taken aback because I wasn’t expecting anyone else in my driveway.” The bear, she said, ended up dropping off the parcel in a neighbor’s yard. It was apparently not interested in the contents: several rolls of toilet paper, she said. “It was hysterical, like I said. I knew nothing in there was going to be irreplaceable, so it was a fun afternoon for sure,” Levine said. Her post on Facebook received numerous comments, including from people comparing the ursine porch pirate to the bear from the Charmin toilet paper commercials.
Officials are closing some areas on the south shore of Lake Tahoe after some chipmunks tested positive for plague.
The Tahoe Daily Tribune reports that the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Kiva Beach and their parking areas will be off limits through Friday.
During that time, the U.S. Forest Service will be conducting vector control treatments to those areas.
El Dorado County spokeswoman Carla Hass said the chipmunks that were tested had no contact with any people.
According to the El Dorado County Public Health, plague is naturally present in some areas of California. People hiking and doing other outdoor activities should avoid contact with animals. They should do the same for their pets.
Plague is an infectious bacterial disease that tends to be spread by chipmunks, other wild rodents and their fleas. For humans, symptoms can show up within two weeks of exposure to an infected animal. They include fever, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes.
If caught early, it can be treated with antibiotics.
In Loveland, CO - A couple whose young dog was shot by a police officer has filed a lawsuit accusing his supervisors of covering up what happened and claiming the city has fostered a culture that encourages the use of force. In body camera footage released Wednesday, two dogs run toward Officer Matthew Grashorn as he gets out of his patrol car while responding to a trespassing report in an empty parking lot in June 2019. Grashorn raises his gun. One of the dogs stops and begins to turn back, in response to calls from owners Wendy Love and Jay Hamm, according to the lawsuit. The younger one continues toward the officer and is shot, falling to the ground. After asking for permission from Grashorn, Love rushes to the wounded dog, but Grashorn warns her, as she cries, that he could bite her because he’s hurt. She also asks for permission to take him to a veterinarian, but that is not allowed to until about eight minutes later, after Grashorn’s supervisors arrive. The lawsuit claims police accused the animal of attacking Grashorn and charged Hamm with having a dangerous dog to justify the shooting after Hamm said he would talk to the media about what happened. The charge was later dropped, the suit says. According to the lawsuit, Grashorn did not announce himself because he wanted to surprise the couple.
Out of Boston MA - A group of Nantucket residents filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday to block the construction of dozens of wind turbines off the coast of the famous island resort and nearby Martha’s Vineyard. ACK Residents Against Turbines say Vineyard Wind’s proposed project 14 miles south of the island poses a risk to the endangered Northern Atlantic right whale. Mary Chalke, an island resident and member of the group, said the lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and other federal agencies isn’t just about Vineyard Wind but the consequences of greenlighting other turbine projects also in the pipeline. “We all want renewable energy,” she said after the group filed the suit in Boston federal court. “This represents the transformation and industrialization of a pristine natural environment.” BOEM and other federal agencies have determined that the wind project will have minimal impact on the species. But Vallorie Oliver, an island resident and member of the group, argues federal officials haven’t provided adequate research to back up their claims in more than two years of reviewing the project. “We’re simply asking for real science-based answers to the impact on our natural environment,” she said alongside other group members in front of the Massachusetts Statehouse.
State officials say a surge in tourists is leading to increased harassment of sea turtles on a popular North Shore Oahu beach. Hordes of people are crowding turtles at Laniakea Beach Park, known as Turtle Beach, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said increased patrols are being dispatched to enforce laws against approaching the turtles. “There are packs of 200 people at a time, throughout the day,” said Debbie Herrera, volunteer and education coordinator for turtle conservation group Malama na Honu. The state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement has assigned officers to Laniakea. “Typically, if there’s a uniformed officer standing on the beach, people are not going to break the law in front of them,” said Jason Redulla, division chief. Harassment of turtles and endangered Hawaiian monk seals led Gov. David Ige to warn that violators will be prosecuted if caught. Tourists at Laniakea Beach tell Malama na Honu they didn’t know touching turtles was illegal, Herrera said. Most follow the rules once informed, but there have been a “very few who refuse, despite dozens of cautionary signs or warnings from volunteers, to give green sea turtles on the beach or in the ocean wide berth,” she said.