By CHERESE COBB

Don’t hog all the mail wealth: treat your pooch to one of these five subscription boxes. Stuffed with mouth-watering treats, cuddly plush toys and adjustable accessories, they’re gifts that keep on giving—in licks, cuddles and tail wags.

1. BarkBox
Cost: $29 per month
Shipping: Free to the United States and Canada
Coupon: Use the code RWPCH0LSSR for a free month of products

What’s inside:
The leader of the monthly dog box pack in both sales and name recognition, BarkBox is one of the least expensive services that you’ll find. Offering a multi-dog discount, the company even donates 10 percent of its proceeds to roughly 3,000 different rescues. Featuring monthly themes like Bento Blossoms, Sniffin’ Safari, and Chewrassic Bark, BarkBox includes at least two innovative toys, two all-natural bags of treats, and a heavy-duty chew toy. “The monthly toy selection…is always a plush item. It makes your pooch’s toy chest start to remind you of ‘The Claw’ game at the local arcade,” says Aasit Thakkar, a current BarkBox subscriber. “I’d prefer my pooch to enjoy toys of different natures, i.e., balls, puzzles, ropes, tossers etc. If BarkBox offered either more challenging or fun toys…then I’d say the service is truly worth barking about.” However, if a toy or treat doesn’t get your dog’s tail wagging, BarkBox will send a replacement for free. “No muss. No fuss. No disappointed pups.”

2. Pet Gift Box
Cost: $24.99 per month with
free shipping in the United States,
excluding Hawaii and Alaska
Coupon: Use the code FETCH
for $5 off

What’s Inside:
Pretested on pets for “paw prints of satisfaction,” Pet Gift Box offers six toys and treats themed around the relevant holidays. Whether you have a small, medium or large pet, you can choose a one-time, 3-month or 12-month subscription. Cats will receive balls, catnip-filled toys, catnip and feathery chasers, while dogs get balls and plush, stuffingless or waterproof toys. “My dogs [Christopher and Danny], being both greedy and toy-obsessed, soon worked out that they could open the box with their nose by flipping the lid…so it had to be kept out of reach,” says Kim O’Meara, a Pet Gift Box customer. Every box looks like a gift with a bow and supports Pets for Patriots, Family Reach, and Music Drives Us.

3. RescueBox
Cost: $29.95 per month
Shipping: A $5.95 flat-rate fee is
applied to orders outside of the
contiguous 48 states

What’s Inside: “My dog, Diamond, gets extremely excited each month when her RescueBox comes in the mail,” says Ashley Jacobs, the founder of Sitting for a Cause. “She loves to rip it open, tear the paper wrapping to shreds, and play with her new toys.” Depending on whether you have a cat or a small, medium, or large-sized dog, every month the RescueBox team will handpick five toys and treats. Every delivery also features a rescue story that’s only possible because of the generous donations of subscribers. “What I love most about the box…they will tell you the impact your subscription has had. Since subscribing to RescueBox in October of 2016, they have donated 80 bowls of food and 32 vaccines to shelter animals.”

4. PupJoy
Cost: $26 per month
Shipping: Free shipping to the
lower 48 states

What’s Inside:
“A finalist for the 2018 Purina Pet Care Innovation Prize, PupJoy has a very transparent charitable donation model to help support animal rescue, in partnership with the BISSELL Pet Foundation,” says Dustin McAdams, the founder and CEO. “We donate $2 on every order and 100 percent of the donated money goes directly to help over 3000 rescue organizations that they work with.” PupJoy also has the most personalized model available for dog parents. After choosing an Uno or Grande (small or large) box, you can specify the type of items that you want: accessories, toys and treats, including all-natural and organic options. Depending on what stage of life your dog is going through, you’ll get five to seven products valued at over $40. For example, if your dog is a chew-inator, you’ll get virtually indestructible chew toys, or if your dog is in potty-training mode, you may get extra pee spray. “PupJoy’s toys are the kind of stuff I would expect to see in an expensive dog boutique in New York City,” says Amanda, the owner of Shiloh Shepherd’s Luna Rae and Nova Mae. “The treats…have straight-forward ingredients and a small business vibe. They all have ingredients that would be edible for us humans too!”

5. Bullymake
Cost: $39 per month
Shipping: Free to the US and $8
to Canada

What’s Inside:
A monthly subscription box for power chewers, Bullymake never sends plush toys or rawhide, which can cause choking, blockage and diarrhea. Instead, the team sends two to three extremely durable toys and three to four treats, chews and healthy edibles. While the treats are hand-selected based on your dog’s allergies and size, you can opt for a “toys-only” box. “While I wish that it [the default subscription box] was more heavily weighted on the toy-side rather than the treat, I also appreciate that Bullymake always sends one long-term chew treat—it’s a good way to occupy one of my dogs for a few hours,” says Christine Massey, a long-time Bullymake customer. Even if your ruff and tuff pup continues to turn his or her adorable toys into ripped-up rags, under the Bullymake 100 Percent Guarantee, they’ll ship you a replacement that’s rougher and tougher for free.

Did your favorite dog subscription box make the list? Let us know at info@fetchmag.com

By MEGAN TREMELLING, DVM, LVS

This summer, a Wisconsin woman died of an infection caused by a bacterium called Capnocytophaga canimorsus, and a Wisconsin man suffered serious illness requiring multiple amputations from the same organism. The infections are believed to be derived from contact with family pet dogs. This is scary stuff for those of us who share our lives with dogs, but there is no need to panic about Capnocytophaga.

Capnocytophaga species are found in the mouths of healthy dogs, cats, and humans. Normally it does no harm, but under certain circumstances, it can cause disease. Studies estimate that up to 74 percent of dogs and up to 57 percent of cats have Capnocytophaga living in their oral cavities. In short, if you have a dog, odds are very good that it carries Capnocytophaga.

In spite of how common Capnocytophaga is, however, serious infections are exceedingly rare. Nobody knows exactly how many cases occur, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received only 12 case reports in 2017, and only about 200 cases have been reported worldwide since this type of bacteria was first identified in 1976.

Capnocytophaga infections can be transmitted by bites from dogs or cats, or through close contact with an animal, especially contact with its saliva. Since humans also frequently carry Capnocytophaga, it is possible to develop an infection without any animal exposure.

Most of the time, Capnocytophaga is not your main concern after a dog or cat bite. Other bacteria, such as Pasteurella, Streptococcus, and Staphylococcus, cause many more infections. Rabies is uncommon in the United States but is so deadly that any possibility must be taken very seriously. Lastly, deep puncture wounds of any origin can result in tetanus.

When Capnocytophaga does cause problems, they can vary widely. Local cellulitis (tissue swelling, redness, and pain) is the most common finding associated with bite wounds contaminated by Capnocytophaga. In more serious cases, the bacteria can spread to other parts of the body such as the heart, brain, or joints. When the infection affects the whole body in a condition called sepsis, there can be long-term effects from infection, including gangrene that necessitates amputations; heart attacks; or kidney failure. About 3 in 10 people who develop sepsis due to Capnocytophaga will die.

Most people who are exposed to dog saliva don’t get Capnocytophaga infections because their immune systems protect them. However, there are factors that can affect your immune system’s ability to keep you safe. One of the most serious risk factors is having had your spleen removed as a result of an injury or illness. Other risk factors include alcohol abuse, old age, or immune compromise due to disease such as cancer, diabetes, or HIV, or taking certain medications such as chemotherapy or glucocorticoids. Some people do get sick with no known risk factors.

Capnocytophaga infections are hard to test for. The bacteria are very difficult to grow in a lab. Fortunately, new technologies such as PCR amplification and gene sequencing are becoming increasingly useful for identifying challenging organisms like Capnocytophaga. The good news is that Capnocytophaga can be treated with common antibiotics, and so far antibiotic resistance isn’t a big problem. However, treatment must be started quickly, without waiting for a lab to confirm the infection.

There are ways to reduce your risk of a Capnocytophaga infection. Don’t let your pets lick faces, wounds, or irritated skin, and wash with soap and water after handling your animals. Minor bite wounds should be washed thoroughly with soap and water. See a health care provider if the wound is deep or serious; if it becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen; or if you feel feverish or weak. You should also see a doctor if the dog was acting strangely or is not known to be vaccinated against rabies. Most people who are going to become ill with Capnocytophaga will do so within 3 to 5 days after exposure, but it can take as little as a day. If you have any risk factors such as immune compromise, you should see your doctor right away for any bite wound that breaks skin, even if you don’t feel sick.

By MEGAN TREMELLING, DVM, LVS

Ever since humans realized the value of animals, we have wanted to provide some kind of medical care to keep them healthy. And for as long as medical care has existed, people have realized that what works for humans does not necessarily work for animals. However, the importance of veterinary medicine to human health has always been clear.

Veterinary medicine is as old as written history, with Sumerian texts making reference to doctors who treated oxen and donkeys. At the time, illness was believed to be due to malign spiritual forces, and seers and priests were considered to have a role to play in protecting the health of both humans and animals. However, clinical practitioners had developed a tradition of practical medicine in spite of them.

One of the earliest veterinarians, in the sense of a healer who treats animals but not humans, was Shalihotra, son of Hayagosha, said to have lived in Uttar Pradesh, modern India, sometime in the 3rd millennium BCE. The Sanskrit work credited to him is a large treatise on the care and husbandry of horses, including notes on the anatomy of elephants. He was one of many writers in the Indian tradition that discussed veterinary science and may have been trained by the same teachers who laid the foundations for Ayurvedic medicine in humans.

Legend has it that the Chinese veterinarian Zhao Fu was practicing on horses during the Western Zhou dynasty in the 10th century BCE. Unfortunately, he was performing bloodletting procedures that have not stood the test of time. Textbooks of traditional Chinese veterinary medicine were produced regularly and discussed the use of acupuncture and herbal medicine.

By the time of the Roman Empire, veterinarians were recognized as professionals whose work was important enough to the state that they were exempted from public duties, like architects and physicians. The most important veterinary work at that time was the care of horses because they were important to the Roman military, to the post and to the huge horseracing industry.

Modern Western veterinary medicine is usually dated to 1761 when Claude Bourgelat founded the first European veterinary college in Lyon, France. The idea of improving animal care by training practitioners with rational scientific principles soon caught on. Veterinary schools began opening around the world. Daniel Salmon who spent his career in public health and identified the bacterium Salmonella earned the first DVM degree granted in the United States in 1872.

Working in clinical practice or public health, as many veterinarians do, does not lend itself to fame and fortune. Many of the most prominent veterinarians are people whose names are not familiar to the average person, although their work has freed us from diseases that have plagued humans since antiquity. In 1892, Leonard Pearson introduced tuberculin testing to the American dairy industry. In the 1920s, Swiss-born veterinarian Karl Friedrich Meyer developed safe canning procedures for food, saving many from botulism. French veterinarian Camille Guérin worked with physician Albert Calmette to develop one of the first vaccinations against tuberculosis for humans in 1921.

In recent years, American veterinarian James Thomson developed the first human embryonic stem cell line. Australian veterinarian Peter C. Doherty won a Nobel Prize for his research in immunology. Two veterinarians have gone into space, including Martin J. Fettman, a veterinary clinical pathologist who flew on a NASA mission in 1993, and Richard M. Linnehan, who undertook no less than 4 space flights from 1996 to 2008.

Many veterinarians have written about their experience. Most famous of course was Alf Wight, who wrote under the pen name James Herriot. His endearing stories of mixed animal practice in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1940s, published in a series including “All Creatures Great and Small,” inspired innumerable young people to pursue veterinary medicine (your correspondent included) and were made into 2 films and a television series. Louis J. Camuti and Baxter Black are two other veterinarians who have charmed audiences with their writing.

Of course, there are many veterinarians who have turned their talents from practice to less clinical fields. They have served in the U.S. Senate and the Cabinet. The first President of the Gambia was a veterinarian, Dawda Jawara. John Boyd Dunlop, who developed the first practical pneumatic tire in 1887, was a veterinarian. Peter Ostrum, who as a child played Charlie in the original Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie, is now a large animal veterinarian in New York. Debbye Turner, who took time out from veterinary school to be Miss America in 1990, is a popular TV host and motivational speaker.

Finally, in case there remains any doubt that veterinarians have greatly contributed to the quality of life for humans as much as for animals, no review of famous veterinarians would be complete without a mention of Elmo Shropshire, famous for recording the immortal Christmas song, “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.”

By MANETTE KOHLER, DVM

The red carpet was rolled out on June 23 at the Sonoma-Marin Fair for the 30th annual World’s Ugliest Dog contest in Petaluma, California. Many worthy competitors shuffled, snorted and slobbered their way down the red carpet to strut their stuff for the judges, vying for the coveted, prestigious title.
The winner, sporting a beautiful pink collar and matching toes, was Zsa Zsa, a 9-year-old English Bulldog from Anoka, Minnesota. It wasn’t her fashion sense, however, that caught the judges’ attention. Zsa Zsa embodies the well-known English Bulldog physical traits including short legs, massive shoulders, chest and head, and wrinkled face, but her most endearing quality has to be her incredible, lolling tongue, hanging just inches from the ground thanks to an over-pronounced under bite and crooked teeth, both top and bottom.

Zsa Zsa’s owner, Megan Brainard of Anoka, Minnesota, was over the moon with excitement when the judges crowned Zsa Zsa the winner of the contest. As if sneezing and flinging drool on the judges wasn’t enough to tip things in her favor, Megan feels it was Zsa Zsa’s awesome personality that won the judges over.

“Everyone loved her the second they laid eyes on her!” says Brainard. “The audience couldn’t get enough of her.” Zsa Zsa and Brainard received $1,500 and an impressive trophy. NBC flew Brainard, her fiancé, her father, her baby and Zsa Zsa to New York City for a three-day visit and an appearance on the Today Show.
While lovingly mocking beauty-challenged dogs may be one part of the contest, it is actually a celebration of the contestants, many of which were rescued from puppy mills and shelters and promotes the idea of adopting dogs in need of homes. Zsa Zsa herself was a puppy mill survivor.

“She was a breeding dog in a puppy mill in Missouri,” says Brainard. Identified by a number instead of a name, she ended up at an auction when the mill was done with her where Underdog Rescue in Minnesota purchased her. Brainard owns two grooming shops, and when she saw Zsa Zsa on Petfinder four years ago she messaged the rescue group offering to groom her for free. “She was exactly how I thought she would be…. Sweet and such a ham!” shares Brainard. After all she’d been through, Brainard was amazed at how “go-with-the-flow” and happy she always seemed to be. “We groom many puppy mill dogs who act quite the opposite,” says Brainard. Needless to say, Brainard’s home became Zsa Zsa’s home.

When asked about the inspiration for her name, Brainard described how Zsa Zsa used to lounge on her bed, looking like she was modeling. “I googled famous models and saw Zsa Zsa Gabor,” says Brainard. “I just knew that was going to be her name!” Lounging was actually Zsa Zsa’s favorite thing to do, be it on her pink leather bed or the couch. Toys weren’t her thing, but she loved going for car rides, watching “The Price is Right” with Brainard’s father, and having a snack at Chipotle.

All of Zsa Zsa’s favorite things are now past tense as, sadly, Zsa Zsa passed away in her sleep a few weeks after she won the contest. While she did have some typical signs of poor breeding, most of which helped her win the World’s Ugliest Dog contest, she had no life-threatening health problems that Brainard was aware of. Brainard’s heart is broken and she is still trying to process Zsa Zsa’s win, her fame and her passing. They had so many plans to help rescue groups, be advocates to expose puppy mills and get the word out to adopt rather than shop. But most of all, that Ugly Is Beautiful!

We can all do our part to expose and shut down puppy mills and their irresponsible breeding practices. While Zsa Zsa has gone over the Rainbow Bridge, her beautiful face can still be the inspiring face of change.

Did you know that 12 million cats and dogs are diagnosed with cancer every year? With new advancements in veterinary medicine, veterinarians can now diagnose and treat cancer with greater success. There are even veterinary cancer specialists who can provide expert cancer care to your pet. Early detection is crucial when it comes to cancer. Cancer is the number one cause of disease-related deaths in older cats and dogs, and detecting cancer early can make all the difference in the life of your pet.

For young and adult pets, schedule annual visits with your family veterinarian for a full checkup. For older or senior pets, schedule checkups every six months. Animals age quickly, and regularly-scheduled checkups will allow your vet to determine any changes in your pet before they may become severe issues.

Look for these early warning signs of cancer.

Be observant of any changes in your pet’s physical appearance and behavior. Not all cancer warning signs are apparent right away, with some changes developing over time.

Here are the top 10 warning signs of cancer in cats and dogs. If you notice any of these, contact your veterinarian to check things out as soon as possible. Depending on the cancer type and stage, your pet’s health can deteriorate very quickly, so it’s always best to get an exam. When in doubt, get it checked out.

1.) Enlarged or Changing Lumps and Bumps
Once or twice a month, take a few minutes to feel your cat or dog’s body for any lumps, bumps or abnormal swelling. Check for swollen lymph nodes, which can be a sign of lymphoma. Lymph nodes are located throughout the body but most easily detected around the jaw, shoulders, armpits, and behind the legs. Make a note of any bumps (their size and location) to make sure they aren’t growing or changing shape over time.

2.) Sores that do not Heal
If your pet has an open wound that will not heal, it could be a sign of something more serious, such as an unresolved infection or cancer. Tell your veterinarian as soon as possible and have it checked out.

3.) Chronic Weight Loss or Weight Gain
If there is no change in the diet or food, but your pet is gaining or losing weight, this could be a sign of illness. Weight loss or weight gain can indicate a possible tumor in the stomach. Another related symptom could be chronic vomiting or diarrhea.

4.) Change in Appetite
Is your dog or cat eating more than usual? Eating less than normal? Are they trying to eat foods they were previously uninterested in? Drastic changes in your pet’s appetite could be a sign of cancer.

5.) Persistent Cough
There are many reasons why dogs might have a persistent cough. For younger pups that were recently adopted or placed in boarding, a persistent cough could be a sign of kennel cough. In older dogs, a dry persistent cough could indicate a tumor near the heart or lung cancer.

6.) Persistent Lameness or Stiffness
You may find that your pet is limping on one foot or no longer wants to walk or exercise. Persistent lameness or stiffness can be a sign of osteosarcoma or bone cancer.

7.) Unpleasant Odor from the Mouth
A foul smell from the mouth can be a sign of oral cancer. Not all pets that have oral cancer exhibit pain or have trouble eating, so it is a good idea to consult your veterinarian if they have persistent bad breath.

8.) Difficulty Breathing, Eating or Swallowing
A tumor in the mouth or neck can put pressure on the area and make it difficult for your pet to eat or drink. A tumor near the esophagus, nose, or lungs can block airways, making it harder for your pet to breathe.

9.) Difficulty Urinating or Defecating
Dogs and cats can develop tumors in their urinary tracts, which can make it difficult to urinate. Similarly, if you see your pet is having trouble defecating or there is a sustained foul odor from the rear, a mass near the anus may be the culprit.

10.) Bleeding or Discharge from Any Opening
Consult your veterinarian if your pet experiences any unexplained bleeding or discharge from any opening. Bleeding is a common sign of cancer and other illnesses. Oral cancer can cause gums to bleed. Nose cancer can cause the nose to bleed.

Regular wellness exams will provide your veterinarian the opportunity to check for signs of cancer, but you can take a more proactive approach to your pet’s health by looking for these warning signs regularly. Your furry family members depend on you to keep them healthy for as long as possible. And they’ll be sure to thank you for catching their cancer early with cuddles, love, and loyalty!

Courtesy of PetCure Oncology

 

By CHERESE COBB

Because dogs live in the present. Because they don’t hold grudges. Because they let go of all their anger daily, hourly and never let it fester, they’ve become man’s best friend. Whether they’re famous for lighting up the silver screen or pulling soldiers from the trenches, for one reason or another, these 13 dogs have earned their place in history.

1. Sallie
The canine mascot for the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, Sallie Ann Jarrett was a brindle Staffordshire Bull Terrier. She was given to Lt. William R. Terry when she was just four weeks old. She adapted quickly to army life, joining the soldiers during their drills and on the frontlines of the battlefield. During the first day of fighting at Gettysburg, she was separated from her platoon when they retreated to Cemetery Hill. Three days later, they found her guarding her wounded and dead companions. On February 6, 1865, at Hatcher’s Run, she was struck by a bullet to the head and killed instantly. Despite being under heavy fire, several soldiers put aside their weapons to bury her on the spot.

2. Bud Nelson
On May 23, 1903, Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson and Sewall Crocker slid into the front seat of a gleaming, cherry-red Winton and made the first-ever cross-country automobile trip. They took out the backseat, loaded it with tools, extra gas, and provisions, named it Vermont, and raced to get from the West back East. Along the way, they added a third party to the car: a Pit Bull Terrier named Bud, who was bought for $15 and outfitted with goggles to keep the dust, smoke and noxious fumes out of his eyes. Riding shotgun, he learned to watch the road ahead as intently as Jackson and Crocker did, bracing himself for every bump and turn—and becoming, his owner said, “the one member of [our] trio who used no profanity on the entire trip.”

3. Rover
On August 19, 1905, Rover became the first dog to play a major role in a motion picture. In the British silent film “Rescued by Rover,” the Border Collie saves his owners’ baby when she’s kidnapped from her nanny by a drunken beggar woman. Directed by Cecil Hepworth, the six-and-a-half minute film was so popular that he had to re-shoot it twice to keep up with demand. When Rover passed away, the film company put out a newsletter which announced, “This faithful animal had been Mr. Hepworth’s constant companion…and was the general pet of the studio at Walton-on-Thames.”

4. Bluey
Born on June 7, 1910, Bluey holds the title of the world’s oldest dog according to “The Guinness Book of World Records.” Owned by Les and Esma Hall of Rochester, Victoria, the Blue Heeler herded cattle and sheep until he was 20 years old. He also was fed a diet of kangaroos and emus. He was put down on November 14, 1939 at the age of 29 years, five months and seven days. In human years, he was roughly 223 years old.

5. Stubby
On a steamy July morning, Stubby wandered into Camp Yale, where members of the 102nd Infantry were training. He wasn’t an impressive sight: short, barrel-shaped and homely with brown and white brindled stripes. He lingered around the platoon, learning bugle calls, drills and even a modified dog salute, where he put his right paw on his right eyebrow. When Pvt. J. Robert Conroy’s squadron shipped out for France aboard the SS Minnesota, he hid the Pit Bull in a coal bin. On March 17, 1918, Stubby smelled mustard gas. He ran up and down the trenches barking and biting soldiers, waking them up and getting them to safety. He also captured a German spy, who was mapping out the positions of the allied trenches, by the seat of his pants and held on until his fellow soldiers arrived. He became the first–and only–military dog to be promoted to sergeant.

6. Rin Tin Tin
On September 15, 1918, in the small French village of Flirey, Corporal Lee Duncan found a severely damaged kennel. The only dogs left alive were a starving mother with a litter of five nursing puppies, their eyes still shut because they were less than a week old. When the puppies were weaned, Duncan gave the mother and three of her puppies to his comrades in the 135th Aero Squadron. He kept a male and a female, naming them after a pair of good luck charms called Rintintin and Nénette that French children often gave to the American soldiers. When he returned to San Francisco, California, Duncan trained Rin Tin Tin to perform silent film work. The dog went on to star in 27 Hollywood films. He also received a key to New York City from Mayor Jimmy Walker and his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Rin Tin Tin and Nanette produced at least 48 puppies. Their descendants have been trained as service dogs to provide assistance to special needs children.

7. Toto
Toto was played by a Cairn Terrier named Terry who appeared in over 10 Hollywood films. Born in Altadena, California, in 1933, she began acting after her anxiety led to one too many accidents inside of her owner’s house. She was eventually coached by legendary trainer Carl Spitz who started the Hollywood Dog Training School in 1927. She earned a lucrative salary of $125 per week and did all of her own stunts. While on the set of “The Wizard of Oz,” an actor accidentally stepped on her paw. She recuperated at co-star Judy Garland’s house, returning to set just two weeks later.

8. _______ Can You Guess Who Is Missing?

9. Chips
Chips, a mix of German Shepherd, Collie and Husky, was sent into military service because he had bitten a garbage collector. Serving with the 3rd Infantry Division, he single-handedly attacked a hidden German gun nest during World War II (1935-1945), biting German soldiers and pulling a smoking machine gun from its base. According to his handler Pvt. John Rowell, Chips grabbed one of the Germans by his neck and dragged him from the pillbox. The K9 suffered burns and scalp wounds but was awarded the Silver Star, a Distinguished Service Cross, and a Purple Heart.

10. Balto
Balto, a Siberian Husky, was originally part of a dog team that transported supplies to miners. On January 21, 1925, several Inuit children in Nome, Alaska, were diagnosed with diphtheria; a deadly bacterial infection that causes a thick covering in the back of the throat. Anchorage, more than 600 miles away, was the closest place with a supply of lifesaving serum. A train transported the medicine part of the distance to Nenana. Then twenty mushers took part in a Pony Express-type relay on the Iditarod Trail. They battled against snow and ice that were measured in yards and winds that were sometimes strong enough to knock over both their dogs and their sleds. Balto led the final 53-mile sprint and became a symbol of teamwork, courage, tenacity, and hope—even when there seems to be no reason for it.

11. Laika
On November 3, 1957, Laika, a mixed-breed dog, became the first living creature in orbit when the USSR launched her into space aboard the Sputnik 2. Found wandering the streets of Moscow, she was trained by Dr. Vladimir Yazdovsky. Because the spacecraft was the size of a washing machine, he put her into smaller and smaller cages for up to 20 days at a time. “Laika was quiet and charming,” Yazdovsky wrote in his book chronicling the story of Soviet space medicine, “After placing her in the container and closing the hatch, we kissed her nose and wished her bon voyage…knowing that she would not survive the flight.” They planned to poison her dog food, but she died within seven hours—in sweltering heat and excruciating pain, as her heart pumped three times its normal rate.

12. K9
A robot dog from the 1960s British TV series Doctor Who, K9 was created in the 51st century by Professor Frederick Marius. He has a gun in his snout, a plunger in between his eyes, radar dishes for ears, and a mouth that produces ticker-tape printouts. The Time Lord’s sidekick refers to his traveling companions as “Doctor-Master” or “Mistress”. He answers their questions with a clipped “Affirmative!” or “Negative!” Programmed with all of the chess games since 1886, K9 can beat his owner in six moves. He also has thousands of human movies on his hard drive—which peppers his speech with 20th and 21st century English colloquialisms.

13. Roselle
On September 11, 2001, Michael Hingson, blind since birth, arrived for work at the World Trade Center’s Tower One. His guide dog, Roselle, settled into her usual post underneath his desk. At 8:46 am, he heard a tremendous boom, and the 1,368-foot tall building started to shudder violently, before slowly tipping, leaning over 20 feet. “While everything was happening, the explosion, the burning debris, the people in the conference room screaming, Roselle sat next to me as calm as ever,” says Hingson. “[From the 78th floor,] the thought hit me that I could be a guide. So I called out to everyone not to worry, that Roselle and I would lead the way,” he says. By the time they reached the sidewalk, Tower Two collapsed, sounding like a metal and concrete waterfall.

By CHERESE COBB

If you’ve ever seen “Turner and Hooch,” you’ve seen a French Mastiff. The breed may look like a menacing mass of wrinkles with monstrous jaws and drooling jowls, but there’s far more to them than meets the eye. In fact, owners describe these dogs as massive sweethearts. That doesn’t mean they’re pushovers, though. Because they’re velcro dogs, they’ll do their best to protect their owners from danger. Even so, the hallmark of this breed is their calm and dependable natures.

History

Nobody knows the exact origin of the French Mastiff, also known as the Dogue de Bordeaux. One theory suggests that it’s a descendant of the Tibetan Mastiff, whose origin can be traced back more than 5,000 years, from Tibet to Mesopotamia and then from Ancient Greece to Gaule. Another theory states that the French Mastiff is a direct descendant of Assyrian war dogs who were owned by the King of Babylon. Some scholars say that the breed came from the extinct “Alano Dog”, who was brought to Europe by the Alans, an Oriental tribe.

By the 14th century, the French Mastiff was used to bait bulls and hunt boars, bears, and jaguars. It hauled heavy loads, herded cattle, and pulled soldiers from the battlefield, particularly in Bordeaux and Aquitaine. The French Mastiff also survived two brushes with extinction. Prized by French aristocrats, they enjoyed a pampered lifestyle, but during the French Revolution, when the nobles fell out of favor, they did too. During WWII, the breed was also nearly wiped out by Hitler who was enraged by their loyalty and devotion to their masters.

The Most Lovable Dog Breed

On November 26, 2016, Johnny Holt and his husband adopted their French Mastiff from La Belle Bordeaux in Jacksonville, Florida. “The breeders were actually friends of ours, and Maggie is from their first litter,” Holt says. The couple adored Maggie’s mother and father before they even knew they were going to have puppies. “From about two weeks old, Maggie kept crawling up into my lap every time we went over to their house,” he says. “We actually weren’t planning on getting one because we already have three Bulldogs, but I fell in love with Maggie and had no choice.”

Turning two on September 8, 2018, Maggie is like a 127-pound Yorkie. She’s his most gentle dog and thinks that she’s a lapdog. “The Dogue de Bordeaux’s face frightens people. Its wrinkles are living—that is, when the dog is attentive, there are more wrinkles, and when it’s not attentive, they are fewer and not so deep,” says Raymond Triquet who is considered to be the father and the reviver of the breed. “But its heart is golden and very, very tender. It loves its master, and it loves its mistress more. Many males are in love with their mistresses to the point of repelling her husband.”

While the French Mastiff sheds so much that you might need two Dysons, its goofball antics will keep you entertained. “When I gave her a bath a couple of weeks ago, she decided she was done and jumped out. She was running around the house soaking wet and covered with soap,” Holt laughs. The breed doesn’t always appreciate sharing their homes with other pets (especially other dogs of the opposite sex), so introductions to pets and children should take place while they’re still young and more manageable. “They’re kind of specific to one person,” he says. “She’s definitely my baby. She won’t leave my side.

Health Issues

French Mastiffs are moderately healthy, though they’ve been known to suffer from bloat, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, eye infections and heart murmurs. They’re also prone to skin fold dermatitis. It causes red inflamed skin, crusty sores, hair loss and a bad odor. “A soft, damp cloth or natural baby wipe should do the trick, followed up with a dry towel,” says Karen Shaw Becker, an integrative wellness veterinarian. French Mastiffs have excessively broad heads. They can’t tolerate heat or excessive exercise. “During the summer, Maggie is heavily panting within a minute,” Holt says. “In the winter, she gets excited when it snows, and she stands at the door and cries until we let her out to play. After about fifteen minutes in the yard, she’s completely wiped.”

Should You Adopt a French Mastiff?

Big dogs with even bigger hearts, French Mastiffs are the shortest living dog breed in existence with a life expectancy of five to eight years. What they lack in longevity, however, they make up for it by being extremely loyal, patient and devoted to their families. However, they’re not for everyone. You’ll have to get used to grunting, gas, snoring and slobber. Saliva will end up caked to your cabinets, dried on your ceiling, stuck to your staircase and even flung ten feet up your walls. So, you’ll definitely want to carry a “drool rag” and duck for cover whenever your dog shakes its head.

The French Mastiff has dual personalities and isn’t to be taken lightly. While it’s a gentle giant with a clownish streak, it’s also a canine of sheer aggression and power if provoked. It needs a firm and experienced handler, or it’ll take over as the pack leader. Considering its size, it’s pretty lazy, so training sessions should be kept short and should be combined with play, exercise and companionship in order to keep its attention and to create bonds of respect and affection. If you adopt a French Mastiff, be prepared to lose your couch, your bed and your heart.

Dear FETCH Friends:

History has never sparked a sense of wonder in me until lately. Over the last month or so, I have binge-watched every season/episode of “Reign” on Netflix (not to be funny), and I’ve become extremely attached to the characters, the plot and often find myself daydreaming of what it would have been like to live in the 16th century. Would I have been lucky enough to have been born into royalty, or would I have died in the streets of France with some type of plague? It’s fascinating to think about, isn’t it? Would I have been a man or a woman? Would I have had children? My kids give me a heart attack now when they get a slight fever, so I can’t even imagine surviving with kids during a time when the Black Death was lurking around every corner.

I can tell you one thing is for certain, I would have had a dog—my own stray to cuddle up with on cold dark nights—and someone to share my scraps of food with. Because there is one certainty in my world, and that is I can’t seem to live without a dog. Sophia (the dog pictured above) was a stray in Mexico. She followed me around a village for three weeks, sleeping outside the gated complex my friend and I stayed in. And each day when I awoke, she was right around the corner looking for me. She saw me as an easy target as I stood in that village—a victim of culture shock. It seemed as if I was the only person with a dog in my suitcase on the flight home.

But that’s all history now. Eight years later, Sophia is quite heavy and happy. She is a cherished member of my family and one of the best dogs I’ve ever had.

In this issue, FETCH explores and celebrates the rich history of dogs. Therefore, we are extremely proud to bring you, “Old World Dogs”—The History Issue.

To a past that has steered the course on a better understanding of canine companionship and its importance—one we definitely benefit from today,

By STACY KRAFCZYK

From over 15 years of animal communication/therapy sessions, dogs often request patience from their owners. The following is a description of areas in which dogs would love for us to have more patience.

Exercise

“Let me be a dog,” they’ll say. “Please tell my human that it’s ok to be a dog and roll in the grass and get dirty. I enjoy rolling in the grass or dirt because it’s super fun, and it also clears my energy field.”

Dogs are like little sponges that absorb the energy of their environment so it’s necessary for them to have a good roll. It can dispel all the negative energy that has accumulated in their body over time. Yes, not all times are appropriate for them to roll in mud, dirt or snow. But you can make designated times for them to do so and plan accordingly.

Swimming also helps dogs disperse their energy and is great exercise. Water is very soothing to the soul for all beings. This activity will also be best when planning accordingly. So pack extra towels, water dishes with fresh water and enough time for all to enjoy.

Chewing & Food

Sometimes we are “stingy” on the food and treats according to our dogs. “Give me more! More food, more treats and more chews,” they exclaim.

“I like to chew on sticks and bones so please supply me safe ones to chew on so I don’t choke or hurt myself when I swallow it. And remind my human that it is necessary for me to chew so I can have fun while focusing my energy on the present moment.”

Walking

When your furry friends are on a walk they don’t want to be dragged along because you are in a hurry. Who likes being told to pee or poop on command? And who likes taking the same route for each walk—it’s super boring to them.

Of course, there are times when we must hurry. But make extra time to go on a stroll and lollygag with your pooch. Most dogs love to stop and smell the mailboxes and grass because that’s how they know who was there and what they did.

“Hey, I’m on this walk too ya know! Slow down and let me sniff PLEASE!!” Smells are important to dogs, inside and outside of the house, especially if it’s a breed specific dog that is naturally meant to track. You can go to Cabela’s or Farm and Fleet and purchase pheasant or duck scents and use them outside to stimulate their brain and body connection. In winter, you can add smells to indoor training and play sessions. Several clients’ dogs were over the moon about tracking indoors when it was too cold to play outside.

Aging


“I’m doing my best to love and follow you around but my body is starting to fail me. Please love me and be patient.” It can get frustrating and depleting to watch our beloved canine friend slowly fade away but let’s help them and ourselves through it without stressing them out.

Dog proof the house more from accidents, bring their food and water dishes closer, take them out more frequently, put a diaper on (if necessary) and add more pain meds to their regimen (again, only if necessary as pain meds can have side effects).

So take the time to contemplate the areas you can add a little more patience to your dog’s life. How can you tweak your schedule once or twice a week to accommodate their specific areas of need? You’ll see a noticeable change in their behavior when their needs get met! There are exceptions to all the rules depending on your furry critter. This is just a general guideline since most dogs ask that their human companions exhibit more patience.

By STACY KRAFCZYK

I was raised with non-denominational beliefs, and I really didn’t have an understanding of reincarnation growing up. It wasn’t until I started this career path as an animal communicator that I started to see that many animals were returning to their humans but in different forms.

Please don’t feel obligated to believe in reincarnation. But I ask that while reading this you keep an open mind. It may resonate with you or even validate something you have felt before. Sometimes just passing the information on to another can be the purpose you read this as it may resonate with another.

So let’s define reincarnation. Reincarnation is when an animal’s soul returns back to the earth but in a different body in order to continue their soul’s growth and journey. The soul goes from body to body learning different lessons and helping others. My own experience is that the soul may come back as a male or female, same breed or different breed or different species altogether. It does not have to be the same gender, but the animal may chose to come back as the same gender. Each reincarnation experience is unique in its own way.

Some clients are completely open to the idea of having an animal companion possibly return to them at a different time. Some clients request in sessions that they would like their animal to return, and some don’t believe in reincarnation at all. If I receive a message from their fur baby that they’re coming back, I just ask their humans to be open to the possibility. What is the harm of being open to the idea that your beloved animal may want to reunite with you again?

Other animals may have had a tough life in their physical body and may choose to be of assistance from the spirit plane. A rare few have said they were coming back to their humans but then sent a new animal soul to aid in the healing process—either resolving an old issue or helping the new animals soul grow and prosper. Penelope Smith, the founder and “grandmother” of animal communication, wrote an amazing book all about animals and reincarnation called “Animals in Spirit.” This is a great place to start.

A wonderful client from Minnesota lost her 13-year-old dog and dear friend. Prior to passing, the dog said he would return to her in a rescue but didn’t say when. She let that thought go because she didn’t necessarily believe in reincarnation either but loved her dog and did want him to come back. One day she felt drawn to go online to look at her local shelter for a dog. A rescue with similar colors as her previous pooch drew her in, but it was his eyes that spoke to her. She knew right away she had to go see him. She called the shelter and said to “hold that dog” and drove there. When she arrived at the shelter, a worker brought in the dog and he came running to her, knocking her over and kissing her face like her absent dog used to.

The kicker of the story is that her parents noticed the resemblance of the dog’s behavior to the previous dog as well. They started to call the new dog “bizarro dog” because he would sleep where the old dog slept, even though the old dog bed was no longer there. Eventually they did put a new one there because the dog wouldn’t lay anywhere else. The dog also started following the dad down the driveway when he left for work, which the old dog did too.

Another client’s dog came back very quickly in the form of a male puppy (instead of a female). The client blew off the dog’s message when it came through at first. The new pup had the exact same characteristics of the previous dog, same mannerisms, never had any potty accidents and was way too smart to know so much already at such a young age. The owner eventually admitted that she finally “knew” it was her previous pooch with tears in her eyes and crackling in her voice.

Other animals have come through of whom I have never met with very powerful validations of their previous lives such as quirky behaviors they used to do, what their humans did with their silky, soft ears and what it was like in their previous canine body.

It still continues to blow my mind after all these years of animal communication sessions. The stories and affirmations are so profound. There are so many beautiful stories to share. Keep in mind that an animal’s love remains the same even if they chose not to return. Be open to the idea that your beloved pup wants to return. And perhaps this is the validation you needed to confirm to you that one of your dogs was once a previous pup you had before. There’s no harm in an animal reincarnating. There’s only love. Only the love between a dog and their human.