Saturday, December 8, 2012

Local hero: Vet Ellen Jefferson


By Michael Barnes | Friday, December 7, 2012, 03:03 PM

While volunteering at the old Town Lake Animal Shelter, veterinarian Ellen Jefferson saw too many animals killed.
“It didn’t feel like I was making a big impact,” Jefferson says. “But I felt like if I could stop the inflow, fewer would come into shelter, so more could go out alive.In 1999, Jefferson founded Emancipet, a nonprofit group which spays or neuters animals.
By the time she left the group — which keeps growing without her — they were performing 16,000 surgeries a year, mostly from a roaming clinic. That superhuman feat, however, didn’t make the expected impact on the number of animals euthanized at the city’s shelter.
“Rabble-rousers were saying that we were still killing too many,” she says. “And I ignored them. The more I listened to them, however, the more I realized we weren’t actually lowering the kill rate.”
So in 2008, Jefferson — uncommonly calm and measured for an animal welfare activist — reactivated Austin Pets Alive, a group dedicated in 1997 to saving more shelter animals, 50 percent of which were being killed.
Austin Pets Alive, in concert with scores of smaller rescue groups, has, by targeting specific animal groups, put the Austin save rate above 90 percent, the only large city in the country to do so.
Jefferson, whose group now works from the old shelter as well as pop-up adoption centers, believes the save rate can be driven up to an almost inconceivable 98 percent.
“It’s exponentially harder to get to those last animals cared for, housed safely and adopted,” she admits. “It’s also exponentially more expensive.”
For the rest of the story click here

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Possible stocking stuffer for fat dogs in Japan


Dog owners in Japan have a new way to
obsessively creep on their dogs keep their pooch’s weight in check. A Japanese company has created a line of body-monitoring fitness trackers for dogs.
Seriously. Fitness trackers … for dogs. It’s called the Wandant and went on sale in Japan today.
The device, made by Fujitsu, attaches to your dog’s collar. It contains three accelerometers and records data every 10 minutes, tracking info like the number of steps Fido takes and his stress level (based on how much he shakes).
Extra-obsessive dog owners can also manually enter information such as food intake and stool condition (used for “benchmarking changes in dog’s health”) and add photos and diary entries to track growth.
Data can be stored locally for up to 14 days or uploaded to an NFC-equipped Android device. Stats can also be uploaded to an accompanying subscription-based cloud service that costs $5 a month. Once uploaded, data is displayed in a series of charts and graphs on your desktop or mobile device.
The Wandant costs $120 and is available on Amazon Japan in pink or blue. Its battery life is estimated at about four months. A one-year subscription to the cloud service is included in the price.
Fujitsu says it has no current plans to sell the device beyond Japan. 

Bo is 'good dog' around White House Christmas Tree