Wednesday, June 26, 2013

iFetch automatic ball launcher for couch potatoes

available from:

  • shoots a miniature tennis ball between 10 and 30 feet (3 adjustable stettings)
  • runs on batteries or can be plugged into an outlet
  • powers up on demand - it turns itself on when a ball is dropped in and shuts itself off once it launches the ball
  • teaches your dog to fetch and return in a new and interesting way
  • works great with kids and dogs - many dogs have been able to use the toy to play fetch by themselves, however every dog loves it when people play with them!

Researchers have revealed that a dog's need for a human is the same as a child's need for a parent


Domestic dogs have been closely associated with humans for about 15,000 years, though some studies seem to reveal that the domestic dog arose even earlier--about 33,000 years ago. It's thought that dogs first arose in China and the Middle East, domesticated in order to act as hunters and watchers. Since then, the dog has evolved into 339 different breeds--and those are the only the ones recognized by the World Canine Organization. These days, dogs are so well adapted to living with people that in many cases the owner replaces conspecifics and assumes the role of its main social partner.

In order to examine this crucial bond between humans and dogs, the researchers tested dogs in three conditions. They watched the canineswhile their owner was absent, while their owner was silent and while their owner was encouraging. They also did a second experiment where they replaced the dog's owner. In the end, the researchers found a type of attachment that is strikingly similar to what is found in human children.
One aspect of the bond between humans and dogs is the "secure base effect." Also found in parent-child bonding, this particular effect occurs when human infants use their caregivers as a secure base when it comes to interacting with the environment. With the dogs, the researchers found that the canines seemed much less motivated to work for food when their owners were not there than when they were--even when the owner was silent.
"One of the things that really surprised us is that adult dogs behave toward their caregivers like human children do," said Lisa Horn from the Vetmeduni's Messerli Research Institute, in a news release. "It will be really interesting to try to find out how this behavior evolved in the dogs with direct comparisons."
The study shows the first ever evidence for the similarity between the secure base effect found in dog-owner and child-caregiver relationships. The scientists plan to continue their research with direct comparative studies on dogs and children. With these new findings, we know a little bit more about man's best friend and possibly a little more about the history of their relationships with humans.
The findings are published in the journal PLOS One.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nestle Purina acquires

from: consumer goods

Posted Date: 6/18/2013

Nestle Acquires Online Content Property

The world’s oldest and largest web site for pet adoption, Petfinder, has been acquired by Nestlé Purina PetCare. The acquisition, Nestlé’s first investment in an online content property, is a major step in the company’s efforts to better serve and enhance the lives of consumers through digital technology and content.

“We are delighted to acquire this leading pet welfare web site, which enables us to deepen engagement with and support of pet lovers,” says Patrice Bula, Nestlé’s dead of Strategic Business Units, Marketing and Sales. “It is a reflection of our determination to enhance consumers’ lives with services enabled by digital technology and content.”

Petfinder is an online database linking prospective adopters with adoptable pets, visited by more than 100 million pet-lovers each year. Through a network of almost 14,000 animal welfare associations and pet shelters, the site links those looking for a pet with hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs seeking a new home.

Purina PetCare is already actively involved in supporting pet welfare organizations and the site offers a new opportunity to engage with a growing group of pet lovers from the United States, Canada and Mexico. So far the digital and mobile platform has facilitated more than 22 million pet adoptions.
The strategic acquisition, from Discovery Communications LLC, is expected to be completed in July.

Tomlinson's announces it will no longer carry pet food subject to too many recent recalls


Customers & Friends, 

We are disappointed to announce, once again, that Tomlinson's is
pulling all Innova, Evo, California Natural, and Healthwise dry
products from our stores, and will no longer carry these brands until
further notice. 

Natura Pet Products--the brands' manufacturer--has expanded its
initial recall to include the above dry foods, treats, and bars
for dogs, cats, and ferrets with an expiration date before 06/10/2014.

Following this Spring's recall, we were assured by Natura that new
manufacturing and testing processes ensured a safe, nutritious
product--a claim we trusted based on +20 years of quality pet foods
and a long-standing relationship with Natura. We were frustrated
to hear this morning that those processes were not effective as promised.

You trust us with your pet's health and well-being, and we take that
very seriously. We are grateful for your trust, and work to ensure that
when you leave our stores with a product, it is not only safe, but of
the highest quality. We sincerely apologize to those affected by
this situation, and promise that our own quality standards and processes
will be stricter because of it. 

If you purchased a bag of affected product from Tomlinson's or any
other retailer, please bring it to any Tomlinson's location
for a replacement product. Should you have any concerns or
questions about our standards and policies, please do not hesitate to ask us. 

 Very Sincerely, 
 Scott Click
 Owner, Tomlinson's Pets

Pet food recall includes brands sold locally: Innova, EVO, California Natural, Healthwise, etc.


Dear Natura Family,

We have some sad news to share. We are announcing today a voluntary recall of all Innova, California Natural, EVO, Healthwise, Mother Nature and Karma branded dry pet food and biscuit/bar/treat products with expiration dates prior to June 10, 2014.
We made this decision in part due to a single positive Salmonella test by the FDA on product manufactured April 3. Normally, this would have resulted in retrieval of product manufactured over just a few days. However, we are taking the additional precautionary measure to recall all products in the marketplace. Our first priority is the wellbeing of the pets we serve.
Our decision allows us to ensure that all products available in the marketplace were produced after June 10, the date when we implemented additional finished product testing procedures with the guidance of industry experts.
Below this message you will find instructions on how to request a replacement voucher or refund. If you have any further questions, please contact us at or (800) 224-6123.
We are truly sorry. We know this news disappoints you; we are disappointed too. Natura will always focus on high-quality ingredients, product safety and innovation in pet nutrition. We remain committed to making products you can trust.
Employees of Natura Pet Products

Locating the Expiration Date

Please use the guides below to locate the expiration date on your product.
California Natural
Mother Nature

Product Replacement Information

Download this form to request a replacement voucher or refund.

Updated Press Information

Saturday, June 8, 2013

New state law to protect veterans with PTSD service dogs gets 'Paw of Approval'


by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist CHRIS SHADROCK
Posted on June 7, 2013 at 10:19 PM
AUSTIN -- Friday afternoon, HB 489 received the first paw of approval as Governor Rick Perry signed it into law.
It all started with one small pooch, when his owner, Iraq War veteran Adan Gallegos, was kicked out of a San Antonio store for trying to bring in his service dog.
“They’re not used to seeing a small dog as a service dog,” said Gallegos, who attended the signing Friday.
“They didn't care that it was a service animal who with was him, they didn't care he was a veteran," said HB 489’s author, State Representative Jose Menendez.
The problem, according to Menendez, is that Gallegos and millions of other veterans  are only protected under federal law.
"The police officer was not aware of what the federal laws were, and because there isn't anything on state statutes, there was nothing he could point to.”
Now, there is, and it’s “long overdue” according to Austin certified dog trainer, Caitlin Lane, who works with hundreds of veterans with PTSD.
“Just to see the way that a veteran and animal can bond, connect and communicate with one another is a beautiful thing,” she said.
However, Lane also said it can often be hard to identify a service dog, and the owner who relies on it, since we often picture a blind person with a German Sheppard.
For many veterans with PTSD, their disability is not so obvious.
“Is it a certain breed, does it wear certain equipment? What does this person look like who is disabled?” are question people can ask, according to Lane.
“Typically when someone looks healthy, they're like 'well why do you have that dog?'" said Rep. Menendez.
But under the new law, anyone who relies on a service dog will not be required to show proof or certifications.
“You can only ask, ‘is that a service animal’, and what it is trained to do,” said Rep. Menendez.
Under HB 489, there will be legal consequences if someone lies about their canine’s purpose, and punishment for businesses that refuse to allow a service dog on the premise.
The bill goes into effect September 1, 2013.
Menendez tells KVUE that will allow enough time to let the Texas Restaurant Association get familiar with the new laws.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Your daily ahhhhhh

For first time, city shelter not accepting owner-surrendered pets


City’s shelter waives pet-adoption fees, extends appointment hours this weekend

The Austin Animal Center for the first time in its history is not accepting animals surrendered by owners and the City is waiving fees to encourage the community to adopt or foster a pet this weekend. 
The Animal Center is over capacity by more than 100 kennels for both dogs and cats. The shelter has more than 1,000 pets available for adoption and has experienced very few adoptions over the past week. Yesterday, the Center had only six adoptions.  
“We have experienced an extremely high intake rate this past week,” said Chris Noble, Assistant Chief Animal Services Officer. “We are getting animals dropped off from all parts of the county and outside the county and we can’t keep up with the demand.  All of these animals are in peril at this time and people with pets need to find an alternate source other than surrendering them to the City shelter.”
The Austin Animal Center has reached out to all its rescue partners and organizations for assistance.  Many of these groups are doing what they can, but they too are in a similar situation with a high inventory of abandoned pets. 
The Austin Animal Center is waiving fees on all pets through Sunday, June 9.  Interested adopters can visit to view a vast array of beautiful animals ready for adoption.
The Austin Animal Center is open daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and this weekend, the Center will extend hours for those who call and make an appointment. If an interested adopter cannot visit the shelter during normal hours, call (512) 978-0500 to leave a message requesting an appointment and a staff person will call back. 
Austin Pets Alive, the City’s partner operating out of the Town Lake Animal Center will also waive fees for dogs and cats this weekend in hopes that the public will step up to help keep Austin no-kill by saving a life.
Pet adoptions will take place at both the Austin Animal Center, 7201 Levander Loop and at Town Lake Animal Center, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St. Spay or neuter surgery, a microchip and vaccinations are included in the reduced adoption fees – a value of more than $200. 
The center is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.  For more information check or call 3-1-1.

South Austin woman attacked, rescued by dog



by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY

AUSTIN -- A South Austin woman was hospitalized after she was attacked by a dog.
Austin police responded to the 8100 block of West Gate around 7:30 a.m. Thursday. Laurie Ann Duty says she was outside in her front yard when her neighbor's two pit bull dogs came charging toward her.
"I though they were the hounds from hell. They knocked me down, ripped my pants, and started chewing on my feet," said Duty.
Austin police had to use a taser on one of the dogs.
"One of the dogs charged an officer. The dog was tased," said Veneza Aguinaga, a spokeswoman for the Austin Police Department.
Then Duty says something amazing happened. A third dog named Rex saved her life.
"He ran over and knocked the dogs off me and laid down on top of me. It was a miracle. They could have gone for my throat, if it wasn't for Rex," Duty said.
The owners were cited for having loose dogs and improper tags. The pit bull dog will remain in quarantine for the next 10 days.
Duty is expected to make a full recovery.

All the cat video news fit to print


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Why cat videos?
The internet is all about random, and cats are random -- originator of cat videos "Cat Video Zero"

Austin's pet--friendly rep includes "cat-friendly" establishments according to Woodlands publication

Bruce Wayne and his owners visited Austin the 'cat friendly' way


AUSTIN, Texas -- "Pet friendly" is a term you are likely to hear in some establishments, and you have definitely heard "Dog friendly" but "Cat friendly" is a term you may never hear, unless you visit Austin. It may not be blatantly posted on the front door, but most Austin businesses who allow your furry friends are welcoming to most pets, not just your "bow wow buddy".
Filling two days in Austin with pet friendly places seems like a daunting task, but after a quick search on the internet, decisions become more difficult with dozens of restaurants and activities for pet owners to enjoy alongside their pets.
Of course there are general guidelines that pet owners need to follow in order to allow an enjoyable time for all customers and citizens.
In restaurants, there are pet seating areas on patios as long as you have a leash on your animal, or they are in a pet carrier of some sort. This not only protects other customers from privacy invasion, but also keeps your animal safe from traffic and other public dangers if your attention is diverted. There are also restrictions on certain breeds of dogs and other aggressive animals so make sure to call the restaurant beforehand if you have a concern.
Some great "Pet friendly" restaurants include: Spider House just north of the UT campus, Uncle Billy's near Zilker Park, and The Snack Bar on South Congress.
As for the many public parks around Austin who allow animals look for signs marking certain territory as "off-leash." Of course restrictions on "off-leash" areas include: no animals in heat allowed, clean up after animals, no aggressive breeds, and vaccinations required. On a side note, when not in these designated areas, leashes on animals may be no longer than 6 feet or the pet owner may pay up to a $500 fine.
If you have been looking for a great destination for you and your pet to spend some quality time together give Austin a try. Perhaps even stop by a local quirky toy store like Toy Joy or the costume shop Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds to pick up an outfit for your favorite friend. After all, while you are visiting you might as well "Keep Austin Weird."

Two Plead Guilty in Multistate Dog Fighting Raid

In March, the ASPCA assisted local law enforcement, the FBI and the Missouri State Highway Patrol in a multistate dog fighting investigation that resulted in the seizure of nearly 100 animals from multiple locations in Missouri, Kansas and Texas. Since then, an ASPCA team has been working around the clock to care for the rescued animals. We’ve also been fighting for justice.
That’s why we’re pleased that yesterday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kansas, Pete Davis Jr., 38, and Melvin Robinson, 42, each pleaded guilty to one count of transporting dogs to participate in animal fighting. The charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9. Charges for a defendant in Texas are pending.
As a result of the hearing, dogs seized from the defendants’ properties in Missouri will be signed over to the ASPCA. We will explore placement options with various rescue groups. Dogs placed with ASPCA response partner shelters after this hearing will be the second group from the case to be placed for adoption.
Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Please help us stop this barbaric form of cruelty and all others. Together we can save animals from lives of cruelty and abuse.
Stay tuned to for more information on this case. Follow the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #3StateRaid.