Thursday, December 25, 2014

Austin Dog Alliance therapy dogs spread holiday cheer

Four legged friends are making Christmas Eve a little bit brighter for area nursing home esidents.
Buddy, Mollie, Blue, and several other therapy dogs snuggled up with residents at the Clairmont Retirement Community.
The dogs are part of Austin Dog Alliance.
This is the 5th year for the group to visit residents on Christmas Eve.
In all, volunteers will visit a total of nine locations Wednesday.
The alliance says studies show therapy dogs can make a difference in how a patient recovers and even help lower blood pressure.
“When you see the smiles on their faces, just by bringing a dog in is extremely therapeutic and makes everyone smile and nothing better than making someone happy," said Erica Simono with the Austin Dog Alliance.
This year, 120 alliance pet therapy dog handlers and their partners visited more than 100 hospitals, nursing homes and hospices in Austin.
They gave more than 3,500 volunteer hours.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Love doesn't leave


Puppy found unharmed after fire destroys Austin home

Published:   Updated: 
AUSTIN (KXAN) — A puppy feared dead in an East Austin house fire last week was found unscathed by firefighters during a second check of the home. The Austin Fire Department posted a picture Thursday of the dog pulled from the home on Dec. 8.
Jesse Escalante says his son escaped with most of their dogs in hand, but they thought three puppies were dead inside. But when the dogs’ mother refused to leave the yard and kept whining, firefighters went back inside. They found one of puppies unharmed under some insulation in a front bedroom. The dog was reunited with its mother and the owner of the home.
“How it survived is a mystery, but it certainly gave all of us around here hope,” the department’s Facebook post said.
The fire was caused by a space heater sitting too close to combustible materials, the department said.
“It was pretty crazy,” said Jamie Baxter, a fire specialist with AFD. “We didn’t think there’d be anything alive in the structure. It was pretty heavily damaged.”
Escalante has been through a lot this year; his wife passed away and his grandson was killed in October while working as a security guard at a bar.