Therapy Dogs Providing Comfort in the UK and US

Here in the United Kingdom last month was National Pet Month, an annual celebration of the joys of companionship that pets give devoted owners across the country. It’s been estimated that 48% of households in the UK have a pet and in the spirit of Pet Month a poll was taken by a social networking site which questioned pet owners across the country. According to the poll, over half of those questioned would rather hug their pets than a close relative when they are feeling down! This reflects the fact that pets can be a great source of comfort to those in discomfort and distress. This effect has been harnessed by the use of ‘therapy dogs’, which have been active in the UK for a long time in an effort to help ease the physical and mental discomfort of the ill and infirm.

Therapy dogs are becoming more widely used across the UK and the US, with many charities becoming aware of the benefits they can bring. In fact, courtesy of a number of Lutheran Church Charities in America, ten dogs were sent to help comfort victims of the recent tornado which struck Oklahoma. The ferocious tornado carved a 17-mile path of destruction through neighbourhoods, damaging up to 13,000 homes, doing $ 2bn (£1.33bn) in damage, and tragically claiming at least 24 lives. Tim Hetzen, the man in charge of the Lutheran Church’s efforts to comfort the victims’ families, explained how therapy dogs could help:

“Our dogs stay out as long as possible to be with families to help them process their loss. A big part of processing loss is talking about it,” Hetzen said. “The dogs are great for that, because they’re great listeners, they show unconditional love, they don’t take notes and they’re confidential, so they’re great tools for people to pet. When you pet a dog, you relax. When you relax, you’re more likely to share.”

Interestingly it’s not only moods that have been shown to improve by interaction with friendly canines. In addition to providing a psychological boost, physical interaction with therapy dogs has been shown to reduce stress by lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Contact with affectionate dogs has been found to promote the body’s release of beneficial neurochemicals including oxytocin, dopamine, phenethylamine and various endorphins which are known to reduce stress and harmful chemicals, supporting the recovery of the human body.

One of the earliest examples of therapy dogs is the case of Smokey the Yorkshire Terrier, a therapy dog active during World War 2. Smokey, who had been abandoned on a battlefield in Papua New Guinea, was rescued by a Corporal William Wynne. When Wynne was hospitalized with a jungle disease, his pals decided to take the little dog to the hospital to cheer him up. Smokey was welcomed with open arms by the hospital staff when it became clear that she provided great comfort to wounded soldiers, who were recovering from their injuries.

Therapy dogs really began to be used in a more systematic way in the 1970s. Elaine Smith, an American nurse working in England, noticed the positive effect on patients when the hospital chaplain had his golden retriever accompany him around the hospital on rounds. The dog had a great effect on the wellbeing of the patients, with the canine’s visit sometimes the highlight of their day. Smith moved back to the U.S. in 1976 with her new insights and founded Therapy Dogs International, the first national registry of therapy dogs in the country.

Therapy Dogs International has sparked a trend in the use of therapy dogs and just seven years after it was founded, a similar organisation called ‘Pets as Therapy’ was established here in the UK. They are the leading UK charity providing animals for therapy sessions in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and care homes. Over its 30 year existence it has had the help of over 22,000 dogs, with around 4500 dogs currently helping more than 130,000 people every week.

If you would like to help, and have a dog which you think has a suitable temperament, you too could offer your pet as a therapy dog and begin providing priceless comfort to the unwell and infirm. Simply contact your local therapy dog organization to see whether they accept new pets, and they will tell you what to do next.

About the author: Brit Peacock is an animal lover currently blogging about how dogs can be used to help comfort those suffering from illness and personal injury.

PetsitUSA Blog

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I Didn’t Know That – Secret Life of Dust Mites

Richard Ambrose and Jonny Phillips use a camera with an ultrapowerful lens to get up close and personal with bedbugs — dust mites that live on dead human ski…
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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Who’s Jimmy Moses? And other dog show musings

This winter marked my third trip to the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, and while I’ve learned a great deal more about dog shows over that time (mostly due to the instruction of my friend Susi Szeremy over at DogKnobit), I think it’s fair to say that I’m still mostly clueless about that world.

Which is fine, since I’ll never show a dog; I just need enough knowledge to be able to watch. I know a bit about the point system and the actual play by play of showing a dog, like how you’re supposed to run around and not let the dog bite anyone, but other mysteries still eluded me.

1. Why do female handlers preferentially flock to what I can only describe as mother of the bride suits? And if the idea is to minimize the floofiness of a puffy skirt by sticking with a straight skirt, are power sheaths an acceptable substitute? (Please say yes. Claire Underwood’s wardrobe on House of Cards is straight up amazing.)


Don’t even get me started on the sequins.

2. Are flats REALLY necessary? (Yes, they are.)

3. At which point do you stop brushing your dog and figure this is as good as it gets? (Never, in some breeds.)

4. Is the world as cutthroat and intense as the depiction in Best in Show? (There were a few busy bees around, yes.)

So with all the infinite wisdom that comes after drinking a little too much cabernet in the hotel bar, Susi and I decided, “Hey! Wouldn’t it be great if we made a video of us at the show with all these world class handlers? And Susi (who is an experienced handler of Pulik) goes in there and messes up all the other breeds? And I go in there and don’t know anything at ALL?” I wonder, we thought, how these rockstars of the show dog world would react.

I don’t know enough about the dog show world to know that the scene I did with Jimmy Moses- a world class handler of German Shepherds- was the equivalent of a kamikaze mission, like sending in pizza delivery guy into the cockpit with Captain Sullenberger and saying, “Lemme have the control, just for a second, it’s cool.” The results were pretty equivocal, I’d say.

His choicest critiques didn’t make it on camera, by the way. I enjoyed the benefits of a thorough wardrobe commentary, which I was expecting having deliberately gone way off course, but he was very, um, thorough.

But in all seriousness, all of the handlers in the shot were such incredibly great sports, and I can’t tell you how gracious they were in taking time out of their packed schedules to indulge us in this. It was a ton of fun. And of all the scenes, Susi with the bloodhound takes the cake.

It's not what you think it is, but if you listen carefully you will note the word "testicles" does come into play.

It’s not what you think it is, but if you listen carefully you will note the word “testicles” does come into play.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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GIVEAWAY // Win a $75 Gift Card to the Shop of Your Choice from Chippmunk!

Win a $  75 Gift Card to the Shop of Your Choice from Bubby & Bean and Chippmunk!

This week’s giveaway comes from our June featured sponsor, Chippmunk, and I have to say – it’s one of the coolest giveaways we’ve ever done you guys.  That’s because they’re giving one lucky Bubby and Bean reader a $ 75 gift card to the store of their choice (from any of Chippmunk’s partners). PLUS if we reach 500 entries, they’re doubling the prize.  That’s right – if we can get 500 entries, the winner will get a $ 150 gift card!  (So be sure to tell your friends!)

Chippmunk has a pretty amazing list of shops and coupons to choose from too, from Modcloth (20% off most pinned items + $ 15 referral fee!) to Kate Spade (20% off!) to Pottery Barn ($ 10 off!) to Planet Blue (10% off!) to Williams-Sonoma (free shipping!) to ProFlowers (15% off!) and more. Not to mention that they’re a really rad little company (you can read more about them in last week’s interview, right here).

To enter, just do a quick search on Chippmunk, then leave a comment below telling me your favorite coupon.  That’s it!

Once you’ve completed the mandatory entry above, you can also gain one additional entry for each of the following.  (*Please put each extra entry in a SEPARATE comment in order for it to count.)

  • Like Chippmunk on Facebook.
  • Follow Chippmunk on Twitter
  • Tweet this: Enter Bubby & Bean’s Giveaway to win a $ 75 gift card of your choice from @ShopChippmunk & @MotM_EcoFashion >>
  • Follow Chippmunk on Pinterest 
  • Pin the top image from this post to Pinterest 
  • Post an image from this post to Instagram and tag it with the following: @bubbyandbean #bubbyandbeangiveaway 
  • Like Bubby & Bean on Facebook
  • Click the Facebook Like button below to like this post on Facebook

This giveaway is open through June 7th.  The winner’s name will be randomly chosen and announced here on the blog shortly after. (Please make sure you check back to see if you won and/or leave a way to reach you in your entries.)


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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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citytails-main-posterEllen DeGeneres’ natural pet food company is at it again – partnering with its retailers to make a difference for pets!

Halo is presenting a month-long “Pop Up Shop” promotion at a prime New York City location (47th and Lexington Ave). It’s called “City Tails – NYC”, promoting people and pets together, where hundreds of thousands of passers-by can “Pop in and do good” for pets!

Halo’s extensive philanthropy, including its partnership with and the work of the Halo Pet Foundation, will be featured.

Click here to read more about Halo’s City Tails – NYC.


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Cool Pet Scratch images

A few nice Pet Scratch images I found:

Scratch My Belly, Brandee!
Pet Scratch

Image by Princes Milady
See Brandee, Petrarch wants you to come visit him…

Pet Scratch

Image by owenburridge
This bird is scratching its neck. Despite how it looks, this is what they normally look like. I have a pet bird, so I would know.

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Seeing Eye dog, Leader dog, Guide dog –-What is the difference?

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Dog Training Tip

Dog Training Tip


dog training voiceWhen it comes to dog training there are no secrets.  Every dog training tip is different but it has been used before and if they say its new, it means adapted.  The simplest of tasks for an experienced dog master could be the hardest of tasks for the beginner.  There are no magic potions, or miracle sayings that can make your dog do what you want.  You have to spend time with him, loving him and training him.


Many people seem to “have a way with dogs” in the sense that they can ask your dog to do anything and your dog will adhere to their command straight away, you try it five minutes later and your dog just stares at you blankly.  It is true that some people have more of a chance getting dogs to do what they say, not because of some aura around them but because of experience and tone of voice.


One great dog training tip is your tone of voice.  Your dog needs to know that you mean business but he has to know that you’re not angry at him.  The handler must find a tone of voice that shows dominance but compassion.  If you are constantly shouting at your dog he is going to get used to it, he will not know when he is doing something wrong because he doesn’t know when he is doing something good.


A lot of praise and attention is another great dog training tip.  Dogs wont learn the difference between good and bad unless they get treated differently.  When your dog does something bad don’t roar at him, strictly tell him he was bad and not to do it again.  Then when he does it right shower him with cuddles, treats and praise.  Dogs come to learn that when they do something that they are told they will get rewarded for it and then after a while it just becomes second nature to them, of course praise is still needed!


All dog training tips are different and one dog is not identical to the next, so try them.  It won’t hurt to keep trying.  The most influence on your dog’s life is when they are 3-16 weeks; this is the time that molds them into the kind of dog they are going to be when they grow bigger.  When you train your dog in these weeks this is what he will be doing for the rest of his life.  Make sure you try a variety of the dog training tips available to you, some may work some may not but at least your giving your dog the best start in life.

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Holiday Greetings through Evite

For the Christmas holiday, I sent a cute animated kitty cat ecard using evite. I sent them also for my sister Valerie and my friend Joyce.

I sent out the following:

Joyce – 25 cards
Valerie – 73 cards
Me – 98 cards
My reps – 12 cards (first-line only)

I reminded everyone that we set them up as wholesale customers so they get 20% off if they log in, and I gave them the website and my phone number. Evite keeps track of who opens the card so I want to see if this is effective and will also be interested to see if there is an increase in orders.

I am using evite to send Thank Yous after each and every order, as well. It’s all part of my customer service goals for this next year.
A day in the life of a HealthyPetNet Rep

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Ticking time…

Some cool Ticks images:

Ticking time…

Image by kalyan02
tick and tick and tock !

tick larva < 1mm

Image by myriorama
Trombicula alfreddugesi – i have a feeling this may be a tick nymph or larva and not a genuine chigger, but i use the term as a catchall for any of the tiny Acari who have the same effect. found my pants legs covered in these, what look like moving tiny specks to the bare eye, both yesterday and today after a woods/field walk.

Tick Bite

Image by stusic
Took a tick off of me about a week ago… Hasn’t gotten any better (in fact, worse), but I can’t get in to see the doctor until July 3rd.

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