With Memorial Day yesterday, I wanted to share some suggestions from I Heart Dogs on ways you can honor your dog after he or she passes over the Rainbow Bridge. The first recommendation is to start a journal about all of the happy experiences you had with your dog. Whether you hiked together or just […]
We all hope that our twilight years will find us living in a place where people love us and care for us with dignity and compassion. It’s only logical to assume that dogs might share that hope for their own golden years. Unfortunately, for three senior dogs they found themselves, like so many others, searching for new homes through no fault of their own. Luckily all three dogs — Troy, Shasta, and Luke — found themselves at the Humane Society of Central Oregon (HSCO). HSCO is great place for any animal in need of a new forever home. In the words of Lynne Ouchida at HSCO, “Sometimes it takes awhile to find a forever home, but HSCO never gives up on our seniors.”
Another reason for Troy, Shasta, and Luke to be grateful is because HSCO receives a regular grant of nutritious Halo food through Halo’s partnership with Greater Good and Freekibble.com, made possible by your trivia answers! Lynne noted, their “senior animals truly benefit from the good nutrition that their bodies need and require.” Another benefit, aside from the nutrition is the taste. She told us about Luke, who at 14, had lost some of his sense of smell, however he “loved eating Halo dog food.” Halo is committed to helping shelter animals of all ages have their best chance at finding a loving forever home. A good diet in the shelter is important for that because, like with people, it’s hard for animals to be on their best behavior if they’re not eating nutritious food. As the official pet food sponsor of Freekibble.com, we give away more than 1.5 million bowls a year to help nourish shelter pets and help them put their best paw forward as they search for forever homes.
Troy came to HSCO in Bend, Oregon when he was 12 years old. His owner was moving and, despite having Troy since he was a puppy, the owner couldn’t take the Labrador Retriever-Blue Heeler mix dog with him. “It broke the hearts of HSCO staff and volunteers to see this guy alone and scared in the shelter…Troy seemed lost,” Lynne shared. He quickly became a volunteer favorite though because, in Lynne’s words, he was “easy going and eager to please.” He was adopted out to one family, but returned because he didn’t fit in well with the family’s other dog and cat. After another 20 days at the shelter, including a special video to show him off, Troy finally found his forever home. “This time,” Lynne wrote, “it was a perfect match and Troy is living a life of love and adventures.”
Shasta was a year younger than Troy, but still a senior when she was first surrendered to HSCO. Like Troy though, she also “was a repeat guest at HSCO,” according to Lynne. Shasta first came to HSCO when someone who had owned her for four months realized that their own health and finances meant that they could not care for the Coonhound. She had previously belonged to a friend of that individual who kept her as an outdoor-only hunting dog. Even though she was a senior, Shasta had a lot of energy and, what the HSCO team saw as “a young spirit.” Because she had such a high prey drive, Shasta needed a lot of time. It took her nearly three months before a staff member’s friend fell in love with Shasta and adopted her. Shasta is now “the light of their life” and loves playing with the friend’s young boy and other dog. It may have taken her longer than the average HSCO dog, but Shasta finally got her happily ever after.
Luke was the oldest of the three dogs when he came to HSCO. He was 14 when his owner died and the family surrendered him to HSCO because they couldn’t keep him. The Chihuahua mix had “lots of personality,” as Lynne put it, but “arrived confused and missing his owner.” The team at HSCO immediately got to work helping Luke feel comfortable and even improving his behavior. It took some time, but they succeeded in helping the bewildered dog. “After three weeks of behavior modification and lots of love and positive reinforcement, Luke began to trust and love again,” Lynne wrote. A mother and daughter came to HSCO to meet Luke. When Luke saw them, Lynne said that he “lit up like a puppy.” Clearly, he was in love. The pair adopted Luke in part because they believed that “they could give Luke a wonderful home” despite his older years.
Halo knows what it’s like to not give up on an animal. It’s why we were founded, after all, because a family couldn’t give up on a sick pet named Spot! We love the tenacity and compassion of everyone at HSCO who helped Troy, Shasta, and Luke, and so many other animals, find loving homes. HSCO cares for approximately 4,000 animals every year and we’re honored to be a part of that. Thank you for making that possible.
You may very well already be familiar with Purple®, the mattress that’s scientifically designed to keep you comfortable and cool throughout the night. Now Purple has designed a product just for…
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This week, we’re going to be retiring our free cookbooks and 2018 pet holiday calendar–so please be sure to fetch your copy now! You may have heard about the change in how websites can…
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Plush Paws Products has sponsored this post and the upcoming party, but all opinions are my own. Summer is synonymous with dog travel, whether that means swimming fun at the lake or beach, a dream…
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With summer almost upon us (woohoo!) and our new patio done and decorated (stay tuned for a post all about that in a couple of weeks), I’ve been using our grill like there’s no tomorrow. I am proof that even vegetarians can love grilling, guys. There’s no better way to prepare food in the summertime, in my opinion. And the more I use the grill, the more amazed I am by all of the different foods you can cook with it. My current favorite (and my daughter’s too) isn’t unusual – corn on the cob. But the way I like to prepare it is actually pretty unique, and I wanted to share it with you today because it’s incredibly delicious, super easy, and perfect for any summertime parties you might be hosting or attending this weekend (and all summer long!).
Grilled Corn with Orange Hoisin and Chili Glaze
6 ears sweet corn, husked
1 tablespoon Lee Kum Kee Hoisin Sauce
1 teaspoon Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Chili Oil
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2-3 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
fresh cilantro, chopped
Heat your grill to medium high. In a small bowl, combine Lee Kum Kee Hoisin Sauce, Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Chili Oil, melted butter, and grated orange rind, and mix well. Grill corn for 2-3 minutes, turn, and grill another 2-3 minutes. Use a brush to coat corn with hoisin butter glaze, and continue to grill for another 5-7 minutes, brushing with the glaze every couple of minutes. Remove corn from grill and give one final brush of glaze, then top with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!
Grilled corn on the cob itself is a summertime delight, but this glaze takes it up a serious notch. Regular grilled corn becomes rich and spicy sweet. It’s hard for me to even write about it without my mouth watering, to be honest. The secret ingredient here is the Lee Kum Kee Hoisin Sauce, which is a sweet, slightly spicy sauce made from sweet potatoes, soybeans, and select spices. (And so good that I have no shame in admitting I would totally eat it with a spoon straight from the bottle.) The runner-up star ingredient is the Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Chili Oil which is prepared from the finest preserved chilies and garlic blended with soy bean oil, and gives it just the right kick. If you haven’t heard of Lee Kum Kee, let me just tell you that they make a huge range of all sorts of great-tasting, authentic Asian-style sauces and condiments that are so, so tasty – whether you’re doing everyday cooking or need a little help elevating your summer celebrations. You guys need to give their delicious products – and this recipe! – a try. You’ll be so glad you did.
Happy summer and happy grilling!
If you have been reading this blog for a long time, I used to post historical and indigenous accounts of wolves, coyotes, and dingoes being used as working animals. I also would post accounts different breeders of domestic dogs crossing their stock with wolves to improve their strains.
I have long been critical of the Raymond Coppinger model of dog domestication, which posits that wolves scavenging from Neolithic dumps created the dog as an obligate scavenger that then became selectively bred for human uses. In this model, the tropical village dog is the ancestral form of all canines, a position that has emboldened the “Dogs are not wolves” theorists to suggest some tropical Asian Canis x is the actual ancestor of the domestic dog.
This model also posits that all dogs are just obligate scavengers, and unfortunately, this obligate scavenger designation means that what could be otherwise good books and research on dogs essentially denies their predatory behavior.
Last year, I kept hearing about a book that took on Coppinger’s model head-on. This book took Coppinger’s task for having distinct Eurocentric biases and that Coppinger essentially ignored vast amounts anthropological data on how different human societies relate to wild and semi-domestic canids.
So I finally ordered a copy of this book, which is called The First Domestication: How Wolves and Humans Coevolved by Raymond Pierotti and Brandy Fogg. I do recommend this book, but I readily admit that I don’t agree with quite a bit of it. I agree with it more than Coppinger, though, because they rather clearly show massive holes in Coppinger’s model.
Pierotti and Fogg have produced a model that relies heavily upon humans and wolves encountering and then benefiting from a hunting mutualism. Humans have a long history as scavengers, and even today, there are people who follow large predators, including lions, to rob them of their kills. Dholes are targeted by certain people as well, and it is very likely that humans entering Eurasia would have done the same with wolves.
The difference between the lions and the dholes and ancient wolves is that the lions and dholes resent having humans come near their kills. The ancient wolves, however, came to work with people to bring down more prey. These wolves and humans came to be the dominant predators in Eurasia.
Pierotti and Fogg’s model posits the domestication process as beginning with ancient hunter-gather societies. It relies upon the wolf’s predatory nature as an important catalyst in allowing this partnership to thrive.
Further, the authors are rather clear in that our Eurocentric understanding of a clear delineation between wolves and dogs is a rather recent creation. Most cultures who have existed where there are wolves and dogs have a much more plastic understanding of the differences that separate the two or they have no separation of all.
The most compelling analogies in the work are the discussions about the relationships among hunters in Siberia, their laikas, and wild wolves and the relationships between indigenous Australians and dingoes.
In the Siberian laika culture, the dogs have extensively exchanged genes with wild wolves, enough that laikas and wolves do share mitochondrial DNA haplotypes. The laikas (or laiki, as they are known in Russia) do hunt the sable and other small game. They also protect the camps from bears, and in some areas, the laikas are used as not particularly specialized livestock guardian dogs. The authors see these dogs a very good analogy to describe how the earliest people and dogs would have lived. These dogs would have been cultured to humans, but they would still be getting an influx of wild genes as they lived in the wild.
In the dingo example, the authors discuss how these hunter-gather cultures would keep dingo pups and treat them almost exactly as we would our own domestic dogs. They also would use the dingoes to hunt kangaroos, but during mating season, they would allow their companions to leave the camps or stay. They often would leave, but some would go off for a time in the bush and return. This suggests that early humans might not have forced their socialized wolves to stay in camp and that relationship could have been a lot more libertarian than we might have assumed.
These relationships are very different from the scavenging village dogs that Coppinger contends were like the original dogs. These animals are not obligate scavengers. They are hunters, and what’s more, it is their hunting prowess that makes the relationship work.
Further, the authors make a convincing argument that we can no longer use the scientific name Canis familiaris, because many cultures have relied upon wolf-like dogs and dog-like wolves for survival. These animals are virtually impossible to distinguish from each other, and therefore, it would make sense that we would have to allow dogs to be part of Canis lupus.
The authors contend, though I think rather weakly, that dogs derive from multiple domestication events from different wolves. I remain fully agnostic to this question, but I will say that full-genome comparisons of wolves and three dogs that represent three distinct dog lineages suggest that dogs represent a clade. They are still very closely related to extant Canis lupus, especially Eurasian ones, and still must be regarded as part of Canis lupus. Therefore, one does not need multiple origins for domestic dogs from wolves to make the case that they are a subspecies of Canis lupus.
I am, however, quite glad to see that the authors reject this Canis familiaris classification, even if I think the reasoning is better explained through an analysis that shows how dogs fit within a clade called Canis lupus than one that relies upon multiple origins.
Also, one should be aware that every argument that one can make that says dogs are wolves can be applied to coyotes to suggest that they are wolves. Wolves and dogs do have a significant gene flow across Eurasia, but coyotes and wolves have a similar gene flow across North America. The most recent ancestor between wolves and coyotes lived 50,000 to 70,000 years ago, which is far more recent than the proposed divergence between Old World and North America red foxes and the divergence between Qinling and other giant pandas.
I really have no problem thinking of coyotes as being a form of Canis lupus in that a pug is a form of Canis lupus. All the acceptance of this classification does is allow for a positing that this species Canis lupus has thrived because it possesses both phenotypical and behavioral plasticity.
The authors, however, would have a problem with my classification. They make regular reference to red wolves, which have clearly been shown to be hybrids between coyotes and wolves, which themselves are probably better regarded as divergent forms of a phenotypically plastic species. They also contend that coyotes and people have never formed relationships like people have formed with wolves, because coyotes are too aggressive.
However, I have shown on this space that coyotes have been trained to do many of the things dogs have, including pointing behavior. They also have ignored the enigmatic Hare Indian dog, which may have been a domesticated coyote or coydog.
But that said, I think the authors have clearly shown in their text that dogs and wolves are part of the same species.
The authors also make some controversial arguments about dog paleontology and archaeology. One argument they rely upon heavily is that wolves could have become behaviorally very much like dogs without developing all the morphological changes that are associated with most domestic dogs. Some merit certainly does exist with these arguments, but it also puts paleontology and archaeology in a position that makes it impossible to tell if a wolf-like canid found near human camps is a truly wild animal or creature on its way to domestication.
This argument does have some merit, but it still will have problems in those fields of study, because it becomes impossible to tell semi-domesticated wolves from wild ones in the fossil and subfossil record.
However, the authors do make a good case, which I have also made, that argues that the original wolf population had no reason to show fear or aggression towards people. The best analogous population of wolves to these original ones are those found on the Queen Elizabeth Islands of Northern Canada. These large arctic wolves have never experienced persecution, so they are quite curious and tolerant of the humans they encounter. Wolves like these could have easily been the basis for a mutualism that would eventually lead to domestication.
The authors also contend that the reason wolves in Europe are reviled is the result of the Western church’s propaganda that was working against traditional totemic animals of the pagans. Wolves were among those totems, and the church taught that wolves were of the devil.
However, I think this argument is a bit faulty, because Europeans are not the only people who hate wolves. Many pastoralist people in Asia are not big fans of wolves, and their hatred of wolves has nothing to do with the church. The traditional religions of the Navajo and Hopi also do not hold the wolf in very high regard, and these two cultures have been in the sheep business for centuries.
Further, we have very well-documented cases of wolves hunting and killing people in Europe. These wolf attacks were a major problem in France, where notorious man-eating wolves were often named, and they were not unknown in other parts of Europe as well.
The authors focus heavily on the benign relationship between wolves and people, including the wolf that hunted bison calves and deer to feed survivors of the Sand Creek Massacre, but they ignore the stories that do not posit the wolf in a good light.
The reason wolves in Eurasia have sometimes taking to hunting people is really quite simple: Eurasia is a land where people focused much more on domesticating species to create animal agriculture. Agriculture has a tendency to reduce biodiversity in a region, and when people kill off all the deer in an area to make room for sheep, the wolves turn to hunting sheep. If you live in a society in which people do not have ready access to weapons, then the wolves start targeting people. Feudal societies in Europe would have been open target for wolves living in such ecosystems. By contrast, the indigenous people of North America, did not domesticate hoofed animals for agriculture. Instead, they managed the land, often with the use of fire, to create biodiversity of which they could hunt.
The authors do show that dogs and wolves are intricately linked animals. They show that dogs and wolves are the same species. They use many wonderful anecdotes of captive wolves and wolfdogs to make their case, and in making this case, they have made the case clear that dogs are the produce of hunter-gatherer societies and still are conspecific with the wolf.
I do, however, have some quibbles with some of the sources they use in the text. For example, when they discuss Queen Elizabeth Islands wolves, they focus on an account of Elizabeth Marshall Thomas on Baffin Island. She was on Baffin Island for one summer and observed one wolf pack. She is a fine observer of animals, but much of her analysis about dog and wolf behavior is still controversial. The authors also regularly make reference to Cesar Millan as a dog expert, when virtually no credentialed dog behavior expert thinks he is, and to the notorious dogsbite.org website, which is of even more contentious. These authors are making serious and well-reasoned arguments about dog and wolf behavior and relying upon these sources detracted from the work. I would have liked if they had referred to L. David Mech’s wolf observations on Ellesmere or to John Bradshaw as an expert on dog behavior.
I also had some issues with their contention that the Ainu people of Japan are Turkic or Altaic. No one knows exactly who these people are, but they are interesting in their relationship with wolves. Traditional Japanese society, distinct from the Ainu, was actually quite similar to the Siberian cultures that have produced laika dogs that still interbreed with wolves. However, I don’t think anyone still thinks that the Ainu are Turkic or Altaic.
Finally, the authors do make a good case against Coppinger’s model, but they go on to accept Coppinger’s fixed motor pattern dependence model to describe breed specialization. It is certainly true that Coppinger was Eurocentric in his understanding of dog domestication, but both Coppinger and the authors are Anglocentric in their understanding of dog hunting and herding behavior. The authors think this is Coppinger’s strongest argument. I think this is among his weakest. This model states that pointing, herding, and retrieving are all just arrested development of a full predatory sequence. A dog that can point just stalks. It never learns to use its jaws to kill. A border collie stalks but also engages is a type of chasing behavior. It will also never learn to kill. A retriever will run out and grab, but it lacks the killing bite.
The biggest problem with this model is that everyone knows of border collies that have learned to hunt, kill, and eat sheep. I had a hard-driven golden retriever that would retrieve all day, but she would kill rabbits and even fawns.
The Anglo-American concept of specialized gun dogs affected Coppinger’s understanding of their behavior. He never really looked into continental HPRs. For example, Deutsch-Drathaars, the original German variant of the German wirehair, are bred to retrieve, point, track, and dispatch game. Such an animal makes no sense in this model, for it would suggests that an animal that would point would only ever be stuck in that stalking behavior. It would never be able to retrieve, and it certainly would never use its jaws to kill.
A better model says that dogs are born with a tendency to show behaviors, such as exaggerated stalking behavior that can be turned into pointing through training. There are countless stories of pointing dogs that suddenly lost their pointing behavior after running with hard-driving flushing dog. The dog may have been born with that exaggerated stalking behavior, but the behavior was lost when it entered into social interaction. Indeed, much of these specialized hunting behaviors are developed through training, so that what actually happens is the dog’s motor patterns are refined through training rather than being solely the result of being arrested in full. This is why all the old retriever books from England tell the sportsman never to allow his dog to go ratting. As soon as that dog learns to use its jaws to kill, it is very likely that this dog will start using its jaws on the game it is sent to retrieve.
Despite my quibbles and reservations, Pierotti and Fogg have made a convincing case for the hunting mutualism between wolves and humans as the basis for the domestication of dogs. I was particularly impressed with their use of ethnography and non-Western histories to make their case. I do recommend this book for a good case that we do need a new model for dog domestication, and the questions they raise about taxonomy should be within our field of discussion.
On Earth Day 2018, Lil Bub thanked Halo “for exclusively using humanely sourced protein from free-range sustainable farms,” adding, “It’s good for our pets and great for our planet.” Halo was proud to read Lil Bub’s kind words. As a mission-driven brand, Halo works hard to do what’s best for pets, people, and the planet. We’re no stranger to accolades for that work. In 2016 our Spot’s Stew won in the Best Pet Products, Food category of the Natural Child World Eco Excellence Awards. We were also finalists in the supplements and treats categories!
The accolades aren’t why we do it though. As Dave Carter, our Director of Sourcing, says in a Facebook video, “Nature’s kind of messy. Nature creates things that…are unique and individual and the more we learn to work within that system, those animals are helping to restore the soil. They’re helping to build a grassland that captures carbon and makes for a healthy ecosystem.” He added, “We just think that when you go back to that natural, that OrigiNative source, you’re getting a whole protein that’s healthier for us and healthier for our companion animals.”
Carbon capture is important. Jerry Melillo is an ecologist and a member of NOAA’s Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment. Jerry told Energy News Network, “It’s pretty clear that climate change is not going to stop and it will be accelerating if we don’t move to a reduced carbon economy,” Jerry told Midwest Energy News, when he spoke at last year’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Scientists (AAAS).
We’ve seen some crazy weather over the past few years. As climate change continues, scientists say different types of extreme weather will become even more common. For example, some parts of the United States will see stronger and more frequent storms. Some areas will have more droughts and wildfires. Heat waves are also likely to become more common. How will all this crazy weather affect our beloved cats, and what can we do to help them – and ourselves?
Thankfully, Dr. Jason Nicholas, the Chief Medical Officer at Preventive Vet, took the time to talk with us about how these crazy weather patterns might affect our pets’ health. Dr. J, as he’s generally known, is passionate about pet health and helping pet parents better understand their furry friends.
We started by discussing the record-warm winter seasons that have been occurring, despite the late snowfalls that much of the United States has seen this spring. With warmer winters “the parasite seasons many people are used to or think exist are likely to change,” Dr. J explained. “So, ‘flea season’ is likely to start earlier and end later, and there may also be ‘unseasonal flares’ due to changing weather patterns. The same is likely for ‘tick season’ and even ‘intestinal worm season.’”
But seasons outside aren’t the only thing to think about, Dr. J said. Many of these parasites can thrive indoors and become hypobiotic — “sort of like a dormant/arrested stage.” As a result these parasites can be a problem for more of the year and make things worse.
Climae change could also lead to more infectious disease and mosquito-borne parasites. Mosquitos can easily spread diseases to cats. “From a mosquito standpoint, changing weather patterns isn’t just likely to mean longer and more erratic mosquito seasons, but it’ll also mean that places that haven’t historically had problems with disease-spreading mosquito populations are more likely to start having them.”
“Don’t forget, cats can also become infected by heartworms. They’re not just a dog problem,” Dr. J added. “In fact, it can take far fewer heartworms to cause significant disease in cats than it takes in dogs, and there’s no safe and effective treatment for heartworms in cats.” Fortunately, there are safe and effective steps to prevent heartworm infections.
In fact, in 2017 Dr. J wrote a blog post about mosquitos, heartworm disease, and cats. In it he warned that a single mosquito carrying a single worm is all that it takes to give a cat heartworm disease. Obviously keeping your cat indoors helps minimize the risk, but mosquitos can still get inside. He encourages people to do all they can to minimize mosquitos around their home. He also strongly recommends talking with your local veterinarian about the best heartworm prevention option for your individual cat based on where you live and any other parasites from which your cat or other pets may need protection.
In fact, Dr. J says talking with your veterinarian is the “biggest step” any pet parent should take in the face of these changing weather and parasite patterns. He suggests you ask about “the safest, most effective, and most comprehensive parasite prevention and treatment plan for all of the pets in [your] home,” including indoor-only cats.
With an increased risk of severe or more frequent storms, pets and their pet parents also face more risks for floods, fires, or other natural disasters. As with many parts of being a good pet parent, being prepared ahead of time is key. If you need ideas, Halo had a blog post about 7 Ways to Protect Your Pets in an Emergency just a few months ago. Dr. J also provides advice on putting together an emergency kit. People can download Preventive Vet’s Emergency and Disaster Prep eBook for free to get more ideas.
In addition to these specific steps to help your pet, you can also think about doing more to slow climate change. If greenhouse gas emissions can be significantly reduced, some of the worst impacts of climate change could be avoided. Toward that end, scientists are studying a wide range of plans for countries and different sectors of industry to take.
People can also do a lot to deal with their own greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint. Scientist Dr. Frank O’Sullivan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also spoke at the annual meeting of AAAS, “We don’t need one solution. We need a portfolio of solutions” for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Choosing Halo for your pets can be part of that portfolio of solutions.
One way that many people, including Sir Paul McCartney and Oprah, enjoy reducing their carbon footprint through Meatless Mondays. Although cats are obligate carnivores who cannot eat a vegan diet, wholesome vegan food prepared especially for dogs can allow dogs to safely join in a family-wide Meatless Monday with Halo Holistic Garden of Vegan Dog Food kibbles or cans!
In fact, Halo, GreaterGood.org, and Freekibble.com are even working with select shelters to help reduce their carbon paw print through Meatless Mondays for the shelter dogs! They’re supplying both Halo Vegan and Halo Whole Meat food for the dogs in the care of Second Chance Animal Shelter in Massachusetts, Humane Society of Tampa Bay in Florida, and Dutchess County SPCA in New York. Since it’s not good for animals to have one day with a completely different diet, the dogs are achieving their Meatless Monday by having 1/7th of their food each day be Halo Garden of Vegan dog food.
All three shelters have reported that the process is simple and making the dogs very happy. Sheryl Blancato, executive director for Second Chance Animal Shelter said, “We are excited about being part of Meatless Monday and the Halo food donation has helped save the lives of many animals. Since foregoing meat even one day per week has an impact on the environment, imagine the difference with can make with all of the dogs at an animal shelter going meatless on Monday!”
Together we can make a difference for our planet so that cats and other animals can live their very best lives now and in the future. Halo is here to do our part to make that as easy as possible.