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When Squirrels Need Help From Humans

Kelly Taylor




Bella’s Story

Owl Attack and Foster Family

Bella was raised as a baby with three other rescue squirrels by a family who frequently rehabilitates wildlife and releases them. She came to be in their care because she was attacked by an owl. Of the four baby squirrels the family fostered at that time, Bella was the last one to open her eyes. Brantley also noticed that of the four squirrels, Bella was the only one that would let humans touch her.

Releasing the Squirrels to the Wild

When it came time to release the squirrels out to the wild, they were released from their nesting box. Soon after, Bella showed up at the door. One of the humans would exit the house with nuts and Bella would take a few out of their hands and then leave.

Bella’s Baby Squirrels!

Then one day, Brantley noticed one of Bella’s legs appeared injured. It was pink with fur missing, so Brantley decided it was time to take her back in to heal up. They put her back into the nesting box. About two weeks later right before they were going to release Bella back out into the wild, Brantley went out to check to make sure she had plenty of food and water. She saw blood at the top of the nesting box. Brantley opened the lid and there was Bella with her very own litter of three pups!

Bella ended up staying in the nesting box a while longer with her pups until they were old enough to go out on their own. Then Brantley and crew got to release her kids out in to the wild just like they got to do with Bella before.

Bella Still Visits Every Day

Now Bella is eight years old and she still stops by Brantley’s house three to five times per week to get her treat of nuts and spend a few minutes with her foster humans.

Bucky’s Story

When Jannet First Met Bucky

Jannet Talbott saw a squirrel eating at her bird feeder one day with something strange on his mouth. She named this squirrel Bucky and kept watching him each day. Soon, she realized it was Bucky’s own teeth sticking out of his mouth.

Bucky’s Life Threatening Condition

Normally squirrels keep their teeth down by using them because they never stop growing. Bucky’s jaw wasn’t aligned properly, so his teeth continued to grow since he couldn’t eat properly to keep them filed down with the food he ate.

Jannet Is Here to Help!

Bucky was going to starve and die if his conditioned continued. One day, Jannet captured him and cut his teeth. Squirrels don’t have nerve endings in their teeth, so it doesn’t hurt to cut them. Once Jannet cut his teeth, he was able to eat normally. She’s keeping an eye on Bucky though in case he needs her tooth cutting services again before they get too bad.



Stella the Dog Can Talk!

Renee Yates



Christina Hunger is a speech pathologist who works with young children around two years old to enhance their ability to communicate with adults. Christina has always wondered if she could teach a puppy to use the word buttons, too. Several years ago, Christina adopted a dog named Stella.  She decided to try and see if the same methods she uses for her therapy would also help her puppy to learn to communicate.  Many dog owners would like to really understand what their pets are thinking about.  Stella uses buttons to communicate her wishes to her owners.  Christina can talk with her dog.

Christina set up a group of buttons for Stella to push with her paws.  Each button was introduced singularly, and over time Stella learned the meaning of a variety of buttons. The buttons were also grouped by color.  Each color represents a particular group of words.  Stella can press “walk” or “beach” with her paws to indicate what she wants to do.  She can also press buttons for Christina or Jake, her other owner.  Stella will walk on the board of 26 buttons as she looks for the one she wants.  Stella took the longest to learn her first button.  After that, it was much easier to introduce more buttons to the dog.

When Stella began to learn to use the buttons, she would only use one paw.  Over time, Stella began using both paws to press the buttons. Using both paws makes it easier for Stella to put more than one button together.  At this point, she can put a series of five or less words together such as “Christina walk”  or “Want Jake Come.”  Christina feels that the dog showed relief when she finally learned how to punch the buttons for her needs.  Stella barks when she hits the buttons, and is able to repeat requests if Christina does not understand her or does not see the dog punch all of her buttons.

Christina has started a blog entitled Hunger for Words where visitors can see the progress of Stella and her buttons. The blog has a number of cool videos of Stella’s day.  Christina is hoping to teach this method to other dogs and hopes that this method will improve the communication between owners and pets.  She also feels that having the board made a recent move easier for Stella to understand.  Moves often make pets anxious, but Stella was very calm about their recent move to the beach.  Stella intends to introduce more words for Stella to learn.

Stella has been featured in People magazine, which is following the story of Stella from time to time for its readers.  For more on Stella, go here to reach Christina’s blog.  Christina is currently looking for another dog that can learn to push buttons.  She is hoping to organize a class of animals and show their owners how to make both of their lives easier.

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Gallant Helps Pet Owners Plan Ahead By Banking Dogs’ Stem Cells When They Get Spayed Or Neutered

Shannon Jackson



If you’re wondering what you can do to make your pet’s life as long and healthy as possible, it’s a good idea to consider banking your dog’s stem cells. Gallant is a new startup devoted to pet health that can help you do just that.

Human health care has benefited enormously from stem cell technology in the recent past. Now with the help of Gallant, pet health can benefit too. Gallant’s mission is to make it so that dogs can benefit from regenerative therapies. The company now has collected $11 million in funding and is based in Los Angeles. 

The founders of Gallant have made note of the fact that we plan ahead for our children, but we rarely plan ahead for the lives of our pets. However, harvesting stem cells when dogs are young and healthy creates a huge asset to pet health care in the future. 

The stem cell banking service offered by Gallant has just recently launched. Yet it is already stirring up a lot of attention in pet care. The company has grown to acquire part of the previously existing company Cook Regentec. This acquisition has included possession of stem cell banking services that were already being offered by Cook Regentec. It has also included acquisition of various cell therapy products that involved harvesting reproductive tissues. 

The strength of the operations of this company lie in the fact that it involves harvesting stem cells when neutering and spaying is being performed. This maximizes the efficiency of the harvesting and also makes it so that stem cells are harvested when the animal is young. At this time, the stem cells are healthiest and best for regenerative cell therapies.

The founder of the startup enterprise is Aaron Hirschhorn. Hirschhorn initially founded DogVacay. He founded this company after suffering from back pain himself. After suffering from back pain, Hirschhorn also saw his dog suffer through arthritis pain. While Hirschhorn noted that he was able to benefit from regenerative therapies, no such therapies were available for his dog. 

Another leading figure at the company is Linda Black. Linda Black is an entrepreneur with experience with other ventures in the past involving the life sciences. Other companies Black has worked for have included SciStem and Medicus Biosciences. These two ventures were also focused on regenerative therapies. 

Thanks to the $11 million in initial funding available to Gallant, the company made the purchase of the Cook-Regentec division. Now Gallant is able to offer pet owners the option to have stem cells collected any time they take a pet to have a spay or neuter surgery performed. 

In the future, regenerative therapies will be more widely available for pet owners, but it’s important to have the young stem cells available to provide these therapies. With the services of Gallant, it’s easy to ensure that effective treatments will be available for your dog for chronic conditions like arthritis down the road. 

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Prieta Saved Her Fellow Horses From the Easy Fire

Kelly Taylor



One of the many fires in California recently was the Easy fire, the one that almost burned down the Reagan library in the Simi Valley area.  This area is a ranching community, so the sudden fire resulted in many large animals needing to be rescued quickly. This is not easy to do during a fire, since the animals often become frightened of the smoke and fire.

One was an elderly horse named Prieta.  The horse had been led away from the corral to the safety of the transportation area first because she was peaceful during the smoke.  The ranchers thought this might be due to her being an elderly horse.  Normally, in a fire horses can be quite difficult to rescue due to their fear and anxiety.

Whatever the reason, Prieta was calm during the fire and was one of the first horses led away. All of a sudden, she reared up and headed back toward the smokey corral, galloping right back into the fire.  Despite attempts to call her back, the horse continued on to the corral.  Now the rescuers had to go back and do the rescue again.

Once in the corral, Prieta seemed to round up the horses in her horse group.  She seemed to calm them down, but she was leading the horses in the wrong direction!   She led them deeper and deeper  into the corral.  This, of course, was no help to the people trying to rescue the horses in a hurry.  As the horses disappeared from view, the rescuers became very concerned.

Shortly thereafter the rescuers heard the sound of hooves on the road. At first the rescue group thought that these were other horses running away from the fire from a different ranch.  However, a rescuer noticed these horses looked familiar.   This was the group of horses that were in the smokey corral.  Apparently, the horses had found a way that allowed the horses to exit the corral as a group.  Part of the fence was damaged by the fire or the horses trying to get out, resulting in a side exit in the corral fence. At the end of the line came Prieta.  

The fire had led to the fence being damaged in an area the rescuers could not see because of the smoke.   It seemed Prieta had gone back to make sure her horse family was rescued from the fire.  She did an amazing job, rescuing all of her horse family.  She was even able to calm down a frisky colt named Onyx who was not responding well to the rescuers.  

Local vetinarians suggested that Prieta was using her natural maternal instincts to make sure her family was safe.  She herded her “children” together and then followed them to a path of safety.  Thanks to Prieta’s efforts, much time was  saved and other animals were able to be rescued at other ranches.  Prieta’s owner is looking forward to returning his herd to their ranch in the future, once the fire damage is cleared and the fence is rebuilt.

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Puppy Care Basics: Top Tips for When Your Puppy is Attacked

Kevin Wells



If you have a new puppy, one of your worst fears may be that it is attacked by another animal. It’s one of those fears that we all have when we first get a new puppy. We’ve heard about and seen other attacks, so it’s very much in the realm of possibilities. Fortunately, there are some important tips that you should consider, so you can protect your puppy. 

What Are the Signs of Attack?

Your puppy will probably appear to be an easy target to dogs and other animals, but if you pay attention, you may just notice the signs, and be able to remove yourself and your pet form the situation. You may notice the following signs:

  • Snarling
  • Barking
  • Growling
  • Baring teeth

You should be aware of your surroundings any time you’re outside playing with, walking, or in other ways interacting with your puppy. So, at the first sign of aggressive behavior by another animal, take immediate action. If that behavior is directed specifically at your puppy, this is typically a good time to pick your puppy up and put yourself between you and the other animal. 

You can also mitigate the circumstances by avoiding areas like dog parks where you know there may be dangerous animals or aggressive dogs, particularly when your dog is still so young. There are plenty of ways to give your puppy the social interaction and the exercise they need without putting them in a bad situation. 

Stay Calm & Collective

You should be aware of your surroundings, but you must also stay calm both before and after the attack. When you are calm and collected, you may be able to pull the animals apart, ask for help from others who are close by, and even add a level-headed approach to the situation.

When you are calm and collected, you can also assert your authority over the other animal. It doesn’t always work, particularly if the other animal already sees you as a threat or challenge.

  • Speak with conviction and command.
  • Watch your body language.
  • Stand tall and avoid submissive postures. 

The best strategy is still to remove yourself and your puppy from the situation by making a quick exit. While you’re edging away, though, you can (hopefully) avoid being bitten or attacked. 

Emotional Support

Your first thought is to protect your puppy and get you and the puppy away from the situation. Your next thought should be to offer emotional support to your puppy. Check to make sure that your puppy really is physically ok. Are there bite marks? Bruising? Limping? Is the puppy whimpering? 

If you’re concerned about the well-being of your puppy, take your little one to the veterinarian. They will perform a full exam and may recommend additional tests or scans to make sure everything is ok. The vet may also recommend that you monitor your puppy over the next few days. 

Gather Information

Don’t forget to talk to the other owner(s). It’s not typically helpful to confront or accuse the other person(s). Remain calm, and ask for contact information. Take pictures, and jot down (or record) details about what happened, what the dog looks like (breed if you know it), and any previous history about the animal. For example, if you know or if the owner mentions that the animal has attacked other dogs in the past, it shows a pattern of aggressive behavior. Take note of the date, time, and any other information that’s related to the incident. 

If your puppy is in good health, you may never need to remember the details of the attack or potential incident. But, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If the owner of the other animal claims that you’re at fault, you need as much information as you can get to describe what really happened. 

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Puppy Care Basics: Top Tips About Helping Your Puppy Through Spaying and Neutering

Shannon Jackson



There are lots of reasons why you’ve chosen to spay or neuter your puppy. It’s the responsible thing to do, because there are already too many homeless pets. It can also contribute to the health and long life of your puppy. Neutered males live 18% longer, while spayed females live 23% longer. Part of those longevity stats probably link back to lower incidents of testicular cancer and prostate cancer. a

How Does It Work?

When your female puppy is spayed, the vet removes the uterus and ovaries in a procedure called an ovariohysterectomy. So, your puppy will not be able to reproduce, and she will probably not demonstrate the behavioral issues associated with going into heat.

When your male puppy is neutered, the vet puts him under anesthesia, makes incisions, and removes the testicles. The vet typically fits your puppy with a cone to prevent them from licking the area. The incision should take about two weeks to heal, and your vet will monitor the healing and continued health of your pet. 

Quick Tips to Support Recovery

The spay or neuter procedure is not the most pleasant experience, but your puppy will recover fairly quickly. You can support his or her recovery by following these quick tips: 

  • Check the incision every day. Make sure it’s healing properly. Contact your vet if you notice unusual swelling, discharge, or odors. 
  • Don’t give your puppy a bath for ~10 days, or as instructed by your vet. 
  • Set up a quiet, comfortable environment for your puppy to avoid over-stimulation. 
  • Use the cone to prevent your puppy from licking or biting at the incision. 
  • Keep your puppy from getting overexcited. Keep him or her from jumping around or running until fully recovered.
  • If your puppy develops diarrhea or vomiting, or demonstrates other symptoms, contact your vet right away. 

Why You Should Spay/Neuter? 

While there is some risk associated with any medical procedure, the benefits far outweigh any possible dangers. It’s an effective and low-cost way to help your puppy live a long and happy life. After a minor inconvenience, your puppy can return to their former playful selves. It can help improve their behavior, since your puppy more affectionate. Your puppy may also be less likely to roam or engage in fights. 

Your puppy is a part of your life. You care about him or her, and you really don’t want to inflict any pain. Sometimes, it’s just important to consider your puppy’s overall health and happiness.  The best time to spay or neuter your puppy is by four months of age, but the breed will also factor in. Seek out and discuss the procedure with your vet. He or she should have the experience to provide the care you need, while insuring that you’re doing what’s best for your puppy at the appropriate time. It really is a loving and caring decision that will only serve to solidify the bond you have with your puppy both now and in the future. 

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