Saint Bernard History
Saint Bernard dogs are said to have originated in monasteries located in a pass through the Alps between Italy and Switzerland. This pass is now known as The Great Saint Bernard Pass. There are great tales of rescue by the Saint Bernard, but their original purpose was more likely companionship for the monks, both at the hospice and on their own searches for people who were lost or injured in the snow. It was said that the Saint Bernard could sense avalanches coming, so they were able to warn the monks of impending danger.
These dogs eventually learned to do the rescue work on their own and would travel in packs of two or three looking for those in need of help. Even if someone were buried in the snow, the Saint would sniff the person out, dig to him, and lie beside him to keep him warm, while the other dog would return to the hospice for help. Smart dogs, those Saints!
Saint Bernard Characteristics
The Saint Bernard is known for its loyalty and vigilance and is tolerant of both children and animals. Because of these traits, it has become a family dog. They also make good watchdogs, as their size can be startling to strangers, though their temperament is mild. Today, everyone easily recognizes the Saint Bernard at first sight! The AKC standard for the Saint Bernard calls for the Saint to stay true to the original standard of the hospice dog. The Saint is a large breed, a member of the working group. They are strong and muscular, with a powerful head. Males should be at least 27½” tall, females at least 25½” tall. They weigh between 120 and 200 lbs.
The Saint Bernard muzzle is short, and his jowls hang slightly (yes, they drool). Their eyes should be medium sized, dark brown, and deep set. They should hold an intelligent, friendly expression. The Saint’s ears are medium-sized and hang close to the head, though they may perk up when the Saint is interested in something.
The long hair Saint (rough coat) should resemble the short hair Saint (smooth coat) in every way except for hair length. Interestingly, the longhaired Saint Bernard was created by outcrossing to the Newfoundland, but rather than keeping the dogs warmer, the weight of the snow hanging on their coat hindered their progress.
Saint Bernard Temperament
The Saint Bernard is one of the gentle giants of the canine world. They are docile beasts that are good around children (who are old enough to handle the Saint’s size), and though they aren’t overly playful, they are sweet and affectionate and like to be around their people. They are smart and extremely loyal. Saints can have a stubborn streak, so puppy-training classes are recommended for every Saint Bernard; but they are also very eager to please and respond well to positive, consistent training. You won’t have a better friend than your Saint!
Saint Bernard Health and Care
The Saint is easy to groom, needling only an occasional bath and a good combing a couple of times a week. The breed comes with a wide range of health concerns, ranging from eye problems to gastric torsion to cardiomyopathy, and of course being a large breed, hip and elbow dysplasia. These health issues are consciously watched for and tested for by reputable and responsible breeders, making it extra important to know your Saint breeder well.
It is also important to know that Saint Bernard does not tolerate heat well. If you live in warmer climates, special care must be taken to keep your Saint cool and comfortable, and this means living in the house, where your Saint would rather be anyway. They do need moderate exercise and enjoy a nice slow paced walk. For more information on this endearing and lovable giant, visit this link.
Be an Animal Rescue Intern – a Jr. EAMT Humane Ed-venture!
Do you have a child who loves animals? Is he or she a fan of the Animal Cops Phoenix TV Show? Would they like to learn first-hand how they can make a difference in their community? Are they thinking about becoming a vet, or animal paramedic, or cruelty investigator when they grow up?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then THIS is the Humane Ed-venture day camp for them! Campers will learn from our own animal paramedics and Emergency Animal Rescue Technicians (EAMTs) about the plight of homeless animals in our community and actually work through the steps of a cruelty investigation.
They will be able to see one of our EAMT ambulances and learn about what to do if they see an injured animal on the street. The day will also include a tour of our South Mountain facility, a visit from a local animal rescue organization, and a craft that will reinforce the day’s theme.
This event is geared for boys and girls 8-12 years old and the cost is $35.00 per child. The event will be held this Saturday, May 18, 2013 from 12:00pm to 4:00pm at the AZ Humane Society Campus for Compassion located at 1521 W. Dobbins Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85041. Visit this link for ticket ordering and more information on this fun and informative afternoon! All proceeds benefit The Arizona Humane Society.
Thinking of Adopting a Pet?
Adopting a pet is an extremely rewarding decision, and we’re here to help you pick out the perfect four-legged family member. When you adopt a pet, not only are you adding to your family, you’re saving a life. The Arizona Humane Society has breeds of all sizes, temperaments and energy levels. Oftentimes, dogs are already trained and housebroken, making the transition into yourhome an easy one. All of our pets are waiting to give you their unconditional love and introduce you to the joy of pet ownership.
The Arizona Humane Society is a proud partner of the Alliance For Companion Animals, a group of eight local animal welfare agencies who have teamed up for the “Fix. Adopt. Save.” campaign – a collaborative effort to encourage responsible pet ownership, and to dramatically increase spay/neuter and pet adoption rates in the Valley. Visit this link for additional info and learn how you can make a difference in an animal’s life.
Owning a Cocker Spaniel can be very exciting and rewarding, but making the decision to do so is also life changing. Before “taking the plunge,” speak with as many Cocker owners and breeders as possible – at dog shows or through contacts made via the American Kennel Club and American Spaniel Club websites.
People “in the breed” are often happy to share their knowledge about their dogs. You may come to believe that a Cocker Spaniel would be the “perfect” addition to your life – or, you may realize that it would not. Sharing your life with a Cocker Spaniel – or any dog – means a total commitment to loving, caring for, training, disciplining, and protecting a living creature that depends on YOU. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly.
Would I Make a Good Pet Owner?
Would you love to have a Cocker, but worry that you don’t have the time, patience, or knowledge to raise a puppy? Or, would you be able to find room in your heart to provide a loving home for an older Cocker’s later years? Maybe you would like to own a Cocker Spaniel, but cannot afford to purchase one from a breeder, or are one of those special people who have a burning desire to save an abandoned Cocker. Perhaps the “right” rescue Cocker can be the perfect match for you. Cockers are given up to shelters or rescue groups for many reasons, usually through no fault of their own. Often, there are major changes in the lives of their owners – i.e. illness, death, divorce, a new baby, a new home, etc. Sadly, many are rescued from deplorable situations such as inhumane puppy mills, or have been lost or simply abandoned.
Cockers fostered by American Spaniel Club representatives are carefully screened for health and temperament before they are placed in a new home. All dogs have had the appropriate health tests, and have been spayed or neutered.
A Rewarding Undertaking
If you can find room in your heart and home for a rescued Cocker, you will be rewarded by the wagging tail of a dog who will love you forever for giving him a second chance at happiness.
To find out more about rescuing a Cocker Spaniel, please visit: www.asc-cockerspaniel.org and click on the rescue button.
What Purpose Do Whiskers Serve?
Cats possess many qualities that give them their astounding flexibility and athletic prowess; one of the most prominent features all cats share that enables this are whiskers. But why exactly do cats have whiskers?
What is a Whisker
A common mistake most people make is making the assumption that cat whiskers and human hair are alike. The whiskers, unlike human hair, are actually touch receptors. These longer, stiffer hairs — also called vibrissae — are embedded more deeply in the cat’s body than the shorter top-fur coat. The vibrissae are connected securely to the sensitive muscular and nervous systems, sending information about the surroundings directly to the cat’s sensory nerves. This gives the animal a heightened sense of awareness and sensation, helping the cat to detect and respond to changes in its surroundings.
A cat’s tactile hairs may be the most prominent on either side of its nose and upper facial lip. You may be also able to see shorter whiskers above each of the eyes (kind of like eyebrows). But did you know that cats also have whiskers on their jaw line and on the back of their front legs?
Thou Shall Not Cut Your Cat’s Whiskers!
Another common mistake is presuming that cat whiskers should be trimmed. Some cats, like the Devon Rex, even have curly facial whiskers, so you might think that it wouldn’t be harmful to straighten them out with a little trim. You’d be wrong!
Grooming, trimming or cutting off a cat’s whiskers is a BIG no-no. Without their tactile hairs, cats become very disoriented and frightened. In short, whiskers enable cats to gauge and make sense of their environment. Whiskers do grow back, but cats need their whiskers to remain intact in the same way you and I need our touch senses to get around. That is, cats use their whiskers in the same way that we use the touch receptors in our fingertips to feel our way around in the darkness, and to alert us to potentially painful situations. Cat whiskers shed and grow back naturally, and should be left alone.
Feeling Their Way Around — Even in the Dark
Cats have a sensory organ at the end of their whiskers called a proprioceptor, which sends tactile signals to the brain and nervous system. The proprioceptor is related to the position of the body and limbs, an important part of knowing where every part of the body is so that decisions can be made for the next immediate movement. This organ makes the cat’s whiskers very sensitive to even the smallest change in the cat’s environment. A cat’s whiskers not only help it to gauge whether it can fit into a tight space (without even being able to see it), they can even respond to vibrations in the air, such as when the cat is chasing prey.
Whiskers also serve as a way for cats to visually measure distance, which is why they are able to leap so quickly and gracefully onto a narrow ledge or out of harm’s way.
Perhaps when playing “chase the toy” with a cat, you’ll notice its whiskers are pointing forward. This is probably its “game face,” a sign that your cat is in hunting mode.
Whiskers are a vital part of a cat’s mobility and sense of security. Without whiskers, cats would not be able to achieve the great acrobatic feats that are so awe-inspiring, or protect themselves from dangerous situations.
AZ Animal Welfare League (AAWL)
21st Century Pet Health recently visited Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL), Arizona’s largest no-kill shelter, to donate nutritional products. We met Staff and the multitude of volunteers who were all hard at work. When the offloading of vitamins and supplements was complete, we were treated to a tour of their animal care campus, including medical facilities, adoption center, and lots more. We saw dogs, cats, sugar gliders, a pair of exotic birds, even reptiles. How do they do it? Through contributions of money, donations of supplies, and offering assistance (along with a few miracles)!
You can be a miracle worker, too! Order any of these items from www.PetSmart.com and make the delivery to AAWL, 25 N. 40th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034. Items needed include: Cat Litter (any type), Pooper Scoopers, Canned Dog Food (any type), X-Pens, Wire Collapsible Crates (various sizes), Dog Collars, Dog Leashes (6 ft. or longer), Kitten and Puppy Milk Replacer, Glucosamine,
Stress/Anxiety Medications, or Money! You can donate directly https://aawl.org/content/donate-aawl
The Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL) was founded in 1971 by a group of concerned animal lovers. Amanda Blake, “Miss Kitty” on the television program, “Gunsmoke”, led this group. In the late 1970s, the organization built its first shelter. By the mid 1990s, the AAWL & SPCA began rescuing animals scheduled to be euthanized by the County, and after rehabilitation, made them available for adoption to the community. Over the past 42 years the organization has grown from adopting a handful of animals each year to a full service animal welfare organization and leader in innovative behavior training, medical care, adoption, education and community outreach programs. Today the shelter has an onsite veterinary clinic, kennels with a separate cattery, a training center and a freestanding infirmary. In 2005, the Arizona Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) merged into AAWL. The new organization was renamed the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA (AAWL & SPCA).
The Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA (AAWL & SPCA) is the largest and oldest no-kill shelter in Arizona. They are a no-kill shelter in that they do not euthanize animals except for the rare occasions when it is in the best interest of the animal to do so, usually from untreatable medical conditions.
AAWL Creates Happy, Healthy Arizona Families
AAWL & SPCA rescues, rehabilitates, and re-homes more than 5,000 dogs and cats that are abandoned or that have been surrendered by their owners. They do this primarily by rescuing animals from other shelters in Maricopa County where they are likely to be euthanized due to the lack of time and resources to care for them. At any one time the AAWL shelter will hold 140 cats and 190 dogs. They also have a foster parent network of approximately 90 families who provide care and shelter in their homes for puppies and kittens that are too young to be adopted, and those animals that are recovering from medical procedures or that need socialization before adoption.
All pets offered for adoption have been spayed or neutered; micro-chipped and are current on all vaccinations. AAWL’s medical team provides any medical treatments needed, including surgeries, and all animals are evaluated by our behavior department.
Helping Animals by Building a Better Community
AAWL & SPCA not only adopts companion animals into loving homes, they also hold a leadership position in the community in education and animal welfare issues. We offer a robust Education program reaching approximately 9,000 annually from toddlers to teens. In addition, they offer extensive dog and obedience training classes. Learn more about their Phoenix veterinary services and animal clinic (PetMD) open to the public by visiting this LINK.
The Xoloitzcuintli dog breed (pronounced “show-low-eats-queent-lee”), sometimes called the Mexican Hairless, may well have descended from the first dogs to set paw on the North American continent. In their native Mexico and Central America, they were popular “doctors,” the heat given off by their body being comforting to people with arthritis and other ailments; people still like to cuddle with them today.
Unlike dogs that were created by crossing or mixing two or more breeds, the Xolo is considered to be a natural breed, probably the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation. For centuries, the breed was molded by natural selection, not by human manipulation.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the ancestors of the Xolo were dogs that accompanied migratory peoples across the Bering landmass–now submerged– from Asia to the New World. The dog we now know as the Xoloitzcuintli takes his name from the Aztec deity Xolotl, the god of fire and the escort of the dead to the underworld, and “itzcuintli,” the Aztec word for dog. These dogs of Xolotl were said to have healing powers, especially effective in cases of asthma, rheumatism and insomnia. In life, they frightened away evil spirits and intruders, and they were believed to serve as guides for the dead as they made their way from this world to the next. Unfortunately, that guide job usually involved being sacrificed to accompany the dead. Even less fortunately, Xolos were also considered good eats.
Nonetheless, they thrived and went through periods of popularity, beginning in 1887, the first time the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club, which at the time referred to it as the Mexican Hairless. A Mexican dog named Mee Too was the first Xolo registered with the AKC. After that first flush of interest, little was heard from the breed, except for a brief time in the spotlight in 1940, when a dog named Chinito Jr. became the first and only Xolo to earn an AKC championship. Pet stores could barely keep the dogs in stock. Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo portrayed them in artwork. Fashion is fickle, though, and the Xolo again dropped from view, so much so that the AKC deregistered it in 1959.
The breed might have disappeared altogether, but fans have brought it back from the brink of extinction. Today it is considered a national treasure in Mexico and was named dog of the year there in 2010. Approximately 30,000 are known to exist worldwide. The American Kennel Club brought the breed back into the fold in 2011. The Xolo currently resides at the intersection of rarity and popularity and sells for $2,000 to $2,500.
The adult Xolo is a calm dog that is aloof toward strangers but attentive toward his family. He usually chooses one person as his favorite but does not stint on affection toward other family members. A daily walk or an energetic playtime in a fenced yard satisfies his exercise needs. The rest of the time, he’ll enjoy lying in the sun or snuggling with you in an effort to stay warm. Take him with you whenever you can; he’s not fond of being left home alone.
Xolos are excellent watchdogs and will alert you to anything that seems of concern. They are not nuisance barkers, however, so if they sound off, it’s a good idea to see what has disturbed them. Xolos are wary of strangers and are not the type of dog to make friends easily with people outside their family. They are also territorial toward other animals that come onto their property. Xolos that have not been well socialized may be aggressive toward people or dogs they don’t know.
Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who’s beating up his littermates or the one who’s hiding in the corner. Always meet at least one of the parents-usually the mother is the one whose available-to ensure that they have nice temperaments that you’re comfortable with. Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents is also helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when he grows up.
Like every dog, Xoloitzcuintli need early socialization– exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences– when they’re young. Socialization helps ensure that your Xoloitzcuintli puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.
Although the Xolo is not known to be prone to any serious genetic diseases, he has some traits that can affect his appearance and how you care for him. The first, of course, is hairlessness. A Xolo needs protection from the sun and from extremely cold weather. Apply sunscreen all over his body, especially if he is light-colored, and don’t leave him outdoors for long periods unless he has a shady place where he can retreat from the sun’s rays. In snowy or bitter cold weather, he’ll appreciate a sweater or coat to keep him warm. Indoors, let the Xolo go naked so he doesn’t overheat or develop skin problems from having his pores covered up. The good news is that his tough skin heals quickly if he gets a cut or abrasion.
The hairless Xolo has smooth but tough skin that fits closely to his body. What little hair he has adorns the top of the head, the feet and the last third of the tail, up to the tip. A coated Xolo is completely covered with short, smooth, close-fitting hair. In both varieties, the hair may be any color. Typically, it is black, gray-black, slate, red, liver or bronze. Some Xolos have white spots and markings.
You might think that a hairless dog needs little to no grooming, but think again. It’s true that the Xolo often cleans himself like a cat and is unlikely to get fleas, but because he sweats through his skin and paw pads, it’s important to keep those areas clean. Wash the feet weekly to make sure the sebaceous glands remain unclogged. Bathe the dog every couple of weeks with a gentle dog shampoo. It is usually not necessary to apply oils or lotions to the skin. Wipe off any sunscreen after the dog has been outside.
Children and other pets
The family-oriented Xolo can be good with children, especially if he is brought up with them. He’s not a big fan of having his ears or tail pulled, however, so supervise any interactions with very young children. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
Xoloitzcuintli can get along well with other dogs and cats if they grow up with them. They may be less sociable toward strange dogs, however, and their high prey drive inclines them to chase cats and other furry animals they see outdoors.