Free Guide to At-Home Dog Training

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If you've been spending lots of time at home with your dog, why not put it to good use with some training?

Training your dog—whether it's a puppy or you want to teach an old dog new tricks—can be a rewarding experience for both you and your dog. Training not only keeps dogs safer in unpredictable situations, it’s also an excellent way to strengthen your bond and deepen your relationship. 

However, it can be hard to know where to begin, so the folks at Rover have put together a "Dog Training 101 guide" authored by certified professional dog trainers. Throughout this guide, you’ll find tips and information focused on positive reinforcement. This training philosophy aims to help your dog associate wanted behaviors with good things like treats and attention.

The comprehensive guide includes six chapter and is available here:

Therapy Dogs and Autism

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The federal government's Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that, in 2020, about 1 in 54 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Autism or autism spectrum disorder is a set of conditions with symptoms such as repetitive behaviors, challenges in communication and social skills, sleep disorders and sensory sensitivities.

There are varying degrees of autism, and while there is no cure, there are many therapies, tools and interventions that may be helpful. One option families explore is bringing an autism therapy dog into their family. A therapy dog is trained to provide comfort in a therapeutic context. Outside of medical settings or an institutional environment, a therapy dog is an option for people with autism because they can help encourage social interaction as well as being calming.

DogDigz offers a helpful, comprehensive guide to the use of therapy dogs for children. It includes:

  • an explanation of the differences between therapy, companion and service dogs
  • types of dogs for specific circumstances
  • how a therapy dog can help a child with autism
  • organizations that can help

Get this free guide here:


5 Ways Your Dog Can Help You Get Through COVID-19

Jumpstory-download20200713-171305Guest Post by Lynell McCready

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning people that dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is stressful. It’s important to take steps to help manage potentially overwhelming emotions and anxiety. 

During this trying time, families have suffered an economic burden; they have had to shelter in place and practice social distancing. All of these factors contribute to anxiety. It’s crucial to find a way to ease stress and to find enjoyment. If you are a pet owner, you know that your dog or cat plays an active role in relieving your anxiety. Consider five ways your pet can help you through the COVID19 pandemic. 

1. A Pet is Good for Your Mental Health

There is a reason thousands of families welcome dogs and cats into their hearts each year. A pet makes a great companion if you are stuck at home and cut off from friends and family. Your dog is a friendly ear when you need someone to talk to or a great distraction when you feel the stress mounting. 

Often pets can pick up cues for how someone they love is feeling, too, so if you are sad or lonely, your dog will be there to provide comfort and may even make you laugh. 

2. Pets Give You Purpose

When you are stuck at home, it can be a struggle to find a reason to get up out of bed. A dog that needs exercise or grooming provides purpose. It’s not just about you. There is someone special in your life that needs your help, and that is motivating. 

Having a dog means you must stick to a schedule, get out of the house several times a day, and do some cleanup. He is the gift that keeps on giving by letting you know that there are still things you must do even if you are sheltering in place. 

3.  Dogs Keep You Moving

Staying home puts you at risk of becoming inactive. Lack of physical exercise can encourage chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes. People who live sedentary lives have a higher risk of developing obesity, heart disease, and dementia. 

The pandemic may mean that you can’t go to the gym, play tennis or even golf. The things that kept you active in the past are out of your reach right now, except for maybe one. The need to walk the dog doesn’t change because there is a virus out there. 

Having a dog can be a source of activity. You can take her with you for a run or go to the park and play. It’s a chance to get outside and breathe in the fresh air. 

4. Take a Break

For many, the pandemic means working at home. It’s easy to get caught up in your work and forget to take a break. You don’t have colleagues to get a cup of coffee with or to remind you it’s time to quit for the day. 

Your office buddy is now the four-legged variety that nuzzles your leg when it’s time to get up from the desk. She is there to let you know it’s been several hours since you took her outside. Your dog keeps you on schedule when being on the clock means staying at home in quarantine.  

5. Add a Little Sweetness to Your Life

Between watching the news reports and interacting on social media, it’s easy to get caught up in the negativity. Add that to the fact that you are stuck at home either by yourself or with your family, and it’s easy to feel like there is little joy in life right now. 

A dog is nothing but joy. That unconditional love and lasting sweetness will remind you that there are good things in life. This situation is temporary, so focusing on the negative does more harm than good.

When you feel that negative energy taking over, sit on the couch, and have a cuddle. Maybe it’s time to grab the leash and take a walk or do some training. Your dog is ready anytime you are, so make the most of his positive nature and let it help you fend off the negative. 

When the pandemic is over, you will look back on your time with your pet and develop a new appreciation for what a dog or cat brings to your life.

Lynell McCready has had pets all her life, and each one has taught her something different about not only herself but how she wishes to view the world. But it wasn’t until a job in the late nineties that took her away from her animals did she realize the impact that we have on our animals’ lives. For the last 15 years, she’s been a pet-sitter, offering and assuring people who do have to leave their pets that they will be well-loved and taken care of while they are away.

Image: Jumpstory

Sarge's 15th Annual Dog Walk Goes Virtual - Sign Up by July 19

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Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation, Waynesville, NC, will hold its annual Dog Walk — in a new, safe way. The 15th Annual Dog Walk event will go virtual, for the safety of Sarge’s supporters and staff.

Get ready for a Special Edition

There will be a week of online Dog Walk events Aug. 15 – 22, to celebrate everyone’s pets and the animals in Sarge’s care.

“We knew we could not socially distance having the traditional Dog Walk in downtown Waynesville, with hundreds of people and their pets, so we got creative and came up with a new idea,” said Fred Strohm, Sarge’s administrator. “This year, the walk will be virtual — which opens up new opportunities.”

Since Sarge’s has many supporters in and outside of Haywood County, the online format allows people to participate wherever they live.

Register by July 19

There is no registration form this year. All participants need to do to register is order the Sarge’s 15th Annual Dog Walk – Special Edition 2020 T-shirt during July 5 – 19. Visit to get your shirt!

Choose a custom-designed Sarge’s 2020 shirt from eight different styles, including long-sleeve T-shirts, sweatshirts, tank top, and youth styles — with several colors for each style.

Everyone is encouraged to donate to Sarge’s and purchase a Dog Walk Special Edition T-shirt – even those who don’t have pets.

Cats are included

Another great addition to the virtual event is that cats (and other pets) can be included. Sarge’s staff is looking forward to seeing a lot of photos of cats with their humans.

Send pics

Once the T-shirts are received in late July, people should take pictures and/or short videos of themselves wearing the shirts with their pet, and post them on social media, using the hashtag #sarges2020. Those who don’t have social media, may email the photo to:

Sarge’s will be monitoring the posts to collect the pics and videos through the hashtag.

Contests, too

Those who would like to enter a contest may take a photo or record a video of their pet’s “best trick,” “tail wagging,” or “costume,” plus two new categories, “Sarge’s alumni” and “kids with pets.” Eddie Foxx, morning personality on 99.9 KISS Country, will help judge the contests.

Supporters don’t need to enter a contest — everyone can participate in the festivities by taking a pic of themselves in the Special Edition T-shirt with their pet and posting it with the hashtag #sarges2020.

When posting, please provide the pet’s name, whether it is a contest entrant and whether the pet is a Sarge’s alum.

The Dog Walk week of events also includes a FaceBook live parade of Sarge’s animals.

“Our goal is to have a fun event for Sarge’s supporters, while at the same time making sure everyone stays safe and healthy,” Strohm said.

Sarge’s is grateful for the event sponsorship of The Mountaineer and 99.9 KISS Country’s Eddie Foxx.

Help Sarge’s continue its mission of saving dogs and cats in Haywood County. Join in the tail waggin’ fun and register now through July 19.

Image: Sarge's Animal Foundation

Hot Weather and Dogs

Bulldog-1275760_1920Every dog owner knows that summer temperatures can be dangerous to their pet, especially when a dog is left in a hot car. What you may not know is that some dogs are much more susceptible to the heat than others.

Reporting on a British study, The New York Times recently indicated that "Big dogs, older dogs, dogs with flat faces and certain breeds are all at higher risk of illness or death in hot weather. ... Nine breeds were at significantly higher risk than others, and five of them have flat faces: Bulldogs, French bulldogs, dogues de Bordeaux, chow chows and pugs. Greyhounds, English springer spaniels, Cavalier King Charles spaniels and golden retrievers were also at higher risk."

Care should also be taken with dogs older than twelve, since they have a 75 percent higher risk for illnesses caused by excessive heat. Dogs that weigh over 110 pounds are also at higher risk. And for all you mixed breed/shelter dog owners, you'll be happy to know that purebred dogs have an 85 percent higher risk than mixed breeds.


Beyond Basic Manners Course - July 26, Asheville

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Asheville Humane Society offers training courses for your current or newly-adopted pet! AHS is partnering with Pia Silvani, a canine behavior specialist and trainer, to offer 6-week classes for your four-legged friend. Beyond Basic Manners begins on Sunday, July 26 from 1:30 to 2:30 PM at the Asheville Humane Society Community Center (where the Thrift Store is located) at 1425 Patton Avenue, Asheville. 

Does your dog have selective hearing? Do you have to repeat yourself when your dog is near distractions? Well then, Beyond Basic Manners is the class for you! This 6 week course will expand upon basic training to help you get reliability anywhere, anytime and at any distance. This includes teaching your dog to stop forward movement when running towards a distraction, sitting at a distance, and much more!

The Prerequisites for Beyond Basic Manners are:
Graduated from the AHS Canine Manners Course OR Successful completion of equivalent training including sit, down, stay, wait and come.

Dogs MUST be able to work effectively in close proximity to other dogs and handlers without interfering with other participants
If you have any questions about your dog's eligibility for the course, please contact Pia Silvani at

* All dogs must be current on the following vaccines distemper, parvo, bordetella and rabies to participate in this course.

The course is $150 for six classes, held one hour per week for six weeks beginning on July 26, 2020. The dates for the class are 7/26, 8/2, 8/9, 8/16, 8/23, 8/30, from 1:30-2:30 pm unless otherwise arranged by the instructor.

**Important - If your dog is reactive on leash to other dogs, please contact Pia at before signing up.

For tickets:

Pia Silvani is an internationally-recognized dog trainer with over 30 years of experience. Previously, Pia was VP of Training and Behavior at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center where she developed numerous courses focused on positive, reward-based techniques. She also served as the Director of Behavioral Rehabilitation at the ASPCA where she led programs to educate shelter professionals in effective behavior rehabilitation techniques, as well as specialized socialization, enrichment, and shelter protocols.

Image: Asheville Humane Society

Pandemic Causes New Emphasis on Dogs and Homeowners Insurance

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One good thing that has come from the COVID-19 pandemic is animal rescue shelters have seen a spike in dog adoptions. In a happy turn of events, “foster fails” account for many of these adoptions — when pets who were to be temporarily fostered are bonded with and become a long-term member of the family. 

People are finding themselves spending more time at home with their dogs — all day, every day. However, one thing these pet owners may not have considered is: What happens when they return to work, and their dog is suddenly left alone at home for extended periods of time? People’s social lives will also return to normal, meaning their dog will suddenly be exposed to house guests and visitors for the first time. How will their dog behave in these new situations?

You may think your dog is predictable, but how sure are you they will be on their best behavior when they are confronted with new people, places and situations? Dogs are not always as predictable as people may think. If your dog happens to bite someone or damage another person’s property, do you know whether or not your homeowners insurance will cover the damage?

Here's an informative guide for dog owners about dog behavior and homeowners insurance:

Here's additional information about whether pets are covered by homeowners insurance:


Foothills Humane Society Operations During COVID-19

This information is provided as a public service from Foothills Humane Society, 989 Little Mountain Road, Columbus, NC 28722.

Screen Shot 2020-06-25 at 9.34.46 AMFoothills is currently closed to the public, but will allow adoptions and fosters by appointment only.  These appointments will be held in our spacious outdoor pavilion.  All of us here at Foothills are grateful for your ongoing support and cooperation during these difficult times. 

Temporary Business Operations until further notice

Facility closed to the public

Approved volunteers only

Veterinary services by appointment only – call (828) 863-4444, Ext. 0

Return to owner by appointment only – call (828) 863-4444, Ext. 0

Adoptions and fosters by appointment only Tuesday through Saturday – call (828) 863-4444, Ext 1, or email

For  animal turn-ins, please call in advance – (828) 863-4444, Ext 0.

Brother Wolf Adds Second Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue has announced the launch of a second mobile spay/neuter clinic. According to the organization, "The coronavirus pandemic halted spay and neuter surgeries nationwide as communities were forced to suspend non-emergency veterinary services. This has resulted in a huge backlog of unaltered animals. We have a list of over 500 animals needing our services! Even before this pandemic, we couldn’t meet the need with just one clinic. This is why it’s more critical than ever to have a second mobile spay and neuter clinic serving animals in Western NC.

"A second clinic will double our capacity, enabling us to serve an average of 180 animals each week! Spaying and neutering is so critical because it saves lives by reducing pet overpopulation. This second mobile clinic will travel around Western NC, providing low-cost services to many under-resourced communities. The ripple effect of 180 alteration surgeries a week is huge for animals!"

Brother Wolf is seeking donations for their second clinic. To donate:

Image: Brother Wolf Animal Rescue

Canine Manners Course - July 11, Asheville

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Does your canine need a coach?
Asheville Humane Society offers training courses for your current or newly-adopted pet! AHS is partnering with Pia Silvani, a canine behavior specialist and trainer, to offer 6-week classes for your four-legged friend. Canine Manners begins on Saturday, July 11 from 10:15 to 11:15 AM at the Asheville Humane Society Community Center (where the Thrift Store is located) at 1425 Patton Avenue, Asheville. 

This course will teach you how to effectively communicate with your dog. You will learn the skills necessary to teach your dog basic manners using reward-based training methods. We will build reliable behaviors such as sit, down, stay, wait, come, leave it, tug and much more! The class is limited to 8 dogs, age 16 weeks or over when the course begins.

* All dogs must be current on the following vaccines distemper, parvo, bordetella and rabies to participate in this course.

The course is $150 for six classes, held one hour per week for six weeks beginning on July 11, 2020. Class dates are: July 11, 18, 25, August 1, 8 and 15 from 10:15-11:15 AM unless otherwise arranged by the trainer.

**Important - If your dog is reactive on leash to other dogs, please contact Pia at before signing up.

For tickets:

Pia Silvani is an internationally-recognized dog trainer with over 30 years of experience. Previously, Pia was VP of Training and Behavior at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center where she developed numerous courses focused on positive, reward-based techniques. She also served as the Director of Behavioral Rehabilitation at the ASPCA where she led programs to educate shelter professionals in effective behavior rehabilitation techniques, as well as specialized socialization, enrichment, and shelter protocols.

Image: Asheville Humane Society

ReTail Scene: 50% Off at Asheville Humane Thrift Store - June 27

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Enjoy 50% OFF EVERYTHING at the Asheville Humane Society Thrift Store on Saturday, June 27!

The Thrift Store is located at 1425 Patton Avenue! Stop by between 10 AM and 6 PM to shop for a good cause - all proceeds benefit the animals!

To keep everyone safe, all staff and customers are required to wear face masks, and only 10 people will be allowed inside the store at a time.

If you haven't visited the Thrift Store yet, NOW is the time!  A variety of items are available for the whole family, including furniture, housewares, clothing, books, children's items, jewelry, pet supplies and more! You can also donate your unwanted items to help animals in need! 

Shop on June 27 and everything is 50% Off!

Store Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am-6 pm (Also open on Mondays, beginning July 1!)

Donation Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am-5 pm 

Visit for more information on items we do/don't accept. Thank you for supporting Asheville Humane Society!

Beware of Puppy Mills

Rottweiler-1785760_1920Sadly, North Carolina does not currently have a law that bans puppy mills or backyard breeders. While there are certainly responsible breeders in the state, puppies offered for sale at pet stores, through classifieds, at flea markets and by neighbors could be cause for concern. Many of the animals offered for sale through such means could have been raised in horrendous conditions. They could be medically or behaviorally unfit to be adopted. That's why, for most consumers, the better choice is to adopt a dog from your local animal shelter or humane society.

Here are some facts about puppy mills you should know from The Puppy Mill Project, a nonprofit organization:

A puppy mill is a breeding operation that breeds dogs for profit, prioritizing financial gain over the health or well-being of the dogs. If a breeding operation breeds for profit and sells to pet stores or to consumers over the Internet, it is not a responsible breeding facility. While puppy mills may vary in size and conditions, any breeding operation that places profit over the health or well-being of the dogs can be accurately described as a puppy mill. We will never use the term puppy mill, commercial breeder, or puppy farm to describe a responsible, reputable breeder.

If a pet store claims it buys only from "licensed breeders," this doesn’t mean anything more than that the breeders are licensed to sell to pet stores and that they meet the USDA’s minimal standards. The USDA’s standards for care of companion animals are extremely minimal, and these standards are not adequately enforced. Pet stores will often tout that their puppies only come from the best USDA-licensed facilities, yet the conditions in USDA compliant facilities are often far below what most people would consider acceptable for companion animals.

Pet stores are the primary sales outlet for commercially-bred puppies. Pet stores are necessary to sustain and perpetuate the puppy mill industry. It is imperative to cut off the end of the supply chain to decrease the number of puppy mills. Further, pet stores are complicit in consumer fraud. Pet stores often misrepresent the true origins of their puppies and mislead consumers into believing that they are purchasing a responsibly and humanely-bred puppy. Focusing our educational and advocacy efforts on pet stores is an extremely effective way to fight puppy mills.

Sarge's in Waynesville Now Open by Appointment

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 4.41.36 PMSarge's Animal Rescue Foundation is resuming adoption operations. All adoptions will be done by appointment only. Available animals will all be listed on the website:

A completed adoption application will be required for you to interact with any of Sarge's animals. Once the application is approved, they will contact you directly to arrange the appointment.

For dog meet-and-greets, Sarge's will have a designated area for a controlled interaction that will minimize potential contact between the involved parties. At this time, all cat adoptions will be conducted at the Dog House in Waynesville.

Any updates will be posted on the website and on Sarge's social media accounts.

If you have any questions, please call 828-246-9050 or email

Greenville Humane Adoptions, Vaccines and Spay/Neuter by Appointment

Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 12.59.10 PMGreenville Humane Society (Greenville, SC) is currently offering adoptions, vaccines and spay/neuter by appointment only.


All adoptions are performed on a first come, first interviewed basis. No appointments can be scheduled for specific animals. Please be prepared to respect the following guidelines during your appointment: (1) Only 2 people may attend your adoption appointment. (2) For your safety and the safety of employees, please wear a mask. (3) Please maintain a safe distance of 6 feet from other customers and staff. View animals and schedule an appointment here:


Vaccines and heartworm testing are available by appointment. Please be prepared to respect the following guidelines during your appointment: (1) Only 1 animal per 15-minute appointment. You may schedule back-to-back appointments for more than one animal. (2) Only 1 person per animal. (2) For your safety and the safety of employees, please wear a mask. (3) Please maintain a safe distance of 6 feet from other customers and staff. (4) Owner will be required to wait in the lobby during services. Vet tech will retrieve pet and take it to the exam room for services. Get more information or schedule an appointment here:


Spay/neuter surgery is performed by appointment by 4 licensed veterinarians and 10 highly trained assistants. Hours are Monday through Friday only with drop-off from 7:30 to 9 AM and pick-up from 4:30 to 5:30 PM. For more information including prices or to schedule an appointment, visit:

Free Pet Food Giveaway - June 18, Hendersonville

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Blue Ridge Humane and the ASPCA are hosting a free pet food giveaway to those in need or affected by COVID-19, on Thursday, June 18, from 9 am-1 pm at the Blue Ridge Humane Society storage facility located at 802 S. Grove Street in Hendersonville, NC.

Cat and dog food will be distributed first come, first serve, as supplies last. Social distancing and protective measures will be taken by all staff and we ask the public to do the same during the drive-thru pick-up.  Additional resources and supplies will also be available.

Image: Blue Ridge Humane Society

Allergy-Proof Your Home... for You and Your Dog

Putz-bucket-1290940_1920Dogs are remarkably loyal to humans -- and they also are remarkably similar to humans in the conditions and diseases they share. Among those conditions is the allergic reaction, a common occurrence year round, but especially when trees and grasses send off pollen during the spring.

Keeping your home allergen-free is good for you and your dog, and a handy guide from offers 18 easy ways to allergy-proof your home. The guide offers room-by-room suggestions and printable checklists as well as an allergy log. It also includes a special section about pets, who may unwittingly bring outside allergens into your home.

Get your free guide here:


COVID-19 Canine Scent Detection Study Launched in U.S.

The following is news from "Penn Today," published by the University of Pennsylvania, dated May 1, 2020.

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 2.10.58 PMA pilot training program utilizing scent detection dogs to discriminate between samples from COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative patients is the focus of a new research initiative at the School of Veterinary Medicine

With up to 300 million smell receptors—compared to six million in humans—dogs are uniquely positioned to aid in disease detection. This pioneering study—that will explore the sensitivity and specificity of scent—sets the stage for dogs to be a force multiplier in the mission to detect COVID-19, particularly among asymptomatic patients, or hospital or business environments where testing is most challenging. Preliminary screening of live humans by trained dogs could begin as early as July.

Penn Vet will initially begin the study with eight dogs to perform this precise detection work. Over the course of three weeks through a process called odor imprinting, the dogs will be exposed to COVID-19 positive saliva and urine samples in a laboratory setting. Once the dogs learn the odor, the investigators will document that the dogs can discriminate between COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative samples in a laboratory setting, establishing the platform for testing to determine if the dogs can identify COVID-19 infected people. The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center will be lending their expertise during the study as well.

“Scent detection dogs can accurately detect low concentrations of volatile organic compounds, otherwise known as VOCs, associated with various diseases such as ovarian cancer, bacterial infections, and nasal tumors. These VOCs are present in human blood, saliva, urine, or breath,” says Cynthia Otto, professor of Working Dog Sciences and Sports Medicine and director of Penn Vet’s Working Dog Center. “The potential impact of these dogs and their capacity to detect COVID-19 could be substantial. This study will harness the dog’s extraordinary ability to support the nation’s COVID-19 surveillance systems, with the goal of reducing community spread.”

Image: Penn Today

COVID-19 Facts and Myths Related to Dogs

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COVID-19 is still very much a threat to all of us. You probably have a lot of questions about how to keep you dog safe during this global pandemic. Cyberpet has put together a handy infographic with  the answers to twelve of the most common questions concerning pets and coronavirus. You'll find authoritative answers to questions including:

  1. Can pets catch coronavirus?
  2. Can my dog transmit coronavirus?
  3. How can I protect my dog if I am sick?
    ...and 9 more.

You'll find the infographic here:

ReTail Scene: Handicapped Pets Devices on Sale Through June 30

Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 11.20.06 AM"Walkin' Pets" by Handicapped Pets is dedicated to creating specialized devices for dogs who have trouble walking. Through June 30, the company is offering many of its one-of-a-kind devices at special savings. "Walkin' Wheels" wheelchairs are $40 off. Items including adjustable splints, support slings, hip support systems, training socks and more are 25 percent off. Free shipping is offered on all sale items.

If you have a dog who is handicapped, elderly or just needs extra support, check out these great items here:

Image: Walkin' Pets