When a Dog is the Best Medicine

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Sometimes, a dog can be the best medicine – even in the worst situations.

On March 25, Butler, American Humane Association’s spokesdog and The Weather Channel Therapy Dog who is trained to help people following meterological crises, joined me on a visit to a remarkable teenager who was severely injured in a weather-related accident. Austin, a 16-year-old teenager from Portland, TN, decided to take advantage of the recent snowfall and go sledding down a steep hill near his sister’s home. A fun day ended in tragedy when Austin crashed head-first into a tree and was paralyzed. He was air-lifted to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and three weeks later arrived in Atlanta, GA at the Shepherd Spinal Center to start his journey of recovery. Continue reading

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A little paint but a lot of pain: National Fire Dog Monument vandalized!

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This morning I woke to the shocking news that our beloved National Fire Dog Monument, created by sculptor Austin Weishel with the support of American Humane Association and State Farm to celebrate the heroism of America’s arson detection dogs, has been vandalized. The beautiful life-size bronze sculpture is now covered in blue paint with hate speech scrawled across its concrete base.

As a national humane organization, words cannot express how heartbroken we are about the hatred shown to the heroes the monument represents: arson dogs and their brave handlers on the other of the leash who keep us and our communities safe. Here are a couple of quotes from two key people involved in creating the monument, and who work with arson hero dogs every day: Continue reading

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Be a good egg…buy a good egg! New study confirms importance of enriched colony housing

Be a good egg…buy a good egg!

American Humane Association, the country’s first national humane organization was founded in 1877 around the issue of farm animal welfare and it still remains one of the last great frontiers in the humane movement. But today progress was made as we hailed the results of a three-year study by the Coalition for a Sustainable Egg Supply that confirmed the humane value of Enriched Colony Housing for egg-laying hens, which will help improve the lives of millions of laying hens on our nation’s farms.

Enriched Colony Housing gives egg-laying hens significantly more room than the conventional housing, and provides hens with room to sit, stand, turn around and extend their wings, as well as enrichments such as a nest box, scratching area and perches that allow hens to move about freely and express their natural behaviors. Continue reading

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A New Humane Medical Model Proposed

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I am delighted to share with you our new research article which was recently featured in the Annual Review of Animal Biosciences.   The article entitled A New Medical Model:   Ethically and Responsibly Advancing Health for Humans and Animals provides for a thought-provoking discussion of how much we have yet to learn about our own health and that of the animals, and how much we can advance the health and wellbeing of all of us through such exploration. Continue reading

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“No Animals Were Harmed®” Program March 2015 Update

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Last month, on February 17th I had the honor of giving a presentation to my own colleagues at the annual Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas. Typically, it is the largest gathering of veterinary professionals in the world.  Truth be told, I was a little nervous as it was the first time I had delivered a formal talk in a forum such as this, but it proved to be good medicine. I gave a lengthy presentation on Animals in Entertainment and the legacy of the “No Animals Were Harmed” program. I look forward to returning next year a seasoned pro!

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Cold Nose, Warm Heart: Butler Goes to Boston

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This Valentine’s Day, Butler, the Weather Channel Therapy Dog and American Humane Association spokesdog, and I deployed to Boston in advance of Winter Storm Neptune. Boston had experienced a three-week snow siege, accumulating a record-setting 80 inches of snowfall and Winter Storm Neptune was forecasted to bring another 16 inches.

Butler’s mission was to give respite to snow-weary and stressed Bostonians dealing with repeated school closures, closed metro services and growing piles of snow. His first stop was the Boston Fire Department where visited the dedicated firemen who had been working around the clock shoveling snow in order to keep the city’s over 13,000 fire hydrants accessible.

Despite the cold, Butler put smiles on the faces of many Bostonians as they prepared for the next onslaught of snow. He visited stranded visitors, city workers who were clearing sidewalks and many locals who needed a break from shoveling, plowing and ice chiseling. When Butler wasn’t providing comfort to community members, he was providing laughs and love to Weather Channel meteorologists and crews working long hours to bring vital, severe weather information to impacted areas.

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