Now We’ve Seen Everything: Driving Dogs Pass Live TV Driving Test

Last week we wrote about the shelter dogs who were learning to drive in New Zealand, thanks to the efforts of Auckland’s SPCA. Why were they learning to drive? The official reason was to increase awareness about how smart shelter dogs are, in the hopes to increase adoptions. 

The unofficial reason was OMG dogs driving.

Those three dogs — Porter, Monty, and Ginny — did in fact learn how to drive. But the true test came on Monday, when the dogs were tasked with driving the modified Mini around a racetrack on live television. Specifically, the Campbell Live show. We salute New Zealand for bringing some much-needed drama back to live television. 

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“Hello! Can I merge?”

Well, good news. Porter, the 18-month-old Schnauzer, passed the test, driving his Mini around the track and looking like an absolute champ doing it. With one foot on the brake and one on the gas, and one paw on the wheel and another on the stick shift (!!!), he flew around the track ... at around 2 mph, but still. 

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"Let's see what this baby can do."

Asked for comment, Porter said, "When I drive that slow, you know it's hard to steer. And I can't get get my car out of second gear. What used to take two hours now takes all day. Huh! It took me 16 hours to get to L.A."

Actually, he just wiggled a lot, very happy. 

Two of the three dogs drove on live TV, and adoption offers have been pouring in, according to said Auckland SPCA CEO Christine Kalin, via the New Zealand Herald. There's been less interest in Ginny, because she did not drive on the show -- but make no mistake, she can drive. 

"We've had people offer to adopt Monty and Porter. We've had less interest in Ginny, so she's the one we'd really love not to have in the shelter too long," Kalin said. "The whole purpose of this campaign was to find homes for our smart and intelligent dogs. It was always our dream that SPCA dogs would be seen as the dogs of choice in Auckland and throughout the country."

If you happen to be in Auckland this weekend, you can see the dogs drive at the SPCA Auckland Animal Village

Watch the video: 

Via the New Zealand Herald 

The Scoop | The Scoop

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Mouth Probiotics!

Join Will as he discusses a simple yet powerful technique to improve your oral health. Plus, it doesn’t cost a dime! Give your mouth, teeth and gums the probiotic bath they deserve today!

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Seasick Steve finds calmer waters From the Later with Jools Holland appearance, he got asked to play music festivals around the world, and has released three more albums including last year's…

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Spicing Things Up

What better way of spicing things up than stepping out of the box?  Friday I had the stupid brilliant idea of hosting some Christmas themed mini sessions to raise money for the Windy City Canine Rescue.  I emailed Lorelei to see what she thought and she jumped on board.  So much for the voice of reason!

So Saturday morning I got up early and put together a little flyer advertising the mini sessions that were going to be scheduled the next day and sent it off to all our clients.  I wanted to send it early so that there would be enough time to fill the 8-12 spots. It was so last minute I thought there was no way we would get more than 8 people able and willing to come. In an hour (by 8 a.m. on a Saturday!) the 12 spots were full and I still had more emails coming in.  So we opened it up for a little longer and then a little longer again.  In two hours we had 25 slots full and by the end of the day we had another 12 people on the waiting list.  Wow.  First off, what the heck is everyone doing up so early on a Saturday?  Secondly – who knew so many people wanted Christmas photos of their pet?

But as the emails kept pouring in, I started to panic.  Can we do this?  Is it going to be chaos?  By the time Marlin got out of bed, we were already full booked up and I knew we needed his help manning the door.  So before he even had his first coffee I was begging for his help.  Being the sweet guy that he is, he agreed.  Phew.  Lorelei is also bringing reinforcements. So now I just need to worry about posing the dogs – something I don’t really like to do – mainly because they never sit still.

Jo came over late yesterday afternoon to help us figure out what the heck we were doing.  First of all, stringing Christmas lights for the background is more of an art form than you’d think.  I started off with a couple multicoloured strand.  The blue didn’t show at all and the white lights were orange and overpowering.  It looked more like a Halloween themed background.

Thankfully I’d also brought along our strings of outdoor lights that are only red.  MUCH better.  Then Jo got the boys to pose.  Wow.  They were perfect.  Never even put a toe out of line – even while wearing the elf hat.  I have a feeling today won’t go quite a smoothly. :)

And Tate.  Wow Tate.  He just had the best expressions the whole time. Love his pics.

I didn’t take any pictures of the set up (I’ll try and remember today) but basically the dogs are standing in an open doorway (facing out) and the overhead lights are off in the building behind them.  I’ve then strung the lights on the fence halfway across the room… Maybe 20 feet away from the door.

Who knew pictures taken at the daycare could be so pretty!

Lorelei has a white background and is set up inside the building with lights and such.  You can see her sneak peaks of the boys (and 1 of Lacey!) on her facebook page.  It’s going to be wild and fun and scary and crazy all at once.  Wish us luck!

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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Pet Safety During Holidays

Do You Know Your Pet’s Holiday Plans?

The holidays are a busy time. For a brief couple of months, there are parties to plan and attend, decorations to take out of storage, gifts to buy and wrap, and family to endure. There is a lot going on, but you’re not the only one going through it – so are your four-legged friends. The holiday spirit can pose many dangers to your pets.


Trees: If you set up a tree in your home, you know that it’s loaded with things your pet will find interesting: lights, glass ornaments, tinsel, ribbons, etc. Make sure that you set tree decorations high enough to keep your pet from reaching them. Tinsel and ribbons (in which cats are particularly interested) can cause choking and intestinal blockage. Pine needles can puncture intestines, so keep the area clean. Secure the tree to the ceiling from the top in order to keep it from falling should your pet be truly determined to access those high-up decorations.

Lights: The danger with holiday lights is clear: risk of electrocution. Even if your pet isn’t ordinarily a chewer, new and interesting things in the home may persuade them to make an exception. As with your tree decorations, ensure that decorative light strings have been securely anchored into position and out of your pet’s reach.

Plants: Many common holiday plants, such as poinsettias, lilies, holly, and mistletoe are poisonous to both humans and animals. Because as humans we generally avoid eating household plants, we may forget that having them accessible to our curious pets can pose the hazard of poisoning. Keep them out of your pet’s reach, or if at all possible, substitute them with a silk or plastic version.

Other decorations: Some other hazardous decorations include: lit candles, snow globes (which may contain toxic substances such as Salmonella or antifreeze), spray snow, potpourri, and ceramic knickknacks. The same principle applies; make them as inaccessible to your pets as possible.

Food and Drink

Chocolate: The stigma around chocolate and dogs has been around for so long that some believe it might just be an urban legend. In fact, chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats. Chocolate contains theobromine, an alkaloid similar to caffeine. When humans ingest theobromine, we experience a slight increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and sensitivity of the nervous system. Our pets cannot process this alkaloid as efficiently as we can, so the same effects are multiplied. The increased heart rate alone is enough to be fatal. Of course fatality depends much on the amount ingested and the size of the animal, but even small amounts in a large dog can cause intestinal distress (vomiting and diarrhea), seizures, and dehydration. Keep anything with chocolate in it sealed and away from your pets.

ChocolateTable food: Guests may be tempted to feed old begging Fido some of their plate’s leftovers, but do what you can to discourage it. Table scraps can cause stress to your pet’s sensitive digestive system, and in some cases cause pancreatitis. Do not feed your pets food from your table, and ensure that you and your guests do not leave plates unattended.

Alcohol: This goes without saying, but those delicious holiday cocktails should be kept away from your pets. As with theobromine, cats and dogs do not process alcohol with the efficiency that we do. Even small amounts can be harmful, and can go so far as to cause respiratory failures. Keep those drinks in your line of sight and do not leave them unattended.

Pet Anxiety

You may be under a lot of stress knowing your in-laws are on their way from out of town, but your pets have it worse. Holiday gatherings thrust household pets immediately out of their usual comfort zones. Dehydration, intestinal upset such as vomiting or diarrhea, and “accidents” in the house are known reactions to animal stress. Make sure your pet has a safe, quiet place to go in order to escape the chaos. Have an off-limits room with the door open, many dogs enjoy the den-like seclusion of a plastic crate. Take small moments away from your hosting duties to attend to your pet – soothe and calm them alone with your voice. You will also want to ensure that your pet is registered and wearing proper, current I.D. in case they bolt out the door while guests are coming and going.

Small DogSave yourself from expensive vet bills, painful pet behavior, and all of the other traumas that come with an unhappy pet by taking the time to make your home as safe for them as possible. Should your pet ingest a toxic substance, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-4-ANI-HELP. Safe and happy holidays to you and your pets!

Jay Acker heads up a team of writers producing safety training courses and other materials for business customers. They make safety training kits, courseware and safety posters for

PetsitUSA Blog

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Q&A: How I get stamp from USDA for my dog health certificate?

Question by James: How I get stamp from USDA for my dog health certificate?
I am leaving from San Francisco to Hong Kong. The airline told me that I need get a stamp on my dog health certificate before departing. Since the health certificate is only good for 14days before departuring, the time is tight. So what is the fastest way get a stamp from USDA?? Can I fax it to them??( i am currently living in Davis, California)

Best answer:

Answer by ladystang
ask your vet?

What do you think? Answer below!

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Sleeping with the Beast by Dale Ryan—A book review

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Fighting those Fears..

It was a trip to the Nature center to see up close, the area’s residential creatures that we may and may not see often, that I came within half a feet of my arch-nemesis, the cottonmouth. For those who are unfamiliar with cottonmouths, they are very aggressive snakes, when they are antagonized and so name for the…

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Sunflower Faith

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Canine friend Whisperer complete with Rendir Millan numerous Mascot Madness (Se ’08 Ep 03) Item several over 5 various

various various various variousvarious Fond: Some sève proud owner demands assist to toning down herhenne hyper-active bulldog; Afinar attempts to curtail the latest German born shepherd’s…

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Where can I find dog health and nutritional information on the web?

Question by Matt G: Where can I find dog health and nutritional information on the web?
I’d like to know what’s best to feed my dog (not necessarily specific brand recommendations, but just guidelines) and get some general information about dog health.

Best answer:

Answer by BluStar is a great site for shopping and articles, even or

any major food brand website – I recommend Nutro or Royal Canin (they do a lot of research and have a fixed list of ingredients in their food, a lot of controlled things in this food as opposed to Pedigree or Purina Dog Chow)

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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