Guest blog written by Ed Sayres, ASPCA President & CEO.
Last fall, I was honored to present at the ASPCA’s annual Humane Awards Luncheon the "Dog of the Year" award to a beautiful Golden Retriever named Ricochet. The competition was steep, as we were inundated with stories of dog heroes doing extraordinary things. Despite the number of super dog candidates, Ricochet stood out because of all she has done and continues to do for people and animals in need.
Ricochet’s guardian recognized her dog's special qualities when she was a puppy being trained to be a service dog to a person with a disability. Little Ricochet's spirit held her back as a service dog: Her desire to chase birds meant that she might be too lively for life as a service dog. Instead, through happenstance Ricochet became a surfer. Not just any surfer, but a surfer who was riding waves to help others.
In 2009, Ricochet was surfing next to a quadriplegic surfer and decided to abandon her board to jump onto his as they neared the shoreline. From that moment, Ricochet became a “SURFice” dog for disabled surfers. In addition to actually surfing with disabled persons, Ricochet raises funds for more than 150 human and animal causes.
We were there to cheer Ricochet on last weekend at the 7th Annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition in San Diego County. It was a perfect beach day with not a cloud in the sky. All types of dogs—from Pomeranians sporting sunglasses to Bulldogs wearing visors—were on the beach ready to watch the four-legged competitors.
Celebrities were on hand as well. Actor and Good Morning America contributor Cameron Mathison rode the surfboard with Ricochet during the tandem heat and came in second place despite having just learned to surf the day before. Clearly Ricochet is a good teacher.
More than 50 dogs competed and were scored on their confidence level, length of ride on the board and overall ability to "grip it and rip it." The dogs were all superstars. Ricochet won the large dog category; Abbie Girl, an Australian Kelpie, won the small dog category; and Zoey, a Jack Russell Terrier, won the tandem category.
This year's event raised $10,000 for the ASPCA. Congratulations to all of the athletes—canine and human—who participated in this year's Loews Surf Dog Competition!
It’s really hot out there. Heading off to the beach, lake or just staying at home by the pool are great ways to beat the heat with your pet—but fun can turn quickly to disaster if you’re not careful.
Don’t leave pets unsupervised around water—not all dogs are good swimmers.
Heat from the sun is more intense around water.Watch your dog for signs of sunburn or heat stroke, and keep him off hot sand as it can blister paws.
Buy your dog a life jacket—and use it. Just like with people, it’s easy for your pup to develop a cramp in her leg, become exhausted too far from shore, or, in rivers or oceans, get overwhelmed by tides.
Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt, as well as bacteria or dirt she might pick up from a pond or lake. Be sure to remove wet collars to prevent hot spots.
Try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that can easily cause a bellyache.Water from lakes, ponds and rivers should also be avoided as it often contains nasty parasites that cause vomiting, diarrhea and other health issues.
Take Action If you’re spending time by the water or in a boat, please consider purchasing a life jacket for your pup. It's so easy to become distracted, and a life jacket can save her life.
Horse lovers across America can celebrate a big victory. The U.S. House Appropriations Committee just approved an amendment that will prevent taxpayer dollars from being used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect U.S. horse slaughter facilities. By blocking this federal funding, the House has taken its first step to ensure that horse slaughter facilities cannot legally operate on U.S. soil. We will need your help to ensure this provision gets through the whole House and the Senate, so stay tuned for upcoming advocacy alerts.
While our current Congress has prided itself on reducing government spending, last year's agriculture funding bill actually omitted this provision—opening the U.S. market to the horse slaughter industry.
"Using taxpayer dollars to fund this abhorrent industry is a wildly unpopular decision," says Nancy Perry, ASPCA Senior Vice President of Government Relations. "At a time when funding for many vital programs is being cut, it is imperative that Congress not use $5 million of taxpayers' money to fund horse slaughter, a cruel practice that benefits only foreign interests."
Take Action! Rep. Moran’s amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill protects American communities from the devastating environmental and economic impact of horse slaughter facilities, but the bill still has to pass the full House of Representatives. The House will vote on the bill on Tuesday, June 26.Please contact your U.S. representative today and urge him or her to pass the bill with the Moran Amendment intact and reject any attempts to fund horse slaughter during fiscal year 2013!
Shame on you, Ted Shuttleworth. The former screenwriter on the acclaimed television series NYPD Blue has just been arrested by ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) Agents for beating his Toy Poodle, Lola, to death.
The 51-year-old is accused of striking his four pound dog in the face causing massive brain injury.
“This is a clear case of inexplicable brutality against a tiny helpless animal victim,” says Stacy Wolf, ASPCA Vice President and Chief Counsel for the Humane Law Enforcement Department. “The necropsy established in graphic detail that this dog died a violent death.”
Shuttleworth was arrested on Saturday by ASPCA Special Investigator Paul Romano. His next court date is July 26 in Queens Criminal Court.
Animal cruelty is a crime in every state. And one of the most important actions you can take is to report suspicious behavior. Visit our Report Cruelty FAQ to learn how.
One-year-old Pit Bull Zelliewas just skin and bones when ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) Agents found her with no food or water. The neglected pup was shackled to a tree with a padlock attached to a short, heavy chain—and there was no escape for her. Not until we arrived.
Our Agents quickly rescued Zellie and transported her to the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in Manhattan for treatment. Weighing just 32 pounds, veterinarians determined that she was both starved and dehydrated.
This Saturday, Shakisha Codling, 31, was arrested by ASPCA Special Investigator Mark MacDonaldand charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty. If convicted, she faces up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. She is due in Queens Criminal Court on July 31.
As for Zellie? After receiving treatment by ASPCA staff, she now weighs 48 pounds—a 51 percent increase! She is currently receiving lots of love and attention at the hospital and will eventually be made available for adoption.