<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - ]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcmiami.com/feature/all-about-animals http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:15:09 -0400 Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:15:09 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[2015 World's Ugliest Dog Contest]]> Sat, 27 Jun 2015 01:52:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Ugliest-Dog-Contest-SD-26-June-2015-5.jpg Dogs of all shapes and hairstyles gathered for the World's Ugliest Dog contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair on Friday, June 26, 2015, in Petaluma, California.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Helping Pets Survive the Dog Days of Summer]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 11:14:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/kupkee+summer+062815.jpg

While the expression “dog days of summer” may have its roots in Ancient Roman astronomy, there’s a reason it has remained a part of our modern day vernacular - this time of the year is very tough on our canine companions.

Statistically speaking, summer is the time of year when most dog bites to children occur. Longer days, vacations from school, and visits to friends and family increase the odds of children encountering dogs with whom they may not be familiar. Many assume that behaviors which are tolerated by their own dogs, will be welcomed by any dog they meet.

For a dog that is fearful, or who is not familiar with children, normal childhood behaviors can be downright terrifying. Many dog bites to children happen during the course of activities that children consider “nice”. Hugging, kissing, chasing, cuddling, and sharing toys can easily be perceived as threats to a dog that is dealing with an unfamiliar child.

Parents should encourage children not to approach dogs they don’t know, but rather, let the dog come to them. Encourage children to stand still without touching, talking to, or looking at the dog, while the dog checks them out by smelling them.

My wife likes to tell kids “dogs say hi with their noses, so let him say hi to you first.” For reasons I will not pretend to understand, kids get a huge kick out of this. I’ve never seen a child give her a hard time over it, and the greetings always go well - even with our reactive dog.

Dog owners, if you’re expecting a visit from youngsters, use common sense. If your dog doesn’t do well around children, don’t set him up for failure. Make arrangements for boarding, or better yet, call a certified professional dog trainer to work on his problems before your guests arrive. Regardless of whether or not you are a parent, children are a part of society and our dogs should know how to behave towards them. Remember, even if a bite is provoked, Florida’s Damages by Dogs Law places the responsibility - and liability - on dog owners. In other words, if our dogs cause injury, it is we who are held accountable.

If your dog is a social butterfly who loves running amok with the kids, your biggest summer concern could be the threat of heat stroke. Unlike their human counterparts, dogs are not capable of sweating profusely to regulate their body temperatures. Additionally, temperatures close to the ground can be anywhere between 10 and 40 degrees hotter than what is officially recorded. This puts even small dogs at a high risk for heat exhaustion.

Brachiocephalic, or “smushy-faced” breeds are at a higher risk as well. Pugs, shih-tzus, French bulldogs, and even the big guys such as boxers and American bulldogs, all fall into this category. Panting requires extra effort for these breeds, and panting is one of the few mechanisms available to dogs for regulating their body temperatures.

Regardless of breed, monitor your dog’s outdoor activities carefully. Provide plenty of shade and fresh drinking water. A plastic kiddie pool for cooling down is always appreciated by dogs. Avoid prolonged outdoor activities in the heat of the day, and for the love of everything holy, do NOT leave pets alone in the car. There are a variety of cutesy memes making the rounds on social media portraying dogs in cars bearing notes “signed” by the canine occupant. The notes assure passers-by that the A/C is running and they are listening to their favorite band, so please don’t call the cops or smash the windows. Lol.

A client who serves on our local police force relayed a story of a poodle who was left in an air-conditioned car. The poodle decided to explore the dashboard, and accidentally stepped on the button that controlled the A/C compressor. The compressor turned off. Within minutes the unit began blasting hot air into the car. A Good Samaritan called 911. The police arrived, smashed the window, and rushed the unconscious dog to the nearest veterinary hospital. Sadly, her internal organs had already begun to shut down, and she did not survive.

Life is chaotic. Things go wrong. This poor dog’s owner thought she was doing everything right, and perhaps she was. Air conditioners fail for all sorts of reasons and always, it seems, at the worst possible times. Just don’t leave your pets in the car. Ever.

If blistering heat and spirited children aren’t enough to make our pets crazy, there’s those afternoon thunderstorms that should be starting to flare up any day now. For some pets, this is a surefire sign of the Apocalypse. If your dog or cat suffers from storm anxiety, the most important thing you can do is provide them with a safe space where they feel protected from both the sound of thunder, and the electrical charges that accompany these storms.

In most cases, a crate in the corner of a closet works wonders. Line it with blankets and fill it with fun toys and treats. If you find that your pet hides in a bathtub or shower stall during a storm, do not discourage this seemingly bizarre behavior. The tile actually acts as insulation against the charges that naturally occur during an electrical storm. Your pet is in fact, self-soothing and their choice to do so should be rewarded.

The Thundershirt is a tight-fitting garment for pets that mimics the swaddling techniques used to comfort autistic children. We have one for our younger dog, and it does seem to help.

Storms also provide a great opportunity to go through any obedience or trick training commands. By doing things they love to do and are good at doing, they achieve a sense of mastery that builds their confidence. They also learn to associate storms with playtime, and gives them something to focus on, other than the storm event.

If your pet is too anxious for these methods to be effective, there are veterinary pharmaceuticals that can help him weather the storms. Modern veterinary practice has moved away from the use of sedatives, and towards the use of anti-anxiety medications. These drugs, while more effective and humane, can take two weeks or more to take effect. Additionally, doses may need to be adjusted before the optimal benefits are observed. It is also important to note that all drugs of this nature are intended to be used in conjunction with behavioral training. Simply giving a pill will not work.

Since our rainy season seems to be arriving later this year, there’s still time to get ahead of the game. With the right kind of training and a certain amount of “chemical courage” we can help our companions weather the dog days of summer.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Click here to send him an email.

Click here to check out great deals and discounts exclusively for NBC6.com fans!

<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Hillary]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2015 13:38:45 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/hillary+potw+062815.PNG

Our pet of the week is Hillary, a 5-year-old shepherd mix at Broward Animal Care who is looking for a loving home.

Hillary is a mellow girl who is very well-behaved. She is calm, loves attention, and is already housebroken. Hillary is ready to move right in, and will make a wonderful family pet.

Hillary's adoption fee includes spaying, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt her or any other animal, call (954) 359-1313 or visit Broward County Animal Care's website.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals page. 

<![CDATA[German Shepherd Recovering After Being Shot]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2015 16:10:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/dog+shot2.jpg

A family's German Shepherd was recovering Friday night after being shot multiple times and Miami-Dade County Animal Services is hoping the public will help find the shooter.

Investigators say the dog, names Oso, was intentionally shot twice Thursday morning outside his home near 27th Avenue and Northwest 123rd Street.

The Miami-Dade County Animal Services veterinarian amputated Oso's leg but said the dog is expected to make a full recovery.

The shooter will face criminal charges for animal cruelty.

If you have any information about the shooting call Enforcement Supervisor Sean Gallagher at (305) 418-7184 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Burned Cat, Rescued Chihuahuas in Need of New Homes]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:12:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pet+adoption+hsbc+062615.jpg

Eleven rescued animals at the Humane Society of Broward County are in need of loving homes.

"Love Bug", a 1-year-old striped cat, suffered burns on nearly 40 percent of her face. She was originally found by Broward County Animal Care, where officials noted she smelled like motor oil. It is possible Love Bug was burned by crawling under a car or in a car engine to escape the summer sun.

Three Chihuahuas are in need of a new home after their owner passed away. Honey, Freddie and Oreo, ages 7, 9 and 10 respectively, are sweet and affectionate. All three are available for immediate adoption.

Seven other Chihuahuas, ages ranging between 5 to 10 years old, were surrendered because the owner had "too many pets." HSBC and another rescue stepped in to assist Broward Animal Care with the dogs. Each dog received vaccinations and comprehensive medical reports after examination.

All of the animals are available for adoption at the Humane Society of Broward County. All adoptions include vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt any of these animals, contact the Humane Society at (954) 989-3977, or visit their website

Photo Credit: Humane Society of Broward County]]>
<![CDATA[It's Take Your Dog to Work Day!]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:14:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/95572844.jpg

Friday marks the 17th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day!

Created by Pet Sitters International, the event is meant to "celebrate the great companions dogs make and promote their adoptions."

Since it's first celebration in 1999, Take Your Dog to Work Day has expanded to accommodate cat lovers, and any other pet parents.

We want to see photos of the dogs that are bringing joy to your workplaces! Email your dog photos to isee@nbc6.com or Tweet/Instagram us using the hashtags #TakeYourDog and #NBC6. We may use your photos in a gallery on our website!

For more information, visit Take Your Dog to Work Day on the web, Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets, June 25, 2015]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 20:40:58 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Belle+518535+copy.jpg Check out the pets looking for loving homes at the Humane Society of Broward County]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets-June 24, 2015]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 20:22:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*128/Anylu+A1218048.jpg Check out the pets looking for loving homes at Miami-Dade Animal Services.]]> <![CDATA[Therapy Tortoise Provides Comfort to Patients]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 08:39:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/NC_shelly0622_1500x845_2.jpg

Residents at a northwest Florida nursing home have a rather young — and unusual — roommate.

Shelly is a 20-year-old African Spur Thigh Tortoise and has served as a therapy animal at Chautauqua Rehabilitation and Nursing Center for the past two years, NBC affiliate WJHG reported.

"They will come and befriend Shelly and come out and greet Shelly every day and make it part of their routine,” said Brandy Meredith, an employee at the center and Shelly's caretaker.

The therapy tortoise has helped patients at the 42-bed facility cope with their injuries and disabilities. Some patients stay there temporarily as they recover from knee and hip replacements, but others remain permanently. They appreciate having Shelly there all the more.

Long-term patient Winnie Ruthbrookshire planted a garden in the center's courtyard where Shelly lives that's filled with his favorite foods.

“We’re just blessed to have something like that and to be able to see it [Shelly] and be one of our friends,” Ruthbrookshire told WJHG.

<![CDATA[Puppy Named Luna Helps Mourners at Funeral Home]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 08:37:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/NC_funeralhomedog0623001.jpg The death of a loved one can be hard for anyone to deal with, but one Virginia funeral home believes they have something that can help: a puppy named Luna.]]> <![CDATA[Nine Dogs Rescued from Hoarding Situation Need Homes]]> Sun, 21 Jun 2015 12:41:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/181*120/mary+A1645005_1.jpg

Nine dogs rescued from a hoarding situation now need new homes.

A total of 17 dogs living in deplorable conditions were rescued in 2014 by Miami-Dade Animal Services. After receiving veterinary care, the dogs are now available for adoption. Some have already found loving homes, but nine are still in need of new forever families.

The dogs are available for adoption at Miami-Dade Animal Services, located at 7401 NW 74 Street in Miami. All pet adoptions include spaying/neutering, deworming, age-appropriate vaccinations, and microchipping.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Animal Services]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Kiwi]]> Sat, 20 Jun 2015 17:38:33 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/kiwi+potw+062015.PNG

Our pet of the week is Kiwi, a 6-year-old Llasa Apso/Shih Tzu mix from the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

Kiwi is a very sweet, curious dog. She is easygoing and would fit in well in any kind of household. Kiwi is very intelligent and is a fast learner.

All adoptions include spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt Kiwi or any other animal, call 305-696-0800 or visit the Humane Society's website.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals page.

<![CDATA[Save a Pet: PomPom Needs a Home]]> Sat, 20 Jun 2015 14:34:33 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pompom+adoption+062015.jpg

PomPom is a beautiful 8-year-old Shih Tzu in need of a loving home.

This friendly girl has an incredibly sweet personality. She is great with kids and walks well on a leash. PomPom is calm and quiet, and adapts easily to new surroundings. She is also completely housebroken.

PomPom is currently being fostered, but the family can no longer keep her. They are hoping to find a great, permanent home for this lovely dog. If an adopter cannot be found, they will have to transport PomPom to a rescue organization up in Washington, D.C.

If you are interested in adopting PomPom, contact Monica at (954) 558-3622 or Anna at (954) 559-4749.

<![CDATA[It's Adopt-a-Cat Month! Reasons to Have a Feline Friend in Your Home]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 13:11:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/kupkee+cat+061915.jpg

Spring is the beginning of “kitten season” in South Florida - and by summer, our rescues and shelters are bursting at the seams with cats and kittens in need of forever homes. Cat adoptions save lives. Reducing the number of kitties in our shelters and streets benefits our entire community. And that’s great. But here’s the real reason you should consider adopting a cat.

Cats are awesome.

Here are just a few of the advantages to having a cat in your world:

Cats can - and should - stay indoors.

Yes, that means keeping litter boxes in the house. It also means not having to walk your pet during thunderstorms, brutal heat waves, or tropical storm force winds. Unlike their canine counterparts, cats that live exclusively indoors are not likely to bring fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites into your home. Ditto for muddy pawprints. Indoor cats have less exposure to disease, and are not at risk of being killed by cars, wild animals, or off-leash dogs. For these reasons, they often live well into their twenties.

Cats can live safely with children and babies.

My parents’ generation grew up believing that cats routinely smothered babies in their cribs. It was widely believed that cats were attracted to the milky smell of a baby’s breath. This may have originated from a 1791 coroner’s report on an infant death. The coroner claimed the family’s cat had “sucked the breath from the baby’s lungs.” Cats do not do this. Period. Since 1931, only two infant mortalities have been associated with cats. In both cases, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome was listed as the more likely cause of death. Interactions between children and pets should always be closely supervised, but this in no way implies that cats and babies cannot coexist. If baby is sleeping, close the door to the nursery, turn on the baby monitor, and enjoy a little down time with your cat.

While millions of children are bitten by dogs each year, very few are injured by cats. Cats are agile and fast enough to avoid being grabbed or cornered by an undiscerning child. They can remove themselves from a stressful situation by jumping out of reach, or darting under a bed. Additionally, the feline body language cues that precede a scratch or bite are far less subtle than those displayed by dogs. In other words, it’s pretty obvious when a cat has had enough.

Cats are clean.

No bathing. No trips to the groomer. They take care of it themselves - for free!

Cats are less likely to complicate a housing search.

Many landlords and HOA’s place severe restrictions on dog ownership. Some only accept dogs weighing less than 20 or 40 pounds. Others don’t allow them at all. Many municipalities (including Miami) stubbornly adhere to cruel and ineffective breed bans. Homeowners with large breed dogs pay higher insurance premiums - if they can get insured at all. Yet even where the official policy is “no pets allowed”, cats are often quietly given a pass. This is a big advantage in areas like South Florida where affordable housing is notoriously difficult to find.

Cats have common sense.

A client once asked me why my articles on first aid and safety tips focus so heavily on dogs. The honest answer is that cats don’t seem to get themselves into the kinds of situations that require emergency care. When I think back to patients that have eaten rocks, tussled with wildlife, fallen into pools, ingested toxins, choked on squeaky toys, jumped out of moving cars, swallowed fish hooks and crashed face first into sliding glass doors, they’re all dogs! Those crazy misadventures that lead to great stories and not-so-great vet bills? Cats just don’t seem to do those things. Which leads me to my next point.

Cats are smart.

If you think cats are impossible to train, think again. Most are using the litter box on their own by six weeks of age. It can take months to housebreak a puppy. And those cool tricks we teach our dogs? Get a clicker and a bag of cat treats and get ready to have some fun. I’ve met cats that play fetch and retrieve objects. They love finding hidden treats. Once you teach them which behaviors you like, it becomes easier to teach them what you don’t like (i.e. scratching furniture). If clickers aren’t your thing, no worries. Just wave a cat dancer toy while you’re lounging on the sofa, and enjoy the acrobatics display. Because here’s the thing...

Cats are entertaining.

While cats may not technically own the internet, they certainly seem to dominate it. Cat videos on YouTube got over 26 billion views in 2014 alone! And if you’re one of those people who spends way too much time watching them, don’t feel guilty. A study released just last week suggests watching online cat videos can reduce anxiety, boost energy levels, and increase positive thinking. I said it earlier, I’ll say it again. Cats are awesome!

Still not convinced? Are you “just not a cat person”? Oh dear. I hope you’re still reading, because this next point is crucial.

Cats know if you’re “not a cat person”.

And they will do everything in their power to convert you. There are all sorts of theories as to why cats seem to gravitate towards the person in the room who likes them the least. I won’t pretend to know the answer, because truth be told, I really don’t care. I love watching cats charm the socks off “that guy” - successfully, I might add.

Like Liam Neeson’s character in the “Taken” series, cats have a very particular set of skills. If you are “that guy”, they will find you. And when they find you, they will win you.

My advice? Just roll with it. Come on over to the cat side. You’re one of us now.

Besides - we have catnip.


Do you have a question for Dr.Kupkee? Click here to send him an email.

Click here to check out deals and discounts exclusively for NBC6.com fans! 


To find the perfect cat or kitten for your family, contact any of the following organizations:

Cat Network

Miami Dade Animal Services 

Humane Society of Broward County 

Humane Society of Greater Miami

Broward County Animal Care and Adoption

Or check out our Facebook page to check out some adoptable kitties - including one who plays fetch!

<![CDATA[Last Chance Dogs and Cats at Broward Animal Care]]> Sat, 20 Jun 2015 14:53:45 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/BO+A1745988.jpg

Thirteen animals at Broward County Animal Care are considered "last call" and are in need of urgent adoption or rescue. The adoption fee for all of these dogs has been waived!

Bo is a total sweetheart who needs a new family to call his own. This 50-pound, 5-year-old Pointer loves every person he meets. He also enjoys playing with other dogs. Bo is easily adaptable and would adapt well to anyone's home.

Molly is a beautiful, petite American Staffordshire Terrier. This 4-year-old, 40-pound girl is incredibly sweet and loves people and other dogs. She is currently suffering from painful bilateral ear infections and a large Hematoma on her left ear. The shelter is currently treating her, but she desperately needs surgery on her ear. This has kept this friendly girl from finding a home so far.

Fluffy is an incredibly sweet girl who loves to show affection! She is a two-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier who weighs just 40 pounds. Fluffy is very well-behaved and is always eager to please. She loves all people and all other dogs as well, and will be the perfect pet.

Joanie is a friendly little girl who loves to give kisses! This Labrador Retriever mix is 3 years old and weighs just 36 pounds. Joanie is a beautiful, sweet dog who loves to show affection. She adores people and gets along great with other dogs too. This shelter staff favorite will make the perfect pet for any family.

Beverly is a beautiful, two-year-old domestic shorthair cat who has been at the shelter since February. She is a little shy and doesn't warm up to people right away. But once Beverly is used to you, she is incredibly friendly and loving.

Bibbity is a beautiful Boxer mix who adores getting attention. She is just 1 year old and weighs 45 pounds. Bibbity can be a little shy at first, but once she gets to know you, she'll do whatever it takes to make you happy. This girl has lots of personality and energy, and loves people and other dogs. However, she would do best in a home without young children.

Wolfie is an energetic, friendly dog who would make a great jogging partner! He is a 5-year-old German Shepherd mix who weighs 57 pounds. Wolfie gets along great with people and other dogs, and would make a great pet for an active family that can provide him with daily exercise and play.

Landon is a gentle, easygoing guy. This 6-year-old Boxer weighs 65 pounds and loves to play. He's a tall guy who has plenty of energy, and would love to be paired with an active family with kids or another dog. Landon is a lovable fellow who adores people and other dogs.

Spudz is a happy, outgoing puppy. He is an 11-month-old Boxer mix who weighs 57 pounds. Spudz is full of personality and loves to play. This cheerful pup is great with people and other dogs, and would make a fun companion for any household.

Joey is a handsome guy who loves the outdoors. He is a 1-year-old Husky mix, weighing in at 49 pounds. He loves being around people and gets along well with other dogs. Joey is an athletic dog who would love to find a new family with which to play.

Barbie is a gentle, sweet girl who got lost from home and needs another chance. She is a 3-year-old, 57-pound American Staffordshire Terrier who is affectionate and loving. Barbie loves people, and gets along great with other dogs as well.

Nudge is a happy, playful girl who has been patiently waiting for a new family. She is a 2-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier who weighs 54 pounds. Nudge is energetic, gets along great with other dogs, and enjoys being around people.

Torvald is a playful guy who is still just a puppy. This 10-month-old Boxer mix weighs 50 pounds, and is always ready to have fun. Torvald would love to find an active home, and would do wonderfully with another dog or an older child who can play with him.

Broward Animal Care and Adoption is located at 1870 SW 39th Street in Fort Lauderdale. The shelter is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on adopting animals from Broward Animal Care, visit their website or call (954) 359-1313.

Photo Credit: Broward Animal Care]]>
<![CDATA[Video Captures Close Encounter With Shark]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 09:23:22 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/shark19.jpg

A brave scuba diver shared a video with NBC 6 after a run-in with some sharks that was almost a bit too close for comfort.

The diver named Mike Zimmer was swimming in federal waters of the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Jupiter on Wednesday, when a group of tiger sharks became curious and wanted to know more about their visitor.

In the video, one of the sharks is seen biting a camera. As the animal chomps down, you get a unique look of the entire inside of its mouth.

Photo Credit: Mike Zimmer ]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets - June 18, 2015]]> Thu, 18 Jun 2015 19:12:17 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Athena+531971.jpg Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets - June 18, 2015]]> <![CDATA[Loggerhead Turtle Rescued After Being Hit by Boat]]> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 20:24:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Turtle14.jpg

An injured loggerhead turtle is recovering after being hit by a boat.

A boater called Pompano Beach Ocean Rescue on Tuesday after finding the severely injured turtle in the Intracoastal waterway.

The boater brought the turtle to the Sands Harbor Marina at 125 North Riverside Drive.

Ocean Rescue's Lt. Tom O'Neill and lifeguard Lesley Shahan responded to the scene and found the 200-pound loggerhead turtle had likely been hit by a boat propeller, suffering several gashes through its shell which were compromising its lungs.

Lifeguards provided oxygen with a pediatric mask and sprayed the turtle with water to keep it moist.

The injured turtle was placed on a backboard and transported to the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton for surgery.

Photo Credit: Pompano Beach Ocean Rescue]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets-June 16, 2015]]> Tue, 16 Jun 2015 20:09:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Bella+A1704304.jpg Check out the pets looking for loving homes at Miami-Dade Animal Services]]> <![CDATA[Social Media Gives Abandoned Dog a Second Chance]]> Tue, 16 Jun 2015 20:28:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Dessie.jpg

A heartbreaking photo of a dog named Dessie has gone viral. The 14-year-old dog was dumped by her family at Miami-Dade Animal Services, and seemed destined to be put down, but the sad story appears to have a happy ending, thanks to the power of social media.

"Imagine living with someone for 14 years and all of a sudden they abandon you. That's exactly what happened," said Lyndsey Gurowitz-Furman, from the rescue group "A Way For a Stray."

Dessie's owner surrendered her at the Miami-Dade shelter on Sunday and someone snapped a photo of the dog as her family left her behind. Experts from animal rescue groups say older dogs run a higher risk of being euthanized.

"It's sad. People aren't going to the shelter to adopt senior dogs. They're looking for puppies," Gurowitz-Furman said.

"Owner surrenders don't have the five day stray hold that a stray dog would have. So anything can happen when they're taken in," added "A Way For a Stray" volunteer, Jeannie Dykstra.

Volunteers with "A Way for a Stray" came to Dessie's rescue and will care for her until they can find her the perfect home. They call her a great family dog.

"Her personality is lovely, she is extremely sweet, she loves all people that she meets. She pretty much ignores other dogs," Dykstra said.

Dessie's already gone to the vet and will now be evaluated by the rescue group before she is ready for adoption. Volunteers say she's in pretty good shape for being such a senior dog.

"Just because it's a senior doesn't mean that they don't deserve a loving or happy home to live out the rest of their days or years," Gurowitz-Furman said.

The rescue group is accepting applications. If you are interested in adopting Dessie, click here for more information.

<![CDATA[Deer Running Loose in Pembroke Pines]]> Tue, 16 Jun 2015 18:23:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/061615+deer+on+loose+in+pembroke+pines.jpg

A deer has been spotted running in and out of a Pembroke Pines neighborhood.

The deer was seen in the roadway near Dykes Road and Pines Boulevard Tuesday afternoon, Pembroke Pines Police said.

Police posted to their Facebook page advising motorists to take caution in the area, and are asking residents not to call 911 unless the deer is in the roadway or causing a safety concern.

"If you see the deer roaming around the west side of the city the best thing that you can do is leave it alone," Capt. Al Xiques said. "Leave the deer alone and hopefully it will reach is natural habitat again."

Authorities with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission are also assisting.

Have you seen the deer? Let us know! Send a photo to isee@nbc6.com or share it with us via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #NBC6.

<![CDATA[Featured Pet: Lila]]> Sun, 14 Jun 2015 14:52:19 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/lila+potw+061415.PNG

Our featured pet is Lila, a 2-year-old American Bulldog at Broward Animal Care who is looking for a loving home.

Lila is a mellow girl who is very well-behaved. She is calm and easily adapts to different surroundings. Lila will make a wonderful family pet.

Lila's adoption fee includes spaying, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt her or any other animal, call (954) 359-1313 or visit Broward County Animal Care's website.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals page.

<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Toby]]> Sat, 13 Jun 2015 14:57:49 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/216*120/toby+potw+3+061315.PNG

Our pet of the week is Toby, a 13-week-old "tripod" kitten who is looking for a loving home.

Toby is a sweet, playful kitten. Even though one of his legs had to be amputated, he still loves to run and jump just like any other cat. Now Saving Sage Animal Rescue is helping Toby find a new family.

If you are interested in adopting Toby or any other animal, contact Saving Sage at (305) 298-8346 or visit their Facebook page.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals page.

<![CDATA[Biscayne Park Woman Serenades Cows]]> Fri, 12 Jun 2015 06:57:11 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/061215+woman+serenades+cows.jpg

Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo!

On a recent visit to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, Biscayne Park residents David and Amy Raymond were driving along when they spotted a field of cows.

Feeling quite musical, the pair pulled over and Amy decided to serenade the group with a rendition of the classic nursery rhyme, "Old MacDonald Had a Farm."

As David filmed the impromptu performance, the cows all seemed to be enamored by Amy's singing and came running to the fence to the tune of "E-I-E-I-O."

The captivated cows remained for several minutes listening to Amy from behind the fence while husband David filmed the charming interaction.

"You guys are the best audience I've ever had, hands down!" Amy said, taking a bow before her bovine audience after finishing several rounds of the song.

After lingering for a few moments, the cows dispersed once they realized the concert was over.

"Somehow, the cows have adopted Amy as their queen," David said of the charming interaction.

Photo Credit: David and Amy Raymond]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets - June 11, 2015]]> Thu, 11 Jun 2015 21:17:22 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Ana+531703.jpg Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets for June 11, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Stuck Dog Saved by Pompano Beach Fire Rescue]]> Fri, 12 Jun 2015 12:08:25 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/061115+pompano+beach+rescue+german+shepard.jpg

A German Shepard who became stuck in a canal got a lucky break from Pompano Beach Fire Rescue crews.

Just after 10 a.m., crews were called to 521 Southwest 18th Street because the dog had fallen into the canal and couldn't get himself out.

Crews lowered a ladder into the canal, and Captain Dave Sheflin climbed down and carried dog back up to safety.

"Triton" is said to be doing OK following his rescue.

Photo Credit: Pompano Beach Fire Rescue]]>
<![CDATA[Zoo Miami Named to TripAdvisor's "Hall of Fame"]]> Wed, 10 Jun 2015 11:33:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/1102.jpg

Now, there's even more reason to love Zoo Miami!

For the fifth consecutive year, Zoo Miami has been awarded the "Certificate of Excellence" by TripAdvisor, an award reserved for spots that receive excellent reviews from travelers on the popular website.

As a result of this major accomplishment, Zoo Miami is now the first-time TripAdvisor "Hall of Fame" honoree.

This year is the first time such an award has been distributed.

Zoo Miami has received the excellence award every year since 2011.

"The Hall of Fame award is an extra special distinction that we are extremely proud of and will celebrate,” said Zoo Miami Director Carol Kruse in a press release.

Other popular South Florida destinations that received the Certificate of Excellence award this year include Deering Estate at Cutler, Amelia Earhart Park, Haulover Beach Park, Crandon Tennis Center, Fruit and Spice Park, and Crandon Golf Course.

Photo Credit: Zoo Miami ]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets-June 9, 2015]]> Tue, 09 Jun 2015 15:19:56 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Amber+A1700836.jpg Check out the pets looking for loving homes at Miami-Dade Animal Services]]> <![CDATA[Featured Pets: Vinny and Pluto]]> Sun, 07 Jun 2015 11:49:00 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000018534481_1200x675_459220547860.jpg Two chihuahua mixes need a new home! They are up for adoption at Pooches in Pines.]]> <![CDATA[In Memory of Jimmy and Hector, K-9s Who Died in Hot Car]]> Sat, 06 Jun 2015 16:22:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000018400728_1200x675_453331523607.jpg

It was one of those days. It was last year, sometime in mid-August when the only thing hotter than the sun was the temper of seemingly everyone I met. Maybe it was a full moon, but the whole city just seemed ready to explode. I was no peach myself. I’m from England. This heat? This humidity? This relentless sun? As we say across the pond “it’s just not done!” It makes me crazy! But I digress.

In the midst of sniping staff, frantic pet-parents and an onslaught of emergencies, I had a phone call to make. Buster’s biopsy results were in, and the news was not good. Buster’s mom had done everything she could have possibly done, but the cancer was winning. I left her several messages, knowing I would not be in the office the following day. This was not a call that could be delegated. She deserved to hear it from me. By the end of the day, I still hadn’t heard from her. I packed up our two dachshunds (who go to work with us almost every day) and put their carriers in the back seat of the car. I hadn’t even put the key in the ignition when my wife came out and tapped on the passenger side window. “Buster’s mom is on the phone,” she said. “Go back in and pick up line two. I’ll bring the dogs back inside.”

I hadn’t thought about that day for a long time. I remembered it last week when Miami awoke to the news that two K-9 police officers, Hector and Jimmy, had died after being left in their handler’s SUV. Online commentators demanded answers to questions like “How does this happen?” Who does this?” “How is this possible?” Don’t get me wrong - I want answers too. But the question that’s been haunting me personally is “What if?”

“I’ll bring the dogs back inside.”

Guys, we all know that our wives’ - ahem, how can I say this? - attention to detail (whew!) is not always a welcome trait.

But what if she hadn’t said that?

What if she didn’t realize I had put the dogs in the car? What if she had been distracted? What if I had been needed for a bleeding emergency that required all hands - including hers - on deck? What if she had assumed that she was going to bring the dogs home? What if she thought they were still in their kennels? What if in our zeal to save someone else’s pet, we had forgotten about our own? I like to think we’re both pretty smart people, but what if things had gone down just a little bit differently? What if the unthinkable had happened?

Perhaps by now, some of you are thinking I’m being a bit melodramatic. After all, it’s not like this happens all the time. But here’s the thing. It does happen all the time. Last year, 38 children lost their lives in hot cars. While no one seems to officially track the number of pets who die in this manner, educated guesses range from the low hundreds to well into the thousands every year. Yes, you read that correctly. Every. Year. In fact it’s such a problem, that a colleague in North Carolina, Dr. Ernie Ward, locked himself in a hot car for 30 minutes and documented his physical and psychological responses. Dr. Ward is a triathlon coach and Ironman competitor. The man is no stranger to working up a sweat - something he reminds his viewers that our pets cannot adequately do. Seeing him respond to the conditions in his car is very disturbing as hell. He did it to prove a point, and God knows he got my attention. But then there’s Jimmy and Hector, amongst countless others.

Dogs love to go for rides in the car. But don’t let a momentary impulse turn into a lifetime of regret. If you must have your pet in the car with you, tie a ribbon around the steering wheel and another on the door handle to remind yourself they are there. Tie another one around your wrist. Set alarms on your phone for every five minutes. Check your rear view mirrors constantly. Place something you know you won’t forget (purse, cell phone, wallet, etc.) in the back seat next to your pet. Humans are fallible. Hold each other accountable. Text each other, pester each other. Be a nag! Know where your dogs are at all times and don’t feel guilty about leaving them at home. Can you leave them in the car while you ran a quick little errand? Please! This is Miami - there is no such thing as a quick errand! Tinted windows and shaded parking spots are just as dangerous. Don’t do it. And don’t kid yourself that it’s “really not that hot”. A study released by Stanford University showed that when the outside temperature is just 70 degrees, the temperature inside a parked car reaches 104 degrees in just under 30 minutes. If that still doesn’t sound so bad, put on a fur coat. Now you know how your dog feels.

Jimmy and Hector gave us everything they were. They will be deeply mourned and sorely missed. They are survived by a grieving community, a shattered police force and a caretaker that must live with “what ifs” for the rest of his life. Run freely, Jimmy and Hector - the Rainbow Bridge awaits. Say hi to my buddy Toby for me. Please tell him I miss him. Most importantly, rest in the peace. Those you’ve left behind will know neither peace nor rest for a long, long time. Thank you for your service. And thanks for watching over us.

I’ve never met you, but something tells me you always will.


Dr. Ian Kupkee is a veterinarian at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic.

<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Usher]]> Sat, 06 Jun 2015 14:44:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/usher+potw+060615.jpg

Our pet of the week is Usher, an adorable 8-year-old Terrier mix from the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

Little Usher has a perpetual puppy look in spite of his age. He is blind, but that doesn't stop him from finding his way around with a little help. Usher can be a little shy at first, but is incredibly sweet and loving. He also gets along great with other dogs. Once he is comfortable, he loves to wag his tail!

Because of his blindness, Usher needs a patient family to help him learn his way around a new home, but he will undoubtedly find his way into everyone's hearts.

All adoptions include spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt Usher or any other animal, call 305-696-0800 or visit the Humane Society's website.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals page.

<![CDATA[Lauderhill Firefighters Rescue Trapped Kitten]]> Fri, 05 Jun 2015 12:28:56 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/848FEDA1-E308-4C82-A6C5-8ECA80E5E9F84690053A-A48E-421D-8772-AF1E23B28726.jpg Lauderhill firefighters rescued a scared trapped kitten from the underside of a pick-up truck Friday morning.

Photo Credit: Lauderhill Fire Rescue]]>
<![CDATA[Last Chance Dogs at Broward Animal Care]]> Fri, 05 Jun 2015 11:22:49 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/MONKEY+A1744808.jpg

Six dogs at Broward County Animal Care are considered "last call" and are in need of urgent adoption or rescue. The adoption fee for all of these dogs has been waived!

Monkey is a super happy boy who loves to make people smile! This 3-year-old, 52-pound American Staffordshire Terrier has a lot of fun playing with other dogs, and is very well-behaved. Monkey needs a family to call his own, where his fun-loving nature can shine.

Riley is a total people pleaser! He is a 3-year-old, 65-pound American Staffordshire Terrier who loves attention and will do just about anything to be told he's a "good boy!" He gets along great with people and other dogs.

Mazzie is a beautiful, happy dog who is always ready to play! She is a 1.5-year-old Labrador mix who would be the perfect dog for an active family. She loves other dogs and can't wait to find a loving home.

Superman is looking for a hero of his own! He is a handsome 1.5-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier who weighs 41 pounds. He is a happy, outgoing dog with a playful personality. Superman loves people and other dogs, and would make a terrific family pet.

Chestnut is a small American Staffordshire Terrier with a super-sized personality! Weighing just 43 pounds, this petite boy has a big heart and incredibly sweet disposition. Chestnut loves to play and gets along wonderfully with other dogs.

Jax is a beautiful Labrador mix who is still just a puppy! This 39-pound pup is 11 months old and is starting to feel a little sad in the shelter environment. Jax is great with other dogs and has shown lots of friendly and loving characteristics.

Broward Animal Care and Adoption is located at 1870 SW 39th Street in Fort Lauderdale. The shelter is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on adopting animals from Broward Animal Care, visit their website or call (954) 359-1313.

<![CDATA[Giant Gator Captured in SW Miami-Dade Neighborhood]]> Fri, 05 Jun 2015 19:07:55 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/SWDade+Gator.JPG

An eight-foot alligator caused quite a commotion when it found its way to the front door of a home in Southwest Miami-Dade, Florida. 

The giant gator was discovered right outside Fernando Belmonte-Zbinden's front door in the Emerald Palms apartment complex off southwest 151st Street, near Zoo Miami.

"Everyone was psyched to see it... there were about 30 people out here," he said.

Belmonte-Zbinden said he first spotted the reptile when he stepped outside to walk his dog Wednesday afternoon.

"I went back inside, got my camera and started snapping away, photographs and video."

And then he said the gator started roaming from door to door, "It had its head leaning on the front door," he said.

You would think the close encounter would have had Belmonte-Zbinden and his neighbors afraid, but he said they were simply caught up in the moment.

It's believed the alligator came from a nearby canal right across from the gated community. And Belmonte-Zbinden said he's seen this same alligator before, last year.

"At the time it was six and a half feet... it wasn't as big," he said. "It was the same alligator because it was missing the same three scales on its tail."

Belmonte-Zbinden said Emerald Palms' property management called for help and soon a trapper arrived to take the gator away. Belmonte-Zbinden admitted he was a little disappointed.

"It wasn't aggressive and didn't mind people being around," he said.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets - June 4, 2015]]> Thu, 04 Jun 2015 16:13:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Anastasia1+530975.jpg The Broward Humane Society's Adoptable Pets for June 4, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Homestead Family Reunited With Dog After 7 Years]]> Mon, 01 Jun 2015 23:33:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/reunion+dog.jpg

A South Florida family has been reunited with their beloved Boston Terrier Lola seven years after they last saw her. 

"Lola! Oh my God, look at her. I can't believe it," said Julie Arango while she and her daughter Celina played with the pet.

Lola likely ran away after digging holes under the fence in the family's backyard. The family learned their lost pooch had been found more than half a decade later when they received a phone call from Linda Gall.

Gall found the dog on Craigslist Sunday and took her in as her own. She brought Lola to a vet's office in Plantation and a microchip revealed she belonged to someone else. 

Gall said the people who have been caring for the pooch for the last seven years were downsizing and had to give the dog away.

"Yes I'd love the dog but ... it belongs to the right owner and it's going to them," Gall said.

Julie Arango, remembering the call that led up to the happy reunion, said Gall was "adamant saying 'You're Julie, you had a Boston Terrier and her name was Lola.' I said, 'that was so many years ago.' She said, 'I have your dog.' I said 'no,' incredible." 

For Celina Arango, the news was almost too good to be true. She was just 12-years-old when Lola got away and has held onto a photo of her old pet.

"I didn't believe it. I've heard stories of looking online trying to find the same dog and people say I think it's your dog and it's not, there's no way that's my Lola. But that for sure is my dog," Celina said.

Celina turns 19 on Wednesday, so she considers the reunion as the perfect birthday gift.

She plans to take Lola up to Orlando where she's attending Valencia College.

"I'll take her with me and get comfy with her sleeping in my bed with me ... just be happy up there," Celina said. "Even though it's been seven years, we're going to pick up right where we left off."

Photo Credit: NBCMiami.com]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets-June 2, 2015]]> Wed, 03 Jun 2015 15:35:57 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Rob+A1701619.jpg Check out the pets looking for loving homes at Miami-Dade Animal Services]]> <![CDATA[North America's Oldest Koala Dies at Zoo Miami]]> Mon, 01 Jun 2015 12:41:06 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/060115+danda-loo+zoo+miami+koala.jpg

The oldest Koala in North America and Europe has died at Zoo Miami, officials said.

Danda-Loo, a female koala that was nearly 20 years old, was euthanized at the zoo on Saturday after battling health issues for the past several months.

A normal life span for a female koala is between 13-18 years. Danda-Loo had undergone laser therapy for severe arthritis and experienced significant weight loss as her appetite continued to diminish.

"Despite supplemental feeding, and pain medication therapy, she continued to experienced significant weight loss and normal daily activity had become extremely difficult, if not impossible," zoo officials said in a statement.

The koala was born at Busch Gardens in Tampa in 1995 and came to Zoo Miami in 2007 as part of the Koala Education and Conservation Program managed by the San Diego Zoo.

Zoo Miami's koala exhibit will remain empty until another becomes available through the conservation program.

"The loss of Danda-Loo is bittersweet in that we will miss her and her passing will leave a void that will result in profound sadness but we are also quite proud to know that we provided the love and care that enabled this beautiful animal to become one of the oldest koalas in the world where for many years she inspired countless visitors to care about the wonders of wildlife," the statement said.

Photo Credit: Zoo Miami]]>
<![CDATA[Featured Pet: James, a "Hemingway" Cat]]> Sun, 31 May 2015 13:39:44 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/james+hemingway+cat+0531154.PNG

Our featured pet is James, a 1-year-old Hemingway cat at Broward Animal Care who is looking for a forever home.

James is unique in that he is six-toed, like the so-called "Hemingway" cats in Key West. He is feisty and loves attention.

The adoption fee for call cats and kittens at Broward Animal Care is waived for the month of June. Each adoption includes spaying or neutering, vaccinations and microchipping. Since it is "kitten season," the shelter is also in need of foster homes to help alleviate crowding at the shelter.

For more information on how to adopt James or any other animal, call (954) 359-1313 or visit Broward County Animal Care's website.

For more animal news, visit the our All About Animals page.

<![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Tom and Jerry]]> Sat, 30 May 2015 16:06:00 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tom+jerry+potw+053015.jpg

Our pets of the week are Tom and Jerry, two terrier mixes from Miami-Dade Animal Services who are looking for forever homes.

The two 6-month-old puppies are friendly and love attention. Tom will grow to be a 40 to 60-pound dog, while Jerry is already fully-grown. Both will make great family dogs.

All adoptions include spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt Tom an Jerry, or any other animal, call 305-884-1101 or visit the Miami-Dade Animal Services website

The shelter is located at 7401 Northwest 74th Street in Miami. Adoption hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more animal news, visit the NBC6 All About Animals page.

<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets, May 28, 2015]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 20:45:56 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Ali+424688.jpg Check out the pets looking for loving homes at the Humane Society of Broward County.]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - May 27, 2015]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 14:58:58 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*125/Abby+A1630422.jpg Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets for May 27, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Lucky]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 14:53:54 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/lucky+potw+052315.PNG

Our pet of the week is Lucky, a 4-year-old Miniature Pinscher mix from the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

Lucky has a great temperament. He loves to play and enjoys being around people. Lucky is very smart and is a fast learner.

All adoptions include spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations and microchipping. For more information on how to adopt Lucky or any other animal, call 305-696-0800 or visit the Humane Society's website.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals page.

<![CDATA[How to Prevent Children From Suffering Dog Bites]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 12:13:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/dog+bite+prevention+052215.jpg

This week is Dog Bite Prevention Week! Which means it’s time for me to remind readers once again, that every year, nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs. And again, I should point out that nearly half of those bitten are children between the ages of five and nine. This year, however, I’d like to examine a different number: seventy seven. This is the percentage of children who are bitten by dogs owned by their family or friends.

Let’s allow that to sink in for a moment - 77% of pediatric dog bite victims are injured by dogs with whom they are very familiar. When parents and dog owners are interviewed by animal control officers or quoted by the press, someone almost always says “The dog just snapped!” This article is not intended to invalidate or diminish the experiences of anyone, especially a child, who may have bitten by a dog. I apologize in advance for any offense this next statement may cause, but it has to be said: dogs do not “just snap”. Ever. So how do these things happen? Why do dogs bite, and why on earth do they bite small children?

Regardless of how deeply we involve our dogs in our lives, at the end of the day, they are animals. As such, they are hard-wired with a “fight or flight” response that determines how they react to stressful situations. While most of us would love to trade our own stress levels for those of the family dog, it’s important to understand that many normal human behaviors can be very frightening to dogs. While I’ve not been able to find an exact statistic, a striking number or dog bites to children happen in conjunction with activities that we consider nice, playful or fun. This only further traumatizes the pediatric bite victim who truly does not understand what he or she did wrong. Here are some everyday childhood behaviors that dogs can perceive as threats.

Hugging and Kissing

Children love giving hugs and kisses. Since they love their dogs as well, it makes perfect sense for them to lavish this sort of attention on the family pet. Hugging and kissing are primate behaviors - and dogs are not primates. In the world of dogs, being grabbed around the neck precedes being taken down by another predator. A kiss can be perceived as an impending bite to the face. Many dogs will tolerate this behavior, but few of them actually enjoy it. And all of them will “tell” you with their body language that they anxious or stressed.

The dog in the picture with me belongs to one of my nurses. She’s a great dog and I love her. But she associates me with shots and x-rays, so the romance is understandably one-sided. Look carefully at her body language. Her ears are back. Her body is tense. The whites of her eyes are visible - a textbook sign of canine anxiety. Most importantly, she is deliberately looking away from me. This is an avoidance behavior, and if you need any more convincing, just Google “child hugging dog image.” The vast majority of them feature dogs that are looking away, looking up or down, or turning their bodies away from the child. Just like Soliel in the picture above, they are tolerating the interaction, but they are not enjoying it. And that can spell trouble down the road. I’ve known Soleil for a long time. She has a very high bite threshold. Had I decided to be stupid and give her a hug or a kiss, she would not have bitten me. However, if I did so several times a day, every day for months or even years, she would have no choice but to correct my behavior with a bite to my face. This is precisely what happens a dog’s warning signs go unnoticed or ignored. Learn these subtle signs of anxiety and stress, and separate children from dogs who may be exhibiting them. The late Dr. Sophia Yin produced a great teaching tool for this purpose. You can check it out by clicking here.http://www.sabalchaseanimalclinic.com/behavior/bodylanguageindogs.html


Children are taught from an early age that sharing is desirable behavior and a gesture of kindness towards those whom they love. Sadly, many children are bitten because they expect dogs to share their toys or treats. Many dogs are guilty of resource guarding, and will lash out at children who approach them while they are eating, or who attempt to take their toys. I believe it is wise to teach children that since people and dogs are different, the rules for them are different as well. People are expected to share. Dogs are not. Keep it simple.

Whenever I write articles like this, I always feel like I’m harping on parents. So this time, my fellow dog owners, I’m talking to you. Resource guarding is unacceptable. It may be understandable, but it almost always leads to aggression down the road. Do not set your dog up for failure. We have zero tolerance for it at Casa Kupkee, and our dogs are far from perfect. If you see signs of resource guarding in your dog, call a trainer and get it fixed.


Remember the “fight or flight” mentality I mentioned earlier? When a child is bothering a dog, all the dog really wants to do is walk away. This is another reason why hugging is so dangerous - the child’s grip might take away the flight option. A dog who walks away from an overbearing child is actually making a very good decision. This behavior, however, makes no sense to a young child, especially given that most youngsters are taught that such behavior is rude. They are expected to pay attention when someone is addressing them, yet Fluffy can make an unceremonious exit without so much as a by-your-leave. It’s confusing! Again, keep it simple. Dog rules are different. If Fluffy doesn’t want to play, she doesn’t have to. Bites to children often occur when the child pursues or chases a dog who has repeatedly “told” its family that it’s had enough.


An animal that is about to attack or kill will stare at its intended target before making its move. While children can be taught that it is impolite to stare, babies cannot. And babies stare! It’s very cute - one can’t help but wonder what is going through their minds as they process this big, crazy world. But a dog might interpret a baby’s stare as a challenge or even a sign of an impending attack. Even when they are carried out by small dogs, bites and attacks to babies are often fatal. Tragedy can strike within seconds. Never leave babies alone with a dog. Not even for a second.

Articles on dog bite prevention are almost always followed heated debates in the comment thread. Dog owners accuse parents of raising badly-behaved kids with no common sense. Parents accuse dog owners of failing to take responsibility for the actions of their out-of-control dogs. The fact of the matter is that safe interactions between children and dogs have the potential to benefit communities as a whole. It is therefore everyone’s responsibility to speak up for members of our communities who cannot speak up for themselves.


Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Click here to send him an email.

Click here to check out deals and discounts exclusively for NBC6.com fans!

Photo Credit: Sabal Chase Animal Clinic]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Shelter's "Dig"nitary Needs a Home]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 11:50:16 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/layla+broward+052215.jpg

A dog who helped break ground at the new Broward Animal Care shelter is in need of a forever home.

Layla is a gorgeous 2-year-old Pointer mix, who was named the star "dig"nitary for the new shelter's groundbreaking ceremony. Even though she was surrounded by more than 80 people, Layla had no stage fright and performed her digging duties beautifully.

Shelter staff say this well-behaved girl has been at the shelter for over a month. Layla is in urgent need of a new family.

For more information on Layla, visit Broward Animal Care's website. Her animal ID number is A1741096.

Anyone interested in meeting Layla can visit the shelter, located at 1870 SW 39th Street in Fort Lauderdale. The shelter is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Photo Credit: Broward Animal Care]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets, May 21, 2015]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 09:05:47 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Bert+and+Ernie+1.jpg Check out the pets looking for loving homes at the Humane Society of Broward County]]>