<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - ]]> Copyright 2014 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 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 23:10:27 -0400 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 23:10:27 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Donations Needed to Treat Blind Dog]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:01:01 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pepepr+blind+dog.jpg

A blind dog named Pepper needs your help to help him see.

 Pepper was recently surrendered by his previous owner. A good Samaritan who rescued Pepper and found a veterinarian who can perform surgery that will help restore the dog’s vision, but doesn’t have the funds to pay for the operation.

Dr. Blackwood, the veterinarian, says surgery for Pepper will cost $1,300, including follow up care.

If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to help pay for Pepper’s surgery, click here. For more information, call (305) 652-0448.

Pepper’s blindness has made him terrified of his own shadow and he tends to bump into things. The surgery will repair a cataract in his eye and allow him to enjoy life again.

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<![CDATA[Dogs Need Home After Owner Goes to Hospice]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:25:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Miami+Adoptable+Dogs.jpg

A pet owner who rescued three street dogs is looking for someone to adopt his dogs as he goes into hospice care.

The three dogs, named Happy, Red, and Ziggy need new homes or fosters to care for them. They have spent their last few years living inside a trailer by their caretaker, Larry, who rescued them off the street.

Due to health issues, Larry can longer care for the dogs and has no family or friends who can adopt them.

The three dogs have been described as sweet, well-mannered dogs that get along with each other. They are also house-trained and in good health.

Larry is afraid these dogs may lose their lives if they are not adopted soon.

If you are interested in adopting one of the dogs, or to find out more information, please call Ann at (305) 865-0516 or Kathy at (305) 401-4693

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<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Calieb]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 20:17:18 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/209*120/00CACD63.jpg

Our pet of the week is Calieb, an 11-month-old lab mix who wants to find a forever home.

Calieb is a friendly dog with a sweet personality. He loves the outdoors and walks well on a leash. Calieb is even housebroken, and would make a wonderful family dog.

Calieb's adoption fee is only $50 and includes neutering, vaccinations and microchip. For more information on how to adopt him or any other animal, call (954) 359-1313 or visit Broward County Animal Care's website here.

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

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<![CDATA[Preparing Pets for Hurricane Season]]> Wed, 14 May 2014 12:18:26 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/hurricane+cat.jpg

During a storm, you want to make sure every member of your family is protected, including your pets. The Federal Emergency Management Agency urges pet owners not to leave their pets behind and to know which shelters are pet-friendly in the event of evacuation.

Here are FEMA's guidelines for caring for animals during a hurricane:

To Prepare Shelter for Pets:

  • Call your local emergency management office, animal shelter or animal control office to get advice and information.
  • If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located. Be sure to research some outside your local area in case local facilities close.
  • Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet's medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current. Include copies in your "pet survival" kit along with a photo of your pet.
  • Some animal shelters will provide temporary foster care for owned pets in times of disaster but this should be considered only as a last resort.
  • If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger! Confine your pet to a safe area inside - NEVER leave your pet chained outside! Leave them loose inside your home with food and plenty of water. Remove the toilet tank lid, raise the seat and brace the bathroom door open so they can drink. Place a notice outside in a visible area, advising what pets are in the house and where they are located. Provide a phone number where you or a contact can be reached as well as the name and number of your vet.

What to Do With Pets During a Storm:

  • Bring your pets inside immediately.
  • Have newspapers on hand for sanitary purposes. Feed the animals moist or canned food so they will need less water to drink.
  • Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
  • Separate dogs and cats. Even if your dogs and cats normally get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally. Keep small pets away from cats and dogs.
  • In an emergency, you may have to take your birds with you. Talk with your veterinarian or local pet store about special food dispensers that regulate the amount of food a bird is given. Make sure that the bird is caged and the cage is covered by a thin cloth or sheet to provide security and filtered light.

What to Do With Pets After a Storm:

  • If after a disaster you have to leave town, take your pets with you. Pets are unlikely to survive on their own.
  • In the first few days after the disaster, leash your pets when they go outside. Always maintain close contact. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost. Also, snakes and other dangerous animals may be brought into the area with flood areas. Downed power lines are a hazard.
  • The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard with access to shelter and water.

If You Have Large Animals:

  • Ensure all animals have some form of identification.
  • Evacuate animals whenever possible. Map out primary and secondary routes in advance.
  • Make available vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting each type of animal. Also make available experienced handlers and drivers. Note: It is best to allow animals a chance to become accustomed to vehicular travel so they are less frightened and easier to move.
  • Ensure destinations have food, water, veterinary care and handling equipment.
  • If evacuation is not possible, animal owners must decide whether to move large animals to shelter or turn them outside.

If Evacuating Animals to a Pet-Friendly Shelter: 

  • Provide proof of residency within an evacuation zone
  • Present medical and current vaccination records for each pet
  • Make sure your pet has received annual rabies vaccinations
  • Keep your county pet license visible
  • Pet owners must bring supplies for themselves and their pet(s)
  • Check how many pets per household are allowed at the shelt
  • Family member must remain in the PEC with the pet(s)

For a list of pet-friendly shelters, click here.

More Weather Content:



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[When the Family Dog Attacks]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:49:19 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Pit+bull5.jpg

This past summer, South Florida lost one of its youngest, most vulnerable citizens. His name was Javon Dade, and he was four years old. On the last day of his painfully short life, he wandered into his father’s backyard, accompanied only by his teddy bear. While we will never know the exact details of what happened next, what we do know, is that little Javon was mauled to death by one or more of the six dogs that lived in the yard. All of the dogs were confiscated by Miami Dade Animal Services. One of them was an intact male pit bull. As of this writing, the DNA tests to prove which dog or dogs killed Javon are still pending. The following day, however, the pit bull was euthanized after displaying aggressive behavior towards the shelter’s staff. That weekend, one of my wife’s Facebook “friends” sent her a terse private message:

“It’s ALWAYS the pit bull.”

I’ll call this “friend” Jack. Jack enjoys challenging our assertion that pit bulls are just dogs, and that aggression is not caused by DNA. He doesn’t particularly like the peer-reviewed studies and scientific evidence with which we respond, which I suppose is why he continues to spar with us. My wife responded with an equally terse one-liner: “No, Jack. It’s ALWAYS the resident dogs.”

Resident Dogs vs. Family Pets

As details of Javon’s death emerged, and the story grew more complex, a particular detail remained constant throughout the process. Every media outlet that reported this story referred to the dogs as “family pets.” And every time I heard that expression, my anger grew. While it may seem to some that I am quibbling over semantics, the fact of the matter is that any meaningful discourse on dog bites and attacks must include the distinction between family dogs and resident dogs.

Late last year, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association released an in-depth study on ten years’ worth of dog bite related fatalities. In over two thirds of case studies, the dog or dogs involved were resident dogs, as opposed to family pets. Family pets live indoors with the family. They may not be considered family members, or described as part of the family, but they interact with humans on a daily basis.

They may not be perfect angels (God knows my dogs are not!), but they live with the expectation of good manners, and adherence to the rules we have taught them. No begging for food, no crowding us while we eat. If it’s not in the toy box, it isn’t yours. You may bark to give an alert, but stop when we ask you to (still working on that one). Answer nature’s calls outside. No fence fighting with the neighbor’s dog (improved, but not perfect). Come when you are called. And while our family does not include children, we expect perfect child etiquette. Period.

I’ll be the first to admit that their door etiquette is terrible. Grendel has me wrapped around her proverbial little finger. Zohan has a nervous streak that demands constant vigilance when other dogs are present. But we are always trying to do better. In exchange for following our rules, they get to come to work with us, play fun games, meet new people, and go on the occasional road trip.

Family pets interact with humans every day, and do so in ways that we have taught them are appropriate. They are well-socialized towards all members of the household, including other pets, children, infants, and guests. They keep their impulses and instincts in check by choosing desired behaviors instead. But dogs are not born knowing how to make what humans call good decisions. These are learned behaviors, and we must be the ones to teach them. On the other end of the spectrum are resident dogs.

What is a resident dog?

A resident dog is one that is owned by humans and resides on their property, but does not regularly interact with the family who lives on the property. Many people, including dog owners themselves, will refer to these animals as family pets, simply because they are kept on a piece of property owned by a family. They are almost always sexually intact, and allowed or encouraged to breed.

Three of the six dogs taken from Javon’s home were puppies; it has been widely speculated that these unsocialized dogs saw him as a threat to the litter. And why wouldn’t they? Had they ever been taught by humans how to distinguish a legitimate threat from a perceived threat? Had they ever been taught proper child etiquette?

DCF records show that as an infant, Javon crawled and played on the floor where those same dogs urinated and defecated. Complaints were filed stating that the dogs were aggressive. The neighbors in Goulds reported the dogs would lunge at the fence at passersby. Socialized? Trained? These dogs were not even housebroken. Another neighbor reported that a dog was kicked after the dog obeyed the command to stop barking! Resident dogs are routinely subjected to these types of mixed signals and abject abuse, hence their mental instability.

Resident dogs live either alone or in packs, isolated from human contact. They are untrained, unsocialized, and never go to the vet. They are usually kept chained, tethered, or allowed to roam freely. Many live in runs, kennels, or pens. With nothing to occupy their minds, and hormones surging through their bodies, these dogs become ticking time bombs. At best, they become a public nuisance as they will often resort to mindless barking in an effort to attract attention or relieve boredom.

Improper diet and lack of veterinary care can lead to health problems that intensify aggression. Resident dogs are often acquired to guard or protect the property, yet are not given the training needed to do so reliably or safely. A true guard dog is trained using positive reinforcement only. He learns to distinguish a legitimate threat from a four-year-old child with a teddy bear. Other resident dogs are simply banished to the yard when they outgrow the snuggly puppy phase and become rambunctious adolescents. Ditto for dogs who are “downgraded” with the addition of a new pet, a new spouse, a new baby, or a new set of furniture.

After explaining this distinction to "Facebook Jack," he fired back that he still wasn’t buying it. He grew up on a farm, with hound dogs who hunted. They owned bassetts and beagles, usually about 20 at a time. None were spayed or neutered, as a good hunting dog was a thing of beauty whose bloodlines should be preserved. They never set foot inside the house. They lived in pens and kennels and at any given time, he or any of his siblings or cousins could walk into their midst, and be slathered with sloppy kisses. Back on the farm, he claimed, that was how all dogs lived. And none of them ran around killing kids.

I thought back to my own childhood, and realized that Jack actually had a pretty good point. When my family moved to England, we spent the summers on my Uncle John’s dairy farm. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the collies and shepherds that moved the cows were kept in this manner as well. Dogs in the house? Not on Aunt Jean’s watch. They belonged outside, and if I had a problem with that I could sleep in the kennels with them! Yet like Jack’s beagles, these intact, outdoor dogs never so much as bared their teeth. Can we in fairness say they were resident dogs? Or worse yet, ticking time bombs? No. And here’s why:

The most dangerous aspect of a resident dog is its isolation from humans. This isolation leads to a failure to respond to normal commands and cues. They have nothing to look forward to, and no reason to see human interaction as valuable.

Jack’s beloved beagles and my beloved collies were purpose-bred, working dogs. Their work had meaning and purpose - and they loved it. They were taught how to do their jobs by the humans with whom they shared their world, if not necessarily their houses. They were taught with patience, and rewarded with lavish praise. They ate heartily and slept soundly after a long day of meaningful, physical work. They may not have slept on satin pillows, but they were active, switched on, and cognitively enriched. They worked as willing partners with the humans who taught them the skills they needed to feel valued and loved. Their work had a point, their lives had meaning, and the partnership was win-win.

The isolated life of a resident dog is meaningless, pointless and marked by suffering. While it is usually the dog that suffers, the JAVMA study found that a staggering 76 percent of fatal dog attacks were carried out by resident dogs. Most of the victims were children under the age of five.

Dog owners, I implore you - do not allow Javon’s short life to be reduced to a mere statistic. Socialize your dogs, and expect to be held accountable for their behavior. It’s time to stop using breed-based assumptions as an excuse for irresponsible dog ownership. The practice of keeping resident dogs must stop.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Click here to send him an email. And check out some of these great deals and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 fans!



Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:37:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/179*120/101514+Betty+Boop+516925.jpg This week's adoptable pets from the Broward Humane Society.]]> <![CDATA[All About Animals]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:45:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015105794_1200x675_342992451599.jpg The Humane Society of Broward County discusses the importance of making sure your animals are up to date with the vaccinations.]]> <![CDATA[Teen Amputee Rescues 3-Legged Dachshund]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:38:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/Pooh+and+Sam.JPG

A young man with a prosthetic leg now has an unbreakable bond with a dog who shares a similar condition.

In August 2013, Sam Sartain lost his leg in an ATV accident. He underwent several surgeries that took more and more of his right leg. Sartain was emaciated, on a feeding tube and had a skin graft in February.

A few months later, Sartain received a fresh start with a prosthetic leg.

“It’s cool because when I went back to school, not only did I have that respect as a person, but as an athlete too,” Sartain said.

While he was adjusting to his new lifestyle, so was a stray Dachshund named Pooh, who was hit by a car. Pooh lost his hind right leg.

“The thing that was similar between me and Pooh (the dog), was the complete top layer of skin was just torn off. You can see the bones and everything," Sartain said.

Miami-Dade Animal Services took Pooh in and cleaned him up. They then reached out to the Dachshund Recue South Florida, which helped raise $5,000 in two days to help save Pooh.

After receiving enough money to save Pooh, he had to have his leg amputated. Sam’s mother Judy Sartain found the dog on the rescue’s Facebook page and knew that Pooh had to be theirs.

“As a mom you search for any resources that can help and animals are very therapeutic and they give you a reason to get up. It’s time to get up, it’s time to take the dog out, time to feed the dog. They give you unconditional love,” Judy Sartain said.

Sam Sartain said the first moment he met Pooh, it was indescribable.

“It’s a weird feeling, because he looked at me and he realized I guess that we had the same situation and he immediately ran over towards me,” Sartain said.

It’s a bond that only Sam and Pooh can share.

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<![CDATA[Meyers: Extreme Dog Shaming]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 08:38:07 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Extreme+Dog+Shaming.png While dogs are mankind’s favorite companion, it hasn’t stopped some furry friends from ruffling some feathers by digging up a garden or eating mom’s favorite shoe. There are a lot of guilty canines out there, but Seth Meyers has found some of the worst fuzzy offenders in "Extreme Dog Shaming."]]> <![CDATA[Exotic Bird Stolen From Miami Beach Family]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:35:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/101314+chico+exotic+bird.jpg

Miami Beach Police are looking for a burglar who stole a family's exotic pet bird during an overnight break-in Monday.

Chico, a yellow-naped amazon, was taken from the home at 3470 Meridian Avenue, police said.

The bird is 52 years old and has been with the same family for decades. He speaks and laughs like a "drunk old lady," the bird's owner said.

"He's been in our family for a long time," owner Marie Reilly said. "My dad’s best friend raised him a chick."

Reilly said she had heard noises in the middle of the night but thought it was garbage men.

"He only likes my sister and I, no one can get close to him. Whoever tries to touch this bird is going to lose a finger," she said, adding a message to whoever took him. "I hope he bites your nose off."

Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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<![CDATA[3-Legged Dachshund Bonds With Amputee]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:03:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/Pooh+and+Sam.JPG A 3-legged dachshund named Pooh bonds with his human brother who is also an amputee.]]> <![CDATA[Featured Pet: Leo]]> Sun, 12 Oct 2014 15:15:47 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/203*120/00CA06E2.jpg

 Our featured pet from the Humane Society of Broward County is Leo, a 12-year-old American Eskimo.

Leo is a sweet dog who loves people and other dogs. He enjoys being brushed, which is a good thing as he will need to be brushed regularly. Leo is 18 pounds, incredibly soft and fluffy, and is housebroken.

For more information on how to adopt Leo or any other animal, call (954) 989-3977 or visit the Humane Society of Broward County's website here.

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

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<![CDATA[Featured Pet: Leo]]> Sun, 12 Oct 2014 11:30:51 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000015055848_1200x675_340886595940.jpg Our featured pet is Leo, a super soft 12-year-old American Eskimo who is looking for a nice retirement home.]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Kiki]]> Sat, 11 Oct 2014 16:10:43 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/205*120/00C9FCDC.jpg

Our pet of the week is Kiki, a 6-month-old terrier mix from the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

Kiki is a puppy with a sweet personality. She loves kids and other dogs, and is a fairly relaxed pet. She enjoys belly rubs and playfully wagging her tail.

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

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

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<![CDATA[Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 12:16:03 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/100914Audie+516286.jpg This week's adoptable pets from the Broward Humane Society.]]> <![CDATA[11 Animals Rescued From "Gruesome" Farm: SPCA]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 18:51:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/100814+rescued+horses.jpg

Eight horses, two ponies, and a cow were rescued from an illegal slaughter farm in the east Everglades Wednesday, officials with the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said.

The horses were found at the farm in the area of 12700 Southwest 194th Avenue, the SPCA said.

Miami-Dade Police said a man who was at the property, 49-year-old Osmany Gomez, was charged with 11 counts each of animal cruelty and confinement of animals without food and water.

When officers arrived on the farm, Gomez, who said he is the caretaker, was covered in blood and said he had recently slaughtered three pigs for consumption, police said.

The horses were underweight and had their ribs showing, and Gomez said he keeps no food on the property but feeds the horses grass, a police report said.

The farm was described as "gruesome" by the SPCA. Some of the horses appeared to be underfed in photos released by the organization. The police report said animal remains were also found on the property.

"As long as there is a market for the meat, the animals are going to continue to be killed," said Laurie Wagner.

The horses were brought to the SPCA's farm in Homestead where they will be cared for.

"I don't see anything that won't be fixed with a little TLC and groceries," said Dr. Zachary Franklin.



Photo Credit: South Florida SPCA]]>
<![CDATA[Itchy Dog? Stinky Dog? Welcome to Fall in the South]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 15:25:31 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/dogs+eats+pennies.jpg

As the dog days of summer subside, a southern veterinarian’s favorite season arrives: fall. No longer is my waiting room packed with pets suffering from heatstroke, stomach obstructions (think corn cobs and watermelon rinds) and bite wounds. Instead, it’s swarming with patients plagued with seasonal allergies. Droves of itchy, scratchy and often smelly dogs seek me out for relief.

We and our pets are allergic to the same fall culprits; the pollen, mold and dust that we inhale. But the similarities end there. Humans with allergies sneeze a lot, get the sniffles, and have watery eyes. Our pets, on the other hand, suffer with itchy skin that, left untreated, can become severely infected.
Because we equate allergies with spring and summer, many pet parents have no idea why their dog is scratching this time of year. So…they start self-diagnosing, first by changing their pet’s food and when that doesn’t work, switching laundry soap or their pet’s bedding. Unfortunately, neither is likely the problem. In fact, only 5 to 15 percent of pets suffer from food allergies, and contact allergies to detergent or fabric are rarely to blame.

Here are two effective solutions to try on your itchy pet before scheduling an appointment with your vet:

USE A SOOTHING SHAMPOO DESIGNED FOR ALLERGIC PETS
Bathing an itchy pet with a medicated shampoo is the cornerstone of treatment. I reach for Splash PLUS Shampoo, developed by veterinary dermatologists to bring quick relief to pets with itchy, red, foul-smelling and infected skin. I recommend using it three times a week and then reducing use to once a week after the itching and odor is under control. When using a medicated shampoo, it’s key to leave the lather on for 5-10 minutes so the active ingredients can do their job on the skin. The shampoo is available at many veterinary hospitals and on Amazon.

USE FLEA PREVENTATIVE YEAR ROUND
Flea saliva is the TOP allergen in dogs and cats. The bite of just ONE flea can cause an intense allergic reaction. By running a fine-tooth flea comb through your pet’s fur, you can find curls of black flea “dirt” (or excrement) or even the fleas themselves to confirm the problem. Since finding one tiny flea can be difficult, it’s better to actively treat fleas even if you don’t see evidence of them.
Pets living in Florida and all southern states should receive veterinary recommended flea preventative year round since there is seldom a hard freeze to kill the adult fleas outdoors. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as some medications work for a few hours and others for several weeks.

By combining regular bathing with a medicated shampoo and proper flea control, most pets stop itching in less than a week. If you try these treatments on your pet and don’t see any results in a few days, seek help from your veterinarian.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Jenga]]> Sun, 05 Oct 2014 11:50:40 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/197*120/00C93796.jpg

Our pet of the week is Jenga, a rat terrier/chihuahua mix who hopes to find a loving home.

Jenga is only 10 pounds and loves to be held. He is a friendly, quiet dog who still likes being active. Jenga is even housebroken, and would make a wonderful family dog.

Jenga's adoption fee is only $50 and includes neutering, vaccinations and microchip. For more information on how to adopt Jenga or any other animal, call (954) 359-1313 or visit Broward County Animal Care's website here.

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

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<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Jenga]]> Sun, 05 Oct 2014 11:45:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000014954383_1200x675_338028099783.jpg Our pet of the week is Jenga, a 10 lb. chihuahua/rat terrier mix. This loving little guy is looking for a forever home.]]> <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society's Adoptable Pets - Oct. 2, 2014]]> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 13:51:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/100214+Angel+516019.jpg Broward Humane Society's Adoptable Pets - Oct. 2, 2014]]> <![CDATA[Coyote Pup Burned in Fire Released]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:07:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/burned+coyote+edited.jpg

One of the smallest victims of the 2014 San Diego wildfires is back on her feet.

On Tuesday, wildlife workers released a female coyote into the wild after spending the last five months with her.

The pup, known only as Coyote 1732, came to The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona in May. The 10-week-old coyote had been severely burned in the Poinsettia Fire.

“Literally her paws were dripping blood after the first bandage change. She just had no top layer of skin on all four of her paw pads,” said Gina Taylor, registered veterinary technician at the wildlife center.

“Her entire coat was just crunchy, singed hair,” she said.

Taylor’s eyes welled up with tears as the coyote bolted from her carrier and into the wild. She described the bittersweet feeling as a mother of a teenager leaving for college.

“I do rehab not for them to be pets, not for them to be put into an exhibit of any sort," she said.

Although it was sad to see her go, Taylor said this coyote belongs in the wild.

“We do not feel like she has any inclination to be around humans,” Taylor said. “The fact that we every day, every other day, every third day had to capture her up to change her bandages, she still never liked it, never liked us, never sought us out for any attention.”

Coyote 1732 was released in Oceanside at an undisclosed location approved by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Taylor said the coyote will eat squirrels, rabbits, lizards and other small animals now that she’s back in the wild.

“She abruptly got separated from her family unit, and now instinct has to kick in for her,” she said.

A few days after the coyote came to the rehabilitation center, her brother arrived also. Taylor said his burns were so severe, she was surprised he survived the night.

Taylor said the boy, Coyote 1736, will never be healthy enough to go back to the wild. Instead, he will be transferred to a wildlife sanctuary in Texas.

The Poinsettia Fire burned 600 acres and destroyed 23 homes and apartments in Carlsbad last May.

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<![CDATA[NBC 6 Caring for Our Community: Abandoned Pet Rescue]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:11:30 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/IMG_48564.JPG

As part of this month's Caring for Our Community service program, NBC 6 team members volunteered at Abandoned Pet Rescue in Fort Lauderdale.

APR is a no-kill shelter, meaning no animals are put to sleep. Right now, the shelter, which is one of Fort Lauderdale's largest, has about 250 to 300 cats and dozens of dogs.

The rescue has a small staff -- there are usually only about five employees caring for the animals every day.

Because of its limited resources, APR is always looking for donations and volunteers. To find out more about how you can help, visit apr.rescuegroups.org.

And for more about how NBC 6 is helping the community, visit our South Florida Community page here.



Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Pit Bull Awareness Month: Portrait of a Dangerous Dog]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:08:22 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tlmd_dogs_generic_shelter_puppies.jpg

In April of 2012, an unattended, eight-week-old boy in South Carolina was killed by a dog while his father slept in another room. I stumbled upon the story by accident as I was researching dog bite fatalities for another article. It was mainly reported in the local online news sites. Over the next week or so, I asked friends and clients if they had heard about this baby’s death. Their reactions were strikingly similar: “Oh my God! No, I hadn’t heard that! Was it a pit bull?”

The dog that killed baby Aiden was a Golden Retriever.

In December of 2013 the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published the most comprehensive, multifactorial study on dog bite fatalities to date. The purpose of the study was to determine what factors contribute to the makings of aggressive dogs, as well as which factors did not. The following is an excerpt from that study:

“Based on an analysis of all DBRFs (dog bite related fatalities) known to have occurred over a ten-year period, the researchers identified a striking co-occurrence of multiple, controllable factors:

  • no able-bodied person being present to intervene (87.1%);
  • the victim having no familiar relationship with the dog(s) (85.2%);
  • the dog(s) owner failing to neuter/spay the dog(s)(84.4%);
  • a victim’s compromised ability, whether based on age or physical condition, to manage their interactions with the dog(s) (77.4%);
  • the owner keeping dog(s) as resident dog(s), rather than as family pet(s) (76.2%);
  • the owner’s prior mismanagement of the dog(s) (37.5%);
  • the owner’s abuse or neglect of dog(s) (21.1%).

Four or more of these factors were present in 80.5% of the cases.”

The study also concluded that family dogs were rarely involved involved in fatal attacks. While witnesses, and media reports referred to these dogs as family pets, in truth they were kept on the property as resident dogs. This distinction is vital. In short, resident dogs simply live on the property with little positive interaction or guidance from humans. They are neither trained, nor socialized, and therefore revert to their natural, predatorial instincts. A resident dog is likely to perceive a small, warm, wiggly baby as prey. A child that screams in response to a bite will further intensify the prey drive of these truly dangerous dogs. According to the JAVMA study, over 76 percent of dogs involved in fatal attacks were resident dogs, despite media reports that referred to them as pets.

Breed was NOT a contributing factor in the attacks.

Pit bull haters, start your engines! But before you start calling me names and blowing up the comment section with junk science, I would respectfully encourage you to look at some of the other findings in this study. According to said study, the breeds of the dogs involved could not be accurately identified in over 80 percent of cases. Media reports, animal control officers, journalists and witnesses contradicted each other and routinely misidentified breeds. In fact, breed attributions were only correctly assessed 18 percent of the time. If you think it’s easy to identify a dog’s breed, especially a pit bull, check out these findings from a study by the National Canine Research Council. In this study, 687 people were shown pictures of 22 different breeds of dogs. The participants included nine veterinarians, seven veterinary technicians, and 15 animal control officers. Over half of the participants, including the professionals, claimed to have firsthand experience with pit bulls. Of those surveyed 30 percent mistook a Boxer for a pit bull, 45 percent mistook a mastiff for a pit bull, and only 2 percent correctly identified the pit bull without also misidentifying the other breeds pictured. Yes, you read that correctly - 2 percent. In a group that included professionals like myself, and individuals who claimed to be knowledgeable about the breed. I have clients whose neighbors are terrified of their “illegal” American Bulldogs. When my wife owned Boxers, complete strangers would scold her for owning a “banned” breed. Not only has breed been scientifically proven NOT to be a factor in dog bite related fatalities, the breed most commonly blamed is misidentified 98 percent of the time.

There is a great line in the movie “The Horse Whisperer” where Robert Redford states “I don’t help people with horse problems. I help horses with people problems.”

Miami does not have a pit bull problem. We don’t even have a dog problem. We have an irresponsible owner problem. Or as Robert Redford put it “people problems.” The father of baby Aiden was charged with illegal neglect of a child. The father of the four-year-old Miami boy, Javon Dade Jr., who was killed by a resident dog or dogs, was charged with manslaughter. While it is appropriate and just to hold dog owners accountable for the actions of their dogs, no charges or sentences will bring these children back. We must put aside our breed-based assumptions and take an honest look at the portrait of a dangerous dog. And in that same process, we can go a long way towards solving our people problems as well.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Click here to send him an email. And check out some of these great deals and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 fans!
 



Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 6 Caring for Our Community: Abandoned Pet Rescue]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:13:27 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/0thumb1.jpg As part of this month's Caring for Our Community service program, NBC 6 team members volunteered at Abandoned Pet Rescue in Ft. Lauderdale.]]> <![CDATA[Grant Helps Hundreds of Local Shelter Pets Find Homes]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:43:55 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/shelter+dog.jpg

Hundreds of shelter animals in Miami-Dade now have new homes thanks to a grant that waived adoption fees for the past several weeks.

A total of 452 dogs and cats were adopted from Miami-Dade County Animal Services during the "R.O.A.R. (Reach Out. Act. Respond.) To Their Rescue" promotion that started September 2nd. The promotion waived adoption fees, made possible by a grant from Animal Planet in collaboration with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

“We are very grateful to Animal Planet and the ASPCA for making it easier for Miami-Dade County pet lovers to save lives and adopt a loving companion cat or dog,” said Alex Muñoz, Director of Animal Services. “We look forward to a continuing partnership with our fellow animal loving organizations.”

The "R.O.A.R. To Their Rescue" program provided grants to several animal welfare organizations including Miami-Dade County Animal Services as well as organizations in Cleveland, Ohio, and Austin, Texas. The cost of adoption fees was covered until each market reached the $25,000 cap in fees waived. Miami-Dade Animal Services reached the cap Sunday, September 21st. All 3 communities reached the cap and found homes for a total of 1,100 animals in less than 20 days.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Abandoned at Vet's Office Adopted]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:54:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/peachesthepitbull.jpg

Peaches a, a pit bull mix, was abandoned by her family at Pines West Animal Hospital 6 months ago. Her family boarded her there and never came back. She's been living at the hospital... until now.

"I feel very lucky," said adopter Ramon Gordillo. "I think she knew that she was going to have the best house here."

When the story first aired on NBC6, the hospital got lots of applications to adopt Peaches. But, fate intervened.

Gordillo and his wife Lourdes are animal lovers. They've always had dogs, especially pit bulls. And they had just lost their last one to cancer less than a month ago.

"When I saw her picture it just reminded me of a young Pitucas," Gordillo said.

The Gordillo family never thought they would have another dog so soon, only 4 days after losing their beloved Pitucas.

"I kept thinking about it that night and then the next morning I called the vet and said where is Peaches, that I would like to see her," Gordillo said.

It was love at first sight...for both of them.

"They brought her into a room and she started playing with me and I said I'm taking her," Gordillo said. "She'll be here forever."
 



Photo Credit: Pines West Animal Hospital]]>
<![CDATA[Broward's Adoptable Pets]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 14:15:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/185*120/Chloe.jpeg.jpg Broward's Adoptable Pets for Sept. 25, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Has New Law for Puppy Sales]]> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 07:16:30 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/PHI+dogs+in+cages.jpg

Pet shops in Miami-Dade will have to list the source of dogs for sale thanks to a new law aimed at encouraging dog adoptions.

The new ordinance requires pet stores to post the name and address of the dog breeder near the animal cage, the Miami Herald reported. It also bans stacking cages on top of each other and bans wire-mesh floors that sometimes result in injured paws.

Officials say the new law gives dog buyers all the info they need on the source of the dog before they buy.

"It’s making Miami-Dade County a more humane county," said Commissioner Lynda Bell, who sponsored the ordinance, told the Herald. "As long as those stores are purchasing puppies from reputable dealers and following the rules, they won’t have a problem."

Earlier this month, Miami City Commissioners gave tentative approval to a six-month moratorium on selling dogs and cats as the city considers a permanent ban on selling animals commercially.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Featured Pet: Lucky]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:29:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/potw+lucky+921.PNG

Our featured pet this week is Lucky, a one-and-a-half year-old terrier mix who hopes to get his "lucky" break and find a loving home.

Lucky loves kids and even cats, and would make a wonderful family dog. He walks well on a leash and knows basic commands as well. Lucky would be the perfect fit for a family.

Lucky's adoption fee is only $50 and includes neutering, vaccinations and microchip. For more information on how to adopt Lucky or any other animal, call (954) 359-1313 or visit Broward County Animal Care's website here.

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

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<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Anastasia]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 14:05:47 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pet+of+week+anastasia.png

Our pet of the week is Anastasia, a Labrador mix.

Anastasia is a sweet and a charming dog. She loves kids and other dogs.

The Humane Society of Greater Miami is helping Anastasia find her forever home. Her adoption includes vaccinations, spay and microchipping.

For more information on how to adopt Anastasia or any other animal, contact The Humane Society of Greater Miami at (305) 696-0800.

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<![CDATA[Dog Groomer Accused of Hitting Dog]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 11:45:45 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/allegedabusedog.jpg

A dog groomer could face animal abuse charges after he was seen allegedly holding a dog in the air by a leash and repeatedly hitting the dog in the face.

According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Reniel Sanchez, 34, of “Super Star Mobile Grooming” came to the home of David Bennett on Thursday to groom a schnauzer named Buddy. Bennett said he gave Buddy to Sanchez, who then took the dog to the back of the van to groom him.

The BSO report said a witness then heard a dog crying from inside of the van and told Bennett. BSO said that Bennett looked into the vehicle from the front windshield and allegedly saw Sanchez holding the leash that was tied to the dog’s neck in one hand and hitting the dog in the face with his other hand.

"I look through the front and the person had the dog hanging by a skinny rope around his neck and slapping and beating it," Benett told NBC 6.

Bennett told BSO that he opened the door of the van and pulled the dog from the van and found bleeding on the nose and mouth area after he removed a muzzle from the dog. The witness told detectives that he saw the groomer hit the dog until Bennett pulled the dog out of the car.

Sanchez told deputies that the dog began to move “frantically” and that led the leash to tighten around the neck of the dog and that he didn’t hit the dog. According to the incident report, Sanchez said the tightening of the leash caused a blood vessel to bleed in the dog’s nose.

Deputies gave Sanchez a notice to appear before a judge for animal abuse before releasing him.

The owner of the grooming service, Aracely Borges, said the harness that was used was not a rope and that the dog was being aggressive.

"The bloody nose is probably just a trauma from him probably being stressed from having the muzzle," Borges said.

Borges told NBC 6 that Sanchez has worked for him for many years, is a trusted employee and customer request him often. Borges said Sanchez will continue working for him pending the investigation.



Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:28:43 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/humane+thurs+thumb.jpg This week's adoptable pets from the Broward Humane Society.]]> <![CDATA[Hey Pet Vet... You're Fired!]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:37:43 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/dr+ian+kupkee.jpg

When I moved to Miami seventeen years ago, I was young, eager, and fresh out of vet school. Looking back, I was also a little naive. I decided to familiarize myself with the area by working as a relief vet. Relief vets are the equivalent of substitute teachers. They are the ones we call in when we are sick, traveling, or in need of a day off. For vets that are new to the field, it's a great way to get your feet wet. In my case, it was a way of getting unceremoniously pushed into the deep end.

I'll never forget how excited I was the morning I received a call from a facility I'll call ABC Animal Hospital. Their usual vet had a family emergency, and they needed someone to cover an especially busy day. I accepted the offer and jumped into my scrubs, ready to help all of the ailing pets that needed me. Upon arrival, I was greeted by a sullen technician who led me to my first room of the day. When I asked her to give me some background on the case, she shrugged her shoulders and replied "Puppies. Health certificates. Just sign 'em".

Any animal that is legally sold in the state of Florida must be examined by a licensed veterinarian and given - literally - a clean bill of health. Puppies and kittens must be healthy and implanted with a microchip. Since it is seldom in an animal's best interests to be separated from their mother before eight weeks of age, the first set of vaccines should be given by the seller as well. While they can be sold during treatment for parasites or certain illnesses, these conditions must be documented by the veterinarian. So I was a little surprised by the dirty look the technician shot me when I noted that the puppies I was inspecting all had roundworms. "We de-worm everything before they go out," the gentleman who brought the puppies assured me. I told him to de-worm them that day, then again in three weeks. This time the dirty look was from the client. To put it mildly, it was awkward. I finished the paperwork and beat a hasty retreat to the next exam room.

A sick cat and a limping Lab later, I found myself in front of the same client, this time with a litter of five Yorkshire Terrier puppies. When I asked him how many dogs he had, he looked at me as if I were the dimmest bulb on the Christmas tree and said, "Uh, I'm a broker. You'll be seeing a lot of me."

"Yippee”, I thought silently. While this litter was free of parasites, two of them had patellar luxation a condition that causes the knee caps to slip in and out of place. Two more notations, two more dirty looks. Another was congested and sniffling. When I pointed this out to the broker, he informed me that the youngster was being treated with an antibiotic that was not recommended for growing puppies. The broker scoffed, "So? People don't want these things to grow anyway! Then they won't fit in a Coach purse. But whatever, dude, I'll talk to the boss about it."

Dude. I was pretty sure the day couldn't get any worse. Like I said, I was a little naive.

When the broker was gone, I pulled the sullen technician to one side. Who was the "boss" the broker mentioned and why was he selling such sickly puppies? "Oh", she replied, brightening a little. "He's talking about the owner of XYZ Kennels. They're our biggest account. You didn't know that?"

I assured her that I did not. What I DID know was that XYZ Kennels was a well-known puppy mill. Apparently, my job du jour was to act as their "pet vet".

I must have looked horror-stricken, because the sullen technician softened a little. "Look, Doc" - I guess it was better than 'dude' - "You know darn well why these guys sell sickly puppies. Nobody wants to pay a thousand dollars for an AKC registered dog. I don't like it either, but it's the way things are. Your job is to sign the health certificates. So take my advice - head down, mouth shut, and quit being a tree hugger."

Tree hugger. I wasn't even halfway through the day.

Thirty minutes later, the broker was back, this time with two litters of puppies. The first was a litter of rat terriers that, despite the date of birth on their "papers", could not have been more than four weeks old. I politely pointed out that the puppies teeth had not yet come in, and that while I was certain it was an honest mistake, I could not sign health certificates unless all of the information was correct. The broker gritted his teeth and presented me with another kennel, this one filled with English bulldog puppies. Like the rat terriers, the bulldog puppies were dirty and smelled of feces. I decided to try a different approach with the broker. "I get that you guys are trying to turn a profit," I told him. "But seriously, would it kill you to give these little souls a bath? I know it's hard to keep puppies clean, but nobody's going to buy a puppy that stinks."

I was not expecting the response that I got. The broker practically laughed in my face. "I'll tell you what, *Doctor,*" he sneered, lacing my title with contempt. "Let me explain how this works. You make sure the doggies in the window are kept in conditions that are just clean enough to not get you shut down. People come in just to look, they see these adorable angels in dirty cages, looking all pitiful, and they just can't bear the thought of them staying just one more night in that awful place. So they 'rescue' them. Everybody wins." With that, he handed me a bulldog puppy. "Now if you don't mind," he continued, leveling his gaze to meet mine. "I'd appreciate it if you did your job."

It was my turn to grit my teeth. I started palpating the little bulldog and immediately found an umbilical hernia deep enough to put my thumb in. So I did my job. I refused to sign the health certificate.

I am always surprised by the number of puppy stores I see here in South Florida. Perhaps having been to the puppet show, and having seeing the strings has altered my view somewhat. I've talked to puppy store owners and brokers about improving the quality of life for their charges, but the bottom line is that these stores are doing a brisk business by meeting a very real demand. And when America’s pesky animal welfare laws make it difficult to do business, they simply move the entire operation to South America. I learned a lot about the puppy business that day, and I didn't even work a full shift. Which brings me to the end of my story.

At lunchtime, I was summoned to the practice manager's office. I went in loaded for bear, ready to defend myself and my medicine. As it turned out, I had wasted my energy. She handed me a check for half of a day's work and told me my services were no longer required. I was fired.

As I gathered my things, I ran into the sullen technician one last time. Her face showed a faint hint of sympathy as she told me how sorry she was that things didn't work out. "So what are you going to do next?" she asked.

"Who knows?" I said. "I guess I could always go back to hugging trees."

I could have sworn I saw her crack a smile.

Update: About 12 years after my “pet vet” experience, both ABC Animal Hospital and XYZ Kennels went out of business.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Click here to send him an email. And check out some of these great deals and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 fans!

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<![CDATA[Bobcat Spotted in South Florida Backyard]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 10:57:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/panther+in+miramar.jpg

A South Florida homeowner woke up to a surprising sight in his backyard.

The homeowner, who did not want to be identified, said he saw a big cat on his West Miramar property one morning while he was having breakfast.

"I told my wife, 'Look at this big dog,'" the homeowner said. "Then the dog crossed over and got into the yard and she told me, 'That's not a dog, that's a cat.' And I realized it's a cat, but it's a big cat."

The homeowner said he was scared at first, but he admitted, "It's a cool thing."

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed the animal was a full grown adult Bobcat, although it was initially believed to be a panther.

Now that he's seen it, the homeowner says he just wants the animal to be removed so his neighborhood can be safe.

"If it's hungry, it could be a danger," he said.



Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Mocha]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 12:01:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/mochapotw914.PNG

Our pet of the week is Mocha, a 1-year-old terrier mix.

Mocha is an incredibly sweet and friendly dog. She loves kids and other dogs, and gets along with cats as well.

Pooches in Pines is helping Mocha find her forever home. Her adoption includes vaccinations, spay and microchipping.

For more information on how to adopt Mocha or any other animal, visit the Pooches in Pines website here or on their Facebook page.

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

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<![CDATA[Possibly Stolen Puppy Found Safe in Homestead]]> Sat, 13 Sep 2014 12:51:04 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/jenna+stolen+puppy.jpg

A six-month-old puppy has been found safe after her owners said she had possibly been stolen from their yard in Homestead.

Jenna, a Thai Ridgeback puppy, is scheduled to have life-saving surgery to correct a congenital heart defect. The puppy needs medication three times a day and must have both surgery and medications to save her life.

Her owners are from out of state and were visiting family when Jenna disappeared.

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<![CDATA[Adoptable Pets]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 11:51:09 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/jack+edit.jpg This week's adoptable pets from the Broward Humane Society.]]> <![CDATA[Deputies Help 6-Year-Old With Autism Find Lost Therapy Dog]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 08:25:30 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/therapy+dog+sampson.jpg

When 6-year-old Madeline's French Bulldog Sampson wandered away last Friday, the Broward Sheriff's Office quickly took to the streets to find the beloved pet.

Madeline's mother Tiffany Khuzhian said she frantically called 911 when the dog went missing because "Sammy" is a therapy animal for Madeline, who has autism.

Sammy went missing from the Khuzhian's Oakland Park home on the 6100 block of Northeast 2nd Terrace after the family stepped out to go to the post office.

"I called 911 and these awesome deputies came and saved the day," Khuzhian said.

Deputies scoured the area and shortly after found the dog exhausted and overheated, several blocks away from the home.

"He was worn out, very spent," said Deputy Tally Brown, who found the dog. "I had to carry him to the car."

For one officer, the search hit close to home.

"I have an autistic son," said Deputy Mitchell Lyden. "If Deputy Brown didn't find him, it would have been a sad story."

The joyful reunion was especially meaningful for Khuzhian whose home is being foreclosed.

"My daughter's life is going to become very difficult for her to understand," Khuzhian said.

The mother shared an emotional letter of gratitude with deputies Thursday.

"This was not their job, but they did it," she said. "They did it with integrity, grace and most of all compassion."

Now, Madeline is back to singing nursery rhymes and playing with her pup.

"This is wonderful, I mean we put a smile on a little girl's face," said Deputy Bob Saintien. "I hope I can do this several more times for the remainder of my career."



Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>