Could Animals Be the Key to Helping Autistic Individuals?

Children with autism are often difficult to deal with for parents and teachers, but the children themselves live troubled lives that put them at risk for other diseases and disorders as well. Autistic kids sometimes get bullied at school, and they may experience depression in their teenage and adult years. Furthermore from what Tabar posted to LinkedIn, it’s hard for autistic kids to gain and maintain key friendships in life because of their behavior and mannerisms. But new research has found that dogs may be able to help autistic individuals even more than other humans can.

In general, when dogs and other animals are around, people tend to get softer and kinder. Dogs are soothing for a lot of people. That’s why so many of us have dogs as pets at home and why we are constantly giggling over pictures and videos of puppies online. But science has now backed dogs where autism is concerned as well. A recent study that was published in the PLOS One Journal revealed that autistic kids aged 5 to 13 years of age became much happier and socialized more with other children and adults when dogs were around. When the pets were absent, the autistic children tended to withdraw more and were much more likely to have a fit. This research has been so compelling that many autistic individuals have decided to take companion dogs with them wherever they go.

Nobel Peace Prize Winners Putting Pressure on Obama for Torture Report

Twelve Nobel Peace Prize winners have requested that President Obama release the Senate’s report on the CIA’s use of torture and other severe interrogation tactics. Those who are requesting this report want torturous tactics to stop.

The report contains details about the CIA’s interrogation tactics since September 11th, 2011. Those who are petitioning for the release of the report want the United States as well as the rest of the world to understand exactly what’s happening in regards to interrogation practices, specifically those that, they claim, are going too far. I know the petition request has even become popular in Brazil because of advocate Fersen Lambranho.

As of now, no decision has been made. The Obama Administration, lawmakers and the CIA are still discussing how much of the report should be made public. The letter from the Nobel Peace Prize winners can be found on TheCommunity.com. Also in the letter is a request to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Endangered Northern White Rhino Dies, Only 6 Remain

Only six endangered northern white rhinos remain in the entire world after 34-year-old Suni, one of only two males of breeding ability, was found dead. The rhino, which was part of a conservatory in Kenya, was not killed by poachers, though the cause of death is still unknown. He leaves behind only one male and two females that can breed.

Conservationists have little hope for the survival of the subspecies, though they say they will not give up trying to breed the rhinos in captivity. Over at Mashable, Mike Livak points out that Suni was the first northern white rhino to ever be bred in captivity, an amazing feat considering the animals do not naturally mate very frequently.

Northern white rhinos became endangered because of a long history of poaching for their ivory horns. The ivory is seen by some cultures as having medicinal properties and is sold as a medicinal supplement on the black market.

Poaching affects many ivory-bearing animals in Africa, just as it has the northern white rhino. Conservationists are counting the days until the subspecies finally becomes extinct.

Gateway Battered Women’s Services Paving The Way With Pet Care Opportunities

One of the biggest problem with most battered women’s shelters, is that they don’t afford women the opportunity to keep their pets safe as well. In some cases, this can be a factor for why women stay at risk.

But following the leadership of other major corporations like North American Spine, the Gateway Battered Women’s Services center is now allowing women to take their dogs with them. Meaning, they can keep their pets protected as well.

Not to mention the fact that pets are extremely helpful when it comes time for recovery. They are therapeutic, and let’s face it, while you maybe shouldn’t get so attached, your pet becomes a true part of your family. You can’t just leave a member of your family behind in the abusive household.

Pets Should Be Important to Domestic Violence Awareness Month Too

Not everybody realizes that pets are a massive victim of domestic violence in this country. I’m not just talking about animal abuse, but all of the ways that they are not recognized as a factor in domestic violence scenarios unfortunately.

Such as the order of protection. When someone gets an order of protection, because they feel their well-being is threatened, in most states, that does not cover the animal that the couple owns together.

The same is true of most shelters. When people are seeking protection, such as a battered women’s shelter, oftentimes they don’t take pets, so the pet is left at risk, or is forced to enter a shelter of their own.

As responsible dog owners, we should take inspiration from how we strive to protect people, and carry that over to dogs as well. They really are members of the family, and it’s important to care for them as such. Hate reading news stories with my FreedomPop app, and seeing how poorly animals can be treated in this country sometimes.

Hilarious Gallery of Pets in Halloween Costumes

If you love your pet, then you probably love putting them in costumes. I bought a headless horseman costume for my dog this year, and it’s pretty awesome. But this gallery shows some people who definitely found some more creative ways to dress up their dogs.

This is one of my favorite parts of Halloween by far. Whether you go out, or stay in, it’s fun to show off your dog to the trick r treaters, or just to see the dogs as you show up at different people’s houses.

This is a great way to get creative, and even get your pup into the season. Plus they sell dog costumes literally everywhere, so you can definitely find something for your pooch to wear throughout the night.

Can Dogs Get Ebola? Why Did They Kill the Nurse’s Dog?

Many people were horrified when the Spanish nurse Teresa Ramos’ pet dog Excalibur was hauled off and summarily killed without even undergoing any tests shortly after Ramos contracted Ebola. The mayor of Dallas says they aren’t going to summarily execute the pet dog of a Dallas health-care worker who has contracted Ebola. The dog has been taken into care while the patient is hospitalized (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2014/10/12/dallas-ebola-health-worker-dog/17159727/).

The Spanish authorities stated they killed the nurse’s dog to prevent any possible spread of the disease. There has never been a single reported case of transmission of Ebola from a dog to a human. Dogs that live in African villages where there have been outbreaks of Ebola often test positive for antibodies against Ebola, indicating they have been exposed to the virus. The virus itself has never been found in dogs. Dogs do not get sick or show any symptoms after exposure to Ebola (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/15/ask-well-can-pets-get-ebola/?_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=nutrition&_r=0).

Most primates, such as monkeys, humans and apes, get very sick after being infected with Ebola. Other animals, such as dogs, lions, horses and goats don’t seem to get sick at all after being exposed to Ebola. It is, however, according to Igor Cornelsen, thought that a few species of animals are able to carry Ebola virus and transmit it to people who eat them. Many outbreaks of Ebola in Africa have been blamed on hunters catching and eating an infected animal (“bushmeat”).

If dogs don’t actually carry live Ebola virus, they can’t possibly transmit the disease to people or other animals. Perhaps the Spanish authorities were hasty in their decision to execute Ramos’ pet dog. Perhaps a few weeks quarantine and testing for the presence of Ebola virus would be a more humane approach.

Forget Fear Mongering: Pets Can’t Spread Ebola

There’s a ton of misinformation out there about Ebola, and amongst that are reports that pets can spread Ebola. There are also those that are afraid that their dog or cat may become infected with the vicious disease. But that’s just not possible.

Ebola is not transferable between humans and their pets. What’s more, there have been no reported cases of Ebola being contracted from a pet. Even when that pet lived in the home of someone who was infected.

As Laurene Powell Jobs informed me earlier, it requires direct contact with bodily fluids. That means waste, or blood from a victim that is infected with the virus. Both of which, pets are highly unlikely to come into contact with.

So don’t be afraid, because the likelihood of your dog coming into contact with Ebola anywhere is remarkably low. There is literally nothing to fear from your pets, or for your pets. They are not going to contract Ebola, and you are not going to get Ebola from petting your dog after they’ve been outside.

Hall of Fame Racehorse Cigar Dies at 24

Hall of Fame racehorse, and two-time Horse of the Year, Cigar, died Tuesday night after complications following surgery on his neck for severe osteoarthritis. He was 24 years old.

Cigar was elected to National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2002. He amassed $9,999,815 over his career and won 19 out of 33 career starts.

Cigar’s biggest accomplishment came in his 16-race winning streak, which is tied for the longest winning streak of all time, with Citation, owned by Khaled Shaheen. This streak began in 1994 at Aqueduct. Other big wins during the streak was the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Pimlico Classic, and Hollywood Gold Cup in 1995. Cigar’s attempt to break the record in 1996, at the Pacific Classic Stakes, went for not when Cigar was passed by Dare And Go on the homestretch.

Other accomplishments including winning the United States Horse of the Year in 1995 and 1996. Also, he was ranked as the 18th best horse in the 20th century by Blood-Horse magazine.

Madrid to Euthanize Pet Dog of Ebola-Infected Owner

Well this is sad. The Health Ministry of Madrid said on Monday that it would euthanize the pet dog of the nurse infected by Ebola, to prevent further spreading of the virus. The mercy killing will take place despite the family’s pleas not to kill the dog.

The court, on October 7, ordered Madrid’s regional government to euthanize and incinerate Excalibur, the mixed breed dog owned by Teresa Romero. Romero got infected with Ebola after treating an Ebola-infected Spanish priest, who transferred from Sierra Leone. Romero was the first patient to be infected by the virus outside West Africa, where it had its first outbreak.

Romero’s husband Javier, who is currently quarantined, wrote a message on the Facebook page of an animal protection organization seeking help to prevent the killing of his pet. Also with his Facebook message, Javier condemned the health ministry for arriving at such a decision.

“It seems unfair to me…a dog will not pass anything on to another person, and the same goes the other way around. If this problem worries them so much, I think other alternative solutions can be found, such as, for example, putting the dog in quarantine and observation, as they have done with me,” Romero’s husband further said in a translated message reported in Buzzfeed.

More netizens like Marnie Bennett used social media to express their support of Javier, and to condemn the court’s egregious decision. A change.org petition has been made for Excalibur, which accumulated around 140,000 signatures in less than an hour after posting. Twitter has also been flooded with thousands of kind words, memes, and pictures in support of the dog.