Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
A two-year-old boy whose mother was attacked by a dog managed to use the FaceTime application on his mother’s iPhone to call a friend and get help. More from The Huffington Post:
Laura Toone told KGUN-9 News in Tucson that a foster dog in her care bit her and nearly took her finger clean off when she tried to stop it from fighting with one of her dogs.
Toone tried to reach 911 for help, but couldn’t complete the call due to her injury — and her 4-year-old girls were too scared to touch the blood-covered phone.
“Here comes my son from the kitchen bringing me our dish towel. He wiped off the blood himself and proceeded to call my friend on FaceTime,” said Toone, referring to the video chat program in iOS devices such as the iPhone.
The friend got help, but little Bentley wasn’t done playing hero yet: He also unlocked the door for firefighters.
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Friday, December 20th, 2013
Research has long shown that children who grow up with family pets have a lower incidence of pet allergies and asthma, but a new study is closer to identifying the reason why. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco discovered that homes with dogs have higher levels of certain beneficial bacteria that help kids’ developing immune systems be in balance and less likely to “overreact” to pet dander and other airborne allergens. More from Boston.com:
Previous research suggests that the establishment of certain gut bacteria in the intestinal tracts of newborns could affect their development of asthma later in childhood. Certain harmful bacteria associated with the use of antibiotics, for example, were found by European researchers to increase a child’s risk of asthma, while living with a dog or cat in the house was found in other studies to decrease the risk.
“We wanted to see which organisms were protective,” said study co-author Susan Lynch, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco. She and her colleagues exposed some young mice to both dust from a dog owner’s home as well as dust from a dog-free home. Then, they exposed the mice to common allergens. The researchers found that those exposed to dog dust were less likely to have allergic reactions and inflammation in their breathing passages (a sign of asthma) than those exposed to the regular dust. The results were published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers identified a particular bacteria in the dog dust—Lactobacillus johnsonii—and found that giving it to the mice protected them against respiratory virus infections, though not as well as the dog dust itself.
Likely, other beneficial bacteria also exist in this dust, and Lynch said future studies will try to determine what those are. “Lactobacillus could play an important role in structuring a healthy bacteria biome in the gut early in life,” Lynch said, “but we have no actual evidence of that yet.”
Image: Child and dog, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, November 21st, 2013
A 10-year-old girl from near Detroit, Michigan is suing her mother’s ex-boyfriend, alleging that the man is unfairly refusing to return her dog to her. More from the Associated Press:
Hannah Wise says that Mitchell Rechter wouldn’t return a poodle named Mystery after the Farmington Hills girl and her mother moved out of his home last spring.
Hannah is the plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in Oakland County with the consent of her mother, Adrienne Lenhoff, according to The Oakland Press of Pontiac.
According to the lawsuit, Rechter agreed to take care of the dog only while they got settled in a new home.
Hannah said Mystery was a gift from her grandmother three years ago.
“He was a part of me,” the girl said. “He would come in my bed and snuggle up to me.”
Rechter “wouldn’t give me my dog back,” she said. “And he knew that I cared about that dog so much. It was really heartbreaking for me.”
On Friday, Hannah spoke about her experience to about 500 people during a storytelling event at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. The crowd cheered for the girl.
Rechter’s lawyer, Jonathan Jones, responded to the girl’s complaint, according to the Oakland County Clerk’s Office, saying, “The plaintiff abandoned the dog, gave it to the defendant to take care of, knowing he wanted to care for the dog, and took another dog with her when she left.”
A trial is scheduled for July 2014.
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Monday, April 29th, 2013
An autistic 8-year-old boy from Georgia has found companionship and therapeutic help in the form of Xena, a rescued dog who survived unspeakable abuse but survived to bring hope and healing to one family. More from Today.com:
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It’s not that Jonny can’t talk. He knows how to speak, and he can read with proficiency. But autism left him closed off and isolated. Most of his social interactions result in painful awkwardness; unfamiliar situations can trigger terror, tantrums or both. Seeking comfort and predictability, he’d embrace solitary activities; on a typical day after school, he’d spend hours playing with marbles in silence.
Then, about two months ago, everything changed. Jonny forged a connection so unlikely that people familiar with it describe it as a miracle. His new confidante brings out the best in him — his playfulness, his cute singing voice, his verbal assessments of everything he sees and experiences.
Jonny connected with a dog.
“He is non-stop chatter now!” Jonny’s mother, Linda Hickey, 44, told TODAY.com. “He has so much to say about his math, about what he did in P.E.
“He is the happiest child that I’ve ever seen him be in eight years.”
Jonny’s transformation begins with the miracle that the dog survived to meet Jonny at all.
Mere months before she bounded into Jonny’s world, the pup was brought to the DeKalb County Animal Services’ shelter in Georgia after she collapsed in someone’s yard. When staff members saw her, they recoiled in shock.
“I’ve been doing rescue probably for about 12 years, and I had never seen a dog that young in that sort of condition,” said Chrissy Kaczynski, who works for Animal Services and is a founding member of the rescue group Friends of DeKalb Animals. “I brought her home with me and I didn’t think she’d make it through the night.”
But with fluids, nutritional supplements and an urgent vet visit, the puppy began to perk up.
Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
Having a dog or cat in the house when children are less than a year old may mean the kids face fewer health problems later in their childhoods, a new study conducted in Finland has found–with dogs offering greater potential protection than cats. CNN.com has more:
The study, published in next month’s issue of Pediatrics, followed 397 children from before birth to age 1, and noted the number of times they had contact with either a dog or cat each week.
Although it’s a pretty common thing to see newborns with minor respiratory issues and ear infections, researchers found those babies who had more interaction with animals seemed to have fewer of these problems and needed less medication, even when they were sick.
Even though babies living with cats were still protected, their protection was not as strong as those babies who lived around dogs. And kids living in homes in which dogs went in and out of the house more often seemed to have the lowest risk of infections.
Although doctors acknowledge more research is needed, they say there’s something about animals that affect an infant’s immune system which can protect against certain childhood infections.
Image: Baby with dog, via Shutterstock.
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