Dogs & Cats in the News
Looking for current resources to use in your Mutt-i-grees lessons? Dogs & Cats in the News provides a compilation of news stories featuring dogs and cats that may inspire students to put empathy into action.
It's no secret that pit bulls have been portrayed negatively by the media over the past couple of decades, and the Internet has allowed that portrayal to be exaggerated. In the midst of some of the worst times, my wife, Clara, and I adopted a pit bull named Wallace, who was labeled by the shelter as a liability. This added a third dog to our household, and we had to pull some strings to get him out of there in the first place. We were met with concerns from both of our families, and then faced much harsher feedback from people online who we'd never even met. We were told we were "certain kind of people" because we had "that type of dog" -- whatever that meant. We were told to sleep with one eye open because Wallace would attack us in our sleep. We were told that one day Wallace would snap, and we'd be sorry.
Virtually every dog relishes a loving scratch behind the ears and some sweet, vocal praise. But dogs identified as pit bulls get a bad reputation and a lot less love. For many human ears, the label "pit bull" connotes a vicious animal with the innate will to attack. The prejudice against pit bulls might, in part, be founded on old studies (which have since been debunked) that claim pit bulls are more likely to bite than other dogs. They are not.
It's dog days on Capitol Hill — or, more precisely, dogs have had their day there. Five in particular — all war dog veterans. The canines joined their human advocates at a Capitol Hill briefing Wednesday, "Military Dogs Take the Hill," to spotlight an effort to require that all military working dogs be retired to the U.S.
When you kiss your husband, does your dog try to get your attention? And does that mean that your dog feels jealous? Threatened? Or are we just imagining that? Many if not all dog owners are sure that their pets have feelings. And we've known for a while that animals exhibit behaviors that look like jealousy, guilt and shame. But it's hard to find out what animals are really feeling. And researchers say that understanding that could give us valuable insights into human emotions, too.
Does your school or library use a reading therapy dog? Recent UC Davis studies have confirmed that children who regularly read to dogs significantly improve their reading scores. Over 10 weeks of reading once a week to a dog, participants improved their reading skills of fluency and accuracy by 12 percent over the control group which showed no improvement. Studies like this support anecdotal claims that through reading with the assistance of animals children raise self-esteem, build confidence, and improve reading skills.