Thursday, May 14, 2015

We should have this here - "Off Leash Ambassador Program'

There is a program out west in cities like Ottawa, Nanaimo, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Saskatoon - just to name a few, that is being tried out - called the "Off Leash Ambassador Program" - that sounds like a really good idea.

Dog owners are being trained so that when they walk their own dogs in off leash areas of the city that if they see other dog owners not being perfect canine dog owning citizens, they can gently urge or offer an alternate way for those dog owners to act so that our off leash spaces become a better place for everybody.

The city of Edmonton describes it this way -

What are an Ambassador's goals?
- Create a positive culture of community at your off leash area
- Open lines of communication to promptly address actual or perceived problems
- Help monitor interactions between dogs, and between dogs and people
- Encourage users to practice responsible dog ownership principles

What does an Ambassador do?
- No hourly commitment – volunteer as often as you like
- Orientation and safety training included
- Monitor sanitation by coaching others to pick up after their dogs
- Support and coordinate occasional clean ups of site
- Monitor signage and bulletin boards where applicable
- Post appropriate notices

You are not bylaw enforcement - you are only there for information, and it's a subtle form of public education

It all sounds good to me - I think our local off leash parks could use a program like this - in other cities it is instigated and maintained by the local Animal Control departments - so it's the city officials who pay for training and maintenance of the program - so I guess it happening here in the HRM is pretty slim - but it would be nice if something like this did happen here!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Dogs Kisses are good for you

Researchers at the University of Arizona are finding out if kissing your dog is actually good for your health.

They are holding a study with people over 50 to test if kissing your dog adds good bacteria to your gut like yogurt does - adding good probiotics to your stomach - and therefore is actually good for your health.

It's something that real dog lovers have known for a long time.

In addition to that they are testing at the same time during this study the emotional as well as physical well being of the humans to see if living with a dog has improved and given any evidence of change in both the dogs' and the humans overall health and well being.

It's all part of the "Human Animal Interaction Research Initiative" that sounds pretty interesting -
"Understanding and promoting the health and wellbeing of both human and non-human animals in symbiotic relationships through research, education and outreach."
They are currently raising funds to actually start the research - so if you want to help this along - go to http://www.uadogstudy.org/