Let’s Help P.H.A.R.M. Dog USA #BtC4A

We are proud to be joining  For the Love of a Dog, Heart Like a Dog, Pet Faves, and CindyLu’s Muse in this quarter’s Blog the Change for Animals!

“From CindyLu’s Muse: The rules are simple: write about a cause, group, or person you think others should know about, link up on the 15th, then read and share what others have written while they share yours, too. There are no restrictions as to what type of subject you choose, as long as it has to do with the well-being and welfare of our fellow creatures.”

 When you learn about the woman/cause that I am featuring today, you will instantly see why I was compelled to share them with you. I would like to thank my Mother, who without a smart phone, computer or internet, works tirelessly WRITING HANDWRITTEN letters seeking donations for a number of causes that she is passionate about (handwritten letters are rare in the world we live in today, making her efforts quite successful!). The program I am featuring today is one of the causes that my Mother holds dear. She has communicated with the woman I am featuring, (via letters!), and when I heard about this sensational program that is in DIRE need of support, I wanted to help as well. I knew it would be a wonderful cause to feature for:

Click to visit their website!

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to:

Photo Courtesy of http://pharmdog.org/

Click on the photo to visit their website! Photo Courtesy of http://pharmdog.org/

Farming in and of itself is a 24-7 job.  Never-ending chores/work that must be completed to have a farm function effectively, is hard enough when one is able-bodied and healthy, but what about farmers with disabilities? How are they able to manage their farms without help? Enter P.H.A.R.M. Dog USA. In order for dogs (especially herding/working dogs) to be happy, they need a JOB. Farmers with disabilities need help. It is a “win-win” for both.  After perusing their website I also learned that a number of their dogs have been saved from rescues. These dogs in turn, give back to farmers who are in dire need of help. 


from their website:

P.H.A.R.M Dog USA,  Pets Helping Agriculture in Rural Missouri, is the brain child of Jackie Allenbrand.  The organization’s  goal is to make life easier for farmers and farm family members with disabilities.  Those eligible for services may have any type of disability — physical, cognitive, or illness-related.  Our services are not limited to Missouri. We do place dogs in other states.

Dogs that provide Service Skills, primarily labs or lab mixes, can be trained to do a variety of helpful tasks such as retrieving or picking up dropped tools, opening a latch gate system, carrying buckets, as well as standing and bracing if a farmer has stability issues, or going for help.  Jackie determines the needs of prospective clients, makes farm assessments, and facilitates placement of the dogs. She and another trainer handle the training for the dogs and their new owners.

Herding Dogs
, primarily border collies, help farmers manage their livestock. These dogs are currently donated by a friend and supporter in Plattsburg, Missouri, who helps train both the dogs and farmers.  We also have a trainer in Packwood, Iowa.

Meet Duke, our most recent placement, with his new owner
Troy, who lives in Nebraska. Duke’s duties will include helping Troy sort and load cattle at the 1200 head heifer development operation where Troy works in Kansas. Duke, formerly homeless, was donated by a kind family that he followed home while they were out for a walk. He was trained by Don McKay from Iowa.
At their first meeting Duke and Troy made a great connection and we’re sure they will both benefit from this arrangement.

I was so blown away by this program and when I heard about their need, I knew that if anyone could help them, it would be the blogging community!!!

PHARM Dog Needs

  • Dog Food

  • Vet Meds

  • Vet Care

  • Collars, Leashes, Bowls

  • Kennels

  • Dog Houses

  • More Trainers

  • Training Center

  • Money to meet program needs—–
  • As a not-for-profit organization,
  • they are eligible for
    company matched donations
  • if your employer offers them.

If you’re interested in donating,

contact Jackie Allenbrand

“PHARM Dog USA” Account
Great Western Bank
224 West Wood
Albany, MO 64402

P.H.A.R.M. Dog USA is a

501c3 Organization

Hoping for lots

of help for this

incredible program

#BtC4A: Alopecia in Dogs Commemoration for Children with Alopecia Day, A Guest Blog By: Jessica Claudio, DVM

Blog the Change

The earliest veterinary article I remember writing was entitled, “Becoming a Veterinarian” in grade school in 2000.  I gave Artemis, my first feline patient, subcutaneous fluids for his chronic kidney disease twice a week in undergraduate school.  I worked as a zookeeper in Indiana, and then spent a year researching implications of golf course expansion on two toad species from Arizona. I was enrolled into Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2009. During veterinary school I was an intern at zoos in Ecuador, Maryland and Ohio. I also worked at a rescue center for retired laboratory chimpanzees, and wildlife centers in Belize and Virginia. Memorable procedures include surgeries on cats and dogs; anesthetizing birds, bunnies, and turtles; yearly physical examinations on chimpanzees and wild Virginia black bears; and venipuncture on turtles and owls. My favorite memory is intubation of a cheetah for a physical examination.


Today I would like to draw attention to Alopecia areata and other possible diagnoses of alopecia in dogs. Yesterday was Children with Alopecia Day. This article can show children that they are not alone in their struggle with alopecia.


What is Alopecia?


Alopecia is fur or hair loss.

Jade Shedding. Photo courtesy of http://travelanimaldr.com/about-me/travel/traveling-with-pets/

Jade Shedding. Photo courtesy of http://travelanimaldr.com/about-me/travel/traveling-with-pets/


Meet my dog Jade.  She just got done getting brushed. You can see her fur that came out on the brush. Your pet normally loses fur through cycles. This is not the type of  fur loss I will be discussing today. Alopecia causes areas of baldness on your animal’s skin.

 Alopecia areata in dogs is thought to be an autoimmune disorder similar to the disease in humans. It appears as patches of fur missing on a dog. Two dog breeds that more commonly get alopecia areata are the English Setter and the Dachshund. Alopecia areata must be differentiated from many other diseases that cause alopecia. Today, I will go over some common causes of alopecia, and shine light on a very special and beautiful alopecic dog breed.

 Three common reasons in dogs for getting alopecia:


1) Endocrine Diseases


Some common endocrine diseases that can cause alopecia include: Hypothyroidism, Cushing’s Disease, and Alopecia X.


2) Food Allergies


Jade has food allergies.  If your dog is itching, scratching, and developing alopecia with no cause in sight, it could be food allergies.


3) Parasites and Fungus


Flea Allergy Dermatitis, mites and ringworm can cause hair loss on your pet. Flea allergy dermatitis causes alopecia at the hind end, neck, and tail. Ringworm and some mites are transmissible to humans.


If you see unexplained hair loss on your pet, do not hesitate to make a visit to the veterinary office. There is one circumstance of alopecia, which if brought to the attention of a veterinarian would make her smile. One special breed has fur loss in their genes. This dog does not need fur to be naturally gorgeous.

Chinese Crested Dog - Powderpuff



   The Chinese Crested dog is a breed that has the hereditary alopecia trait. They are just beautifully blessed free of fur in certain areas of their body! My mom adopted an extremely sweet and beautiful little Chinese Crested mix, named Sweet Pea. She did not inherit that alopecic trait, but you can see the resemblance in her facial features.


"Sweet Pea" Photo Courtesy of http://travelanimaldr.com

“Sweet Pea”
Photo Courtesy of http://travelanimaldr.com

 Thank you to my gracious hosts, Caren  and Dakota, for allowing me to guest blog in their den. If you liked this article, you may also like other recent important healthcare articles from Caren, Dakota and their guests, such as Canine Flu Cases for 2015 on the Rise  and April Is Pet First Aid Awareness Month. I have also recently written an article on Pet First Aid that is part of a short, three part article series on how to prevent and provide emergency care for a pet that is in a hit by car accident. Have you ever though of adopting a special care shelter animal with hair loss? 


ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event Gears Up For 8th Year #BtC4A

FROM DAKOTA’S DEN:This is a guest post by Stacee Daniel,  the Executive Director of ACVO. We are proud to feature such an important event that will benefit many!

Service animal owners and handlers can register April 1-30

for a free screening eye exam this May


Banner courtesy of http://www.acvoeyeexam.org/

Banner courtesy of http://www.acvoeyeexam.org/

In the spring of 2012, Jenine Stanley and her dog, Swap, participated in the ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event just as they had each year since the program’s inception in 2008. It again took place in a participating ophthalmologist’s office, but this time ‘Swap’ was diagnosed with Pigmentary Uveitis, a condition that would affect his vision later in his career.




“The wonderful veterinary ophthalmologists saw him every six months thereafter and we monitored the condition for changes,” said Stanley. “Had I not gone to the event and had Swap’s eyes checked, the condition could have become much worse, including painful inflammation. I also would not have known what to look for in terms of changes in his work and how his actual vision is affected.”


Swap’s story is just one amongst hundreds, where this screening process has helped these amazing Service Animals and their owners manage or overcome a previously undiagnosed ophthalmic condition. 2015 marks the 8th Annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event. Since its inception in 2008 over 30,000 Service Animals have received free screening eye exams, over 7,000 in 2014 alone. In the beginning, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologist’s ® (ACVO®) public relations chair, Dr. Bill Miller, recognized the good that was already being done by many members; the majority of whom already provided similar free exams across the country. He, too, employed such a program in his clinics, but he had a vision to combine and expand these individual events into something with much more of an impact.


The goal of the ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event is to provide as many free screening exams as possible to eligible Service Animals across the U.S. and Canada throughout the month of May. Service Animals including: guide, handicapped assistance, detection, military, search and rescue, and certified-current, registered therapy animals, that all selflessly serve the public.

service dog 2

This year’s event is sponsored by ACVO® and Stokes Pharmacy, as well as several generous industry sponsors, volunteer ophthalmologists and staff. Participating doctors volunteer their services, staff and facilities at no charge to participate in the event.

service dog


To qualify, Service Animals must be “active working animals” that were certified by a formal training program or organization, or are currently enrolled in a formal training program. The certifying organization could be national, regional or local in nature. Owners/agents for the animal(s) must FIRST register the animal via an online registration form beginning April 1 at www.ACVOeyeexam.org. Registration ends April 30. Once registered online, the owner/agent will receive a registration number and will be allowed access to a list of participating ophthalmologists in their area. Then, they may contact a specialist to schedule an appointment, which will take place during the month of May. Times may vary depending on the facility and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so clients should try to register and make appointments early.


About the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists®

The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® (ACVO®) is an approved veterinary specialty organization of the American Board of Veterinary Specialties, and is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Its mission is “to advance the quality of veterinary medicine through certification of veterinarians who demonstrate excellence as specialists in veterinary ophthalmology.” To become board certified, a candidate must successfully complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, a one-year internship, a three-year ACVO® approved residency and pass a series of credentials and examinations. For more information, please visit www.ACVO.org.


About Stokes Pharmacy

Stokes Pharmacy is a national, full-service compounding pharmacy specializing in the art and science of the custom formulation of prescription medicines for humans and animals. Leading the way in innovation, Stokes invites veterinarians to prescribe compounded medications online securely, quickly, and accurately via iFill, a cloud-based prescription management system. For more information, visit stokesrx.com.


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Open House Barbeque to Benefit Animals with Special Needs #BtC4A

Dearborn Councilman Robert Abraham and Family Host Event  

 Councilman Robert, Mary Kate and Mary Ann Abraham enjoying the festivities at the 2013 Open House.  Photo courtesy of Ed Serecky Photography

Councilman Robert, Mary Kate and Mary Ann Abraham enjoying the festivities at the 2013 Open House. Photo courtesy of Ed Serecky Photography

The public is invited to attend the fourth annual Abraham’s Open House and Barbeque, which will be held on Saturday, July 26th from 5 P.M. to 9 P.M. at the family’s home located at 510 Crescent Drive in Dearborn. The event will be catered by the Detroit BBQ Company and Park Place, with deejay George Kontos of Sonik Entertainment on hand spinning Motown hits. The evening is a benefit for the Dearborn Animal Shelter’s Hope’s Heroes program, a fund dedicated to assisting special needs animals in the care of the Shelter.


Click to visit their website!

Click to visit their website!

The Dearborn Animal Shelter helps care for thousands of rescued animals annually, as they prepare to become adoptable pet family members.  Sometimes animals with severe injuries or special needs arrive at the Shelter and require extra resources.  The Hope’s Heroes program is designed specifically to help care for these animals that require extraordinary measures to give them a second chance. In its first three years, the Abraham’s Open House has raised more than $22,000, directly benefiting shelter animals who require extra special “hope.”


Dublin, who was tragically killed in a house fire that ravaged their home in 2009.  Photo Courtesy of Friends of Dearborn

Dublin, who was tragically killed in a house fire that ravaged their home in 2009. Photo Courtesy of Friends of Dearborn

The Open House evening is in memory of the Abraham family’s beloved Labrador Retriever, Dublin, who was tragically killed in a house fire that ravaged their home in 2009.  “This celebration is a way for our family to honor Dublin and simultaneously help the Dearborn Animal Shelter, which benefits so many in our community,” commented Councilman Abraham. “This year we are also especially honored to include the Dearborn Firefighters, who were on the spot when we needed them and who do so much good in our city.”  The event this year is also made possible with the generous support of Donelson Law Group.


“The Hope’s Heroes program affords us the ability to care for special needs animals without putting stress on our daily operating funds and the rest of the adoptable animals in our care“, said Elaine Greene, Executive Director, Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter.  “The Abraham Open House is a wonderful community gathering that continues to keep funds at the ready when the need arises.”


Contributions of $50 per person are suggested; with all donations welcome.  If unable to attend, donations can also be made online 


dearborn animal shelter logo

The Dearborn Animal Shelter is located at 2661 Greenfield Road, Dearborn, and is operated by the Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Phone (313) 943-2697 and online www.DearbornAnimals.org

You can also follow the Shelter on Facebook and Twitter.


Please Vote for Molly the Fire Safety Dog 2014 Hero Dog Nominee! #BtC4A

As many of you know who have been reading Dakota’s blog, we are huge fans of the amazing work that Dayna Hilton and her dogs have done through the past few years, educating children about Fire Safety.

FROM THE TIMES RECORD ONLINE EDITION: “Molly is the fifth in a line of five fire safety dogs that have collectively helped save the lives of seven children and two adults. Molly, honorary fire marshal for the Little Rock Fire Department, follows behind the late Sparkles and Spanner and works with companion fire safety dogs Tango and Siren.”



I first met Dayna when she was a speaker at my FIRST BlogPaws Conference in 2011!!!

(See all the GREAT people you get to meet when you go to a BlogPaws Conference?)

I didn’t realize when I offered to feature her again, that I had featured her for the #BtC4A  Blog Hop last July! Well, the work she does is so important, and she has helped so many, that now it is time for US to help HER and her dog, Molly the Fire Safety Dog!

BlogtheChange (1)

Dayna put together this adorable video that showcases much of the incredible work that Molly the Fire Safety Dog does!




Molly is a nominee  in the “Emerging Hero Dogs” category. According to the American Humane Association, “Emerging heroes category, the category includes ordinary dogs who you think have made an extraordinary difference in your life.”

Molly, now almost two years old, has been helping teach fire safety to children and adults in the hopes of helping save lives, reduce injuries and fire losses. A spokesdog for the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation, Honorary Fire Marshal for the Little Rock Fire Department and fire service dog for Johnson County RFD #1 in Clarksville, Arkansas, Molly has been helping reduce fire related deaths and injuries among children and their families since she was 9 weeks old.

Molly works tirelessly to help educate children and adults through the work of the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation, a public charity founded in honor of her predecessor, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog. In addition to making fire safety presentations and appearing at events across the United States, Molly Skypes weekly to children across the world and is the co-host of Sparkles’ Safety Spot, a live streamed children’s fire safety show. Molly also shares her adventures and fire safety tips on her Facebook page .

Voting for the Hero Dogs contest began March 7, 2014 and Molly’s profile and voting link may be viewed at http://www.herodogawards.org/vote?nominee=16165143



For more information about Molly the Fire Safety Dog or the work of the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation, contact Firefighter Dayna Hilton at keepkidsfiresafe@gmail.com


Photo courtesy of Molly's Facebook Fan Page, click on photo to visit!

Photo courtesy of Molly’s Facebook Fan Page, click on photo to visit!



To vote, please click HERE!


Meet The Fire Safety Dogs and Firefighter Dayna Hilton! National Pet Fire Safety Day July 15th–#BtC4A

Blog the Change

Hi all! It’s Dakota and I am sorry I am late posting, but I was waiting for my special guests to arrive. You see, today is National Pet Fire Safety Day and we are helping our furiends at Be The Change For Animals blog the change about Fire Safety. We are honored to have  special guests  who have been on my blog before.

fire safety dogs


Learning about fire safety can be fun  when you learn it with the  Fire Safety Dogs! Tango, Siren and Molly are not only members of their local fire department, but mascots for the  Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation. They love helping keep children and their caregiver’s fire safe!

With educationally sound programming, the Fire Safety Dogs have reached millions of children and their caregivers and have helped reduce fire related deaths and injuries for almost ten years. With nine “saves” (helping save the lives of seven children and 2 adults in actual fire related situations), the dogs have quite the experience under their collars.


fire safety book





The Sparkles’ Safety Spot program helps children learn basic fire safety knowledge and skills with the goals of saving lives, limiting injuries, and reducing fire losses. Firefighter Dayna and her team of Fire Safety Dogs share fun, yet educationally sound, ways to stay safe, live on the web.


Friday mornings at 9 AM CST at firesafetydogs.com.




This free, interactive Skype activity teaches children important fire safety lessons and is open to schools, organizations and library programs across the country and throughout the world.

fire safety skype

The 30-minute program is designed to teach basic fire safety skills and features the Fire Safety Dogs, sing-a-longs, the reading of a fire safety book and the opportunity for children to become Junior firefighters. Participating schools and organizations receive a free, downloadable copy of the Fire Safety Dogs’  Skype Tour Coloring e-Book and bonus materials



  1.      How often should you hold a family fire drill?

Families should practice their home fire drills at least two times each year. That activity will help remind family members what to do in an actual fire-related situation. It is also important for families to practice their fire drills when special guests stay in their home as well.

fire safety escape map

2.      How should you go about it? Is there a step-by-step plan? 


To develop a home escape plan, follow these easy steps:

  1. Set aside some time for family members to prepare a home escape map.
  2. Construct a map of the home illustrating all doors and windows.
  3. Ask family members to identify at least two ways out of each room in the home.

Post the escape map on the refrigerator door or other public area

  1. for all to view.
  2. Ensure all windows and doors open easily.
  3. Practice the home fire drill at least twice a year and when special guests stay in the home.


It is important to create, review, and practice the family fire drill for each level of the home at least twice a year. That way, family members will know how to quickly get out of their home in case of fire. A quick exit is critical since a small flame can turn into a major fire within as little as 30 seconds, and it can completely engulf the entire house within three minutes.


Practicing the home escape plan is especially important when members of the home have a disability, are elderly, and are small children. The plan should be practiced during the day and at night.

1.                  How often should you change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms?

Experts recommend that batteries be tested at least once a month and be changed once a year.

According to the United States Fire Administration, several studies have concluded that when working smoke alarms are present, the chance of dying from the fire can be reduced by 50%.

The challenge is that not all homes have smoke alarms. It is estimated that some 12% of all homes in the United States do not have smoke alarms. Another problem is that almost one-third of all homes with smoke alarms in the United States do not work; one contributing factor is dead batteries in smoke alarms.  Another concern is that numerous homes do not have enough smoke alarms to properly alert family members and guests in the home.

2.How many alarms are needed?

Smoke alarms should be located on each floor level of the home and outside each sleeping area. However, to avoid alarms from becoming activated from cooking fumes and car exhausts, smoke alarms should not be placed in kitchens and garages. In addition, do not place alarms in unheated areas, such as crawl spaces and attics, where it can get too hot or cold for the devices.

3.How can you make sure that they’re working?

Care and maintenance begins with reading the care instructions that come with the smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms have a “test” button that can be pushed to test the alarm. Should the alarm not work after being tested, replace it immediately.

Should the smoke alarms be out of reach for testing, there are different options for smoke alarms. One smoke alarm has a test feature which can be activated by a flashlight being shone upon it while another brand has a test that is automated, activating at the same day and time each week. If unable to do the proper testing, these smoke alarms can help an individual test the device where proper testing might not be able to be done.

In those smoke alarms that have batteries, change the batteries once a year and occasionally vacuum the smoke alarm to remove dust and/or cobwebs. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.

2.               How do you make sure that your fire extinguishers are in working order?

[The U. S. Fire Administration has a webpage with some GREAT info on fire extinguishers. The page provides some great maintenance tips as well as tips on when to use a fire extinguisher:


Personally, I cannot recommend the use of fire extinguishers and would prefer that people get out and stay out and leave extinguishing the fire to the firefighter professionals.

3.               Why is all of this important? How many house fires happen each year? How many end in fatalities?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments responded to 370,000 home fires in 2011. In that year, fires caused 13,910 civilian injuries, 2,520 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in damage.

The leading cause of house fires and home fire injuries is cooking. The second leading cause is faulty heating equipment. A leading cause of home fire deaths is smoking.

Finally, on average, seven people die each day in the United States due to home fires.

Do you know that Molly, one of the Fire Safety dogs has her OWN FACEBOOK PAGE!

She sure does!!!!!

Click on her photo to LIKE IT!!!

fire safety molly

About Dayna Hilton

As a second generation volunteer firefighter, Dayna Hilton joined the fire service in August 2000 and is founder and Executive Director of the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation.

Hilton is the author of the critically acclaimed award-winning children’s book, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog. The book has been credited with helping save the lives of 7 children and two adults.

Recognized as one of the leading fire safety educators in the country, Hilton and her Fire Safety Dogs have reached almost a quarter of a billion children and their caregivers with the fire safety message for almost a decade. Whether it be traveling across the US, Skyping with school children from across the world or live-streaming their safety show weekly on the web, Hilton and her canine companions are dedicated to helping save the lives of children and reducing fire-related injuries.

To learn more safety tips, to Skype with the Fire Safety Dogs or to learn more about the Fire Safety Dogs’ programming, visit http://www.firesafetydogs.com


Source: 1-4 United States Fire Administration

5   National Fire Protection Association



Mom and I are sending out a HUGE THANK YOU and MANY BARKS AND LICKS AND LOVE, to THE FIRE SAFETY DOGS and Dayna Hilton for the honor of agreeing to be our most special guests today! Thanks for all that you do for so many of us! Barks and licks and love, Dakota