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  • 8 Dog Breeds You've Never Heard of (but Soon Will)

    By Shayna Meliker |

    Are you familiar with the Italian Bergamasco, the patient sheepdog? Or the powerful hunting dog, the Dogo Argentino? These are just two of the eight dogs who are hoping to become fully recognized by the American Kennel Club in the next few years.

    Before the AKC fully recognizes a breed, the dog and its parent club must go through an application stage called the Miscellaneous Class. The requirements are daunting. The parent club has to submit a detailed breed history, various photographs of the puppies and dogs, and strict breeding and judging standards. But for these devoted breed proponents, the payoff is worth the effort.

    You may not know these dogs today, but there's no doubt you'll be seeing their names in the coming years.

    Belgian LaekenoisBelgian Laekenois (photo credit: Tim Hagendoorn, Animal Photography/

    The rough-coated Belgian Laekenois is the rarest of the four Belgian herding breeds, and the only one without full AKC

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  • Lost Dog Reunited with Owners 17 Months Later

    By Amy Sinatra Ayres |

    Sassy the Beagle was reunited with her owners after 17 months away from home.Sassy the Beagle was happily reunited with her humans 400 miles from her Kentucky home, 17 months after she disappeared.

    The dog was saved from a kill shelter by Forever Home Beagle Rescue, which is based in Pittsburgh, Pa., and was living in a foster home. On a recent trip to the vet, a microchip was detected, and the data led to owners Cindy and Ernie Romans.

    It's now believed that the original shelter never checked for the chip. The Romans were reunited with their pup in Pennsylvania. "I would like for every pet owner who's ever lost a pet to be able to feel this moment right now," said Cindy Romans. "I'm just over the moon excited." - Watch it at CNN

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  • Who Gets Custody of Pets in a Divorce

    By Steven May |

    ThinkstockWhen I was navigating the emotional minefield of divorce, my attorney said something to me that completely changed my perspective, simply because I hadn't considered it before: "In the eyes of the law, marriage is a business contract. Nothing more and nothing less. Love, intimacy and companionship have nothing to do with the legalities of marriage."

    I know these words sound harsh, but in the typically black-and-white world of our legal system, harshness comes with the territory.

    RELATED: How to Avoid Making Pets a Pawn in a Divorce

    Using Your Head Versus Your Heart

    Think back to the beginning of a serious relationship or a marriage. Were you driven by fear of it ending badly or by confidence that it would work out? Were you excited by embarking on a shared path with someone you loved or dreading and planning for the inevitable breakup?

    Let's face it: When it comes to relationships, we tend to think with our hearts and not our heads. We

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  • This Mulch Can Be Toxic for Dogs

    By Dr. Marty Becker

    ThinkstockQ. A couple of people in my neighborhood have cocoa mulch in flower beds near the sidewalk. When we go for a walk, my dog is very attracted to the smell. (I am too - it's yummy!) I know chocolate is deadly poison to dogs, but how about this stuff?

    A. Let's back up. While chocolate should never, ever be given to dogs, its toxicity is highly variable based on the darkness of the chocolate (the darker the chocolate, the higher the danger) and the size of the dog (the smaller the dog, the bigger the danger). A large dog (like a Labrador) who eats a pound of milk chocolate is probably not in grave danger of anything except tossing up that candy all over your carpet.

    SEE ALSO: 8 Most Dangerous Plants for Pets

    So what about cocoa mulch? Like chocolate itself, there's no one answer when it comes to toxicity, except that it shouldn't be eaten at all. The ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center lists cocoa mulch on its list of hazardous garden substances. The

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  • Top 5 Challenges of Owning a Purebred Dog

    By Dr. Patty Khuly |

    ThinkstockPurebreds are awesome! All five of my dogs, including my current foster girl, are purebreds who hail from five different breeds. And I worship them implicitly - not least because of the distinctive brand of dog-ness each offers as a direct result of their diverse genetic origins.

    It's nonetheless true that purebreds are inextricably linked to the many physical traits that make them so singular. And since so many of these qualities have health-related consequences, we veterinarians are in a unique position to observe them - more so when we let them wriggle their way into our lives, as so many of us are wont to do.

    But here's where things get a bit hairy. All of my dogs were attained as a direct result of their unwelcome inherited traits and the subsequent inability of their owners to keep them. Which is why I'm always careful to let my clients know what they're potentially up against when they take on a purebred.

    SEE ALSO: Top 10 Most

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  • Cat Returns to Owner Who is Miles Away in New Home

    By Amy Sinatra Ayres

    Mayhem the cat amazingly traveled six miles and found his original owner.When Jill Roberson was moving to a house on a busy street in North Carolina, she decided it would be best to give her 18-month-old cat to a couple living on a nearby farm. But the cat, Mayhem, had other plans.

    After she'd been in the new house for about three weeks, Roberson was sitting on her front porch when she heard meowing. "I walked over to the fence and called to him because I couldn't see anything, and [Mayhem] come bounding under the fence and I have been in shock ever since," Roberson says.

    The cat had somehow traveled six miles and found Roberson, even though she says he'd never even been to her new residence. "It just confirms that pets have feelings. We loved him, but we didn't realize he loved us that much, that he would track us down," she says. She said Mayhem now prefers to stay inside. - Watch it at South Carolina's WSPA

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  • Adopted Dog Saves Owner from Gas Leak

    By Amy Sinatra Ayres |

    Clobber, a Greyhound, alerted his new owner to a gas leak in their home.Erin Cramer was home sick recently when the dog she'd adopted two months earlier started acting strangely. Clobber, a Greyhound, was standing with his nose against a wall upstairs in her Indianapolis home.

    She tried to take him outside, but he immediately pulled her back inside, and raced back up the stairs the moment she took off his leash. Still not sure what Clobber was up to, Cramer went to the laundry room, where she felt like she was hit by a "wall of gas."

    It turned out that her water heater was leaking gas into the room, and a plumber she called for help told her it was also sparking. "[The plumber] said it probably would have ignited the gas fumes and taken out not only this house but several around me," Cramer said. She's very grateful to her alert dog. "If it wasn't for him coming into our lives, we probably wouldn't be here right now." - Watch it at Indiana's Fox 59

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  • More Hospitals Let Pets Visit Their Sick Owners

    By Maureen McKinney |

    Samantha Fross spends time with her Chihuahua, Lulu, as part of the Healing Paws program at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla.When you're sick, your four-legged family members can provide enormous comfort just by being there. When you're sick enough to be hospitalized, though, pets generally are not allowed to visit. But a growing number of hospitals around the country are allowing furry family members to visit - with great results.

    Just ask the Rev. Susan Roy, director of Pastoral Care Services at the University of Maryland Medical Center, who started the Faithful Friends personal pet visitation program at the hospital in 2008. "Some of our patients are hospitalized for upwards of six months or longer," Roy says. "When a family pet visits, it's a real morale booster for the patient. It's comforting for them to be able to bring a piece of their normal life to the hospital."

    SEE ALSO: 5 Smartest Dog Breeds

    Pat Kirkland, manager of Family Support Services and head of the Healing Paws program at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., agrees. "Many of

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  • 7 Signs You Love Your Dog More Than Your Spouse

    By Melanie Kramer |

    ThinkstockYou really can't compare the love you have for a spouse or significant other to your love of a dog -- the two are very different. But it can be easy to get in the habit of showering your adorable canine with love and attention. Dogs actively seek and expect affection, while a loved one may not. This might sometimes leave your partner with a sense that you love the family pet more than you love him. Before you jump into marriage counseling, take a look at our list to see if you truly do love your dog more than your spouse.

    1. You greet your dog first when you come home.

    You walk through the door after a long day or a trip away and shower your pup with hugs and kisses but don't give the same treatment to your significant other. While your spouse might not need or want immediate cuddle time, be sure he knows you missed him just as much.

    You also need to beware of causing behavior issues when greeting your dog. Trainer Mikkel Becker advises that you

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  • Dog Rescued from Washington Mudslide Debris

    By Amy Sinatra Ayres |

    Buddy was saved after being trapped in the Washington mudslide, but his owner is still missing.The McPherson family lost a lot in the devastating mudslide in Oso, Wash., on Saturday. Helen and Irene McPherson are still missing their sister, Linda, and their family home and farm of five generations was washed away.

    But Monday brought a glimmer of hope when Irene's grandson, Quinton, heard Linda's chocolate Labrador Retriever, Buddy, whining in the rubble. He was freed and cleaned up, and is recovering from the cuts and bruises he suffered.

    The family thinks the shaken dog was carried about 100 feet in the mud. "We needed a win," said one grateful family member. At least 14 people have been confirmed dead in the mudslide, and 176 are still missing. - Watch it at USA Today

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