Monday, December 30, 2013

National Dream Dog Park Winner For 2013 Is

Beneful® Brand Dog Food Will Award $500,000 Renovation to Area Dog Park

It’s a tail-wagging good day for the dog-loving community of Prescott, Ariz.  Local resident Linda Nichols and her four-legged best buddy Callie have been named Grand Prize Winner of the 2013 Beneful® Dream Dog Park Contest.  In addition to winning $10,000 cash and a one-year supply of Beneful brand dry dog food, Nichols’ ideas in her winning entry will help serve as inspiration for a $500,000 renovation of a dog park in the Prescott area.
More than one thousand dog owners from across the country entered the 2013 Beneful Dream Dog Park Contest that posed the question:  If you had $500,000 to create a Dream Dog Park where you and your best buddy can play together, what would you do?”  Nichols dreamt big with a commemorative fire fighter-themed entry that featured a variety of creative elements including:  a red fire truck playground area for dogs to get exercise; a bright hydrant water feature for dogs to cool off after playing in the hot Arizona sun; and a bronze Dalmatian statue to greet two-and four-legged visitors at the front gate.  Designer and dog lover Nate Berkus will help design the fourth $500,000 renovation that will be unveiled in the summer of 2014.

“Beneful is dedicated to celebrating the special relationships people share with their four-legged best buddies and one way we do this is through our annual Dream Dog Park Contest,” said Brent Gleckler, Beneful brand director. “We are always inspired by the passion and creativity of the dog owners who enter the contest and it is a privilege to leave a lasting gift in our contest winners’ local communities through our half-million-dollar Dream Dog Park renovations.”
The Beneful brand has unveiled three $500,000 Dream Dog Park renovations to date: the first was in Johns Creek, Ga.; the second in Alabaster, Ala.; and the third in Lancaster, Pa.  Construction on the fourth Dream Dog Park will begin in spring 2014.
The Beneful Dream Dog Park Contest

To enter the contest, dog owners were asked to submit a photo showing how life is better when they are together with their dog and a short essay that described their ideas for a Beneful Dream Dog Park. Entries were reviewed by a judging panel and fourteen finalists were selected based on the contest judging criteria in the official rules. The finalists were then asked to submit a two minute or less video that showed their daily adventure with their dog in their current dog park and explained their ideas to make it even better if they had the chance to inspire a Dream Dog Park renovation.

 The video entries were posted on for public viewing and voting and judged by the Beneful Dream Team that includes: designer and dog lover Nate Berkus; licensed contractor and television host Jason Cameron; pet expert Arden Moore; and a Beneful brand representative.  Berkus will use his expertise to help design the fourth $500,000 Beneful Dream Dog Park renovation that Cameron will manage and Moore will oversee from the dog’s point of view. The Beneful Dream Team judging counted for 70 percent of the final score and public voting counted for the remaining 30 percent to determine the Grand Prize Winner.

All entries in both rounds of the contest were judged based on the following criteria: creativity and originality of the ideas for their “Dream Dog Park” (40%); how well their ideas made play with their best buddy more fun in the dog park (40%); and the feasibility of bringing the ideas to life (20%).

Beneful will award the $500,000 renovation as an in-kind donation to an existing public or non-profit dog park in the Prescott area.  The park will be selected by the dog food brand and the newly renovated Dream Dog Park is expected to be unveiled in summer 2014. 

For more information on the Dream Dog Park Contest and to view Nichols’ winning entry, visit  To stay up to date on Beneful news, visit or follow @Beneful on Twitter, using the hashtag #DreamDogPark. 

About Beneful Brand Dog Food

Manufactured by Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, Beneful brand dog food offers a full line of wet and dry formulas that offer a perfect balance of taste and nutrition. Introduced in 2001, Beneful is one of the most successful dog food brands in the Company's history. The North American headquarters for the Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is located at Checkerboard Square in St. Louis, Missouri, where Ralston Purina Company was founded more than a century ago. Nestlé Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, humane education, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. One of the leading global players in the pet food industry, Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of the Swiss-based Nestlé S.A.- the world's largest food company.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Surfer Dog Ricochet Shows Retired Staff Sergeant Randall Dexter Theres More To Life Worth Living For


Click here to watch the video:

Surf Dog Ricochet, the SURFice Dog is usually seen providing a lifeline in the water as she surfs with people with disabilities. But recently, she’s been credited with saving the life of retired Staff Sergeant Randall Dexter who suffers from combat related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

“I definitely feel that Ricochet saved my life. Before I met her I was very isolated, and became depressed and suicidal. But, when I met Ricochet, I finally had a new sense of hope.” Randy said.  

Randy and Ricochet met through Paws'itive Team's six week Canine Inspired Community Re-integration (CICR) program. The program helps service members reduce their PTSD symptoms through canine therapy. The certified dogs accompany the service members to places that evoke anxiety such as Walmart or Home Depot. The program also gives them insight into what it would be like to have a service dog of their own.

Randy served two tours in Iraq as a U.S. Army combat medic. On April 5, 2005 his squad was hit with a very large improvised explosive device (IED) and he suffered a traumatic brain injury. The carnage from the blast was just the beginning of the horrors he experienced during the twenty-seven months he served.

In April of 2009, Randy was formally diagnosed with PTSD, and began his long journey into treatment. He has been active in many different therapies, individual counseling and physical activities. But, he had a hard time functioning in day-to-day activities and looked at most things as potential threats. He couldn't find anything to stop the substance abuse, rage outbursts, horrific nightmares, panic attacks, and all around feeling that he had no hope. His soul was shattered and suicidal thoughts were frequent. Twenty-two veterans a day die by suicide -- that's one almost every 65 minutes. Post-deployment suicides cause more deaths than combat!

When Randy first met Ricochet he was lost and broken, but they bonded instantly. She gave him what he was looking for, and he felt fully alive for the first time in years. She was sensing subtle changes in his body, detecting, alerting and re-directing his pain, anxiety, panic attacks and other symptoms, even before he knew they were happening. Through Ricochet, he found the strength he was lacking for so long. He no longer needed medication, drugs or alcohol. His suicidal thoughts subsided.

Randy finally had the security of a battle buddy again. In the military, a battle buddy is your battlefield partner. Battle buddies are always ready to assist one another. Wherever they go, whatever they do… they watch each other’s backs. Ricochet was his second set of eyes when they went to places like Walmart. Without any training, she would stop him from going down aisles that had a lot of people or perceived threats because she intuitively knew it would cause him more anxiety. Randy is also able to position her in front of, or behind him to create a physical barrier between himself and other people. In addition, when he faces one direction, she is next to him, facing the other direction so she can see anything that may be happening behind his back.

“I didn’t train Ricochet to do this”, says Judy Fridono, Ricochet’s guardian. Four years ago when Fridono released her from the role of service dog due to her propensity for chasing birds, it never dawned on her that Ricochet could be a service dog to an able bodied person who has PTSD. But, she’s proving to be quite capable. Just as she had the natural ambition to jump on a surfboard with disabled surfer, Patrick Ivison, she is again making her own choices and is now extending a lifeline to service members and veterans.

Of course Fridono thought of giving her to Randy as a service dog. But, after much thought, both Randy and Fridono realized Ricochet is meant to help many people in her own unique way. Plus, she’s going to be six years old next month, which is too old to place as a service dog. So, instead Ricochet raised $10,000 to fund a service dog for Randy which he should be receiving in several months. Until then, Ricochet will continue assisting Randy.

After the six week CICR program was over, Ricochet and Randy took things to another level and created the PTSD Battle Buddy Initiative Randy is very courageous in his battle and wants to share his PTSD experiences, and Ricochet has the platform to raise more awareness. Although sharing his hardships for the whole world to see will be difficult for him, he is committed to helping others fighting the PTSD battle.

The goals of the PTSD Battle Buddy Initiative are to raise awareness of its symptoms, remove the stigma associated with it, provide support to veterans and their families and most importantly reduce the suicide rate. Ricochet and Randy are also committed to helping veterans wade through the cumbersome process of getting a service dog, as well as determining the type dog that would best suit them; pet, therapy, emotional support, service or volunteering at an animal shelter or other dog related entity to experience the healing power of dogs before making a long term commitment as highlighted in this blog post

Our service men and woman fought for us, now it’s our turn to fight for them. They may be home from the war, but they’re still fighting a battle. Please help us raise awareness by sharing our story, videos and links. Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Better Hope Your Dog Doesn't Get Heartworm

FDA Addresses Continued Shortage of Drug Used to Treat Heartworm Infection in Dogs

The Food and Drug Administration announced today that it will continue to allow Merial to import limited quantities of Immiticide (melarsomine dihydrochloride) from the company’s European supplier in order to address an ongoing shortage of the FDA-approved drug in the United States. A small amount of U.S.-manufactured Immiticide is also available.
The quantities of Immiticide that the European supplier can import and that the U.S. supplier recently manufactured will satisfy only a fraction of the U.S. demand. As a result, FDA and Merial ask veterinarians to conserve these limited supplies by using the drug only for dogs in most urgent need of treatment.
There has been a continued shortage of U.S.-produced Immiticide since 2011, due to technical difficulties faced by the U.S. supplier of the drug. The approved supplier for U.S. markets will close its facility by the end of this year. FDA continues to allow the drug to be imported from the European supplier while Merial works out technical issues for manufacturing Immiticide for use in the U.S.
Veterinarians should be aware that the U.S.- and European-produced Immiticide products have different expiry lengths, and they should observe the expiration date on the labeling.
The U.S.-produced Immiticide has a shorter than normal period before expiration while imported Immiticide has a normal expiry length. However, the packaging of the imported product is formatted for use in other countries and meets the regulatory requirements of those countries. Therefore, Merial will provide a copy of the U.S. Immiticide Package Insert with each shipment. Veterinarians should follow the insert’s prescribing information.
Veterinarians will only be able to obtain Immiticide directly from Merial through a restricted distribution program. They will not be able to purchase the drug through Merial’s distributors for stocking their clinic inventories.
Additional details on Merial’s temporary measures to address the Immiticide shortage can be found in the company’s recent “Dear Doctor” letter to U.S. veterinarians.disclaimer icon
For questions on how to obtain Immiticide, please contact Merial Customer Care at 1-888-MERIAL-1 (1-888-637-4251).