Top dog: St. Louis’ own dog whisperer finds balance in his pack

Jun 9, 2017

Bob Laut looks like a tough character: muscular arms, shaved head, plenty of tattoos.

Look closer. The tattoos are of dogs. And not just generic dogs. Some of them depict particular dogs, dogs he has known and loved.

Still, you might think twice before you opened your door to him. But I didn’t. The first time he came over, I wanted to weep for joy.

This was a couple of years ago when, due to a hideous miscalculation, my husband and I became the temporary home to five dogs at once: our two, my sister’s two and our daughter’s large, powerful and energetic puppy. They weren’t all supposed to be there at the same time. Whatever you are picturing, double it. Or better, quintuple it. Chaos does not begin to explain how wild life was at our house.

One afternoon in the midst of this, when I was out shopping for dog food (as usual), I spilled out my story to a total stranger. “Oh,” she said, “you need to call Bob Laut.”

It is a measure of my desperation that on the strength of this advice, from a woman whose name I did not even know, I called.

He said he could come by next week. “Next week?” I said. Laut heard something in my voice. “I’ll be there tomorrow,” he said. “How’s 10 o’clock?”

I felt better already. I felt better still when the bell rang, right on the dot. But here’s when I felt best of all:

Pet Ownership Costs Guide for 2017

Pet ownership represents a large emotional – and financial – commitment. Whether you buy from a pet store or a breeder, adopt an animal from a shelter, or take in a stray, initial costs are just the beginning of the story.
This guide examines the different costs associated with pet ownership and helps you know what to expect, how to plan for these expenses, and potential ways to reduce the financial burden of pet ownership.

Ex-husband sends former dog birthday greetings

By Fox 5    A Texas woman says the beloved dog she once shared with her ex-husband has helped bring the couple back together.

Rebecca Hernandez, 25, told FOX 5 she started dating her ex, Frankie, in 2007. They were high school sweethearts, and got married at a young age in 2012. One year later, when Rebecca says she was having “baby fever,” the couple got Apollo, a German shorthaired pointer mix, who was malnourished at the time.

Rebecca said there was never a dull moment while having Apollo and Frankie around.

“Apollo is a cheese-ball like Frankie, and I think that’s why they love each other so much.”

Two years ago, the couple decided to call it quits and separated. Frankie, who at the time worked as a U.S. Marine, stayed in California. Rebecca and Apollo headed home to Texas.

The breakup was not only tough on Rebecca and Frankie, but also on Apollo.

“He [Apollo] had to get use to not seeing him [Frankie] everyday,” Rebecca said. “Living in different places, it wasn’t easy for them to see each other.”

Stray dog takes rescuers on trek to find her puppies

A “real-life Lassie” led her rescuers on a two-mile trek to find her puppies in an abandoned barn, new video shows.

The stray dog, named Betty Boop, became a regular sight around Fowler, California, and locals suspected she was there to scavenge for her pups during the day.

Krystle Woodward, 33, of the Pinky Paws ResQ, and her husband managed to trap Betty last month, but were unaware she recently gave birth.

They successfully captured her a second time, and decided to take her to the vet, who told them the pooch was nursing.

“I cried all night thinking about those puppies out there,” Woodward wrote on a video caption on YouTube.

On April 14, Betty was trying to escape all day — and Woodward knew she needed to take action.

“We took her out and I played puppies crying on my phone,” she wrote. “She cried and started leading me two miles out into the country, [and] then as she got closer she slowed down. She took me down the vineyards to an abandoned farm house.”

As Woodward walked inside the house with Betty, she immediately heard puppies barking and whimpering.

“Oh, she told us,” Woodward sobbed on the video. “Oh my goodness!”

“She trusted me to show me where her 10 puppies were found,” she wrote in the caption. “This is truly a miracle to me.”

Six of the puppies are still in need of adoption, according to a Wednesday morning post.



Ever wish you could ask your kitty where she slopes off to all those weekday afternoons? Or that you could bring your puppy on dinner dates? Ever considered installing a webcam in your living room, just to watch your pet sleep while you’re out? Do you have photos of your pet on your desk, perhaps covering up pics of your vacation with your significant other? Is your pet your significant other? If you answered yes to any of the above, then look no further: the PetSnaps Camera-Collar has swooped in to close the distance between you and your pet.

Snapchat has become a regular staple of modern communication. With a few clicks and swipes, you can share stories, video-call your friends and watch live news. Facebook and Instagram had their heyday, and now trends are shifting Snap-ward.

Saint Louis Zoo Wins 2017 Readers’ Choice for Best U.S. Zoo!

We asked a panel of family travel and zoological park experts to nominate their 20 favorite facilities across the United States (all accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums), and for the last four weeks, readers have been voting for their favorites.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Zoo are as follows:

  1. Saint Louis Zoo – St. Louis
  2. Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium – Omaha
  3. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum – Tucson
  4. Fort Worth Zoo – Fort Worth
  5. Riverbanks Zoo & Garden – Columbia, S.C.
  6. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo – Colorado Springs
  7. San Diego Zoo – San Diego
  8. Brookfield Zoo – Chicago
  9. Audubon Zoo – New Orleans
  10. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo – Cleveland

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Katie Dillon (La Jolla Mom), Debra Erickson (International Zoo Educators Association), Kyle McCarthy (Family Travel Forum), Eileen Ogintz (Taking the Kids) and Alan Sironen (Zoo Consultants International) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of American zoos.

Other nominees included the Bronx Zoo, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, Denver Zoo, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Houston Zoo, Memphis Zoo, Phoenix Zoo and Woodland Park Zoo.

Congratulations to all 10 USA TODAY winners.

This blind dog changes lives (and racks up Instagram likes)

Dogs that wear raincoats, dogs doing aerobics, dogs trained to go down water slides — it can often seem that we’ve seen everything. A refreshing furry face in the world of animal Instagrammers, though, is a pup that doesn’t see at all.

His name is Smiley (@smileytheblindtherapydog), and he’s a 15-year-old, popcorn-loving, undersized golden retriever with a preference for new soft toys (previously used toys need not apply). Smiley was rescued from an animal hoarder 13 years ago by his now-owner Joanne George. At that time, George was working as a vet tech near Toronto. She was sent with several of her colleagues to (hopefully) save the golden retrievers needing the most veterinary care, a group that would have been euthanized otherwise. George, now 44, remembers her friends insisting that she was the only one who could take the dog who they only referred to then as “the blind one.”

Meet the fearless dogs solving NYC’s rat problem

These dogs are making conditions ruff out there for New York City rats.
The Ryder’s Alley Trencher-fed Society, more commonly known as R.A.T.S., is a group of vigilante pups and their devoted owners who venture out into the dark New York City streets for the sole purpose of tracking and killing pesky rodents.

“Terriers have an innate sense to do this, it’s in their genes,” Rat Master and R.A.T.S. founder Richard Reynolds told The Post.

The group goes out as often as possible and always responds to any citizen’s call, never accepting money, and almost always delivering results.

Every so often, a city official whispers in their ear about a rat problem area and R.A.T.S. shows up to get the job done.

“We have a policy, any time we get a call or an email or anything, we at least go check it out,” Reynolds said. They’re willing to make house calls, and typically make it out as a group about once a week.

R.A.T.S. has been around for more than 25 years, but rat hunting for terriers and dachshunds, which make up the group, is nothing new.

Historically, these canines were bred to sniff out rats and eradicate them. Even Teddy Roosevelt’s terrier, Scamp, used to hunt rats in the White House cellars and lower floors, as mentioned in “Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children.”

By going out into the vermin-infested alleys and garbage heaps of New York, the owners enable their dogs to fulfill what they were born to do. It’s less about killing rats and more about their dogs’ delight.

“They think hunting is just fabulous,” Dr. Trudy Kawami, who started taking her wire-haired dachshunds to Prospect Park 30 years ago to sniff out rodents with the group, told The Post.

A DOG IN THE DUGOUT! REMINGTON, a 2-year-old golden retriever, is Carolina’s first athletics training room assistance dog.

Carolina baseball has a new teammate this year, but this member has four legs, not two.

REMINGTON, a 2-year-old golden retriever, is Carolina’s first athletics training room assistance dog. He’s also the first in the ACC.

REMINGTON’s official title is psychiatric medical alert facility rehabilitation service dog. He works with Terri Jo Rucinski, coordinator of the physical therapy clinic and staff athletic trainer for the team, to help players who are recovering from injuries. Rucinski has worked with the team for 12 years and says the atmosphere this year is different with REMINGTON around. Student athletes who underwent surgeries in the fall turned the corner emotionally really quickly, Rucinski says.

“I’d like to think he had something to do with it,” she says.

5 Surprising Foods That Can Poison Pets

Common snacks for us can be toxic to dogs
by Candy Sagon

Dogs are most commonly affected because of their indiscriminate eating habits.

We know that you love your furry four-legged friends, but did you realize that some common household foods could make your pets extremely ill?

A recent review of studies published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science by two Italian researchers at the University of Milan found that several typical human foods were frequently involved in the inadvertent poisoning of pets, particularly dogs.

Grapes and their dried products (raisins, sultanas and currants)

Grapes, both fresh and dried (raisins, sultanas and currants), can cause kidney failure in dogs, although some dogs are more susceptible than others, the review found.

For example, some dogs ate up to 2 pounds of raisins without any life-threatening effect, while others died after eating just a handful. Kidney failure was reported in a dog weighing about 18 pounds that ate only four to five grapes. Given this wide range of reactions, dogs that eat any amount of grapes or raisins should be taken quickly to a veterinarian.

Artificial sweetener xylitol

The artificial sweetener xylitol is used in sugar-free gum and other sweets and baked goods, as well as in a number of dental care products, because of its antibacterial properties.

As its use has spread, so have reports of severe, life-threatening problems in dogs that ate foods that contained the sweetener. Xylitol, the researchers explained, causes a “dramatic decrease in blood glucose levels” in dogs. It also has been associated with liver failure.

Symptoms of xylitol poisoning can occur within 30 to 60 minutes of ingestion, but they also may occur up to 12 hours later. Symptoms begin with vomiting and can worsen to lethargy, collapse and seizures.

A recent study reported 192 cases of xylitol poisoning in dogs from 2007 to 2012. All the dogs survived, thanks to prompt veterinary care, researchers noted.