animals

Unleashing skills of dogs to serve human beings

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The black lab Porsche kept her eyes on her trainer, despite the dog treats scattered on the floor in front of her – including one sitting on her paw. Her salivary glands sent drops of slobber onto the floor, but she continued to obey the order to “leave.” Porsche is in training to become a service dog for Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence, located under the Ability Center umbrella in Toledo. She and Jordan Kwapich, client service coordinator with Assistance Dogs, presented a program recently for the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club. Kwapich, a Bowling Green State University graduate, works to match up service dogs with the people they will serve. The program currently has about 150 matches, and places about 20 dogs a year. “I have been a dog lover all my life,” so the job is a perfect match for her, Kwapich said. Her job is to screen clients before they get service dogs. “I get a feel of what their personalities are,” she said. “That’s the biggest thing – matching the personalities together.” “Our goal is to help people be as independent as they want to be,” Kwapich said. Most of the dogs trained are Labrador or golden retrievers. “We love their temperament,” she said. “They are very social and friendly.” Not all canines are made to be service dogs. “We look for a dog that’s very confident, work driven, not afraid of things.” They must also have a lot of energy. “They need to keep up with their person’s needs.” The agency trains dogs to fill the roles of service dogs, special needs dogs, and school therapy dogs. Most start their training as puppies, and are placed with a person when they reach 2 years old. “They have most of the puppy stuff out of their systems by then,” Kwapich said. The dogs are trained to perform such tasks as picking up dropped items, pushing or pulling open doors, delivering a telephone to their owner, helping with transfers from chairs or to bed, retrieving…

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County helps fund humane society cruelty investigator

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Last year the Wood County Humane Society responded to 221 complaints of abused or neglected animals. With the help of $32,500 from the Wood County Commissioners, the agency can continue coming to the rescue of mistreated animals. The commissioners presented the funds Tuesday to representatives of the humane society. The check was $2,500 more than the usual annual amount given. The money is used each year to pay for the humane agent’s salary, plus help with costs for the vehicle and equipment used to respond to complaints. Heath Diehl, president of the volunteer board, and Erin Moore, shelter manager, reported to the commissioners on changes at the shelter. Diehl said the agency is constantly focused on working more efficiently and being good stewards of donated monies. Moore said the agency had an operational audit conducted recently by an outside company. She also pointed out increased efforts to send staff to educational seminars. The humane society has a new humane agent, David Petersen, who responds to cruelty complaints. “He’s been pretty busy on education,” Moore said. Petersen, who has experience as Sandusky County’s humane agent, gets an estimated 16 calls a month about suspected animal abuse or neglect. In some of those cases, the owners are educated on proper care and the animals are left with them. For that reason, the humane agent also conducted 882 re-checks last year, according to the Wood County Humane Society’s annual report for 2017. In other cases, the owners surrender the animals, or the case is taken to court. “During the really hot times of the year and the really cold times, we get more” cases reported, Moore said. According to the annual report, the humane society set a record last year of the number of animals taken in, and the number of lives saved. A total of 1,055 animals were taken into the shelter – an increase of 20 percent from the year before – and 987 lives were saved. Also last year, the shelter’s veterinary team completed 928 surgical procedures…


Urban agriculture helps communities blossom

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News American agri-business brags that it feeds the world. That doesn’t necessarily mean that food industry does a good job feeding its neighbors. Agriculture is Ohio’s number one industry. Ohio also ranks seventh in food insecurity, said Carrie Hamady, from the School of Health and Human Services at Bowling Green State University Hamady was moderating a panel of six local food activists brought together by BGSU’s Institute for the Study of Culture and Society at to discuss “Sustainability, Sustenance, and Stewardship” at the Wood County District Public Library. The activists from Toledo and Bowling Green covered a broad range of issues, related to food, health, and community development. “The end goal is to get healthy food into people’s hands,” said Sean Nestor, who is organizing the Urban Agriculture Alliance in Toledo. Toledo GROWS is one of the urban agriculture pioneers in Toledo.  For 23 years they’ve assisted grass roots efforts to develop community gardens, said Yvonne Dubielak. Their seeds and seedlings have helped spawn 130 community gardens. One of the beneficiaries of Toledo GROWS has been Elizabeth Harris, of Glass City Goat Gals. Once when Attorney General Mike Dewine was campaigning, he asked Harris what was needed in her neighborhood. “Goats,” she told him. Goats can survive in city lots. They keep down the weeds, provide milk, and meat, which can be sold to provide cash. Harris’ project, which includes a community garden as well as the goats, has helped turn around her neighborhood, once known as “murder alley,” into a good place to live. These gardens, she said, can help provide nutritious vegetables that are otherwise not available in a central city neighborhood. Harris said, she remembers going into a corner store, and basically all she could find were chips. The few fruits and vegetables are wilted and unappetizing. This lack of grocery options in the city led ProMedica to finance a grocery store in its neighborhood, said Kate Sommerfeld. The shop benefits the hospital’s patients, who now sometimes receive food prescriptions, as well as its employees and nearby…


Falcon lays an egg in courthouse tower

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS At least one more falcon is getting ready to call Bowling Green home, as a new peregrine falcon egg has made its appearance on the Falcon Cam, www.bgsu.edu/falconcam. One egg so far is visible on the camera, which is provided by a partnership between the Wood County Commissioners and Bowling Green State University. Last year, four eggs were laid in the Wood County Courthouse tower. “Spring is on the way and our falcon family hanging around the Courthouse nesting box is a sure sign,” said Andrew Kalmar, Wood County administrator. “This is the eighth year we will be able to watch the falcons grow their family. We have had a few bird watchers with big scopes in our parking lots the past couple weeks, trying to get a good view.” The peregrine falcon is BGSU’s official mascot. A pair of the raptors took refuge in the clock tower — just two blocks west of campus — eight years ago. “It’s fitting that the peregrine falcons have formed a unique bond with the town and University,” said Dave Kielmeyer, chief marketing and communications officer of BGSU. “We’re happy they have made a tradition of calling Bowling Green home.” Peregrine falcon eggs typically have a 33-day gestation period, so the eggs are expected to hatch in early April. For more information about the peregrine falcons in the courthouse clock tower, go to bgsu.edu/falconcam.


Citizens seek creature comforts at county dog shelter

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Connie Donald and Dolores Black are looking out for homeless residents of Wood County – the four-legged ones. The two women met with Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw and Administrator Andrew Kalmar earlier this week to see how the lives of dogs at the county dog shelter could be improved – even if for just a brief period. “I think as a nation we need to be more kind to the less fortunate,” and that includes dogs, Donald said. The women had some success in their quest. One of their main concerns was that the Wood County Dog Shelter is difficult for people to locate. The shelter is in a small nondescript building in the back section of the county’s East Gypsy Lane Complex. The signage at the complex entrance is too small, they told Herringshaw and Kalmar. “They feel that our signage to direct people to the dog shelter isn’t enough,” Kalmar said. “People get lost. A lot of people think the Wood County Dog Shelter and Wood County Humane Society are the same thing,” Donald said. The county officials agreed that the signage could be improved – perhaps even including the happy cartoonish dog figure that now adorns the dog shelter vans. “I think that’s doable,” Kalmar said. But the other requests were not met with the same enthusiasm. Donald and Black suggested that the county dog shelter adopt the same spay-neuter policy that some other shelters have to fix dogs prior to adopting them out. The county currently charges $14 for a dog license when someone adopts a dog from the shelter. The new owner is then given a $75 gift certificate to use for spaying or neutering their dog. “They want to spay and neuter them before they ever go out the door,” Kalmar said. “We think the person adopting the dog should take the responsibility.” Donald said only about 30 percent of the new owners use the certificates and get their new dogs fixed. “I think we should spay and neuter, and…


Art 4 Animals show on exhibit at Four Corners

From BOWLING GREEN ARTS COUNCIL The Bowling Green Arts Council and Four Corners Center is hosting Artists 4 Animals 5 at the Four Corners Center, 130 S. Main Street, from November 10 through November 28th. Thirty-two artists of all ages, kindergarten through adult, are exhibiting their animal-themed work in the show, which is free and open to the public during regular Four Corners hours of 9am to 5pm Monday-Friday. The show features selected top winners in each age category as well as best domestic and wild animal. Several of the artworks depict dogs and cats currently at the Wood County Humane Society, as depicted by Eastwood High School students. First place award winners are: Best Domestic Animal, Anna Gerken, “Begging for Treats” Best Wild Animal, Jean Gidich-Holbrook, “Iguana” Adults, Isabel Zeng “Bunny Ears K-4th Grade, Aya Aldailami, “Two Animals” 5th-8th Grade, Robbie Witte, “Racing Steeds” 9th-12th Grade, Hope Harvey, “Baybee” The winning images are reproduced on note cards that are available for purchase at the Four Corners Center.  Sales of the cards will benefit the Wood County Humane Society and the Bowling Green Arts Council.  This event is sponsored in part by The Copy Shop and Kabob it BG.  


Injured eagle found near BG recovering at Nature’s Nursery

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   This bald eagle doesn’t look very proud. She just looks pissed. The injured bald eagle, found east of Bowling Green along the Portage River, is at Nature’s Nursery near Whitehouse, recovering from a chest wound and a drooping wing. The mature female eagle is being given antibiotics and anti-inflammatory meds to help her recover, said Nature’s Nursery Executive Director Steve Kiessling. The cause of the injuries is unknown – but the eagle’s attitude is a promising sign, he said. “We want her mad,” Kiessling said. “She’s very feisty. We like it that she’s not docile. They are wild. We want them to be wild and nasty.” The eagle is currently living in a large windowed closet at the wildlife recovery center. Her floor is scattered with half-eaten rats and fresh walleye. A restaurant, called Local Thyme, has donated 20 pounds of walleye, and promises to keep the fish coming as long as the eagle is at the center. “We try to give them a natural diet as best as we can,” Kiessling said. The bald eagle stands about 2-feet tall, has a wing span of about 5 feet, and weighs about 11 pounds. The staff knows she is a mature adult because bald eagles don’t get their white heads until after age 3. Her talons and beak are long, sharp and in working condition. “The staff has to wear heavy duty gloves for giving meds,” Kiessling said. The eagle is likely to remain in the closet for another three to four weeks, then move to an outdoor cage where it will be less stressful and there are perches of various heights so she can work on moving about. Then she will be transferred to a flight cage to build up strength and be given live mice for meals. “If they can’t catch live food, then they die,” Kiessling said. If she recovers well enough, the eagle will be taken back as close as possible to the area where she was found. “I’m assuming she has a nest…