They’re the unsung heroes of war—military working dogs (MWDs) who serve alongside our troops, sniffing out explosives and standing watch to protect their handler and their units.
MWDs will often serve multiple tours of duty, usually with different handlers. But what happens when the dogs are retired from the military? Popular opinion is the dogs should stay with their handlers, but that doesn’t always happen.

Most of us can’t imagine what it feels like to return from war with traumatic memories that make it difficult to live back at home. But Brett Simon does—and when his parents saw him struggling after serving two tours in Iraq, they knew they had to do something.

Simon worked as a bomb dog handler and was also a former K9 Police Officer, so his family started researching how a service dog might help. A service dog ended up being so helpful, the Duval family knew they had to share this help with others; it was here the non-profit K9s For Warriors was born.

black dogs project It’s time to adopt a new furry family member and you head to the shelter to meet the available dogs. Wide-eyed pups wag their tails furiously while they wait in their crates, hoping for a second look and a forever home. You decide on the perfect dog for your family but feel a little sad for the ones left behind. What if you knew some of those dogs are passed by more often than others, and they tend to be the ones with dark coats?

That’s the sad reality photographer Fred Levy learned about one day at his local Boston-area dog park while chatting up another park-goer. It’s a phenomenon that’s been dubbed Black Dog Syndrome (BDS); black dogs tend to sit in the shelter up to four times longer than their lighter-haired counterparts. It couldn’t be true, he thought.

Thank you to all who came out to support NorCal GSP Rescue at this year’s Woof & Wine at McGrail Vineyards in Livermore. Several thousand dollars were raised to help GSP’s in need around the Bay Area. It was a beautiful setting at McGrail Vineyards; if you’ve never been, you have to check it out! They have a great shaded patio adjacent to the tasting room. GSP event 12More than 100 people came out to support the event and plenty of four-legged friends joined in on the fun, including Yellow Dog!

GSP event 15GSP event 16

More than 15,000 animals were adopted nationwide during this year’s Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days, and roughly 5,000 of those pets were adopted right here in the Bay Area.

Now we’re bringing you some of the local adoption stories!

maddie's days success story 1Here is Papi with new mommy Lara on the beach! Papi was all smiles after finding his new forever home Saturday. Papi ended up back in the shelter after his first owner developed Alzheimer’s and had to move into a home. Lara says he’s already very well-trained, loves fetch, treats and meeting new people. Papi came from the NorCal Poodle Rescue, an East Bay organization that rescues more than 100 poodles each year.

Wild winter weather has led to an early emergence of ticks and with tick season now officially underway, we’re laying out the tips to make sure your dog stays safe.

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Photo by: André Karwath aka Aka (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Ticks are found virtually everywhere in California and if you visit woodsy areas with tall grasses, like the Marin Headlands, you will want to check your dog for ticks once you leave.

“Comb your dog or look him over thoroughly after outings to find ticks before they attach,” Dr. Brandy Vickers of Avenues Pet Hospital says.

It’s important to check your dog as soon as possible after leaving wooded areas. The faster you find a tick and have it removed, the lower the risk of transmission of tick-borne diseases.