dogsDOES YOUR DOG HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A GOOD CITIZEN?

There’s a test and accompanying certificate to prove that dogs know how to behave well in public. This is the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test, and thousands of dogs nationwide pass this exam every year. Why do owners want to do this rigorous testing of behavior, manners and basic obedience skills? Passing this test indicates that you have a well-mannered dog who can be trusted to behave well in public places and in your living environment. Some hotels and apartments now require that dogs be CGC-certified in order to be there. Also, many therapy dog organizations require the Canine Good Citizen certificate in order to volunteer in the community. Locally, Hos-Pets, the therapy dog program at Hospice Care of the Lowcountry, requires this, as does PAWS to Read, a volunteer group which helps kids at the Boys and Girls Club with reading.

WENDY JACOBSFIDO AND FLUFFY DESERVE TASTY TREATS, TOO

Dog-loving film buffs can tell you about Rin Tin Tin, a German shepard rescued by an American soldier during World War I. He became a box office canine star in Hollywood with 27 films to his name. Or Uggie from “The Artist”, who put his paws in cement at the Hollywood Walk of Fame — deservedly taking partial credit for the film’s Oscar for Best Picture. Other dogs we love from the silver screen include Toto, Lassie, all 101 of those adorable Dalmatians, Benji and, of course, Marley. But the dog who matters to us most is the one who greets us at the door every day with a tail wag and a friendly bark — and big eyes that beg for a treat.

NEW FACILITY WILL HELP HOMELESS DOGS AND CATS

In the five-plus years since forming a private-public partnership, the Hilton Head Humane Association and Beaufort County Animal Services have made huge strides, but the biggest benefits are yet to come.

Crews broke ground on a new shared campus for the two organizations in October. The $8 million project is expected to be completed by December 2018 and will provide a centralized facility to better serve all of Beaufort County.

LOCAL RESCUE ORGANIZATIONS

Palmetto Animal League

This private, non-profit, no kill animal rescue organization believes every animal deserves a second chance at life. PAL’s Adoption Center, located in Okatie’s Riverwalk Business Park, serves as a temporary residence for about 200 cats and dogs while they wait to find a loving home. “Our comfortable, upbeat facility is also home to PAL’s Community Clinic, which offers spay/neuter, wellness exams, vaccines and other services to pet owners at affordable prices,” said PAL President Amy Campanini. In addition, Palmetto Animal League manages a network of loving foster families to house and care for abandoned animals that are either too young or too weak to adopt out. You can also support their work by shopping at the PAL Thrift Store in Sheridan Park where great buys save lives. (843) 645-1725, 56 Riverwalk Blvd, Okatie. www.palmettoanimalleague.org.

HAIRCUT FUNDRAISER TO BENEFIT FERAL CATS

Toby CrosbyIt’s a win-win: you’ll have a new look, and cats on Hilton Head Island will benefit as well. The fifth annual cut-a-thon fundraiser at Tara of Hilton Head Salon will be Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. One hundred percent of the money raised will be given to the Hilton Head Humane Association’s feral cat program.

In addition, Hilton Head Humane Association will showcase some adoptable cats and conduct raffles and a silent auction at the salon. Co-sponsor Hilton Head Ice Cream will host games and give away prizes. The ice cream shop also donates to the HHHA feral cat program all proceeds earned during event hours.

petshealingAn expert in troubled teens, psychologist Catherine Scott knew that late-night calls from the adolescent psychiatric unit likely weren’t for her. They were for her Shih Tzu, Cissy.

“Doctors would call the nurses station to ask that Cissy come to a specific area of the unit to help calm and or stabilize a situation or to provide comfort,” Scott said. She began bringing her dog to work with her because Scott sensed the dog could help. It was years before research and literature confirmed her intuition.

smokeyABOUT EIGHT YEARS AGO, RICHARD CZARK OF BLUFFTON ARRIVED AT A MOBILE HOME FIRE AS A RED CROSS VOLUNTEER TO HELP THE FAMILY, WHO HAD LOST THEIR HOME.

Smokey has been an exceptional dog from the very beginning.

As the flames died down, a soaking wet puppy emerged from under the home. Then another puppy crawled out.

Training a therapy dog is a lot of work, said Abby Bird, owner of Alphadog Training Academy in Bluffton — and not all dogs are cut out for the job.

First, a dog has to pass the American Kennel Club’s 10-step Good Canine Citizens training course. It teaches the dog good manners at home and in the community. Tested skills the ability to ignore distractions like other people, other dogs and food.

Maranatha FarmBob and Linda Heise of Sun City Hilton Head are excited to bring home a new member of their family in a few weeks. They’ve got a bed for her, and some toys, and plenty of treats. Plus a brand-new leash and collar.

Cody, a 7-year-old Shih Tzu-schnauzer mix, will be coming home with the couple in a few weeks, after she finishes treatment for heartworms. Her adoption fees are waived as part of Maranatha Farm’s Seniors for Seniors program, which places older dogs with older people.

While riding through the beautiful Lowcountry, occasionally you will see a cat running by. Most of the time, the cat is domestic and close to home, and it is just taking its daily route thorough well-known territory. There are, however, significant numbers of homeless cats that most of us ignore. They may be feral, sick or injured, and may live together in several cat colonies around Hilton Head and Bluffton. One of the problems with ignoring the stray and feral cats that roam the streets is over-population.