First dog park in a domestic violence shelter opens in NYC

By Bart on Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 in News

Urban Resource Institute and Purina unveil the Purina Play Haven and Dog Park 

NEW YORK, New York – March 18, 2014 – Urban Resource Institute (URI) and Nestlé Purina PetCare (Purina) today hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate New York City’s first-ever dog park in a domestic violence shelter, called the Purina Play Haven and Dog Park. The event marks the official expansion of URIPALS—People and Animals Living Safely—which launched in June 2013 as a pilot program to enable domestic violence survivors to enter shelter with their cats and other small animals. With the opening of the Purina Play Haven and Dog Park, URI will now be able to open its doors to families with dogs.

Sponsored by Purina, which contributed funds for the design and construction of the dog park, the Purina Play Haven and Dog Park will give families at URI’s largest emergency shelter in New York City a safe and calming retreat in which to heal together. The unique dog park features a ramp, tunnel, bridge and platform for dogs to play and exercise, as well as overhead trellises to ensure the privacy and security of shelter residents.

“At Purina we share the belief that when pets and people are together, life is truly better,” said Lindsey Hogan, brand manager for the Purina brand. “We’re very proud to support the Urban Resource Institute and its PALS program, which is helping to keep families and pets together during difficult times.”

URI and Purina’s collaboration in support of URIPALS brings together one of New York City’s largest domestic violence service providers and a leader in the pet care industry around the closely linked issues of animal abuse and domestic violence. United by the belief that people and pets are better together, URI and Purina are helping reduce barriers to safety for families with pets in domestic violence situations, and hope to continue raising awareness about the impact of abuse on the whole family—including pets.

“Since launching URIPALS, we’ve seen how transformative it is for families in domestic violence situations to go through the healing process together with their pets,” said Nathaniel Fields, President of URI. “As we open our doors to families with dogs and celebrate this critical milestone for URIPALS, we hope to continue the momentum and inspire other organizations in major cities nationwide that this initiative is possible. We are grateful to Purina for helping URI make this dog park a reality, and for their shared commitment to keeping people and pets together, especially in times of crisis.”

Studies show that as many as 48% of domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations out of fear of what would happen if they left their pets behind, and more than 70% of pet owners who enter shelter report that the abuser has threatened, injured, or killed family pets. Among New York City’s 50 domestic violence shelters, URI is the only one that accommodates pets, filling a critical gap by addressing the unique challenges families with pets face.

“When my children and I found out that we could bring our dog, Sparky, with us into shelter, we were overjoyed,” said one domestic violence survivor currently in URI’s shelter. “Sparky had always been there with us to comfort and even protect us from the abuse, and having him there with us as we work to put our lives back together makes our recovery process so much better. I’m so grateful to Purina and URI for helping me and other families with pets stay together.”

The event also convened elected officials and experts and leaders in the domestic violence and animal welfare communities to discuss the importance of this critical initiative.

“I applaud URI, Purina, and GEPPAUL ARCHITECTS for their unique and innovative collaboration to create the City’s first-ever dog park in a domestic violence shelter and for appreciating that a pet is more than just an animal in your home,” said Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Rose Pierre-Louis.  “So many survivors face the unimaginable choice of having to leave a beloved pet behind in order to flee an abusive relationship.  With this new program, the entire family can find safety and security together in a supportive domestic violence shelter.”

“We have been supportive of the URIPALS program and are pleased about the addition of the new dog park to the URIPALS domestic violence shelter, which we anticipate will further reduce the barriers domestic violence survivors might face to seeking safety and services,” said HRA’s Office of Emergency and Intervention Services Executive Deputy Commissioner Cecile Noel. “As providers of emergency shelter and other vital services to victims of abuse and their children we know quite well that those who fear for their own safety are often worried about leaving their pet family member to escape abuse, unless there’s an opportunity to preserve the pet’s welfare.  With initiatives like this we are establishing effective models for domestic violence and animal protection programs not only in New York City but across the state and nation.”

The Purina Play Haven and Dog Park was designed by Gerard P. Paul, Principal, GEPPAUL ARCHITECTS. “We’re pleased to have worked with URI and Purina in the creation of a space that supports this important initiative,” said Paul. “We saw the potential to give new meaning to this former alleyway, and it is gratifying to have transformed it into a space that will tremendously benefit the community. We wanted to do everything we could to make sure that the pets and people in URI’s shelter have a safe and truly enjoyable outdoor area to spend quality time together.”

As part of its sponsorship of URIPALS, in October 2013 Purina also donated much-needed welcome kits tailored to cats —with food, toys, crates and other pet supplies—and educational materials designed to guide  families entering URI’s largest domestic violence shelter in best practices for caring for their pets.

To learn more about URIPALS and for tips on keeping the entire family safe in domestic violence situations, please visit

About Urban Resource Institute

Urban Resource Institute (URI) provides comprehensive, holistic, and supportive social services programs that help individuals and families in the New York metropolitan area overcome obstacles and better their lives. With a rich 32-year legacy, deep community relationships, and a flexible, innovative approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting victims of domestic violence, the developmentally disabled, and people struggling with addiction and substance abuse. In June 2013, URI launched New York City’s first initiative to allow victims of domestic violence to enter shelter with their pets called URIPALS—People and Animals Living Safely. For more information, please visit

 About Nestlé Purina

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is a global leader in the pet care industry and promotes responsible pet care, humane education, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. The North American headquarters for Nestlé Purina is located at Checkerboard Square in St. Louis, Missouri. Nestlé Purina is part of Swiss-based Nestlé, the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company.



Lobby Day for the Humane Society

By on Friday, February 28th, 2014 in Uncategorized



Valentine’s Day treat for dogs

By Bart on Sunday, February 9th, 2014 in Doggy Lifestyle, Products

Valentine's Day, the destination site for ‘Good Dog’ approved treats and supplies, unveiled an all-natural Valentine’s Day treat collection that will spoil your pets this Feb. 14 with a heartfelt sampling of American-made, high quality delicacies from their premium doggie deli.

Our treats feature love-inspired names, personalizable Valentine’s Day cards and delicious ingredients including:

  • Love Licks – The jumbo all-natural bison heart & tongue patties are made from USDA inspected, free range bison tongue and heart. The perfectly paired proteins are packed with nutrients and are guaranteed to get you kisses galore from your adoring pet! SRP $11.99

  • Heartbarkers – Truly a treat from the heart! The USDA inspected, 100% beef heart slices are naturally full of health benefits for dogs. High in protein and low in fat, these crunchy delicacies are the rewards that won’t break his heart! SRP: $15.99

  • Love Birds – Your dog will flock to your side once they get a taste of these love birds!  Each poultry packed bag includes 100% USDA inspected, human-grade chicken & turkey breast fillets. These wholesome single-protein-source rewards are the perfect way to share your featherless love with your canine companion.
    SRP: $13.99

The Valentine’s Day treats are inspired by Shindig Dog, a new brand of dog treats for the occasional celebration, and are available on  Featuring one of the largest selection of dog treats available online,’s deli is the online destination for Fido’s favorite foods and exclusive treats available to you 24/7.



All profits from sales to benefit Animal Protective Association of Missouri

St. Louis, MO, Dec. 2, 2013 – For its third holiday season, the worldwide phenomenon known as Ugly Holiday Sweater Tees returns, but this year with a spicy twist. Introducing Ugly Holiday Sweater TEASE - a new line of ugly holiday sweater tee designs paired with a matching men’s boxer short and women’s brief- all designed by Switch: Liberate Your Brand. But hurry, these items are only available for order online through Dec. 17.


Three t-shirt designs priced at $21.99 each in unisex sizes S-XXL and underwear priced at $13.99 for boxers and $14.99 for briefs in sizes S-XL are available for order at This year’s designs include “Holiday Blues,” an ode to St. Louis Blues Hockey; “Santa Surveillance,” watch out, he sees you when you’re sleeping; and “Carol of the Fox,” a tongue and cheek reference to Ylvis’ Internet video sensation “What Does the Fox Say?”
All profits from the sale of these items will be donated to the Animal Protective Association of Missouri (APA). The APA ( is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing people and pets together, advancing humane education and creating programs beneficial to the human/animal bond. Through the support of the community, the APA is able to provide the following services: shelter and care for homeless dogs and cats; adoption services; veterinary clinic; lost and found assistance and education and outreach. Through its previous Ugly Holiday Sweater Tees efforts, Switch has raised $22,000+ for the APA. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter. 


Cpl Webb and Ellis at Camp Pendleton

Cpl Webb and Ellis at Camp Pendleton

Harris Done’s Always Faithful is a beautiful film that explores the compelling dedication of military dog teams on the front lines of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the intense bond that develops between man and dog as they put their lives on the line day after day. The film will be out on DVD and available on iTunes tomorrow, November 26, 2013.

Always Faithful follows five young Marines from training through deployment. After the grueling competition for placement in the K9 program, these soldiers must train their new, four-legged partners to become highly skilled and reliable collaborators, capable of functioning on the deadliest battlefields in the scorching deserts of the Middle East.

Cpl Manthey and Zzisko on patrol in Afghanistan

Cpl Manthey and Zzisko on patrol in Afghanistan

The stakes are unthinkable. There is no room for error. These dog teams are responsible for the lives of countless fellow Marines. Their contribution is extraordinary, and their stories are heart wrenching and unforgettable tales of bravery and sacrifice.

Made with the cooperation of the U.S. Marine Corps, Always Faithful is directed by Harris Done (War Dogs of the Pacific) and produced by Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Moll (The Last Days, Inheritance). Done and Moll have previously collaborated on such notable documentaries as the sports adventure Running The Sahara, Oscar-winner The Last Days, and Grammy-winner Foo Fighters: Back And Forth. For more information about the film visit


New book tells stories of ambassador dogs

By Bart on Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 in News, Products

ambassador dogs

Bart is an ambassador for reservation “rez” dogs including those from Red Lake and Leech Lake in Minnesota!

Dogs are ambassadors to the world and our own local communities. Ambassador dogs come to serve and love us as only they know how. Accompanied by 175 color images, discover the remarkable connection between dogs and humans through the inspiring stories of 24 ambassador dogs and the owners whose lives they have made better. Meet Paddington, the official greeter at Thorncroft Equestrian Center, and Cody, a search and rescue dog. Learn the story behind Pals for Life, an organization that provides therapy animal visits, and Francisvale, a safe haven for abandoned dogs. The stories range from service dogs that make life easier for those in need to much-loved household pets that offer love and companionship each day for family members. Dog lovers everywhere will delight in these wonderfully witty and entertaining stories.

This book is available from Schiffer Publishing on Amazon. 


Music to calm dogs

By Bart on Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 in Doggy Lifestyle, News

I used to have a hard time in the car but then Mommy started playing classical music. Now I really like being in the car. 

That’s why I thought you might like the archive of this Soundcheck broadcast from Tuesday, October 8, 2013 on

Tuesday, Oct. 8 | Roll Over Beethoven: Music To Calm Dogs
Soundcheck producer (and new adoptive dog parent) Katie Bishop shares her tale of canine separation anxiety woe and her experience with specially designed calming dog music. Plus, we talk with a NYC Animal Care and Control behavior supervisor about why the organization recently started piping music into their shelters. And, we talk with sound researcher Joshua Leeds about what dogs actually hear and why music can have an impact on domestic animals.
You can listen to the archive here


Yummy dog treats

By Bart's Mom on Monday, September 23rd, 2013 in Products

We tried Dogswell Vitality jerky treats.

Usually dog treats that are deemed “all natural” do a number on the dogs’ digestive systems so when I got this free sample of Dogswell Jerky Strips “Vitality”  I was hesitant. But the ingredients seem to be just fine for all three after trying them for about 3 days. Here’s what they contain: Chicken Breast, Vitamin E Supplement, Flaxseed, Vitamin A Acetate.

But the ultimate test is whether Bart will come inside when offered a dog treat. Up until now only rawhides or pig’s ears will do it.  However with these he practically knocks me over. (For a dumpster dog, he’s pretty picky.) For the ingredients and the “yummy” factor, I would recommend them.

Bart didn’t get paid for these but he did get free treats. Here’s how the dogs reacted: 


New dog training helpline from the AKC

By Bart on Thursday, September 19th, 2013 in Dog Behavior

I’m really hoping Mom doesn’t sign up for this. It’s a new dog training helpline. 

New York, NY – Is your dog driving you crazy with rambunctious behavior you just can’t control? Puppy training giving you the blues? No time to search the Internet for advice you can trust?  Promoting responsible dog ownership is at the heart of the American Kennel Club, and the launch of its newest service, the Good-Dog!SM Helpline, gives dog owners live telephone support from knowledgeable dog trainers when you need it most.

AKC’s Good-Dog!SM Helpline easily and thoroughly aids all dog owners in understanding their pet’s behavior with a simple call. A team of expert trainers – available six days a week – will help owners understand their dog’s actions and provide training solutions to get you and your dog speaking the same language. [click to continue…]


AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program expands

By Bart on Saturday, September 7th, 2013 in News

The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) has developed a new advanced level title – AKC Community Canine – as part of the Canine Good Citizen® (CGC®) training program.  With the introduction of AKC Community Canine, the AKC’s CGC program now provides a comprehensive three- level training program for you and your dog. Beginning with AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, progressing to Canine Good Citizen and now to AKC Community Canine, the CGC program trains dogs through all stages of life to be well behaved in society.

As with CGC, AKC Community Canine requires a 10-step test of skills that dogs must pass to earn the official AKC Community Canine title: [click to continue…]