As 2013 comes to a close, we have put together a review of some of the interesting veterinary and animal-related highlights of the past year. We hope some of these tidbits will bring a smile to your face, a tear to your eye or spark some conversation at a holiday party.
Several articles reported the veterinary profession turned 150 years old in 2013. A misnomer in reporting, it was the American Veterinary Medical Association which turned 150 years old, celebrating with a traveling Smithsonian exhibition and a commemorative book. (Cavalry horses during Roman times were cared for by practitioners known as veterinarii, suggesting the profession has existed for much longer than 150 years!)
The Animal Medical Center created AMC TO THE RESCUE, a new fund to support specialist level treatment of pets that are currently under the care of rescue groups. The goal of the fund is to use AMC specialists to treat correctable medical conditions, making pets, like Frankie, more adoptable into a forever home.
In a year without much bipartisan cooperation, two veterinarians, Kurt Schrader, a Democrat, and Ted Yoho, a Republican, joined forces to increase awareness of the role veterinary medicine plays in research, public health, animal health and welfare, food safety, and the economy.
Starting in April, therapy dogs were almost continuously in the news. They arrived in Boston to comfort survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing. Later in the month, therapy dogs were called to Texas in the aftermath of a fertilizer plant explosion. Finally, therapy dogs took up residence at LAX to de-stress airline passengers.
If April was for dogs, then May was for cats. The Cannes Film Festival is always newsworthy, but this year not because of a Hollywood starlet, but because of a small ginger tom cat who starred in the Coen brothers’ film, Inside Llewyn Davis. Tama, a Japanese calico cat, was credited with saving a cat-themed train station from closure.
Therapy dogs made the news again in Michigan for supporting anxious victims of violent crimes during courtroom testimony.
Veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward sits in a hot car with the window cracked for 30 minutes while the temperature climbs to 116 degrees Fahrenheit to demonstrate how dangerous leaving your dog in a parked car can be.
Cat DNA, sent to the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, became key evidence used in a 2012 British murder case. Scientists in the lab identified the hairs on fabric wrapping the body as coming from the murderer’s cat.
News of a new and potentially lethal dog virus spread like a contagion on the Internet. But by late fall, veterinary researchers determined circovirus was not a significant threat to canine health.
One of the most visible victims of the government shutdown was the National Zoo’s Panda Cam. Sixteen days later when the camera again rolled, one tweet rejoiced that “our long national nightmare is over.”
The Urban Resource Institute (URI) and Purina teamed up to support victims of domestic violence through URIPALS, New York City’s first initiative to allow victims of domestic violence to enter shelters with their pets. Purina donated much-needed welcome kits and educational materials for families entering URI’s largest domestic violence shelter.
The Animal Medical Center hosted the Third Annual Zoobiquity Conference, along with UCLA and the Wildlife Conservation Society. The Conference explored the diagnosis and treatment of disease from the perspective of both physicians and veterinarians.
Rosie and Clarence, the first two official police comfort dogs, were honored at The AMC’s annual Top Dog Gala. These canine officers received the Top Dog Award for their support of first responders at critical incidents and traumatic events, including the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy and the Boston Marathon bombing.
…and, we “Pawse to Remember”
No end of the year retrospective would be complete without acknowledging the passing of those who led notable lives:
- Tuxedo Stan, former Halifax, Nova Scotia mayoral candidate.
- Kaiser, a World Trade Center search and rescue dog and 2011 AMC Top Dog Gala honoree.
- George, who held the Guinness Book of World Record’s title of tallest dog.
- Barney Bush, the AP reporter-biting former FDOTUS.
- Brian Griffin, canine family member on Family Guy.
Wishing you and your families the very best this holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year!