Dog Who Saved Owner on 9/11

Guide Dog Roselle

Guide dog Roselle, clearly unphased by all the attention at a 2002 awards ceremony, was posthumously named American Hero Dog by the American Humane Association

From blog in October, 2011

Computer sales manager Michael Hingson was at his desk on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower on the morning of 9/11 when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the other side of the building, 18 floors above. And he lived to tell the tale because of his guide dog, Roselle.

The yellow lab calmly guided her blind charge 1,463 steps out of the building and, as debris fell and dust billowed, found a subway station and led them both underground to safety.

Roselle died in June [2011] at the age 13, but her heroism lives on. At a star-studded red carpet event in L.A. Saturday night the yellow lab was honored as the American Hero Dog of the Year.

“She saved my life,” Hingson wrote on the American Humane Association’s site. More than 400,000 people cast votes for Roselle and 7 other finalists. But it was Hingson’s moving description of her actions on 9/11 that helped her take the top dog honor.

Just as they got out of the building on 9/11, the south tower collapsed. “While everyone ran in panic, Roselle remained totally focused on her job,” Hingson wrote. “While debris fell around us, and even hit us, Roselle stayed calm.”

Hingson, the seven other finalists and their handlers were flown to Los Angeles to attend the ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hilton where they were joined by another four-legged celebrity, RIN TIN TIN Smith, a twelfth-in-line descendant of the original RIN TIN TIN. These four-legged celebrities were joined by a raft of two-legged ones including celebrity judges Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Kristin Chenoweth, Mark Hamill, Jillian Michaels, Susan Orlean (author of the new book, “RIN TIN TIN: The Life and the Legend”), TODAY’s Jill Rappaport and Top Chef Fabio Viviani.

“Every day, across America, dogs protect, comfort, and give their unconditional friendship and affection to the ill, the infirm, the wounded veteran, and the frightened child,” Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of the American Humane Association, said of the awards. “It was time to recognize the contributions of man’s best friends and celebrate the heroic feats they have performed for us every day.”

Click here for the post on


More on Canine 9/11 Heroes:

Our 9/11/11 blog post: 9/11 Canine Heroes (today)

Yesterday (9/10/13) a documentary premiered on Animal Planet – Hero Dogs of 9/11.  Unfortunately, we didn’t know about it before it aired, but if anyone hears when it will air again, please let us know at and we’ll post the day and time.

Senior Pets

We love our pets – they bring us joy, companionship, laughter and… sometimes frustration.  And they give us unconditional love.  In return, we care for them and love them back as best we can.

Beep gets a hug during water therapy for arthritis with Tracie

Beep gets a hug during water therapy for arthritis with Tracie

But we hate the thought of our pets becoming “seniors” – just as much if not more than we hate to think of ourselves as seniors!  So it’s only natural that we hesitate to bring our pets in more often than the usual annual exam.

At the clinic, we frequently hear “My 8 year old dog seems perfectly healthy.  He just has some typical old age stuff like trouble getting up from lying down.  Do I really need to bring him in?”

If you were in pain and having trouble getting up, wouldn’t you go to the doctor to see if you could get something to relieve the pain?  And are you sure that it is just “typical old age stuff”?  Better to get it checked out and get some suggestions from Dr. Frank to keep your dog or cat comfortable and pain-free for as long as possible.

Keep in mind that our pets, particularly cats, are very good at hiding any signs of illness, it is their survival instinct.  By the time you are seeing symptoms, the illness or disease has typically been progressing for some time.

Q: “So how often should I bring my 10 year old cat in for an exam?”

Remember, your pets age 5-7 years faster than we do.  So an annual exam is the equivalent of you going to the doctor every 5-7 years.  A lot can happen in 7 years!  Dr. Frank recommends an exam every six months starting at age 7 for dogs and starting at age 10 for cats.  This provides an opportunity for Dr. Frank to see changes that we don’t notice on a daily basis.   It also allows an informative discussion twice a year about ways to prevent common age-related illnesses or diseases.

Sarah at 16

Sarah at 16 years young

Q: “What can the Doctor see that I can’t see?”

At each exam Dr. Frank will do a thorough check of your pet’s eyes, ears, teeth, skin and joints.  He may recommend blood work to monitor organ function such as the kidneys, liver or thyroid glands, as well as answer any questions you may have.  Dr. Frank will also palpate the abdomen, feeling for abnormalities such as enlarged organs, lymph nodes or masses.

Dr. Frank’s experience and expertise at feeling and seeing abnormalities or changes that we may not even notice is invaluable.  Sometimes we don’t notice because it has been such a gradual change.  Sometimes changes are within an internal organ that requires a vet’s training and skill to detect.

Q: “Is there really anything that can be done to prevent illness?”

This is the reason why Dr. Frank chose the name of our clinic to be “Wellness Center” rather than veterinary hospital.  Our goal is to promote wellness, not just diagnose and treat illness.  Preventive care such as diet, supplements, exercise and regular wellness exams are the best way to keep our pets healthy for as long as possible.

There is no blanket prescription for every pet, as each is unique.  But Dr. Frank can discuss the best wellness plan for your cat or dog, helping you to keep your beloved pet healthy and happy for as long as possible.

Assistance Dog Week (Aug 4-10)

Photo from Pet Partners websiteWe used to think of Seeing Eye dogs as the only service pets.  But over the years we have come to realize our pets unique abilities to serve us in so many other ways.

There are guide dogs (for the visually impaired), hearing dogs (for the deaf and hearing impaired) and service dogs (for medical issues such as diabetic alerts and seizure alerts, or for needs such as wheelchair assistance, autism and post-traumatic stress disorders).  “Service animal” is a legally defined term, referring to animals that are trained to meet the specific needs of their disabled handler and refers to all of the above.

Therapy pets are different from Assistance Dogs.  They are usually personal pets that are used by their owners to assist others, such as visiting nursing homes, hospitals, prisons or schools to name a few.

Although these pets do very important work, the federal government does not define it and therefore they do not have the legal access rights of assistance dogs.  They may also be referred to as Animal Assisted Activities, or Animal Assisted Therapy (when the handler is a trained health professional).  Programs such as Reading with Rover, Disaster Stress Relief dogs, Pet Partners program, Pets for Vets, and Hospice pets are just a few examples of the many therapy programs in existence today.

This week is specifically bringing attention to the role of service dogs.  The goal is to recognize the special benefits of these dogs, educate the public, honor the puppy raisers and trainers, and credit the heroic deeds performed by so many of the dogs in our communities.

If you would like to share your story or recognize a service (or therapy) pet, we encourage you to comment on our blog or Facebook!  We thank all of these amazing companions!


Events are going on across the country in honor of assistance dogs this week.  Today Julie Forbes interviewed Jeanne Hampl, founder and president of the Assistance Dog Club of Puget Sound on Seattle’s Alternative Talk 1150 KKNW radio.  This week her show was sponsored by Heeling Allies and will be aired again on Sunday from 1:00 – 2:00 pm, archived on her website,, and available on iTunes as a free audio podcast.

The Today Show is featuring a segment tomorrow (Thursday) featuring a Guiding Eyes instructor and dog.2013-IADW-logo


For more information:

Pet Partners (Bellevue, WA) website –

International Assistance Dog Week website –

To read about a few Assistance Dog heroes:

Pets, Kindness and Hugs

Jake and Friends

Jake and Friends

Last week (May 5-11) was both
National Pet Week and
Be Kind to Animals Week.

But there seems to be some confusion as to when people want to honor / celebrate hugging your cat…

Some sources say Hug Your Cat Day is May 3rd, some say May 15th and still others insist it’s May 30th.
Hmmm… how about declaring your personal favorite day in May as Hug Your Cat Day?

National Pet Week (1st week in May)

We strongly believe in the top two goals of National Pet Week and strive to meet those goals every day.  So to us, every week is National Pet Week.

The goals of National Pet Week are to:

1)    Promote responsible pet ownership

2)    Celebrate the human-animal bond

3)    Promote public awareness of veterinary medicine

Be Kind to Animals Week (1st week in May)

American Humane Association’s Be Kind to Animals Week®  has been celebrated every year since 1915.  In this annual tradition, we:

1)    Commemorate the role animals play in our lives

2)    Promote ways to continue to treat animals humanely

3)    Encourage others, especially children, to do the same

We may be a week or so after the official week, but we feel that it’s important for us to do our part to spread the word with both these messages, regardless of the date.

Cosmo and Jackson

Cosmo (cat) and Jackson (donkey)

Here are a few ways to belatedly celebrate Be Kind to Animals Week and National Pet Week (from the American Humane Association’s website).

Take care of your pet

Pets are like children who never grow up.  They need you to help keep them healthy and safe throughout their lives.  Make sure he or she is wearing proper identification.  Take your pet to the veterinarian regularly.  Know what it takes to be a responsible pet owner.

Adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue

Every year, an estimated 3.7 million animals must be euthanized at our nation’s shelters because they could not be adopted into loving homes.  Help animals find a second chance at happiness by considering adopting your next pet from your local shelter or rescue group.

Appreciate wildlife

All animals deserve to be treated humanely — family pets and animals in the wild.  Create an inviting space in your yard and garden for butterflies, hummingbirds and other creatures.  If wildlife comes too close to home, look for ways to coexist with animals or to protect your property humanely.

Report animal abuse

Animal cruelty and abuse is not only tragic for animals, but also an indicator that other forms of abuse such as domestic violence could be happening.  If you see something that looks suspicious — a dog chained in your neighbor’s yard that looks underfed, a child putting a cat in a box and kicking it around the yard — don’t hesitate.  Let someone know.

Is Hugging Two Kitties at once Twice as Good for You?

Is Hugging Two Kitties at once
Twice as Good for You?

Cats and Hugs (May 3rd? …May 15th?
…or is it May 30th?)

We at Harmony say, no worries… Who cares if it’s May 3rd, 15th or 30th?

Most of us now know it’s a proven fact that hugs from animals and giving hugs to animals will lower a person’s blood pressure and can decrease stress in their caregivers.

So we say, “Let’s make every day from now until the end of May Hug Your Cat Day.”  An easy way to form a habit both you and your cat can enjoy for the rest of this month, this year and next year and…


Additional Resources:

ASPCA FAQ on Reporting Animal Abuse
American Humane Association

It’s National Puppy Day 2013!!!

Time to celebrate!!  Celebrate puppies everywhere! 

Big puppies, small puppies, happy puppies, cranky puppies… Blonde puppies, black puppies, multicolored and white puppies… Sleepy puppies, mischievous puppies, mellow and ADHD puppies!

They make us smile, laugh, shake our heads, sigh and say “AAAWWWHHHH, isn’t that cute?”   To celebrate, here are puppy photos we received from friends, fans and clients of Harmony Animal Wellness Center.  To celebrate, consider giving a little something today to your favorite animal rescue organization in honor of puppies everywhere.


— Harmony’s 2013 Puppy Day Celebrities —


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For 50 more ways to celebrate (and more puppy pictures)
go to the National Puppy Day website.

How Can I Protect My Pet From an Accidental Poisoning?

Next week, March 17th – 23rd, is National Poison Prevention Week.  We want to remind everyone to keep phone numbers for your regular veterinarian, your closest emergency veterinary clinic or hospital and the ASPCA Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) on your refrigerator, kitchen bulletin board or wherever you keep emergency numbers handy for your family.  When you are in the midst of something urgent, you will not want to or may not have time to search for the information.

While Missy naps, Abbey keeps her  company

While Missy naps, Abbey keeps her company

It’s an excellent idea to program those numbers into every family member’s cell phone, with easy to remember speed-dial numbers attached.  Use the same speed-dial numbers on all phones in the household.

That way, if you are not at home and your son or daughter, husband or wife, sister or brother has a pet emergency and they call you in a panic, you can remind them the phone numbers are in their cell phone under “Vet”, “Emergency Vet” and “Pet Poison Control”.  Or quickly tell them what speed-dial number to call.

Dr. Frank also recommends reading the information written by Dr. Marty Becker on poison prevention for pets.  In this article Dr. Becker talks about common household substances that pet owners often do not realize are harmful to their pets.

Dr. Becker wrote, “…While some pet poisonings are a result of something an animal gets into that is a known poison, like a rodenticide, a surprising number of cases come from something intentionally given to an animal by an owner who’s trying to help.

The classic example of the latter is when an elderly cat is given an extra-strength acetaminophen for arthritis. The owner is trying to help, but unfortunately even one capsule of this common human medicine can kill a cat. As for dogs, they can figure out their way into trouble that their owners never envisioned. A few months ago, our neighbors dog answered the question “can dogs eat almonds” with a resounding no of puking all over the carpet. Not to mention, dog ownership difficulties also include opening cabinets to get cleaning products and counter-surfing to reach food items and pill vials.

Take preventive measures. You need to realize that pets are basically like toddlers who can open any childproof container that is not locked up or hidden away, and you should take similar precautions to keep your pets safe and healthy.

  • Keep products such as medications, harmful foods and cleaning products in a secure cabinet above countertop height.
  • Use a kitchen garbage can with a lid.
  • Always read labels, especially on flea and tick products, and on lawn and garden products. Store out of reach in a high cupboard, not under the sink.
  • Be familiar with the plants in and around your home, and have only nontoxic plants.
  • Never give any medication or supplement to your pet unless recommended or approved by your veterinarian. According to the Pharr Road Animal Hospital, many toxic substances aren’t well-known to dog owners. For example, don’t let your dog have significant amounts of raisins or grapes, macadamia nuts, moldy cheese, chocolate, onions, garlic or xylitol-sweetened gum and other candies or baked items.

Recognize the symptoms. Even with preventive measures in place, it is important to know the signs of poisoning. Many (but not all) substances first cause stomach upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. It’s not fun, but vomit must be examined for evidence of chewed packaging, plants, food, pills or other important clues. Many poisonings progress to weakness and depression or nervous stimulation, including tremors and seizures. Pets may stop eating and drinking, or may drink excessive amounts, which could suggest liver or kidney involvement. Rapid or slow breathing, with changes in tongue and gum color — from pink to white, blue or brown — is important.

Get help, fast. If you suspect poisoning, stay calm. Panicking will not help your pet and may waste precious time. If your pet is not showing any serious signs of illness described above, contact your regular veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) to determine if your pet needs to be seen by a vet or if treatment can be given at home.”

If your pet is having difficulty breathing, having seizures, or is bleeding or unconscious, go to your regular veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately. Take any evidence, including chewed containers and labels, and even vomit. This information is key to helping your veterinarian save your pet. Be sure you always have the numbers of your pet’s regular veterinarian, your local veterinary emergency clinic and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in an easily accessible location. It could save your pet’s life.”

The above quoted information is from a January, 2012 article by Dr. Becker posted on the VetStreet website. 

Additional Resources:
Dr. Frank talks about specific foods and other items to pay attention to in previous posts
Pets and the Holidays
Thanksgiving Tip for your Cats and Dogs
Reminder +

Links to more articles on poisons and poison prevention are on the VetStreet Home page