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Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell
by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

Huntington Beach, Calif. is reportedly the city that the Beach Boys were singing about in their famed hit, "Surf City U.S.A.," so some people felt it was only fitting that our 4-legged family members get in on the action.

The 5th annual Surf City Surf Dog competition was held this past weekend, which featured 54 canine contestants who caught 4-to-5 foot waves in front of hundreds of spectators.

"It's been an uphill battle," Lisa Scolman, co-founder of the event told the Huntington Beach Independent. "People didn't believe and it took a while to get it off the ground. But now this year, we have surf legends judging, great new sponsors. So from our first to fifth year, I think we've finally made it. We're on the map."

The competition also scored some high profile judges this year in the surfing world, including Pete Townend (no, not Pete Townshend of The Who), but the real score was for the rescue organizations the event helped, including Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue, Barks of Love and the Orange County Humane Society.

As with people, surfing dog lovers believe the dogs must have a passion for the sport, or sometimes even a natural ability.

Such is the case with Banana, a 14-year-old Corgi/Jack Russell Terrier mix that naturally took to the board while watching his dad, Brian Koerner, surfing. The two competed in the tandem surf this past weekend.

No word on how the pair scored on their technique or duration of the ride, but Koerner says it's all in a day of fun anyway and we bet that Banana didn't care if he won a medal.

Discovery News answers the question of whether dogs really like to surf, "You only attempt surfing with dogs that really love the beach and water," says Rob Kuty, the official animal trainer at the Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego.

We imagine dogs that like the beach and water think it's pretty rad.

This article was originally published on partner site Pet360.com.

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Paris Permenter & John Bigley via Pet360
We've previously written about the reasons many people are reluctant to visit a shelter for their next pet. One of the biggest barriers to adoption is the concern of many people that a shelter will be depressing. Some, who might not have ever visited a shelter in the past, imagine a somewhat scary place housing animals with health or behavior problems. Whether those misperceptions are based on poor photography of adoptables or sad advertisements, some potential adopters may be reluctant to look to a shelter for their next pet.

The Surprising Survey Results

But, a recent survey found out that reluctance to visit a shelter might also be due to the fact that many people just don't realize the number of animals that die every day in animal shelters across the US.

A recent study by Best Friends Animal Society found that half of Americans surveyed believe that approximately 500 dogs and cats are euthanized every day in shelters across the country. The reality, while better than in years past, is a number far more staggering: 9,000.

Every day, 9,000 healthy dogs and cats are killed at shelters due to the fact that they don't have a home and the shelters don't have the space.

Another common misconception by close to half those surveyed was that shelter animals will be reclaimed by their owners, adopted, or transported to another shelter or rescue to continue to look for a forever home. The numbers of successful reunions of lost pets with owners is increasing, as are adoptions and transports, but the fact remains that millions of animals will never again put a paw outside a shelter once they are admitted.

How You Can Help "Save Them All"

Best Friends, a national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters, released these survey results for the launch of its Save Them All™ initiative. Although the numbers show that few Americans are actively helping their shelters through donations (just 32 percent) or pet adoption (15 percent within the last year), Best Friends is recommending many ways to help. The methods include donations, adoptions, spay/neuter, and volunteering of your time to help a shelter in your local area.

One last way Best Friends urges everyone to assist is simple and free: just help spread the word about the state of shelters across America today with family and friends. Best Friends is asking for support on your favorite social media platform using the hashtag #SaveThemAll. Whether that's an upbeat Tweet about a great adoptable pet in your area or a Facebook status post about the number of homeless pets killed every day, you can help spread the word and, in the process, help Save Them All.

This article was originally published on partner site Pet360.com.

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This month we are pleased to feature one of our most active new members in the Pet360 community, Denise Fleck (aka SunnyDogInk). A former film studio publicist, Denise now helps educate pet parents on how to be better pet parents.

What are your pets' stories?

I am currently owned and watched over by two Japanese Akitas -- Haiku & Bonsai. Haiku is actually a "Chikita" -- part Chow, part long-coat Akita. He was found wandering the desert in California when he was only four weeks old. At the time I was volunteering for an Akita rescue that bailed him out of the local shelter and asked me to foster. I quickly found out that I wasn't a "foster," but a "forever" home. The little ball of orange fur won over my heart and I adopted him.

Bonsai came to me in the same fashion, although I knew at this point if I took her home she would stay. Her name then was "Bonnie." Her companion at the rescue "Clyde" climbed the fence of the dog run and into the run with two other dogs. A fight ensued and Clyde did not make it. The shelter manager asked if I would consider taking Bonnie for a while because she seemed depressed without Clyde. Although I already had young Haiku and my 12 year old black Lab, Mr. Rico, I agreed to try to help heal this sad and thin older girl's body and heart. The rest is history and my pack of three became an awesome one until Mr. Rico passed away. In the several years since, however, Haiku & Bonsai have really bonded and bring great joy to my husband and me.

Why did you join Pet360?

I initially joined Pet360 to sniff around the Senior Pets Group as seniors have always had a special place in my heart. Although I have been teaching senior pet care workshops for many years, I want to expand on them and write a new manual for the classes. I also just released my first children's book, "Don't Judge a Book by its Cover," which shares the joy of senior pets. Mr. Rico is featured prominently so the book is close to my heart. My hope is for it to bring families together, parents and grandparents reading with their kids, while they learn about the difficulties animals face. The book has many layers and the moral or theme translates to us humans and prejudices we all face when judged by others. So, paws are crossed that what people read will stick and they'll think twice in their relations with others...two-legged and four-pawed! The book also screams,"Pets are part of the family" and that's the message I want to spread far and wide.

Now that I have become a part of Pet360, I see there are so many areas I want to participate in. If it's furry and has four-legs, I am interested in learning more about it!

What inspired you to go from being a publicist to working in the pet industry?

My husband and I adopted a yellow Labrador Retriever, named Sunny, on our first wedding anniversary. He became the inspiration for my business, SunnyDogInk! One morning when she was about eight, she woke up and could not get off the floor. When she tried, she let out blood curdling screams that echoed throughout the canyons. Unbeknown to us at the time, Sunny had ruptured three discs in her spine - a genetic defect that chose that Valentine's Day Morning to rear its ugly head. Thankfully, after surgery Sunny bounced back to her fun-loving self.

But in that moment, I longed to become better prepared to help my furry kid if another tragedy befell her. Dogs and cats can't tell us when something is wrong, so I wanted to become pro-active and learn how to prevent injuries, recognize them and what to do once they happened. I have since trained with eight national organizations in life-saving skills. I never miss an opportunity for a class or seminar on animals.  Sunny started me teaching Pet First Aid and in her later years got me going on the Senior Pet Care.

A story I wrote about my next amazing dog, Sushi, landed in Dog Fancy Magazine. This sent me on my path of magazine writing. All of my dogs in between (Duchess the Sheltie, Rex the Akita/Border Collie, Rico, Haiku, & Rex) have posed for first aid photos in my books. But Mr. Rico in particular sent me on a path of writing for children.  When I would take him to a library to teach people how be better pet parents, he would put a smile on everyone's face.  He brought out the childish joyfulness in everyone and was the perfect inspiration in writing for kids.

As for the rest of my business ventures, the classes inspired by Sunny led to me developing a first aid kit just for pets. When I was honored to teach Pet First Aid for the first time at Ms. Oprah Winfrey's estate, I was asked to create a poster which led me to develop the Choking/CPR Posters. My volunteer work at the Burbank Animal Shelter led me to being asked to take over the Animal Care Program for the Burbank Unified School District. From this experience, I have learned that while teenagers may not always listen to their parents, their parents will listen to them. For example, when I taught them how to read a pet food label, they told their parents and many made them go buy different food for the family dog or cat afterwards. This has continued my journey into writing for the younger ones who will not only then have lives focused on respecting animals, but will teach their elders along the way. Every dog and every experience has given me a fork in the road and I strongly believe it is the journey, more than the destination, that makes our lives complete.

What is one unique fact about your pups?

Bonsai is my Velcro dog! Like Sushi before her, I have found my female Akitas to be particularly loyal and momma's girls. People see her and think she's the "big white one" but she is the most loving soul. She is a typical Akita in that if she barks (which is rare), we listen! Something is up! She is calm, stoic at times, especially when stalking a squirrel. Bonsai wears a heart on her side but she fills my heart with joy. Her brother Haiku (pictured in his raft is a total spaz. Despite Bonsai's calmer tactics, he will dash off and scare a squirrel away. Haiku is my "Pirate" in that he says "argh" a lot and loves to sail in the pool in his inflatable boat.

And the best part of being pet parent?

The best part about being a pet parent is that my dogs don't go off to college or get married and leave the nest! While they don't live as long as humans, they pack so much unconditional love and zest for life into those fewer years. My dogs have taught me to just be in the moment, to show those I care about that I love them every time I see them, to not hold a grudge, to put on my goofy face every once in a while, and have a good time chasing a squirrel, splashing in the mud or howling at the moon.

This article was originally published on partner site Pet360.com.

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