Blog The Change For Animals:“Celebrating Hero Dogs” Guest Blog by Heather Kalinowski from Trupanion Insurance

FROM DAKOTA’S DEN: I am  proud to be a supporter of  the efforts of where bloggers come together to help animals in need and/or to showcase causes, stories about animals that are close to our heart and about animals who  are making a difference.

I am a “dog hobbyist”, a “dog enthusiast”, as many of you are. I am not the end-all be-all authority on MANY issues and never pass myself off as being one.

When I want to feature animals, news or stories that I am not an expert in,  I  share blog posts with you by others who in many cases ARE authorities in specific areas that I am not,  or have first-hand knowledge of issues and stories that I may not have. Today, I am proud to present to you, one of these people! Today Heather Kalinowski will tell you about  the 2012 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards that were held in Beverly Hills and that she had the honor of attending!


Heather Kalinowski is a pet lover and new mom who spends her days helping other pet owners protect their pets with dog and cat insurance. Trupanion offers 90% coverage for diagnostic tests, surgeries, and medications if a pet becomes sick or injured.


On Saturday, October 6, Trupanion had the honor of attending the 2012 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards in Beverly Hills. This event was a tribute to the powerful relationship between dogs and people – one we all know extremely well, whether our dogs spends their days searching rubble for lost people or at our feet giving us comfort and companionship every day.


At this event, eight dogs were specifically honored as winners in specific categories. I am honored to introduce you to these eight amazing dogs, with just a snippet of their incredible stories.


Law Enforcement/Arson Dog: Jynx was the canine partner of Deputy Sheriff Kyle Pagerly. During an attempt to execute a warrant, Jynx alerted Deputy Pagerly and his team to the suspect who was in hiding, running ahead of the team and flushing the suspect into view. The suspect fired and killed Deputy Pagerly and wounded others. If it had not been for Jynx, many others would have lost their lives that day. Jynx is now the adopted family pet of Deputy Pagerly’s wife and daughter.


TruTeamHolly! She is a SHELTIE like ME!!!!

Service Dog: Holly, a Seizure Alert dog, alerts her owner Shanna Wilkinson when Shanna is about to suffer an epileptic episode. This allows Shanna to be able to live life to its fullest without fear and together the twosome has traveled the world. Trupanion is the proud 2012 Hero Dog Awards sponsor of this category.


Therapy Dog: Stella, a Standard Poodle, was certified by Therapy Dogs International in July 2011. Stella began volunteering soon after at a residence that houses 76 people who have significant intellectual, medical, and physical disabilities. Stella brings smiles and stimulation not otherwise available to these individuals, making their lives better and giving them hope.



Military Dog: Gabe – a big, handsome, Yellow Lab – served in the military with his handler, Sgt. Charles Shuck, from 2006 until 2009. In that time, he completed over 210 combat missions with 26 finds of explosives and weapons. Now retired, Gabe continues to visit schools and inspire children with compassion and respect and the importance of staying in school.


Guide Dog: When Anne Drake lost her sight, she became depressed and lonely. Then Tabitha came along. With Tabitha’s help, Anne was able to start living a full life again, overcoming her fear of “the dark” and trusting herself, and others, again. Tabitha is now retired but will always be Anne’s Hero Dog.


Search and Rescue Dog: After Soot, a Black Lab, was adopted, his new guardian realized Soot was a dog that needed a job. Soot became a certified Search and Rescue Dog and immediately helped find and save a 78-year-old diabetic man who was lost in the woods after a hunting expedition.


Hearing Dog: Tatianna II is not just a hearing dog, although she does provide that amazing service to her guardian, Cristina Saint-Blancard. She is truly a lifesaving dog. Diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, Cristina often got ear infections, one of which led to an asthma attack that left her struggling for breath one night. Tatianna woke up and alerted her family to the crisis – Cristina was able to get the care she needed because of her dog.


Emerging Hero Dog: Daniel is the definition of a survivor. After being part of a group of 18 dogs in an Alabama shelter who was sent to be euthanized via a gas chamber, Daniel was still standing, and wagging his tail, when the gas chamber doors were opened. He was put up for adoption and now tours the country with his new forever family, fighting against the use of gas chambers for euthanasia.


These eight dogs are absolutely inspiring. It’s amazing and honestly, about time, that we had the opportunity to truly recognize and celebrate the hero dogs in all our lives. Dogs are amazing creatures who offer us complete devotion, constant companionship, utmost trust, and never-ending loyalty and love. I’d love to hear about the hero dog in your life. What makes them a hero to you?


(The two-hour program will be broadcast nationwide by Hallmark Channel on November 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Mark your calendars and watch along! Trust me, it’s an event not to be missed!)

April Is Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Month-A Guest Blog By Heather Kalinowski of Trupanion Insurance

Heather Kalinowski is a pet lover and new mom
 who spends her days helping other pet 
owners protect their pets
 with cat and dog insurance 
Trupanion offers 90% coverage for 
diagnostic tests, surgeries, and medications
 if a pet becomes sick or injured. 

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. While I believe every day of the year should be dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals, it is nice to have a month dedicated to it, to bring it to the forefront of the minds of all pet owners and non-pet owners alike.

Artwork by

It’s an unfortunate fact that we even have to spend any time discussing this, because it means that animal cruelty is still going on in the world. How can we be cruel to animals when they provide nothing but unconditional love, companionship, and in many times safety, to us?

I love to read stories about pets that have done heroic things for their humans. So to kick off this month, I thought I would recap some of the great stories I’ve heard of heroic pets.

Fidge: A woman became curious when her ten-month-old kitten started crawling up on her chest and sitting on her right breast every night for two weeks. When she went to the doctor, she was told that she had a cancerous lump the size of a pea which could have been fatal if left untreated. Read more about this story here.

Mabeline: This Rhodesian Ridgeback mix was available for adoption at the Friends of Strays animal shelter in St. Petersburg, FL. A 17-year-old girl took her out for a walk as part of a volunteer program. During the walk the girl was attacked by a sexual predator. Mabeline barked at the attacker and scared him enough that the girl ran free. Read more about this story here.

Monty: When his owner fell and landed unconscious at the bottom of a ravine, this Labradoodle stayed faithfully by his side until he woke up and then helped him climb back to the top of the ravine. If that wasn’t enough, Monty then ran to a local pub to get help for his owner, who was badly injured. Read more about this story here.


Pudding: This orange tabby cat saved his owner’s life just hours after adoption. When his owner suffered a diabetic seizure, he swatted at her face and bit at her nose to wake her up. When the woman awoke, she tried calling to her son for help, but her son was asleep. Pudding took charge and went into her son’s room to wake him up so he could call for help. Read more about this story here.


These are obviously just a fraction of the stories out there of heroic dogs and cats that will go to drastic measures to show their love for their humans. Let’s celebrate our pets and show them love every day like they do for us. Let’s end animal cruelty so there is no need for this month years down the road!




We were not compensated for this post.

Trupanion® now offers coverage and/or premium discounts for therapeutic and preventative pet nutrition

The full line of Hill’s® Prescription Diet®

and Science Diet® Healthy Advantage™

pet foods are now part of the Trupanion™ Pet Insurance coverage! 

I have featured Trupanion on my other blog, Cat Chat, quite regularly and was pleased when I was contacted by Hill’s to see if I would be interested in sharing some new information!

Trupanion just announced this week that the company’s dog and cat insurance now includes benefits for veterinary therapeutic pet foods, including the full line of Hill’s® Prescription Diet® pet foods, and veterinary exclusive preventative nutrition, Hill’s® Science Diet® Healthy Advantage™ pet food. The insurance covers half the cost of therapeutic pet foods including Hill’s Prescription Diet pet foods for two months followed by a discount on the monthly insurance premium for continued feeding of the therapeutic pet food, available exclusively through veterinary hospitals. Veterinary healthcare teams can find out more about the program through their Trupanion Territory Partner or by calling 1-800-569-7913 (then pressing #1). 

“The high cost of medical care is a part of everyday life in human medicine, and insurance coverage can help offset that burden,” said Howard Rubin, COO of Trupanion. “We’re offering a similar plan to assist owners in giving their dogs and cats what they need to have a better quality of life.” 

Trupanion’s dog and cat policies offer one simple plan with 90 percent coverage and no annual, per claim, or lifetime payout limit. With a veterinary physical exam, Trupanion also offers a 30 Day “no obligation” Trial for pet owners, giving them time to decide if the plan fits their needs and budget. The 30 Day Trial waives typical waiting periods so coverage is effective immediately. 

“It makes sense for us to get the news out about Trupanion’s new coverage. This helps pet owners be in a better place to comply with a recommended veterinary therapeutic pet food and supports the healthcare team’s action plan when it comes to nutrition for every pet,” said Janet Donlin, D.V.M., chief veterinary officer at Hill’s. 

For more than a decade, Trupanion has offered affordable pet insurance coverage for cats and dogs that enroll between the ages of 8 weeks and 14 years of age. Trupanion offers pet owners one plan that covers accidents, illnesses, medications and lab work. In addition, Trupanion never penalizes pets for aging or being unlucky enough to file a claim. 

About Trupanion Pet Insurance 
Trupanion pet insurance is available for cats and dogs in the United States and Canada. Trupanion is underwritten by its’ affiliate, the American Pet Insurance Company, allowing Trupanion to offer a customizable pet insurance policy with no benefit schedules. Trupanion’s mission is to protect the cherished bond between pets and their families by ensuring that pets are able to receive optimal veterinary care. For more information about Trupanion, call 800-569-7913 or visit You can also follow Trupanion on Twitter or Facebook. 

About Hill’s Pet Nutrition 
Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. manufactures Hill’s® Prescription Diet® brand pet foods, therapeutic pet foods available only through veterinarians, and Hill’s® Science Diet® brand pet foods sold through veterinarians and finer pet specialty stores. Founded more than 60 years ago with a unique commitment to pet nutrition and well-being, Hill’s is committed to its mission to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets. Hill’s produces high-quality, great-tasting pet foods owners can trust and give to their canine and feline companions as part of a veterinary health care team recommendation. This ultimately improves patient health and the health of the practice. For more information about Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. and Hill’s Evidence-Based Clinical Nutrition™ visit, follow us on Twitter or visit us on Facebook keywords “Hill’s Pet Nutrition.” 



I was not compensated for this post. I have featured Trupanion and Hill’s in the past and was happy to do so again. I believe in sharing information that might be of value to my readers.

Let’s Talk About Shelties! A Guest Blog By Heather Kalinowski Of Trupanion Pet Insurance

Heather Kalinowski is a pet lover and internet journalist at Trupanion pet insurance. Trupanion offers 90% coverage for diagnostic tests, surgeries, medications, and other treatments if a pet becomes sick or injured.


I have been a fan of the Sheltie ever since I was six years old and my mom brought a Sheltie mix home as an Easter present for my brother and me. My brother named her Rebel (he was 15 and thought that would be cool… sigh) and we soon discovered she had all the wonderful traits of the Sheltie. She was incredibly smart and quickly became quite devoted to me and my family. She was so gentle and sensitive and was the perfect companion for my young, shy self.


Shetland Sheepdogs like Dakota and Rebel have brought joy to people since they were first developed in Scotland in the early 1900s. They are herding dogs and it always makes me smile to see them taking that job to heart today, even when not in the pasture! Rebel used to herd anything she came in contact with, especially other dogs and children. It was a site to see her circling a group of happy children, who had no idea they were being ‘contained’ by the cute dog in front of them.

This breed has so much energy as well, requiring a lot of play time and exercise during the day. As a child, this was fantastic, as my dog could always keep up with me as I was zooming around the yard. But as I got older I remember thinking of it as a chore to walk her around the block. Poor pup! It must be hard to grow up with a girl who was once so active and who slowly decided reading books and watching movies was much more fun than playing tag outside.



But Rebel and I had other activities that kept us busy. We enrolled in training programs and canine good citizen classes to help keep us bonded and our minds sharp. Shelties are so smart and really need to have mental exercise as well as physical to keep them healthy. She was a star in her classes, picking things up so easily. She definitely made me look good!


Of course, like all dog breeds, Shelties are prone to certain ailments that can cause heartbreak in a family, including hypothyroidism (insufficient production of the thyroid hormone), Legg-Perthes (a degenerative disease of the hip joint), patellar luxation (the displacement of the kneecap), and allergies. Luckily, advances in veterinary care make it possible – even easy – to treat these conditions and keep these dogs happy and healthy for a lifetime. Of course, it doesn’t come without a cost. Veterinary treatment can be very expensive, especially when long-term care is required.


One way to offset the costs of treating medical conditions in our pets is with pet insurance. Pet insurance can be beneficial, especially for purebred pets like Dakota. Purebred pets are notoriously more prone to ailments because of the hereditary nature of many conditions and the long line of breeding that occurs. Pet insurance reimburses you a large part of veterinary bills so that you can rest assured that you can afford the treatment your pet needs. We all know there is nothing worse than sitting at a vet listening to a treatment plan your dog needs but you know you can’t afford.


But let’s not dwell on the less fortunate traits of the breed we love. We accept those traits and prepare for them so we can enjoy the characteristics and companionship this breed shows us every day. So what is your favorite thing about the Sheltie?