Fido’s Top 2023 Highlights

Happy New Year! As we toss out our 2023 calendars and hang 2024 ones, many people are reflecting back on the past year and perhaps mulling over personal ups and downs. Our canine pals had a few important moments in 2023 as well. A local Dunedin, FL vet lists some of the top dog stories of 2023 in this article.


Bracco Italiano: Breed Spotlight


You may be familiar with the saying that old things often become new again. This is certainly true for the Bracco Italiano, aka the Italian Pointing Dog. Considered to be the oldest European Pointer, it was created by crossing the Segugio Italiano and the now-extinct Asiatic Mastiff, likely in the fourth or fifth century B.C. The Bracco breed gained popularity during medieval times and was a favorite companion of aristocratic families during the Renaissance era. However, in the early 20th century, poor breeding practices led to health issues and an undesirable body shape, and the breed nearly went extinct. Fortunately, dedicated breeders came to the rescue, rejuvenating the line by carefully selecting puppies and uniting two distinct variations of the breed. Today, Fido is known for being intelligent, loyal, and adaptable, making him not only a great pet but also an excellent hunting partner. (Not to mention adorable!)


AKC welcomed the Bracco Italiano last year, and he also turned heads at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last year.


A Long Road Home


Dogs are remarkably resilient. One example of this is a little Patterdale terrier named Rose, who is finally safe and warm after being missing for a remarkable seven years. The 12-year old pup was recently spotted in Crawley Down, a small village in West Sussex, England. A local nonprofit rescue organization called Lost Dog Recovery UK was contacted after someone took note of the sad stray. Rescuers went to the scene with a camera and food, and, after several days of effort, managed to successfully capture Rose, who had become a familiar sight to those living in the area. (It’s probably safe to say that villagers had been feeding her, as she turned out to be quite picky for a stray. It took a warm roast chicken topped with paté to entice her into the cage.)


This is where Rose’s story takes a turn. The little dog had a microchip. It turned out that she had gotten lost 24 hours after being adopted … back in 2017! Amazingly, she had survived in the wild for nearly seven years.


This is also a good reminder of the importance of microchipping. Please contact us, your local animal hospital, if your pet is not yet microchipped.


A Paws For Thought


It has already been shown that some pups are quite adept at learning how to communicate with their humans using paw pad buttons, which speak pre-programmed, customizable words when they are stepped on. (One pup, Bunny, had an existential crisis about it, but that’s another story.) You may want to try these out if your canine buddy is quick to pick things up!


Shelter Empty For The First Time In Almost 50 Years


We always love seeing dogs get loving forever homes. This year, quite a few pups in Pennsylvania got their wishes on that account. Last month, the Adams County Pennsylvania SPCA reported that all of the dogs in their care had been found homes for the first time in nearly 50 years, leaving only empty cages. (Or rather, almost empty cages: a kitty wandered in just before the official announcement.)


The shelter shared the good news on their Facebook page, announcing: “This is the first time in 47 YEARS that the Adams County SPCA has been empty, let alone at Christmas time! It is a true miracle!”


We’re hoping for more similar announcements in the future. Ideally, we’d like to see this every year.


Puplifting Weather


Typically, the weather is not the most captivating topic on the news, except during severe storms or extreme conditions. However, in 2023, a delightful exception took place when a fluffy black and white dog named Bella made an unexpected appearance on a New England morning weather forecast. Weatherman Josh Judge was reporting sunny weather to viewers when he was pleasantly surprised by a fluffy pup. Turned out that Bella belonged to one of the weekend anchors and was on set for a segment about veterinarians. While this may not have been as funny as the poor Florida weatherman who was terrified by the appearance of an unauthorized guest cockroach, it’s definitely canine comedy gold.  We’re still waiting to hear if Bella has been offered a permanent spot on the show.


A Happy Reunion


We love heartwarming tales of pets being reunited with their owners. One such story unfolded earlier this year when U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mike Alcala became the proud adopter of his former canine partner, a German shepherd named John. Their partnership began in 2018, when the pair met and quickly bonded. In fact, they were certified as a team just two weeks later, and were partners for the next three years. Now, Alcala has officially taken John in for retirement. The beloved pup is enjoying a well-deserved retirement with his favorite human. Good boy! 


Mystery Canine Respiratory Illness Outbreak


This one is not our favorite story of 2023, but it is worth mentioning. A mysterious respiratory disease has been affecting our canine companions. At least 16 American states have been affected, as well as Canada.


We don’t know much about this mysterious illness, but we do know that it can make Fido very, very ill, and can even be fatal. Many dogs have recovered, but several pups unfortunately have succumbed to it, some within 24 hours.


There is no need to panic, but you may want to take extra precautions, especially if your dog is immunocompromised or has known health problems. Coughing, fever, reduced appetite, and respiratory distress are among the warning signs. If you notice any of these, you should contact your Dunedin, FL veterinarian right away.


Our Favorite Four-legged Porch Pirate


Home delivery services have been increasing in popularity for quite some time, and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down. Unfortunately, the rise of online shopping has also led to an increase in porch piracy. However, one incident had an unexpected and delightful twist when an adorable German Shepherd made multiple attempts to steal a package from a Prime delivery driver. The chaotic yet heartwarming moment was captured on a TikTok video posted by user @juicecupboxx.


A Long-Awaited Home


One of our favorite stories of 2023? A sweet dog named Chiquita, or Chiqui, got adopted after spending more than 650 days in a North Carolina animal shelter. Chiqui had been splitting her time between the adoption center and living in foster care, because of her fear of the shelter environment. 2024 is looking like a very good year for the 12-year-old pooch, who enjoys walks and naps. We hope that Chiqui is living her best life, and soaking up lots of love and attention. 

Happy New Year from all of us here at Highland Animal Hospital, your Dunedin, FL animal hospital. Please contact us for all of your dog’s veterinary care needs in 2024 and beyond! 

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