Weekly News Roundup 3/8 to 3/14

Service offers travelers free places to stay in exchange for pet sitting

Andrea Sachs is a travel reporter for the Washington Post. She’s been all over the world, but it was a recent trip to South America that gave her a unique experience. “It combined my two great loves, which would be travel and animals,” Sachs says. “So, as a travel writer and [someone who grew] up travelling, that’s what I love to do, and when I’m not traveling, I take care of other people’s pets. Because I travel so much, I can’t have my own.” Sachs flew all the way to Ecuador to watch a dog named Fischer. She watched him for free, and in exchange, they let her stay at their home at no cost. Sachs used a service called TrustedHousesitters. “Not only do the owners get the care for their pet that they want, the sitters have a unique experience,” says Angela Laws with TrustedHousesitters. “They get to visit a place and get to see and explore that place.” . . . more

Banfield Foundation commits $1 million to keep pets and domestic abuse victims together

The Banfield Foundation says it is investing $1 million in its Safer Together initiative to help victims of domestic violence and their pets find pet-friendly shelters. According to a recent study, up to 89% of pet-owning domestic violence victims report their abuser has threatened, injured, or killed the family pet. Further, about 6% to 10% of domestic violence shelters allow animals onsite. The Safer Together grant would allow qualifying nonprofit organizations to apply for funding as they increase their capacity to help people and pets escape domestic violence. “Through our work and the work of other outstanding organizations, we hope to create a world where victims never have to choose between their own safety and the safety of their loved ones, including their pets,” says Banfield Foundation Executive Director, Kim Van Syoc. . . . more

Lead Iditarod sledder quits race when his dogs won’t mush

Stuck on ice with dogs who refused to mush, lead Iditarod sledder Nicolas Petit dropped from the famed Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska late Monday. An early favorite in the world’s best-known dog-sled race, Petit had been stuck for most of the day with his dogs on a section of Bering Sea ice about 200 miles from the finish line in Nome. The dogs refused to move, and Petit ultimately had them taken off the trail by snowmobile. The 1,000-mile race started on March 2 in Anchorage. The winner will take home about $50,000 and a new truck, part of a total race purse of $500,000. Fifty-two mushers started the race. As of Monday night, seven, including Petit, had dropped out. . . . more

Top US veterinary schools ranked

University of California Davis (UC Davis), Cornell, and Colorado State University held on to the top three spots in US News & World Report’s latest rankings of colleges of veterinary medicine. The list, updated every four years, delivers positive publicity for highly ranked programs but measured responses from the colleges themselves and from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). AAVMC’s official policy states that the organization “does not endorse third-party ranking systems” and that all of its accredited member institutions “provide a high-quality education that prepares students for success in the many different dimensions of modern professional practice.” UC Davis pointed out that its veterinary program is “ranked first in the US by all three organizations that rank veterinary sciences: US News & World Report, QS World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.” . . . more

New association aims to increase racial diversity in veterinary medicine

Black Americans have been significantly underrepresented within the veterinary profession for decades. Records show that just 70 black students graduated from US and Canadian veterinary schools between 1889 and 1948. That number increased with the addition of a veterinary school at Tuskegee University, a historically black college, in 1945. More than half a century later, however, black Americans remain chronically underrepresented in veterinary medicine, never comprising more than 3% of the profession at any time. The National Association for Black Veterinarians is a newly created organization with a mission of correcting this historical disparity. . . . more