No more waiting for their next walk !
Blog & News

July 6, 2014

2nd Franks for Your Business Doggie Cookout! Hip Dysplasia Gene Identified, Hear from Barb!

Ernie’s View

Extra, Extra! Our second Doggie Cookout! on July 25th at Belmont Crate Escape. Announcing,

Friday, July 25th, 5pm – 7pm


Join us on the lawn of Crate Escape Belmont on July 25th! In honor of our great customers, we are serving HOT DOGS and BEER.   This event will be bigger and better than the last! Our doggie massage therapist  is attending to show off her talents, and Paws Alliance, (Katie Gallaher) will have a table with lots of shelter/ rescue information.

We are excited to share a current discovery in the Canine Medical Field!  This is an amazing break through! Hip dysplasia is hereditary, and usually requires hip replacement. Read the scientific stuff leading up to the gene identification!

Check in with Barb, Blogger, Bulletin Board Creater, Extrodinaire!

Later, Ernestine


Canine hip dysplasia genes identified

Sonja von Brethorst Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover

TiHo scientists unravel genes responsible for canine hip dysplasia.

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) plays a central role in the selection of breeding animals ever since modern dog breeding began. This inherited condition is common in all dog breeds as well as in mongrels. Researchers at the Institute for Animal Breeding and Genetics at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover Foundation (TiHo), has identified important genetic variants and their interrelated pathways for the pathogenesis of CHD in German Shepherds. The scientists genotyped more than 1000 German Shepherds and screened a large number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for their association with CHD. Professor Dr. Ottmar Distl and his doctoral student Lena Fels have published their research results in the international online journal PLOS ONE (

CHD is caused by a malformation and instability of the hip joints. The first attempts to breed against CHD started at the end of the 1960s due to the severity of this disease and its general significance for the health of dogs. The sole basis of the breeding programs was X-rays of both hip joints. Dogs with significant and severe changes were excluded from breeding. Systematic preventative programs have been established by most dog breeding associations and have become an integral part of the selection programs in purebred dog breeding.

The genetic mechanisms responsible for CHD involve the formation of cartilage and bone. The metabolic pathways show significant similarities with osteoarthritis and chondrodysplasia in humans. “Research of CHD is of fundamental importance in terms of understanding the processes that can lead to osteoarthritis in humans”, says Distl, head of the Institute for Animal Breeding and Genetics at TiHo.

Dog breeding will significantly benefit from the research. “Despite the use of estimated breeding values (EBVs) for CHD, dogs affected with CHD are not uncommon and often unexpected according to the parental EBVs. This presents large problems for dog breeders. Handling of CHD-affected dogs is often difficult and dogs frequently suffer from the painful condition”, says Fels. Using these new results, CHD can be prevented much more effectively. Simulation studies using real population parameters and the new approach have demonstrated its superiority over traditional methods.

The genome-wide CHD-test is now available at the Institute for Animal Breeding and Genetics at TiHo and can be provided to all breeders and owners of German Shepherds. Further details can be found on the homepage of the Institute for Animal Breeding and Genetics ( Similar genome-wide tests have already been developed for Bernese Mountain dogs. The research on Bernese Mountain dogs was published in December 2012 at PLOS ONE (

Future work by TiHo geneticists will focus on genome-wide, next-generation sequencing of dog samples. The objective is to sequence the entire genome for a large number of dogs of different breeds in order to detect polymorphisms and structural variants. This will enable us to compare CHD-affected dogs with dogs free of any signs of CHD and that show a very low risk for CHD in their progeny. “Using this approach, we will be in the position to map the CHD-associated mutations and provide new insights into the pathogenesis of CHD. As such, our research will be able to be extended to include many more different dog breeds”, says Distl.

The original publication
Identification and validation of quantitative trait loci (QTL) for canine hip dysplasia (CHD) in German Shepherd Dogs
Lena Fels, Ottmar Distl
PLOS ONE, DOI: 10.137/ journal.pone.0096618


Here’s Barb!



Greta and Spanky

1. What was your career path before Crate Escape?
I majored in Hotel/ Business Administration in college, and worked at several downtown Boston hotels and inns for my first 10 years after school. I enjoyed the guest service part of it, and mostly worked in the ‘rooms’ side of the businesses. I then moved into sales – the most fun job was working for Odyssey Cruises, selling the boat as a corporate meeting and event site.
My Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers, and 4 years in, she was in a nursing home and there were too many demands to continue working full time, so I put the corporate world on hold and spent time with her. I was living in Belmont at the time and when it was time to find a new job, the Crate Escape van drove down my street and I flagged it down. Brad was driving and we set up an interview right there with Stephanie for the Manager position at Raining Cats and Dogs. I got the job and was SO excited to be able to do something I loved.

2. How has the career switch worked out?
It has been amazing! I had no clue what a difference it makes to do something I really care about!!

Calvin wasn’t quite into this!

3. What dogs have you had as an adult? Describe them:
My first 2 dogs were golden retriever litter mates, who I got from a friend (today I would call him a ‘backyard breeder’). In spite of their lineage, they were amazing. My boyfriend at the time was a dog person too, and we lived right by Castle Island in Southie, so they had great places to exercise. My next dog, Calvin,was the bestest, most amazing, wonderful ‘Good Old Soul’ yellow lab who was special in so many ways.
He came to Raining Cats and Dogs with me every day, and lay on his bed in the front of the store. All the customers and dogs greeted him as they entered and left daycare! I currently have a 20lb terrier/ german shepherd/ kitty mix named Spanky, who is total drama, and LOVES people and his ball. After Calvin, I rescued a schnauzer/ lab mix (or maybe a Scottish Deerhound, per a couple of opinions. hahaha). She is 50 lbs, black, kind of wiry hair. Her biggest love is Spanky. She can really run – beautiful to watch.

4. Brief outline of your jobs at Crate Escape
I was the Manager at Crate Escape too for 3 years. After a cancer diagnosis in 2008, I worked part time first at CE2 and then for the summer of 2009 at the desk of Belmont Crate with Nikki. In 2011, I started doing marketing, which most importantly morphed into sales/ marketing for the Charlestown Crate Escape.

5. What has been your biggest challenge overall?
Charlestown Crate Escape. When we opened Belmont, there was lots of word of mouth with Cambridge. Charlestown/ Boston was a completely new market. It was an amazing opportunity, to get to know the community, the neighborhoods, businesses, and Chamber people. Our vans go to downtown Boston, so it included spreading the word through the downtown neighborhoods. The best part of it was really acknowledging that we had come from grassroots, the business started and grew being all about the dogs, which is very unusual these days.

6. If you could do anything new or add anything what would it be?
We are huge supporters of the dog rescue/no more homeless dogs, effort. A high percentage of our dogs come from shelters and rescue orgs, and we do all we can to accommodate. I share the sentiments of upper management, that we would love to have a 501C3 organization, to find homes for homeless dogs. This can be done in many ways; with the determination and willingness to support this cause, we will make it happen.

7. In your own words:
My experience at Crate has been incredible. In the past few years, especially 2014, while we celebrate the 10 year anniversary, I have been able to view the company and its’ history as an employee, and as an observer. I have a deep appreciation for how it originated and was nurtured, keeping the focus on the dogs at all times. It has come together as something truly special and one of a kind. I am proud to be an employee. Writing the blog, I have the chance to express my sentiments and share what it is like to watch an honest, caring company grow and provide great services.

home | about | ernestine | services | rates | policies | photos | blog | contact | testimonials

Crate Escape logo
Crate Escape | 30 Brighton Street, Belmont MA 02478 | (617) 489-9003 | Fax: (617) 489-9002
Crate Escape Too | 368 Huron Ave, Cambridge MA 02138 | (617) 354-9003
Crate Escape | 200 Terminal Street, Charlestown MA 02129 | (617) 886-9003.