Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Xolos not just pets, but therapy

We all know about therapy dogs who give emotional comfort to people - and we know about service dogs who help others live alone by taking over what might be considered household duties.

But have you ever heard of Xolos - and their special kind of therapy? Xolos are a Mexican hairless dog with a 3,000 year history of soothing arthritic pain. Their body temperature, like all dogs,is 102 degrees. But because they have no fur, there's no insulation. When you touch them, they're like a live heating pad.

These little dogs are so trainable and cooperative that a person with an injured neck can simply "wear" the dog to take advantage of the soothing heat. All dogs are intuitive, and these dogs seem to know just where their heat is needed - running to cuddle a sore spot before even being asked. They also serve as service dogs to their humans who have trouble with bending and reaching.

All dogs are good for your health - tests show that just petting them can lower blood pressure, and we all know the emotional lift that our dogs can give - but Xolos can relieve pain when no amount of medication or human attention can.

Xolos are rare and expensive - and in fact were considered nearly extinct until recently. Now a non-profit called Xolos for Chronic Pain Relief is working to provide these unique dogs to pain sufferers who can't afford to buy one.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Operation Blankets of Love

Yesterday I mentioned that you could check out Operation Blankets of Love and do something similar - what I didn't know was that their website has had a disaster.

We're not sure yet just what happened, but it disappeared. And the web host's site has also disappeared. This is not a good thing, because their web-builder had not kept a back-up file. They may have to start over from scratch to re-create their website.

That's not a good thing - it was filled with great video clips of news interviews and photos of the animals they've helped, as well as all the information about their work.

Why am I telling you this? Because you may also be in a dangerous position. If you have a site built by someone else so the files are not on your computer, do something about it right away.

Recently I've talked with several people - both animal rescuers and Realtors - who have used some kind of service for their website and are unable to get at their HTML files to do basic search engine optimization behind the scenes. They're also unable to make updates themselves. And the worst part is that the people they count on to make updates and take care of SEO don't do it in a timely fashion.

So... I realize the reason so many take that route is that they don't know how to do it themselves. If that's your situation, then find someone to help you. If you have to hire a high school student to come to your house and work, do it. Just make sure that your own files are in a place where you can get at them - and make sure you've been shown how to do it.

Also, if some other person is named as administrator for your domain name, get it changed while that person is still available. If the person suddenly disappears you'll have months of hassle getting it into your own name. Believe me - I had it happen to me early on, and two different friends of mine have had the same challenge.

Sorry to disgress from dogs for a minute - but if you're involved with a rescue or a shelter, this is important to your fundraising efforts, as well as your ability to have your dogs and cats for adoption seen on line.

So what is Operation Blankets of Love? It's a very small group of people who are making a big difference in Southern California. They collect blankets from donation bins placed in vet clinics, Petco Stores, and other pet-related places. Then they deliver them to shelters and rescue groups across 7 counties. Shelter workers say it is amazing how much comfort those homeless dogs and cats get from just having a blanket to snuggle into. And when they're more secure, they're happier, and they're more easily adopted.

In the year since this project began, they've delivered over 35,000 blankets, towels, treats, pet beds, pet carriers, and toys to over 100 different shelters and rescue groups. They even helped with the rescue during California's wild fires.

They also do pet care talks in schools and take kids on shelter tours so they can learn more about responsibility and caring for our furry friends. Teaching the kids now just might help reduce the number of abused and abandoned pets in years to come.

I'll let you know when their site is back up. But in the meantime - how many blankets could you find to take to a shelter in your home town?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Feb 21 is National Love your Pet Day!

But of course, that's just one out of 365 when most of us do love our pets.

So, why not celebrate it as "Love your neighbor's pet day"... as in these pics of my husband and my son with our neighbor's pup, Freckles.

You could also share that love a bit more by learning about Operation Blankets of Love - and doing something similar in your own home town...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Freckles loves Ralph

Not long ago I wrote you about how Ralph has decided to become Freckles' protector... and she shows her gratitude by crawling all over him. So I thought you'd like to see them together.

Meanwhile, Ralph has now decided that Suzie really isn't going to hurt the baby, so he's stopped interfering when Suzie gets after her. Last night every time the puppy attacked she would bark, then hold her mouth over the puppy's mouth... but she never bit down. Very interesting to watch her behave as if she was the pup's mom.

I'm sure that if they saw each other every day the kid would probably be crawling all over Suzie just like she does Ralph - time will tell.

Meanwhile, when we started into the shop last night and Pepper saw that the pup was there, he turned tail and ran back out. Freckles was, of course, ready to greet him enthusiastically. I finally held her and lured him inside, but then he hid behind a chair to get away from her. When she found him, he sat with a warning look in his eye and teeth barred, but never made a move while she kissed him repeatedly.

These dogs have always been entertaining, but adding a puppy to the mix ramps our laughter scale up a few notches.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dog Scouts Vie for Badges Too

If your son built campfires at Boy Scouts and your daughter smiled at grocery shoppers with a box of Girl Scout cookies in hand, get ready to send your next child, the four-legged one to Dog Scouts. That's right, "your pooch will vie for merit badges, woof out answers to the den leader and can even go to summer camp", according to an article in the Miami Herald. Now why didn't I have a dog when I was hiking in the woods as a kid to keep me from making a wrong turn?

Here in Southern Florida, Troop 129 of Dog Scouts of America is for small dogs and teaches them agility, manners, scent discrimination, social skills and more. In the land of natural disasters, it can also save your dog's life, and maybe yours too. So if you're a city denizen, get in touch with nature and train your dog at the same time. With repeat visits, your dog will earn a badge to pin on the wall with any family achievement tokens. Scouts Honor.

Christine for Blog Sisters

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day two of Valentine's Week... more love

Have you chosen the perfect Valentine for your Mom or Dad yet? How about for your kids?

Better hurry up!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In Celebration of Valentine week... Love and Friendship

This week seemed like a good time to share some loving photos that have arrived in my email lately - thought I'd start with the most unlikely one!

If you have a story to share that fits this picture, please comment!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Adversary turns puppy protector

You heard about my neighbor getting a puppy, and our 3 dogs being less than thrilled at having some darned kid jumping all over them...

Well, my husband and his dog Ralph go visit them every few days, and Ralph has decided that the puppy is OK. Sometimes he even runs around and plays with her, and let's her flop across his back for a nap. When she gets too enthusiastic with her puppy kisses he simply pulls his teeth back and stares at her and she lays down.

But then there's Pepper and Suzie. Their last meeting a couple of weeks ago went OK, but they still weren't happy about the bouncing she does all over them.

This week they met again - and she could hardly wait to run to them - jumping and wiggling all over. We warned them to be nice, so Pepper got a really worried look and kept trying to get away from her. He hid behind chairs, got in people's laps - whatever it took to keep away from the kid.

Suzie, on the other hand, looked like she wanted to beat up on her. Snarling, barking, snapping - but I soon noticed that she wasn't trying to connect, merely giving a warning to back off. And the puppy was getting the message - slowly.

That part was all pretty much to be expected, but Ralph surprised all of us.

As soon as Suzie started sounding mean, he got up and let her know that she was NOT to hurt that baby! He started growling at Suzie, and the puppy ran behind him and hid! Suzie listened, reluctantly, because Ralph is the boss dog.

Puppies being puppies, that scene played several times in the space of an hour. It kept the 4 of us humans laughing, considering that at first Ralph didn't want anything to do with her either!

Next time I know my neighbor and his pup are at the shop visiting, I'm putting the camera in my pocket before we go out - I just might get a good shot of Ralph in his "You'd better mind me right now" face.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Retraining the Potty Training--PLEASE HELP!

Hello dog owners. This is Christine from Blog Sisters reaching out for your help on a training issue. If you follow my personal blog, you may know that I live in a high-rise condominium in Miami, Florida.

With me are my maltese, Ma Cherie, and orange marmalade cat, Jean Pierre. Naturally Jean Pierre is strictly an indoor cat. Ma Cherie, the dog, is well trained when it comes to potty time. She waits as long as she can for me or dog walker to take her outside. If not, she has her wee wee pad. However, in the past three years I notice she no longer does #2 on the pad. She can really hold her bowel movement. If there were a contest for "How Long Can Doggy Hold It?" She would win!

Ma Cherie in 2003 (Three doggie years old)

An inherit prissy dog, a dog after her own mother (me),we don't go outside for potty time when it's raining. Thankfully in my building, we have a covered dog station where unit owners can take their dogs when it's raining (my building only allows small dogs). Since this wonderful station was installed, Ma Cherie no longer does #2 on her pad and waits for someone to take her outside whether it's to the front lawn or to the dog station.

One day, when feeling very exhausted and attacked by the flu, I decided to try something different. I told her to go potty on her pad and closed the door as I used to seven years ago. She wouldn't do anything. This was not a good sign as I will soon explain. Then I went through the ritual of brushing her hair, putting on her leash and readjusting her bow. Then I walked her down the hall but back to the condo and parked her on her pad. Still nothing.

So what's the problem, you're wondering? In less than one month I will be moving to a new condominium where there is no covered dog station. So my question to all of you smart dog owners and successful trainers, how do I retrain an eight-year old dog to go potty on a designated spot, indoor or outdoor? I thought of simulating the covered dog station with soil covered in mulch.

Please, I have less than 30 days to train her. Thankfully my new condo is all tile floor, although I will be buying large area rugs. However I am worried. Is there any potential harm to her when she holds her bowels that long? Until she has an accident?

No matter if you read this posting in the next few days or weeks, I eagerly await your insightful feedback and suggestions!

Desperate Doggy Owner

Monday, February 2, 2009

Budweiser Beer Ad...

Horses can play fetch too!

Check out the Budweiser ad from the superbowl... the Pedigree ad is pretty good too!

Here's the link to see all of them.