Thursday, June 25, 2009

For Dog Rescuers: A Money Source, Perhaps

Found on Twitter:

This link leads to an article about a dog training site that will be giving away $25,000 in $500 chunks to needy dog rescues. Says there's an on-line form to fill out.

Every rescue needs all the funds it can get, so check it out!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Americans Consider their Pets Family Members

Half of all Americans consider their pets family members, according to a recent AP Poll. "Only half?" I ask. I would have thought that number was higher. Had AP interviewed me, the numbers would have been skewed in all categories.

Let's see I definitely fit into the single, female category therefore I consider my pets as "full" family members, NOT pets, and NOT part family members. Also, a city girl, my pets are condo pets. No running around in the grass. They're clean, prim and proper.

Next, I dress both my dog AND cat in costumes for Halloween. One year all three were ducks. Since Jean Pierre is a short-hair, orange marmalade, male cat, no additional accessories are needed for lounging around the house. However, when traveling he does sport a regal, red, diamond-studden collar with gold name plate.

Ma Cherie (maltese dog) still wears bows 24/7 and they change with the seasons and for special occasions. Did I mention my pets have their own physical bathroom? Yes, an entire bathroom is theirs. Ma Cherie has drawer full of brushes and bows. And each pet has their bathroom "station". It's true.

In the category of travel, I will go so far as to take my cats on local travel within Florida when I drive my car. They've been to Gainesville, Sarasota, and Key West. Pet friendly hotels are at top of my list.

And finally, yes, each year my Christmas cards must have one pet or all three pets in the photo.

Admittedly, I'm on the extreme end but I adore my pets. The unconditional love is greater than any love in this world. They are happy, playful and comforting no matter if I'm happy or sad.

Since the sudden passing away of my baby boy, Pepe Francois, I'm now looking to adopt another cat. Three is a good number and my family will be complete again.

So do you consider your pets, FULL family members, PART family members, or just plain pets? Tell us by posting a comment! By the way, there is no wrong answer.

Christine from BLOG SISTERS

Monday, June 22, 2009

Portuguese Water Dogs Now in Demand

Since the President chose a Portuguese Water Dog to be the nation's "First Dog," breeders have seen a 100% increase in the number of people asking for them... but in many cases, they're saying "no."

These dogs, which were introduced to the U.S. in the early 1970's, sell in the neighborhood of $2,000 each, and only 1,400 puppies per year are born here. They're bred by about 200 breeders in the U.S. and those breeders keep a tight leash on who can have one. Most people making application are subjected to a long application form - about 11 pages - and must have their family and their home approved.

Because they tend to bite, they aren't recommended for households with small children and older children generally must be interviewed by the breeder before the home will be approved.

One breeder who was interviewed in the Wall Street Journal says she has tightened her restrictions. No one gets one of her dogs unless they can either stay home all day or take the dog along to work. They must also have a fenced yard and no children under the age of 6. Right now she has about 30 people on the short list for approval to purchase one of 10 puppies. And those who are chosen don't get to choose their pup - she does that based on personality evaluations of both the pups and the families.

Of course the Obamas didn't have to pass any of these tests. The children were "approved" based on their behavior on television. That made me chuckle, because I think kids in front of a TV camera, whose parents (or nanny) have warned them about behaving, probably are different people than they are at home.

Maybe I just didn't notice, but I don't remember people going wild to have the same breed of dog as previous Presidents. Maybe that was because other Presidents chose breeds that are more popular, and thus more common in America?

I do think it's wonderful that the breeders are being careful. I remember when the movie "101 Dalmations" caused people to rush out to buy the breed - and within a few months the shelters were overflowing with them. It seems that isn't the right breed for a family with small kids, either.

So - the bottom line. If you're longing for a Portuguese water dog, contact a breeder and get in line. You're in for a long application period and perhaps an even longer wait before you'll get a puppy. Oh, and of course, you'll pay a hefty monetary price as well.

I still think my dogs are the best - even though they're all rescue dogs and (as far as I know) not one has a pedigree.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Allergies - Dogs (and cats) have them too!

A couple of days ago I found myself at Yahoo answers and saw the following question:

"Could natural flea remedy poison my dog?

My dog recently got fleas so by boyfriend got a natural flea remedy called "only natural pet" the all in one flea remedy. it contains diatomaceous earth, sage, eucalyptus, yellow rock root, fennel seed, and rosemary leaf. She has been on this powder cure for about 2-3 days and now is having diarrhea, drools a lot, and had an accident when she was picked up yesterday. She's never had these problems previously, could it be the powder? If not what would you recommend? She is 3 years old, 50 lb, and a chow- german sheppard mix from a rescue.

Additional Details
I have called a vet and she will be going in later today however I'm just a worried pet owner. I have bathed her to get all of the powder off of her and I got advantage. The previous vet I had said it works the best .

Also, the bottle says it is vet approved. I know that could just be bull but just wanted to put it out there if it was in some way helpful."

Since I've had experience with pet allergies, I had to answer her:

Every one of us is allergic to different things - your dog is no different!

He absolutely could be having a reaction to ingesting the flea remedy. I believe strongly in natural remedies and shy away from the chemicals - whether for me or for my dogs.

Once, when my dogs got into fleas, I took them to the vet and he used Frontline. Two of my dogs were fine with it, but one itched and scratched until he bled for a full month until the chemicals worked their way out of his system. I would never consider using a chemical flea killer on him again.

Any time ANY medication - natural or pharmaceutical - causes a bad reaction, stop it immediately. I listened to the vet once and kept up with Rymadyl - and lost my best friend to it. Had I listened to my brain and stopped the medication when the dog couldn't stop throwing up, he might be alive today.

I followed up with an invitation for the asker to tell her story here...

After writing the answer I didn't think much about it until I got the notice that my answer was "the chosen one." I also got a note saying she'd be happy to share her experience with all of us, so this post is for her to answer.

If YOU have had similar experiences, please do jump in and tell your story too!

Here's to healthy, happy pets.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Herding Instinct in Dogs

People say that Heelers have a latent herding instinct, and that with no livestock to push around, they'll often try to herd their humans, other dogs in the family, or even the cat. I've even heard of this breed nipping at their humans' heels to get them moving in the right direction.

Pepper has never done any of that. His greatest interest in life has always been little kids - and lately, old people. He just loves to snuggle.

He's seen a lot of cows - but from a distance. Since our neighbors turn their cows out in the pasture next to our property, he sees them all summer.

But a couple of nights ago we went for a walk and the cows were right up by the gate.

Pepper stopped and stared at them, and then walked under the gate to get closer. His whole body seemed to snap to attention while he stood absolutely still and just stared.

I felt like I could hear him thinking "There's something I know about these creatures. I know I'm supposed to do something about them, but I don't know what. What am I supposed to do here??"

The other dogs and I stood and waited for a while, watching to see what Pepper would do, but he stood there like a statue until I called him to come along.

Anyone else had a similar experience?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Dog Care

Now that hot weather is here, we need to take extra precautions to protect our furry friends.

Even though they may love to run and play in the sun, we should limit their hard activities to morning and evening, when the temperatures aren't so extreme - and we need to keep fresh water available to them at all times.

If your dogs stay outside in a yard most of the day, they need a good sun shade. It should have plenty of ventilation to let them cool off in any breeze that may come by. Remember, a plastic dog house might turn into an oven, so don't consider that as shade for your dog!

Next think about their feet. If they go walking on city sidewalks, they could get their pads burned. So either use some "doggie slippers" or limit their walks to cooler times of day.

Unless someone is going to stay in the vehicle with your dogs - with the AC running - leave them home when you go out to do errands. Just 15 minutes in a parked car (or motorhome) in summer could kill your dog!

That brings me to pickup beds. I hope you don't carry your dog in the back of your pickup - at least not unless he is cross tied to prevent falling out. Veterinarians tell me that a huge percentage of the injuries they see are from dogs falling from trucks... a horrible thought.

Even if they aren't injured, jumping out of a truck is a major reason for dogs being lost in communities like ours, where too many people carry their dogs that way. When I was working in rescue it was hard to feel sorry for people who came hunting for their lost dogs and admitted that they'd left them in the back of the pickup - and didn't even know when they fell out.

If your dog is going to be in the bed of your pickup even for a short while - like while you run in to a store - remember that he needs protection from the metal or plastic truck bed. Keep a heavy dog bed there for him to lay on - and/or line your pickup bed with plywood or some other material that won't absorb heat as readily as metal or plastic.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The First Dogs

I've been reading an interesting book by Stanley Coren called
The Intelligence of Dogs: A Guide to the Thoughts, Emotions, and Inner Lives of Our Canine Companions.

Chapter two delves into the natural history of dogs and how dogs have evolved over the centuries.

For instance, it says that no adult dogs in the wild have hanging ears. Only puppies have floppy ears. The fact that our modern breeds have hanging ears is one of many signs that our modern dogs are more "puppylike" than their ancestors were.

It also says that dogs have been our companions longer than any other animal. (I think a record my kids had when they were small talked about the dog being the "first friend," too.)

A fossil found in the 1950's in Iraq shows that dogs have been dwelling with humans for 14,000 years. This dog is so similar to "modern" dogs that at first the fossil was ignored. Researchers incorrectly assumed that it was a more modern dog who had wandered into the ancient cave site and died there.

It wasn't until 1974 that researchers from the British Museum in London decided to take a closer look.

Another excavation, this one in southern Europe, revealed bones from about the same time period, and showed that dogs must have been considered protectors even then. The skeleton of a Stone Age girl was found surrounded by 4 dogs, each facing a different direction, as if to guard her.

In America, bones have been found that show dogs were sharing lodgings with humans eleven thousand years ago.

But my favorite part of this chapter relates a folk tale from the Kato Indians of California. This is a legend about how the god Nagaicho created the world.

Once the world was created, he began walking about, creating the creeks and rivers, men and women, and a variety of animals. And, on this walk about the new world, he was accompanied by his dog. Apparently, to the Kato Indians, the idea of a human (the god Nagaicho) going around without his dog was just not thinkable, so Nagaicho had his canine companion even before he created the world.

The dog was simply always there.

I agree with the Katos - going around without a dog is simply unthinkable!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Radio Show for Dog Lovers

Have you ever heard the "My Doggie Says" radio show?

I was honored to be a call-in guest a couple of weeks ago, and as a result have met new friends - a wonderful bonus for sitting around talking about dogs for an hour. Guests cover many different aspects of life with dogs, including dog rescue. When I was on the show, Fred Haney, Heather Murphy, and I discussed dog rescue and fund raising for rescue - among other things, of course!

Fred is the host of the show, and Heather is a volunteer for the Arizona Golden Retriever Connection - an all volunteer, foster based rescue dedicated to placing Goldens in forever homes.

You can learn all about the radio show by visiting Fred's My Doggie Says Blog. You'll love the photos and videos - Fred's dog likes to play soccer!

The radio show is aired on KFNX 1100, Phoenix every Wednesday night from 8 to 9 (Pacific Daylight time/ Mountain Standard Time)

It is also streamed live on

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Good News From New Brunswick

An email just came in from my friend Nicole Thebeau at Kent County Animal Rescue in New Brunswick. She was passing along good news she had just received, so I'll just copy part of the message here.

This is an important step forward because it means that we're making headway in raising awareness that animal abuse is a serious crime. It could also mean that more in government are realizing that animal abuse and domestic abuse are closely related.

This has been a battle, and so many are ignorant. I once had our County Sheriff tell me that there was NO known connection between dog fighting and domestic abuse or any other crimes. Of course, the connection is well documented, but she hadn't bothered to learn that - or chose not to believe it.

Maybe what it takes to get this kind of response in the U.S. is for more of us to speak out - contact our City, County, State, and Federal government leaders, write letters and articles, and of course support our local rescues.

Anyway... here's their good news:

I am pleased to inform you that late this afternoon the New Brunswick government house leader and the opposition house leader signed an agreement that guarantees the passage of the amendment to the SPCA ACT Bill 85 that will increase fines for individuals and businesses who abuse and neglect animals to a maximum of $100,000 and/or 18 months jail time. The bill will be brought to third reading by June 18th.

This will make New Brunswick fines for animal abuse the harshest in Canada. This sends a strong message that New Brunswick will not be a haven for those who abuse animals. This is only a start. There is much more to do."

If YOU have good news to share, please help yourself to the comment button and start writing. All of us who love dogs (and other pets) love to know when good things are happening to benefit them.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Coyote Scare Tonight!

It took a half hour before I quit shaking!

Tonight I let the dogs out for their 10 o'clock run around the yard, and within minutes I heard the kind of barking that strikes fear into a dog lover's heart. Pepper and Suzie both sounded scared - panicked, even. Ralph, who goes on a rope when I let him out after dark, sounded angry. He's the only one large enough to defend against a coyote of any size, and he couldn't reach the others.

And the other voices that joined the fray sounded ominous. I know, it could have been a small coyote, visiting all alone. But it sounded like more than one, and that can mean death to domestic dogs.

Of course I started yelling at them to come back up the hill, then started screaming just some kind of noise in hopes of scaring the coyotes. Meanwhile, I remembered my fire crackers and ran back inside to get them. By the time I lit two of them my dogs were back at the door, looking relieved, and the "extra voices" had stilled.

I think that from now on, before I let them out for the night-time potty run, I'll go out and shoot a fire cracker or two. Knowing my kids have encountered intruders in the dark is just too frightening.

Exercise - the Great Doggie Tranquilizer

You already know about Freckles - my neighbor's puppy who terrorizes my dogs by jumping all over them and trying to kiss them too much.

Last night they were visiting out at the shop when another neighbor came by to visit. When he opened the door, Freckles flew out and came bounding to where Suzie, Pepper, and I were busy feeding the horse.

Freckles doesn't get to run free at her house because her person is afraid she'll get in the road and be run over. So I took her for a long walk in our back meadow - and what fun she had!

She explored everything - the old truck parked off to the side, the hole Suzie dug in her search for underground critters, the scents on the pile of logs waiting to be turned into firewood, and of course the pond.

But best of all - she ran. She looked like a Greyhound in a race - stretched full out and taking 10 feet in a stride. She ran around the pond, she circled the garden, she ran for the pure joy of living.

And when we went back to the shop - she laid down and behaved herself. No pestering the other dogs, no jumping on the people. Good exercise was just the tranquilizer she needed.

I hope he brings her to visit often.