Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Meet Ruby, Border Terrier

When it was time to add a new dog to the family, Judi never thought she'd get a Border Terrier (the dog from the movie “Something About Mary.”) But Ruby has proven a wonderful addition to her family.

Q: So how did you end up with a Border Terrier?

Judi: Last spring we were at the train station and noticed two cute dog faces in the window of a car in the parking lot. The dogs turned out to belong to one of our friends. He offered to show us some newborn Border Terrier puppies that his friend was raising. The litter, born April 20, resembled a bunch of black hamsters. One had not been claimed and we agreed that, having seen the family and how they were being cared for, this was our dog. We read about the breed and that confirmed our sense that she would fit into our lives. At 8 weeks old, weaned and ready, we brought her home.

Q: What is the funniest thing Ruby does?

Judi: Ruby makes us laugh all of the time. She sticks her head in my pants and stockings when I dress. She barks angrily at the toilet brush. She has funny expressions, and she loves to "wash our faces," including our nostrils and ears! We can’t breathe but are laughing so hard as she intently licks us!

She is small but jumps very high in the air and can lunge into my lap, even when I'm sitting on a high stool!

She also fell in love with a German Shepherd at training classes, even though Ruby is the size of the Shepherd’s head. Her obedience teacher referred to her as a “Border Terrorist.”

Q: What is Ruby's most difficult training challenge?

Judi: She mastered housebreaking easily, but did not do well with crate training, resorting to the breed’s characteristic whine, sounding like a violin. We continue to work on “stay,” an important command for her safety and impulse control. She is a stubborn terrier. Getting her to sit quietly in the car is our biggest challenge.

Q: What have you learned from Ruby?

Judi: We have learned new patience and the power of positive reinforcement from Ruby. She has brought us the joys of unconditional love and the delight of endless laughter.

Thank you Judi for telling us about Ruby. If you have questions for Judi, feel free to leave a comment here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday Pet Roundup

Welcome to Monday Pet Roundup!

Kelly sleeps at the foot of our bed for a while, then jumps off and sleeps in the hall, and sometimes even sleeps in her own bed. Should you let your pets sleep on your bed? Some veterinarians advise against it.

That's fit blog shares a weight loss lesson from cats and dogs.

Meet Baghdad pups Victory, Jasmine and other soldiers' dog, and the program to bring the dogs home.

Wow, I didn't know they made them like this...Lifehacker will have you rethinking the definition of litter box!

If you like pet blogs, here are a few more I enjoy:

1. Pet Connection

2. Dog Blog at Dogster

3. Bark: Confessions of a Dog Trainer

Which pet blogs do you enjoy? Share your favorites with us! And join us again next week for Monday Pet Roundup.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from Kelly and me

"Mom, don't you think this holiday collar is just a wee bit too big?"

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Tips from Joel Silverman

*Before we get to some great holiday tips, I'm happy to announce the winner of last week's photo caption contest. They were all fantastic replies, but the winner is DBR with the caption "Mom, don't you think this holiday collar is just a wee bit too big?" DBR, please email me peggyfrezon [at] gmail [dot] com with your name and mailing address and I'll mail you the pet organizer. And thank you everyone for entering!

I've been fortunate enough to communicate with pet expert Joel Silverman a few times, and trust his advice. So when his publicist sent me his new tips for the holiday season, I was anxious to share them with you!
Holiday Safety Tips to Keep Pets Happy and Healthy
by Joel Silverman

Families are eagerly planning for the holidays and buying gifts for their pets and for the pet lovers in their life. During this exciting time, pets can easily get into trouble or find themselves in unsafe situations with Christmas trees, holiday lights and sugary treats.

Expert dog trainer and author of anticipated bestselling book What Color is Your Dog? Joel Silverman offers a quick list of tips to keep dogs happy and safe this holiday season:

Pets as Gifts
1. The selection of a new pet is an important process, and not a split second "gift" decision
2. The person that needs to be involved is the person that will be owning the pet.
3. Many dogs end up in animal shelters and humane societies because they were given as a gift
and their owners weren’t ready for the commitment.
4. Few people have time to take care of a new pet around the holidays.
5. Instead of giving a pet, give a coupon or gift certificate from your local humane society.

Keeping Your Home Safe
1. Try to keep your dog from exploring around the Christmas tree, be aware of what he is doing
and make sure that he is not eating or chewing on any ornaments, cords, branches or other
holiday d├ęcor.
2. Keep the lights off and unplugged when you are away from home. In the event your dog does
chew on a cord, he will not be injured or shocked by the electricity.
3. Be aware of all the items you put out around the house during the holidays, including candy.
Remember, to always keep dogs away from chocolate!

Hosting parties/Keeping your pet on the right diet
1. When you invite guests over, make sure they do not feed your dog people food.
2. Little bites of food coming from dozens of guests can add up to more than your dog can
handle and could make him sick.
3. One suggestion is to keep him calm and your guests happy is to put your best friend in a
separate room during your holiday party.
4. One way to keep your pet safe during the party, but still not completely isolated from the fun
would be to have a few of the guests give your dog some Bil-Jac treats before the night is

Joel Silverman is the author of new book What Color is Your Dog? and host of Animal Planet’s Good Dog U. For over 25 years, Silverman has worked behind the scenes training animals for movies, TV shows and commercials and has appeared on national programs such as Live with Regis and Kathie Lee and FOX News. Silverman has offered advice on pet care and training based on his lifetime commitment to the welfare of animals and their special place in our lives. Silverman is currently on a 100 city book tour for What Color is Your Dog? Click for more information about Bil-Jac and tips from Joel Silverman.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Inspiring Pet Loss Book- Part 2

Last week we met Nadine M. Rosin, author of The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood. I recommend this book to everyone who loves a dog, or has ever lost a pet.

Last week Nadine told us about why she wrote the book, and why she refers to the human-pet relationship as pet "parenthood." Today she shares how she dealt with her Cockapoo-terrier's illness, and how you can give your pet the best life possible.

At 8-years old Buttons was diagnosed with cancer, and given 6 weeks to live unless she had amputation, chemotherapy and radiation. Instead, Nadine launched a carefully researched holistic regimen, and after a few months Buttons was cancer free. Buttons lived—not six more weeks, but ELEVEN MORE YEARS, to the age of 19!

Question: Are there any myths surrounding the care and treatment of cancer in pets?

Nadine: In my experience the myths are that any diagnosis is hopeless and that there is only one successful treatment protocol. When Buttons’ cancer was discovered, the lab did the biopsy twice to ensure accuracy of such a lethal diagnosis. The vet assured me that my beloved canine would be dead in 6 weeks without the standard, allopathic treatment of cut/burn/poison. Because I already had a substantial background and knowledge base in alternative medicine and holistic healing, after much soul-searching, I was able to “go against” his advice. At first, I was scared to abandon convention, but since holistic treatment allowed Buttons to thrive cancer–free for an additional 11 years (to the age of 19) I am so glad I found the inner strength to do so.

Question: What should we do if our pet has been diagnosed with cancer?

Nadine: I would encourage others to research and gather information BEFORE ever getting such devastating news. One of the first things I do during a holistic consultation with pet parents is to go over all the products they use in their home with a fine-toothed comb. I believe there is MUCH we can do to prevent ever getting a cancer diagnosis. A pet’s body will metabolize everything so much faster than ours. When we unknowingly overburden their immune system with a combination of the often toxic chemicals in dryer sheets, fabric softeners, air fresheners, flea treatments, shampoos, and carpet cleaners- just to name a few, we are just asking for trouble.

Question: What advice do you have for those grieving the loss of a pet? How can your book help?

Nadine: FEEL IT! We are so used to squelching all our emotions in this country- especially the “uncomfortable” ones. I believe that in itself contributes to our own skyrocketing cancer rate. Grief is a process and one truly heals from going through the process in whatever time it takes, not by “getting over it” as quickly as possible. By honoring the sorrow, by leaning into it and letting it breathe, we are taken to places within ourselves that are no less than magical. The depth of one’s grief is in direct proportion to the depth of one’s love. There is a gift in the depth of all that grief and love and for those brave enough to go there, my book will be a cherished and trustworthy companion.

Nadine M. Rosin is a holistic pet care advocate, consultant and researcher, nondenominational minister, blogger and author of The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood: a true story about the human-animal bond, healing canine cancer holistically, and an empowering new take on the grieving process when a beloved animal passes away. Sold here or and all online book retailers. Contact her for more information on the book and one-on-one phone consultations with Nadine.

Learn how to give YOUR OWN beloved animal the best life possible by joining them as they explore the world of holistic pet care to successfully treat canine cancer. This is her true story. It is only one version of a story shared by millions of pet parents.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Enter Contest--Win a Free Pet Organizer

Is Kelly looking for Santa? Or wanting for the first winter snow?

Kelly wants you to win! Just submit a caption for this photo-- or any comment-- in the comments section below, and you may win a great prize from Knock Knock---a handy Pet Organizer, designed to keep all your pet's medical records and important information together in one handy binder. Complete with checklists, and more.

1. Enter in the comments section, below.
2. Enter as many times as you like, one entry per comment.
3. Contest runs from Wed. 12/16 through Sunday 12/20.
4. US residents only please.
5. Winner will be announced on Monday 12/20. Check back to see if you won, so we can arrange for mailing information. Thanks!
Good luck!
Here's what you'll win, this fantastic Pet Organizer from Knock Knock! (Retail $26)

Includes pet-care instructions, lists to record vital stats and important contacts, a business card holder, rescue stickers, and so much more.
* Hardcover 3-ring binder: 10.5 x 12 inches; pen and pad; booklet; business card holder; adhesive tab labels; 9 tabbed dividers with storage pockets

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday's Pet Roundup

Welcome to Monday's Pet Roundup! (Formerly Monday's Rufferences and Mews.) Stop by every Monday for the week's latest pet news and tips. As always, I welcome your comments.

It's the holiday time, and I know you want to include your pet in the fun. Do you buy your pet a present? Make him a stocking? We'd love for you to share your holiday pet stories. Here's one of my stories, about missing my yellow lab, Hudson, at holiday time, and the special ornament that helped.

This week I read two great wrap ups on blogs. Petfinder's 2009 Top Nine list for Pet Lovers
shares gift ideas and ways to incorporate your pet into the holidays. And, People Magazine's People Pets Top 10 Unforgettable Pet Moments of 2009 lists top Celeb pets, pets in the White House, pets on You Tube, and more!

Pets as gifts? Will My Dog Hate Me shares one point of view on So Your Kid Wants a Dog.

And finally, a tip to my faithful readers: On the next blog, I'm running a contest for a free new Pet Organizer portfolio. So don't forget to check back Wednesday for your chance to win!

How do you incorporate your pets in holiday celebrations and fun? I'm looking forward to reading your comments. And join me again next Monday for more Pet Roundup!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Inspiring Pet Book- Part 1

Looking for a great gift to give this Christmas? Here's a touching book you'll want to pick up for every pet lover in your life. The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood by Nadine M. Rosin.

Two of the most emotional issues pet owners can deal with: cancer, and grieving the loss of a pet. Although Nadine M. Rosin had to deal with both, she brings us a story of joy and hope. The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood shares the lives of Nadine and her beloved Cockapoo-terrier, Buttons.

Question: Why do you use the term “pet parenthood?”

Nadine: I always cringe a little when I hear the term pet “owner”. In the case of cats, well, it is laughable how it just doesn’t apply. Cats don’t allow themselves to be owned by anybody or anything! When it comes to dogs, I believe it is somewhat arrogant for us to refer to ourselves as their owners. They are so much more connected to love and goodness than we are. They embody the very best of our humanity. No dog has ever lied to me, hurt me, or betrayed me. I wish I could say the same of humans. I don’t believe as humans (myself included) we conduct ourselves in ways that warrant our declaring superiority over or ownership of canines. Maybe we can build computers and skyscrapers, but until we can live with the same unconditional love, forgiveness and universal acceptance that dogs demonstrate every minute of everyday, I will be sticking with the term “pet parenthood” rather than “pet ownership”. In truth, it would be more accurate to say that every dog I’ve ever lived with has owned me, rather than the other way around.

Question: Your dog Buttons greatly inspired your life, and this book. What were some of Buttons most endearing traits? Silly habits?

Nadine: Buttons inspired the book because of her stalwart spirit in overcoming cancer. When she was given 6 weeks to live without chemo, radiation and amputation, and I instead, implemented a 4-month holistic cleansing program, she was subjected to hourly doses of some pretty awful tasting stuff. Her willingness to partner with me every step of the way and embrace the treatment was nothing less than inspirational. I felt her story had to be told.

Her endearing traits and silly habits would fill a book, or at least several chapters (and it does) so for the sake of brevity here, I will share one ditty that isn’t in the book. My friend Pamela had stopped by with her Sheltie, Rider, just as I put Buttons’ bowl of food down on the kitchen floor. Rider got to it before Buttons did and when Buttons entered the room and observed Rider eating her food, instead of growling, or trying to get at the bowl herself, or even looking at me for more, Buttons “stormed” out into the next room and immediately sat in the far corner facing the wall with her back to us. Every time Pamela or I tried coaxing her out of the corner, Buttons would merely turn her head to give us a dirty look and then turn back to stare at the corner wall. There she sat until Rider was finished eating, while Pamela and I laughed and shook our heads.

Nadine M. Rosin is a holistic pet care advocate, consultant and researcher, nondenominational minister, blogger and author of The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood: a true story about the human-animal bond, healing canine cancer holistically, and an empowering new take on the grieving process when a beloved animal passes away. Sold here or and all online book retailers. Contact her for more information on the book and one-on-one phone consultations with Nadine.

Join us next Friday for part 2, where we'll learn more about Nadine's regimen for treating Button's cancer, and how Buttons survived to the wonderful old age of 19!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A New Home, A New Name

When Alexis Grant, journalist and aspiring author, returned from an artist's residency in Georgia, she brought back a new friend: a stray dog that had begged for food and captured her heart. Today Alexis shares her thoughts on getting to know her new furry friend.

Guest Blog- by Alexis Grant

When two burly men walked into my home carrying a large piece of equipment to refurbish the hardwood floors, Cooper, my newly adopted golden-retriever slash mutt, lifted his leg and peed in the middle of the family room.
He was scared. It made sense, since he’s afraid of unfamiliar men, as well as big machinery, and this was a combination of the two. But I still didn’t expect housebroken Cooper to urinate where he stood.

There’s a lot I’m still learning about Cooper. He likes sleeping on the cool tile floor by the door – not on the doggie bed I bought him. His preferred toy is a stick; he won’t even touch the big bone I sought out at the pet store especially for him. And when trucks speed past us during our morning walk, he leaps after them, sometimes pulling me with him.

Why? I wish I knew. I wish Cooper could talk, could explain why he runs after those trucks, who dumped him in the north Georgia woods outside my artist studio, why he sensed that if he followed me around long enough, looking hungry, I’d take him home. (Obviously he was right.) Most of all, I wish he could tell us his original name. Now that he has lived with us for two months, this rescued dog answers to Cooper. But I can’t imagine living till age 10 or 11 – that’s 70 in dog years, right? – and then being renamed.

Of course, it’s quite possible that Cooper wants to forget the life that came along with his old name. Something that happened in that life gave him a scar under his right eye, made him afraid of men. I tell myself that he can deal with a new name, so long as he has a loving family, a warm home, a bowl full of food. But sometimes when he wakes me up in the morning, starts panting in the excitement of a new day, I still wonder about Cooper’s previous life. Who could abandon such a beautiful, well-mannered dog? And what did that owner call him?
No matter, he tells me with his morning kisses, his wagging tail. I can call him whatever I want – so long as I rub his belly.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Ruffs and Mews

Hi, and welcome to Monday's Ruffs and Mews!

Are you a cat person or a dog person? Author and blogger Dorien Grey of Dorien Grey and Me admits to liking both, but falling slightly on the side of dogs. I have to agree. We had cats in my family when I was growing up, but my husband and I have always owned--and loved--dogs. What about you?

Speaking of cats and dogs, I just read a cute article in December's Catnip Chronicles, entitled Children as Pets by Moggies. It begins, "Have you ever realized that children are like dogs, but teenagers are like cats?" Be sure to read the rest to find out how! And, while you're at it, why not subscribe to Catnip Chronicles, tons of great articles in every issue.

Meet America's Cutest Dog, winner of the All American Pet Company's Cutest Dog Competition. What breed do you think it is?

golden retriever? poodle? pug?

If you're traveling over the holidays, what do you do with your pet? Bring him with you? Board her at a kennel? Leave him with a trusted friend or relative? Hire a pet sitter? This is always a problem for us with Kelly. She has separation anxiety issues. Here's an option: host families that are screened, and ready to take your pet into their homes. If we found a family Kelly bonded with, this could be a viable solution.

52% of pet owners buy their cats and dogs Christmas gifts. L.A. Unleashed has more.

What about you? Do you board your dog over the holidays? Or have you found a different solution? What are you planning on giving your pet for Christmas? And, are you a cat person or a dog person? Or both?! And join us next Monday for more Ruffs and Mews.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Your Dog's a Star with Draw the Dog- Part 2

Last post, we met Bruce Kasanoff and Jim George, the creative team behind the popular site, DrawtheDog. Today, they share more about what makes them tick and their site click with readers.

First, many of you have read about my dog Kelly on this site. Well, check out this wonderful drawing of her that Jim created, based on my story about Kelly keeping me warm--inside and out. This drawing appeared on DrawtheDog November 18, 2009. And your dog could be featured too. Read on!

More from Jim George and Bruce Kasanoff--
Q: How long does it take you to complete each drawing? Do you look at real dog models or photographs for inspiration?
JG: Each drawing takes a total of about four hours. I look at any photographs that our audience sends me. I make use of any and all inspirational material I can before beginning a cartoon but the looming deadline of a daily panel limits the amount of research I can actually do.

Q: Bruce, I know you have been obsessed with dogs since you were seven or eight. Tell us something about your own dogs.
BK: I own two rescue dogs... Dex, who we guess has German Shepherd and Pit Bull in him, and Dakota, who is a Boxer/Hound. Dex sounds and looks tough, but in reality he is the friendliest, most affectionate dog you are likely to meet. He’s also quite smart, and understands English. Dakota is very cute – people instantly love her – and very easygoing. She comes from down South. Her picture is in the right hand column of our website, encouraging people to spread the word about DrawtheDog.

Q: Jim, what is your favorite Draw the Dog illustration you've done so far?
JG: That's a tough one. There are many criteria for a "good" cartoon. From a purely esthetic standpoint, I like the "Halloween" and the "First Dog" panels. For pure silliness, I like "Not the First Time" and for the essential "Haiku" effect, I like "Hurricane."

Q: How can readers get involved in DrawtheDog?
BK: Come to the site, stop by our Make Your Dog Famous page, and submit one or more amusing stories about your dogs! Jim and I read every story, and your stories are the site’s secret ingredient.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Genuis of Draw the Dog- Part 1

Two months ago, Jim George woke up with the idea to create black and white cartoons of dogs and post one each day on a website. He partnered with Bruce Kasanoff, and the idea became a reality. Simple enough, right? But it gets even better... Each cartoon appears on your computer screen as if it is drawing itself. And, almost all the cartoons are inspired by a real dog, and each dog gets credit.

DrawtheDog is a fun, exciting and uplifting site. Jim and Bruce have received many hundreds of stories, and Jim has drawn about 60 cartoons, with more on the way. People have stopped by from 55 countries, and everyone is having a lot of fun.

Meet Jim George and Bruce Kasanoff--
Me: How did you two meet?
: We
met through my brother, who is a film producer. Jim created all the characters for his animated film, Foodfight!, which will be out next year. My brother basically told me that Jim was one-of-a-kind, a rare talent who could create and bring memorable characters to to life. If you look closely at his drawings, you realize that the dogs seem filled with energy and spirit. Jim makes this look easy, but so far as I can see it is the result of talent, attention to detail, and incredibly hard work.

How did you get the idea for DrawtheDog?

: Bruce and I were working on a much more elaborate book project with a dog at its core and - as is s
o often the case - funny and interesting but unrelated ideas started pouring into my brain. My mind works pretty visually so I "saw" these scenarios in cartoon form. It occurred to me that we could do one of these per day on the web and go directly to our audience. The idea of having the cartoons "draw themselves" has been something I've been playing with on and off for years. I'm fascinated by the "revelation" of the forms with this kind of time-lapse effect and it adds an entirely new dimension of time to the traditional cartoon "strip." It's half-way to animation, which is where I spent much of my career.
Once we started talking about this idea, we quickly got to the other essential element of DrawtheDog, which is that most of the cartoons are inspired by real dogs. This creates a wonderful, close connection between us and everyone who enjoys the site

Jim, what is your past experience in drawing and animating? Did you work on any Disney or other dogs we might recognize?

JG: I was at Disney back in the seventies and they had pretty
much done the dog thing by then. Lady and the Tramp and 101 Dalmatians was an earlier era. The only film I did that was exclusively about dogs was a project that Rodney Dangerfield wrote and spearheaded for Warner Bros. called "Rover Dangerfield." I co-directed it but I had little or nothing to do with the content. It was Rodney's show. I did character design, storyboards and animation as well on it. I wasn't too happy with the result but apparently the film has done quite well in the video rental arena.

Me: Bruce, what is your role in DrawtheDog?
: As he said, Jim draws and I do everything else. This works out perfectly, since I can’t draw and Jim doesn’t want to do anything else. Besides building and managing the site, my main role is to reach out to dog owners and encourage them to submit stories that will inspire Jim to create more cartoons. The more stories, the better Jim’s cartoons.

Check back again next time, as we learn more about how Jim creates these amazing animated drawings, about the dogs in Bruce's life, and about how your dog can be a star!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Rufferences and Mews

Welcome to Monday Rufferences and Mews!

It may not be practical--or desirable--to get your kids a puppy or kitten for Christmas. But never fear, the hot new trend this year might appease your kids' desire for a pet, while saving a fortune on dog food. Enter this year's must-have holiday toy, Zhu-zhu pets, little robotic hamsters that have their own tracks, balls and play systems. What do you say, Yay or Nay?

A great idea from the Humane society of the United States is to put together a pet's first aid kit. Why not put one together for a great holiday gift for any animal lover?

Has your cat grown finicky, refusing to eat it's food? Or developed an allergy? Here are some tips for switching your cat's food.

Need some help around the house, or just a good laugh? Check out these videos of cats doing windows, dishes, even vacuuming!

There are so many working dogs for people with disabilities, our seniors, and assisting our police forces. Here's another type of working dog. Meet Bailey, a reading therapy dog.

If the dog or cat hair is becoming a problem, help is on the way. Check out this helpful article on the Furminator and other pet grooming tools.

What do you think? Will you be purchasing a zhu-zhu pet this Christmas? What do you keep in your pet's first aid kit? And, if you use the Furnimator or other similar tool, how do you rate it? I look forward to your comments.

Check back next week for more Monday Rufferences and Mews!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Spot the Fat Dog

Since my book is about dieting with my dog, I'm always interested in other pet owners' struggles with keeping their pets slim and trim. Most often, the pet weight gain is simply a case of a few extra pounds due to a few too many doggie cookies or table scraps. Well-intentioned owners (like myself) may overfeed their pet as a misguided way of showing love. Kelly gained about 8 extra pounds, which was substantial on her then 35 pound cocker-spaniel sized frame.

Sometimes, however, the situation truly gets out of control. An interesting post on the blog Dog-Owned Life by Mark Ramirez alerted me to an obese British Dalmatian which topped the scales at 154 pounds. The owner fed the dog chocolate and crisps (potato chips).

This Dalmatian was so fat he could barely move. So sad. Fortunately, last June the dog was taken from its owner and put on a diet. According to officials, "Pet owners have a legal duty to provide proper care under the Animal Welfare Act." Now the dog is a healthy weight and will be taken into a new home. The owner was banned from having pets for ten years.

What worked for Kelly was no table scraps, smaller size dog biscuits, and lots of daily walks. It takes effort, but she's slimmer and happier now. And so am I!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Were there pets on the Mayflower?

When thinking about the first Thanksgiving, the obvious question on everyone's mind is, "Were there pets on the Mayflower?"

Okay, maybe it's not the first question that comes to everyone's mind, but as I was sitting down to write this column today, I couldn't stop myself from wondering.

I was reading an interesting article in Parade magazine called "Be a Pilgrim for a Day," by A.J. Jacobs, who discussed the probable first Thanksgiving menu: venison, lobster, eel, mussels, fish, radishes, turnips and spinach. And some sort of fowl, maybe duck, swan, pigeon...or the ever popular turkey. And maybe thinking about all those animals--albeit some edible--maybe that's when my mind wandered to the question of pets on the Mayflower.

It turns out, there were pets on the Mayflower! The 1622 book Mourt's Relation, (actually titled A Relation or Journal of the Beginning and Proceedings of the English Plantation Settled at Plimouth in New England) describes two dogs; a Mastiff and a Spaniel.

According to the site The Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony: 1620 "The first indication of Pilgrim dogs being present comes during the second exploration of discovery....During that exploration the group of men stumbled upon two Indian dwellings. In recounting what they found, we were told they found two or three pieces of venison thrust into a tree, which they thought 'fitter for the dogs than for us.'....This passing remark would seem to indicate John Goodman and his two dogs were with that group of men."

I'm very happy to know there were dogs with the Pilgrims, perhaps lying under the table begging for scraps on the first Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Rufferences and Mews

Welcome to Monday's Rufferences and Mews!

*If you have some pig ears or beefhoof treats for your dog, check this pet treat recall before giving theses snacks to your dog.

* Buy in bulk, look for coupons, even shop online. Consumer Reports shares ways to save on pet care. One surprise? Skip health insurance for pets.

*Can't get a real pet for the holidays? Check out this year's hottest fad toy, Zhu Zhu Pets.

*Need a laugh? Check out the Pet Source USA blog for crazy pet hair!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Learning about your pet's personality

I came across an interesting post this week by Dr. Narda Robinson, on one of my favorite blogs, Pet Connection. The article describes ways of better understanding and interacting with our pets.

This brought to mind an interview I did recently with Animal Planet's Joel Silverman, about his book What Color is Your Dog? Joel assigns colors to dog personality traits. The Pet Connection article shares a Chinese system of five "phases."

from Pet Connection:
"The five categories of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water represented changes these ancient naturalists witnessed over the day, the year, and the life cycle as well as interrelationships between organs, emotions, people, and climate. The model embraces, expects, and accepts metamorphosis.

Much like the personality profiles of modern psychology, Five Phases analysis groups people and animals into constitutional categories based on psychological and physical manifestations. While not yet a scientifically validated means of determining Chinese medical treatments for humans or animals, identifying a predominant phase out of balance in an individual seems to provide clues about what a patient needs to restore homeostasis.

For example, a task-oriented metal-type dog needs a job to do, while the earth-type cat needs a warm lap."

I recommend this article to learn more about your pet--are they Wood, Earth, Fire, Metal, or Water?

By the way, I believe Kelly is Wood.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sympathy Cards for Pets

We love them. We take care of them. They take care of us. And because our pets are a part of our family, we grieve when they are gone. (Left: our pal Hudson, who we still miss.)

Recently my friend Sheryl asked me if I knew of an site with sympathy e-cards to encourage someone who had lost a pet. I looked around and turned up a few wonderful sites:

Blue Mountain Cards



American Greetings

Happyday cards

If someone you know is missing that special furry friend in your life, sending one of these e-cards is a great way to show you care. Another friend, Donna, also shared these two helpful pet grief sites: and pet loss support page.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Rufferences and Mews

Welcome to Monday Rufferences and Mews!

* Dogster announces their very first Dogster iPhone Application! It’s called Dog Park, and allows you to stroll through the virtual dog park, chat with friends and meet other dog people on the go. Check it out! Sounds like fun!

* Have you heard about this hero dog? Sabi, a black Australian labrador and American army bomb sniffing dog was separated from her unit and lost in the desert for a year. Happily, she was found and is now reunited with her unit. (From the Syney Morning Herald.)

* I just love this dog trainer's look at obedience school drop outs from Rachel Baum's fun blog Bark: confessions of a dog trainer.

* Gina Spadafori reminds pet owners that ferrets are susceptible to the H1N1 virus.

* Are you thinking of giving a dog as a Christmas gift? Edie from Will My Dog Hate Me suggests you might want to think twice.

What do you think? Is your dog an obedience school dropout? Have you ever given a dog or cat as a Christmas gift? I'd love to hear from you.

Join us again next Monday for more Rufferences and Mews!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Best Welcome Home

One of my favorite things about my dog Kelly is how she greets me when I come home. If my husband Mike happens to walk in the door first, she pushes past him to get to me, and jumps and whines as if my return is the happiest moment of her life. It feels good to be so adored.

Recently I was away for a weekend. Kelly did fine at home with the rest of the family, but when I returned she gave me a welcome of epic proportions. She jumped and rubbed her head against me and made noises that can only be described as cries of joy. Then she sniffed me all over, even my hair. I wondered what kind of information she was picking up from the smells. Could she somehow discern where I'd been? When she was done gathering her olfactory data, she snuggled up beside me, and followed me around the rest of the day.

Here is a touching video of a golden retriever greeting her soldier Dad when he came home. Grab the tissues!

You can see more of these touching videos here at mentalfloss.

How does your dog react when you return home? Is it the same if you've been away for 15 minutes as when you've been away for a week, or do you detect degrees of differences? Does she have a funny little routine when you come home? I'd love to hear your stories.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Eat This Not That for Your Pet

Please welcome our special guest blogger, Adrienne Carlson from over at Veterinarian Technician Schools Online. Her blog is full of informative, thorough information for pet owners, and I encourage you to check it out. Today she helps us become aware of foods that may not be healthy for our pets.

Adrienne, take it away...!

25 Common Foods That Can Be Toxic for Your Pet

Your pet’s health is fragile. Sure, pets were once wild animals, but don’t forget that your pet isn’t the same as a human. Although it may think otherwise.

Knowing what can harm your pet is the first step in illness and disease prevention. By avoiding harmful substances and foods, your pet will live a longer, healthier life, and your wallet will thank you too for avoiding veterinary bills that could have been prevented with a little caution and care. These 25 common household foods can be lethal to your furry or feathered buddy. Many of these examples are foods that a typical pet owner would never think twice about giving their dog, cat, hamster or bird, but your pets can suffer greatly from things we humans love to eat on a regular basis. As a pet owner, your best bet is to stick with veterinary approved foods specifically made for your pet.

1. Fatty Meats like Ham - Fatty and greasy meats that people eat like ham or beef can seriously damage a dog’s pancreas and cause pancreatitis. Actually a high fat diet of anything is very bad for dogs and can lead to this serious and costly illness. Most dogs will recover from severe pancreatitis, but other complications can develop like diabetes. Avoid giving your pooch table scraps no matter how sad their eyes may be.

2. Walnuts - Walnuts and their hulls are particularly poisonous to dogs and horses. Even laying on black walnuts can cause respiratory distress, stomach upset and laminitis, or the inability to move around. Dogs are more susceptible to black walnut poisoning after ingesting the hulls or shells of the nut. Dogs poisoned by walnuts will often vomit and have diarrhea.

3. Coffee and Espresso Beans - Coffee and espresso beans, as well as the grounds of both, can have strong side effects on dogs if ingested because of the caffeine in the beans. Dogs can experience excessive hyperactivity, restlessness, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, seizures and tremors. Too much caffeine can also be fatal. If you suspect that your dog has eaten coffee beans or coffee grounds, look for signs of vomiting or diarrhea.

4. Teas and Sodas - Teas and sodas are also bad for dogs because of the caffeine in them. Don’t let your dog eat the tea leaves either.

5. Salt - Salt can seriously dehydrate dogs and cause gastrointestinal irritation. Depending on how much salt a dog ingests, the symptoms may be more or less severe. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, excessive thirst, sluggishness and disorientation.

6. Potato, Tomato and Rhubarb Leaves, Vines and Stems - The leaves, stems and other green parts of these roots and vegetables are highly toxic to most pets including birds. The leaves, stems and vines of these plants contain oxalates, which can harm the digestive, nervous and urinary tract. Symptoms of oxalate toxicity are dilated pupils, heart arrhythmias, irregular heart beat and tremors.

7. Liver - A diet of too much liver can lead to vitamin A toxicity. Liver flavored pet food and treats are fine to give to your furry friends though.

8. Peaches - Peach pits contain small amounts of cyanide that can be toxic to all pets.

9. Pears - Pear cores also contain trace amounts of cyanide. Avoid giving your pets pears, peaches and plums.

10. Plums - Another pit that contains trace amounts of cyanide. These revelations may almost makes you want to give up the fruits yourself, but the cyanide levels contained in plums, peaches and pears are not harmful to humans.

11. Fruit Pits like Cherry Pits or Apricot Pits and Apple Cores - Other fruit pits and cores like the kinds from cherries, apricots and apples also contain cyanide which is harmful to pets of all kinds. The fruit of apples are fine to give to pets, but be sure to core the fruit thoroughly first.

12. Broccoli - In large amounts, broccoli can possibly be bad for pets. Gastrointestinal upset is common in livestock that are fed broccoli in excess of 10 to 25 percent of the animal’s diet. The same could be true for pets like dogs and cats, but since most people do not give their pets a diet consisting of 25 percent broccoli, the same conditions have not been recorded in great detail. Broccoli contains isothiocyanate, the tummy upset culprit. To be on the safe side, don’t give your pets the green stuff.

13. Milk or Dairy Products - Just like humans, pets especially dogs can be lactose intolerant. Some cats and dogs will be able to digest dairy products with no problem, while others will get bad stomach aches. The ability to digest dairy products depends on a person or pet’s ability to produce an enzyme called lactase, which is used in the break down of lactose. Giving your pet a lick of your ice cream cone won’t kill it, but if your pet happens to be lactose intolerant you may be responsible for your pet’s tummy ache later.

14. Tuna - Tuna seems like a natural choice to give your feline friend, but it can be toxic. Feeding a cat too much canned tuna can result in Steatitis or yellow fat disease, a painful inflammatory condition caused by a diet high in unsaturated fatty acids. Feeding your cat excessive amounts of canned or packaged tuna can also lead to mercury poisoning.

There are others foods on the list, such as chocolate, chicken bones and raisins. For the complete list of 25 foods, please visit Veterinary Technician Schools Online.

For more information on pet health and toxicity, visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center .

Friday, November 6, 2009

How to help a stray dog

Last Sunday I saw a beautiful golden retriever on the side of a busy street, lined with businesses and homes. She was at the end of a long driveway, and it was possible that she lived in the house up the drive and had been trained to go no further than she was. But one more step and she would have been in trouble.

For as long as I could see, I watched her standing, not moving, looking at the cars whizzing by. I was so worried for her, but I didn't know what to do. Should I turn around, find a place to pull over, and approach her to search for ID tags? What if approaching her caused her to dart out into the road? If she had no tags, would I then take her into my car and drive off with her? What if the owner was nearby, claiming I was stealing his dog? Or watching from out the window of a house? No, I don't think it's responsible to let your dog loose around a busy street, but maybe the dog was on it's own property. Should I have gone up to the house, rung the bell, and asked if that was their dog standing at the end of the driveway?

I certainly didn't want this dog to get hit by a car, but couldn't decide about the right thing to do.
Have you ever been in this position? What did you do?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Bo Obama

In honor of Election Day, I'd like to share some information on Bo, the presidential pooch, who just turned 1 year old this fall. The First Dog has made the Portuguese Water Dog a popular breed. The official portrait of Bo Obama. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

On Tuesday, April 14, First Pooch Bo made his official debut, met the press, and became a new pal for Malia and Sasha Obama. No wonder we all want one now! According to Stu Freemen, president of the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, the PWD is “a wonderful family pet,” but also encourages those considering adopting one to "do the proper research to ensure that this breed fits their lifestyle." Here are five things you should know about Portuguese Water Dogs:

1. PWD are very active.
These dogs are classified as Working Dogs, and they love to be on the go. Breeders recommend a minimum of two 20-minute sessions of free running in a fenced yard each day. Puppies that aren’t kept busy can be destructive, trying to work off all that built-up energy.

2. PWD are intelligent and curious.
The breed’s intelligence helps them to respond well to training. Bo has already been through obedience classes and learned to be a Canine Good Citizen. Bored puppies, however, will find some way to entertain themselves!

3. PWD are generally good with children.
As family dogs, Portuguese water dogs are gentle and loyal. Most love kids, but it’s always best to supervise children and dogs whenever they’re together.

4. PWD are hypoallergenic.
According to the American Kennel Club, this dog is considered non-shedding, and his fur is non-allergenic--good news for families with allergies. However, the thick curly coat requires regular brushing and clipping.
5. PWD like the water.
As the name implies, Portuguese water dogs love to swim. With their webbed feet, they were bred to assist fishermen in Portugal. Most PWD will do anything to get to water, so families with pools and ponds need to take this into consideration. One owner even reported their PWD learned how to turn on the Jacuzzi and jump into the tub!

For the right families, Portuguese water dogs make wonderful, loving pets. For more information about this breed, visit the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America.

This column first ran on, March 2009.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Does your pet do costumes?

Howl-oween is almost here, and the big question is: does your pet wear a costume, or not?

** Pet costume photos from Costume Craze.

After years of struggling with my infant daughter to stop ripping off her bonnet (Can you believe I made a child wear bonnets? What was I thinking, we were in Little House on the Prairie?) I'm not endeared to the idea of forcing anything small and cute into an outfit against their will. But, if the dog is into it, then why not? Extra attention for a pooch is always a good thing.

I'm guessing that those who are into dressing up for Halloweeen are also those who enjoy dressing their pets up for Halloween. I'm not big on costumes myself, so I rarely put a costume on my dog. I don't think Kelly would go for it anyway. But I must admit, I did just see the cutest reindeer costume in Target's bargain bins for $2.50, and at that price, I figured why not give it a try? But when I got it home and held it up to 28-lb Kelly, it was too small. Oh darn.

Numerous parades and parties for your canine trick or treaters abound. This Halloween pet event in the St. Louis area benefits humane shelters.

Buzzfeed posts some amusing pictures of creative dog costumes. Some of the dogs, such as Orange Juice Dog and Eaten by an Anaconda Dog seem to be enjoying their outfits. Others, such as Milipede Dog and Pot Roast Dog, not so much.

If you want to help your pet feel comfortable while on display, ArkAnimals offers these tips to train your pet to wear a Halloween costume.

Finally, in addition to costumes, there is also "creative grooming." Woman's Day offers these photos of painted poodles and otherwise wackily-groomed pooches. As Woman's Day reports, "we don't condone it, we just report it."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Training Tips from a New Dog Mom- part 2

Last week we shared one dog owner's experience with training her adorable new puppy, Bailey. This week she joins us again to share some of her challenges in training this spunky terrier, and what they've both learned.

What is Bailey's most unusual training quirk? How are you handling it?

Bailey repeatedly has a quirky problem with barking at things. By things I mean if there is something new in the neighborhood or inside the house, she immediately begins to bark uncontrollably at it. The only way I have found to get her to stop barking is to take her to the object and show it to her, let her sniff it, and then the barking stops. I have talked with other terrier owners who have explained the same scenario with their dogs. I hope that as she grows into an adult dog, this will stop. I think she is still getting more aware of her environment and what is in it.

We also had a unique situation when Bailey became afraid of the dark – outside only. Her trainer guessed that Bailey must have heard or seen a raccoon or fox at night which scared her. The trainer suggested that I go outside with her at night and talk her through her fear. I felt rather silly but I took her on night walks and said, “good Bailey” or “Brave Bailey” to assure her that night time was okay. When letting her outside in the backyard now, I turn on the outside light and the seems to alleviate any of her fears or scare away any critters.

What is the next step in training for Bailey?

Bailey has learned most of the basic commands like come, off, no, sit, lay down, and eat. Bailey is beginning intermediate training classes where she will learn more fun activities, in my opinion, such as play dead, agility courses, and other tricks to entertain people. Because Bailey learns quickly, I am considering training her to be a therapy dog. She is very social – loves people and dogs. If we could share her love with others in hospitals or kids who need a reading buddy, that would be a wonderful opportunity. We will see how she progresses. Therapy dogs must be at least one year old and Bailey is currently six months. Right now I am looking forward to learning more techniques that will keep both of us on our toes.

Thank you Linda for sharing your training experiences with Bailey! They've already given me a few ideas of what I can do with Kelly. And good luck- I'm sure Bailey will make a wonderful therapy dog.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Rufferences and Mews

Welcome to Monday Rufferences and Mews, with the latest news and information on the pets we love.
If you're looking for a dog-friendly car that is also fuel-efficient, here's good news. The Petconnection blog reports on the Environmental Protection Agency's fuel economy guide for 2010 vehicles, which includes four hybrids containing desirable features for dog owners, such as space for dog crates and other design pluses.
"The Ford hybrid triplets of the Ford Escape, Mazda Tribute and Mercury Mariner all rate multiple paws in reviews on, our website that puts dog-lovers in the driver's seat when shopping for a new canine carrier."

My friend is in the middle of relocating, and wonders how to make the situation easier on her Golden Retriever. Moving can be stressful on a pet, but Pawluxury blog offers these tips on ways to ease the transition. Some suggestions are walking your dog through the neighborhood to get him acquainted with the smells, and waiting to move your dog in until your furniture and familiar possessions are in place.

I've heard this advice before, and even though my neighborhood is full of outdoor cats, never really thought about it until now: be sure there isn't a cat snuggled up under the hood of your car before you start your engine! The problem is created when cats attempt to get out of the chilly weather by squeezing under the hood of a car to get close to the engine's warmth. As reported in the New York Daily News, this white and orange tabby survived a two-mile ride under the hood of an SUV. The driver investigated after hearing strange noises, and the cat was soon freed and found to be in good shape. According to Petfinders blog, always bang on the hood before getting in your car, and then honk the horn before turning the key.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Training Tips from a New Pet Owner

When it comes to training dogs, maybe you've heard that it's the owner who really needs to be trained. New dog mom Linda, from upstate New York, is quick to agree. She's mom to pup Bailey, a 6 month old wheaten Cairn Terrier. Linda's learned about training her dog from research and talking to experts, and Bailey's caught on very quickly. After teaching the basics like crate training and house breaking, Linda and Bailey began puppy classes together.

How did you find a good puppy class for Bailey? What should an owner look for in a class?

I found a good puppy training class for Bailey by first talking with other dog owners then making phone calls to dog trainers. I knew what was important for Bailey and me, so I asked questions based on my goals of having a dog who listens and is obedient to my commands.

One of the first situations I discovered in contacting trainers is that many appeared to be largely money driven. How did I learn that? They didn’t care about the age of my dog or the number of animals in a class. There were also the trainers who were too busy to talk to me but happy to have me enroll without knowledge of what we would be doing in class.

A class should be age appropriate. Puppies are learning to socialize and it is much easier with other puppies in the same situation. Older dogs often have not had the opportunity to play around puppies so being with other older dogs may be challenging.

Size can be an important factor. This depends on the trainer and how much room in available for a class but I have learned that 8 to 10 dogs in a class is quite large.

I wanted a trainer that took an interest in our specific goals and needs, who would be interested in us as individuals. Fortunately by calling and meeting ahead of time, I found a trainer who is great. She asks what the class wants to work on, and is available in between classes if we have any problems or issues we need guidance on.

As Bailey grew and responded to commands like sitting or barking by the door when she needed to go outside, I grew to trust her and allowed larger areas of the house for her to explore. She earned her way into being free to run around our home as time went on. For us that meant no mistakes on the carpet. If that happened, more gates went back into place until another week went by without an accident.

Some people don’t want puppies on furniture or they prefer to keep them within certain rooms of the house. Those boundaries and guidelines need to be considered and taught in each situation.

What training styles work for Bailey? What do you notice that doesn't work well with dogs?

All breeds are very unique but each breeds looks to a leader. Consistent training is the key with all dogs. Some require much more time and patience than others. Bailey follows commands easily once I learn what to do and say according to the trainers expertise.

I have observed that some dogs struggle with simple commands such as sitting because the owner is not consistent. Different owners have discussed problems in class which shows that they either are very lenient because they have young kids at home and think it’s cute when the dog eats food off the counter and don’t stop the behavior or they work and are tired at the end of the day and simply want to play with the puppy rather than give commands.

Check in next Wednesday where Linda will share some of Bailey's challenges (like barking at shrubs!) and how she's learned to handle them. We'd love to hear your training tips and experiences too!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dogs in School a Neccessity for Some

You may take your dog to school. For some children, those words have a profound impact.

Earlier this fall I read about Carter, a 5-year old autistic boy in Illinois who has responded well to his shaggy gray therapy dog. When the time came to enter Kindergarten, however, the dog, who had become so vital to Carter, was denied. Lawsuits soon resulted, with the parents aiming to get the dog recognized as a "service dog" and therefor allowed in school.

Nancy Freedman-Smith, a certified pet dog trainer, comments in her blog A Dog's Life,

You may have seen the news stories from around the country where Autism Assist dogs are being denied access to schools and many lawsuits are resulting. At the core of this controversy is the definition of what an Autism Assist dog does or doesn't do.

Freedman-Smith, who has trained a dog to work with a middle school boy, recently announced on her blog that the dog has been approved to accompany the boy to school.

Before the dog enters the school, we have a lot of work to do. On my part, I have been working with the dog to polish her skills and be sure that she is prepared for her new job. I will be meeting with the school to help set everyone up for success and we will most likely make a short movie or two to show to staff and kids as well an inservice about the dog. The boy and dog have two aids that also need to train with me. The aids will be the dog's primary handlers. She will have a crate in the room for chill time if needed and to get to school, she will be taking the bus!

This is wonderful news. As for young Carter in Illinois, although his family won their case, all has not been smooth. Even in the face of the court order, the school declined to allow the dog. The boy--and his dog--are now attending a special school 30 miles from their home.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Rufferences and Mews

Welcome to Monday's Rufferences and Mews!

Could your dog be the next National Spokesdog for Cesar Millan? Why not enter your lovable pooch today? The grand prize winner will appear with Cesar Millan in a public service campaign to educate on spaying and neutering. In addition, they'll win an autographed pair of Landroller skates and $1000 shopping spree at Petco. Finalists will also be eligible to compete for Best Pack, Most Outrageous Feat, Best Camera Face and Most Hilarious Costume.

It sounds like a Halloween murder mystery: Toxic-choc, or chocolate poisoning. But for dogs, it's all too real. While we might indulge in a few mini-Hersheys bars or bite size Snickers, it's important to keep these candies away from our dogs. Years ago, I was given a giant Hersheys kiss--you know, one of those gifts the size of a grapefruit but not as healthy? I placed it safely on a table, but my agile dalmatian found a way to get at it and eat the whole thing. He became extremely sick, but fortunately survived. So remember to hide the treats this Halloween.
The headmaster of my kids' school brings his dog to work. The auto dealership where we bought our van features several dogs in the office. What's with this trend for bringing dogs to work? For one thing, dogs are good for our morale. They have a calming effect on people. They also might open up communication. According to an article in K9 magazine, a dog in the office can help your business. The article offers tips on how to implement a dog friendly workplace, and guidelines for proper dog-owner behavior. Maybe it's time you considered bringing your dog to work!

What category would your dog best win in Cesar Millan's contest? And why is he offering roller skates for a prize anyway? How do you and your pet celebrate Halloween? And do you bring your dog to work? I'm looking forward to your comments. And check back next Monday for more Rufferences and Mews!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Is a Digital Dog Mag for You?

Is it time to change our definition of "magazine"? I like to think of a magazine as pages of print bound with a glossy cover, able to be stacked in a pile, stuffed in a tote bag, folded or spindled. Read while sprawled across couch, in the passenger seat of a car or on crowded commuter train. Held in one hand while the other hand remains free for turning pages, folding down corners or ripping out recipes and interesting articles.

Recently, however, I discovered a fully digital version of K-9 magazine. You can get a free issue too. I found it easy to navigate, user-friendly and quick responding. The two-page spread on my monitor revealed an image similar to the type of magazine with which we are all familiar. With the click of a button I could turn the pages, with a satisfying page flipping sound effect.

A recent issue covered a wide variety of helpful dog-related topics such as Pet-friendly hotels, canine CPR, dogs for adoption, and healthy food and play ideas. Audio, video and interactive features added to the content.

One negative: I was distracted by the background music, which (at the risk of sounding old) was too loud with an annoying techno beat. There must be a way to turn it off, I'll have to check.

There are many benefits to the digital magazine. It's handy, it won't clutter up my coffee table or take up room in the landfill when I'm done. It's easy to enter contests or search additional information. It's bright and attractive. I'm just still trying to get used to the new concept. Since I work in front of a computer all day, I don't know if I want to spend my leisure time there too.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

God and dog

This video has been going around like crazy, but I couldn't resist posting it here because every time I watch it, I smile. To me, the simple words are sweet and true. I just love the message. And when, at the end, the dog smiles. It's a nice way to start my day, to think about how my dog loves me, and also how God loves me.

Written, recorded and animated
By Wendy Francisco

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Rufferences and Mews

Monday Rufferences and Mews

Twitter is a great social networking tool, but can it really help pets? Absolutely! And Romeo and Dougal would tell you how, but I guess it's up to their owners to explain. It has something to do with a Twitter event called a Pawpawty, or all day messaging events where tweeple can pledge money to support specific pet causes. You can follow Romeo on @Romeothecat and maybe join in on a Pawpawty soon!

Does the total on your pet's veterinarian bill look more like a month's rent? I'm always shocked at how much every little item adds up for my dog Kelly's routine visits--usually between $100-$200 if immunizations are included. No, I don't begrudge a single penny spent on her care. But, I'm also searching for ways to economize. One tip is to spend more money on quality pet food. By providing the healthiest, high quality options, you may prevent certain health issues--which means fewer visits to the vet's. Find out more ways to save here. Although geared for cats, many of the tips apply to dogs also.

Guiness Book of World Records wannabe Boomer (Photo: Associated Press) is hoping to land the record for world's tallest dog. At 36 inches tall at the shoulder, he just might win. Boomer, a Newfoundland dog, is 180 pounds and 7 feet long. The previous record was held by a Great Dane.

Kelly and I would love to hear from you! What causes would you like to see supported in a pawpawty? And, what are your tips for saving money on pet care?