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!