Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dog on Wheels Inspires Readers

Have you ever met a dog that you instantly fell in love with? This has happened to me before, but this is the first time it's happened with a dog I haven't actually person, that is. Yet I know if I met Frankie face to muzzle, I'd love her to pieces.

I actually met Frankie through her sweet, uplifting book, Frankie the Walk 'n Roll Dog by Barbara Techel (c) 2008. Since then I've followed Frankie's activities via her blog and communicated with her mom, Barb, and learned about this special dog on wheels.

Frankie, a miniature dachshund, tells us the story of her life, from when she was the very last pup in the litter to be adopted, to her new home with Barb and John and dog and cat "siblings." I love the glimpses into Frankie's mind, like when she rides in Barb's bike basket on the way to the Farmer's Market and feels as if she can fly.

Of course, tranquility doesn't always last forever, and Frankie's world is shattered by a serious injury. She's unable to walk again. And through the rest of the book, Frankie teaches us that a disabled dog can still lead a happy and complete life, one full of love and hope.

But Frankie's story doesn't end there. Frankie and Barb want to inspire others. Frankie visits children and adults in schools, hospitals, assisted living homes, and just about anywhere to share her message of hope and courage. I've never seen a calendar so full of appearances and events. Barbara's second book, Frankie the Walk 'n Roll Therapy Dog Visits Libby's House shares some of Frankie's experiences as a therapy dog. As Frankie touches the lives of the residents of Libby's House, she'll touch your heart too.

Buy these books on Amazon, or through Joyful Paws website.

* Frankie the Walk 'n Roll Dog
won the USA Book News "Best Book 2008" award.
* won the Merial Human-Animal Bond award from the Dog Writer's Association of America
* won Editor's Choice Award from Allbook Reviews
* Frankie the Walk 'n Roll Therapy Dog Visits Libby's House won the 2010 Indie Excellence award for Children's Non-Fiction.
* Look for an article about Barb and Frankie in Woman's World magazine, on sale July 12!!

Friend Barb on Facebook
Like Frankie on Facebook
Follow Barb on Twitter
Follow Frankie on Twitter
Follow Frankie's blog

Check out her inspiring video:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Monday Pet Roundup!

* Friday was Take Your Dog to Work Day but some lucky dogs get to go to work every day. The Washington Post reports that more than a dozen dogs roam the congressional offices in Washington DC. Meet Tiger, Pooley, Julep, Cali, Bruin...

* Looking for a cool app for your new iphone4? PC World alerts us to DogBeMine, an app that connects you with current dog trends, local services and more.

*I just love this story from Pawnation about the friendship and love between two dogs. This blind King Charles Spaniel has her own seeing eye dog. Beautiful.

* Does your cat need a new toy? Imperial Cat introduces an adorable new line of Cute as a Bug scratch 'n sniff toys. These toys include ladybug, butterfly, snail and caterpillar. They really are pretty cute!

* Guess what this beautiful Weimaraner spotted in a puddle outside an office building in Ohio? According to POPFI, not only did this dog spot--but he also captured---a 4 foot alligator!

*Another lousy dog driver--Dogster reports on dogs who have, ahem, run over their owners by accident.

*So technically, this isn't a pet, but I guess you could call it a cyber pet. I've been following little eaglet Pheonix since he first hatched from his egg high up in a tree in on Hornby Island, Canada. The little guy is a big guy now, and in a few more weeks will fledge the nest. Be sure to watch this eagle of Hornby Island get ready for his own independence day.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Take Your Dog to Work Day is more than just fun

Today is Take Your Dog to Work Day!
Why? you might ask. Is this just a day to get torment our bosses and reduce work productivity? Who's idea was this anyway, and what purpose does it serve?

Take Your Dog To Work Day actually has a wonderful purpose. First celebrated in 1999, the day was created by Pet Sitters International and the goal is to encourage pet adoptions from shelters, humane societies and rescue groups. When you and your beautiful dog stroll into the office, co-workers without dogs will see the bond between you and your pooch, and may want to consider adopting one of their own.

It also serves to encourage the value of pets in the workplace. Employers find that the day boosts morale and also is a great public relations opportunity. So I hope all offices are going to the dogs today.

In honor of Take Your Dog to Work Day, check out my 5 Great Jobs for Dogs. And enjoy these adorable videos of dogs going to work.

Such a sweet video of dogs in the office. Cutest dogs!

These dogs are having fun playing in the office

This tiny dog fits under office furniture

Weather dog

This weatherman didn't expect to see a dog on the set:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Dogs of Toy Story 3

What was your favorite toy when you were a child? If you love dogs, perhaps your favorite plaything was a toy dog. A stuffed dog. A china dog. Or perhaps...Slinky Dog.

I like to tell you about dogs in books and movies, and although Pixar's Toy Story 3 (which was thoroughly enjoyable, even without young kids to take along) contains only animated dogs, I still found them fun to ponder. In Toy Story 3 there are two dogs: Slinky Dog and Buster. Surprisingly, they are both the same breed.

Slinky Dog is based on the toy by James Industries. I don't recall having a Slinky Dog when I was a child. Did you? (If so, did you set it going down the stairs like we used to do with the regular Slinky?) The young Andy plays with Slinky in his own way:
Andy pretending as Woody (to Mr. Potato Head): Are you going to come quietly?
Mr. Potato Head: Not so fast, Sheriff. I brought my attack dog with built in forcefield. (Andy brings in Slinky Dog.)
Woody: (with Rex) I brought my dinosaur, he leaps forcefield dogs.
(Pretend battle ensues.)

Slinky Dog is a dachshund. According to the American Kennel Club breed profile dachshunds are friendly and fearless. Among the movie toys, Slinky is a devoted friend, playing checkers with Woody. He is also fearless, willingly helping in rescue attempts. With his stretchy body, Slink is often put to use in escapes. And is Slinky Dog loyal? Check out this quote:

Slinky Dog: I knew you were right all along, Woody. Never doubted you for a second.

Then there is Buster. Buster is not a toy dog, but Andy's real pet dog, also a dachshund. Buster makes his first appearance at the end of Toy Story, when Andy receives Buster as a Christmas gift. In Toy Story 2 Buster proves to be a friend to the toys, coming when they call him and getting his tummy rubbed by Woody. He is also fearless, helping transport the toys in various escapades. True to his breed of being a scenthound, Buster (in his prime) is able to locate Woody in 13.5 seconds. About ten years pass between Toy Story 2 and 3. Buster makes an appearance in Toy Story 3 in a scene that is one of the funniest, while at the same time saddest, moment.

Have you seen Toy Story 3? What did you think of it? Which Toy Story dog was your favorite character? And if you own a dachshund, how were Slinky Dog and Buster like/unlike real dachshunds?!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Monday pet roundup!

* One day I went to the Game Farm and saw an elephant with stick figure pictures and tic tac toe boards painted on its side. I can't express how incredibly sad that made me feel. And now some people are painting their dogs. Seriously? It may be harmless. It might even be clever. But I still feel sad. Am I off base here?

* Probably a result of the interest in Great Danes inspired by the movie Marmaduke, CBS News shares this video report about raising large dogs.

* A friend of mine's cat suddenly stopped eating. The cat had surgery and returned home with a feeding tube in its neck which my friend had to use to administer liquid food to the cat for three weeks. The treatment cost more than a thousand dollars. Another friend took loans to pay thousands of dollars for rods in her dog's hips and legs after a serious car accident. Pet care, especially out of the ordinary care, is expensive. This AP-Petside poll took a look at how pet parents deal with the cost of pet care.

* Love this post from Dogster about labs patrolling and protecting at the US Open. Especially because my last dog was a sweet yellow lab, Hudson.

*What kind of cologne should you wear to the zoo? Maybe the real question is, what kind of cologne should you NOT wear to the zoo. Apparently the big cats are obsessed with Calvin Klein's Obsession.

* Dancing Dog Blog reports a pet food recall for Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Chicken Dog Food.

* Neat product review on Pet Connection Blog of the cool pet mat.

What about you? How are you and your pet enjoying the summer?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Great Pet Travel Sites Make Vacations Easy

Summer is here and it's time to travel. Why leave Buster behind? It's not always easy to figure out the logistics of traveling with your pet, but here are some websites with all the information you need!

1. Go Pet Friendly
I can't imagine any site with more helpful information. From a Road Trip Planner to campground listings to pet friendly hotels and pet friendly cities, it's all here! And don't forget Take Paws, the Go Pet Friendly blog.

Includes tips on air travel and instructions for traveling to over 190 countries worldwide.

3. Dog cars
Want to know which model cars have the best features for traveling with dogs? Vehicle reviews here!

4. Pet hotels
Need to find a place to stay that allows pets? Find out which ones go above and beyond in pet friendliness.

5. Delta, Southwest, United
Find the pet policies for different airlines.

6. Pet Airways
Consider this airline just for pets.

6. Amtrak
Thinking of traveling by train? Does Amtrak allow dogs other than service dogs? (Answer: No)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dog Mat, Will Travel

Whenever we reach for the car keys, Kelly bolts to the front door, tangles around our feet, grabs her leash in her mouth...anything to get our attention. She sure as heck doesn't want to get left behind. Kelly loves to travel.

Fortunately, she's a good passenger. The only problem is the mess left behind...muddy footprints and dog hair on the seat. That means the next person who sits back there gets furry jeans. We usually throw a blanket over the seat, but it often ends up bunched up or fallen to the floor. So we were looking at various car seat covers. Some seemed nice, while others seemed a bit too time consuming to install. Then csn stores sent us an awesome dog mat to review.
This mat is called the Mt. Bachelor Pad, home away from home, by Ruff Wear. It comes in chocolate brown with a darker brown border, and green with a black border. Kelly is about 35 pounds, and we chose the Large size. She could have got away with the medium, but the large covers up most of the back seat of the SUV.

Ordering: was extremely efficient. Their website is clear, although it does take some time to navigate. They have more than 200 stores and everything from housewares to office goods to baby furniture to ...of course, pet supplies. If you're looking for dog crates, pet furniture, cat carriers, bird cages or aquariums, you're sure to find it here! The service was easy and quick, and the product arrived at my door in less than 2 weeks.

Kelly Testing:
When the box arrived, Kelly knew it was for her. After sniffing the mat thoroughly, Kelly proceeded to roll all over it. She returned to it often during the day, which I could only take to mean it was comfy. She gives it a four paws up rating!

Product Quality:The Bachelor Pad is durable and well-made. The bottom is a thick, waterproof material. The top is soft fleece. The mat is not as thick as a dog bed, but it's thicker than a blanket.

In the Car:
The large mat fit nicely across the seat and up the back of the seat in the SUV.

For Travel:
This mat rolls up and secures with velcro. Much like a sleeping bag, it needs to be rolled tightly to get the velcro straps to fit. When properly rolled, the mat is a compact dog bed to take with you on a trip. It even has a convenient, built in handle.

Overall Uses: This mat is great for a dog bed on the floor, but that's not all! It would protect your sofa, or car seats. It makes a convenient travel bed. And, it would be great for camping, due to the durable waterproof bottom.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Monday Pet Roundup!

*This picture is one of the contest winners from Pet Happy! Find more of the cutest pet photos here.

* I love learning about interactive toys that might keep my spaniel Kelly amused and involved. The Pet Blog shares this review of Linkables. Looking at the pictures, I wonder how the dog is able to get the treats out? Maybe I'm not as clever as a dog.

* Traveling with your pet? Where does your pet travel? My pet peeve is dogs riding loose in the back of a truck. I see it all the time, even on the highway. Check out these great pet car safety tips from Will My Dog Hate Me?

*If you feed your cat Iams Proactive Health cat food, you'll want to read this recall notice, posted on Petfinders blog.

* Sweet dog needs a home: Ebony, a Labrador mix, was surrendered by a family that came upon hard times and had to give her up. She's only 6 years young, 60 lbs, with no behavioral problems. She loves dogs, cats, children and everyone! Right now she is living in the Manhattan area. Photos available. Contact me if you can take her in. Thanks!

*Love this recipe for chicken dog treats. Easy! I'm going to try making them for Kelly.

*Note: The winner of the sample bag of Red Moon dog food was unable to be reached, so according to the contest rules a new winner was drawn. Congratulations to Cheryl-Arizona Beagle Rescue! I've sent you instructions on how to claim your prize.

What about you? Does your dog play with interactive toys? What do you find challenging when traveling with your pet? And, can you provide a home for Ebony?

Friday, June 11, 2010


Marmaduke the movie hit the big screen, and after watching his antics and his big, adorable mug, it's easy to fall for this lovable oaf of a breed. Think you'd like a Great Dane like Marmaduke? Meet Shadow!

Because of the popularity of the movie, I thought it was a good time to rerun this blog about a real-life Marmaduke, Shadow.

Shadow was adopted into a family with a big house and a big yard, and a stay-at-home Mom for plenty of
attention. At just over 6 months old, she currently weights in at 80 pounds. Her mom, Ellen, describes Shadow as being "counter height." Well you can just imagine what that entails. Shadow can pretty much grab a snack from the kitchen counter, select a book to shred off the living room shelf, or help herself to some towels off the rack in the bathroom.

Ellen adopted Shadow from a local animal shelter. A family had turned in the beautiful ebony dog because they had no time for her after having a (human) baby. Since Ellen's veterinarian knew that Ellen owned a Great Dane previously, she contacted Ellen to see if she'd be interested in adopting this big baby. The vet knew that the dog would need an owner experienced with the breed for the best chance of a successful adoption.

"They just want to be close to you. They think they're lap dogs," says Ellen. She offers these tips to anyone thinking of adopting a Great Dane. "Be prepared for large housebreaking accidents, large dog food bills, chewing of woodwork, and lawn destruction. Crating is highly recommended, but large crates can be expensive. Most of all, be prepared for a short life span."

Ellen's previous Great Dane, Violet, lived until 6 years old. Life expectancy is about 8 yrs.

For Shadow, the transition from shelter to forever home has been fairly easy. She gets along well with her new siblings, a pug and a German Shepherd. She loves to leap...even over the Shepherd. And her favorite pastime is stealing food off counters. She loves all food, "even the apple she stole off the counter this morning."

For Ellen, the main difficulty has been in housebreaking an older dog with already established routines. "The only command she seemed to know was SIT." In addition, Shadow had some dietary issues that were resolved after experimenting with different dog foods. Putting two and two together (get it? ugh!) I can imagine that the dietary issues and the housebreaking issues led to some big clean ups!

Shadow is expected to grow 4 more inches in height, and to weigh about 120 pounds.

The biggest problem Ellen continues to face with Shadow is chewing. Some of the items Shadow has snacked on recently: the SUV's steering wheel, kitchen woodwork, a bottle of apple cider vinegar (followed by a bottle of pina colada mix), sneakers, sandals, an entire bag of granola, my watering can, a hose, a hose sprayer, my newly planted flowers.... "and I'm sure I'm forgetting some."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ptolemy Tompkins on the Divine Life of Animals

I have a mental image of the dogs I've lost, now in heaven, young and healthy: my dalmatian running in a field, my yellow lab resting comfortably in a cool breeze. Playing with other dogs. Happy. Do animals really go to heaven?

Ptolemy Tompkins set out to answer this question in his book, The Divine Life of Animals: One Man's Quest to Discover Whether the Souls of Animals Live On. (Crown, 2010). Ptolemy is here with us today to celebrate his book's release and to share his thoughts on some of our deepest musings about our pets.

Ptolemy Tompkins is author of This Tree Grows Out of Hell (2008), The Beaten Path (2001) and Paradise Fever (1998). He is contributing editor at Guideposts and Angels on Earth magazines and writes a monthly column for He's currently working on a book about the afterlife of humans. You can buy The Divine Life of Animals at your favorite bookstore, or Amazon.

Q- Thank you for joining us, Ptolemy. You were in search of the answer to the question: Do animals have souls? Did you find the answer?

Ptolemy- I already thought they did, of course. But I was curious why it was that people are often so embarrassed about taking this question seriously. If you tell people you're writing a book about whether animals have souls or not, they're likely to respond with laughter, or by saying: "Well, of course they do." People feel strongly about the question, but it's an awkward one for them to know how to talk about. Of course, one reason for this is because we're not all that good at talking about the HUMAN soul anymore either. The word has become kind of soft-edged for us in the modern world, and we aren't all that comfortable, I feel, talking about the specifics of what the soul might really be.

Q- Did a personal experience with one of your pets inspire you to write this book?

My dog Mercury, who kept me company through writing most of it, died at the very end of my work on the book. It was interesting that at just that point, after spending so much time thinking about these questions, I would undergo the kind of experience that inspired me to write the book to begin with. People in the modern world, I felt, simply don't know what to DO when they lose a pet. That is, how do they fit their sadness, the emotions they feel, into their picture of the universe? So his death reminded me very strongly just how important it is to find answers to some of these questions.

Q- Is it possible to have hard scientific evidence for this issue, or is it simply a matter of faith?

Ptolemy- No, science has a lot to say to us today, if we're interested in asking if the soul really exists from a scientific point of view. The chief thing it has to tell us is that after a century of trying to do so, scientists aren't anywhere near proving that the brain produces thought. In fact, the brain is like a radio receiver, picking up and processing our identities. If you have a radio and you drop it and the song that was playing on it stops, that doesn't mean the song is gone. It just means the transmitter that was making you able to hear it broke. In a very small nutshell, that's what a lot of recent brain research is demonstrating.

Q- What comfort does this book offer for grieving pet owners?

Ptolemy- Your dog or cat or Guinea pig or ferret didn't die when its body did. Nothing does.

Q- So you think that our pets go to heaven?

Ptolemy- Yeah they do, to my thinking. But we need to rethink what heaven is, because our conceptions of it are too simplistic. We need to conceive of a heaven big enough to accommodate the world in all its dimensions. Not just a little room with some harps and halos and a "no pets" sign at the door!

Thank you Ptolemy!

What do you think? What have you experienced with your pets? Share with us Ptolemy says, it's good to talk about it!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday Pet Round Up

Hi and welcome to Monday Pet Round Up!

*June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. To help you find your perfect match, the ASPCA's breaks down different cat purr-sonality.

* When choosing a college, how many students had "allows my dog" on the list of campus requirements? Probably not too many. Most colleges have a strict No Pets rule. (When I attended Syracuse University, I was so desperate for a pet that I adopted a hermit crab, one of the few types of animals allowed in the dorm.) The New York Times reports that a growing number of colleges are now allowing pets. Among the colleges listed were MIT, State University of New York at Canton, and Washington & Jefferson.

* And if the dogs can go to college, why not to a concert? Dogster blog reports on an Aussie concert that went to the dogs!

*Find out why Dr. Marty Becker, from the Pet Connection blog, says "Throw out your pets' food bowls!"

* What percentage of pet owners carry a photo of their pet in their wallet? 15%? 45%? 65%? Find out from USA Today.

*Thinking of an afternoon at the new movie Marmaduke? Check out the movie trailer here. (Unfortunately, reviews aren't too promising.)

* Do animals go to heaven? Check back tomorrow for a review of Ptolemy Tompkins new book, The Divine Life of Animals.

What do you think? Thumbs up or thumbs down for movies with talking animals? Did you have a pet at college (legally or not?!) And what pet photos do you carry in your wallet?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Shedding Light on a Hairy Problem

As the loose dog hair in my house mounts into billowing tumbleweeds rolling across my hardwood floors, I realize I need to get Kelly's shedding under control. I've been brushing her, but my regular spiky toothed brush doesn't do much to help. Many of my friends (with both cats and dogs) use and love the FURminator, but I've been hesitant. First, I didn't believe it would make any difference. Second, I thought it would hurt my dog. I thought the device was more like a razor blade designed to cut or shave the fur.

Luckily, FURminator deshedding products kindly offered to send me one to test out so I could see for myself.

So I sat down with Kelly on several occasions and spent about 10 minutes each time brushing her with the FURminator. She usually is semi-cooperative about grooming procedures, but she didn't mind this at all, which told me that it didn't hurt her.

Here is what I learned about FURminator:
1. It is safe to use (as instructed), and instead of shaving it gently pulls out the undercoat.
2. Unlike Kelly's regular brush, fur is easy to extract from the tool, with a simple push of the ejector button.
3. The tool gets out LOTS of hair, I mean LOTS, every time I use it.
4. This definitely helps control the shedding/tumbleweed problem in my house.

Note that this is not a one-step take care of all your grooming needs tool. I had kind of hoped for something I could run over Kelly's coat once and leave her hair shiny, bouncy and manageable, and perfectly trimmed too. Alas, like all of us ladies, there is no quick and easy fix. I still need to brush her and clip her and all that. If there are mats or tangles, the FURminator is not the tool to use. The instructions caution you against using the tool on tangles, matting, bruises and other skin conditions. The FURminator does one job, and does it well. It helps you quickly and easily remove the undercoat and control shedding.

Tested: FURminator deLuxe, retail $54.99
Rating: Excellent
* This product delivers what it promises
* Easy to use
* Quality construction, it feels sturdy in your hand
* Rubber grip feels comfortable too
* Helps control your pet's shedding
* At $44.99 and up, it is a little expensive compared to regular dog brushes, but it's not actually a brush, it's a deshedding tool. It's a good value for what you get.
You can follow FURminator on Twitter or LIKE them on Facebook!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Shedding's a Mess But Dog Hair Can Be Useful

Is spring time also known as shedding time in your household? We're trying to keep up with the hairy mess around here. Some of the things you can do:

1. Cover up. It may seem obvious, but instead of spending hours cleaning up after the dog hair, you can just protect your furniture by covering it up...toss a sheet or throw over your couch, armchair or sleeper sofa to keep it safe, then whisk it off for laundering. I figure our couch is lasting longer (even if I can't see it under that throw blanket!)

2. Protect the car too. We need to put a mat over the car seat too, or else the car is covered with Kelly hair. I didn't know there were so many different products made specifically to protect car seats. CSN has offered to send me a beautiful quilted dog mat to review, and I'll be trying that out and posting a review in a week or so. Check back soon.

3. Vacuum often. That pet hair really accumulates fast. Sometimes I need to vacuum twice a day.

4. Keep one of those lint brushes or sticky picker upper things by the front door. Nothing worse than attending that important business meeting with furry pants.

5. Most importantly, brush your dog or cat often. Or possibly have him or her shaved down for the summer, if you like.

And what can you do with all that dog hair you've collected? There is a great answer: Send it to Matter of Trust. They are collecting dog hair (and cats, alpaca, llamas, horse and even human) to help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf Coast. They make "boons" by stuffing old nylons with hair that absorbs the oil. Wow, there's a benefit to shedding!