Monday, November 29, 2010

Purrfect Relaxation

After Thanksgiving, we all need to relax. Here is my daughter's cat, Cinnamon, relaxing, getting ready for a nice cozy nap. We all know that cats are purrfect at relaxing. What is their secret?

I love this post on wikiHow, How to Relax Like a Cat. Some of the steps include:

* Be compassionate with yourself (Cats love themselves the way they are.)
* Practice cat yoga (Stretch like a cat!)
* Hide out (Cats like to find a special alone place.)
* Cuddle, hug and nuzzle. (Cats perform these caring rituals regularly.)

Check out the entire article (with adorable photos) here.

How does your cat show you to relax? What about your dog?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I like these Thanksgiving thankfulness training tips, from the Anti-Cruelty Society:
Don't forget to "thank" your pets when they are behaving. Too many times we notice our pets when they are misbehaving, but don't often encourage good behavior.

* If you see your dog chewing on his toy instead of the remote control, make an effort to scratch his chin and tell him how proud you are.

* Perhaps your cat eschews the sofa and has finally decided that the scratching post is suitable for stretching his claws? Let your cat know what a good decision he has made.

* Animals will more readily and more frequently repeat behavior that garners them praise and reward. Punishment serves to prevent behavior only when the owner is present -- and paying attention.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, from me and Kelly!
And Kelly, Thank You For Being Good!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A smile before your busy holiday.

Like everyone else, I'm busy getting ready to stuff the turkey and bake the holiday pies. So instead of the usual Wednesday pet roundup, I wanted to share this--one of the absolute most adorable videos ever. Since more than 4 million people have viewed this video, maybe you've seen it too. But I still love watching it, and hope you will too. It's a perfect way to add a smile to your day! So while you are cleaning the house and peeling potatoes, take a minute to relax and enjoy.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

We won a prize!

When we checked in for our daily dose of Houndgirl a few weeks ago, Kelly perked up and took notice. There was a contest. She pawed at my arm, urging me to press those keys and enter.

The blog told about some biscuits that Haley and Fred especially loved, and then offered a free box, selected randomly from the commenters. Kelly was so excited when we got the news that our comment was chosen.

Emily, at Boomer's Biscuits, gave us a choice of
Gingerbread Dog Houses
Carob Chip
Apple Pie Bites
Minty Breath Bites

Kelly helped me choose the Carob Chip cookies.
Isn't it funny how dogs always know when something for them is in that cardboard box? Kelly immediately knew that these treats were something yummy.

They even included some adorable Gingerbread Dog Houses!

Kelly loved these treats, and I bet your dog will too. Boomer's Biscuits are wheat, corn and soy free, made with natural ingredients, and boxed in eco-friendly packaging.

Thank you Boomers Biscuits! And Thank you Houndgirl!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Puppy Up

Recently Kelly and I participated in the 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up virtual dog walk. We were able to raise a bit of funds to help support cancer research.

In appreciation, 2 Million Dogs sent us these cool presents! Kelly got a Puppy Up bandana and some yummy cookies. I got a light blue bracelet that reads "cancer touches everyone."

This is a great cause to support, as scientists look for new treatment options and hopefully someday a cure. A card enclosed with the package listed the early warning signs of canine cancer:
Labored breathing
Loss of Appetite
Weight Loss
Foul Odor
Loss of Bodily Functions
Bloody Discharge
For more information, you can contact

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup! Here's Kelly enjoying the fall leaves.

* USA Today Paw Print Post tells us of Bandit, a 15 pound terrier hero dog, who awakened the household by barking and jumping on the sleeping residents, to warn of dangerous smoke filling the kitchen (due to a neglected pot on the stove). Fortunately everyone--including Bandit--escaped safely.

* This is so funny, from The Oatmeal! How to Pet a Kitty. This cartoon includes whimsical instructions, and warnings, including: "An exposed belly is an invitation for a tummy rub. ...(it) can also mean that the kitty wants to ensnare you into a whiskered bear trap, composed of claws, teeth and agony.

* Why, according to, was one MIT professor so taken with the way cats lap up water without getting their faces wet? Because these findings might help in developing soft robots that manipulate liquids.

* From SF Gate: a study by found the best city to hire a pet sitter is Milwaukee, WI. This was calculated by number of pet sitters available, and average rate charged. Did your city make the top 10 list?

* Gotta love this picture (from the Huffington Post.) Dana Jennings, author of What a Difference a Dog Makes; Big Lessons on Life, Love and Healing from a Small Pooch, reflects on the four dogs who changed his life. Harry and Moxie, here, are definitely my favorites!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The pup after Merle

While Merle gave us lessons from a freethinking dog, Pukka is here to teach us all about the ups and downs of being a puppy...and there's something very real we can all take away from that. I was recently sent a copy of Pukka, The Pup after Merle by Ted Kerasote, author of Merle's Door. The book is big, hardcover with more than two hundred beautiful photographs. The story shares the tale of how the young yellow lab comes into Ted's life, learns some hard lessons, overcomes fears, and basically loves life.

Q& A with Ted Kerasote:
What was it like to write the book from Pukka’s point of view?
I didn’t really write the book from Pukka’s point of view. As was the case in Merle’s Door, I watched my dog, I spoke with him, and I translated what he was telling me. It really is Pukka’s book.

How would you explain your philosophy of raising a puppy?
A lot of puppy-training manuals are all about confining the pup...Pukka had the run of the house and, yes, made a few mistakes...At the same time, pups, like children, need to learn manners—sitting, not bothering people, coming when called. But if these are made fun, and there’s some elk jerky and praise when it’s done right, the pup soon learns. My attitude is not to get too bent out of shape, and you and your puppy will be happier for it.

What have you and Pukka learned from each other?
I learned that one of the things I liked doing—running rivers—was not a great idea for a young, active pup. He wanted to be moving, to be roaming, and being confined to a raft was so borrrrrrrrrring! Pukka has learned from me that just because other dogs can do certain things—bark at the UPS man, for instance—that doesn’t mean he can. This has been a point of contention between us, he saying, “Why can’t I bark? All my friends are barking!” People who wring their hands over the company their children keep will understand this very well.

My review:
Pukka is the Hindi word for "genuine" or "first class." Little Pukka is selected, in part, because his face resembles Merle's. Pukka shares much of Merle's philosophy too, such as collars are itchy, and retrieving gets boring after the first few times.

As we read Pukka, we come to discover the story of a partnership between dog and human. We see how Ted teaches Pukka the rules (no dogs in the kitchen, no begging for food) but also allows Pukka to explore and take the lead in living his own life. I felt a deep respect between the two. The words are sparse, letting the beautiful photographs tell the story. I cringed at the photo of Pukka's poor injured eye after neighbor dog AJ took a bite. I laughed at the pictures of Pukka going down the slide. I awwwwed at the picture of Pukka under Merle's aspen tree. Best of all were the photos of Pukka in the beautiful Wyoming wilderness that Ted loves so much. In some shots, Pukka looked afraid on the kayaks and watercraft. Then there were times when it looked as if he'd conquered his fear. Then came a gorgeous photo of Pukka from the top of craggy Jackson Peak. That was as if he'd conquered the world.

I hope you run out and get a copy of Pukka, the Pup after Merle. There's nothing like a little puppy love to make you feel good.

Author Bio
Ted Kerasote is the author of many books, including the national best-seller Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog and Out There, which won the National Outdoor Book Award. His essays and photographs have appeared in Audubon, Geo, Outside, Science, the New York Times, and more than sixty other periodicals. This is Pukka's first book. Ted and Pukka live in Wyoming.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Midge the Lab and Monsieur the Poodle

In honor of Senior Dog Month, I just had to share this sweet story about Midge. Diane Komp writes for Daily Guideposts and this story was posted on the Our Prayer website.

Blessings Shared

by Diane Komp

For years, some friends of mine have had a wonderful Labrador retriever named Midge. One evening I was in their home for dinner and found that they had added a young toy poodle to their household. I was surprised to find how affectionate the relationship between the old dog and the new one was. Wherever they went, Midge was following the younger Monsieur. They almost seemed to be touching, they stayed so close to each other.

Then I looked at Midge’s venerable old eyes. They were clouded with cataracts. She was blind, and Monsieur was her Seeing Eye dog!

The image of those two dogs has never left my heart. We were put in the world to share our gifts, to know when to give and when to receive. And I need to remember to be able to be both—giver and receiver.

*Thank you to Diane for this story. This story originally appeared in Daily Guideposts. You will find the story and more on Our Prayer website.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Pet Roundup

Hi and Welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup!

* What makes a pet "green?" And what do shelter dogs, indoor cats, and chickens have to do with it? Find out more about eco-friendly approaches to pet parenting, on Care2's post, Top 5 Greenest Pets.

* CNN tells us about the world's largest house pet...a 1600 pound baby bison.

*And on Mental Floss, The Top 10 pets that are worth more than you think. This includes a cat, Tinker, who was bequeathed a $226,000 trust fund and a house worth $800,000. And pampered pups Sunny, Lauren, Sadie, Sophie and Solomon, who are named in a will to receive $30 million to provide for their care. I guess it helps that their mommy is Oprah.

* From Pawnation, a great dog leash review. Find the right one for your dog!

* Attend the theater, adopt a dog. Kansas reports on a new stage show, "Sylvia" starring Cindy Williams (of Laverne and Shirley fame), about a stray dog and the people who take her in. At the end of each show, a shelter dog will be brought on stage and introduced. Theatergoers interested in adopting will fill out a card so that they can be interviewed. All the dogs come from a no-kill shelter. "I'm looking forward to finding them homes," Williams said. "Wonderful, wonderful homes."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Big News--It's a Book!

I have some exciting news to share with you. I got a book deal!! I recently signed the contract with the publisher for my first book, Dieting With My Dog! (working title). The book will be released this summer. Kelly and I are both super excited.

Here is the book description:

Dieting With My Dog shares the honest and heartfelt story of an overweight woman and her chubby spaniel struggling to get fit together. When a busy mom faces the empty nest, she turns to her rescue dog, Kelly—and food. But Kelly soon becomes the motivating factor to facing down the physical and emotional reasons for her overeating, and overfeeding her dog. Together they discover that everything’s easier with unconditional love. For anyone who has ever loved a pet--through thick and thin.

Here's your chance to ask me any questions about the book. I look forward to sharing with you our various steps along the way as our dog memoir goes to print!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Kelly and I and the 2 Million Dogs Virtual walk

I've decided to do something special each step along the way to celebrate the progress of my book, Dieting With My Dog. The first step is just for writing the book. (Stay tuned for more announcements!) So to celebrate completing the manuscript, I found just the right thing. This Sunday is The 2 Million Dogs 2 Miles walk.

The story of 2 Million Dogs began with a man and his two dogs who embarked on a walk from Austin, TX to Boston, MA inspired by the loss of his Great Pyrenees to cancer. Some of you have heard the story of Hudson, Murphy, and Luke Robinson.

They walked from town to town sharing Malcolm’s story and educating people about cancer in dogs and as they built a nationwide grassroots movement, Mr. Robinson had a vision: 2,000,000 dogs walking simultaneously all across the United States for cancer. If 2 dogs could walk over 2,000 miles surely it was possible!

And that’s how the 2 Million Dogs Foundation was born and the legacy that started out with just a man who lost his beloved dog continues...

November 7th 2010 The 2 Million Dog March Begins! In 12 cities across the country the first puppy up! walks will take place. Kelly and I will be participating in a virtual walk, and would be honored if you would join us in the fundraising effort.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday Pet Round Up

Hi and Welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup! (Read on to discover 3 great contests too!) Here's Kelly exercising her civic responsibilities yesterday.

* November is Senior Pet Month. This news report from Bloomberg Businessweek tells us what we all surely know...senior pets may have a few more health needs, but a little TLC can go a long way in taking care of them.

* From senior pets to puppies...hop over the Life with Dogs to learn about new documentary, Madonna of the Mills, about one woman's fight against puppy mills. Her story will inspire you.

* brings us good news of 36 puppies rescued from a Missouri puppy mill. The puppy mill was listed on the U.S. Humane Society's "Dirty Dozen" of the most deplorable facilities. Among the dogs rescued and brought to foster homes near Buffalo NY are cocker spaniel, miniature schnauzer, yorkie, lhasa apso, American eskimo, papillon, and puggle.

* Here's a great contest for you. First of all, check out this wonderful new site for dog lovers, Pet Blogs United! Then enter to win a beautiful collar from Doggie Stylish! Entries close Saturday.

* Another contest, from FIDO Friendly blog, enter to win a free Buddy Belt. Buddy Belt is a harness designed to minimize pressure on your dog's neck and spine.

* And another contest! Enter Doggies and Stuff contest for a $30 gift certificate to Equal Exchange, specializing in fair trade coffee, chocolate, nuts and snacks.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Walking with Flexi Leash

If Kelly had her way, I don't think there's anything else I'd be doing all day besides taking her on walks! So naturally, the choice of collars and leashes is very important to us. I want to make sure they're safe, and Kelly wants them to be comfortable. And it doesn't hurt if they're pretty, too!

Recently, I was contacted by Flexi USA to see if Kelly and I would test drive one of their retractable leashes. They sent us several options to choose from. I selected the 16 foot classic All Belt. Kelly and I took several long walks using the leash, which took her a little time to get used to at first. The tension on her collar felt different from the slackness she is used to feeling.

Review: Kelly and I give the Flexi Leash 4 out of 5 pawprints.

I found the handle more comfortable than a regular leash.
The leash gives plenty of room to roam, while retracting to preventing tangling.

The tension on the collar causes the dog to pull at the leash.
The leash is not convenient for city walking.

Since we live in the city, most of our walking is on sidewalks that are somewhat busy. For this, I prefer a collar with a short lead for better control to keep my dog from veering into traffic or approaching other pedestrians on the sidewalk. However, the Flexi leash is convenient for parks and other places where your dog can run and wander about to explore. Kelly and I definitely feel it's important for dogs to be able to run, sniff, and explore. No fun to have to heal and behave ALL the time!

Flexi Leash comes in 10 ft, 16 ft, 23 ft and 26 foot lengths. I like the All Belt, which feels more secure to me. While the cord type leashes were longer, I would suggest watching to be sure the cord doesn't become tangled around your dog's legs.

Flexi Leash comes in many colors and designs, so the pretty factor is covered. There is even a Flexi Leash with a built-in flashlight that I think looks pretty cool!