Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Wolf of Kindness

Saturday Pet Blog Hop
Paws for Thought:

A Native American grandfather talking to his young grandson tells the boy he has two wolves inside of him struggling with each other. The first is the wolf of peace, love and kindness. The other wolf is fear, greed and hatred. "Which wolf will win, grandfather?" asks the young boy. "Whichever one I feed," is the reply.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Funnies

Kelly has been consorting with the cartoonists, and here she is, featured in two different, fantastic cartoons!

From the great website, Life with Dogs, cartoonist Jason Dodge created this cartoon, based on input from me and Kelly:

And, here is a cartoon by the talented duo, Jim and Bruce, at Draw the Dog, inspired by Kelly's own unique snuggling location!

Happy Friday!
Peggy and Kelly

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup. Another wet and wild roundup today!

* Tips for taking your dog to the beach: The Washington Post says beware of seagulls, starfish and sand crabs.

* From PetMD, if you haven't seen this already, check out the Australian lab who not only love swimming, but this dog chased off sharks!

* Swimming's not just for the dog. From Today.msnbc, this cat likes to swim...and it's helping him walk again, too!

* I'm still laughing at this one! The wonderful Life with Dogs did it again, and alerted me to this hysterical video! Gus gets an indoor pool!

Monday, July 25, 2011

How to Make Your Own Dog Toys

I've spent a lot of money on dog toys Kelly's shown no interest in. Kind of like that expensive toy you buy your toddler, and then he only wants to play with the box. Sometimes, the simple things are better.

A great website, Wisebread "living large on a small budget" posted 10 DIY dog toys you can make for pennies! These ideas, from Paul Michael, are fantastic!
Here are a few of his great ideas:

1. Place a tennis ball inside an old sock.
2. Tie a knot in the sock above the ball

Kitchen Towel Braids
1. Cut a ratty old kitchen towel with two slits, leaving about an inch at the top, so that you have three equal sections.
2. Braid the three sections.
3. Knot the loose ends.

Milk Bottle Madness
1. Take the cap off a plastic milk jug and throw it away.
2. Put about a dozen or so treats inside.
3. Watch your dog try to get them out!

(**Note: I tried this with Kelly and she chewed apart the milk jug, and got off big hunks of plastic. So if you try this, please watch your dog to make sure they don't get pieces of plastic and swallow them.)

To see all 10 great ideas for inexpensive dog toys you can make with items found around the house, see the complete Wisebread article, 10 DIY Dog Toys you can Make for Pennies.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Very Wet Dog

Saturday Paws for thought:
Bath Time?!
The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog." - Ambrose Bierce

"Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog." - Franklin P. Jones

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bedtime Book for Dogs

I'm going to be really honest here. I don't know if it's strange to feel guilty about this or not but...I've never read a book to my dog.

I love to read. I read a lot. I even read about dogs a lot. But never to my dog. YET!

You might say this omission in my interactions with Kelly is possibly due to lack of appropriate reading material. But now, I can use that excuse no more! Bruce Littlefield has written what I believe is the first book written just for dogs: The Bedtime Book for Dogs.

The story follows the adventures of a pup who decides he'd rather take a walk to the park by himself than wait for his human companion--and discovers that all of his usual activities aren't as much fun without a good friend to share them with. And, in case you think it's simply a cute story about a little dog, there's more to it than that. The book is told with the 20 most common words that dogs can recognize, such as "treat" "squirrel" and "Good dog!"

Check out the book trailer!

I think Kelly would like this book. And I'd love reading it to her, too.
Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mini is Better!

I confess. I'm a Frequent Treater.
Kelly gets a reward for sitting and staying. For coming in from outside. For having her picture taken. Yup, in addition to praise and love, she gets a lot of treats.

Recently, as we've been dieting together, I've been concerned about the effects of all these goodies. Then I discovered mini treats!
Different brands of dog biscuits come in a variety of sizes. I read somewhere that it doesn't matter what you give them, most dogs are going to chew and swallow in one bite anyway. That's Kelly! So now, I buy her the smallest size treats I can find, many are only 5 to 10 calories a piece. Just check the list of ingredients to make sure they meet the standards you want.

Do you reward with commercial dog cookies, or something else?
Have you found mini treats beneficial for your dog?
Do you demand the same quality ingredients for your dog's treats as you do for his food, or do you allow some wiggle room there? (Like for myself, somehow I will allow myself a less-healthy dessert once in a while, but never eat deep fat fried foods or fatty meats for dinners.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Pet Roundup

Hi and Welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup! I'm not sure what got into me this week, but kind of a strange roundup of animal stories. I guess the heat is getting to me! Speaking of heat, here is Kelly sitting out in the road on a very hot day. I don't think her tongue could have hung out any longer!

* Mashable shares that, in the UK, 1 in 10 pets have a social networking profile. Judging by how many dogs and cats I have as friends, I'd say that figure is the same or more here in the U.S.

* A hawk snatched a cat from a NYC backyard, but dropped him 50 feet away. What saved the cat? His extra pounds. According to the Daily News, his owner says "The moral of the story is, your flaws can be an asset. In Eddie's case, his chubbiness saved him."

* From Life with Dogs, here's a bulldog who took an SUV on a joyride!

* From CBS News, a Florida couple is found guilty in the case of the pet python that killed 2 yr old daughter. They were charged with third degree murder, manslaughter and child neglect. Defense argues that they are only guilty of "stupidity." I'd go with both.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Horse Whisperer

I was excited recently to be introduced to horse trainer and horse whisperer, Melanie Brown, of Columbia Missouri. I know you'll love meeting her too! She kindly agreed to answer a few questions.

Q: What does it mean to be a "horse whisperer"?

MB: Horse whispering is a term given to ones who know horses well, with an understanding of horse psychology and the universal body language. When mastered, such communication between horse and human is almost imperceptible to a viewer, thus the term ‘horse whisperer’.

Q: Your job description says that you rehabilitate horses. What are some of the problems you see?

MB: Oh, my, I see many problems! Because traditional methods rely on dominance, intimidation or mechanical means to obtain compliance, many horse owners do not realize what true rapport with a horse can be like. Most folks just catch the horse any way they can, kick to go, pull to stop and if the horse complies they are happy.

Some of the most common problems I see are safety issues, the horse running into and over people, not responding appropriately to pres
sure (such as pulling back when tied and flipping over), not standing still when being mounted (many people get injured this way), or not loading in a trailer without duress (many horses and people have been injured or killed just trying to load the horse). All of these problems are correctable and the horse can become safe to be around.

Q: How do you help?

MB: I help by first teaching the horse some basic rules of respect and communication with humans, using the universal language: body language. Then I teach the owner about body language and the prin
ciples that are important to the horse. First teaching the horse speeds the process, for it is difficult for the owner to teach something one doesn’t yet know! The principles include horse psychology and what is important to each individual horse based upon its own unique Horsenality ™, a term coined by Linda Parelli. I have learned most of what I know from studying Pat and Linda Parelli’s Natural Horsemanship system.

Q: What have you learned from horses?

MB: I have learned a tremendous amount from horses...but if I were to sum it up in a short would be “about spirit”. The spirit in all living creatures, including humans, is actually very similar. We all want to su
rvive and seek comfort. We all have feelings, emotions and fears. Learning what is important to horses, how to build a rapport with each one based on Horsenality ™ is very similar to dealing with dogs, cats, or even humans. Spirit is the common thread among all living things.

Q: How did you come up with the name Snortin' Horse Farm?

MB: The name Snortin’ Horse Farm came to me because I wanted a name that would be memorable and capture the spirit of the horse. My Haflingers like to play, and they become very animated with head and knees high and blow out a big snort. Horses are so beautiful, especially when their play drive is up and their adrenaline flows! The snortin’ horse represents the equine spirit at its peak.

Q: What type of horses do you keep, personally?

MB: I have a Haflinger (Brandy), who is a small Austrian draft horse and 2 American Quarter Horses (Austin and Phia). Brandy is very special to me. I got her after I spent 10 years with a very excitable, under-trained thoroughbred (TB) before I knew about natural methods. I lost confidence with this TB, having been thrown from him more times than all other horses combined! Brandy returned my confidence. She and I learned natural methods together. She is a very smart and endearing horse with enough “go” to keep me interested, but not athletic enough to scare me. Now I can ride my very athletic Appendix QH with confidence, though he came to me with several challenging problems including bucking.

Thank you Melanie for sharing so many wonderful thoughts about horses, and your talented work with these amazing animals.
You can connect with Melanie at her websites, Natural Horse Training at Snortin' Horse Farm
Snortin' Horse Studio (Horse paintings, prints, and drawings)

Bio: Horses and art both came into Melanie’s life at an early age. She started riding neighbors’ ponies. Then convinced her parents to buy her a horse. As a child, she learned to ride by the school of ‘hard knocks’ and was a very natural rider. As a young adult she started taking dressage and jumping lessons though and over time she became less and less natural. It seemed like the more lessons she took the more horse problems started showing up. Then one day she heard Linda Parelli talking at a Horse Exposition. Linda’s story sounded so similar to her own that Melanie decided she would try the Parelli method to see if it would return her to a more natural state with the horses. She is now an advocate of this method and helps others with their horses using the knowledge and expertise she has developed using Parelli Natural Horse•Man•Ship which combines love, language, leadership, and lightness in equal doses.

Friday, July 15, 2011

32 Simple Things You Do that Matter to Dogs

I was trying to think of my favorite cause for Blog the Change, and one of the things I care about most is how pets are treated. It turns my stomach and breaks my heart to read about careless, cruel and stupid some people who neglect and abuse animals. It doesn't seem like too much to expect every dog (every living thing) to be treated kindly, humanely. I was going to write about animal abuse laws, anti-tethering laws, regulations on anti bark collars and other laws. Or, on the flip side, I was going to write about some of the many wonderful groups who help animals.

While all these are worthy, I thought instead, I really wanted to write about pet parents who help animals simply by treating them right. They don't neglect or abuse them in any way. They don't let their dogs run loose in the road. They don't keep them outside all day in all types of weather. They don't leave them in hot cars. In short, they are doing the right thing, not because there is a law ordering so, but because they care. Sometimes Being the Change starts right in your own home.

This is a tribute to the common pet parent, who loves their pet. And that is making the world a better place for animals.

32 Simple Things You Do that Matter to Dogs:

You adopt them.
Hug them.
Walk them.
Feed them,
But not too much.
You give them a comfortable bed.
Talk to them.
Listen to them.
Train them.
Teach them good manners.
You understand why they whine.
Understand why they bark.
Keep them warm in the winter.
Keep them cool in summer.
Dry their muddy feet.
You play with them.
Throw them a ball,
Or a Frisbee.
Try a play group.
You do your best to keep them safe
And healthy.
Cuddle with them.
Give them opportunities to explore.
Keep their minds active.
Visit the veterinarian.
You bathe them.
Trim their toenails.
Share your ice cream with them, once in a while.
Comfort them during a thunder storm.
Realize they need you.
Realize you need them.
You Love Them.
Love Them.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blog the Change tomorrow

Kelly's dreaming about all the great people who help animals. And tomorrow (July 15) you can join Blog the Change and share a bit about your favorite animal cause or positive action you've taken on behalf of our furry friends.

If you don't have a blog and still want to participate, get ready to visit lots of great blogs and read about some amazing ways to help animals.

Blog the Change is our day to share whatever is near and dear to our hearts-- whatever you want to share as long as it's about helping animals! Hope to see you tomorrow!

Here's how you can participate:
  • Grab the badge from the Be the Change for Animals website
  • Tweet about it! "JULY 15: BE, BLOG AND READ THE CHANGE FOR ANIMALS! – Get the badge & spread the word! #BtC4A"
  • Let others know about Blog the Change Day on your facebook wall.
  • Share your blog entry on July 15th
  • Add your post's URL to the linky list (available at 12:01 am EST)
  • Read the other blog posts and leave comments to share the goodwill!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup! Kelly wants you to come play at the beach with her! Here is the news and happenings this week:

* The drawing ends today... hurry to win a pet first aid kit and collapsable water bowl over at Dog Tipper.

* Another great prize...jump over to Go Pet Friendly and enter to win a Thundershirt. Contest ends Friday.

* Great recipe from Kol's Notes for Chicken Jello! We're going to try it!

* I've had friends lose dogs to bloat, so this information on Paws for a Minute about Is Your Dog at Risk for Bloat? is very helpful. Dachshunds, Great Danes, German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniels, and Boxers are some of the dogs at greatest risk.

* New York Yankees star shortstop Derek Jeter made 3,000 hits, now has another claim to fame. The New York Times reports that Derek Jeter has become a popular name for dogs. Do you know a dog named Jeter?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Whose idea was it to go swimming?

You want me to get that? Are you kidding?

Okay, okay. You don't have to have Brother hold me down. I'll try it.

If only I didn't have to get my feet wet, though.

There, are you happy Mom? Now can I get out?

Friday, July 8, 2011

WOOF! Friday reviews Until Tuesday

Please welcome our guest blogger, passionate animal advocate Sharon Azar. I'm so excited that Sharon will be joining us the first Friday of every month!

WOOF! (Wagging On and On Forever!)-- advice, information, resources and true stories about our animal friends and fellow travelers.
By Sharon Azar

Man Helps Dog Helps Man- A Circle Complete
A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him

There are very few more loyal, devoted friends than a service dog. Former Captain Luis Carlos Montalvan found this out when he returned from the ravages of war in Iraq to a world he couldn’t navigate--a world where everything, his marriage, health, faith and even his mind was falling apart. Then he met Tuesday.

Montalvan’s book, Until Tuesday; A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan is so profoundly moving. Montalvan’s ability to take you through his painful struggles of body and spirit is a gift.

We can never really understand what goes on in war unless we’re there fighting it, but this book brings the experience as up close and personal as possible. The writer shows how convoluted situations with other soldiers as well as with the enemy can become. These situations are too often simplified and Montalvan puts a human face on them. His intelligence, passion and faith are something we all could benefit from. And Tuesday’s dedication to Montalvan warms the heart and soul of all who meet him either in person or in these pages.

Tuesday is always with Mr. Montalvan. Taught to recognize changes in a person's breathing, perspiration or scent that can indicate an imminent panic attack, Tuesday can keep Mr. Montalvan buffered from crowds or deliver a calming nuzzle. He can also wake Luis from debilitating nightmares as well as help differentiate between hallucinations and reality by barking if a real person is nearby.

The organization that trains these life changing companions is East Coast Assistance Dogs ECAD, founded by Lu Picard. Guideposts magazine ran a story by Lu Picard entitled, Dogs of Peace in the June 2009 issue. After ECAD, at 8 weeks old, Tuesday was enrolled in the Puppies Behind Bars program, where his service training continued with inmate, John Pucci, a convicted killer who assumed primary responsibility for molding Tuesday into a service dog. In nine months, Mr. Pucci taught Tuesday to respond to 82 commands geared mainly toward helping the physically disabled -- turning on lights with his nose, retrieving food from shelves, helping load washing machines.

Puppies Behind Bars helps the dogs become caregivers, it helps the people in need of a trained service dog, and last but not least it helps the inmates who, in training the dogs to help others, find they themselves have a purpose.

The Guideposts ministry has a wonderful website that has been greatly helpful to soldiers and their families.

Check out this great video:

Please check out Sharon's adoptable pets listing for these pets needing loving homes.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup! Here's Kelly, enjoying a dip in the lake.

* Does your cat bring home stolen objects? From Mental Floss, you've got to see this hilarious list, with great photos, of 7 Curious Cases of Criminal Cats!

* A victory in Palm Beach County where a law has been passed prohibiting tethering of animals at any hour, and forbidding tight outdoor dog shelters. The Orlando Sentinel reports some controversy to the new law. I say boo for the opponents, yay for the dogs!

* Through midnight tomorrow you can suggest a name for this adorable PGBV (Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen) the new spokesdog for P&G Pet Care. They'll donate $1 to America's Vet Dogs (up to $10,000) for each name suggested, so hurry go to Iams or Eukanuba's P and G's Facebook page.

* Pooper scooper advocates (and aren't we all?) take note: abc news reports that some apartment complexes in New York, Florida, and other locations are now requiring renters to turn over DNA samples from their dogs. Why? DNA tests on un-cleaned-up droppings will accurately identify the culprit! Offenders are fined and if repeated, could face eviction.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Smart Snacking

Can snacks make your dog smarter?

Recently, Kelly and I were sent a sample of Bil Jac Noggin Nuggets to review. The package says that the snacks are "delicious treats for your dog's brain." There's a picture of a border collie on the front, and she looks pretty smart all right!

The treats contain guaranteed amounts of:
* Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 to help nourish the brain
* Vitamins C and E, powerful antioxidant nutrients that help support the immune system
* L-Carnitine to help support brain function

The first five ingredients are:
Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken By-product meal, Wheat Flour, and Glycerin.

Kelly has enjoyed Bil Jac treats before, and loves them. And she loved these too! They're small and soft, and a good size for training rewards. Four paws up!

But did they make her smarter? Just for fun, I gave Kelly this test:
I hid her stuffed bunny toy under one of three pillows and timed how long it took her to find it. Then I gave her a Noggin Nugget, and repeated the test with the bunny stuffie under a different pillow.

Time to find a toy Before Noggin Nugget: Kelly could not locate toy.
Time to find a toy After Noggin Nugget: Kelly still could not locate toy.

Check out this video to see for yourself:

Of course, this categorically proves.....absolutely nothing! (Except that maybe Kelly was more interested in a nap on the comfy pillows than her stuffed bunny.) But we're just kidding anyway. We know that no snack can make any dog instantly brilliant...right?!!

*All opinions are my own. I was provided with one 4 oz bag of Noggin Nuggets for Kelly, in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Jumping for Joy

Paws for thought:

This is our yellow lab, Hudson (now over the Rainbow Bridge) enjoying a summertime dive into the lake.
Jump on in and have a FANTASTIC 4th of JULY!
Join the Saturday Petbloggers Blog Hop!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Best Dog, Dog of Honor, Ring Dogger

Dogs as Ring Bearer, Best Man, Maid of Honor...yes, today dogs are often a welcome part of a wedding. This new trend has launched new business ventures. Namely, services to help coordinate and wrangle pets for that special role. In the Wall Street Journal's blog, Sarah Needleman reports on some of these businesses that cater to dogs in weddings, including:

* Shadow and Marty's Pet Care Services, Plano TX. Will pick up the dog, get him dressed, and transport him to and from the ding ceremony for $100- $300.

* Colleen Page of Has trained dogs, a pot belly pig, miniature horse and a goat to participate in weddings. Charges $2,500 and up.

Sarah Needleman also wrote this fun article for The Wall Street Journal, At Some Weddings, Man's Best Friend is Man's Best Man. (Great headline!)