Thursday, August 28, 2014

Brooks' Books and Giveaway- Dogs Rule Nonchalantly

Brooks' Books Pet Book Reviews and Giveaway


Dogs Rule, Nonchalantly
by Mark Ulriksen
ISBN 978-1939621108
Pub. date 9/30/14

Good news! You can enter to win a copy of this book at the end of the post.

"There's nothing happier than a happy dog," writes Mark Ulriksen. And there's nothing more entertaining than an entertaining book about dogs--happy and otherwise.

Dogs Rule, Nonchalantly is a humorous and heartwarming look at the everyday interactions between dogs--big, small, frisky, lazy--and their caregivers. As you turn the pages, you'll find yourself smiling, and nodding in agreement.

"While puppies can melt your heart, getting an older dog does have its advantages." --Mark Ulriksen
This spoke to me, because my husband and I rescue senior dogs--they fit our quieter lifestyle, so I see the advantages of an older dog. At the same time, I'm babysitting my son's four month old puppy, so my heart melts every day between 9 to 5. Whether you share your home with a puppy, senior, or middle ager, I bet you'll agree with this statement too.

"Whether you've been gone for 5 minutes or 5 hours, they'll greet you like you've been gone for 5 years."- Mark Ulriksen
I love the author's comment here, because this is one of my favorite qualities of dogs, and I've also found this truth in my research on the human animal bond. You need only look as far as your own dog waiting for you at your front door to appreciate this sentiment.

Dogs Rule, Nonchalantly is illustrated with the author's whimsical paintings of dogs created for The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, and other magazines and private commissions, together with new paintings created especially for this book. Mark Ulriksen is an illustrator best known for his work for The New Yorker, where he has more than 40 magazine covers to his credit. Mark lives in San Francisco with his wife, two daughters, and their chocolate Labrador, Henry.

I spent a good deal of time pondering the title of this book, and I think it's fitting. Dogs are relaxed and subtle in the way that they capture our hearts. And while dogs rule nonchalantly, this book portrays the bond between humans and dogs humorously, truthfully and yes, ...nonchalantly.

This is a beautiful book that will make you want to run to wherever your dog is sleeping (probably on your favorite chair) and give him a big hug!

Here's a little video. Then be sure to enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win the book!

Dogs Rule Nonchalantly - Kickstarter from Mark Ulriksen on Vimeo.

Now for your chance to win a copy of Dogs Rule Nonchalantly! Enter the Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Full Disclosure: I was provided with one copy of Dogs Rule, Nonchalantly to review and one for giveaway. This in no way influenced my review. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Play with Me- The Pros and Cons of Dog Play

Dogs need to play, in some way. After all, life isn't all about eating and sleeping. Most dogs love to play. Not all dogs like to play with others. Not all dogs play well with others. Kelly doesn't like to play with other dogs, but she enjoys playing with toys, and interacting with us for a little tug or catch, or just some good ol' belly rubs and tickles.

Belly rub, please.

For the most part, play is positive.
Play is healthy, providing good exercise .
Play develops bonds with others.
Play teaches dogs etiquette and rules of behavior with one another. An adult dog teaches a puppy when Bitey Face is acceptable play and when he's gone too far. Ike is a very patient teacher and lets puppy Zeke gnaw on his lip, neck and legs for quite some time before telling him to scram.

What I like about dog play is when two or more dogs run after each other full tilt, ears flying. Pure joy!

 What I like is when dogs play Keep Away and make quick, sudden changes of direction.

What I like is when a dog play bows and the other dog responds, and I feel smart for understanding the body language.

What I don't like about play is when it sounds like two wild bears in the woods.

Okay, I really don't like Bitey Face, but I'm learning to accept it as the way some dogs play.

Can play go too far?
This is a question I've asked repeatedly since I've been babysitting puppy Zeke. Especially with two senior dogs in the house. Kelly made it easy--she made it clear that she's the boss, and at 13 years old she has no interest in playing with a young whippersnapper, and furthermore, he'd better stay out of her way. And he obliges.

Ike is 9, very laid back, very submissive, very, very gentle. He lets Zeke climb all over him, bite him all over, shake his limbs, and steal toys out of his mouth. It's all okay with Ike.

I like when Zeke takes the toy out of Ike's mouth, then Ike takes it back out of Zeke's mouth, then Zeke takes it's usually very gently, very calm and sweet. They're playing, sharing, and the give and take is equal.

What I don't like is when Zeke hangs onto the fur on Ike's neck and shakes really hard.

I don't like finding scratches and marks on Ike's skin because of the puppy's sharp baby teeth and nails.

I don't like that Ike doesn't tell the puppy off just a little more often.

But I've learned not to step in and interfere unless Ike seems in distress, or if Ike is trying to get away from Zeke and can't, or if the play seems to escalate into a fight.  If this happens at any point during your dogs play, stop them, distract them, separate them, give them a break. I've given Ike and Zeke a few breaks when Ike seems tired, but otherwise they've never seemed to be agitated or upset.

What I like is when dogs are clearly having fun. Can you see them smile?!

What I like is when they sleep comfortably, peacefully,  afterwards. Maybe dreaming of another play date.

Do your dogs like to play? What is their favorite type of play with other dogs? Have you ever worried about how rough the play becomes? Do you have a dog who doesn't like to play?

Friday, August 22, 2014

My Dog Did Something Dumb

Golden retrievers are generally considered bright. At the very least, they are extremely trainable because they are so willing to please. But for some reason, I only have come to live with the golden retrievers who are a few milkbones short of a box. And I mean that with all the love in the world.

Who, me?

Brooks, for example, was the sweetest, gentlest, kindest, most amazing golden I've ever been lucky enough to share a home with. But he couldn't turn himself around if he walked into a corner. This is true. After a surgery, when he was wearing the cone of shame, he got himself stuck in the doorway and just stood there. He didn't back up, he didn't try to maneuver out. He didn't even bark or whine for help. He just stood. Thankfully, I was home and could help steer him through the doorway. I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't been home, how long he would have stood there.

Here's Brooks with his cone. I think he's asleep.

Well this brings us to Ike. Last night, Ike got stuck under the bed. Yup. Stuck. Under the bed.

About 3am I was awakened by the sound of toenails scraping against a wood floor. If you are anything like me and have a crazy imagination and also are afraid of anything that moves after dark, you can imagine what sprung to mind when I heard the sound of toenails scuttling under my bed. What kind of creepy eight-eyed slimy green monster was under the bed, anyway?

Turns out that Ike had somehow gotten all 70 pounds of himself under the bed, and couldn't get out. Ike has his own cozy bed to sleep in, and he usually starts out there, but during the night he might get up and sleep in Kelly's bed, in the hall, or on the floor beside our bed. Since our bedroom is pretty small, there isn't much wiggle room between the bed and the wall, just enough space for a golden retriever to lay down. But if he wiggles in that wiggle room, then somehow he must push himself under the bed.
I know. It happened before.

Ike hasn't quite got the hang of this bed thing.

So I got up and pulled Ike out from under the bed. He didn't do anything to try to help me out either, just laying there dead weight. I pulled his hind leg a little and part of him slid out. Then I crawled around to the front and pulled a little. I had to reach under the bed and lower his shoulder so that it could fit back out from the bed frame, and pull on the front end a little more. This was no easy feat with me crawling around on my hands and knees in the dark. But I got him out, and he wagged his tail and jumped up on top of the bed.


Much safer. I only hope he won't fall out of bed.

Has your dog done something silly, or let's face it, dumb, lately?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Paws to Reflect

Ike and Kelly enjoyed a paws to reflect at Lake Champlain in Vermont.  I think Ike wanted to jump in for a swim. Do your dogs prefer swimming or watching the view?

We're joining Wordless Wednesday.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tips for A Pet Friendly Vacation

Our recent summer getaway had to fulfill several requirements:
1. inexpensive
2. doable in a long weekend
3. allow dogs

Kelly and Ike meet Bently at our friend's camp.

It's always a bit of a challenge, but I think we pulled it off. First, we visited a friend at her lake house. We could clearly tell that the dogs were thrilled to be in the country, nose-to-the-ground dashing about in a Family Circle-like pattern. They usually get a little stressed when we are away from home, but they seemed perfectly at peace and comfortable. And so were we! Just what a vacation should be, sitting on a deck, looking out at the lake, with good food and good conversation.

Dog Vacation Tip #1- find a friend with a lake house.

Ike eyed the bacon and eggs for breakfast.

Next, we traveled to Burlington, Vermont, to visit friends and family. We made sure that the hotel was "pet friendly." The hotel was lovely, and it did allow pets...but that's where the "friendly" part ended. There were no designated places to walk the dogs, no handy trash containers for the poo bags. The complimentary breakfast was in a sit-down style restaurant which didn't allow dogs. We worked around these issues, but it made me think that pets were allowed, however the hotel didn't really cater to making the experience convenient.

Dog Vacation Tip #2- ask these questions before booking a hotel:

1. Is there an additional fee for pets? (ours didn't charge a fee)
2. Is there a weight limit? (one hotel we looked into the weight limit was 50 lbs, the other was 80 lbs.)
3. Do you have any designated areas for pet walking?
4. Are dogs allowed to be left alone in the room? (In ours, they weren't)
5. If not, do you have the number of certified pet sitters?
6. Do you offer amenities such as beds, bowls, treats?

What else did we do on vacation? We visited friends. We ate good food. We walked on the boardwalk on Lake Champlain. We stopped at some shops and tourist sites. 

Kelly enjoys beautiful Lake Champlain.

The Boardwalk is one of my favorite places.

Dog Vacation Tip #3-  Research sites to find out their dog policies, and you may discover that more places are open to dogs than you thought. Burlington was full of dogs on Church Street Marketplace and the boardwalk.

We saw a golden retriever carved out of a log.

Ike took a liking to an old truck at Vermont Flannel.

We came home tired and happy.

Dog Tip #4- A vacation is special when shared with your dog.

I hope you all have wonderful vacations!

Friday, August 15, 2014

How Can We Keep Our Dogs Safe from Dangerous Dogs?

A very sad story locally.
Two dogs, a mastiff and a pit bull, jumped out of a window of their home and attacked a small terrier being walked down the street.

Sadly, the little dog died.

This, of course, brings up a lot of questions. How did the dogs get out the window? What steps had the homeowners taken to keep the dogs securely inside? What provoked the dogs to jump out the window, leave their own property, cross the street, and attack? Did the dogs have any aggressive history?

Turns out that one (or both) of the dogs had bitten dogs several times previously, as well.

What triggered the dog's aggression? Had the owners taken the dog through any training to help understand what their dogs need?

My dog friends Charlie and Murray are exemplary canine citizens.
Now, an innocent dog has lost his life, and the dog's family is grieving. And two dogs are facing possible euthanasia, and at the very least are being removed from their home to live in a kennel.

When a judge demanded that the owners surrender the dogs to a shelter, the owners refused,  and hid the dogs at a friend's house. Then, the owners requested permission to euthanize the dogs, rather than surrender them to a kennel. According to the August 8, 2014 Albany Times Union, the judge demanded that the dogs be surrendered alive.

I know that a kennel is no place to live compared to a good home, but to think that the dog owner's would wish their dogs dead boggles and saddens me. Is it fair that the dogs should lose their lives because the owners were negligent and left a window open and neglected to properly restrain dogs already proven to be dog-aggressive?

So the dogs were surrendered and are now living in a kennel to await their verdict.What should happen next?

I don't have an answer. Well, I guess I would say that I'd prefer the dogs to go to a home away from other dogs, with a knowledgeable owner who understands how to care for dog-aggressive dogs. Foremost, we need to protect innocent people and dogs, and when I say that, it's because I see loose dogs when I'm out walking my dogs, and I am often afraid of dangerous encounters. In most cases, it is the dog owners and not the dog to blame for the behavior. I definitely don't think such dogs should be returned to the owners. I also don't think there should be a one case fits all law. Every case needs to be judged on its own.

I'm not sure what will happen to these dogs. What do you think should happen? What steps can we take to keep our dogs safe?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Grow, Zeke, Grow!

My granddog, Zeke is now four months old!  Watch him grow.

5 weeks old

8 weeks old, the day we picked him up.

9 weeks old

10 weeks old

11 weeks old

12 weeks old

13 weeks old

14 weeks old

15 weeks old

16 weeks old

I think he's going to be big! What do you think?

I'm joining (almost) Wordless Wednesday.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Neighbor's Cat in my Yard

I like cats. I really do. But I've chosen not to have cats because my dogs don't like cats, and even if they did, I don't have a good place to put a litter box and I don't want to let the cat loose outdoors. But I seem to have acquired a cat--a neighbor's cat.

Here it is sitting atop my car, in easy reach of the bird bath.

The thing is, I get all of the negatives of a cat without the good parts of having a cat.
Dead birds left in my driveway
Decapitated chipmunks on my sidewalk.
Cat poo in my garden
Globs of fur on my patio table.

It's not friendly, it runs off when I approach. Lately it's been looking really bad--big patches of fur missing. Scratching itself. I'm worried that it may be ill. I wish the neighbors would care for their cat, feed it, and take it to the vet's. I feel bad for the cat, but I don't want to feed it and encourage it to hang around, because when the dogs see or hear it out the window, they bark like crazy. I enjoy watching birds, but I don't enjoy watching them become easy prey for a cat.

Have my neighbors done any of these things?
1. Spay or neuter their cat
2.  Take their cat for regular veterinarian check ups
3. Provide adequate food and water
4. Provide love and attention--isn't that the point of having a cat?
5. Vaccinate their cat for rabies
6. Provide shelter--this cat often yowls in the rain, and sometimes gets into cars to sleep.

What would you do in this situation? Do you have a similar problem with neighborhood cats? Do you think it's irresponsible to have an outdoors cat, or do you have an outdoor cat that you keep safe and healthy, while keeping neighbors happy? What about getting injured, hit by a car, or stolen? Is it different for city cats vs. country cats?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Loving Support for our pets with Cancer HOP

Give Cancer the Paw
Join us today and pay tribute to a special pet who is battling cancer, is a cancer survivor, or has crossed over the bridge.

 My tribute is to Brooks.
I've written about him before. But I can't help it, I can't stop thinking about him. He was in so much pain, but he was so brave. He crossed over the bridge only one day after his cancer diagnosis. By that point it had spread all through his stomach, lungs and brain. And he never once gave us a clue until the last few days.

What I want to share is that losing a dog is always painful. But the time you have together makes the pain bearable. Whether is was a short time or a long time. I have the happiest memories of days with my buddy Brooks. Hang onto all your happy memories. Make the most of each and every day. Tell your pet "I love you" every day.

 Brooks-- crossed over the rainbow bridge April 5, 2013.

Join our hop. Give cancer the Paw blog hop is co-hosted by The Writers Dog and Pooch Smooches. Pay tribute to a special dog up with just a picture, or a picture and a few words. For all the pets we've loved.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Special Hop for our Furry Friends Tomorrow

Tomorrow is it...the last Give Cancer the Paw blog hop. We've done what we've set out to do--raise awareness about canine cancer. Share news of different studies and treatments too. But most of all to support each other. Canine cancer touches at least 50% of our dogs. You may have experienced it personally, or know of a friend, or a blog pal with a pet touched by cancer. So for our last Give Cancer the Paw hop Tomorrow, August 6th, we'd like to do something really special. 

 We're inviting you to pay tribute to a special dog or cat (or any pet) who has or has had cancer--it doesn't have to be your own. All you have to do is write a post mentioning the name of a pet who is a survivor, is battling, or has crossed over the bridge.Your childhood dog. A neighbor's cat. Or wouldn't it be nice to honor a blog hero you admire?

Since we don't have a lot of time (did I mention this is tomorrow?!) this hop is going to be really simple--just a picture and the pets name would be a lovely post. Or if you want, you can also write about why that pet is so special. Anything you want.

We'd love to have you join and make our last Give Cancer the Paw hop an amazing one to shine a candle on all the truly amazing special pets who are so brave. They hold a special place in our hearts.

Thank you and we hope to see you tomorrow. Let's honor all the pets!
Give Cancer the Paw hop is co-hosted by The Writer's Dog and Pooch Smooches.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Snowball Fight

There's nothing like a nice snowball fight to cool you off in August. Ike and Zeke love playing with their Planet Dog Snowball toy, but it always turns into a fight to see who can get the snowball. Who do you think usually wins?

Kelly, Zeke and Ike sat around discussing what to play.

Ike and Zeke decide to play Snowball Fight. Ike starts.

Zeke moves in. (Kelly leaves.)

"I'll just help myself."

Zeke makes his move.

Zeke captures the ball!

"What the heck happened?"

Zeke takes the snowball up to the safety of a chair. But...

Oh no! He drops the ball!


"Let's play again!"


I am joining the Monday Mischief blog hop brought to you by Alfie’s BlogSnoopy’s Dog BlogMy Brown Newfies.