Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday's Telling: Animal Abuse Awareness Month

I know abuse happens, but because my hu-mans love me so much, I have difficulty comprehending how and why it exists.

My hu-man recently read an article in the newspaper about a young German shepherd that had been tied to a backyard tree and left him without food or water until he was so hungry that he ate dirt.

According to the Orange County Register,
German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County is offering a $1,000 reward for information about the owners of the dog they named "Courage."
Someone saw the emaciated animal and brought him to an emergency animal hospital last week in Garden Grove. Veterinarian Dr. Bill Grant says the 3-year-old dog weighed just 37 pounds - less than half his normal body weight. He now weighs 41 pounds.
Grant says Courage faces months of recovery, but is recovering well. More tests will determine if Courage's liver and kidneys will recover from the advanced malnutrition.
The good news is, a good samaritan's actions helped to save this dog's life. 

The paper recently reported, that as of Monday, Courage weighed 46 pounds.  In addition, there is a long list of people who are interested in giving Courage a home.
While the dog is doing better, it will be another couple of weeks before Grant can be certain his internal organs will recover and he will survive.
Courage still has a long road of recovery ahead of him, but thanks to people who care and his will to live, he is doing much better.

So what went wrong? 

It is very difficult to know what went wrong.  It turns out, Courage's owner Kimberly Nizato is a 26 year old veterinary technician in Irvine -- it is she who was arrested in this case of animal abuse.  She was released on bail and in the meantime, is suspended from her job, with pay, because she has a child.  I appreciate the compassion of her employer, to consider the welfare of Kimberly's child, but I hope and pray that Kimberly would share the same compassion with animals and individuals in her life.


This was a difficult story to share, but in light of Animal Abuse Awareness Month I thought it was important to share...
Please do what you can to help stop animal abuse.  ~Zoe



Read more: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2010/04/19/1109416/vet-says-dog-has-gained-about.html#ixzz0leZvtm78

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday's Favorite Foto

Today's favorite photo was submitted by Judy.  The image is of "Mouse", a cat that allows herself to be cared for by Judy's son Niels and his partner Susie.

Thank you for your submission Judy!  ~Zoe

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday's Telling: Are you heart aware?

My hu-mom just signed us up to walk in the Heart Association's Heart Walk.  She and my hu-man have had several friends lately who have been diagnosed with heart disease -- unfortunately in some cases, the diagnosis came too late.  As a result, she and my hu-man have both gone in and had their hearts (and health) checked at French Hospital, through their FREE "Heart Aware" program.  The program begins with an on-line questionnaire.  Once you have completed the questionnaire, you can immediately print out an assessment with suggestions for improving your heart health.  In addition, you have the option of signing up for a FREE 1/2-hour appointment with the nurse who coordinates the program.  She will give you a fasting cholesterol test, review your results, and discuss lifestyle changes/adjustments for improving/maintaining a healthy heart.  At the end of the evaluation, you have the option of taking a calcium CT scan  (cost was $99), to determine if there are any blockages or build up found in your arteries. 

Well, this is a "dog" blog, so I'm going to get to talking about dogs.  Did you know that dogs get heart disease too?  Yes, we have first hand experience with that one in our home.  Kip has heart disease.  We learned about it a couple of years ago -- about the same time he had a 10 lb. splenic tumor removed.  Kip used to walk 2-3 miles a day -- now he walks to the end of the block and back.  Sometimes that is even too much for him.  He takes multiple medications daily, which help keep his heart beating fairly strong and regular and reduce the fluid in his lungs and body.  We love Kip and are thankful for each and every day we have with him.

So, how do you know if your dog has heart disease?  DogTime posted an excellent article on heart disease in dogs.  To read it, click here.

There is much we can do to combat heart disease -- I know I and my hu-mom will be walking to support the cause.  If you would like to walk with us...or donate to the cause, please sign up on our Heart Walk Web Page --  As a thank you for your support, we will send you a FREE PawPrintArt card made with my paw print and my hu-mom's imagination (see above). 

Until next time, do all that you can to live HEART HEALTHY!  ~Zoe

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday's Favorite Foto

Stephanie submitted the following photo, used to announce Purina's "Bark in the Park" in Australia.  The photo's title..."Half Time at the Dog Park"

Thank you, Stephanie, and Happy Friday to all!  ~Zoe

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday's Tip: Tackling Leash Aggression

Today's tip comes straight from Dogtime.com and deals with leash aggression...

Leash aggression is an extremely common behavior issue faced by many dog-loving owners.


 
You start on the blissful journey of puppy parenthood, envisioning a future of leisurely strolling with your dog: cup of coffee and newspaper in hand, ready to settle in on a park bench, street café, or just around the neighborhood. Then reality sets in. Lovable Fido often resembles Cujo while on leash.

 
I feel for owners battling leash aggression. I know they scratch their heads in bewilderment, sometimes even resorting to defending sweet Fido by blurting aloud to passersby, "Really, he's very sweet. He only does this on leash!"

 
Here's what is going on. Your dog is probably frustrated and anxious. Very likely, he wanted to run after or gain access to whatever he saw while on the street; it could've been a squirrel, other dogs, skateboards etc.

 
That pesky prohibitive collar and leash however prevented your dog from gaining access to these things and over time, exuberant curiosity was replaced with frustration. Your dog needs to release that frustration and voila, the barking and lunging begins.

 
"I WANT IT! I NEED TO GO INVESTIGATE! I JUST NEED TO SAY HELLO! WHY CAN'T I HAVE IT?"

 
It is very likely that your dog's initial outbursts were met with some form of disapproval from you.

 
"FIDO, NO! HEY! STOP IT!"

 
The cycle then begins and now Fido begins to also feel anxious. He begins to think that not only do these things frustrate him, but they make Mom and Dad angry!

 
"HEY DOG! GET AWAY! MY DAD GETS MAD WHEN YOU ARE NEAR! GO AWAY!"

 
Now that we likely know the why, let's focus on how to manage the behavior.

 
In any case of aggression, I strongly advise working with a gentle and humane professional to guide you through this process and teach you about the importance of your timing and consistency. Seek a trainer whose methods are firming planted in reward-based training.

 
You need to develop a more refined replacement behavior for the lunging and barking. A dog that is quietly trotting along your side, staring into your sparkling eyes is ideal. In order to get this going, you need to be a vigilant owner. It is now your job to scout out other dogs before your dog has the opportunity.

 
You must also be a well prepared owner. You must always be stocked with tasty treats or your dog's favorite tug style toy.

 
Game plan

 
The very second you see a dog (before your dog has the chance to react) you quickly get Fido's attention with a happy voiced, "Fido!" Give him treats or access to his toy as you get close to and continue to pass the other dog. During this time, it's important that you remain calm, happy and refrain from tightening up on the leash. We are teaching Fido that both you and he need to relax in presence of other furry friends. Once the other dog has passed and is at a distance, the treating stops or the toy is put away.

 
Learning that you are the giver of all good things, your dog will become conditioned to look at you automatically when spotting another dog. This conditioning will also help improve Fido's association with other dogs.

 
It is very important, in kicking off this project, to be lavish in your reward giving, distributing treats every second while in sight of another dog. People often immediately retort, "My dog is going to get fat!" Not if you are a good owner and recognize that treats are incorporated into your dog's daily ration of food. Cut back on what is going into the bowl, knowing that tackling this behavior hurdle is top priority for the health and happiness of both you and your dog. It might take a bit of retraining yourself!

 
Over time, as your dog becomes increasingly comfortable looking at you, while ignoring other dogs, you will slowly decrease the number of treats given. If you are a good consistent trainer, by the end of this process you will be flipping one treat to your dog after you've passed the other dog and even sometimes simply offering a "good boy!"

 
Setting yourself up for success

 
  1. When you are feeling lazy, avoid routes with dogs! If you aren't going to be a good trainer, don't allow your dog to react--and thus unravel all the work you are doing. (It's like a smoker who picks up a cigarette again!)
  2. Practice "Fido, look!" every chance you get, NOT just when faced with other dogs. Your dog must make eye contact with you for everything he wants in life: before you put his food dish on the floor, snap on his leash, open the door for him to go outdoors, between each toss during a game of fetch. This is your batting practice. The more you and your dog get in the batting cage, the more successful you'll be at the big game!
  3. Exercise your dog. If you have a backyard, play fetch for fifteen minutes before going on a walk. Your dog will be a bit more tired, a bit more convinced that you are cool (after tossing the ball to him), and likely to be less anxious about those other dogs.

 
Work hard and your training will pay off. Sitting at at outdoor café without worry that your table flies out from under your plate as Fido lunges for another dog IS possible.

 
[NOTE: If your dog is unable to pass another dog--while being treated and without reacting--you will need to consider proximity. Establish a comfort/space threshold: approaching other dogs only to the point where your dog is comfortable, and then crossing the street or creating a visual block as you get by. Over time, you'll increase proximity. This will definitely require working with a professional.]

 
Written by Colleen Safford, of New York Walk & Train and Far Fetched Acres, one of NYC's most recognized dog trainers.
Can't we all just get along?  ~Zoe

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday's Tellings: Tails of Woods


As you know, this month we are featuring Woods Humane Society.  Well, you'll be pleased to know that Woods provides a multitude of ways to get involved.  We've already shared about pet adoptions, training, etc., well, here is just one more way you can support Woods!

Woods Humane Society is proud to announce the return of our annual dinner/gala fundraiser TAILS on Saturday, May 8 2010 at the Embassy Suites in San Luis Obispo. This year’s Tails of Woods promises a night of elegance, friendship, and fun. Join us for exclusive wine and beer tasting, a full course dinner, dessert, and both live and silent auctions.
Woods has been an important part of the Central Coast since 1955, sheltering and finding homes for those cats and dogs that find themselves in need. We are proud to have placed close to 40,000 dogs and cats into caring homes over the last 55 years. Our state of the art facility has allowed us to do so much more, but it takes events such as Tails of Woods to keep the facility running and continuing to realize its full potential. Fundraising represents 70% of our operating budget and the primary purpose of our event is to raise enough revenue to offset one full month of operational expenses.
Will you put a wag in our Tails?


Please contact the shelter directly at 805-543-9316 x19 for tickets, event information, or to join us as a business sponsor. Moreover, check back soon for a listing of this year’s wonderful Live Auction Items and participating wineries.
I don't think I'm invited to such an event, but if you are human and will be in the area in May, I encourage you to check it out!  ~Zoe

Monday, April 5, 2010

Chapter 12: Good Shepherd Dog Obedience School

Of all of the training I have received, I have enjoyed the Good Shepherd Dog Obedience School the best!  Linda is the proprieter, and she, along with her german shepherd, Reina, has a wonderful way with dogs and humans. 

My hu-mom had heard about Linda's Good Shepherd Dog Obedience school from several friends -- it seemed EVERYONE with a happy, well-balanced, well-behaved pet had been to the Good Shepherd Dog Obedience School.  My hu-mom was convinced that we HAD to go to "that" school!

Well we signed up, and Linda did not disappoint!  She really knows her stuff and shares information in such a gentle, but firm manner.  Not only did we learn the basics, sit, down, stay, heel, halt, etc., but she made sure there was a lot of interaction with other dogs and humans, and she also shared a lot about hygiene.  She showed our humans how to brush our teeth, clip our nails, clean our ears, check for and remove ticks,  and bathe us.

There was a lot of postitive reinforcement in Linda's training, and she even prepared us to put on a "show" for some local residents. You see, Linda was involved in taking animals into schools and nursing homes, to share the love of pets, and proper pet care, with those in attendance.

Linda encouraged lots and lots of fun activities with our humans, and helped our humans teach us tricks that we could perform in the show. My hu-mom worked with me to teach me how to shake hands, give a high-five, spin (to the left) and twirl (to the right), do puppy push-ups (sit, down, sit, down, etc), lay flat (play dead, although she didn't like that term so she uses a hand motion to encourage me to lay flat), leave it (with a piece of food), take it (same piece of food), catch (a ball, frisbee, etc), find it (she will hide a toy or food and it's my job to find it), flip a dog bone off of my nose and into my mouth, and curtsey.

Sadly, something happened (I don't remember exactly what), but our performance was cancelled.  So although we didn't get to share our tricks with the public, we had a lot of one-on-one time with our owners and learned lots of tricks!

In addition to the training, the hygiene, and the tricks, Linda also introduced us to dog agility.  Dog agility is F-U-N!  I'm pretty energetic, and had a blast jumping, climbing, running, etc.  My hu-mom and I haven't explored this any further, but I have a feeling this is next on my hu-man's list!

Linda now offers dog obedience, nose work (tracking a scent), and dog agility.  I and my hu-mom HIGHLY recommend Linda and her school to anyone wanting to strenghen your dog-human bond and learn obedience from a pro.  To find out more about the Good Shepherd Dog Obedience School, go to: http://www.appliedvb.com/goodshepslo/

~Zoe

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter!

Just a short note to wish you a very Happy Easter!  ~Zoe
(click here)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thursday's Tip: Dear Labby -- Petiquette Expert

Have you ever run across something clever and thought, "Boy I sure wish I would have come up with that idea!"  Well today's post is about a very clever pet tip site on pet ettiquette -- or "petiquette".

Similar to Dear Abby or Ann Landers, this site allows you to ask a question and receive an answer -- only this site is for dogs and your questions are answered by...
This clever site is run by Dog Time, and as I said before, Labby will answer your dog related questions.  For example, here is a question submitted about whether it is okay or not to correct someone elses dog...
Dear Labby, My mother-in-law's Golden Retriever is a jumper. She's a friendly dog, and I like her, but she's pretty big and I don't care for the constant, attention-seeking jumping. My mother-in-law and I have not always been on great terms so I don't want to rock the boat by chastising her precious pet. On the other hand, I'd like them both to get the message that this behavior is not appreciated. What's the proper etiquette for correcting someone else's dog?
 Signed: Put Off by Undisciplined, Needy Canine Energy

Dear Put Off, Who doesn't fancy himself a dog expert, P.O.U.N.C.E., and relish the chance to drop pearly liver bits of wisdom on naïfs such as ourselves? So bank some points with your mother-in-law by asking her advice. Something along the lines of: "I'm sure you're teaching Cricket not to jump - how can I help reinforce proper behavior?"


It's not unlikely your mother-in-law will respond with, "Oh I don't mind if she jumps!" In that case, it's up to you to set boundaries. Turn away from the dog as soon as you notice her front paws come off the ground; she's looking for face-to-face contact, but if you quickly turn away from her, she'll eventually learn that jumping does not get her what she wants. At least not with you.


In general, the rule is to leave the correcting to the owner. The exceptions are when safety's at stake. Or when you've got a lemon meringue pie in your hands and the Retriever hasn't eaten since morning.
And so, I encourage you to send Labby your questions.  You can reach her at dearlabby@dogtime.com

Today's parting quote:  "Knowledge is realizing that the street is one-way, wisdom is looking both directions anyway" ~Unknown


Zoe

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday's Telling: Woods Humane Society

Since we are focusing on Woods Humane Society for the month of April, I thought you might like to know about a couple of upcoming "events" --

April 10-11 - 2nd Annual Wine 4 Paws Fundraiser


April 10th-11th is the 2nd Annual Wine for Paws Fundraiser. Last year’s event featured over 30 local wineries and the shelter receives a portion or percent of the entire day’s tasting room sales. Visit http://www.wine4paws.com/ or email info@wine4paws.com for more details. In addition, do not forget that a great way to support the animals of Woods is to support the wineries that go out of their way to support Woods.

April 15th - Critter Camp Registration Opens

Woods Humane Society offers a summer “Critter Camp” for children between the ages of 8-11 years and is a week long day camp specifically focused on teaching humane education.


Today's adoptable pet feature... 

Meet Sammy!  Sammy is an Australian Shepherd/Collie mix.  He is black and tan, weighs 37 pounds, is 1 year and 1 week old, has been neutered, and is up to date with routine shots.  (Pet ID 9066).  For more information about Sammy or other dogs/cats available for adoption please contact Woods Humane Society.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday's Tip: Beaching It


Ahh, it's spring and the weather on the Central Coast of California is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!  With such nice weather, it is just a matter of time before my hu-mans take me to the beach.  I love, love, love to run on the sand, play in the water and chase the birds (don't worry, I've never caught one!). 

If you are preparing to take your loving sidekick to the beach, Cesar Milan (The Dog Whisperer) offers these tips for beaching it:

•Know the local laws. Some beaches do not accept dogs. Others require that they be on-leash at all times. Find out before you head out.

•Prepare. You may not be aware that, like humans, dogs need protection from the sun. Talk to your veterinarian about protective goggles and canine sunblock.
•Be confident in your pack leadership. For a dog to get the full benefit of a beach visit, off-leash (where permitted) is ideal. But remember, the beach is full of interesting scents of the sea life there. This can send your dog into a very primal state. If you don't have your leadership skills down pat, you could lose your dog.
•Protect your dog from fleas. This is not an issue most people associate with the beach, but sand fleas are prevalent in some areas. Be aware that a wet flea collar is ineffective and can also irritate your dog's skin. Consult your veterinarian to find the best solution.
•Let your dog dig! This is the perfect spot to let your dog try to make that tunnel to China he's been dreaming of.
•Check conditions. Sea lice, jellyfish, undercurrents, and rip tides all pose just as much of a threat to dogs as they do to humans. Before you let your dog roam, verify with a lifeguard that the environment is safe.
•Keep your dog hydrated. Make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water—and never let your dog drink salt water. It can make him sick.
•Be aware of your dog's physical and emotional state. A trip to the beach isn't the time to punch out. Your dog may be having so much fun that he looses track of how tired, hot, or thirsty he is. It is up to you to watch for signs of dehydration or over-exhaustion. Sand and heat can make a normal exercise routine more strenuous. Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, call your dog back to rest in a shady spot.
•Be respectful of other visitors. Whether canine or human, other visitors to the beach may not appreciate your dog's company. Make sure to keep your dog in check.
•Be vigilant. Remember that many items washed ashore, like fishing lines, litter, plant-life, and dead fish, may not be safe for your dog. When he goes exploring, keep a close eye on the objects he finds.
•Pick up after your dog! Help keep the water clean and the beach pleasant for other visitors.
•Give your dog a bath. If possible, give him a good rinse with fresh water before leaving the beach. When you get home, make sure to wash your dog immediately! Chemicals from sea water can be harmful to your dog's coat and health.
Until next time, enjoy the beauty of today!  ~Zoe

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday's Telling: Woods Humane Society

Today we are going local, with Woods Humane Society.  My first encounter with Woods was for training -- after the Morro Bay experience.  I was very impressed with the staff, who works very hard to inform and instruct the public on how to be a responsible pet owner, and to ensure that animals taken into the shelter are placed in good homes.  According to their website,
Woods Human Society Is a nonprofit, privately funded organization dedicated to the humane care of unwanted animals in San Luis Obispo County. Our Staff, volunteers, and board of directors are dedicated to upholding our Mission and preserving the welfare of our present and future animals.

While we cooperate with the State Humane Association of California, the American Humane Association, and The Humane Society of the United States, Woods does not receive financial support from them. Only 20% of our revenues to care for the animals are generated by service fees, the other 80% is generated from fund-raising events, grants, wills, and mainly community donations.

Woods Humane Society is proud to be a leader among the nation’s humane organizations. Thanks to loyal and broad-based community support, and the diligent efforts of our dedicated staff and volunteers, Woods placement rate in fiscal 07/08 was 94%, an outstanding achievement.


None of this work could be completed without the incredible support of our community and our wonderful volunteers.
Woods currently has a number of dogs and cats available for adoption, and those featured on last week's KSTT radio's Furry Friend Friday are:

Diesel, a 3-year-old Shepherd Mix who has called Woods Humane Society his home since December. Diesel wears a beautiful brindled coat, is neutered, vaccinated, micro chipped, and leash trained. A high-energy dog—Diesel is looking for an active family. He will make a great jogging partner. Diesel participates in the shelter’s offsite program and gets to leave with our volunteers for hikes up Bishop’s Peak and trips to the beach. Originating as a transfer from the county Animal Services Division, Diesel has advanced quickly through his obedience work and training. He absolutely loves human attention and actively seeks out love. Diesel is a great dog that is being overlooked out here at the shelter. If you are an active person looking for an active K9 companion, please stop by Woods Humane Society and spend some time getting to know Diesel.




Mr Green, a 1-year-old flat-coated retriever who transferred in to our adoption program in January. Mr. Green is neutered, current on vaccinations, and micro chipped. Most likely house broken, he is good on a leash and great with kids. Characteristic of his breed—Mr. Green has a high level of energy and is looking for an active home with room to run. He will make an amazing jogging or hiking partner. Mr. Green is not dealing with the inherent stress of kennel life very well and is desperately seeking a new and loving home to call his own. If you are an active person looking for a dog that can keep up with you, please consider stopping by Woods Humane Society and spend some time getting to know Mr. Green. Oh and he said that it is perfectly ok to change his name.


 
and Trooper, a 5-year-old tan and white Corgi-Basset Hound Mix (Corset) who is a guest of Woods since December. Trooper is a sweet dog that is neutered, vaccinated, micro chipped, and leash trained. He is a little shy, but quickly warms up to anyone willing to give him a pat on the head. He rides very well in the car, gets along great with other dogs, and is perfect for someone looking for a quite, mellow dog that is easy to manage. Very responsive to treats and affection, Trooper would be great for a smaller home with older/considerate children. Recently, Trooper accompanied a pack of dogs and Woods Volunteers out for a night with the Central Coast Roller Derby Girls. He performed wonderfully at the event and has since become one of the shelter’s handpicked Pet Visitation K9 Ambassadors. A bit of a conversation starter, at first glance most people think that Trooper is cross-eyed. In reality, he just has a unique coloring to his eyes. Trooper wants nothing more than to find a sweetheart this Valentine’s Day so if you are looking for a companion that enjoys long walks on the beach, watching the sunset, and curling up to snuggle and watch a movie, consider stopping by Woods Humane Society and spend some time getting to know this great little dog.

I recognize that adoption is a big step, but if you are looking to add a dog or cat to your family, please consider a pet from Woods.  If you can't adopt, there are several ways you can still support their cause: 1) you can volunteer, 2) you can donate directly to Woods, 3) you can drop off dog treats or hard chew toys, and 4) you can purchase PawPrintArt cards & prints and 30% of the profits from March/April sales will be donated to Woods Humane Society.

And now, speaking of PawPrintArt, I am introducing a new form of PawPrintArt.  I mentioned it briefly in another posting, it is painted entirely from a digital PawPrint brush that my hu-mom created from my paw print.  Here is our first portrait...

-- it is of my Dad, Ruckus, when he was just a pup.  He is a purebred Golden Retriever and quite dashing, if I do say so myself. 

Well, thanks for letting me share about Woods, and remember, "An animals eyes have the power to speak a great language."  ~Martin Buber

~Zoe

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chapter 11: The Training Continues

With Puppy Kindergarten behind me it is now time to to go train with the Big Dogs.  My hu-mom signed us up for Dog training through the Morro Bay Community Center.  I got a little used to being the big dog on campus, (remember, I trained with a bunch of chihuahuas), so walking into the Big Dog class was a little intimidating.  I spent a lot of time on my back (being submissive), but eventually got to feeling comfortable around all of the dogs and started walking with a bit more confidence.

The class focused on much of the same things we learned in Puppy Kindergarten, only this class was offered to "older" dogs and their humans.  In this class the instructor was a no-nonsense kind of a lady, and was much more expectant.  When she said we were going to practic walking, I walked, and when she said we were going to practice turning, I turned.  She spoke with such command that I think all of us dogs did exactly what we were supposed to do! 

The class lasted for several weeks and reinforced my training.  It was a great bonding time for me and my hu-mom.  ~Zoe  

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday's Tip: How To Hire A Dog Walker

About.com offers 6 steps for hiring a dog walker:
  1. Determine how often you can and cannot walk your dog. Once you know how often you'll need extra help you'll be able to find a dog walker available to fill in whenever you won't be around.
  2. Get recommendations from other dog owners. Ask at your local dog park or speak to all your friends and family about dog walkers they've used in the area.
  3. Use an online resource such as Craigslist.org to find dog walker classifieds (see Resources below). You can usually find a number of dog walker advertisements as well as contact information.
  4. Call dog walkers in your area and arrange to have meetings with those you are interested in hiring. Be sure to give yourself at least three options in case you have reservations about some that you've spoken with.
  5. Ask a lot of questions of the dog walkers you call. For instance, you'll want to ask how much experience they have, what qualifications they have and how they handle disciplining the dogs. Also, you'll want to know how many dogs they walk at once.
  6. Introduce your dog to the dog walkers. This gives you a chance to see your dog's temperament around the dog walkers and allows the dog walkers a chance to determine whether or not they would feel comfortable with your dog.

Okay, this is how it SHOULD be done, now let me tell you how it is being done in our house...
  1. A little neighbor girl creates a flyer saying she is a "dog walker" -- my hu-mans ignore the flyer.
  2. The little girl shows up at our door with another flyer and my hu-man says, "hmmm, let me talk it over with my wife."
  3. The little girl shows up at our door with a new flyer, indicating that no one has taken her up on her dog-walking offer, so she is lowering her rates.
  4. My hu-mans talk and think this little girl has an entrepreneural spirit and needs to be given a chance, so my hu-mom "interviews" the little girl to find out more about her "experience"...

My hu-mom, "Do you have a dog?"
Little girl, "No."
My hu-mom, "Have you taken dog training classes?"
Little girl, "No."
My hu-mom, "Have you walked dogs before?
Little girl, "No."
My hu-mom, "So, what qualifies you as a dog walker?"
Little girl, "I watch Victoria on TV, you know, 'It's Me or the Dog."

With no experience, my hu-mom was still impressed with this little girl's attitude, so she set up a time to have us all "get acquainted."  The little girl showed up at our door yesterday afternoon and my hu-mom and I went out to meet her.  My hu-mom brought treats and we spent most of the time on the front lawn.  My mom explained about speaking with authority, the importance of letting me know that I was "the dog" and the little girl was "the dog walker".  We reviewed some basic commands, (just so the "dog walker" could get used to me and me to her, then when my hu-mom felt comfortable, we started walking.  My hu-mom held the leash and showed the "dog walker" how to correct me if I started to pull, and how to walk in a straight line, turn me around, etc.  Towards the end of the session, my hu-mom passed the leash to the "dog walker" and walked along side of us, then she eventually dropped back a bit, then stopped altogether.  The "dog walker" shows promise, and my hu-mom and I will continue with training, before my hu-mom relinquishes the leash to her entirely.

So, our methods are not entirely optimal, but we are making a new friend and helping to fulfill the dreams of a little girl...to be a dog walker.  ~Zoe


  

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Luck of the Irish to You...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Today, I celebrate the luck o' the Irish, by introducing an expansion to my PawPrintArt.  My hu-mom has made a digital paintbrush out of my paw print, and will be painting entire paintings using my PawPrint. 


In honor of St. Paddy's Day, we created a Celtic Knot -- just to give you a quick demonstration of what we are talking about.


This is what the brush looks like...


and when color, size and pressure variation are added, you get...



If you look very closely you can see the paw prints.  As soon as we have a painting or two under our belts, we will add them to my PawPrintArt shop on Etsy and they will be available for sale (with 30% of sales profits going towards animal (& human) rescue).  Also, if you are interested in commissioning a painting, we will accept commissions also. 


So what do you think of this new art form?  We'd love to hear your thoughts!


Happy St. Paddy's Day!  ~Zoe

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday's Telling: Cooper's Dog

So many of you were pulling for little Cooper -- the four year old, highly allergic and asthmatic little boy, who needed an allergen alert dog.  Well I am happy to report that Cooper's family has raised all of the money needed to buy the dog, AND get the training. 

And so, without further adieu, please let me introduce Kona.

Yes, in just 5 months, you with your support of prayers and support, have contributed to Little Cooper living a safer life, with more freedom.  Cooper will now have the opportunity to go to school, and as his parents say, "have a guardian angel by his side."


His mom shares, "As his mother I can not tell you how over joyed and overwhelmed my heart is. I am still in disbelief. I am so incredibly thankful. During this journey, I learned a very important thing..To always, always, always help those in need no matter how big or small. From the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU for your help, love, support and advice!! We will be traveling to Colorado in June or July for a mandatory two week training session with Kona (the dog) and the trainers. Please continue to visit our blog so we can share this event with you!"

So, to all of those who read my blog, thank you for caring...thank you for sharing.  I must say, our lives are much richer because of you! ~Zoe

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm back!

It has been quite some time since my last post.  I do apologize for that and will get back on track for regular postings.

You'll be happy to know that I have recovered from my intestinal illness.  My vet still doesn't know what caused it, but there was some discussion about my eating too fast that sent my hu-mom into action.  As regular food was reintroduced, my hu-mom would hold my bowl while I ate, then pull it away after a few seconds.  As she pulled it away, she would say, "Zoe, break."  If I tried to go after the food, she would give me the ever-so-popular "ah!" sound, which let me know I had better keep my distance.  After about 10 seconds, she would put the bowl in front of me again and say, "Take it."  I would eat for about 5 seconds and the whole series started again. 

Now, she doesn't have to hold the bowl, she just sets it on the floor and I dive in as usual, then after about 5 seconds she says, "Zoe, break".  That is my cue to STEP AWAY FROM THE BOWL!  I take a step back and wait for the "take it" command.  We repeat this dance until my food is devoured.  This new way of eating sure does cramp my style, but not my stomach!

Have a great day!  ~Zoe

"Every dog must have his day." ~ Jonathan Swift

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday's Favorite Foto: Kip

Kip's motto: "Always be prepared".
 

Have bowl will travel...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday's Tip: Surviving the Winter Months


Living in sunny (hah!) California, I am used to getting out and getting exercise.  But it has been raining (a lot) lately, and my humans have been challenged about making sure I don't become a couch potato. 

Cesar Milan recently posted an article on how to survive the winter months in certain parts of the country, and gave some excellent advice on "Indoor Exercise".  Essentially he challenges humans to get creative and find ways to keep your canines moving.

Our house has a fairly open format, so my hu-mom and hu-man will play indoor fetch with me.  They will throw the ball from one room to another and I'll run and "get it", then bring it back for them to do it again.  My hu-mom will also take me in one room of the house, ask me to "sit" and "stay", then she will go into another part of the house and yell, "come!"  I always take off on a dead run to find her and as soon as I do, she gives me a big scratch behind my ear, tells me I'm a good girl, and we do it all over again...and again... 

We also play tug (my favorite!) or I'll be asked to perform all of the tricks I have learned.

So, as you can see, snow and rain don't relegate you to the couch -- there is great fun and exercise to be had indoors too! 

How do you keep fit during the winter?  I would love to hear about it.  ~Zoe

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday's Telling:

Today I'd like to remind you of two things...
First, there is a benefit BBQ for Cooper Giron this Saturday.  The family is hoping to raise the last of the funds needed to get Cooper's service dog AND training.

The BBQ is...
Date: Saturday, January 30
Time: 11AM to 3PM
Place: Luthern Church of Our Savior, 4725 South Bradley, Orcutt, CA 93455
Menu: Tri-Tip Sandwich, Chips & Soda
Donation: $7.00
And don't forget, there will be snow for the children to play in!

Second, I shared a bit about Whar-Wolf rescue.  This really is a very worthy organization and if you would like to know more...or donate to the cause, please visit the Whar-Wolf website at http://www.whar.org/.  In the meantime, here are some fun and interesting facts about Wolves and Hybrid Wolves (from the Whar-Wolf website):


  • Most wolf and wolf mixes can assess humans by their body language and scent. Eye contact is also important when trying to communicate with these animals. Too much can create tension and not enough shows weakness.
  • Captive born female Wolves and Hybrid Wolves will dig a den in captivity with any and all offspring helping regardless of the female being pregnant or sterilized.
  • Most Wolves and Hybrid Wolves can sense sickness and disease in humans. Everything from the common cold to major diseases.
  • Most Wolves and Hybrid Wolves howl frequently. The reason for this has never been completely figured out. Some say it's a release of energy, others an emotional expression, and others a communication method. Regardless of the true reason, there is nothing like being surrounded by a chorus of howling animals.
  • Wolves and Hybrid Wolves are very territorial. Any property within their sight range, is thought to be their own. Scent marking happens automatically both from males and females. Most animals try to mark the property every few feet and frequently each week. Most males will automatically mark after their females.
  • In a wild wolf pack, an omega has the important role of ensighting play and diffusing tension. The middle of beta role is that of the scout and second in command. While the Alpha male and female are in charge of initiating the hunts and reproduction of pups.
  • Most Wolf pups are born with blue/gray eyes that later turn yellow, amber, yellow-green, yellow-brown, or even brown, but never black.

 As always, thank you for your care and concern of my fellow canines!  ~Zoe

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday's Tip: Dental Hygiene for Dogs


I am often complimented on my "pretty" teeth.  I have to confess, I have little to do with it, for the real responsibility lies with my hu-mom. 

Thankfully she learned early about the importance of my "dental hygiene" and she brushes my teeth.  True confessions time...she doesn't brush them EVERY day, but that is something she said she needs to get better about, so I have a feeling I'm in for having her hands in my mouth much more often!

So how do you brush a dog's teeth? 


*image courtesy of the www. (sorry no credits were found, so copyright info is unknown)

Click here to watch a video that walks you through the process.

So, does your human brush your teeth?  I'd love to hear your story!  ~Zoe

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday's Telling: Benefit BBQ for Cooper

We've followed Cooper and his need for an allergen alert dog and you have all been amazing!

The family is just $3,255.00 away from reaching their goal of getting Cooper's allergen alert dog and training.  So, how can you help?  Well if you will be on California's Central Coast on Saturday, January 30th, you can attend  a Benefit BBQ to help the cause. 
Date
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Time
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Place
Lutheran Church of Our Savior, 4725 South Bradley, Orcutt, CA 93455
Menu
Tri-Tip Sandwich, Chips & Soda
Donation
$7.00
There will also be FREE snow for the children to play in!

Hope to see you there!  ~Zoe

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday's Favorite Foto

One Mississippi...Two Mississippi...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursdays Tip: New Furniture protection


Disclaimer: Not the actual chair = )

My humans got a new chaise lounge for Christmas.  I've seen them reclining on that thing looking EXTREMELY comfortable and thought, "hey, what about me!"  So I tried it...  Needless to say, when I was discovered on the rather comfortable new piece of furniture, I was immediately told, "OFF".  I immediately gave up my place on the comfy new chaise and moved over the sofa (also comfortable AND a piece of furniture that I am allowed on.) 

So, how do you allow your pet on some pieces of furniture and not others?  Training of course.  To keep me off of the chaise (when they are not in the room), my humans will put tin foil on the chair.  As soon as my paws hit the foil, it makes a rather obnoxious noise and I turn tail and move to the acceptable sofa.  Of course when my humans are in the room the chaise will be foil free and if I go near the chaise, they will give me an "ah!" if I even think about getting on that thing.

Oh well, although there is a new temptation in the house, I will continue to enjoy my vantage spot from my ever so comfy sofa.  ~Zoe

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday's Telling: WharWolves...


A couple of years ago my humans had the opportunity to "Walk with Wolves" -- a program offered through a local wolf rescue agency that allows you to go on an educational hike to learn about wolves, and actually walk with them.  They said it was a little unnerving, but a truly unforgettable experience.  The walk was organized through WHAR Wolf Rescue in Paso Robles, CA.  The organization was established to provide education and be a rescue and resource facility for captive born part and full blood wolves, and has grown to service not just our local area, but the seven western states.

The WHAR Wolf Rescue describes their mission as...
offering "animals for adoption both to sponsor or to take home, WHAR Wolf Rescue lends guidance in all things concerning captive wolf type animals. All animals are placed into screened homes using a full adoption contract. Full blood wolves are never released to the public as pets nor will a hybrid wolf be had if the recipient fails the screening process. Various local and distant facilities and animal regulators have come to rely on the expertise that is provided from WHAR Wolf Rescue in identifying potential hybrid wolves found without proper documentation. All the while continuing to serve as a means of factual practical education regarding a variety of subject matter such as, proper containment, quality diets, humane treatment, discouragement of breeding practices, proper exercise, body language communication (wolf speak), U.S. wild wolf reintroduction programs, no wolves as pets philosophy, general animal education on captive wolves and hybrids, ownership realities for current or potential owners or adopters-to-be, spay and neuter information, legal ownership guide for your local municipality, veterinarian selection guidance, and what to do if your animal kills something. Currently run as a grass roots movement, WHAR Wolf Rescue is comprised of a seven person board of directors who are unpaid for their services rendered. A variety of well trained volunteers staff the facility although there are always more openings then volunteers. All helpers are fully trained and orientated for safety, security, and care. As we have found out in building our mission, we are only as good as our plan. Therefore we have created a basic plan of care, concern, education, and a heartfelt devotion and then never wavered from that mission. We are always so delighted to welcome visitors and new training volunteers who share our enormous passion for all things."

Image from WHARF Wolf Rescue Website

If you are interested in supporting this effort, the organization is in need of relocating, so funds are greatly needed.  As always, 30% of the profits from  any of my PawPrintArt cards sold during the month of January will be donated to WHAR Wolf Rescue.  If you are interested in donating directly, you can do that through their website: http://www.wharwolves.org/index.htm.

Thank you for helping to ensure that these beautiful animals are properly cared for!  ~Zoe

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chapter 10: Graduation Day

After weeks of puppy kindergarten, graduation day finally arrived.  My hu-mom packed up the car and we drove to the campus for a final "test" of our skills, followed by a graduation ceremony. 

The test included being put through the paces...and we were required to follow through on each of the commands learned over the past weeks: sit, stay, down come, stay, etc.  I passed and my hu-mom was given my sheepskin...ahem, I mean diploma (sorry all you little lambies out there!).

My graduation day...such a proud day, yet such a humiliating day.  You see, the only other dogs who "stuck with it" through to graduation day were the chihuahuas.  One of my classmates humans was very proud of her little one's accomplishment and made a special graduation hat "for the official graduation photo."  The mortarboard was passed around so we could ALL have photos taken to mark the special day.  All I can say is I know how Marmaduke feels, for I was truly a giant amongst a class of miniatures on my graduation day....

And so here it is...my proudest...yet most humbling moment captured on film...


~Zoe

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday's Favorite Foto

Aw come on mom...let me in...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thursday's Tip: Pill Pockets

I shared yesterday about how Kip is on so many medications...taken twice a day.  My humans have tried putting his pills in his food, but Kip manages to eat around the medications.  They have tried a number of ways to get Kip to take his multiple medications, but found that the easiest way is to put them all in/around a "Pill Pocket" and feed it to him just before he eats his morning and evening meal.  No fuss, no muss, no drama.



Pill Pockets are available for dogs and cats and can be purchased at most pet supply stores.  ~Zoe

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday's Weave: Yesterday's Mission

Last night I went on a run with my hu-man.  That in itself is not unusual, but last nights route was different -- we were on a mission.  You see, we ran to Kip's veterinarian's office to pick up Kip's medications.

Kip has had quite the life -- I have shared about him being a guard dog, before my humans took him in.  He went from being a fat outside dog chained to a shed, to a dog who was taken on walks...and eventually short runs...and invited into the house.  Kip has become an integral part of our family and as a member of the family his care and medical care are of utmost importance.

We have learned over the years that Kip is susceptible to tumors.  He has several benign tumors on the outside of his body, but two years ago he started "acting funny" and his vet diagnosed him with a splenic tumor.  My humans had planned to go to Italy to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, but Kip needed surgery and instead of going to Italy, they funded Kip's surgery.  Poor Kip, it turned out that he had a 10 lb. tumor removed from his abdominal region.

Kip was given medication and a 50/50 chance of "making it."  Well two years have passed and I am happy to report that Kip is still with us.  Yes he is showing signs of aging, and he has developed a rather large adipose (fatty) tumor on the right side of his chest that can't be operated on, (because his vet doesn't think he can handle the anesthesia or surgery), but he gets his multiple medications twice a day, and he is well cared for and loved on by our hu-mom and hu-man.

Our mission was an important one.  I'm thankful that I have Kip and will gladly run to his veterinarian's office to pick up refills of the medications that keep him going.  ~Zoe

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to take the opportunity to welcome you to twenty-ten -- a new decade.  I look forward to this new decade and will resume regular blogging...tomorrow.

Until then, have a Blessed New Year!  ~Zoe