Sunday, January 31, 2010

Alyssa Milano Is 'Godmother' to Rescued Dog

A two-legged dog named Scooby-Roo has gone from rags to riches. The stray mutt, who was found under an abandoned car in a gang-ridden neighborhood, has captured the interest of celebrities including Michael Jackson's children, Demi Moore, Shannon Elizabeth, and Alyssa Milano. According to People Pets, the celebs tweeted his photos, asking fans to donate money to fund Roo's rehabilitation at Fuzzy Rescue, the Los Angeles organization responsible for the 11-month-old dog's care.

Actress Alyssa Milano has taken a particular shine to the pup, even inviting him over to her home to hang out with her and her 10 horses. Posh playdate, right? Milano tweets, "I fell in love w/ Scooby Roo. I helped him get wheels. How could I not? He's coming to see me today."

"Milano said he had the most perfect nose, the most beautiful eyes, beautiful coloring," Fuzzy Rescue CEO Sheila Choi said. "We decided she would be his godmother."

Scooby-Roo spends three hours a day in his cart, but is still adjusting to the wheeled life. The wheels help him to strengthen his back legs and get around more easily. He will need life-long therapy including massage, hydro-therapy, and acupuncture.

While the bipedaled pooch is enjoying love from his movie-star patron, he still is in need of a permanent home. For more information and updates, visit Fuzzy Rescue's Web site.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Paige the Border Collie Can Do Your Laundry

Border collies are smart -- this is not news. But not every border collie has the kind of talent (or the star quality) that Paige, the dog in the video above, has. Paige's owner, Lauren Girard of Washington D.C., works with the two-year-old border collie every day for 20 to 30 minutes, using positive reinforcement, to keep the dog's skills sharp.

"First, I started with basic obedience classes, then went into more serious classes," Girard says. "Now we're doing competitive obedience and agility, which is more serious, so the tricks are just something I do on the side. She's so smart that she generally picks them up in just one session. You know the laundry trick? I showed her, she figured it out, and then I filmed it."

Now, if we could only get Girard to work with our dogs!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pets Welcome at Stetson University

Ah, college. All those tough classes, the crazy parties, the dog walking, the flea-collar-purchasing...

That's right. Florida's Stetson University has tapped one of its dormitories to provide the first pet-friendly housing on campus starting next fall, reports WESH News in Orlando, Fla. School administrators say they believe that students bringing along pets will help relieve the stress of living away from home for the first time. According to Dean of Students Rina Tovar, "If they can bring Fido, or one of the Fidos, the family pet with them to school, it's going to help with that transition and really help with them feeling comfortable."

Stetson's Director of Housing and Residential Life, Justin Williams, says that the pet-friendly housing will be found in Nemec Hall. 36 of Nemec Hall's rooms will be included as part of the program, allowing residents to share space with hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, mice, rats, cats, and dogs under 30 pounds. The building will even feature a dog park just outside its walls. A pet council will deal with any problems that may arise -- the animal residents fighting like cats and dogs, maybe? No word yet on whether the rooms will be connected by hamster tunnels or plain old human hallways.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Overcoming Grooming Fears: The Hairbrush and the Blowdryer

The condition of your pet's fur may be less than flattering due to their affinity for romping in mud and sifting through garbage cans, but what can you do if your mangy-looking friend is terrified of the grooming tools needed to clean up their act? The razor-toothed hairbrush and loud, scary blowdryer may send many pets bolting to the nearest hiding place, but there are ways to help your pet become accustomed to, and possibly even comfortable with, these grooming necessities.

The Hairbrush
Once you're ready to combat your pet's tangles, put them into proper grooming stance. "While you are brushing your pet, it is often best if it's in a standing position," says Jen Quick, Director of the Fur Institute, a grooming school located in Alberta, Canada. "You can keep them standing by placing one hand between their back legs and resting it on their belly."

Another crucial step in maintaining your pet's patience with grooming is to give them frequent breathers. "You may want to give your pet a little bit of a break if it is taking more than a half hour to remove all tangles from their fur," suggested Quick.

Some animals may become agitated while you're brushing their tangles out, and could wiggle or even try to snap at you. In this situation, "place your hand around the animal's muzzle to keep their mouth closed, and in a stern voice, tell them 'no,'" advised Quick. If your pet continues to bite or growl, you must regain control over the situation. "You can flip them on their back, make eye contact, and tell them 'no,'" said Quick. "Do not break eye contact until they look away first." If all else fails, you may need to muzzle your pet to avoid getting hurt.

It may seem easier to forgo brushing between visits to the groomer, but the benefits outweigh the difficulty of struggling for your furry friend's compliance. If you neglect your pet's fur, it may become matted which "can restrict blood flow and air reaching that area of the skin, and there can be serious health issues," according to Quick.

The Blowdryer
"If your pet is afraid of the blowdryer, they may need to be reintroduced," said Quick. The first step is getting your pet comfortable with being in the vicinity of the blowdryer. This can be done by leaving the blowdryer in an area where the pet spends a lot of time, and it cannot be accidentally turned on. Once the presence of the blowdryer is no longer frightening to your pet, leave it running for a while so they can become accustomed to the noise. "Make sure to have a safe place for your pet to go (like a kennel) if [the noise] scares them," said Quick.

Quick cautions that it may take several attempts, but once your pet is comfortable with the noise of the blowdryer, you can start blowing air onto them. "You always want to start at the back end of the pet and slowly work towards the front, leaving the head last."

When all else fails, treats can often save the day. Acting as a positive distraction, treats will often convince your pet that sticking around to get dried off may not be all bad. "Pets often respond in a positive manner when they are rewarded for doing a good thing," said Quick.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

AKC's Top 10 Most Popular Dogs in the U.S. in 2009

Today, the American Kennel Club released their 2009 registration statistics revealing the top 10 most popular dog breeds in the country. What's the secret to being popular? For dogs in the United States, it's all about safety.

Several of the dog breeds on the list are known for their hard work in keeping the country safe through border patrol, bomb and narcotics detection and searching for missing persons.

Put your paws together for the Labrador retriever who took the title as the #1 most popular purebred in America for the 19th year in a row.

Bumping the Yorkshire terrier out of the number two spot, the bold German shepherd is now the second most popular dog in the nation for the first time in over 30 years.

"Labs have been America's top dog for nearly two decades due to their loyal and gentle nature," said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "But the German Shepherd Dog has gained ground recently, quite possibly due to the increased attention they receive for their security efforts at home and abroad."

Did your pooch make the list?

Top 10 Most Popular Dogs in the U.S.
1. Labrador Retriever
2. German Shepherd Dog
3. Yorkshire Terrier
4. Golden Retriever
5. Beagle
6. Boxer
7. Bulldog
8. Dachshund
9. Poodle
10. Shih Tzu

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Homemade Dog Treat Recipe

Peanut Butter Puppy Poppers

2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375'F. In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk, then add to dry ingredients and mix well. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Bake for 20 minutes on a greased baking sheet until lightly brown. Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight container. --- This is the original recipe, but I have found the cookies burn easily.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Indestructible Dog Toys

Most dogs outgrow the need to chew as puppies, but some have an oral fixation that Freud would find noteworthy. If Fido has jaws of steel and has started eyeing your shoes, here are five of the most indestructible dog toys on the market.

1. Nylabones. Nylabones are dog bones made of durable plastic that is made to smell like bacon or chicken. They come in several different sizes and strengths. Be sure to check the rating on the package to ensure the Nylabone is made for heavy chewing. Nylabones can last for a year or more, although be warned that small pieces can flake off during use. Cost ranges from $5 for puppy bones, up to $16 for heavy-duty Nylabones.

2. Buster Cubes. Buster Cubes are hard plastic cubes that trap dog treats inside. Dogs extract the treats by rolling the cube around the room with their noses and paws, or by picking it up with their teeth and tossing it down. Buster Cubes are often recommended by animal behaviorists because they are ideal for destructive dogs who may be bored in addition to having a strong need to chew. This is also a great toy to break out when company comes over. Fido will be so absorbed with the buster cube, he'll forget to jump on the guests. Cost ranges from $15 up to $20 depending on size purchased.

3. Kong. Kong brand name products are used by police K-9 units and are available in an assortment of indestructible dog toys. From heavy duty rubber bones to hollow cones that can be stuffed with treats, Kong dog toys are built to last. The cones are particularly useful because they not only exercise the jaws, but also provide intellectual stimulation since the dog has to work to get the treats out. For extra fun, stuff the Kong cone with a mixture of dog food and peanut butter. Kong products are rated for specific weight ranges, so know your dog's weight and check the package for the weight range before buying. A large Kong cone costs $9 and will last forever.

4. Everlasting Treat Ball. This product is the winner of the 2007 New York Tails readers' choice award, and is a ball that can be stuffed with treats. The manufacturer sells treats specifically made for the Everlasting Treat Ball, but dog owners can also use their own treats. The bonus with this product is that it can be used not just as a chew toy, but for games of fetch as well. The ball costs $25 and the treat refills are $8.

5. Pig ears and rawhide bones. If all else fails, go with a chew toy that is meant to be destroyed. Pig ears can be purchased in bulk at warehouse stores or pet retailers, and are good for about 15 minutes of entertainment. Rawhide bones will last longer. When purchasing rawhide bones, look for the ones made in the U.S., as imported rawhides are sometimes cured with arsenic which is poisonous for dogs. Supervise the use of rawhide bones, and ensure water is available to prevent choking. Pig ears are sold in packages of 24 or 40 and prices range from $18 up to $30. Rawhide bones can be purchased individually or in bulk and cost from $5 up to $30.

For safety, always supervise dogs while chewing and inspect chew toys regularly for signs of wear and tear.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Lowdown on Doggie Shedding

Most dogs shed. Even the ones that the breeder or pet store call "no shed dogs" are still bound to leave some fur behind. It's a nuisance, but it is the small price we pay for our pet's love and companionship.

Still, shedding raises many questions: Why do dogs seem to shed more in winter? Does heavy shedding indicate a health problem? Is it possible to prevent or reduce shedding? Dr. Donna Spector, a board-certified veterinary Internal Medicine specialist from VCA Animal Hospital gives us the lowdown on the shed.

Do dogs shed more in the winter?
Dogs appear to shed more in the winter, however, this is most often an illusion! Most dogs shed year-round. In the winter these dogs spend more time indoors and therefore owners tend to see more hair, giving the impression that they are shedding more. Some breeds do indeed have a seasonal shedding pattern and they tend to lose their heavier winter undercoat in the spring.

Can brushing your dog reduce shedding?
Shedding is an expected part of dog ownership and the hair is going to fall out one way or another. It is best to remove it and throw it away, rather than to let the hair fall out all over your house! I recommend brushing your dog once daily. Brushing cleans the coat, removes loose hair and stimulates the oil glands of the skin to keep skin soft and supple, which is especially important during the dry winter months.

It is also important to not bathe your dog too frequently as this can be very drying to the skin. Do not bathe more than once weekly and choose a natural and fragrance-free shampoo that doesn't strip the coat of natural oils.

Does dog diet affect shedding?
It is important that your dog is eating a complete and well-balanced diet to insure no nutrient deficiencies are contributing to hair loss or dry skin. Supplemental fatty acids (commonly provided as fish oils) can often improve the quality of the skin and hair coat.

Which brushes work best?
There are three basic brush types and your veterinarian can help you choose the brush that is right for your dog. Bristle brushes can be used on all coat types, and in general, the longer the hair coat, the more widely spaced and longer the bristles should be. Wire-pin brushes (with or without rubber ends) are the best choice for dogs with medium to long hair and those dogs with curly or very thick coats. Slicker brushes have very fine wire bristles and are useful for removing tangles.

Combs can also be used and are often helpful for removing mats. Curry-type combs are great for massaging the skin and removing loose hair from short-haired dogs.

Can shedding be a sign of disease?
Medical conditions such as skin infections, cancer, mange, ringworm, and even hormonal problems can cause increased shedding. If your dog has abnormal amounts of shedding and hair loss, leading to thin hair and bald spots, be sure to see your veterinarian.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cute Pet of the Day

Once I saw these dog BFFs, I couldn't resist; I had to pick two Cute Pets of the Day! Olive (basset hound) and Tootsie (miniature dachshund) simply warm my heart!

Thanks for the picture Monica.

Friday, January 22, 2010

How to Calm a Noise-Wary Dog

Some dogs, like some people, are more nervous or neurotic than others. Depending on his personality, your dog might be sent into a panic by thunderstorms, fireworks, or even just commotion in your home. Here are some tips and tricks to help owners of anxious dogs soothe their pet's worries away.

Don't play along
One of the worst things you can do for your panicked dog is agree with him. If he is shaking, panting, and trying to climb into your lap, do not commiserate with him, and do not use your "poor baby" voice. The dog will be convinced he really is in danger; otherwise, you wouldn't be so concerned. To calm your dog, you must be calm. In your normal speaking voice, say "Hey, Pooch, where's your ball?" Or, "Hey, fella, want a treat?" Your calm demeanor will show your dog that everything's fine.

Make more noise
White noise, that is. White noise may have a calming effect on your dog. During a storm, turn on the TV, the fan, the dryer, any or all of the everyday noises your dog is used to. Close the curtains and shut the door to the room he is in, and he can pretend he's safe in his den.

Pressure your dog to remove stress
It may sound unusual, but many dog owners swear by putting a tight t-shirt on their dog to calm it. You could use an old t-shirt that you already have, or if you feel like spending some extra dollars, you can buy your pooch a special shirt of his very own: the Thundershirt is specifically designed to hug your dog and apply all-over pressure to help him calm down, stop shaking, and even stop barking maniacally.

Sing your dog's troubles away
Dogs have been proven to calm down within 15 seconds of hearing the same music that lulls fussy babies to sleep. This video shows how lullabies recorded to the beat of a human heart work to soothe dogs just as well as human babies. It's called "music heartbeat therapy." You can even try a demo at

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Got Milk Bone?

Sour or not, milk can be a total downer when your enjoyment of the delicious dairy beverage is tainted by the site of a missing child on the back of the carton. You were just like, Man, I love this milk! Then all of a sudden the world becomes a sad, sad place as you push the glass away, thinking about social injustice and wronged parents.

Good news, though: The same doesn't have to be the case for your prized pup! In fact, if your pooch likes his Milk Bones straight from the box, now you can get his adorable mug printed right on the packaging! For $23.99 (plus shipping and handling), a personalized Milk Bone box will feature your little canine guy or gal's proud grin every time you reach for a treat.

In other words: Who needs milk after all? Just tack on "bone," and you'll have yourself the cutest pet-food packaging you could ever imagine. Hasta la vista, depressing dairy products!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How to Help Animals for Free

When the economy suffers, people suffer, and unfortunately, so do pets. Many folks would like to help animals, but think they can't because they don't have the means or the money-yet that couldn't be further from the truth. There are various ways to help animals that are free and easy-right in your own community-or right from your own computer. Here are some ways.

Step 1 - Click daily on these websites: The Animal Rescue Site, Care2's Race for Pets in Need, Freekibble and Freekibblekat. Each click is completely free. On Freekibble and Freekibblekat you get to answer a trivia question-and the cool part is-even if you miss it-you'll still help feed homeless pets just by clicking-plus you'll learn some interesting facts about doggies and kitties.

Step 2 - Use the search engine, and every time you do, you will help generate funds for the ASPCA and other organizations that help homeless pets. You can also make dogpile your home page if you like. The more you search, the more they rescue-and it won't cost you a penny.
Step 3 - Post pictures and information about homeless pets that are up for adoption in your community on your website, MySpace, Facebook,, Adopt a and on Craigslist. Craigslist prohibits selling pets, but allows you to list pets that are up for adoption if you charge a small fee ("free to a good home" ads are discouraged to prevent animals from falling into the wrong hands). The Internet has proven to be a valuable (and free) tool for getting homeless pets adopted.

Step 4 - Link your grocery club card to an animal organization. Most supermarkets have savings cards with a percentage of whatever you spend going to the community organization you designate. Many of them have animal organizations on the list.

Step 5 - Donate blankets and towels to your local animal shelter (especially during winter), so the pets won't have to sleep on a cold, cement floor. There is an organization in Southern California called Operation Blankets of Love that is dedicated to this and they hope to branch out nationwide, or you might start a similar drive in your area.

Step 6 - Find out what's on your local shelter's wish list and donate some items. Needs may include: paper towels, newspaper, dog and cat toys, pet food, cleaning products, rubber tubs and collars/leashes.

Step 7 - Clean out your closets for animals. Many cities and towns have thrift stores that benefit animal organizations and rescues. Find out which ones do in your area and take over that stuff that's just been sitting there accumulating dust. Many organizations will pick up your items.

Step 8 - Donate your time and love to a local animal shelter or rescue. The lonely animals will sure appreciate you until they hopefully find homes. You can help walk dogs or socialize cats, and some shelters need help cleaning cages and with computer work. If you are a dog trainer you might also offer your services to help get the dogs more adoptable. Then there are many organizations that hold mobile adoptions and need volunteers to help transport animals to the events, as well as people to work the events.

Step 9 - Visit the website of an organization such as Best Friends Animal Society or North Shore Animal League to find out about volunteer opportunities. You can also periodically check the websites of the major animal organizations to find out about the latest campaigns and sign up to receive action alerts.

Step 10 - Lobby your local elected officials concerning animal issues, participate in boycotts and demonstrations and educate people you know. There are different ways to do it. For example, you can boycott pet stores that sell dogs and cats and tell everyone you know to do the same. With the millions that are destroyed each year, there is no need to sell animals. Aside from the fact that the overwhelming majority of dogs (almost all) sold in pet stores are from puppy mills, factory-like breeding operations that keep their breeding dogs in cramped cages for most of their lives and discard them when they're done. You can also organize a pet store protest, which isn't hard to do, or join one in your area.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


You can easily learn how to make dog toys out of sticks and rags! They'll cost you nothing except a little time to gather materials and put them together.

Comet enjoys these because they move in unpredictable ways. They can be good temporary chomp toys but do not leave your dog alone with them. Watch carefully to make sure your dog doesn't swallow the material.


•15 to 30 minutes per toy
•Colored tape
•A large old T-shirt or equivalent
•Sticks, 1 /2 to 1 inch (15 to 25mm) in diameter, about a foot long
Note: Green sticks that bend rather than break, are preferable, and crooked sticks rather than totally straight add a little extra fun. If the ends are really pointed, saw them off to blunt them.


Comet's got a tight grip on his Crossie!


Take two sticks and for each stick do the following:

•Cut/tear strips about 2 inches (5 cm) wide and as long as possible from the T-shirt ([If you tear horizontally you'll get the longest pieces]
•Take a strip of rag and lay the stick on it
•Wrap lengthwise a couple of times, covering the ends of the stick
•Tightly wind the rest of your strip around the stick and wrapping
•When that strip ends, start with another, overlapping the ends
•Keep on with another strip or two, remembering to wrap tightly
•Tuck the last end under previous wraps, using a knife to help
•For a decorative touch, apply plastic tape around the ends
•When you have both sticks firmly wrapped, lay them crosswise and use another strip of rag to bind them firmly together in the middle
We hope this one showed you it's not difficult to learn how to make homemade dog toys. Are you ready for the next one?
The following Triangle toy is similar, only you'll need three sticks. Comet really enjoys chewing on this one because he can hold onto it so well with his paws.



•Take three sticks and wrap each of them per the Crossie above
•Lay the sticks in a triangle, leaving about 2 inches (5 cm) sticking out at the ends
•Wrap each corner firmly, going around and between each stick
•To finish off, tie a knot and tuck the ends under a wrap
•When you have all three angles done, add tape as desired
Uses: Play fetch by throwing or rolling along the ground or give to your puppy to chew on (under supervision only)

Thanks for being willing to learn how to make dog toys! (The first time I typed that it came out as "hog" toys - maybe they'll work for a pet pig too!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Can Dogs See in Color?

Ever wonder whether dogs see in color like humans do, or only in black and white? Does it matter to your dog if you humiliate him by making him wear a blue sweater, or will a yellow one be just as humiliating? Modern science has the answer:

Dogs see in color, but not very well.

Eyes have two cells that receive light: rods and cones. Rods tell us how bright or dim a light is, i.e. how "white" or "black" it is. Cones tell us what color the light is. Humans have three kinds of cones that each detect color at different wavelengths, which are basically yellow, violet, and green. Just like old television sets have little squares of blue, green, and red to make up the full picture, every color we see is a combination of cones working at different intensities.

Color blind humans are missing one type of cone. Dogs only have two types of cones, the yellow and the violet, so technically, all dogs are color blind by human standards. For dogs, orange, yellow, and green are seen as yellow, blue-green is seen as white, red is seen as close to black, and there is little distinction between the blues as they get darker.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's Bacon

How cute is this little guy?! And what a cute name for a dog! In honor of Bacon's name, I though it'd only be appropriate for a dog treat recipe involving bacon! Behold the Bacon Flavored Dog Biscuit Treats:


5 cups Whole wheat flour
1 cup Milk
2 Eggs
10 tablespoon Vegetable oil or bacon fat
1 pinch Onion or garlic powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Cold water
1 tablespoon Vegetable oil to grease pan

Mix all ingredients well. Pinch off pieces of the dough and roll them into two-inch balls. Bake biscuits at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Let them cool, then store in an airtight container.

Originally from the Humane Society of Santa Clare Co., Santa Clara, CA.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rescued Dog Surprises Rescuer With Puppies

Atlanta's Gary DeNicola was a perfectly normal single-dog-owning man before he found a small dog in the middle of an intersection back in September. While everyone else ignored Ruby (named by DeNicola later for the color of her coat), DeNicola did what we all would like to do: He put her in his car and took her home, as reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But little did DeNicola know that he could have taken the carpool lane that day. Ruby was preggers.

After coming home, DeNicola put Ruby in the backyard to avoid confrontation with his other dog, Tiger. But DeNicola had his own confrontation to make. "At that point, I actually felt a kick and put two and two together and realized [Ruby] was pregnant," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. More likely, he felt a chorus line of kicks. Ruby soon gave birth to nine puppies.

Drowning in a sea of fur and cuteness, DeNicola called local shelters in Atlanta, but was unable to find one willing to take the puppies; all of the area shelters were already overcrowded. The best he could find was a place that would take them only if they were already vaccinated. Instead, he made a pen in his basement to house the pups, and has been caring for them ever since.

For now, DeNicola has no plans to keep Ruby or her puppies. He is taking them to get their shots this week, and he intends to find each one of them healthy, happy homes. If you are interested in adopting one of DeNicola's puppies, he gives his e-mail address in the original article. For now, we at Paw Nation commend this modest hero for helping an animal in need.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hilary Swank Helps Homeless Pets

The Oscar winner supports the program that has found homes for over three million animals. Ever since second grade, when she persuaded her mother to let her adopt gerbils named Joe and Moe, Swank has been obsessed with animals. She discovered her dog Rumi at L.A.'s East Valley Animal Care Center in 2008, and she rescued her other dog, Karoo, from the streets of South Africa six hears ago. "They've brought me love and so much happiness," she says. Last year she helped spread that joy by becoming the ambassador for the Iams Home 4 the Holidays program, which finds families to take in pets. "When you hear that so many people want to bring an animal into their lives and a staggering eight million need to be adopted, you think, How can we bring them together?" Swank says. the connection can be magical: "You go to the animal shelter, and in the end, the animals choose you more than you choose them".

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help animals in Haiti

At the risk of being accused of putting animals before humans, here are some resources for helping animals affected by the earthquake in Haiti:

Brad Shear, executive director of the Mohawk and Huson River Human Society, recommends donating to the World Society for the Protection of Animals, which he says has been helping animals for a long time and needs assistance now.

The Humane Society of the United States is also assessing how it can help and is accepting donations.

The Christian Veterinary Mission, whose mission is to improve the care of livestock and other animals, has set up a dedicated fund for earthquake relief.

Heifer International has put on an emergency appeal for funds.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation has an ongoing disaster relief fund.

Know of any other ways to help? Share them here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tillman the Skateboarding Dog Plays Video Games Too

By now, the antics of Tillman the skateboarding bulldog is the stuff of Internet yore. It is history, never to be rewritten, but rather to remain in the annals of online ephemera until the World Wide Web's last dying day--

Whoops, my bad. Here's Tillman playing a skateboarding video game (really well, obviously).

Skateboarding Dog Plays Video Game - The best video clips are here

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sweaters for Shelter Dogs: You Can Help!

I love stories about people finding new ways to help needy pets, so when I heard about the Save the Dogs From the Chill Project, my tail got to wagging.

The Save the Dogs From the Chill Project takes donations of old sweaters and re-purposes them for dogs in shelters, something that's particularly important this winter when temperatures all across the country are reaching record lows. Even the southern states are seeing below-freezing temperatures, and not all shelters have indoor areas for all their dogs.

You can keep tabs on the project's progress on their blog . And, of course, you can send your own used sweaters (or check your local Goodwill to scoop some up on the cheap) to the address in this post. Come on, you're never going to wear that ugly Christmas sweater again, are you? Lend a paw to a dog in need!

Monday, January 11, 2010

10 Reasons Older People Need Pets

As the new year unfolds, one of the best resolutions you can make—and keep—is to call your local animal shelter and make arrangements to see if there is a stray dog or cat that you can take into your home. Having a pet helps seniors stay invested in life. Particularly if you live alone, pets counter loneliness and help you continue to focus on what's going on around you.

There is no one pet perfect for everyone. Maybe you've always had a thing for songbirds and want to be awakened with a melody each morning (but not one that comes from an alarm clock). Or perhaps it's exotic fish or some other creature you can care for. My son has taken a powerful liking to chinchillas, and he says that if you can locate a social chinchilla, you will have found the perfect pet. The point is to find a pet that is right for you.

Although there is no perfect pet, I will promptly alienate millions of pet lovers by saying that a dog is the best choice for many people. Dogs and people develop deep emotional ties, and dogs are great companions. They will literally lay down their lives to protect you. Most ask for little in return except to be where you are and to get an occasional pat or scratch behind the ear.

Most people advise older pet owners to consider a smaller dog. Big dogs can be more than a handful. Maybe you can't get out to walk the dog as often as you should. Smaller dogs don't require as much exercise. And when you take the dog for a walk, it's nice to walk it and not be taken for a walk, which can easily happen with a larger dog. Maybe you live in a small home or apartment and don't want a big dog taking over your living space. You may prefer a dog that's not high strung and is calmer around the house. Here's a list of small dogs selected to meet these requirements, drawn from similar lists provided at and Pet Connect:

•Cocker spaniel
•Shih tzu
•Toy poodle
•Yorkshire terrier

If you haven't already set out for the pet store or shelter, here are 10 reasons to do so:

Companionship. Loneliness can become an unwelcome companion as we age and can lead to depression as well as physical problems. Dogs mold their schedule and personality to you. They are never unavailable or off duty. Smaller dogs, in particular, can easily travel.

Having a routine. The routine of caring for a pet can bring structure and purpose to daily life. Maybe you don't always want to get out of bed, but your pet wants you to. Isn't that a good thing?

Exercise. People benefit from regular physical exercise regardless of their age. But it is hard to get into a regular exercise routine, and it's so very easy to skip it. Having a dog can be a great way to make walking a part of your daily plan.

Less stress. Older people with pets tend to exhibit less stress than those without. Maybe it's those regular walks or the sense that you've got a friend to share life's challenges. Or maybe it's that tail wagging you see very day when you wake up.

Getting out. Having a pet, particularly one that requires regular outdoor activity, helps you stay connected to life. You go for veterinary checkups, and perhaps you visit a dog groomer. You need to be involved in social activities.

Making new friends. There are lots of shared activities for pet owners, ranging from communal walks to charitable events and other organizations that cater to animals and protecting the environment. It can be hard to meet new people, but pets are great icebreakers.

New interests. A pet can expose you to new interests and activities. Maybe it's cleaning up the neighborhood park where you walk your dog. Some hospitals seek pet owners who will volunteer to bring in their pets to spend time with patients.

Protection. A dog can provide significant security. Potential thieves will stay away from a home with a barking dog. Your watchdog may weigh only 8 pounds soaking wet, but the person on the other side of the door doesn't know that.

Taking care of something. Sure, you need your pet. Your pet needs you, too. The need to be useful and of value doesn't magically disappear when your career ends or your kids grow up and build their own independent lives. It is very satisfying to take care of another living creature.

Investing in life. At the end of the day, having a pet means that you have made a promise to continue being involved in another life. This commitment is one of the most positive decisions you can make as you get older.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How to Meet a Dog Lover

If you love dogs, it would be nice to meet someone who loves dogs too. Especially if your dog is a significant part of your life--you'll want your significant other to appreciate him as much as you do. Love me, love my dog...right? Here are some ways to go about catching a dog lover.

Step 1 - Visit the Mecca for dog lovers--of course, we're talking about the dog park. Chances are, people who make the effort to load their dogs into the car and are willing to travel just so their pooches can have leash-free activity and socialization are lovers of dogs. There have been many instances of people unleashing their dog only to find themselves leashing a mate.

Step 2 - Go over and compliment the dog of someone who strikes your fancy. If he says, "Thanks, we found him as a stray" and then his boyfriend comes over to join him, move on to your next target.

Step 3 - Find someone who has the same type of dog you have or a breed of dog you're familiar with. This could indicate someone with similar tastes and a compatible personality. It will be a great icebreaker, plus, he (she) will be impressed that you know so much about their dog. If you have a mixed breed dog that you rescued and the object of your affections (lust) has a mixed breed rescue dog, you will have that in common and can discuss why people continue to breed or buy dogs from pet stores when there are so many animals that need homes. Then you'll look into each other's eyes--and the rest will just fall into place.

Step 4 - Enroll your dog in doggie daycare. If you see a cute Boxer with an equally cute owner, make sure you pick up your dog at the same time each day. Eventually you can ask him (her) where they're headed (chances are it's home, since they have their dog). That should be their cue to invite you to a cafe with a dog friendly patio or to a place that has "yappy hour" (a dog friendly happy hour).

Step 5 - Join an online dating service and make sure to specify you're a dog lover. If possible, mention your dog in your bio. There are online dating services specifically for pet lovers (, DateMyPet, PetPeopleMeet). There is also Craigslist for meeting local dog lovers.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Angels Gate Hospice

A few days ago I wrote about Rachel Ray's Mutt Madness contest. The $50,000 winner was Angels Gate Hospice.

Angel's Gate is a home for special needs animals. Their website states that "animals, many of whom are terminally and/or critically ill or physically challenged, come to live out their days in peace, dignity and love. Our focus is on wellness and quality of life. We provide for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of each animal. We take a holistic approach in animal care, giving all needed supportive services including hospice care.

If you come to visit our home you're likely to be impressed with the vitality of our family members even though they are "special needs" animals. Many require physical therapy, medical attention and nursing care. They may have cancer, liver or kidney disease, paralyses, blindness, deafness, diabetes, neurological or seizure disorders, orthopedic or geriatric problems. Still the overall impression is one of vibrant life and peaceful living. Most dogs and cats are active and relate in socially positive ways.

Currently, at our home we care for nearly 400 individuals of many species. These include dogs, cats, parrots, ponies, ducks, swan, pigeons, geese, chickens and rabbits. Dogs and cats receive a raw food natural diet (B.A.R.F. diet) specially prepared by a local butcher.

Our animals are a part of the Angel's Gate household. Most are free to roam their home and/or the spacious back yard. Dogs and cats are not crated. Only the parrots are caged. The water fowl, chickens and pigeons are penned at night for their protection.

There is never a fee when we adopt an animal with special needs. We depend solely on supporter contributions which come to us from all over the United States. We even have supporters from as far away as Canada, France, Germany ,The Netherlands, Africa and many from Japan.

Angel's Gate has relocated from Long Island to our 100 acre farm in the town of Delhi, which is located in beautiful Delaware County NY."

To see the Rachel Ray clip, Click here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Burned Pupppy Has a New Home and New Purpose

For months, concerned North Carolina citizens and animal lovers across the nation have been following the saga of Susie, a puppy found in a Greensboro park with burns on 60 percent of her body. An employee at the shelter where animal control brought the dog said she had severe burns over her back, belly, and head, plus some broken bones, and wounds that were infected with maggots, reports the WFMY News in Greensboro.

At first no one knew who had set the 3-month-old pup on fire, but a Crimestoppers tip led to the arrest of Lashawn Demaro Whitehead, 20.

Over the course of Susie's recovery, volunteers at the Guilford Animal Shelter used Twitter to keep her growing community of fans up to date on her progress. Hundreds of people came forward to try to adopt her, but the shelter wanted to make absolutely sure that the dog, who has obviously already been through a lot, would go to just the right home.

Now, finally, Susie has a new family. According to WFMY News, she has been adopted by Donna Lawrence, owner of Greensboro's Kutting Edge Hair Salon. Lawrence, who was attacked by a pit bull last year, said, "I think my story compared to her story, being attacked by a human. We both had to overcome our fears so that kind of attracted me to her."

"She's doing good, she is happy, she's energetic, she loves being in my back yard, she plays with my other dog, my cat -- so she's doing great," Lawrence said. She brings Susie to work with her at the salon, in part to socialize the dog with people. As she explained, "I want to use her for a therapy dog eventually to help with burn victims or cancer."

Marsha Williams, the owner of Guilford Animal Shelter, told Paw Nation that many people had volunteered to take Susie after reading about her story, but that their goal was to find someone who really wanted her for who she was. She went on to say, "We talk to Donna [Susie's new owner] almost every day. We had to send over a trainer to teach Donna how to interact with Susie so that she would respect Donna as leader in the house. When Susie decided it was her house she wanted to be dominant. You can't feel sorry for her and baby her. You have to treat her like any other dog."

Susie's new owner and the shelter plan to work together to use Susie as an advocate for animal cruelty prevention and education programs, and as a therapy dog.

To watch video, Click here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Breath Bustin' Biscuits

Because everyone needs minty fresh breath!

• 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
• 1 1/2 cups Bisquick® baking mix
• 1/2 cup mint leaves -- loosely packed
• 1/4 cup milk
• 4 tablespoons margarine
• 1 egg
• 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup -- or corn syrup

Combine all ingredients in food processor, process until well mixed, mint is chopped, and a large ball forms. Press or roll on non-stick surface (floured board or ceramic) to a thickness of 1/4-1/2". Cut into 1x2" strips or with bone-shaped cookie cutter and place on non-stick cookie pan. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool and store in air-tight container.
Makes about 30 medium biscuits.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Golden Retriever Saves Boy from Cougar

The 11-year-old boy didn’t have time to react — and barely enough time to realize that a cougar was flying toward him with dinner on its mind. Luckily for Austin Forman, his dog, Angel, threw herself between her best friend and a lethal predator.

Never was a dog more appropriately named than the 18-month-old golden retriever who nearly gave her life to save Austin Sunday in Bar Boston, a small Canadian town some 150 miles north of Vancouver, British Columbia.

“She was my best friend, but now she’s even greater to me. She’s more than a best friend now,” Austin told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Tuesday morning from his home, where he was joined by his mother, Sherri Forman, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Chad Gravelle, who shot the cougar and saved Angel.

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“We’re really lucky that he was saved by an angel. That’s exactly what it was. There’s no other word for it,” Jay Forman, Austin’s father, told NBC News.

Around 5:30 Sunday evening, Austin went out with a wheelbarrow to bring in wood to feed the family’s wood-burning furnace. At that hour at that northern latitude, it was already dark.

Angel went along with Austin, and the boy found it curious that instead of playfully galumphing around the yard as she normally did, the dog stayed close by his side. He would shortly learn that there was a reason for her actions.

Austin was a few feet from the woodshed when he saw the cougar, which he first assumed was another dog. Although cougars inhabit the surrounding forests, they usually stay away from towns.

There was a light in the backyard, and when the animal got under it, Austin saw it was a cougar getting ready to pounce from less than 10 feet away. But just as the animal leaped, Angel came to the rescue.

“The dog knew something was up, because she ran toward me just at the right time, and the cougar ended up getting her instead,” Austin said. “I was just lucky my dog was there, because it happened so fast I wouldn’t have known what hit me.”

The cougar clamped its jaws around Angel’s head. Frantic, Austin screamed for his mother and ran inside the house, yelling, “There’s a cougar eating Angel!”

Sherri Forman looked out the window and saw the cougar on the patio with Angel’s head in its mouth. It didn’t look good for the heroic pet. Angel, Sherri said, was “whining and making noises like we’ve never heard before. We knew that cougar was killing our dog.”

She called her father-in-law, Lloyd Forman, and he told her to call 911.

Boston Bar is a small town of fewer than 1,000 people about 150 miles outside of Vancouver in British Columbia. It’s the kind of place where everybody knows everybody else, and that applies to Constable Chad Gravelle, who was finishing up the day’s paperwork when he got the call at his office less than a block away from the Forman home.

The 911 dispatcher told Gravelle that a cougar was attacking a young boy. When the constable took down the address and family name, he knew immediately that the boy could only be Austin Forman.

He rushed to the home, thinking that Austin’s life was in danger. When he arrived, “One of their daughters ran out on the porch and said, ‘Hurry up, Chad, the cougar’s got our dog,’ ” Gravelle said. “At that point, I was a little bit more relieved that Austin was OK because I know he’s the only young boy in this house. Now we only had to deal with the dog.”

Gravelle drew his sidearm and went out the back door. He saw the cougar’s tail extending out from underneath the porch. Although he had a flashlight, it was dark and hard to see, and Gravelle was dealing with a deadly animal in a confined space.

“The dog and the cougar were all kind of tangled up as one unit,” he said. But he was able to see the big cat’s hindquarters and fired one shot, hoping to sever the animal’s spine.

When the cougar kept up its attack on Angel, Gravelle moved around to get in front of the cougar, which was less than 6 feet away.

“It was really dark out, and I was just trying to line up my shot as best I could. I could just see about two or three inches of the cougar’s head sticking out from behind Angel, and luckily I was able to get a good shot off,” Gravelle said.

“Without him, there’s no way Angel would have survived,” Sherri said. “The sounds had all stopped, and it was just a matter of seconds. The timing was perfect.”

The shot killed the cougar and missed Angel, but the cat still had its jaws around the dog’s head.

“The cougar had its mouth over the top of the dog’s mouth, trying to suffocate it, blood all over the animal,” Comkin told NBC News. “And out of nowhere, the dog breathed a gasp of air, just like it comes back from being dead, and just spits up blood. And I’m looking at her, and I’m holding her, and I’m like, she’s going to be all right.”

From being all but dead, Angel went back to romping around the backyard, her head covered in blood. The Formans took her to a veterinarian, where she was treated for extensive — but not life-threatening — injuries.

“She had surgery yesterday afternoon,” Sherri told Lauer. “She was in for about an hour in surgery: extensive injuries to her head. Her skull was fractured, and they had to piece it together along with numerous other wounds. We’re hopeful for a full recovery.”

Angel was expected to return home as early as Tuesday to a hero’s welcome and a thank-you present purchased especially for her by her best friend.

“I bought her a big, nice juicy steak,” Austin told Lauer.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Last Chance Ranch

I caught an episode of Rachel Ray over the Holiday break. She was holding a contest for animal shelters. The $25,000 runner up (or 2nd place winner) was Last Chance Ranch.

Last Chance Ranch (LCR) started as an all volunteer Equine Rescue. Recently LCR has decided to join the ranks of small animal rescue and save at least a few of these "kill shelter" pets from such an undignified ending to their lives. With the acquisition of an additional 25 acres, LCR plans to build a 10 run kennel to house pets that are awaiting their forever families. This will also allow Last Chance Ranch to house small animals in emergency or humane seizure situations.

As stated on their website "neglect, suffering, and death often occur through ignorance rather than outright cruelty. One of our goals is to provide the new or potential pet owner knowledge so they can properly care for their new pet. We are here for questions and instruction and are willing to teach anyone the proper care for all equines and small companion animals, especially those in their senior years.

LCR has rescued hundreds of horses and saved many from slaughter. Some have needed special care and veterinary help. Many need TLC, rehabilitation, and sometimes all they need is time - time to heal...more time than their former owners were willing to give. "LCR" provides vet care, farrier care, dentistry, nourishing foods, rest and most importantly lots of love. Our horses have gone on to enjoy new and improved lives that include riding, driving, showing, and companionship."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Chaining Laws

I saw on the news that Durham County, N.C. passed a law that prohibits tethering except when on an attended leash. That got me to wondering how many other places have a similar law. Here's what I found:

Fairhope, Alabama
May 12, 2003
It shall be an unlawful act if any person violates any provision of this ordinance and it shall constitute a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Fayetteville, Arkansas
October 16, 2007

This ordinance prohibits dogs from being chained to a fixed point. Under this ordinance, dogs are allowed to be confined by a trolley system, provided the owner is on the premises.

Jonesboro, Arkansas
March 17, 2009
This ordinance prohibits dogs who weigh more than 20 pounds from being tethered to stationary objects. Adult dogs weighing less than 20 pounds may be tethered for no more than two hours at a time.

Little Rock, Arkansas
October 7, 2003
Tethering dogs to any stationary object or point is prohibited.

Maumelle, Arkansas
June 6, 2005
This ordinance prohibits the chaining/tethering of unattended dogs.

Miami, Florida
May 8, 2008
This ordinance prohibits the chaining/tethering of unattended dogs. When tethered, the responsible party must be outside with the dog. The tether must be five times the length of the dog, be connected to a buckle collar or harness, be on a swivel, and weigh no more than one eighth the dog’s weight. Pulley/trolley systems must be at least 15 feet in length.

Miami-Dade County, Florida
October 7, 2008
(effective April 7, 2008)
Tethering is banned unless the responsible party is located outside with the dog and certain other conditions are met.

Okaloosa County, Florida
November 11, 1992
Tethering dogs and cats is prohibited

Athens-Clarke County, Georgia
November 7, 2007
This ordinance prohibits the chaining/tethering of dogs to stationary objects.

Chatham County, Georgia
August 12, 2005
This ordinance prohibits the tethering of dogs and cats to any object, stationary or otherwise, in unincorporated areas of the county.

DeKalb County, Georgia
July 12, 2005
This ordinance prohibits the tethering of dogs to stationary objects. Dogs may be restrained by a running cable or trolley system for a limited amount of time, provided that the system meets certain conditions.

Carthage, Missouri
December 8, 1992
Tethering dogs is prohibited.

Asheville, North Carolina
September 22, 2009
This ordinance prohibits animals from being unattended and restrained by tether in any manner that prevents them from having access to food, water or shelter.

Cumberland County, North Carolina
February 2, 2009
This ordinance prohibits the chaining of dogs outdoors except under certain circumstances, such as if tethering is necessary for the dog's safety and a guardian remains with the dog while he or she is tethered.

Clayton, North Carolina
August 4, 2008
(effective October 4, 2008)
Tethering is banned. No animal shall be tied, chained, fastened, or otherwise tethered to any stationary or inanimate object.

Durham County, North Carolina
September 8, 2008
(effective January 1, 2010)
Tethering is prohibited except when on an attended leash.

New Hanover, North Carolina
Chaining or tethering dogs is prohibited. A chain or rope is not to be used in place of a leash when walking dogs.

Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina
June 13, 2006
This ordinance prohibits the tethering of dogs.

Lawton, Oklahoma
This ordinance specifies that a dog may not be chained in his or her own yard.

Big Spring, Texas
July 13, 2004
This ordinance prohibits dogs from being chained or tethered to any inanimate object. Dogs may only be kept on a tether held in the guardian’s hand, such as a leash.

Dallas, Texas
July 1, 2008
Tethering is not allowed unless the dog is in the immediate possession of the owner.

Electra, Texas
June 11, 1996
Tethering is prohibited, but dogs may be controlled by the hand-held use of a rope, leash, or chain.

Fort Worth, Texas
January 22, 2008
This ordinance prohibits the chaining/tethering of unattended dogs. An offense under this Section is a Class C misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $2,000.

Georgetown, Texas
June 24, 2008
(effective December 24, 2008)

Irving, Texas
November 1, 2007
Dogs cannot be tethered and left alone for any period of time.

To find legislation in other communities Click here.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

How to Train Your Dog to Play Frisbee

The only thing better than a dog is a dog that can play cool games with you. Playing with a flying disc with your dog is loads of fun, great exercise for doggy and an awesome trick to show off at the park!

Things You'll Need:
•Many flying discs
•Your dog's favorite food

Step 1 - First you must introduce doggy to his new toy. Some dogs can be enticed just by being shown a new toy, or having it waved temptingly. Some require extra incentive to want to play. You can associate the disc with a treat by giving doggy a treat just for touching the disc, putting a treat in the disc or even putting some peanut butter on the edges of the disc.

Step 2 - Once doggy likes the disc it's time to make it a toy. Use it for tug-of-war for a day or two in order to increase doggy's desire to have the disc for herself. Make sure to give doggy a treat or another form of praise for playing with the disc. After this step is completed do not give doggy a treat again for trying to keep the disc.

Step 3 - Having taught doggy to grasp the disc, now he must be taught to release it. Teaching the "Give" command is fundamental. Give doggy the disc, then hold a treat and command, "Give." Take the disc and give doggy a treat. Give doggy the disc back, and repeat this step. If doggy will not give up the disc, do not give him the treat and let go of the disc. This can not resemble tug-of-war. Once doggy gives up the disc without hesitation move on to the next step.

Step 4 - Now to teach doggy to catch and return! Take doggy outside and have her sit. Toss doggy the disc from very close and praise her greatly for catching it, then have her come to you and give her a treat for giving up the disc. Be sure to give a treat only for returning the disc. Until this becomes a game the treat will be the reward for giving up the disc, and that's how doggy will learn to bring the disc to you to be thrown again.

Step 5 - Gradually increase the distance you throw the disc, waiting to throw it farther until doggy consistently catches it in his mouth. You are now playing Frisbee with your dog!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Going to the Dogs—in a Good Way

If Duval County, Fla., Judge Emmet Ferguson has his way, there will be a dog in every courthouse across the country.

“Dogs put smiles on people’s faces, and there usually aren’t a lot of smiles in a courthouse,” says Ferguson, who works out of Jacksonville.

Ferguson is working to establish a service dog program in the Duval County court system. His effort reflects a small but growing international trend of using trained dogs in a variety of courthouse settings to reduce the tension inherent in the adversarial process.

Advocates say the dogs are used most often to calm witnesses and victims, especially children. But, they say, having a dog in the courthouse helps everyone.

“A dog can be a bridge between defendants and prosecutors, between defense counsel and prosecutors,” says Ellen O’Neill-Stephens, a senior deputy prosecuting attorney and the force behind a courthouse dog program in the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in Washington state.

The ABA Journal profiled O’Neill-Stephens’ program in a July 2007 story, “At This Prose­cutor’s Office, a Furry Soft Spot for Kids." Since then she has founded Court­house Dogs, a nonprofit organization promoting the use of trained dogs in both the civil and criminal justice systems.

O’Neill-Stephens and Celeste Walsen, executive director of Courthouse Dogs, say they are kept busy with requests for information and guidance on establishing similar programs both nationally and internationally. There are currently 13 states that have courthouse dog programs or are trying to obtain them, according to O’Neill-Stephens.

The group recently traveled to Chile to help develop a program there.

The growing interest in the use of dogs in courthouses is not surprising to O’Neill-Stephens, who says their mere presence can be highly effective. She sometimes brings an assistance dog to plea negotiations. “When you have a defense attorney down on [his or her] knees patting the dog before negotiations, that starts everything off in a friendlier way,” she says.