Friday, July 31, 2009

Oh No! My Dog Got Skunked!

If you are a dog owner chances are better than not, your dog has been sprayed by a skunk. When skunks spray dogs, it's because they are scared and defending themselves. Dogs don't know how skunks are until they get sprayed. They just think they're chasing an animal similar to a rabbit. I'll never forget when Cosmo, my Siberian Husky mix got sprayed. He was really freaked. Since skunks are common in our neighborhood, we will smell them outside our house. You always get nervous when that happens because the skunk smell is so potent. Even Tom Hanks' dogs got skunked as you will see in this video below.

I the past, I've gotten cans of tomato juice and then let it sit on my dogs. After letting it sit for about five minutes, I would rinse, and then use dog shampoo and rinse again. It worked ok for my dogs but I've found a recipe that should work equally good and the only drawback would be that it may lighten the color of your dogs fur because of the hydrogen peroxide. This was found in a local newspaper.

Anti-Skunk Dog Rinse

  • 1 quart fresh hydrogen peroxide (can be found at any drug or discount store)
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons liquid soap suds (Dawn is a good one)
  1. Mix all ingredients. This mixture will bubble and must be used when it's still active.
  2. Do this outside and wear protective rubber gloves.
  3. Don't wet the dog. Instead, pour the mist over the dry dog, being careful not getting any of it into the dog's eyes. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse and repeat.
  5. Check the dog, if the smell persists, do it one more time. It's a good idea to follow up with a professional groomer who can really give your dog a nice bath and make it smell wonderful.

Well, thanks for stopping in. I'd love to hear any of your stories if you've been in this predicament, but most importantly, I hope you guys have a great weekend and I'll be back on Sunday!

**8/3/09 Never save the solution you've made. If the ingredients sit long enough in a closed container, they can explode. It's best to dump anything you have left, in ab envionmentally-friendly way. **

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Michael Vick, Does He Deserve a Second Chance?

I've never been the biggest fan of NFL football. In fact, I'm one who loves to watch the commericials in the Super Bowl moreso than the game. The following post is more serious than most but is an issue that should be addressed.

Today, I was reading the newspaper while having lunch at Taco Bell. I came across a couple of letters to the editor about whether Michael Vick will become part of the Bears. One of the letter was against having Michael Vick on the Bears, the other said basically why would we put dogs before people?

My first reaction as a person who lived in Chicago was that he made his bed, let him lie in it. Part of me feels that he never gave those dogs he killed a second chance. He tortured some of those dogs and his dogfighting went on for six years, since he was twenty-one. His arrested cohorts told of "how Vick participated in the killing of dogs that didn't perform well in test fights by shooting, hanging, drowning or slamming them to the ground".

In July of 2007, he believed that he was not guilty as his plea stated. Three months later, he changed his plea to guilty but still pleaded not guilty for animal cruelty. I think that eighteen months in jail is pretty lenient considering there were 66 dogs were confiscated.

MerylOne of the dogs, Meryl was so aggressive, she was ordered by a judge that she could never be adopted. If Best Friends hadn't pushed for her, she would have been euthanized. At least she's in a sanctuary where there are people who love her. One only wonders where Meryl would have been if she hadn't been in Michael Vick's home in the first place.

HalleThen, you hear about the success stories, like Halley who was the first dog out of the bunch to find a home after two years of rehabilitation, and you think ok, maybe something good came out of this.

Still, there are questions that cross my mind. "Would Michael Vick be so remorseful if he wasn't caught?" "Is he doing this because he means it or because he wants to have his career in the NFL again?" "Did he see the fear and pain in those dogs' eyes when he and his "friends" were hanging them and drowning him?

I then read about Michael Vick in an attempt to see how someone who had so much skill, talent and a little bit of luck, could live his a charmed life so recklessly. Did you know the odds of a high school football player getting into the NFL is about .0008%? Basically, 8 out of 50,000 students will have that chance. The odds decrease immensely when you factor in that person having a lifetime career. Vick had already surpassed some enormous odds by being in the league for six years.

I also learned that he first witnessed dog fighting at eight-years-old. That's very young age to be exposed to something so heinous. He is also doing everything he can to make amends for his past mistakes. What kind of adult would let an child get interested in something so violent?

Still, many teams right now aren't even looking at him. Being reinstated in the NFL, he qualifies for a minimum salary of $620,000 a year. That's more salary than what an average person makes in ten years. As his agent said, who knows what teams will need another replacement if their first team player gets injured?

He is very lucky to have been given a second chance by the NFL. It shouldn't be easy for him to come back though. When high profile actors have screwed up in their life, roles that would have been written for them in the past, are not existent. They are lucky to get an audition and if the director likes them, then they'll get the role. If Michael Vick is truly genuine about wanting make retribution for his past mistakes, he's going to have to start from the bottom in more ways than one.

Above all, the NFL is a business. The fans' buying the tickets as well as the numerous sponsors are what give the NFL its revenue. I think any team who is considering this man as part of their team, should get the input of the season ticket holders and their sponsors. What Michael Vick did was despicable. As much as I hate to admit, it was part of his private life and not part of his job. Yes, he got off way too easily by the court system. Yet the guy has done this and he's not even 30 years old yet? Will he never do something like this again?Will he be physically fit enough to pick up where he left off? Will he be able to focus on the game and not succumb to the scrutiny of his fans, teammates, opposing teams and animal organizations? Is he truly sorry and has learned from the error of his ways? I think that time will be the only thing that will answer these questions.

I will never like Michael Vick, am not much of a football fan and being a citizen of the United States, can see that everyone deserves a chance at redemption. I'd like to hear from all of you what your thoughts are on this topic? Do you think he deserves a second chance?

Thanks for stopping in. I hope you guys have a great night.

Monday, July 27, 2009

National Parks Part 1

Dog at the Park

Taking your dog to the national parks of the US are one of the best ways to enjoy the summer. All of them can be accessed by driving, and the ones featured in this article are where your dog can participate by either hiking swimming or both. Most parks require your dog to be on a leash of no more than six feet (two meters) long. Others have special hours of operation. Some charge a nominal fee but most are open 24/hours a day and are free. Although on August 15 and 16, all national parks in the US will be waiving their entrance fees. There are so many parks to visit so I will be writing this in two parts. Many places will restrict access for dogs so they do not disrupt the wildlife that is part of these parks heritage. If you are bringing your dog, it's a good idea to pack a portable water bowl, treats, pickup supplies and a first aid kit.

Russell Cave

Russell Cave in Bridgeport, AL

This park is located on the Northeast side of the state. Their hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. They have no fees or admission charges. Pets on a leash are allowed on the tour to the cave shelter and the hiking trail, but are not permitted inside the visitor center.

Fort Bowie

Fort Bowie National Historic Site, Bowie, AZ

For more than 30 years Fort Bowie and Apache Pass were the focal point of military operations eventually culminating in the surrender of Geronimo in 1886 and the banishment of the Chiricahuas to Florida and Alabama. It was the site of the Bascom Affair, a wagon train massacre, and the battle of Apache Pass, where a large force of Chiricahua Apaches under Mangus Colorados and Cochise fought the California Volunteers.

They operate between 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily, Mountain Standard Time. Pets are allowed access in this site but they must be on a leash.

Grand Canyon

They are allowed above the rim. The only dogs allowed below the rim are guide dogs. Pets are also allowed on the bridle path that connects the lodge with the North Kailah trail. There are pet kennels in the South Rim area. On the South Rim, leashed pets are allowed on trails above the rim, Mather Campground, Desert View Campground, Trailer Village and throughout the developed areas as well.
Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest National Park

Pets are allowed on these maintained trails:
  • Painted Desert Rim Trail

  • Puerco Pueblo

  • Blue Mesa

  • Crystal Forest

  • Giant Logs

  • Long Logs


Wilcox: Chiricahua National Monument, Wilcox, AZ

Pets are allowed on the lower canyon trails like the Sugarloaf Mountain trail and the Natural Bridge Trail. Other trails are prohibited in order to ensure the safety of wildlife.

Manzanar National Historic Site, Independence, CA

This site is to remember the Japanese-American citizens who were interned here during World War II. This site only allows dogs if they are on a leash.

Lake Tahoe, CA

80% of the Lake Tahoe National Historic Sit is run by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. It is this organization that determines where dogs can be allowed. Dogs are permitted almost anywhere in this national park except for designated swimming beaches and wildlife protected areas. You can see some of the wildlife in these photos. Dogs can go boating, and kayaking. They can swim at the Tallac Historic Site.
John Muir House

John Muir Historic Site, Martinez, CA

This park is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm. This area includes the home that John Muir lived in. Considered the father of the National Park Service, John Muir had a love of nature so great, he convinced Teddy Roosevelt to protect Sequoia, Kings Canyon, the Grand Canyon and Mount Rainier as national parks.

Redwood National Park, Crescent City, CA

Leashed dogs are allowed at Crescent Beach, Gold Bluff beach and the Freshwater Lagoon Spit. They can only access the Thomas Kuchel Visitor Center Parking Lot as well.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

This area that is best known for the Golden Gate Bridge also is very dog-friendly. This is one of the few national park areas that allow dogs to be off-leash as long as they are voice-controlled.

Areas Open For On Leash or Voice Control Dog Walking

Marin County
-Rodeo Beach
-Muir Beach
-Oakwood Valley Road to Alta Avenue
-Alta Ave. between Marin City/Oakwood Valley
-Homestead Valley
-Specific trails in Marin Headlands:
1. Coastal Trail from Golden Gate Bridge to junction with Wolf Ridge Trail;
2. Loop Trail from Rodeo Beach parking lot up Coastal Trail paved road (Old Bunker Road) near Battery Townsley and return to Rodeo Beach on paved road;
3. Wolf Ridge Loop (Coastal Trail to Wolf Ridge Trail; Wolf Ridge Trail to Miwok Trail; Miwok Trail back down to Coastal Trail).

San Francisco
-Fort Funston (excluding the 12-acre closure in northwest Ft. Funston)
-Ocean Beach (excluding the Plover Protection Area from Sloat Blvd. north to Stairwell 21 where leashes are required all year except from May 15 to July 1)
-Lands End
-Fort Miley
-Baker Beach, north of Lobos Creek
-Crissy Field (excluding the Wildlife Protection Area at the west end of Crissy field beach where leashes are required all year except from May 15 to July 1)
Parking Lots and Picnic Areas
Dogs must be on leash in picnic areas and parking lots at Baker Beach and Crissy Field.


Yosemite, CA

Pets are allowed in developed areas, on fully paved trails, and campgrounds. They also can be on the Meadow Look and Fog Mile fire roads in Wawona as well as Carlon Road, and on the Old Big Oak Flat Road between Hodgdon Meadow and Hazel Green Creek.

Black Canyon

Black Canyon of the Gunnison, CO

Black Canyon of the Gunnison's landscape was formed slowly by the action of water and rock scouring down through the hard Proterozoic crystalline rock.

Leashed pets are allowed on Rim Rock Trail, and Cedar Point Nature Trail. Also dogs can roam the North Rim Chasm Trail to the overlooks. Black Canyon also offers boarding services.
Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Mosca, CO

Pets are allowed in the main national park day use areas and the national preserve. All dogs must be on a leash and are not allowed in the back country.

Rocky Mountain National Historic Site

Rocky Mountains National Park, Estes Park, CO

Pets are permitted in the national park but are not permitted on trails or in the back country. This is due to the fact that dogs and cats are considered to be unnatural predators to some of the smaller wildlife and prey for larger carnivorous animals such as mountain lions and coyote packs.

Weir Farm National Historic Site, Wilton, CT

In June of 1882, painter J. Alden Weir boarded a train from New York bound for his modest farm among the hills of Branchville, CT. Once here, Weir and his family transformed their summer retreat into a creative refuge for friends and fellow artists. After Weir, artists Mahonri Young and Sperry Andrews lived and worked here, continuing the legacy of artistic expression that still inspires today.

Years later, painters Mahonri Young and Sperry Andrews lived there and painted. When Sperry and his wife became stewards of the property, the daughter of J. Alden Weir asked them to save her father's land, especially the pond that it was known for. As a result of the Andrews' preservation efforts, we know have most of the land that was part of the original farm to enjoy.

Weir Farm allows dogs on the property with no restrictions except for needing to be on a leash. Their hours of operation are from dawn to dusk.


Chattahoochee River, Sandy Springs, GA

Dogs are allowed on the trails as long as they are on a leash. The park is open from dawn to dusk year round.

Indiana Dunes

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Porter, IN

Dogs can be taken to the following areas:
  • Mount Baldy

  • Central Beach

  • Lakeview Beach

  • Kemil Beach

  • All hiking trails

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, West Branch, IA

This is President Hoover's birthplace. The president was born in a two room cottage which is still preserved today. Pets are allowed without restriction on the premises, but must be on a leash. This site also contains the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.

Fort Scott

Fort Scott National Historic Site, Fort Scott, KS

Fort Scott was first established in 1842 and limited to the area east of the Mississippi River. It played a fundamental role during the Civil War.

Pets are allowed on site but not allowed in the building. Hours of operation are:
8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. April-October and 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. from November-March.

Cumberland Gap

Cumberland Gap National Park, Middlesboro, KY

This park is know as the "First GreatGateway to the West". Modern day explorers and travelers stand in awe at this great gateway and the many miles of trails and scenic features found in the park.

Pets are welcome but must be on a leash or in a carrier at all times while in the park.

Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave National Park, Mammoth Cave, KY

ammoth Cave National Park preserves the cave system and a part of the Green River valley and hilly country of south central Kentucky. This is the world's longest known cave system, with more than 367 miles explored.

ets must be on a leash at all times at Mammoth Cave National Park. No pets are permitted in any cave with the exception of designated service animals.

Part II will be coming out next week. I hope you guys all enjoyed this and thank you for stopping in. Any feedback would be fantastic. Have a Happy Tuesday everyone!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Don't Have a Lost Dog!

Bowser, the dog that's pictured above, was lost in Ottawa, Canada on April 29 and lucky enough to have been found on May 5th. Many dogs out there are not as lucky as Bowzer. In fact, I got a call about a dog named Cassie who has been lost since April of this year. The owners loved their dog so much, they put an ad for her on Many times Cookie and Gigi have gotten away from me in her quest to chase the rabbit that she caught out of their eyes. I've been lucky enough to get them back in the next few minutes but the next time, that may not be the case.

Accidents happen but there are three ways I know that give you a better chance of bringing your dog back home.

1. If you were lucky, when you adopted your dog, the place may have put a microchip in the dog. Usually microchips are the size of a piece of long grain rice and can't be detected by the human eye. It is harmless to your dog's system.

2. If your dog has a microchip, it may be a good idea to have a tiny tattoo put on an inconspicuous part of his body. Although the idea of having permanent ink may be on the extreme side, but in cases where the dog has been stolen, it will be much easier to identify.

3. Whether or not your dog has a microchip or not, it's a good idea to have a dog identification tags. Microchips are great but many shelters have systems that will only read microchips that are compatible with their system. An I.D. tag with the owner's contact information will be a great aid in helping the shelter find the dog's owner.

Here are some websites that are great if you find yourself in this situation:

Lastly, I discovered this news story about a firefighter reuniting with the dog he had to give up five years ago. PA Fire Chief Reunited by Chance with Lost Dog.

Well, I hope you guys are having a great weekend. If you have any tips or comments you would like to add, jump right in. Thanks for stopping over here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I've always been one to have an adventurous side. I love roller coasters, think rock climbing is a blast and I'm always trying to find different ways that dogs like to have fun. I read about dogs water skiing. It's not as popular as reading about the dogs who surf but is fascinating nonetheless. I came across this dog named Duma. She hails from my home state and what fascinated me about this video was the fact that she can literally steer a boat just as a captain would. She's a Jack Russell Terrier and with that breed, they are well known for their energy levels.

Here is the news story where they talk about it in more detail. Also, you can visit her website, if you would like to check out more pictures. I hope you guys are all having a great week and I will be back to write more by the weekend. Thanks for stopping in.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Some of you may already have heard of Greenies. For those of you who haven't, Greenies are a snack that came because the creator's dog Ivan basically had bad breat and tartar. These were formulated as soft chews that look like toothbrushes. Owned by the Nutro Products Corporation.

The products have a devoted following. The downside is that they tend to be pricey but if it's impossible to brush your dog's teeth, this may be a good alternative. (My cat, Kat will not let me anywhere near her teeth so I think this product may be the right thing.) Also, the website offers you a free sample of the product. Find the samples here. I will be having a batch of them coming in and will let you know how they work for my dogs and Kat.

I would love to hear if any of you guys have tried these for your dog (or cat). I hope you all are having a good week. I'm off to school now. Thanks for stopping in and if you would like to read more about dental hygiene, check out this post

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Video of the Week: Best Friends

Hello Everyone!

I was doing research for ducks because I'm doing a farm scene animation and came across this video. It's too cute and only about a minute and 10 seconds long. I thought this would be a great way to jump start your week. Hope that you guys had a great weekend!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The World's Smallest Dog

Earlier this week, there was an article about Scooter. Scooter is a six-month old Maltese that has grown to be three inches high. He is the cutest little dog, and is about the size of a coffee cup. the owner has to put a special outfit on him to make sure she doesn't step on him. It's also impossible to find a leash for a dog that tiny so Scooter rarely goes on walks.

Tom ThumbThen, a couple of months ago, I was reading about Tom Thumb. He's a Chihuahua mix from Scotland who is barely four inches long. He turned out to be the runt of the litter. He's only about five months old so it's too soon to tell who's going to set the record.

While it's interesting to hear these stories, it makes wonder why there are so many people who want dogs small and will breed to get them extra-small. I know that there are times where dogs will naturally be that way and that's all well and good. Still, if you are going to mess with making them smaller, it's good to take into account how it will affect the dog.

Boo BooThe current record holder is a dog named Boo-Boo, a chihuahua from the U.S. Well, thanks for stopping in. Leave a comment, (you know I love them) and I'll catch you guys later.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dock Diving

Last year, I was at the Midwest Pet Expo and learned about this sport called Dock Diving. There were dogs such as Labrador Retrievers, Portugese Water Dogs and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers plus a couple of other breeds. Dock diving first began on ESPN's Great Outdoor Games in 2000 as a filler event. It was a huge phenomenon and clubs started sprouting all over the country, and in other parts of the world.

It's set up similar to a platform that is shaped like a dock. The dogs stand on the dock and an owner will grab a floatable toy shaped like a cylinder and throw it really far ahead into the water. The dog does a running jump and leaps into the water after the toy. This is known as Horizontal Dock Diving, Some dogs can jump over 25 feet. One dog owner is hoping his dog will reach 28 feet.

There is another aspect of the sport where the dogs go for height as you will notice in the video below. This is a new sport where innovations are constantly being made. The third type of dock diving is over water catching. It's the most difficult because the toy will be thrown in the air and the dog has to catch it in mid-jump before it hits the water.

Dogs who are best in agility are great candidates for this sport. A love of water is one of the most important factors in getting your dog to participate. One of the benefits of this sport is that it doesn't take alot of time to learn as a sport. It's a great way to exercise your dog and enjoy the summer. If you'd like to learn more about the sport or where you can catch some events, you may want to visit these websites:

Dock Dogs
Splash Dogs

Well guys thanks for stopping in. If any of you all have had a dog in this sport I would love for you to share. As always, don't be shy about leaving a comment. Happy Friday TKD readers and I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dog in Every Language

Traveling DogSometimes you find yourself travelling to an exotic place and may wonder what a certain word means in the language. For all the dog lovers out there, here's a list of how the word dog looks in other countries.

Traditional Chinese
Hindi कुत्ता
Persian سگ

Just so you know, some of the words are the same for more than one country, for example: Norway and Denmark.
If anyone would like to add their own thoughts, jump in on the comments section.

Well, I hope you all get over the hump day quickly. Have a great one all and thanks for stopping in.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Follow up

Yesterday morning, Cookie went to the doctor for her follow-up. Some of you may have read this previous post. Even though, I've noticed an improvement, it was good to hear things straight from the doctor herself.

After testing her out the doctor concluded that her CCL is partially torn but is forming scar tissue over it. It will take some time for Cookie to get back to herself but whether we take the conservative approach or surgical approach, Cookie will never be 100%, like she was. Still, from this diagnosis, it makes complete sense to go the non-surgery route.

So, where does she go from here? Well, the doctor prescribed more anti-inflammatory medication. I'll be back to being able taking her on walks and to help heal faster and stronger. Also, I'm going to be taking her to the local dog beach to get back on track. As I write this, I feel a huge sigh of relief. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few weeks. I hope that none of you guys are ever in this situation.

Well guys, thanks for stopping in. I love to hear from you as always and I hope you have a great week.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pet Airways

A few months ago, I was watching the news and learned about a company called Pet Airways. It was a company founded by a couple who wanted to have their pet Zoe, a Jack Russell terrier fly on a plane being in the cabin and not the cargo department. Zoe, was the type of dog that was too big to fit under the seat. From that idea, Pet Airways came to be.

It is an airline exclusively to fly pets (usually cats and dogs). They fly to five destinations in the U.S.

  • Chicago

  • Denver

  • Los Angeles

  • New York (Republic Airport)

  • Washington D.C.

Their planes are Beech 1900 propeller planes that have been specially adjusted to store pets in their pet carriers. Each plane will carry up to 19 pets. The company takes pride in giving great customer service. Every destination has a pet lounge for their "pawsengers". One of the best things is the airline provides free pet carriers for your pets. They account for pets of every size in the plane so if you have a larger pet, they will keep a spot open.

To book a successful trip for your pet on this airline, it's best to do it in advance. Pet Airways designates certain days for travel to and from the destination you are going to. For example, I did a mock reservation from Chicago to New York. I needed to have my pet depart on a Friday and return on a Tuesday. Also, you may have to wait a while until you pick your pet from the airport. For example, if that mock reservation I did was real, I would have to had dropped my dog off by 9:00 a.m. and pick her up at no earlier than 7:15 p.m. in New York. From what I gathered on the website, they factor potty breaks, eating, and the fact that they do not fly between midnight and dawn because they want their staff to get adequate rest to be in the best shape for your pets.

You are required to have a certificate of health from your vets stating that your pet has its shots up to date. Ir can't be more than 14 days old. They will let you exchange as long as it is 7 days or longer before you were set to leave. Prices start at $149 RT. It's important to remember that just like regular flights, these flights can be delayed if the weather is not agreeing.

Their website is definitely customer oriented. They have an option for humans to book their flights separately through alternate carriers. Also, they have a special customer club that one can join for $29.99/year membership and even offer a pet store online. If you would like to learn more about this company visit Pet Airways Website

Thank you all for stopping in. If any of you guys have tried this airline, I would love to hear how your experience was. I hope you all have a great week. :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dogs in the News: Still Shocked!

Just when I thought the news was nutty enough, here's another one that hit me on top of the head like that apple that hit Issac Newton.

One of my friends at Twitter told me about a dog that was left tied to a tree when she was giving birth to puppies. Can you believe it? And guess what breed of dog this is? Yes, a Staffordshire Terrier. It never ceases to amaze me how thoughtless and callous some people can be towards dogs. Why in the world could they not drop the mother-to be at a shelter?

Suffice it to say, Olive (named by the RSPCA) are all doing ok. There was a good samaritan that took her to the West Hatch Animal Center in Somerset England. Thank goodness for that person. If you would like to see the whole story, check it out at this website.

Hsppy Friday to you all. It's time for me to get back to my schoolwork. Thanks for stopping in.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Winner of Three Month Giveaway

Hello TKD Readers!

Congratulations to Katherine!
She is the winner of the Dog Pedometer as part of the three month anniversary. Results were chosen through and I numbered the entries from earliest to latest. I will try to have another contest in the next couple of months with more prizes the next time around. Thank you guys and for your support of Too Kool Doggies.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Website of the Week

There's a special website that I discovered about four months ago. It's called Cute Overload.

The photos and videos are high quality. Their photos are so vivid, they capture exactly what the animal is thinking. If you find yourself having a stressful day and just want something to lighten up, this site will put a smile on your face. Here are some of my favorite photos and one of the videos from the site:

Dog Swimming
Dog Taking a Swim


Myron and Ethel
Myron and Ethel


"Blue" Part of their July 4th Feature

Pug from Portland, OR pushes "babies"

Visit Cute Overload

A huge THANK YOU for all of you guys who have entered our 3 month giveaway. Today is the last day so if you want to enter check out the post. Hope you all have a great day and thanks for stopping in. If you're inclined, drop a comment before you go. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Take a Hike

Nature Dog
Summer is one of the best times to go hiking with your dog. It's ideal exercise for a dog because the rough terrain gets the pooch in touch with their primal side. There are hiking trails all over the country. It's a great way to destress in nature and get some fresh air. Still, whenever you hike with your dog, you need to take some precautions:

1. Be sure your dog is on a leash. Some dogs are trained well enough to be off-leash but the minute they catch sight of a wild animal, they could bolt off.

2. Bring adequate water for the both of you. There are some great dog water bowls made for active dogs. They are made of nylon and have a waterproof liner. They cost around $ 5 to 15 USD. You can get a glimpse of one here.

3. Build your dog up slowly. Hiking is more of a physical challenge than walking for humans and their canine counterparts. Pace yourself at first. Dogs only cool themselves through their paws and by panting. With all the fur, they are can tire pretty quickly if they are not used to a lot of exercise.

4. Bring a first aid kit and a cloth to clean off their paws. It's possible for the bottom of their paws to get really scraped up walking on the rough terrain. Personally, I like Bag Balm. It was originally created for horses, but is great for helping cuts on pets to heal. Also, Neosporin works but is not as thick. Really, it's about what works for your dog.

5. Take a dog in the early morning or after 3pm in the afternoon. The heat and sun won't be as strong.

6. Be prepared for fleas and ticks. If you don't have a preventative on your pet like Frontline or Advantage, you may want to at least bring some flea and tick spray and a pair of tweezers to remove ticks.

7. Some people like dog backpacks to use on their walks. Make sure the backpack is in proportion to the size of your dogs. I think backpacks are best for dogs such as Golden Retrievers.

If you like to learn more about hiking, you may want to check out these websites:

K-9 Trailblazers

or these books:

Hiking Dog
If hiking is not your thing, you may want to take a look at these other posts about dog activities:

As always I'd love to hear from you guys, please feel free to leave a comment and have a great day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Interview with Aimee Hoover

Good Morning TKD Readers!

I am happy to welcome Aimée Hoover here today. She is a dog portrait artist working out of Southern California. Painting professionally since 1992, she is known for her commissioned portraits. She also has a blog called Dog Arteest.

I first learned about her popular Twitter portraits, in which she gives her followers a chance to win a custom portrait of their dog. What makes her Twitter portraits special is the fact that she paints all of them in less than 140 minutes. Below, you will see some of her extraordinary paintings.

Thank you Aimée for taking some time out to visit Too Kool Doggies.

How old were you when you started painting?

If finger painting doesn't count (and it should), I was drawing at a pretty young age. Maybe four?

young Aimée
Aimée's Early Sketches

What do you love the most about your job?

I think I am supposed to say something like "being able to paint for a living" or "working with dogs." While those are both true, what I like best is connecting with people. Like what we're doing right now. This is fun.

First Painting
Sonny and Honey, her First Portrait

What is the largest size portrait you have ever done? How long did it take you to complete it?

I believe the largest commissioned painting is "Beau," a gorgeous boxer I just painted last month. His portrait was 52"(h) x 36"(w) and took about a month and a half to paint. But I have a 48" x 60" canvas rolled up somewhere of a large grey dog I did for myself years ago.

Aimee (left) with Beau's Owner

What are some ways you keep your creative juices flowing?

Office work. It sounds counterintuitive, I know. But, I paint in big bursts then go dormant for a few days. During that studio down time, I work on the business end of my business; doing office work, responding to emails, working on my blog, even twittering. Those are all things that balance my painting bursts so I don't burn out. It's kind of like when you have two re-chargeable batteries for your flashlight or drill: you use one while you charge the other. While I work on running my business, it allows me to juice up, creatively. Vacation helps too.


What is the most unusual or non-traditional pet you've painted?

They weren't commissioned pet portraits, but I've painted a walrus, a warthog, a tree frog, a prairie dog, a cow, a pig and a few fish. And a rabbit. I would love to paint someone's lizard or something prickly. It would be fun to do a big portrait of something without fur.

Horse Portrait

About how long on average does it take you to paint a portrait?

That's definitely the number one thing people want to know about what I do. On average, most portraits take about a four to six weeks to complete. I am able to do my Twitter portraits in less than two and a half hours strictly because I get to choose each winning photo. I can only pull that 140 minute time constraint off with very specific photos.

Twitter Sketch
Sketches of a Twitter Portrait

What is the most challenging thing about the work you do?

There is a period of time during the painting process where I flat out become stuck in the portrait and don't know how to fix it. It happens about 75% of the way through and it happens to me with each painting. I don't know why, and I always manage to work through it, but it happens every time even after close to 100 portraits under my belt. The second most challenging thing is not watching a lot of TV during the day, naturally.

Pepe and Pancho

What are some things you like to do when you're not working?

I like taking walks with my friends around the neighborhood, reading books, working out, and playing with my two cats. Yes, I am a dog-loving, dog-painting, cat owner (for now).


What advice would you give to fellow artists?

If you want to earn a living as an artist, I feel that stellar customer service and communication are crucial. Artists have a reputation for being flaky, so I like to pleasantly surprise my clients by being as reliable as possible.

Here's my top three pieces of advice:

  • Be professional.

  • Even if you are an artist on the side, if you want to sell your work, it's a business. So act accordingly: do what you say you are going to do, treat your clients right and listen to them. You will have more work if you do.

  • Be approachable and friendly.

  • While my prices aren't sky high, I'm not cheap either. Occasionally my clients tell me they almost went with a less expensive artist but decided to go with me in the end--simply because I was nicer! They liked my painting style, but what ended up getting me the job was actually being friendly. Seems like common sense to be polite and kind, but then again there are artists out there pushing away willing clients without knowing it.

  • Help others along.

  • Back when I started out, I emailed other artists for advice. One person responded. That meant a lot to me so I always respond to pet portrait artists who contact me with direct questions about what I do. Even the really sneaky ones who don't tell me they are pet portrait artists, and request I send my marketing materials to their boyfriend's email address. (Yes, I can tell.) There is plenty of work to go around and each artist has a distinct style, so there's really no competition. Share what you learn. Help others.

What do you find most rewarding about the work you do?

When I sold my first painting right out of college (a landscape for $600), my dad thought that was just hilarious. He was completely supportive about my art degree and believed in me, but as a very practical, frugal man, he took great delight in knowing someone parted with a significant sum of their cold hard cash just to buy his daughter's painting. So, in a very twisted kind of way, the most rewarding thing about what I do is remind myself that my dad, who has since passed, is probably laughing uncontrollably at what I charge these days. Also, the idea that people trust me to capture the one thing many of them love most in the world. That feels good too.


Aimée, thanks again for stopping in to chat and sharing your beautiful portraits with us. As always, if any of you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave one at the bottom of this post. :)

You can learn more about Aimée by:

1. Visiting her website.
2. Checking out her blog.
3. Following her on Twitter!

* All portraits courtesy of Aimée Hoover.


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