Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Parade

Cookie, Gigi and Me

Cookie, Me and Gigi before the Parade

I've never been one who's been big on Halloween. I really hadn't done much with this holiday since I was a kid. Then one day, a couple of my friends convinced me to wear a costume. I discovered how much fun dressing up could really be.

A few weeks ago, I was in Target with my mom, we came across the pet Halloween costumes. Since Cookie barks like crazy at all of the trick or treaters, I thought it would be a good idea to have her dressed up. So Cookie will be a ladybug and Gigi will be a Pumpkin.

Flash forward to last Saturday. A local nursery was having a pet parade. There were over 81 dogs that participated. They took our picture. One of the dogs was Cinderella who won the Most Creative costume. Another dog, a Boston Terrier, was dressed for the Boston Tea Party, and received Most Breed Appropriate. It was on the cold side (48 degrees F, 9 degrees C) so I was all zipped up in the photos.

Cinderella with Pumpkin

Cinderella with her Pumpkin Coach

Below are some of those photos, I thought I would share.

An Astronaut with Gigi

Gigi talking to an Astronaut

Banana Dogs

Going As Bananas

Cub Fan

A True Cub Fan

Hot Dog

Hot Diggety Dog!

Monkey Dog

Monkey Dog

Super Dogs

A Pair of Super Dogs, both Boston Terriers!


Dan the Watch Dog, (pun intended!)

What are you all doing for Halloween this year? Well, whatever you do, I hope you all have a safe and happy one. Thanks for stopping in.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gigi After Dental Surgery

Hello Everyone! Just wanted to let you know that Gigi turned out to be a real trooper. Everything went ok. We still don't know what caused the tooth to crack but did learn that her tooth was like this for quite some time.

I will bringing her in for a follow up visit because the area that the tooth was removed from was large and she needed sutures. I also will be administering pain medication and antibiotics until the prescription runs out. Now that the initial medication has worn off, Gigi is feeling the soreness from the extraction. Still, even after all that, it was well worth it, and the peace of mind knowing she'll be more herself now is priceless.

Thanks again for stopping by. Have a great day.

Monday, October 26, 2009

An Extraction for Gigi


Last week, I was brushing the dogs' teeth. While I was working on Gigi, I was spot cleaning an area with the brush. I heard a click that sounded like something cracked. As it turned out, she did have a small crack in her teeth. I immediately called the doctor and set up an appointment.

As it turned out, she had a slab crack. It's a rare occurrence where a dog has a cracked tooth, as in Gigi's case. It's even rarer when the dog is as young as she is (two years old). Tuesday, I'll be taking her in for a teeth cleaning, where part of the process is putting the dog under anesthesia. As part of the preparation, I have to give her 1.5 tablets of Clavamox (amoxicillin trihydrate clavulante potassium is the scientific name) two times a day with food.

It turns out that smaller breeds such as the Chinese Crested, Poodles are prone to having bad teeth. Hairless dogs like Chinese Crested and Xoloitzcuintle have a gene mutation that causes them to be hairless. It's that same gene mutation that causes their teeth to be weak. With smaller breeds like Lhasas and poodles, which Gigi is a mix of both, it seems that it's due to the teeth being spaced more closely together and as a result, plaque builds up in greater amounts.

Strange as it may seem, Greyhounds are also prone to having bad teeth. Many Greyhounds are given soft food as their meal during their racing days. As a result, they are going to have more plaque and future teeth problems. When they retire, some of them will have weakened teeth.

For those of you who may want to learn more about oral hygiene for canines, you may want to check out:

Dental Hygiene

Thank you all for stopping by. I will write a follow-up post to let you all know how Gigi's surgery/cleaning goes. Bye for now.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bo Obama Six Months Later

Bo Obama

Official White House Portrait

In April, we got to see Bo Obama become the newest member of the White House. Since then, he's been a busy pup.

In the summer, the White House released an official portrait of Bo. Not only does he have a portrait, but he also has a special baseball card and also a greeting card.

In August, he accompanied the First Family to Martha's Vineyard. There's even a Cappy, Bo's BroTwitter account in his honor which you can find here.

Cappy, Bo's Brother

Most importantly, Bo turned a year-old. He had the opportunity to celebrate with his brother Cappy. Bo's birthday was October 9th, the same day the President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Here's wishing you a great weekend. As always, share your favorite comment or thought about our First Dog.

Related Posts
Bo's Arrival
Checking in with Bo

Monday, October 19, 2009

Scared Dogs

This weekend, I was housesitting where some of you may remember Understanding Fancy. Dogs will show physical signs when they are startled..

Some signs are:
  • The hair on their back raises up

  • Their ears are down

  • Their tail is tucked between their legs

  • The dog is barking incessantly

  • The dog is shaking

As you know, some dogs may be more fearful than others. If you are in a situation and the dog is afraid, the best thing to do is ignore the dog and do not make eye contact. Many times, dogs will view that as a threat. Keeping calm and not giving a dog attention can be just as useful as positive reinforcement. What's important is not to show you are scared yourself as dogs have the ability to smell fear.

As a result, Fancy did get better with me. She wasn't barking like she had in the past, and although she was still scared at times, I felt that at least the environment had become less adversarial. Sometimes, progress with dogs must be done in baby steps but like all situations the end result is worth it.

Well, I hope you all are having a great Monday. Here's another post you may want to check out:
When Your Dog Is Fearful

Friday, October 16, 2009

Famous Dogs: Hachikō


The Real Hachikō

Hachikō is one of the most famous dogs in Japan ever. He didn't live in this century but his life was that of a legend.

Hachikō was born in Udate, Japan in 1923. He was first brought to Tokyo in 1924. He and his owner, Mr. Eisaburo Ueno, were inseparable friends right from the start. Every day, Mr. Ueno would go to work at Imperial University where he worked as a professor. Each day "Hachi" would go along. Upon returning, the professor would find the dog patiently waiting at Shibuya Station, tail wagging. This happy routine continued until one fateful day in 1925, when the professorhad a stroke on the job and unfortunately died before he could return home.

When this happened, Hachikō was taken to a new home. However, no one understood how strong the bond he had with his master was. He kept running away, first to the house where his master lived, and then, realizing that he wasn't back, he ran to the station at the precise time the train his master's train would arrive. Hachikō waited for 10 years and passed away on March 8, 1935.

Soon, many of the Shibuya Station commuters noticed this dog. There was curiosity on why he was there and one of the professor's students followed him to the Kobayashi home where he learned the history of Hachikō's life. From his frequent visits, he wrote a bunch of articles on Akitas as well as Hachikō. Before these articles were written, there were only 30 Akitas in existence in Japan. This dog brought the breed into the spotlight

In 1932 one of these articles, published in Tokyo's largest newspaper, threw the dogHachiko Statue into the national spotlight. Hachikō became a national sensation. His faithfulness to his master's memory impressed the people of Japan as a spirit of family loyalty all should strive to achieve. His story is frequently told to children of all ages by parents and teachers alike. He is such a national treasure, a bronze statue was erected in his honor at the Shibuya Train Station. This was in 1934, a year before he died.

The most famous examples are Shibuya Station has become a famous tourist destination with 2.4 million travelers going through there each day. Every year on April 8th, there is a special ceremonly to honor this dog's life.

There are many books that have been written and movies dedicated to Hachikō. There's even a Scooby Doo cartoon called Scooby Doo and the Samurai Sword. On December 18, a new movie starring Richard Gere will be coming out. It is a remake of the 1987 original Japanese movie called Hachikō Monogatari, a huge hit in the country of Japan. You can see the trailer below:

So my question to you all is have any of you seen this spot it Japan? I wish I could say I have. One day, I hope to go. Well, thanks for stopping in. I hope your weekend is off to a good start.

If you would like to learn more about this be sure to visit:

HHachikō's Facebook Page
Inspiration for the Movie
Japan National Tourism Organization
Hachikō: A Dog's Story Release Dates
Wikipedia Article

Monday, October 12, 2009

interview with Pam Gaber of Gabriel's Angels

Gabriel and Pam

Gabriel and Pam

There are so many times I've read the news and hear horrible stories of child abuse. One organization is working to help children overcome this nightmare. It's called Gabriel's Angels. Pam Gaber is the president and founder of this extraordinary organization, so please join your hands together and welcome her to Too Kool Doggies.

Q: How did Gabriel's Angels first begin?

A: After working several years in corporate America and relocating to little girlArizona, I wanted to get into volunteering as a way to give back to society. I started volunteering at the Safe Haven Crisis Center in Phoenix. During that time, I adopted Gabriel as a puppy. In working with these children, I would always tell them about Gabriel and what happened in our adventures every day. They were really interested in what I had to say and always asked about Gabriel every time I came to see them.

I asked the program advisors if I could bring Gabriel to the Christmas party and they allowed it. What I found is that these children transformed in his presence. Usually, children of abuse are angry but Gabriel brought out the kinder, gentler and happier side hidden inside.

I looked into seeing if there were any therapy dogs used to help abused children and there was no model for this type of therapy out there. On May 12, 2000, Gabriel's Angels came to be by being incorporated as a non-profit organization.

Q: When you first got Gabriel did you plan on making him a therapy dog or was it a natural progression for him?

A: He had always had a calm nature so I knew he would be a good match for this type of work. When he was a year old, he took classes to become a therapy dog. After he completed basic obedience training, part of what he had to learn to be a therapy dog was to be desensitized to certain sounds. An example of this would be going to the local PetSmart and stand by the electric door and watch what happened. This would be at least 30 times till he got used to it and didn't react. After being certified as a therapy dog, he started coming to the crisis center.

Q: When Gabriel first started doing this did his personality change?

A: Oh yes. When he's at home, he's just like a regular dog. Yet, when I put that vest on him, he becomes more calm and has the demeanor of a dog who has a job to do. Gabriel has such a keen sense for this, whenever he enters a room, he will go to the child who is most upset and sit with that child to comfort them for as long as they need it. It's amazing, but he just seems to know.

Q: How long does it take a dog to become a therapy dog? How does a person go about doing it?

A: It really depends on the dog. For one thing, they must be a year old. If they are Group Photovery mature and have completed their basic obedience, they can be certified as a therapy dog in as little as two months. The training they do is intensive so for other dogs who have completed basic, it may take as long as four months. We have the same dog and owner team visit the children 1-2 times a week. Dogs can be trained through the Delta Society or Therapy Dog Inc.

Q: What effects have you seen in children who have interacted with these therapy dogs?

A: We have our program monitored by behavior specialists using a pre-evaluation and post-evaluation process. There have been different types of outcomes. The short-term outcomeBoy with dog is the child will have a great day. The mid-term outcome which usually affects children from infants to age 5 or 6 is they have the ability to form empathy, compassion and trust. These characteristics are learned behavior and they are not developed, most children who are abused will never experience it. The long-term outcome of therapy dogs with abused children is that as teenagers, they know that abusing a dog is wrong and will never do it to a dog again. Many had done it in the past because they were around fighting dogs or had parents who abused the dog as well as the kid. Because of being in this program, they know the difference and respond to a dog with empathy and compassion.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about working with at-risk children?

A: I get to see the special connection with children and animals firsthand. These dogs bring hope, light and love to their lives.

Q: What does your organization hope to achieve for the future? Do you plan to expand?

A: We are currently working in the cities of Phoenix and Tuscon. There are many steps an organization must take to expand. We are 100% philanthropic and are extremely dependent on our volunteers. We hope to branch out into other cities in Arizona at this time.

Q: What are ways that people can help?

A: Volunteering is one way. Gabriel has inspired people to do volunteering in a difficult environment because it is an activity they can do with their dogs. We are lucky to get our volunteers through the media, networking events and word of mouth. Our volunteers are the backbone of our organization and we have two full-time volunteer coordinators in Phoenix and one part-time one working out of Tuscon.

Donations are also a great way to help our organization. We have a special donation page on or website.

Q: What is the most valuable lesson working with therapy dogs has taught you?

A: Never underestimate the power of a therapy dog! They know what they are doing. Four years ago, when Gabriel was fighting cancer, the children were always asking when would he be coming? There is such a strong bond that develops with these dogs and the children they nurture.

Q: What lies ahead for Gabriel?

A: Although Gabriel is being treated for cancer, he comes in to work just as he did in the past. Now that he's almost eleven-years-old, it amazes me that he's become more intuitive with age. Someday, he will retire but as long as he loves it, he's going to keep doing it.

Thank you Pam for taking the time to share your story with me and my readers.

If you would like to connect with Gabriel's Angels in the social media arena or through their website, you may want to check out these links:

Friday, October 9, 2009

101 Dalmations: The Musical

Dalmations in the Musical

Photo Courtesy of 101 Dalmations the Musical

101 Dalmations is the newest musical that will be coming to Broadway. It will be produced by Jerry Zaks and Dennis DeYoung. Some of you rock and roll fans may know Dennis DeYoung from the 70's band Styx. All the original music in this show will be written by him. Starting October 13, this musical will be touring the country. It plans on visiting 24 cities in the United States starting out in Minneapolis and finishing up in Los Angeles.

This show was first produced by Luis Alvarez from Madrid, Spain back in Fall of 2001. It was a smash hit and was one of the most successful productions in Spain ever. Now, he is working as a consultant to help this production duplicate the success of Spain.

There will be a total of fifteen dalmations. The youngest dog Rascal, who is about six months and the oldest goes up to six years. They are all shelter dogs who will have been specially trained by Joel Slaven, one of the best known animal trainers in show business. The training process for the dogs took over three months. The dogs are taught to sit, find their mark (just like any actor would), and leave the stage.

Any time 101 Dalmations had been shown in the past, there was a huge rise in adoptions for the Dalmations breed. As a result, many of them wound up in shelters because the people who adopted them didn't have the patience for this particular type of breed or the dogs didn't blend react well to being around kids.

The producers and trainers are going to work hard to make sure all the dogs will not have the same fate as their predecessors. They will be up for adoption after the show ends. If there are any dogs left over, Mr. Slaven will have them live at his ranch, which is a haven for all kinds of animals.

If you would like to learn more about this show, please visit their website. You can find ticket information here. Their information is great if you are planning a trip. You may also want to check out this article by Samantha Critchell.

Here are some related posts:
Backyard Breeders
Oodle Dogs

I hope you all are enjoying the weekend. If any of you guys are planning to see this show, I would love to hear about it. I may see it when it hits Chicago. Also, don't forget leave a commentfor your chance to win a free digital photo keychain as part of TKD's six-month celebration. Thanks for stopping in. :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blog Posts

Hello Readers!

As you all know, I've been going to school part-time, working and blogging. After attending school for a month, I've found that I need to put more time towards my schoolwork since both classes are require lots of time. As a result, I've decided to cut back on my posting so that you can read articles on Fridays and Mondays.

If anyone has questions, just drop me a comment or e-mail me. Thank you all, and I will be back on Friday. Hope you guys are having a great week.


Monday, October 5, 2009

In The Doghouse: Jay Leno and Chris Rock

Doghouse Dwellers
(Note: Due to being incensed with the following, this post is written in a sarcastic tone).

Just when I thought life would go on and the Michael Vick saga would be a distant memory, Jay Leno decided to have a talk on "Politics" with Chris Rock on his show. One of their topics discussed was Michael Vick. This is an excerpt from their "brilliant" chat.

Jay Leno: "It's amazing to me that you mistreat a dog and you lose your career and go to jail for two years."

Chris Rock: "What the hell did Michael Vick do, man? A dog, a pit bull ain't even a real dog. A pit bull, that's the white stuff. Dogs are white mans best friend - dogs have never been good to black people."

I'd be very surprised if either of these guys are dog owners. Even so, I would think a person who doesn't own a dog could at least see the viciousness and senselessness of what Vick and his cohorts did. If Jay spent a day at Bad Rap or Dogtown, I think it would be apparent that Michael Vick's sentence was plenty fair. Sometimes, I think it wasn't harsh enough. For a guy who is playing professional football again and has an endorsement from Nike no less, I'd say he's pretty lucky compared to many others who have been in his shoes.

In response to Chris Rock's comments, if he can't tell that a dog is a pit bull, here is a visual aid:



Pit Bull

Even if Chris Rock was probably generalizing, he should know better. It's too bad either did not have the sense to realize that when this interview occurred. Yes, they are comedians and are going to stir the pots. However, they are public figures and should remember that some things are going rub people the wrong way.

Cruelty of any kind should not be tolerated or made light of. It's really tragic when you think about it.

What are your thoughts on this?
Related Posts
Michael Vick, Does He Deserve a Second Chance
A Fresh Start, But Has He Learned?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Our Six-Month Celebration

I've always been a naturally shy person. For me, writing this blog has helped me get out of my comfort zone and take more chances in life. The only writing I really did before blogging was writing letters and e-mails to friends, and participating in message board forums. For all of you who come in and read this blog, I thank you with all of my heart. For those of you who have left comments, I can't begin to tell you how much reading all of them has made my day.

It's hard to believe that six months has passed since my first blog post. This blog started as part of a class I was taking at the community college, and it has been going strong since.

Here are some interesting facts about Too Kool Doggies:

  • There's been a total of 116 posts (not including this one)
  • Our RSS subscribers has increased 250%.
  • Too Kool Doggies blog has been read in 45 countries and 28 different languages.
  • I had my first one-on-one interview with portrait artist, Aimée Hoover.
Moving forward, I am going to taking some steps to help improve my blog. I will feature more interviews, book reviews, podcasts and posts that are useful to dog owners. I will be making moderate changes to the design. I'm also looking for guest bloggers. If any of you are interested, please e-mail me at I am going to do more giveaways, including one that will be coming up this weekend.

In the meantime, I'd like to share with you some of my popular and favorite posts that you may have missed or would like to read again. These are from oldest posts to most recent.
Workouts for Owners and Dogs
The Misunderstood Pit Bull
The Benefits of Walking Your Dog Part I
My First Podcast
If I Can't Have A Dog
Dog Fonts
The Benefits of Walking Your Dog Part II
Palladia, the Anti-Cancer Drug
Loew's Surf Dog Competition
Interview with Aimée Hoover
Pet Airways
Dog in Every Language
National Parks Part 1, (Part 2 will be coming in the next couple of weeks)
Pet Photography
Dogs in the News: Coming Home
There's an App For That

That's enough for now. I would include all of them but could you imagine how long this post would be? What is your favorite? Thanks again for stopping by.


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