Sunday, February 28, 2010

An Afternoon At The Pet Boutique

Pet boutiques have become all the rage these days. Not only do they sell unique items for your dog or cats, they have special pet events. Pet boutiques differ from pet superstores like Petco or Petsmart because they will have one of a kind items. Yesterday, I took my mom and headed to Zane and Zara's in Chicago.

Our Arrival

When we arrived in the late morning, we were happily greeted by Zane (a gorgeous boxer) and Zara (a darling pit bull mix). They were very sweet and delightful to be around. They were well-behaved too. They have a little spot behind the counter where they relax during customer visits. We had initially come to see the different Pugs that they were featuring but had arrived a little to early. So we decided to look around instead.

A Treasure Chest Of Goodies

Nothing can be more fun that just looking. There's so many products created for pets these days that you always discover something new. I found a floatable frisbee made of fabric, organic dog food, and cool dog bowls. I would have picked up the floatable frisbee except that neither Cookie and Gigi have ever been interested in chasing flying discs.

Still, I did find some fantastic goodies like a Chicago Cubs leash and collar combo for both dogs as well as some of their favorite dog treats. I also picked up some all-natural cat treats for my cat. Since we had time till the Pug rescue event started, we grabbed some lunch at the local cafe.

Pug Time

After our delightful lunch, we headed back and got to meet a couple of the dogs from the Northern Illinois Pug Rescue. George was a stray who was being fostered at the time. He was a spunky little guy who was just so excited to be there.

Tracy, was an older dog and a little more reserved. It turned out that she was blind and because of that would require special needs. She was a sweet girl who just needed a little extra assurance as some dogs take more time to get acclimated to their surroundings. She still was as adorable as ever. Pugs always make me smile and laugh. One day, I may get one but for now, I'll enjoy them as much as I can.

After seeing the pugs, it was time for us to head back home. This picture of Zane and Zara, sums it all up. They don't say it's a dog's life for nothing. It was a fun trip and opened my eyes to what you can discover in a smaller, niche pet store.

Let's Discuss

Have you ever been to a pet boutique like Zane and Zara's? Do you shop at these stores in person or online?
Related Posts
Interview with Anthony Holloway from K-9 Cuisine

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Treat For Gigi


Ever since Gigi joined the family, she's had a sensitive stomach. Whereas Cookie could eat almost anything under the sun, Gigi, would be a little gun shy when it comes to trying new things.

Last year, I was shopping at Petsmart, I came across some dog treats by Newman's Own Organics. They were chicken flavored and used barley flour as the main ingredient. When I first gave it to Gigi and Cookie, Gigi loved it. This was a huge deal because she is so picky. What's even stranger was the fact that Cookie, the dog that could eat almost anything did not like these at all. If she did eat one, it was because she was coaxed into it.

Nevertheless, we wound up saving these for Gigi and getting Cookie her own special treat. Some treats they both like, but this one will always be special because my finicky dog truly enjoyed them. If you have a picky dog you may want to give these a shot.

Let's Discuss!

Do you have a dog who is really selective on what you give them? What kind of treats work for you?

Related Posts
Homemade Dog Treats Part I
Homemade Dog Treats Part II

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Furminator Product Review

FURminator Large Yellow deShedding Tool with 4-Inch Edge

Recently, I received a Furminator deshedding tool from the company. They were generous enough to accommodate my review request. Cookie and Gigi are the types of dogs that don't shed, and they are taken to the groomers regularly. So who was let behind? That's right, Kat!

At First Glance

Looking at the Furminator Deluxe, I could see that it was made to be sturdy. There was no sign of flimsiness at all. It had a firm hand and the blade area had metal teeth that were held securely in place. The handle is contoured so it will stay securely in your hand with little rubber dots strategically placed that reinforces the grip. One of the nicest features on this tool, is that you can remove the hair without having to touch the blade. What happens is that you push the black lever and it will push the hair off the bottom. The blade becomes totally hair-free.

Furminator vs. My Pin Brush

Both worked on Kat, however the amount of hair removed by the Furminator was about five times as much. One thing the package states is to be gentle with the product. It is also not to be used to remove mats from your cat's fur. The cat should have clean and mat-free fur.

Kat is pretty touchy when I groom her usually. She has so much hair that I'm lucky if she'll sit still five minutes without scratching me or running off. She likes it but she's the type that can only take so much. Nevertheless, it didn't pull on the hair yet removed it effortlessly. With static being in the air, the hair looked like a little pompom in the comb. Cleaning the hair out of the tool was a breeze.


Well, after brushing Kat last night I noticed that when I pet her, I don't have little hairs accumulating on my hands. Also, she's not leaving behind clumps of fur.


This is a great tool for removing excess hair from your cat's coat, without harming the skin. It's important to have a gentle hand. Although the price is a little steep (it is available for $36.49USD at Amazon), the quality of the workmanship is worth the investment.

If you would like to learn more about this product, please visit the Furminator website. If you have a cat and would like to read more about them, check out the I Have Cat blog.

A special thanks to Beth Hoops from Furminator for helping to make this review possible.

Other Product Reviews
Woof Hoofs

Monday, February 22, 2010

One Man's Special Tribute To A Dog

Senator George Graham Vest

Hello Everyone!

It's time for a podcast. I found this speech given by George Graham Vest while I was doing a project for my podcasting class. I chose another poem but never forgot how special and powerful this speech was. It was given by George Graham Vest in 1855. This speech helped convict the man who killed his client's dog. A statue of the dog is pictured at right.

If you would like to see the speech online, please check out Wikipedia
Get the Podcast!

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Grandma Files Petition Against Pitbulls After Grandson Adopts Them

David Winegar and his three pups Photo Resource: Bismarck Tribune

The Lowdown

There are some stories you hear about that make you scratch your head. I certainly was doing that when I heard about Patty Robbins. Her grandson, David Winegar, recently adopted three pit bull puppies that were only one-month old. Instead of congratulating her grandson, she filed a petition at the city hall in Regent, North Dakota.

Unfortunately, one of her dogs was attacked by a pit bull. Mrs. Robbins fears that one of her grandson's four sons would be attacked by one of his pit bulls. Nevertheless, she was able to obtain 43 signatures on her petition to ban Pitbulls and Rottweilers. Regent only has 200 people living in it. Her grandson did not hear this directly through her but through the grapevine.

They are close and both hope that their relationship survives this. Does he see his Grandma often or a few times a year? Part of me wonders why she didn't talk to him directly about how she feels about the dog breed. The other part of me wonders why the grandson had to get the pitbull breed when he knew that his grandmother had suffered a traumatic incident in the past?

Still, I can't help feel for the grandson. He adopted young puppies, not dogs. How you raise your dogs is just as important as what type of dog you own. It's not fair to the puppies and the grandmother is assuming the worst conclusion.

What Next?

If the law passes, David Winegar will have to pack up and move to another town. Having four young sons, their lives will be disrupted so he'll be able to keep his dogs. I can't help but thinking the grandmother has jumped the gun. I only hope there can be a way to resolve this so both of them benefit.

Read More About It

If you would like to read more about this in its entirety, check out the Bismarck Tribune.

Let's Discuss

What do you think about this? Do you feel for the grandmother or the grandson?

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How Dogs Are Participating in the 2010 Olympics

Photo Resource: Winnepeg Sun

For the Vancouver Olympics, some special workers will be standing by the sidelines. While fans are seeing Shaun White flipping on the halfpipe or the hockey teams competing in the medal finals, these dogs are ready to go. Here's what they will be doing:

Avalanche Dogs

With the terrain in Vancouver, avalanches are a common occurrence. So much so, that dogs have been trained to rescue people when they happen. All rescue dogs are certified by CARDA which stands for the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association. In order to be certified, one of the requirements is dogs must be able to find items buried 70cm (28 inches).
Ben and Murphy, Photo from VOA
Dogs have such a strong sense of smell, they can cover an 100km kilometer (62 miles) area in thirty minutes compared to humans which would take four hours. As part of their job, these ski patrol dogs are taught to ride on a chair lift, ride on a helicopter and other types of vehicles.

Security Dogs

Security dogs will be on hand to ensure the safety of the athletes and the spectators who will be cheering them on. The Royal Canadian Mountain Police will be providing the dogs to detect potential explosives if need be and keep everyone safe. Most dogs doing this are either German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers.

A local businessman will make sure that the dogs stay protected as well. Jim Slater who makes K9 Storm Vests is providing custom-made vests for the dogs. These dogs are made of Kevlar which helps repel bullets, knives and explosives. He came up with the idea 12 years ago when the jail riots were happening in Headingley, Manitoba.

Let's Discuss

Are any of you going to see the Vancouver Olympics in person this year? What's your favorite events? Mine has been the ice skating as well as the skiing and snowboarding.

For More Information

Avalanche Dogs On Alert
Q&A with the RCMP
Olympic Guard Dogs Sport Winnepeg Made Arnour

Related Posts
K9 Cops

Have a great day everyone.

Monday, February 15, 2010

George Washington and General Howe's Dog

Today, we celebrate President's Day in the United States. Many of our presidents have had dogs over the years. George Washington, our first president was known to be an avid dog lover and happened to also breed fox hounds. In his lifetime, he had owned over 50 dogs. One of his best known dogs was named Sweet Lips, a fox hound that had even accompanied him into battle.

The Battle of Germantown

On October 6, 1777, while the Americans were fighting the British in the battle of Germantown, a dog happened to wander over enemy lines. After examining its collar, it turned out that the dog belonged to General Howe.

Some of the soldiers wanted to keep it to have an upper hand over the British, however, George Washington refused. He believed that no dog shouldn't be away from his owner and wrote a letter to General Howe explaining how he was returning the dog back to him.

The Aftereffects

This is a significant story in history because after this instance General Howe's attitude changed towards the colonists. Even though he won the battle in Germantown, he didn't stay in the war much longer. William Howe was known to be indolent and laid back.Asking to be relieved on his duties on October 22, in response to the criticism of his fellow Englishmen, he asked to be relieved of his duties. By May of 1778, he resigned from his post. One wonders how much a factor George Washington's selfless act played into his decision.

Let's Discuss

What's your favorite historical story about dogs?

Learn More About This
George Washington and General Howe's Dog by Caroline Tiger

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Daily Puppy

Hello there. This week, I discovered a website called The Daily Puppy.It's a fun website that has the coolest pictures of different puppies. It has a section called the Puppy Showdown which one can vote on the puppy that you think is cuter. Plus it has a special section for those dogs that are grown up too.

With spring just around the corner, it's a popular time for getting puppies. What makes this website standout even more is the fact that it has some really informative articles on puppies as well. It's been awhile since they have written a new articles but the ones they have on there is great for reference.

See The Daily Puppy for yourself.

Let's Discuss!

What's your favorite dog website? Have you recently brought a puppy into your household?

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Teen Kidnaps Puppy To Save From Being Euthanized

IIn Wanganui, New Zealand, a five-month old puppy was hit by a car. He had a broken leg that had to be pinned together using surgery. The cost of this surgery would have been $2,500 NZ dollars ($1,730 US). As it turned out the family could not afford the surgery because they were on welfare. The vet told the family that the dog would have to be euthanized because the young dog was in agony.

When this story made the front page of the Wanganui Chronicle, it struck a chord among many
readers, where they called in to offer donations. So many of them have been in a situation where they've had a dog that they had euthanized because they were in the same predicament as Bronson. There was so much interest that the Wanganui SPCA began collecting a fund for Buck.
Photo Resource: Wanganui Chronicles

Enough money has been amassed so the surgery could be paid for. The Stewart family is very grateful for the public's generosity and Bronson plans on working to pay back those donations by mowing lawns and tending gardens. Bronson brought Buck back to the hospital yesterday and promised not to take him again.

If you would like to read more about this story in its entirety, please visit these links:

Associated Press
Wanganui Chronicle

Let's Discuss!

What is a memorable story for you? Have you had a similar story in your community?

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Monday, February 8, 2010

20 Dog Breeds That Make Great Running Companions

Photo From Flickr

Many dogs make great running partners. Running is a great way to bond with your dog and keep them in shape. Generally, running dogs are medium sized and have short hair. Also, there are three important qualities that make a great running dog:

  • Their genetic temperament, is it friendly or not?
  • How well they're socialized.
  • How well they're trained.

There are many active breeds out there but not all of them are made for running. Here are the ones that work well for this sport.

Short Distance Running

1. Greyhound
These dogs were born to run (as the famous Bruce Springsteen
song says). The biggest misconception is that they like to run for miles and miles. They don't. They will most likely run for 2 to 3 minutes and then become a couch potato the rest of the day. If you are a sprint runner or like to go for quick jogs, this dog is ideal for that. The only caveat this dog will be prone to chasing small animals.

2. Whippet
These are very similar to the Greyhound. They are friendly and I would say the biggest difference is the large curve in their back. They can run up to 35 mph (Greyhounds run up to 45 mph). They are sight hounds known for their sweet and gentle nature.

Long Distance Running

3. American Pit Bull Terrier
This strong dog is a great running companion. They have a high activity level and love to run. They have enormous endurance as well. It's important that these dogs are well-socialized since they can have an aggressive streak toward other dogs.

4. American Staffordshire Terrier
These dogs are very similar to the Pit Bull but have these differences: It has a larger head and is a heavier dog than the American Pit Bull Terrier. Also, these dogs are registered as American Pit Bull Terriers in England but are registered under the American Staffordshire Terrier in the U.S. Pit Bull Terriers are registered as a separate breed in the states. This breed is gentle towards children when socialized as a puppy.

5. Australian Cattle Dog
Never known by just one name, this famous breed is also called a Queensland Heeler. You may even hear there goes a Red Heeler and Blue Heeler which are in reference to the dog's coat color. These dogs are only about 18 inches(45.7 cm) high and weigh 35 pounds (16 kg). They are not dogs for children but have a strong work ethic that will make a great running partner.

6. Australian Shepherd
This dog is good for running. It's a shepherd dog so you may have to correct its inclination to run in circles as shepherd dogs are known to do. They have longer hair than the Australian Cattle Dog so it's best to run with them when the weather is cooler.

7. Border Collies
These medium-sized dogs are ideal for running. Considered one of the most intelligent dogs, these dogs get bored easily and have a high energy level. Known for soaring to the top in agility, these dogs are an ideal match for running.

8. Boxer
These dogs are one of the best for running. They have the idea size and coat type. They are generally friendly but may have a tendency to chase smaller animals since they were bred to hunt them originally. Also, with their short muzzle, you have to watch out for them in the hot summer weather.

9. Brittany Spaniel
These dogs are highly intelligent with a need to please. They have a high activity level. If they're not utilized properly, they will become destructive. They also need an experienced owner who will be assertive with them so they know their place in the pack, otherwise they can be nervous.

10. Coon Hounds
These are a rare breed who are well known in the southern U.S. states like Alabama. They are famous for helping hunt raccoons. They are a great watchdog and since they are also a working dog, they have bundles of energy. They are an ideal breed for running.
Photo from

11. Dalmations
As you know, Dalmatians are famous for being coach dogs who accompanied horses on their route. They have a high level of energy. If you have one that is prone to deafness, you will have to use good sign commands on your run.

12. Doberman Pinschers
These dogs are known for their superb guard dog abilities. They also make a great running companion if they are well socialized. With a dog this size, you have to watch for hip dysplasia and other joint diseases as they get older.

13. Fox Terriers
As much as these little dogs love people, they were initially bred to hunt animals. They are fearless when it comes to other dogs. Size does not matter. Fox terriers have quite a bit of energy and tend to bark a lot. If they are well-socialized by the time they are six months, it is most likely they won't be aggressive toward other dogs.

14. German Shepherds
What can't these dogs do? Famous for being a police dog, rescue dog and a war dog, these highly intelligent dogs epitomize work. They love to please their owners. With their thick coat, it's best to run them in the cooler times during the summer. As they age, because of their larger size, they are a target for bone and joint problems as well.

15. Jack Russell Terriers
Even though these dogs will stand about 15 inches (38.1 cm) they are one of the original working dogs. They are able to do any activity imaginable with their boundless energy. Their muscular body and athletic nature makes them a great running pal.

16. Rhodesian Ridgeback
Originally bred to hunt lions in South Africa, this docile hound makes a great running companion. It's called a ridgeback because of an area of hair that grows the opposite on its back. Although these guys are hound dogs and they make great couch potatoes, they have a high level of endurance that makes them great distance running dogs.

17. Siberian Huskies
These beauties are always willing to please. Bred to pull, they may be a handful when you first start running. They will have a tendency to circle so with a little time and patience, they can develop into the ultimate running dog. Just like German Shepherds, they need to be run during the cooler times because of their lush coat.
Photo from
18. Standard Poodles
Although poodles are associated with a pampered lifestyle, these dogs have energy to spare. They are highly intelligent, intuitive people-pleasers that love the water and the land. They love to hike and run and the more active you keep them, the more they like it. They are known for their fluffy coat but are really quite substantial underneath it all.

19. Vizslas
These natural hunters are super-affectionate towards their owners. They are naturally high-energy and nothing makes them happier than being with their owner. They do have a sensitive streak. Originating from Hungary, this dog breed thrives in a lifestyle with plenty of outdoor activity. They are medium-sized standing about 22 inches high (55.8cm) and weigh about 50 pounds (23 kg).
Photo from
20. Weimaraner
This tall dog (23 to 27 inches, 58 to 68 cm) originated from the Bloodhound in Germany. This gray beauty is a gentle dog and ideal for children as well as a watch dog. It's known for its high endurance and stamina and muscular physique. When running together, it may get distracted by smaller animals so it's a good idea to have it well-trained before starting your exercise regimen.

Special Mention

Mixed Breeds
Just like pure bred dogs, mix breeds come in all shapes and sizes. Maybe your mutt has some of these breeds' characteristics.

Gigi (pictured above) would be a great dog for running. She's naturally energetic and gets antsy when she hasn't had enough exercise. She loves to run around in circles when she's waiting for me to open the gate when I get back from our walk. If I ran regularly, even though she's smaller, she definitely would be a good candidate for this activity.

Let's Discuss!

Do you run with your dog? What breed of dog have you had the most success?
All dog photos used are from Wikimedia Commons unless otherwise noted.
Other Running With Your Dog Resources
Running With Man's Best Friend
Running with your Dog: A Perfect Way To Improve The Health And Fitness Of Your Dog by Susan Sarubin (Digital Download)
Doggy Blogging

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Friday, February 5, 2010

8 Tips To Remember When Running With Your Dog

* Photo supplied by Wikimedia Commons

Running is one of the more popular methods of exercise these days. Many dogs are very popular as companions. Dogs love to run but if you tend to run long distances, it's good to remember a few things:

1. If you have a dog who's a puppy, wait until he's at a year old for shorter runs and 18 months for longer ones. It takes time for the bones and cartilage to to become fully developed.

2. Start younger or overweight dogs on a walking routine first. Walk them for 15 minutes each time and build up slowly to runs. A good measure is 1/2 mile walks every other day. Increase distance by 10% each week.

3. Don't take your dog out in hot weather! Even if your dog has short hair, they can only cool themselves by panting or through their paw pads. If you do like to go for long runs in the summer, do it before in the early morning or after dinner when it's cooler.

4. Run on soft surfaces. Generally, it's better to run on grass or dirt (like a baseball field or track). Asphalt heats up much more in the summer and the rougher surface can scrape and cut your dog's paw pads. If asphalt is a must then it may be a good idea to use booties like Bark'n Boots or Woof Hoofs.

5. Don't forget the water! Bring a collapsible water bowl or water bottle with you to keep your dog hydrated.

6. Use a short leash. A leash that's between 2 to 4 feet (.67 to 1.33 m) is good for running with your dog. They'll stay closer to you and will be less tempted to wander off course.

7. Check their paws after the walk. You never know what will stick to the bottom of their feet.

8. Know your breed. Dogs with shorter muzzles like Boxers or longer hair like German Shepherds will get hotter in the hot sun. It's a good idea to take a shorter walk.

Photo resource:Wikimedia Commons

Let's Discuss!

What are things you like to do for your dog when you go for a run? Do you prefer running or walking?

Thanks for stopping in. Be sure to come back to for the next article which will focus on the best dog breeds for running.

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