Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lucy, The Paralyzed Dog Who Climbed Mount Washington

Climbing a mountain is no small feat. Mount Washington is located in Mt. Conway, New Hampshire and is 6,288 feet high (1.92 km). This is especially the case when it comes to Lucy, a paralyzed dog that was hit by a car on the streets of Puerto Rico two years ago. She was adopted by Courtney Dunning of Nashua, New Hampshire and received her wheelchair from Handicapped Pets.

Lucy officially climbed Mount Washington on August 18, 2010. Seeing the video shows how challenging this climb was. It was videotaped and shared on You Tube. I first came across this article on and was totally inspired by the story. I found this especially remarkable and thought I would share the video here.

Needless to say, Lucy has built quite a following. You can catch up on the latest by visiting her Facebook Fan Page.

Let's Discuss!

What inspires you? What have you learned from your dog that has changed your perspective?

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oh No! How I Found A Dogwalker On Short Notice

Photo: Monique Pouzet

Hello Everyone!

This weekend, I'll be house sitting and will be away from the dogs for four days. As many of you know, Homer, has quite a bit of energy and would be needing time for walks. When I tried my regular dog sitter, it turned out he wasn't available.

The Search Begins

The first place I checked was Google. You can find anything on Google and I thought since I lived in the greater Chicagoland area, it would be a piece of cake. It turned out not to be the case.

I found a place that was less than five miles away. I thought this would be perfect. But it turned out, I was out of the service area. I looked at other places on the website, and after looking up six more places, none of them came out to my neighborhood.

My mom then suggested the telephone book. Part of me was incredulous that I didn't think of this sooner. It seems like I've become so dependent on the internet, I missed what was lying right under my nose.

Sure enough, I called the places that I thought would be able to take me as a customer. One place I left a message and never heard back. Another, the phone was disconnected. Starting to panic, I scoured the book for any places that would be willing to take a new client on short notice.

A New Discovery!

Finally, after reaching all dead ends, I noticed a local pet store in the phone book. I always had seen the place driving to and from school but never had made it over there to visit. I called the owner and asked her if there was anyone she could recommend as a dog walker. As it turned out, she did have a name and since they were a new business, they weren't listed in the phone book. It also turned out that I knew the dog walkers because they worked at the animal hospital where I took my animals.

They were able to come the next morning and would be able to accommodate my specific requirements of taking the dogs out on two half-hour walks per day.

The Lesson Learned

Sometimes, you find what you need in the more unusual methods. It helps to contact other businesses if you're having difficulties finding a service for your dogs.

Let's Discuss!

What are some ways you found a service in a atypical fashion? Was it a success or a major mishap?

Thank you all for stopping in. Hope you have a great day.


The World Of Petsitting

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rabbit Frenzy

Photo: Kevin Tuck
I was walking with Homer the other day and suddenly I heard that baying that only means one thing — a rabbit is near. Whenever I take him out and he sniffs a rabbit's scent, he turns into another dog. He will keep his nose to the ground and will not lift it up until he's lost the scent.

So, what makes him this way? One reason is that he's doing exactly what the beagle was bred to do. They have been hunting dogs long before they became family pets. It seems like the more I take him on a walk, the more he needs to track rabbits.

I've also learned the path of rabbits from the way Homer moves when he catches their scent. At first I thought it was straight across. To the contrary, the rabbits move in small circles and zigzag back and forth.

It's also interesting to note that the scent of animals is more prevalent in the morning and evening. Why? The moisture content in the grass is greater at those times compared to the afternoons. As a result, the scent is intensified which is very appealing to dogs like Homer. I've found that learning a dog's motivation helps an owner to understand its actions better.

Let's Discuss!

What lessons have you learned about your dog when you take them out into the great outdoors?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Guess Who's Going On A Diet?

Photo: Joanna Redesiuk
Yesterday, my mom and I took Cookie to the vet for her exam. I knew that the minute she was getting on the scale, it wouldn't be good. Sure enough, it turned out that Cookie weighed 28 pounds(12.7 kg). Cookie may not be a big dog, but when we first got her she was underweight at 16 pounds. Her ideal weight is 22 pounds (10 kg). The 10% increase— compared to her weight last year(26 pounds)—is also affecting her injured leg.

Why This Happened

The main reasons Cookie had gained weight is the fact that we had increased her treat intake and that as she's getting older her metabolism has slowed down. Ever since Homer has joined the family, he's had a knack for chewing everything that looks interesting to him. Part of the way I get him to relinquish his finds, is to give him a treat so I don't have to fight him with his teeth clenched on whatever object he has.

In doing this, I had a guilt complex of not giving the other dogs treats so I would give them something too. It's so hard when you look at those questioning eyes that just don't understand. In talking to our vet, we learned that giving your dog a jerky treat should be the only thing the it receives all day aside from food.

Looking Into The Future

The doctor provided us a simple routine for Cookie as well as, Homer and Gigi. These are the steps we're going to take to help them shed the pounds(Yes, they all are a little heavier than they should be.)
  • Limit their treat intake! Each dog will be getting one big treat or three tiny ones a day. My mom has been apppointed as the boss of the treat jar so we don't get confused if they were given treats or not. When Homer has dog obedience, we will be cutting down on his meal and not feed him until after his class.
  • Reducing their food consumption.This will apply mostly to Cookie. We will also be picking up their food bowls if they haven't eaten their food after 30 minutes.
  • No more people food! Since Cookie's health is at stake, their will be a ban on people food for the dogs. This will help with their begging too.
It will be interesting to see how this will help the dogs keep their weight down. I'll keep you all posted.

Let's Discuss!

Do you have an overweight dog that you've put on a diet? What are some things you do to help them shed pounds?

Weight Loss Resources

Diet Tips for Obese Dogs
Putting the dog on a diet
Managing an Overweight Dog Through Diet
Dog diet tips from Dog Time
The Whole Pet Diet: Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs and Cats
The Dog Diet, A Memoir: What My Dog Taught Me About Shedding Pounds, Licking Stress and Getting a New Leash on Life
Fitness Unleashed
My Fat Dog: Ten Simple Steps to Help Your Pet Lose Weight...

Related Posts

At The Vet's Office Part I
At The Vet's Office Part II
When Your Dog Is Beyond Chubby
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

5 Signs Your Dog Isn't Getting Enough Exercise

Photo: Matt Rutledge

When a person brings a new dog into their home, it's expected that a dog will adjust effortlessly. However, some dogs take longer to adjust than others because they have a high energy level. When a dog doesn't expend enough energy, behavior problems ensue. This can be quite a challenge for the owner.

One way to keep this at bay is to make sure your dog is getting enough exercise.

Here are five tips that have helped realize when it's time to get out and about with your dog

  1. They bark just to bark.One of the biggest causes of nuisance barking is the fact that they are not getting enough exercise. When this happens, a decent walk can make all of the difference.
  2. The dog is whining or crying for no reason.
  3. The dog is trying to get outside. They may do this by jumping up and hitting the door or if they're talented enough, bringing you their leash.
  4. They destructively chew. When a dog picks up the newspaper just to chew it into shreds or will find your favorite shoes, it usually means that they are needing more of a physical challenge. Dogs can learn right from wrong when the owner is patient and vigilant.
  5. Your dog is fat! This is one of the best indicators that your dog needs more exercise. My dog Cookie has slowed down in the past couple of years. She doesn't have the stamina and with all of the treat-motivated training I've done with Homer, she's put on quite a few pounds. Since she has an injured leg, I will be looking at hydrotherapy as an alternative.

Let's Discuss!

Well these are my signs that dogs don't get enough exercise, what signs do you have?

Related Posts

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Minka Kelly and Taylor Momsen

Photos: and Karen Curley

I read two stories about these celebrities and their dogs this week. One of them had me feeling proud as a dog owner and the other left me mystified. Let's start with the good.

Minka Kelly

Recently, Minka Kelly from Friday Night Lights was booted from the first class section on a flight she was taking because her dog Chewie, a five-year-old Cockapoo couldn't fit under the seat in the first class section. The actress had made special arrangements with Delta Airlines to ensure this was possible. Luckily, another flyer from the coach section offered for her father to switch seats with her dad so she could fly. The dog carrier that she had fit in that section better than first class.

What surprised me the most was the fact that the first class section was not built to accommodate dog carriers. It amazed me that there were rumors being started that the actress threw a hissy fit about the whole thing. All she wanted to do was make sure her dog could fly with her. Although this goes with the territory when you're a celebrity why bring up a situation like that? It's astounding that this was blown out of proportion.

With all the nightmarish stories and mishaps you hear about canines on airplanes, it's admirable that the actress was concerned about the welfare of her dog. Even though there are more alternatives for flying your pets these days like Pet Airways, it's great to hear about a celebrity who does right by her dog.

Taylor Momsen

I only heard about Taylor Momsen in the news. I never watched Gossip Girl until I was able to view the pilot on iTunes this summer. In the show, this actress plays a smart, level-headed teenager. In real life however, she's known as the wild child who's always stirring the pot with the media.

I was aghast to hear that she set her neutered dog's testicles on fire in a fire pit. Granted, they weren't attached to the dog, but the act alone is repulsive. But, she's only seventeen years-old. Kids at that age do ludicrous things that don't make sense. However, this actress lives in the public eye. Doesn't she realize that news stories like this can bring on copycat incidents?

Charles Barkley always said he wasn't a role model. I think that's a copout for celebrities who use this reasoning yet constantly find themselves in the spotlight. If it wasn't for your success, you would be just another face in the crowd. If you don't want to be a role model, then does that mean you don't acknowledge the importance of your fans, who made it possible for you to be there in the first place?

If you're a celebrity and you want to do something stupid and outlandish do it to yourself, but don't involve others who don't have a choice. I hope this kid grows up and cuts out the craziness.

Let's Discuss!

What are your thoughts on these stories?

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Project Pet Slimdown

Photo: Sanja Gjenero
Happy Labor Day Everyone!

Sometimes it can be tough when you need to slim down. However, when it's your dog, that's another story. They look at you with those eyes and make it very hard to say no when you are eating people food. Other dogs are so food motivated, it becomes a way of life to use food as a training method. Then again, some breeds are predisposed to having a slow metabolism.

Keeping Cookie's weight down is becoming more challenging as she is getting older. She still is active, but is getting more limited in what she can do these days.

Help Is Here!

Now, there's a special program by Purina called Purina Pet Slimdown. This is a unique program that is only available through a prescription by your veterinarian. There are different varieties and with lifestyles being so fast-paced, sometimes it helps to have a structured dietary plan instead of going solo.

The one downside is that the food sold will be on the pricey side. However, with veterinary costs skyrocketing for treatment against diabetes and other health related issues, prevention may be the best solution.

Let's Discuss!

Have you used a specialized diet for your dog or done it the old-fashioned way?

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Sensation and Sensible Harnesses

SENSE-ation No-Pull Dog Harness - Medium/Large (Wide) Black
Hello Everyone! I hope the week has been treating you well. I haven't been around as much as usual because I've been working quite a bit and school has recently started. However, I still aim to get my blog posts up at a reasonable pace, even if it's slowed down a little. Now to the subject at hand...

Why A Harness?

I was always leery of harnesses because they made me think that a dog was being treated as if it's a horse. When Homer came into the picture, my horizon was broadened. Homer is the type who gets easily distracted by dogs. The way he acts around them is unpredictable. He'll come across one dog and will become fast friends with it. The next dog he encounters, he'll want to bark and charge at it (usually because he's fearful).

When I have him on the leash, he can pull so hard, it's overwhelming to restrain him. Recently, he attended his first obedience class. It's a huge class with over twenty dogs.  In class, my trainer demonstrated a Sensation harness made by Soft Touch Concepts. I take Homer and Gigi on three walks a day. With his willful stubbornness, it couldn't hurt to try this out.

Homer and His Harness

After class, my trainer accompanied me to the retail store and showed us which size to put Homer into. She helped us fit him and the harness was so easy to slip into place. All you have to do is put it over your dog's head and fasten it around the bottom of the check. You don't have to maneuver the legs at all and as a result, the dog has full range of motion. In order to get an accurate fit, you need to measure the circumference around the chest. Luckily, our trainer had worked with enough dogs and knew Homer's size, right away, and sure enough, she hit the target.

While the price can be a little steep ($18.00 to $28.50 USD) but is so worth it. Homer became a different dog. Because the leash attaches to the loop of collar and harness, a dog can walk without pulling. If they pull, they will turn to the side and have to redirect themselves to go forward. Walking Homer with this was incredible. He walked at a slower pace and still had full mobility of his walking. I certainly like using these over choke or pinch collars.

Things To Remember

There are two varieties of this harness. The Sensible Harness is made with a coarser fabric and is better suited for long-haired or dogs with dense fur (such as a Chow-Chow). It also costs slightly less than the Sensation Harness. The Sensation Harness is made of a softer material and is ideal for shorter haired dogs like Boxers.

You can find these harnesses at most pet stores,  online or through the manufacturer's website. If you would like to learn more about these products, visit the Softtouch Concepts website.

Let's Discuss!

Have you tried this harness? Do you use any special accessories while walking your pets?

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