Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Comfy Cone

Photo: All Four Paws

I'll never forget the day when I came home from school. My dog Casey who would greet us when we would get off the school bus was not there that day. It turned out that he was hit by a car that day. My mom and dad immediately took him to the vet. He was injured so badly, he was lying on his side as if he was playing dead. When he heard our voices he could only lift his head and wag his tail which he would thump against the floor.

For the next two months, Casey had to wear one of those plastic e-collars. He woudl constantly be bumping into walls and doorways because the e-collar would block his peripheral vision. Still, it was worth it so that he wouldn't be able to lick his rear legs and they would be able to heal on their own. After the two month period, Casey was up and walking again and back to his old self. He went on to live for 12 years after that.

Photo: All Four Paws

A New Type Of Collar

Yesterday I learned about the Comfy Cone. When I heard about this product, I was thrilled. It's made to be softer for a dogs head but at the same time, it gives the support and flexibility you don't get with a normal plastic collar. It can be folded back so your dog can eat his food without problems.

What makes it special?
  • It's moderately priced. You can find an average size Comfy Cone for about $20USD.
  • It's built to last and is flexible by having plastic stays inserted into the fabric
  • It's earth-friendly. With the type of materials like nylon fabric which has been laminated onto .5 inch foam which is gentler around a dog's head. It also has elastic loops and various velcro settings to make it have a customized fit to the dog's neck.
  • The softer material makes less noise. You won't hear bumps in the night as loudly. It's also suitable for cats as well.
  • It's recommended by veterinarians which always is a good thing.

While we never want to see our pets have to wear a collar like this, it's a relief to know that if they ever need one, there's a more comfortable alternative out there. You can find these at pet boutiques or online at places like Amazon.

Let's Discuss!

What have your experiences been like when your pet had to wear an e-collar?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Fine Mess In Monroe County Michigan

Photo: Facebook

In April of this year, a young 15-year-old girl was attacked by one of Timothy Iocoangeli's boxers. She was bitten over 100 times because she was standing outside in the backyard. Most would feel that the dog who bit her deserved to die. Yet there is more to this story.

It turns out that there was a boy who went into the house when the owner was not home. He happened to be a friend of the son of Mr. Iocoangeli. The son and another friend were not at the house, and these two were looking for them by him entering the house.

As a result of this incident, the dog owner has suffered serious consequences. He has lost his job, his four dogs were confiscated by animal control and euthanized, and the puppies which he had in his possession were removed and placed in an animal shelter for adoption. Worse yet, Tim Iocangeli will be prosecuted for four felony charges of owning a dangerous dog.

While I feel for the girl, I think the government is punishing the wrong person. The owner's dogs were safely secure in their house until this young man entered and let them out accidentally. Why didn't the kid ring the doorbell instead of going inside? Sadly, the boy responsible for opening the door is not around to address this issue. He died in a car accident after this debacle happened.

It seems that instead of getting to the bottom of this, the Monroe County

Photo: Monroe News
government wanted to use these boxer dogs as an example to enforce their weakly written dangerous dogs law. Yes, the girl will have a rough road of healing in the days ahead. What happened to her is truly tragic. If she's ever able to be around another dog, it will be a miracle. However, punishing the owner for something that wasn't his fault isn't going to change what happened.

The dogs were safe and secure in the house. It's not like they busted through a window to attack the teenager. They were released by a person who wasn't a member of their family. If that door was not opened, the dogs would have stayed in the house.

When a mother has a litter of puppies, they will tend to be protective of their litter. That may have played into part of the reason this happened as well. It's obvious that the dog owner had these dogs for protection. It's also a shame that you can't live in a world where your door is unlocked and people will respect the fact that you're not at home. The lawmakers are basically saying we now live in a world where having locked doors is the norm and opening an unlocked door is a person's right even if they don't live there.

To blame the owner of the dogs for this travesty isn't right. These dogs were doing their job which was protecting their territory. What's worse is that all this happened with no temperament testing. They didn't even give the owner the decency of saying goodbye to his dogs. It's easy to blame the dogs, but the fact remains that this case is too one-sided to be fair. It reflects poorly on the government of Monroe County and perpetuates fear and ignorance instead of finding the right solution.

Let's Discuss!

What are your thoughts on this story?

It's All Related!

Remembering Lennox When BSL Laws Fail

Monday, December 24, 2012

3 Christmas Dog Movies Worth Seeing

Christmas is a special time of year. As hectic as Christmas shopping can be, there's nothing like having a quiet night at home catching up on holiday movies. Include dogs, and you're golden. Holiday movies have a sentimentality that makes you believe and forget about the harsh realities our everyday life can bring.
As I've become older, I've really enjoyed the movies I've seen on tv as well as some of the holiday movies they have on DVD to rent or buy. The following four movies are entertaining movies that most families can watch together during the holidays.

  • A Dog Named Christmas
    This is a classic movie from the Hallmark Hall Of Fame. It's a movie where a young family fosters a dog and the two boys hope to be able to adopt the dog. The father is opposed to having a dog in the house because of past incidents. I had seen this movie a couple of years ago and it was very entertaining and heartwarming.

  • The 12 Dogs Of Christmas
    This is a story when a 12-year-old girl finds herself in a battle with the mayor and dogcatcher of a small town where dogs aren't allowed. There were over 101 dogs used in the filming of this movie. It's on my list of those to see.

  • 12 Christmas Wishes For My Dog After losing her dog to an unfair landlord, Laura (played by Elisa Donovan who was previously seen in Clueless) sees a
    life coach to get her life in order and hopefully get her dog back. This is a warm family movie that looks to be a very pleasant viewing option for the holidays.
You can find most of these at Amazon or on Ebay.

Let's Discuss!

What is your favorite family movie to watch?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Comfort Dogs Aiding The Victims Of Newtown


It first started in 2008. During the aftermath surrounding the Northern Illinois University shootings, a small group from Lutheran Church Charities provided Golden Retrievers to help comfort the students through that difficult time. Sure enough, these dogs were so popular, Northern Illinois invited them back to help.

Fast forward to present day, where ten dogs came to aid children and adults alike from the Newtown Massacre. A total of ten dogs have been sent from Chicago alone. There are over 60 dogs in six different states. They have been specially trained to sit and be quiet. Many children will pet them and start smiling again. Others who have been more severely affected, will just sit there and pet them for a longer period of time. They remind children of a more innocent and whimsical time. They may brighten their holiday season as well.

Dogs can sense when a person needs some comfort and few do it better than these therapy dogs. The group plans on staying as long as they are needed. If you would like to learn more about this group, visit their Facebook page

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yep, They Drive Cars In New Zealand

Hi Friends, I know it's been awhile since I've last posted. Since everyone is busy, I'm not going to use that as an excuse. However, being in the midst of finals and working crazy hours has been how I've been spending my days. I came across this video where these New Zealand dogs can drive a car. When you watch it, the trainer really gets into the specifics of how they taught these fantastic creatures on how to drive. I just had to share it with you. Enjoy! :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Opossums - Friend Or Foe?

I never knew much about opossums. I just always saw them as a big ball of fur with a rat tail. I thought they were creatures that had rabies and would bite without being provoked. It turns out that couldn't be further from the truth.

Meet The Opossum!

Opossums are one of the least aggressive animals on the planet. This white creature is about the size of a cat and is the only marsupial in North America. A close relative to the opossum would be the kangaroo.

The gestation period of an opossum is only about 13 days during springtime. A newborn opossum will be the size of an acorn. One of an opossum's babies most distinguished characteristics is that it is born blind but will be able to crawl from the mother's birth canal to her pouch due to the fact that it's legs are long enough to move. The average litter has about 15 joeys. A small percentage of them will live to survive through the sumer.

Their long rat-like tail helps them to climb trees and possibly hang when hiding. However, they do not sleep upside down as many have believed.

Opossum Myths

There are many misconceptions about the opossum. They are one of the animals who are least likely to transmit rabies. They have a low body temperature which keeps them from transmitting diseases. Another misconception is that they are aggressive. On the contrary, they will not bite unless provoked. They just want to be left alone.

Possums are known to play dead. However, this is an involuntary action that protects them and not a conscious action. Opossums are friendly animals in general who are omnivores at heart. They will eat insects, roadkill, cat food and dog food. These smart animals are peace loving and completely docile towards dogs. They are even better at protecting gardens from unsightly insects.

All in all, the opossum is one of the oldest living animals in history. If you happen to encounter one on a dark night, don't be fearful of them. They are no more harmful than a squirrel or a cat.

Let's Discuss!

Have you ever had an unusual experience with an opossum?

It's All Related!

Prey Of The Dog: Down Under
Prey Of The Dog: New Zealand
Canines in Conservation

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Day At The Dog Beach

This weekend, I had a photography class field trip. I could choose for my documentary project a choice of taking pictures at a flea market, farmer's market, coffeeshop or the dog beach. For me, the dog beach was a no-brainer. The planets must have truly aligned in favor of this because we had 60 degree Fahrenheit weather in mid-November.

Below are some of my favorites. I'd love to hear your thoughts on these. I hope your week is off to a good start.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

What To Look For When Adopting A Pit Bull

The pit bull breed has been quite controversial in the news for quite some time. For all of you who have been curious and/or interested in adopting this adorable breed, I have an infographic that I received from that makes it easier. One trend I've noticed lately is that some shelters are leaving the word pit bull out when listing these dogs for adoption to discourage dog fighters from adopting them. I think it's a good thing because it should always be about the dog and how they relate to their potential owner. This dog has suffered under an unfair stigma for too long. After what happened to dogs like Lennox, something has got to change.

Infographic: Adopt A Pet
Learn more about Adopt A Pet by visiting their website.

Let's Discuss!

What do you look for in adopting a dog?

It's All Related!

When BSL Laws Fail
The Misunderstood Pit Bull
The Lost Dogs Book Review
Pit Bull Nation
Michael Vick Five Years Later
Dangerous Dog Bans

Saturday, October 27, 2012

An End To Yellow Spots On Your Lawn

Photo: Dog

Hi Everyone!

I've been busy at work lately and have been taking time to refocus my blogs. As a result, I've decided to end the TKD Podcasts because I want to focus all of my time on writing this regular blog. It's possible that down the road, I may take up podcasting again but this time, I will be just concentrating on the written word.

This post is about a new discovery I recently encountered. It's called Dog Rocks. Never have I seen anything like this. Basically, you order a bag of rocks and put one of the rocks, in your dog's water bowl. A product like this reminds me of the old days when water bowls didn't exist and dogs like their human counterpart would drink from a creek or river. I never remember reading about all of the yellow spots during that time so there must be something to it.

What These Rocks Do!

They are a rock that is mined from a special quarry in Australia. Since they're all natural, they are environmentally safe. The concentration of nitrogen in a dog's urine depends on size of the dog, sex, type of dog and what type of food the dog eats. These rocks have the uncanny ability to filter out the nitrogen and ammonia in a dog's urine without changing the PH levels in a dog. As a result, there's no yellow spots on your lawn.

They are completely safe and will not harm the dog's system. The rock is changed out once every 2 months. For those of you who live in winter climates, one bag will last an entire year. The rocks are sold internationally and one can pick up a package in the United States for $16.99 USD.

One of the problems you may encounter is your dog may not want a rock in their water bowl. However, if you put it there eventually, the dog will get used to it. You can find these online or at pet and garden stores in your area.

Let's Discuss!

Have you ever used Dog Rocks? What are your thoughts?

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rocktober 2012 Results

Rocktober 2012   turned out to be a smashing success! I thoroughly enjoyed having read about your favorites from popular musical artists like Blake Shelton, Pink and The Beatles to bands who have distinct followings such as Skinny Puppy and Meiko. As in past contests, I went to and found our winner with this number:

It's that time. Drumroll please! Click the link below to find out! (The winner is highlighted in orange). Congratulations #9!

Find Your Number Here!

I will be in touch with the winner via email in the next couple of days! Thanks to you all for participating. I hope to have another giveaway before the end of the year. You guys rock!

Let's Discuss!

I'd love to continue hearing your comments about more favorite music below! My favorite song right now is I dreamed a dream form the new Les Miserables movie coming out this Christmas.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Michael Vick Five Years Later

Michael Vick has been reviled (with good reason) by many, including myself, for what he did to pit bulls five years ago. Recently, through a tweet of his, he had posted a picture with a box of Milk Bone dog biscuits in the background. Then, a few days later, it was revealed that he had a dog. When questioned by reporter, he wanted to keep things about football and evaded the dog question. Later, he came clean about it by issuing a statement:

"I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family's decision to care for a pet," Vick said. "As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals. I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God's creatures with kindness and respect. Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family. This is an opportunity to break the cycle. To that end, I will continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change."

At first, I was outraged. I was 100% convinced this could be the worst thing ever. I thought that Michael Vick would be banned from owning dogs for the rest of his life. It turns out as part of his probation, there was a time limit that expired in May, and he's now able to own dogs again.

As much as I want to, I can't vilify the guy anymore. If he was living by himself and adopted these dogs, I would find that more of a problem. In a situation as controversial as this one, you have to look at the facts as well as the opinions.

One of the facts is, the judge who sentenced him, did not ban him from having dogs for life. He was given a three-year period. There must have been a good reason that judge didn't ban him from owning dogs for life. Any backlash would fall on the judge's shoulders.

Another fact is that out of all of the dogs found that horrific day, one of the dogs was Michael Vick's pet, who was in excellent health during the Bad Newz Kennel raid. So many dogs die in shelters each day because there aren't enough people out there who can give them a safe forever home. What's worse, giving it to a man who's trying to do the right thing after making a huge error in judgement or euthanizing the dog so he'll become just another statistic?

Lastly, he has three children who are innocent. How are they supposed to understand that when a person finishes their punishment, why shouldn't they get another chance? Is that what our country is about?

Michael Vick has been lucky enough to have a life most young boys dream about. As much as he's screwed up big time, he's done good in the world too. Before his arrest, he created the Michael Vick Foundation to help at-risk kids and a scholarship foundation to help students who were part of the equally tragic West Virginia shooting.

I see a person trying to do right by his kids. He's tried to make up for what he did by working with animal groups as an advocate. If he didn't care about making things better, he wouldn't have bothered to continue his volunteer work after his probation ended. It shows that he was big enough to admit to his mistakes. Also, what does it say about us that we can't forgive? Granted, I have no desire to ever see him play football or buy one of his jerseys, but if he's going to put a dog into an abusive situation again, it will affect his children and the aftereffects will be too much to bear.

As much as I hate what he did, the truth of the matter is that he has too much to lose, if he ever does anything like this again. For his sake, I hope he only has one dog and keeps that one dog happy and healthy for a long, long time. Everyone is capable of change if they truly want their life to be different. Change isn't easy, but it appears that he's slowly learning his lesson and trying to become a better person than what he was in his dogfighting past.

When it comes down to it, it's about the dogs themselves. We can choose to focus on a criminal who adopted a dog to benefit his children or we can try to save the other dogs out there who are still being used for dog fighting, to make puppy mill owners a quick buck or being senselessly abused for no good reason. I choose the latter. It doesn't mean I've forgotten what Vick has done, but there comes a time where you have to move on. What he does now can't change what he did in the past, but one can hope that he gains wisdom and truly changes for the better as a result.

Let's Discuss!

Please feel free to agree or disagree below.

It's All Related!

Why Michael Vick Needs To Steer Clear of Dogs A Fresh Start But Has He Learned The Lost Dogs Book Review Michael Vick, Does He Deserve A Second Chance

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cookie's Conundrum

Sometimes, tasks we do on a regular basis, tend to get away from us. This was the case with my dogs Cookie and Gigi. I usually take them to the groomer every two months, but somehow, it went much longer this time.

When I picked them up today, I noticed that Gigi's tail was cropped a little more than usual. It was cut that way due to some matting. However, that's just cosmetic. Hair usually grows back.

The real problem of concern was Cookie. Up until today, she was scooting because her hair was on the long side. When a dog like Cookie goes too long between grooming, the hair covers the skin completely. As a result, the skin underneath becomes dried out.

When I went to pick up Cookie, the groomer mentioned to me that she was red and itchy in that area and that she used special oatmeal shampoo in that spot. Getting home was another story. Cookie was using her hind paw to scratch her belly. Many dogs have thinner skin below their belly.

As it turned out, Cookie was scratching so much, it became inflamed and started bleeding. Puzzled about this, I sought out similar situations on the internet. Some people were saying take the dog to the vet. Others were saying that it was a dry skin problem. Since it would be hard to see the vet on short notice, I decided to tackle this at home.

I first tried using a lotion that didn't have a strong scent. It was a gentle body lotion made by Clarins. It seemed to work at first, then Cookie would start scratching after about 20 minutes. I then tried Vaseline. That seemed to work but was a little heavy. When I read about this groomer who used certain oils, one of them was vitamin E.

I then remembered the Omega treats I had picked up in the past for Gigi, since her skin was sensitive. I headed over to PetsMart to pick up a bag for them. I picked up the largest bag available. Instead of the usual one I would give them, I upped it to three for Cookie and two for Gigi and Homer.

A Few Hours Later
The fish treats seemed to have done the trick. Cookie hasn't scratched ever since. I think I was very lucky that it was a matter of her skin getting used to her haircut, and nothing more serious like an infection. It just goes to show, when you have dogs, you can't let things slip through the cracks.

Let's Discuss!

Have you ever had a situation with dry skin on your dogs? How did you handle it?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rocktoberfest 2012

Hi Folks,
It's time for a new giveaway. It's called Rocktoberfest. I didn't find any rock music for dog lovers but I did find some great music that I would listen to myself. Instead of rock music, I will be giving away one jazz and country music album to one lucky reader.

ROCKtoberfest is hosted by Cheap Is The *New* Classy! Many bloggers have come together to bring you this awesome music themed giveaway hop! This event runs from 10/1 until 10/15 CDT to give you plenty of time to enter on everyone's blog for more chances to win fabulous prizes! All of the prizes are music related and worth at least $25!

The GRAND PRIZE for this event is an autographed prize pack sponsored by Grammy Award winning southern rock and country group - Kentucky Headhunters! After you are entering on this blog, please come and enter for this fabulous Kentucky Headhunters prize pack at Cheap Is The *New* Classy which is open to US/Canada!

These two audio cds are a prize package of more than $25.00USD will be awarded to one lucky winner.. You can find them below:

How Do You Win?

All visitors can enter by:

  1. Leaving a comment below on what your favorite music album is.
  2. Want another chance?
  3. Tweet the following on Twitter. I just became part of #Rocktoberfest at #TooKoolDoggies. and link the tweet back to your comment
  4. Join Google Friend Connect

This will give those who live in the US and Canada up to 3 chances of winning.

The Fine Print

  1. You must have a valid email address.
  2. Only one comment and tweet per person.
  3. The winner will be chosen at random using Randomizer.

Good luck to you all and as always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this contest.

Coping With PTSD In The Military

Photo: Stanislav Komogorov

We've all had our bouts with stress. Some days it can be so bad you just want to curl up in bed and shut the world out. Soldiers who serve abroad have things much worse. They see horrible things up close that most civilians can barely watch on tv.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Animal assisted therapy began as early as 1945 when we supported therapy dogs programs to provide comfort and motivation to injured World War II soldiers. 1 of 8 soldiers will get post-traumatic stress disorder syndrome. In some areas of the military, it can be as high as 20%.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating psychological condition triggered by a major traumatic event, or a catastrophic accident. It is marked by upsetting memories or thoughts of the ordeal, "blunting" of emotions, increased arousal, and sometimes severe personality changes.

It affects soldiers in different ways. Some have to cope with physical injuries in addition to their anxiety and/or depression. Now, it seems that the VA is cutting back on aid to help the soldiers receive these dogs. Part of the reason is the fact that they want to keep higher standards between what types of dogs are being trained. Also, if the program is not properly monitored, many soldiers can go in and adopt a dog and say they have this dog for PTSD, when they really don't need it. However, the likelihood of that is rare.

The cost of fighting overseas is not cheap. Each soldier costs the United States roughly $815,000 USD to go overseas. A small fraction of that (around $30,000 for a sargent) goes to a soldier's paycheck.

The top reason for soldiers being hospitalized after their tour of duty in the post-9/11 era is mental illness. Post-traumatic stress disorder does not just affect the soldier but their loved ones as well.

When a soldier has PTSD, the cost to the military is $10,000 USD per year at minimum. When you factor in the number of soldiers together, that amounts to over $5 billion USD per year. Many drugs have been prescribed such as benzodiazepine. Drugs like these have a tendency to be addictive after a certain period of time. Roughly $2 million was included in the 2010 Omnibus Appropriations Act for programs related to veterans’ service dogs. The amount allocated to this type of natural therapy pales by comparison to the amount used for prescription drugs.

It roughly takes anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 USD to train a service dog. These dogs will be about 1 to 2 years when they enter a soldier's life. They stay with that soldier for roughly 10 years. So, in about 2 to 3 years, the cost of a service dog will pay for itself.

Benefits of Service Dogs For PTSD

Many soldiers suffering from PTSD that have received therapeutic service dogs have noticed an immediate difference. Also, soldiers who have service dogs reported lower stress levels, decreased depression, better impulse control and improved sleep. Even more significant is that many of these soldiers have indicated that they finally feel like themselves again. Also, programs like Puppies Behind Bars helps prisoners achieve a lower recidivism rate because the inmates have interaction and emotional bonding with these animals that they are training.

After seeing and experiencing the horrors of combat abroad, the effects of war are huge. The best result of having these these dogs is the ability to make a soldier an active participant and not a passive observer. They give the soldiers the safe haven that drugs and current work situation can't. For the ones, who aren't lucky enough to receive PTSD service dogs, they struggle and are lucky to get by on $600 per month. All in all, the benefits of PTSD greatly outweigh the disadvantages.

If we as a country are to spend billions of dollars to send soldiers to protect us by risking their lives, then we should be willing to spend an equal amount of money to help them come back so they can feel protected, safe and live their lives they way they did before they left. With the upcoming elections coming up, this is something we all should keep in mind, so it doesn't get swept aside as being insignificant.

Organizations For Therapeutical Service Dogs

Let's Discuss!

What are your thoughts on this PTSD?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

6 Sulfate-Free Shampoo Alternatives For Dogs

Every time Gigi goes to the groomers, she looks fantastic but always has an itchy spell for a short time. It turns out that many dogs that tend to be allergy-friendly to humans, can suffer from allergies and sensitive skin issues themselves. Many dog owners I know try pet shampoo after pet shampoo to alleviate their dog's itchiness. Recently I discovered sulfate free shampoos.

What are sulfates?

Whenever a person uses a cleaning product, chances are they contain sulfates. What do they do? Sulfates are surfactants which break up the surface of water to help things become more wet. Water is held together by molecules. So much so, that these molecules create water tension. Only when there's an overabundance of water, does the tension break or if something disrupts the molecular tension.
Sulfates are the main ingredient in a shampoo or cleaning product that makes the product lather up. It's this lather that sells many products. It's also this same lather that dries out the skin and hair. Sulfates are an inorganic salt of sulphuric acid. They are highly soluble in water. Because they increase acidity, there's the tendency to dry out the skin.
With their fur, dogs have a different ph than humans. It's not advisable to use shampoo made for humans on them. Luckily, some savvy shampoo companies have found a way to make effective cleaning shampoos without the harshness of sulfates. The one caveat is that they may take a little longer to rinse than regular shampoos.
Here are a few shampoos to consider for your pet. Some out there are so gentle, they can be used on humans as well.

Sulfate Free Shampoos

  1. Earthbath
    This shampoo is from San Francisco. It came about when the owner, Paul Armstrong had a chance encounter with three friends that had made a great shampoo but didn't know what to do with it. It started out with 4 shampoos and has blossomed into a full-blown grooming line. It comes in a variety of scents, including an unscented version. It's even used by the animals at the San Francisco Zoo. It's safe enough to not interfere with any flea medication. Now, you can find Earthbath in stores like Petco and many places online. You can usually find it for about $12.00 to $15.00USD.
  2. Tropiclean
    Tropiclean carries a variety of soap-free and detergent-free shampoos. Their bottles are made from recycled and renewable materials. Everything about their products, from the bottles to the five trademarked shampoos is manufactured in the United States. Like Eartbath, this is safe to use after flea medication is applied (after 48 hours). The company guarantees every product and is environmentally focused. They can be found at stores like Petco as well as places online. You can find them priced at $12.00USD. Many times you can find if for under $10.00.
  3. Olive Green Dog
    Olive Green Dog was founded in Austin, Texas in 2008. It sells a variety of products online, including food, toys, leashes and grooming product. Their main shampoo is Bubble + Squeak, which is completely detergent and chemical free. It's approved as USDA organic. You can find Bubble+Squeak on their website for $16.00USD.
  4. Dermagic
    Dermagic is great for when your dogs have hot spots. It's foamy but without the harsh chemicals or sulfates. that go with it. This shampoo is made specifically for dogs. Blended with tea tree oil and peppermint, this soothing formula does wonders for itchy dogs. It's recommended that you use the shampoo with their conditioner for best results. You can find it at most places online like Amazon and through their website. A pint of this retails for $17.95USD.
  5. Dr. Harvey's
    Dr. Harvey's is an all natural and organic shampoo. It has a distinct herbal scent and is ideal for dogs, cats, older pets and puppies. With this all natural, no preservative combination, this is ideal for those who like a holistic shampoo. Dr. Harvey's can be found in holistic health food stores, local pet stores, shelters and pet boutiques. It can also be found at various places online. It retails for $14.95 USD for a 16 fl. oz. bottle. You can learn more about this product through the Dr. Harvey website.
  6. Shea Pet
    Shea Pet's main claim to fame is the fact that their shampoo is shea butter based. Known for it's luxurious combinations, like Oatmeal and Awapuhi Extract, Avocado (for extra-gentleness), and green tea and sea kelp, these shampoos can be a little pricey but go a long way. Green Tea and Sea Kelp is ideal for dogs who have dander issues. Most of their shampoos soften well enough that there is no need for conditioner. You can find them in pet boutiques and most places online and through their website. They retail for about $19.00USD for an 18 ounce bottle.
While I have yet to try these for my dogs, it's nice to know that there are alternatives. Most of the times in the past, I've purchased oatmeal-based shampoos, but they still contained sulfates. I think the rise in non-sulfate shampoos shows that people are willing to pay more, if it means getting the best quality care for their animals.

Let's Discuss!

Have you used sulfate-free products for your pets? Which are your favorites? How did they work out for you?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Mutt Strut (In Memory Of Doc)

Photo: Chicago Canine Rescue
Many dog shelters and rescues have a run or a walk as a major fundraiser. The Chicago Canine Rescue's main goal is to help at-risk dogs by finding them forever homes. This fundraiser, The Mutt Strut 2012 will be especially poignant. Earlier this summer, one of the puppies "Doc" was punched in the head by his owner, until he died. Why did this happen? Because the owner, was upset that he had an accident in the house and became even more agitated while he was bathing him.

The irony was the owner's references were thoroughly checked out. The adoptive parent was a schoolteacher with the Chicago Public School system. He was only 25 years old and had a spotless record. This story was so shocking it made national news. Derek Fierro had turned himself in but by then it was too late.

The Mutt Strut

While this years Mutt Strut will be benefitting all dogs from the shelter when it happens on September 29th, there has been a special memorial fund set up in honor of Doc. If you live in Chicago, there's still time to sign up. Doc was one of seven dogs born in a litter who were named after the 7 dwarfs. It's a way to remember this little pup who may be gone but won't be forgotten. You can donate to Doc's Memorial Fund through this webpage.

Let's Discuss!

Did you participate in any shelter/rescue walks this summer? What were they like for you?

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Friday, September 14, 2012

The Olate Dogs

I haven't seen many dog acts on tv except for the Stupid Pet Tricks segment on Late Night With David Letterman. Imagine my surprise when I caught a short bit on Inside Edition this afternoon where I discovered that this band of dogs and their equally talented owners won the latest America's Got Talent competition. In the short segment I saw, I was in total awe of this pair.

About The Olate Dogs

Richard Olate (pronounced OH-Latte) has been training dogs since he was 11 years-old. Now 55, this South American who has lived here for over 24 years has his own show that he travels all over the country. Winning America's Got Talent will give him, his son and their dogs infinite possibilities.

Most of their dogs are rescues who all have incredible talent. They are expertly trained and groomed. Their act is simply delightful. I've included their audition youtube video as well as their finals video. Enjoy!

Audition Video

Finals Video

Let's Discuss!

Did you catch America's Got Talent this summer? What were your thoughts on this bunch?

Read All About It!

You can learn more about these fascinating pooches through their website.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Canines in Conservation

Photo: Center For Conservation Biology
Scat dogs are integral to learning and helping to save endangered animals such as the Orca whale. By sniffing the scat of these animals, they can non-invasively monitor the patterns of different animals. It tells of environmental changes and helps indicate any disease or other factors that affect these breeds. Scat detection can determine the sex, stress, system incompetence and reproductive health.

What Makes A Great Scat Detection Dog

Dogs who have a high play drive are ideal for this type of work. They will live for a game of fetch or romp and play. It's much different than a dog who has a high prey drive. Usually, dogs for this have such a high sense of adventure, they aren't good family pets and wind up in a shelter.

The Center of Conservation Biology is a non-profit organization that conducts studies to see how humans have impacted these animals and how they are faring in their survival over a vast geographical area.

Affiliated with the University of Washington, they are based on a 4,300 acre area of land, it has a state of the art training center in operation for the eleven dogs currently working on their team. They also offer permanent housing for the dogs and their handlers.

Each dog is trained in identifying the scat of different species such as Wolverine, Cougar, Grizzly Bears, Sea Turtle nests, Northern Spotted Owls and Midland caribou, just to name a few. They each have their specialties and travel around the world to do their research. After 8 to 9 years, most dogs retire and live in a place with their handler where they can enjoy their retirement.

Let's Discuss!

How have scat detection dogs helped the wildlife in your neck of the woods?

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Prey Of The Dog: New Zealand

Photo: Evan Goldenberg
New Zealand is two islands in close proximity that have Polynesian origins. It is shared by both the Maori (it's native inhabitants) and the Western European settlers who inhabit it today. It was initially settled in 1642 by Abel Janszoon Tasman from Holland. They had several battles and conflicts with the indigenous people and in 1840, it became an official English colony. Today it is an independent nation in the British commonwealth. Its size is larger than Great Britain and smaller than Australia.

New Zealand is mainly known for its birds and reptiles and has very few species of mammals. As much as dogs have been domesticated, there is always a small part of them that is in touch with their wild side. This can be troubling to certain animals of the Kiwi Island. Most animals who fall into this category are birds and reptiles. Most dogs won't attack. But there are times when one wanders away that the inevitable happens. Below is a list of animals who can be prey.

  • Blue Duck
    The Blue Duck, also known as the Whio, is an endangered species. It is found on the northern and southern islands. It's roughly 21 inches (53 cm) in size. It has a dove gray color with a hint of blue. Its chest is brown spotted and its feet are dark brown. Females have fewer spots and ducklings have none. They feed on invertebrate snails and larva. They must watch out for feral dogs and cats, as well as, hunting dogs, rats, falcons, hawks and eels.
  • Brown Teal
    The Brown Teal is severely endangered in New Zealand. Today, there are fewer than 1,500 of these birds in existence. They are found along the Great Barrier Island and in Northland. They are extremely territorial — especially during mating season — and will kill their own kind to protect that territory. These nocturnal ducks are known for laying in the grass during the day and swimming at night. A big reason for that it's nocturnal was in response to protecting itself against aerial grabs from large birds such as the Australasian Harrier. Other predators include dogs, cats, stoats and ferrets It is 19 inches large (48 cm) and is known for its distinctive brown coloring.
    Photo: Sabine's Sunbird
  • Great Spotted Kiwi
    The Great Spotted Kiwi is one of the few birds on this island with the inability to fly. Known to inhabit the northwest corner South Island, this bird is in gradual decline. It's a large bird that only lays one egg at a time. Both parents nest the egg during the 2.5 to 3 month incubation period. They are extremely territorial as to protect their egg. Its appearance is known for having a mottled appearance. Predators of this national treasure include the ferrets, stoats, hunting dogs and wild dogs.
  • Kakapo (Owl Parrot)
    The Kakapo is the world's heaviest parrot weighing 8 pounds (3 kg). They have soft moss green and black feathers on their back, combined with yellow-green feathers near their face and underside. It is the only parrot that doesn't fly and is a nocturnal bird. They along with the kereru are the only plant-eating birds. They live in the Fjiordland and Stewart Island. With only 62 of these creatures currently in existence, they have been relocated to predator-free areas. The birds never experience any predators before the Europeans settled. With the settlers came the addition of cats, rats and dogs. Also, the Maori, valued their skins and feathers. In 1952, the rush to conserve the species started and they have been working hard to make sure there was an abundant supply of food in order for them to breed.
    Photo: MNolf
  • Little Spotted Kiwi
    The Little Spotted Kiwi is the smalled of all New Zealand's kiwi birds. It weighs 2.5 to 4 pounds (1.2 - 2 kg) and is 16 inches (40 cm) large. Once they lived throughout New Zealand, now, they are down to 1,200 and can be found on Kapiti Island. They live in the forest beneath deep vegetation or under the roots of trees. Predators of this bird include ferrets, stoats, feral and hunting dogs.
  • New Zealand Dotterel
    The New Zealand Dotterell lives on both the North Island and South Island with the majority of the 1700 birds living in North Island. Around 60 live in South Island which decreased dramatically due to the influx of feral cats. Other predators such as dogs and hedgehogs have put them on the endangered species list. They are about 11 inches (25 cm) in size with a mottled gray top and a light brown underbelly.
    Chris Gin
  • North Island Kiwi
    Like their Kiwi counterparts in other parts of New Zealand, this breed finds itself as prey of dogs, ferrets and stoats. This is also one breed of birds where the female tends to be larger than the male and tends to weigh 3 to 6.5 pounds (1.5 to 3 kg). The average size is 20 inches (50 cm). Their coloring varies from brown and gray to black brown to reddish brown. Some even have white feathers. They will burrow themselves under dense vegetation or hide in hollow logs in the areas of e North Island, Little Barrier Island, Kapiti Island. They were arecently reintroduced into several forests south of Palmerston North.
    Photo: Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust
  • North Island Weka
    The North Island Weka lives on various offshore islands as well as, the Bay Islands and the Bay of Plenty. It's a flightless bird with a large mandible and strong feet. Its coloring is a combination of brown, black and gray. It weighs between 1.5 to 2.5 pounds (700 grams - 1.2 kg). Females tend to weigh less. They are omnivores and will eat anything like, invertebrates, snakes, snails, eggs, birds and rabbits. They are equally territorial as well. Females will kill immature males if they feel threatened. Predators of this bird include stoats, ferrets, cats and dogs.
    Photo: Gail Garber
  • Tuatara
    The tuatara looks like a lizard, but is actually a rare type of reptile called the Sphenodon which translates to "wedged tooth". There are only two types of this species left. The tuatara can live up to 100 years. They are about 20 to 31 inches long (50 to 80 cm). They are known for their olive green coloring and their spiny back. Other tuatara may be colored dark pink or light gray. It is a good swimmer and nocturnal. They eat mostly insects and will occasionally eat smaller animals. It has to watch out for dogs, ferrets, rats, cats, stoats and possums. Due to deforestation in New Zealand, very few tuatara can be found on the mainland anymore. Protected since 1895, this animal resides in predator-free areas of offshore islands around New Zealand.

Let's Discuss!

Which animal of prey is most fascinating to you?

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Ultimate In Animal Cruelty

When I was a kid, I would always gasp when I would see a man tying up a women and leaving her on the railroad tracks. This would often be the case in silent movies or cartoons, but I knew that she would be saved in a nick of time. I couldn't imagine another outcome.

Well, some heartless dog abuser has proven me wrong. On Friday, August 9, this nameless mystery of a being took 3 dogs and tied them to the tracks. There was an oncoming train coming. It was bad enough that the person left them to die. But this sick individual took things one step further; he recorded it through either by taking pictures or recording it.

The lone dog who survived was a female who is mixed breed who is 22 pounds and 14 inches high. She was wearing a pink collar which means that she was part of someone's family. She has benn named Chessie. There is a $5,000 USD reward from PETA.

What are your thoughts on this story?

Read More About It

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dog Is Good

Photo: Dog Is Good

Today's website of the week is Dog Is Good. It is a website that sells unique t-shirts and gifts for dog lovers. Started by three dog lovers — Jon Kurtz, Gila Kurtz and J. Nichole Smith. Jon retired from the Navy and his wife Gila, joined him on this endeavor. Nichole, a successful pet photographer came into the picture as their merchandise designer.

Why It's Special!

Their products have a conscience. It embraces originality, fashion, fit, affordability and comfort. They have a special program in which they donate to non-profits. Their hero dog shirt was crafted to aid the Hero Dog Awards ceremony from the American Humane Association. Victoria Stilwell will be launching a new t-shirt line with themes promoting positivity and kindness.

NThey also feature special products for dogs, such as collars, leashes, toys and bowls.

Learn More!

See their website for yourself. It's a great place to find the uncommon gift for the dog lover in your life.

Let's Discuss!

What are your favorite online websites as a dog fan? How has your dog been good?


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