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?

It's All Related!

Hogs For Dogs
The Oscar Foundation
Why Fostering Is A Great Option

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?

It's All Related

Prey of the Dog: Down Under
Prey of the Dog: New Zealand

When Your Puppy Is Too Peppy


Dog Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory