Posts Tagged ‘animals’

Black and White Sunday #135 – The three musketeers

June 21, 2015 8 comments

The 3 Muskateers

My thanks to our hosts for this blog hop Dachshund Nola and Sugar The Golden Retriever.

Unfortunately, doesn’t allow Java script so I can’t provide a direct link to the linky, but you can join here.

Favorite Video Friday – For you Dog Dads

June 18, 2015 6 comments

My dad

Many people will be celebrating Father’s Day this weekend. I won’t be one of them, but I will be thinking of my dad. He and my Sheltie, Alicia, were pretty close back in the day. She watched over him after he recovered from heart surgery, often sleeping next to him when he took his daily naps, and she accompanied him on walks when he was getting better. He was quite fond of her. I love that she was his companion when he needed one most.

There are a lot of dog dads out there who don’t often get credit for being the awesome dog owners they are. And, they should.

When I think of great dog dads, I not only think of my dad, but also of the  men I have met at my dog park who really showed me the special relationship that exists between a man and his dog, people like Tom and his dog, Compton, and Corky and his dog Roscoe, and Jerry and Brutus, all huge dog lovers and great dog dads.

If you have that special man in your life who cares just as much for his dog as he does his kids, then give him a hug. Dads like him are worth celebrating.

Now, in honor of you dog dads everywhere, here is this week’s Favorite Friday video.

Happy Friday everyone!

And, Happy Father’s Day Dog Dads!

5 things NOT to do when you first adopt your dog

June 1, 2015 40 comments

Low Section View of a Man with His BulldogI often try to remember back to when I adopted my first shelter dog. I was so uninformed and inexperienced back then. I had never adopted a dog before. I had absolutely no idea what to expect with an adult dog, especially not one who had a whole history behind her that I didn’t even know about. I probably made a lot of mistakes and bad decisions in those early days (I am sure of it).

What I didn’t know then, but know now is that for a rescue or shelter dog, the first few days and weeks in their new home are risky ones. They are at the mercy of their new human to make the right decisions for them. One mistake, and the dog could end up back at the shelter, or worse, euthanized for a serious mistake that could have been prevented if the human had made a different choice.

That last part is what I was thinking today when I read a story on my local station’s website – “Brainerd Woman Suffers ‘Serious’ Injuries from Dog Bite”. If what the dog owner said was true, and he actually did just adopt the dog who bit the woman in the story, then he just put his new dog’s life in danger. Most likely, when he and his dog are found, his dog will be quarantined, and then euthanized. One mistake. One life.

I don’t want make pet adoption seem so serious and dire, but it kind of is. We can make a lot of survivable mistakes with our newly adopted pets, but there are a few that could place their lives, and others, in danger. Knowing what not to do can be the difference between life and death.

Here are a few things NOT to do when you adopt a rescue or shelter dog.

  1. Take him to a pet store – A dog in a shelter environment is already stressed out. Taking him from one stressful place to another stressful place, with a complete stranger (yes, that would be you), is a recipe for disaster. A stressed dog may do things they might not do in a another time and place. I remember one dog that was adopted from our shelter and taken immediately to a pet store to purchase some things for him. He ended up biting a child and as a result, lost his life. I know another dog who was adopted right off the rescue transport and taken to a pet store. He escaped the car and was missing for several days. When he was found he was almost 20 miles away from where he was lost. It almost cost him his life. Luckily, a stranger came upon his dehydrated body and saved him.
  2. Take her to the dog park – Not only has your new dog not had a chance to bond with you, but even more importantly, she doesn’t even know you yet. I still remember a couple who brought their new dog straight from the animal shelter to the dog park and ended up spending a couple of hours trying to catch her. She might have been having a ball, but they were not. Luckily, their dog was not aggressive, but many people have brought an adopted dog to the dog park who was. To assume a dog you just adopted is not dog aggressive or will not harm another dog is not only naive, but dangerous. Get to know your dog before introducing her to other dogs and people. You may also want to work on training her to come when called before letting her off-leash in a dog park.
  3. Invite friends and family over to meet her right away – People often want to show off their new dog right after they adopt them, but this can be a huge mistake. Strangely enough, dogs are very much like us humans in that they need time to get settled into a new place. Imagine how overwhelmed you would feel if your new neighbors came over and started making themselves at home while you are still unpacking from the move. Pretty uncomfortable, right? So imagine being a dog and having complete strangers invade your space and touch you and get in your face when you haven’t even had a chance to get settled into your new home. Not fun. It’s also a recipe for disaster. One mistake, one dog bite later, and you may have a dead newly adopted dog.
  4. Let him off-leash in a public place – See #2 above. No, seriously, why would you let a dog you don’t know off-leash in an unconfined area? You don’t even know if he likes squirrels or people or other dogs. If you have a dog like Jasper (my Sheltie), then you might find out that he likes to herd runners and bikers and skateboarders and…. yeah, you get my point. Once you let a new dog off-leash, you have no control. Not only do you risk him getting lost, but you also risk being liable to the danger he might do to another person or dog (see the news story I mentioned above).
  5. Leave him out in your yard unattended – This one might sound silly, but I really cannot emphasize it enough – Do Not Leave Your New Dog Unattended In Your Backyard. The riskiest time for a new dog to become lost is in those first few days and weeks in a new home. Your new dog is probably stressed and scared and disoriented. One strange noise or sudden movement or scary incident and he can be gone in a flash, right over the fence. Being in the yard with him tells him he is not alone. It also ensure that he won’t have a chance to dig under a fence or look for an escape route, and if he does, you have an opportunity to redirect him before he makes it out.

Most rescue and shelter dogs are not there because they were bad dogs or had behavioral issues. Most are there because someone had to move or was going through a life change that required them to give up their pet. They need time to adjust to all the changes.

Puppy Wearing BowAnd while these dogs are awesome pets and companions, they also have the potential to bite if backed into a corner or placed in a stressful situation (every dog has the potential to bite when placed in a stressful position with no way out). It is up to us, as their new owners, to protect them. It is up to us to do right by them. Spend time getting to know your new dog, and let him get to know you too. Before introducing him to all the new wonderful things in your world, take the time to bond. You have time. You have the rest of your lives to do all those cool things you want to do together. Why rush it?


January 2, 2013 24 comments

MP900178931I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting this past week. Not just about the past year, but about my life in general. Maybe it’s all the blog posts looking back on 2012, or all the empowering messages on Facebook, or maybe it’s Kristine’s post over at Rescued Insanity that is driving all this introspection. I’m not sure.

What I do know is that I have been in a fog for over a year now, probably a left over hangover from closing down my pet sitting business. They say losing a business is like losing a loved one. I guarantee you that in my case this was true. I loved what I did. I loved working with people’s pets every day. I loved the feeling of accomplishment from running my own business. And, I loved knowing I was making a difference in pet’s lives. Giving all of that up was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make. In fact, I delayed it for a long time. It’s no surprise that the fog was so thick and consuming for so long after all was said and done.

It is only now that I feel the fog finally starting to lift. The question is, where does that leave me? What is next?

I am starting to get hints of what it might be or where I might go, but there is so much more to be fleshed out.

What I do know for sure is that it will have something to do with animals. How can it not?

When I was a young girl, I used to sit on banks of the ponds across the street from my house and observe (and yes, even take notes) the Canadian geese (I think I imagined myself as some sort of young Jane Goodall). When I was in high school, I was so excited to discover that they offered a class in animal behavior (animal biology was my second favorite class) and soaked up as information as I could.

Throughout my early years, I rescued animals of all kinds, cats, dogs, bunnies, squirrels and even raised a baby bird after it fell from its nest and raised it to fly.

In my 30’s, I volunteered at an animal shelter and soaked up as much information as I could from the dog trainers, as well as the dogs. I used to use my knowledge of appeasement signals to help the more fearful dogs come out of their kennels to go outside for a walk or to just receive love and attention.

My favorite shows to watch are about animals and nature. And recently, when I had the chance to attend a Suzanne Clothier seminar, I jumped at the chance. I only wish I could have attended the whole weekend!

Clearly, I was meant to be around animals, to study them, to learn from them. Maybe pet sitting was the right career for me at one time, but is it now? I’m not so sure anymore. I think perhaps I am being taken in a new direction. Maybe pet sitting was simply the stepping stone that was to lead me to something better. I guess only time will tell.

So what will be next? I don’t know for sure, but whatever it is and wherever I go, I feel I am finally heading in the right direction. Maybe 2013 is a year for new beginnings. One thing is certain, I can see the sun through the fog and it is getting brighter very day.

Chapter 2013

No Dog About It: Talking with Mary Haight of the Dancing Dog Blog

August 7, 2010 14 comments

I don’t know about you, but I am often fascinated by people’s stories. How they ended up doing what they are doing. What motivates them. Who they admire. Places they’ve traveled.

That’s why I was so pleased when Mary Haight of Dancing Dog Blog agreed to do an interview. She has a passion for animals that I can appreciate and she often takes up their case on their behalf. She also does a great job keeping people informed of the most current news, product reviews and is always searching for the facts behind each story. If you’re not following her blog, you should be. I always learn something new when I read her posts and I am sure you will too.

So without further ado, read more about Mary Haight of Dancing Dog Blog.

What made you choose to blog about animals and animal-related topics?

I’ve been an animal lover since I was a child. We always had cats in the house growing up and I started riding horses and got my first dog in my twenties. Later I had been involved in not-for-profit work on food safety issues and was passionate about it, but there wasn’t a lot of good news to report in that niche. I’m not a scientist schooled in public health, or a nutritionist, and felt if you don’t make the basis of what you write what you truly know, blogging becomes unsustainable.

With animals, I had the passion to sustain authenticity over time, and I have been involved in that sector for more than a decade. Blogging about animals allowed me to explore topics that would broaden the readership and provide me with opportunities to see another side of life with dogs.

I have also been an officer on the board of Lake Shore Animal Shelter Chicago’s oldest no-kill shelter, for nearly 13 years.

So, how did you get started blogging? What motivated you to start?

A friend of mine who knew I had a lot to say on animal welfare issues told me I should start a blog, but I wasn’t truly motivated to start blogging until something happened at Animal Care and Control in Indiana (ACC).

A request came to shelters in Chicago announcing that ACC was moving into a new facility and had approximately 100 animals they would not be taking to their new place. They informed the shelters in Chicago that if they would like to save them they were welcome to come and get them. Obviously this type of communication wasn’t the best given animals’ lives were at stake. A blog was born.

What topics or issues tend to get your juices flowing when it comes to blogging?

I like to tackle issues. Breed-specific legislation, mandatory spay/neuter, puppy mills, pet shops, pet food problems and internet puppy sales are all related to putting a stop to animal cruelty.

But, most people just want to have fun with their dogs, so I cover ground there too with reports and clips from dog shows and trials, stage and movie reviews. I also offer interviews with trainers and other professionals. And, I like to put together useful information in the tabs section of my blog like: how to figure out if pet insurance is for you, how to choose a boarding/daycare facility, dog play and games, pet friendly hotels, dog allergies, pet beds, and even dog food recipes.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being an animal advocate/pet blogger?

Giving animals a voice. Getting the message out. Giving people information they want or need to help them strengthen their relationship with their furry ones and offering helpful information to people on the edge of giving up their animals. Having other bloggers talk about something you wrote that you feel is important for people to know, and then having their readers see it and share it. Word gets out and animals needing help get it.

It’s also rewarding when you get a variety of responses to whatever was written, especially when you see new people speaking up and coming back to do it again. And it’s wonderful how you can feel as if the people who read and comment regularly are more like friends than strangers, even – or maybe especially – if you disagree. I think the pet niche must have the best people in it – there’s so much great camaraderie here!

Favorite blogging moment or experience?

I wrote “Giving Pet Shops and Puppy Mills the Boot” and followed up with an email interview with Best Friends Animal Society Elizabeth Oreck, National Campaign Manager of Puppies Aren’t Products, and several of my favorite bloggers wrote about it or mentioned it in a recap. I was grateful for that and for the response it elicited in the comments section. I even had a great conversation in the comments area with a journalist I respect. The follow-up helped clear up a lot of misunderstandings some in the sheltering community had. I felt lucky and happy with what I was doing.

What did you do prior to blogging?

I had just come off a ten-year stint caring for my mother. I sold the house in August of 2008, moved to another area, and started the blog toward the end of that year. Prior to that, I was president of a manufacturing firm.

Do you have other blogs you follow that are not animal or pet-related?

Sure! Here’s a few: The New York Times, Huffington Post, ScienceDaily, Food Politics, Environmental Working Group, OrganicHatSEO, treehugger, Problogger, Rubin Museum of Art (check out the art from the Himalayas and if they still have slides, Carl Jung’s “Red Book”), Zen Habits, Damian Calvo (filmmaker)

Dogs? Nope. It’s about Dairy Cows today.

May 27, 2010 10 comments

Normally, this blog is about dogs. Not today.

Today it is about cows. Dairy cows to be more specific.

On Wednesday night, I saw a news story and video so disturbing that I physically recoiled and flinched in horror. The video was taken by Mercy for Animals at Conklin Dairy Farms Inc. In it (the video) you see workers at the dairy farm abusing dairy cows with such ferocity that I can only think these people are not meant to be a part of society. Abuse didn’t just include adult dairy cows, but calves, and it included “holding down newborn calves and stomping on their heads…, one worker wiring a cow’s nose to a metal bar near the ground and repeatedly beating it with another bar while it bled”, kicking cows, stabbing them with pitchforks, and other abuse. Trust me. This video is one of the most disturbing I have ever seen.

According to the owners of Conklin Dairy Farms – “The video shows animal care that is clearly inconsistent with the high standards we set for our farm and its workers, and we find the specific mistreatment shown on the video to be reprehensible and unacceptable,” and “We will not condone animal abuse on our farm.”

Here is what I am wondering Conklin Dairy Farms: How is it possible that your company could have so little oversight over your workers that you could miss abuse such as this? How is it possible you didn’t know this was going on under your own roof? Are you so disconnected from your business that you don’t even know what goes on in a day-to-day basis? And, what are you going to do to ensure that this never happens again?

We await your answers.

In the meantime, I am grateful that one worker has been charged with animal cruelty, but with 12 counts of animal cruelty against him I know that his punishment will be much less gruesome than the abuse he meted out to these animals. What a shame.

If you as the reader can watch this whole video then you are bigger person than me.

Dogs: What are they saying?

October 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Today’s post is the first of two posts by guest blogger, Mary Sue Palazzari, an animal communicator located in Minnesota. I hope you will enjoy her insight and knowledge as much as I have! !

CBR001055Do you often wonder if you can communicate with your pet? Chances are that you are and just don’t know it!

Merriam-Webster’s definition of communication is:

1 : an act or instance of transmitting
2 a : information communicated b : a verbal or written message
3 a : a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior; also : exchange of information b : personal rapport

Notice that I have highlighted some of the words in the definitions in bold. These words can be used to describe the process of interspecies communication. What most people don’t realize is that they are communicating with their pets all of the time. It’s just on a subconscious level. Do you ever notice how often you use your hands when speaking with another person? Probably not, because it is so automatic that it is done on a subconscious level. It is the same with our pets. We are communicating with them all of the time, but subconsciously.

So, how DO animals communicate? In pictures or images. Animals “see” in their mind what they want, or what you are telling them. When you teach your puppy to “sit,” and the puppy learns it quickly, you may assume that you have a very smart dog. What is more accurate, I believe, is that you are communicating in the way the dog understands – with an image. And, of course, using the spoken word at the same time teaches the dog your language as well. So, when you are teaching your dog a new “trick,” do it in pictures. “Show” your dog with an image in your mind what you want him to do while you are speaking the command. You may also be using a hand signal. Mostly, though, focus on the image of what you want him to do.

Before too long, you may very well be able to send the image to your canine friend without a word, and he will do what you want!

Cats can learn things, too, but they have a very different approach. While dogs mostly want to please their humans, cats mostly want to please themselves. I haven’t tried to actually train a cat, but I have a feeling my cats have done a great job of training me!

Mary Sue Palazzari

Mary Sue Palazzari

Mary Sue Palazzari is an animal communicator and former pet sitter. Her family consists of her husband, 16-year-old son, 2 horses, 2 dogs, and 4 cats and they reside on 16 acres in the Elko New Market area. Although she has been offering animal communication professionally since June of 2007, she has always had a connection with animals.

Think Dogs and Cats don’t get along? Meet Gabriel and Stanley

September 16, 2009 2 comments

I was sent this funny and adorable video by a friend. It shows the great relationship between A dog named Gabriel and a cat named Stanley. It made me laugh and put a smile on my face (and perhaps a tear in my eye at the end). I love how well they play together!
Do you have a dog and cat that get along this well? Feel free to share your own videos!

Gabriel and Stanley (Video)

Crazy Cat Lady? No…Crazy? Maybe!

September 9, 2009 Leave a comment
Nick-My Cat

Nick-My Cat

When one is an animal lover and a rescuer of animals, you tend to invite chaos into your life. At least, that’s always been the case for me. My life is full of madcap adventures involving animals. Whether raising a baby robin from hatchling to adulthood or rescuing a stray dog on the street. I’m always finding myself in the “thick of things” when it comes to animals.

Like the time I tried to save two dogs from being run over on a busy street near my mom’s house. Not only did they follow me (in my car) to my mother’s house, but they also jumped into my trunk (with tails wagging and smiles on their faces) as I was removing some dog food. By the time someone had come to collect them, they had already made themselves at home in my mother’s house! That was after sneaking past me as I was going inside. As a side note, I also had a cousin stop by in the midst of this chaos and as he was leaving I locked myself out of the house!

Or, the time I offered to foster an unsocialized Dalmatian that had been brought into the shelter with his 2 brothers and sister. I decided he would be less overwhelmed if I confined him in a spare room while I went on a quick client appointment. Big mistake. By the time I came home Pixel had not only shredded my blinds, but had torn them down completely. He also shredded a blanket I had left for him. It turns out that Pixel did not like being left all alone, and after going through several blankets and bins of shredded newspaper, I discovered that Pixel was completely fine if he was allowed to be with my dog Daisy. Who knew?

Then there was the time I decided to take two cats into my home. Who could have known that I was highly allergic to cats? Not me! I couldn’t just give them up after offering them a new home could I? Allergy meds really do work wonders when you need them.

I think perhaps my craziest adventure happened just within the last two weeks. And, all of it happened within the first three hours of one day. In that time period: my client’s dog raided every treat bag in my car that within his reach (did I mention he was taking a drug that made him very, very hungry?), I almost ran out of gas because I ran into unexpected road construction which required me to drive out of my way and waste a lot of gas, I was pulled over for speeding trying to get to a gas station before I ran out of gas, and I saved a dog’s life after he was nearly hit by two cars (right in front of me) on a busy single lane highway.

As you can probably guess, my family enjoys hearing about these little adventures at our holiday gatherings. Yep. They think I’m crazy. But they also know that I am VERY passionate about animals (of all kinds). I may not be the crazy cat lady, but I just may be crazy!

So what about you? Do you have any crazy animal or animal rescue stories of your own?
Come on! I can’t be the ONLY one here. Right? No really. Please share your stories. (Pretty please?)

Wednesday Winners: The Dog Perk

April 15, 2009 2 comments

The Dog PerkI met the owners of this unique business at the Minnesota Valley Humane Society’s Posing Paws event last year. Great people!
I got to see their t-shirts in person, and found them not only humorous but fun. I especially like the one featuring all the dog parks in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

The Dog Perk is also a big supporter of rescue animals and has been at several of the MVHS events to support animals. I encourage you o check them out. And, if you happen to be in Burnsville at Alimagnet Park on the morning of May 2nd, come check them out. They’ll have a booth at the annual Woofer and Hoofer.

Today’s Wednesday Winners: The Dog Perk

%d bloggers like this: