Friday, May 30, 2014

Check Out This Dog's Dance Moves

Start your weekend off with this toe tapping video of a dog whose dance moves rival that of Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing! 




This beautiful Collie named Levi, performed in the Heelwork to Music competition at the 2014 Crufts dog show in March.  Levi and his two handlers, Richard and Mary, performed a Scottish Highland Dance.  This dog’s fancy footwork would put Fred Astaire to shame!

Post a comment and let us know what you think about this dog's dancin' feet.

JOIN THIS PET PARADE BLOG HOP!!




Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Highlights From The Blog Paws 2014 Bloggers Conference

Now that I’ve wound down from attending the BlogPaws 2014 conference in Las Vegas, I want to share a couple of my favorite highlights from the conference.  I learned so much from the workshops and from other bloggers.  I met some wonderful people and discovered lots of great new blogs and products. 

One of my favorite highlights from the conference was Susan Getgood’s  workshop, Monetization:  Revenue, Reputation, and Recognition; Defining your Path to Professional Blogging Success.  Susan is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at BlogHer, so she knows a thing or two about online marketing!

Susan with one of the four legged workshop attendees
I had read Susan’s book Professional Blogging for Dummies, a great resource for bloggers interested in monetizing their blog, or optimizing their current monetization strategy.  I had the book with me at the conference and Susan was kind enough to sign it for me!  Some of the things she discussed were:

DEVELOP YOUR PROPOSITION; Define the unique thing you have to offer your readers.    Mine is having insight into dog behavior, issues, safety and health because I have years of experience as an animal welfare volunteer.  I also have two dogs I travel extensively with, and Icy and I are a registered therapy dog team.


KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE; Who reads your blog and where they hang out online. 


DEFINE YOUR NICHE OR CATEGORY; What specific area the products, information, or services you provide fit into.

IDENTIFY YOUR “AWESOME”; What you are an expert in, and what makes you an expert.  She asked us to complete this sentence:  I am an expert in _________ because of ________.    Tout your awesome on your blog!


One of the things I found overwhelming was thinking I had to be on every social media network; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest,  LinkedIn.  During her workshop I asked Susan if she felt we needed to be on all these networks in order to be successful.   She advised us to select social media networks to participate in based on what they do well and on which networks our audience hangs out on.  That was a relief to me.  It's not so overwhelming knowing I don’t have to be on every single network to create an effective online presence and be a successful blogger. 

Learn more about Susan Getgood and her principles for blogging success at GetGood.comIn the Marketing Roadmaps tab you’ll find a list of presentations, including her BlogPaws 2013 presentation on successful professional blogging.

Another of my favorite presentations was given by Steven Feldman and Dr. Kate Hodgson of HABRI, The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative foundation.   I’m a huge believer in the power of the human animal bond.  I’ve seen incredible responses from some of the people Icy and I have visited in the course of our therapy dog volunteer work.
Steven talked about the positive chemicals that are released in humans when they touch an animal.  He also talked about pets being a "prescription for health" and that doctors are including pets in patients' treatments.


Some interesting facts Dr. Hodgson shared with us were:


Pets can be a catalyst for their owners to stop smoking; they don't want second hand smoke to harm their pet.  This fact really surprised me!  Does it surprise you? 


Pets can be motivators for healthy lifestyle choices by increasing exercise.

 

Pets can provide therapeutic intervention to treat illness.

 

Pets can counter the risk factors of major diseases; inactivity, tobacco or alcohol use, hypertension and high blood pressure.


Check out HABRI's web site to learn more about the science behind the human animal bond.

There were many other great workshops and keynote presentations, these are just two of my favorites.   I look forward to attending BlogPaws 2015 in Nashville.  BlogPaws 2014 definitely exceeded my expectations! 

 

Friday, May 23, 2014

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY TO PATRIOTIC POOCHES AND YOUR PEOPLE!

It’s that time of year, the weekend that kicks off the most fun season of all, Summer!  School is OUT and the beach is IN!  In the midst of the parades, barbeques, picnics and other fun stuff that goes with it, on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day, Americans take a timeout to remember the sacrifices made by brave men and women who lost their lives in military service.  We fly our flags at half mast, visit cemeteries of the fallen, and gather at memorials dedicated to our veterans.


Where's the BBQ?  I'm Ready!!


But people don’t always remember that many Canines gave their lives in military service as well.  Since this is a dog blog and we are all animal lovers, I would like to take a moment to also recognize these amazing four legged military heroes.  Military dogs have saved the lives of many soldiers throughout our nation’s history.  They served as scouts, couriers, and trackers, they alerted soldiers to ambushes, enemy approach in the middle of the night, snipers in the distance and other dangers.   These dogs were Hell on Paws, true heroes faithfully serving alongside military servicemen and women.  During WWI and WWII many families donated their dogs into military service



I better get at least 2 hot dogs this year!  Last year I only got 1

One of my favorite military dogs is Sinbad, a mixed breed dog who enlisted in the US Coast Guard.  Sinbad was originally intended as a gift for someone back home, but he became an official canine sailor in the US Coast Guard instead , serving 11 years of sea duty during World War II.  Sinbad “signed” up with the Coast Guard using his paw print on his enlistment papers.  He was even awarded several medals during his years of service.   Yo Ho Ho!  It’s a Sailor’s life for me!! 

For a list of other famous war dogs, check out Dog Channel’s list of famous military dogs or the Cracked list in 5 of the Most Badass Soldiers Ever (Happened To Be Dogs).
 
 
There are a number of memorials across the U.S. that have been dedicated to canines who served in the military.  This memorial day weekend, why not inspire your dog by visiting one of these memorials together. You can find a list of U.S. war dog memorials at the Viet Nam Dog Handler’s Association web site.  One memorial missing from this list however, is the new Guardians of America’s Freedom memorial which was unveiled at Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio, Texas in 2013  This is the first U.S. national monument dedicated to dogs who served in the military. 


The First National U.S. Monument Dedicated to War Dogs.
Photo Source: Reuters
If you want to curl up on the sofa with your own hero dog this weekend and watch a movie that honors American military war dogs, here are a few suggestions.
 
CHIPS THE WAR DOG is based on the true story of a German Shepherd, Collie, Husky mixed dog who served during WWII.  Chips was the most decorated military dog of WWII and is one of the most famous war dogs.  Isis loves this movie because Chips was a Husky mix!
 
FINDING RIN TIN TIN is the true story of the WWI war dog hero turned Hollywood movie star.  Rin Tin Tin was probably America’s most beloved and respected hero dog and Hollywood dog!
 
ALWAYS FAITHFUL chronicles the story of five marines and their military dogs through their deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan.  My Dad was a WWII marine and veteran, so this one is near and dear to my heart.
 
WAR DOGS:  AMERICA'S FORGOTTEN HEROES tells the amazing stories of military dogs who served during Viet Nam.
 
If you prefer a good read, check out John Burnham’s books Dog Tags of Courage and A Soldiers Best Friend.  Burnham was a Vietnam war dog handler and career soldier. 
 
Learn more about U.S. war dogs at the U.S. War Dogs Association
 

THANK YOU to all who served and sacrificed for our freedom

However you decide to spend this Memorial Day weekend, have fun and stay safe!
 
What are your plans for Memorial Day weekend?  Post a comment and tell us what you and your dog have planned for your Memorial Day weekend.
 
 

Friday, May 16, 2014

This Hero Cat Saved A Boy From A Vicious Dog Attack

If you haven't seen this unbelievable viral video yet, this amazing cat saved a little boy from a vicious attack by a next door neighbor's dog.  You've got to see this video, the cat is really something!

The boy was riding his bike in the driveway of their home when the neighbor's dog escaped their yard and attacked him, biting his leg.  The attack was completely unprovoked.  The boy's cat Tara reacted swiftly, slamming her body into the dog and literally chasing him away.  The video was obtained from the family's home security cameras around the perimeter of their house.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/telegraphtv/10831291/Pet-cat-saves-boy-from-dog-in-America.html

If folks out there are thinking about adopting a cat, this video will send them right to the nearest shelter! 

This is a good opportunity to remind everyone that Spring and Summer are puppy and kitten season, so watch the video then go out and adopt the kitty cat you've been wanting.  ( :

My beloved Maggie, sleeping on my husband's stomach.  We lost her last year, she was just shy of 19 years old.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

100 Places To See With Your Dog: ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO

We take our dogs, Icy and Phoebe, pretty much everywhere. Whether it’s hitting every Starbucks in town or visiting interesting places across the country.   


Roswell, New Mexico definitely qualifies as one of those interesting places. We decided to visit the town most associated with UFO’s and alien sitings. Yes, I do mean little green men …. or should I say little green women?.... let’s just say little green beings and leave it at that. The famous 1947 Roswell UFO Incident has been the subject of a rumored government cover-up for decades. Speculation about the validity of the Roswell UFO crash still flies like a Husky’s fur during shedding season!

If you are a fan of Katherine Heigl you may have seen the popular TV show she starred in…. no not Grey’s Anatomy, the other one. I mean the Roswell TV series that aired in the early 2000’s. It was about a group of teenagers; 4 alien and 3 of the human variety. I loved that show and it made me want to visit the alien capital of the U.S., Roswell, New Mexico. Since we lived right next door, in Arizona, we did.  As usual, we decided to take dogs along for the ride.

My husband with Icy and Phoebe as we rolled into New Mexico.

Roswell is a funky, quirky little town. In case you’re wondering, we didn’t experience any close encounters of the third kind. We did, however, go to the International UFO Museum and Research Center. The museum is dog friendly! It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time for $5 a head (human adult head that is, dogs get in free). It’s a very cool place with original documentation of the supposed crash, government response to it, and eye witness accounts. The alien exhibits are super creative.  The museum is a fun, hokey little place to visit with or without your dog! 

Icy and Phoebe taking in one of the Alien exhibits.  Phoebe's not so sure about this; what are they doing to that poor alien on the table?!


Mommy has lost her mind - Get me outta this crazy place!! 

This flying saucer & alien exhibit moves and makes weird noises & "smoke".  It freaked out the dogs a little.  I have a video of it but couldn't successfully upload it, but I have a link to the museum below which has video of it.  It's pretty wild!

 

Phoebe playing with the stuffed alien toy they gave her at the gift shop.  Icy got one too but in typical Husky fashion, she ripped it to shreds long before we returned home!

The mountains that surround Roswell are gorgeous, maybe that’s why the aliens decided to land there – Ha Ha!  Once you’ve had enough alien stuff, there are several places to take your dog for a long walk or a hike.  Check out Bottomless Lakes State Park or Bitter Lake Wildlife Refuge.
 
SHARE IT!  What places do you plan to travel to with your dog?  What is your favorite dog friendly travel destination?  Tell us by posting a comment.
 
Learn about the 1947 UFO incident and the Roswell UFO Museum at  http://www.roswellufomuseum.com/incident.html  

See my Road Trip With The Dogs Post for tips on stress free travel with your dogs!

If you enjoyed this blog post, see my other posts on Pet Friendly travel destinations and  tips on the PET TRAVEL tab on my blog's home page.
 
 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: WE ALL NEED OUR HEROES


 
 EVERYONE NEEDS A HERO.  ISIS' HERO IS BALTO, THE LEAD DOG IN THE LAST RELAY TEAM OF SIBERIAN HUSKIES THAT SAVED THE TOWN OF NOME ALASKA FROM A DEADLY DIPTHERIA BREAKOUT IN 1925.
 
 
 This is a Blog Hop hosted by our friends at Blogpaws!  Thanks for being such great hosts of the Blogpaws 2014 Conference last weekend -  we all had a Grrrreat time!!
 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Could You Foster A Dog To Save His Life?

Fostering saves lives.  We hear that statement a lot, but what does it really mean and what does it take to foster a dog and save a life?  How do you know if you have what it takes to be a good foster parent?

WHY DOGS NEED TO BE FOSTERED:

Most shelters are over-crowded.   There is only so much kennel space, staff, and funding to care for the never ending influx of animals that arrive at shelters day after day.  The Humane Society estimates that 6 – 8 million cats and dogs enter shelters each year.  That is a devastating statistic. There are more homeless dogs and cats than there are available homes to adopt them.
Fostering plays a key role in saving the lives of these animals.

My sweet foster dog Dusty, continually passed over for adoption simply because he had cherry eye.  We had it corrected & he stay with me for 2 weeks.  He was adopted shortly thereafter!
SPACE:
One way fostering saves lives is by freeing up space in shelters.  When an animal leaves the shelter to be fostered, it makes room for one more animal to be housed and cared for in an over-crowded shelter. 

ILLNESS:
A dog may have a contagious illness such as an upper respiratory infection and need to be isolated from other shelter animals to prevent an outbreak of the illness in the entire shelter.  Most shelters have isolation kennels, but when they’re full the dog must be isolated elsewhere.   One of my fosters, Rudy, had a terrible case of kennel cough and needed to be removed from the shelter population to prevent infecting the other dogs.  You can read about him in my post My Favorite Foster: Rudy’s Story.


FOSTERING SHELTER ANIMALS SAVES LIVES
My foster dog Rudy relaxing in my yard following a bout of kennel cough
GIVE ME A BREAK:
Shelter life is stressful; it’s loud, scary, and confining.  Some dogs don’t adapt well and may shut down if they aren’t adopted quickly.  They need a break from the shelter environment.  Fostering in a home gives them a place where they can feel safe, calm down, and regain their resilience.

BEHAVIOR:
Some dogs have behavior issues.  These may be issues they’ve always had or they may be a result of being in a shelter environment.   One of my foster dogs was displaying aggression towards other male dogs.  This jeopardized his ability to be put up for adoption.  The staff recognized that his reaction was simply a result of being terrified. 

I took him home to foster and within 48 hours he was fine.  His true personality came out and he was the sweetest boy!  He re-entered the shelter after a week and did great with all the other dogs there.  He was adopted within two weeks! 

Sometimes the behavior issue might be unruly behavior because the dog never had any training.  A few days of basic obedience training can do wonders, making the dog more appealing to an adopter.


FOSTERING A SHELTER PET CAN SAVE HIS LIFE!
My foster dog Howdy, whose only crime was being afraid of the other boy shelter dogs

WHAT A FOSTER PARENT DOES:


A foster parent takes a dog into their own home to provide care and shelter.  You provide a safe haven, feed them, take them for walks, play with them, and most importantly you LOVE them and make them feel like a pet again!  I like to think I give my foster dogs hope for a new life. 

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO FOSTER A DOG?

You don’t need to be an expert to foster.  A brief orientation session will give you all the basic knowledge you need to become a foster.   

** Can you foster if you work full time?  Yes!  After all, most pet owners work full time.  The person who adopts your foster will probably work as well.

** Can you foster if you have children or other pets in the home? Absolutely!  The person who adopts your foster may have kids and pets in their home too.  You’ll be able to provide valuable insight into how well your foster dog gets along with kids, other dogs, cats, and other pets.  This is valuable information and often prompts someone to choose your foster dog because they can feel confident the dog will be a good fit for their family.

** Is there a cost to become a foster parent?  Probably not, but ask if you have to pay for food or anything else yourself just to be sure.  Most shelters provide the food and basic supplies needed to care for your foster pet.  If the dog is ill they’ll provide necessary medication as well.

** Some people have told me they could never foster because it would be too hard to give their foster dog up.  I’d be lying if I said that never happens.  Many times you do fall in love with a foster dog, but the ultimate gift you give them is the opportunity to start a new life with a new family.  Isn't that worth a few tears? 

I loved all my fosters, but I know that I can’t keep them all and I know that when I send my foster dog off to his new life it frees me up to save the next one, and the next one after that.  The joy of saving each dog’s life lives in my soul forever!
Do you want to foster an animal and save a life, or have you fostered before?  If so, tell us about it by leaving a comment.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother's Day Gifts for Dog Loving Moms

I'd like to share some of my favorite Mother’s Day gifts for Moms who love dogs.  Happy Mother’s Day to Dog Moms everywhere!!


I’m a total bookworm, books are one of my favorite gifts to give and receive.   Here’s a list of books I think make great gifts for dog lovers.  Below that is a short list of some other gifts I think are a good choice for dog loving moms.
  • It’s Me or the Dog, How to Have the Perfect Pet, by Victoria Stilwell, host of the It’s Me or The Dog TV show on Animal Planet.  This is a good book for first time dog owners or dog owners that need some help with the basics.  It covers a lot of the basics on obedience training, behavior issues, and leadership.   She has another book out called Train Your Dog Positively.  I haven’t read this one yet, but I’m sure it’s great. You can find her books on Amazon and on her web site, www.positively.com
  • Pretty much any of Cesar Millan’s books.  Cesar has a number of books that deal with how to raise a dog, dealing with behavior problems, and how to be the pack leader in the home. All are available on Amazon and his web site www.cesarsway.com
  • The Only Dog Tricks Book You’ll Ever need, by Gerilyn J. Bielakiewicz.  I taught Isis to play dead using the steps in this book.  She won a Cutest Trick contest at the pet store with it!  She also learned how to spin and give me a high five with her paw.
  • Angel on a Leash; Therapy Dogs and the Lives They Touch, by David Frei.  This is truly one of my favorite books, it inspired me to pursue becoming a therapy dog team with Isis.  You may know David Frei as one of the hosts of the Westminster Kennel Club show.  
  • The Healing Power of Pets; Harnessing the Amazing Ability of Pets to Make and Keep People Happy and Healthy, by Dr. Marty Becker.  Dr. Becker is also the co-author of Chicken Soup For the Pet Lover’s Soul.  He was the veterinary contributor to ABC’s Good Morning America TV show for many years, and is a contributor to the Dr. Oz show and Medical Advisory Panel.   Check out his web site for a list of his other books at: www.drmartybecker.com
  • Chicken Soup For the Dog Lover’s Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Carol Klein.  I absolutely loved this book, it’s so heartwarming.  I bought it for several friends.
  • The AAA Pet Book, written by AAA of course.  This book is a must have for us when we travel on long car trips with our dogs.  It’s full of so much information, not only lodging listings for the U.S. and Canada but lots of good travel tips and information.  You can get it either at a AAA store or on Amazon.
Other gifts I’d give a dog loving mom:
  • Cesar Millan’s The Dog Whisperer  videos.  These DVD’s contain episodes from his NatGeo Wild TV show The Dog Whisperer.  They are available on Amazon and his web site www.cesarsway.com
  • Doggie jewelry shows the world you’re a dog lover.  Target has some cute pieces on their web site, under dog paw jewelry.  I like the sterling silver black diamond accent paw print necklace.  I also like the paw print stud earrings and some other items available online.
  • If you want to go really chic and spend up on a gift, Tiffany & Co. makes some unique dog jewelry.  They make a sterling silver Scotty dog tag charm you can wear on a necklace or bracelet.  It’s $125.  They also make an 18K gold diamond Scotty pendant.  I don’t own a Scotty but I love them and have always wanted a jet black Scottish Terrier.  This charm is on my wish list!    They have a whole line of items for dogs and dog lovers on their web site, www.tiffany.com
I do not receive any compensation, product, or consideration for any of my product recommendations or reviews.  If I ever do, I will certainly disclose it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - WHEN ICY WAS A PUPPY, SHE REALLY HAD IT IN FOR GUMBY.








UH OH, I DON'T LIKE WHERE THIS IS GOING








HEY, I'M GUMBY, DAMMIT!!!

 

For those of us who grew up watching Saturday Night Live with Eddie Murphy doing his Gumby bit.

This is my very first wordless Wednesday - did I do good?



 
 

Friday, May 2, 2014

100 Places To See With Your Dog: SEDONA, ARIZONA

Ah, Summer that carefree season is around the corner, which means it’s time to plan our Summer vacay!   More and more, my husband and I find that we don’t want to leave our dogs, Icy and Phoebe, home when we go on vacation, especially if our travel is domestic. 

Icy is my beautiful, sometimes even regal, Siberian Husky.   My little Phoebe is a small white dog, some kind of mixed breed.  One day I will do a DNA test to figure out what Phoebe really is so I can answer the frequent question “What kind of dog is she?”  For now, it’s a glorious mystery.   Over the last few years we’ve taken Icy and Phoebe to different places across the U.S.  It all started when we didn’t want to put Icy, who weighs 50 pounds, in the belly of a plane so we decided to drive from Arizona to New York to see family that Christmas.  Since it’s more than 2,500 miles I wanted to make a fun adventure out of it so we chose to spend 8 days traveling and stopped in some fun places.  It was such an interesting adventure we decided to continue the trend of traveling around the country with our dogs. 


Icy and Phoebe, piled in the backseat, ready for a Road Trip!
One of my absolute favorite places to visit with our dogs, is Sedona, Arizona.  Sedona is one of the most breathtaking places in the U.S.  People head to the Grand Canyon in droves, but not everyone visits Sedona which is only about 2 hours South of Grand Canyon.  The Red Rock Region, as Sedona is called, is spectacular.  The rock formations and deep desert red colors set Sedona apart from most geographical areas.  Sedona is nature’s beauty at it’s best. 
Icy perched on a rock on a Sedona hiking trail
 Our favorite hike in Sedona is the West Fork trail in Oak Creek Canyon.  It's just a few miles round trip, every inch of it gorgeous scenery.  You hike across Oak Creek at several points along the trail, but it's not difficult and it's shallow all the way through.    We also love the Boynton Pass hiking trail.  Honestly, every inch of Sedona is stunning and there's a photo op every which way you look.  Many of the old western movies were filmed there because of the dramatic backdrops.
  
Icy taking a dip to cool off during a hike in Oak Creek Canyon.  She won't go  near a pool, but we can't get her out of the creek!
Like most of Arizona, Sedona is super dog friendly.  You can take your dog just about anywhere.  Every park and recreation area in Arizona is dog friendly, you’d be hard pressed to find one that isn’t.  There are lots of dog friendly lodgings in Sedona, and many restaurants are dog friendly on the patio.  One of our favorites in Sedona is Ken's Creek Side.  They even have a dog menu with items like doggie beef stew, which our dogs devour!
Icy enjoying eggs at breakfast, made just for her by the chef at The Lodge at Sedona, a B&B we frequent in Sedona.  They're ultra dog friendly.
My husband John and Icy a the end of the West Fork trail in Sedona
Icy, Phoebe, and my husband enjoying a Starbucks after a long day on the Sedona trails.  This is our favorite way to end a day in Sedona.  p.s. John and I met at a Starbucks.

What places have you ventured to with your dog?  What was your dog’s favorite travel destination?  Tell us by posting a comment. 

See my December 10, 2013 post Road Trip With The Dogs for some tips on traveling with dogs.