Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Morning Walks With My Dog

AN EARLY MORNING WALK WITH PHOEBE

A lovely morning walk with my dog Phoebe
Morning walks with my dogs are the best!  This beautiful Palo Verde tree is in full bloom. 
EARLY MORNINGS ARE MY FAVORITE TIME OF DAY TO WALK WITH MY DOG.  WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF DAY WITH YOUR PETS?  LEAVE US A COMMENT & SHARE!  WE LOVE HEARING FROM YOU.

CHECK OUT THESE RECENT POPULAR POSTS:

YOU CAN'T BUY LOVE BUT YOU CAN ADOPT IT!
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GRAB A TISSUE AND READ 5 HERO DOGS & A HUMAN

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Monday, March 28, 2016

How One Dog's Life Improved With A New Family

I recently read an interesting blog post by my friend Mary Haight, author of Dancing Dog Blog about dog behavior studies.  She discussed how studies have shown that peoples' state of mind and how they interact with their dog can impact their dog's state of mind and behavior.


Mary's blog post reminded me of our neighbors Bob and Terry and their Boxers.  They love the Boxer breed and in the 15 years I've known them they've had 3.  All their dogs were incredibly well behaved and well trained.  I'll admit I was always a little jealous of that.  My dogs are well trained and well behaved but Bob and Terry's dogs surpass mine in terms of exemplary behavior.

2 years ago an interesting thing happened on our street.  Two women live in a cute little house 3 doors down from ours and directly across the street from Bob and Terry.  They had 3 dogs; two Boston Terrier mixes and a Boxer/Bulldog mix.  Their dogs were extremely unruly and unpredictable.  Like many people, I avoided walking my dogs past their house.

Can a dog's environment bring out the crazy in him?

We'd sit in our yard peacefully having coffee when suddenly we'd hear a ruckus break out!  Their dogs would start fighting with each other, both women would start yelling at them, and it sounded like world war three was happening in their yard. 

And then there was the inevitable dog bite incident.

Bob had been out walking his incredibly well behaved Boxer, with a friend of his tagging along for the walk.  As they walked by the unruly dog house, the dogs of course started going crazy like they always do.  Their front door was open with only the screen door closed.  Shockingly, the larger of the 3 dogs jumped right through the screen and went after Bob and his dog!  As Bob's friend tried to help break up the fight he was bitten by the unruly dog. 

Neighbors were up in arms and told the women they needed to do something to get their dogs under control!  It was clear they couldn't handle their 3 dogs.  They were out of control.  While walking Phoebe one day, I saw one of the women attempting to walk the two smaller dogs together and it was a total fiasco!  She had no control whatsoever.  I snatched Phoebe up in my arms and quickly scurried past them.

Having to avoid reactive dogs in the neighborhood really stinks
I hate having to avoid certain houses or streets because of scary dogs!
Our wonderful neighbors Bob and Terry offered to adopt the Boxer mix from them to help the situation.  We thought they were nuts to take on one of those dogs!  But they liked the dog and wanted to help so they took him in. 

I worried about Bob, Terry, and their own Boxer, but I shouldn't have.  Within just a few weeks I started seeing them calmly walking both dogs together two to three times a day!  The dogs calmly hang out with Bob (on leash) in front of their house too.  I'm so amazed, not only have they gotten this dog totally under control, but he looks so happy and relaxed with them! 

I'm really lucky that Icy & Phoebe get along so well
Bob and Terry's two dogs have been living calmly and happily together as siblings ever since.  The women unfortunately continued to be unable to keep their remaining 2 dogs under control.  Thankfully, they have recently moved out of the neighborhood!

I agree that a dog's environment and owner's personality can have an impact on a dog's behavior.  Sometimes a dog and owner or home environment just aren't the right fit.  Of course, that's not to say that every dog with behavior issues probably lives in the wrong home environment.  Dogs can develop behavior issues for so many different reasons, but it was amazing to see the change in this dog's behavior and life once he moved to a different home environment.  Lucky dog, huh?

Have you seen examples of a home environment creating negative behaviors in a dog or cat?  Leave us a comment and share, we always love hearing from you!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Unleash A Fresh Spring Look With #PetSmartGrooming

It's been a long Winter, hasn't it?  Phoebe and I are ready for Spring, I bet you are too!  Although we live in Phoenix, it can get pretty cold on Winter nights so I let Phoebe's fur grow out to help her stay warm. 

In just a few months however, she gets what I call the Woolly mammoth look!   Her coat is overgrown and she really needs a nail trim.  That's when it's time for expert dog grooming at the PETSMART® GROOMING SALON!

One of our favorite PetSmart groomers, Brittany, worked her magic and took Phoebe from WOOLLY MAMMOTH...

When Phoebe gets that Woolly Mammoth look she needs #PetSmartGrooming #ad
After just a few months, Phoebe gets that Woolly mammoth look!
... to DOGGIE DIVA!

Phoebe loves her PetSmart spa days!  #PetSmartGrooming #ad
Every dog deserves a fresh new look for Spring!
Can you believe Phoebe's  transformation?!  She hardly looks like the same dog!  I can always tell that she feels as good as she looks the way she prances out of the PetSmart Grooming salon like she's Miss America!

This post is sponsored by PetSmart® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network.  I am being compensated for helping spread the word about PetSmart Grooming Salons, but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers.  PetSmart is not responsible for the content of this article.

Whether your dog needs a bath and brush, a quick nail trim, or a full spa treatment with haircut, nail trim/grinding, deshedding or special add-on treatments, PetSmart grooming salons do it all!  I know they'll make my dogs look and feel fabulous! 

Every few months Phoebe gets her PetSmart spa day which includes a beautiful haircut, a nail trim, and teeth brushing.

This time I decided to do something extra special for Phoebe and get a PetSmart Pet Expressions stenciling.  They have lots of designs but I thought the Daisy was perfect for Spring.  It looks so cute on her furry little butt, I just love it!


Phoebe looks adorable after her expert #PetSmartGrooming #ad
Every few months Phoebe gets a spa day at the PetSmart Grooming salon
If your dog needs a nail trim, ear cleaning, or teeth cleaning these services are available on a walk-in basis.  It's a great convenience to be able to pop in and get these services for my dog while I run a few errands.

PetSmart groomers are incredibly caring, dedicated grooming experts.  I can bring my dogs there with confidence.  Their passion for pets and their grooming expertise really shows!

* All PetSmart salon associates acquire annual safety certification and take additional course-work to learn about dog anatomy, signs of stress, and common pet medical conditions.


The expert groomers at the PetSmart grooming salons give Phoebe the perfect haircut! #PetSmartGrooming #ad
PetSmart salon groomers receive hundreds of hours of hands-on training!
* PetSmart salon groomers that give haircuts also receive an additional 400 hours of hands-on training!  PetSmart groomers not only have the passion, but the knowledge and expertise to take excellent care of my dogs and consistently do a great job.


PetSmart groomers receive hundreds of hours of hands on training. #PetSmartGrooming #ad
Expert PetSmart dog groomer Brittany gently trims around Phoebe's sensitive paws
* PetSmart groomers always take the time to discuss my grooming goals.  They're also helpful in recommending the right cut for my dog and add-on services like nail trimming and teeth brushing.  I love the way they interact with my dog, taking time to greet her and give her some TLC.

* The grooming process is so easy and flexible.  I can make my appointment online and choose my favorite groomer, the services I want, and the day/time that fits my schedule.  I can also call or make an appointment in person, whatever works for me!

* I love that I can receive a text message or email to confirm my appointment, and to let me know when my dog is ready for me to pick her up.


Making appointments for #PetSmartGrooming so easy & flexible #ad
I love that I can get a text message or email when my dog is ready to come home from the PetSmart grooming salon
PetSmart even offers their Look Great Guarantee, their promise that you'll be happy with your pet's service.  If not, they'll do whatever it takes to make it right or it's free.  Now that's a great service guarantee!

I've been using PetSmart dog grooming services for years and I've never been anything but thrilled with the results.  That's why I'm happy to be able to share with you how great their salon services are and how wonderful my experiences with PetSmart grooming have been!


PetSmart Grooming salon associates are dedicated, caring expert groomers #PetSmartGrooming #ad
Our PetSmart groomer Brittany puts the final touches on Phoebe, adding purple bows and a bandana.  She looks adorable!
Check out their full line of pet grooming services by visiting the PETSMART GROOMING SALON web site.  To make a grooming appointment online, enter your Zip code to find a grooming salon near you and book your appointment. 

NOTE: All pets need current rabies vaccinations and proof of vaccination from their Veterinarian.  Rabies vaccination must be administered at least 48 hours prior to service.  Pets must be over 8 weeks old to receive salon services.  For the safety of our pets and associates, customers may not go behind the double doors separating the Salon lobby from the grooming area.

GET SOCIAL WITH PETSMART ON TWITTER, FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM!!
 
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PetSmart . The opinions and text are all mine.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Desert Hike With My Dog

A perfect morning for a desert hike with my Husky!


What are you and your dog doing today?

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Want Your Senior Dog To Be Sharp As A Tack? #BrightMind

When we adopted Phoebe in 2011, the shelter estimated her age to be approximately 3 years old.  It feels like in the blink of an eye suddenly she's 8 years old!  My girl is a senior dog! 

What do you mean I'm a Senior Dog!?  I think these glasses just make me look old.
Phoebe was always a feisty little dog and very smart, but in the last year I've noticed some changes in her.  It's like she isn't as.... sharp as she used to be.  My Husky Icy, on the other hand, is only 6 years old and is sharper and quicker, especially when learning new things. 

Sometimes I feel bad for Phoebe when we play games with treats.  Icy is right on it but Phoebe needs some coaching and a bit more time to "get it" and join in.  By that time Icy has usually gotten nearly all of the treats!

How do we play this game again?
Don't get me wrong, I think senior dogs totally ROCK, but sometimes they rock a little slower!  According to the experts at Purina Pro Plan®, around age seven the glucose metabolism in a dog's brain begins to change.  That can have a negative impact on a dog's:

** MEMORY
** LEARNING
** AWARENESS
** DECISION MAKING

This actually made me breathe a sign of relief, at least I know the changes I'm seeing in Phoebe are normal for her age!

This post is sponsored by Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™.  I am being compensated for helping enrich the lives of senior dogs, but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers.  Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND is not responsible for the content of this article.

If you have a senior dog who isn't quite as sharp as his or her younger self, don't worry!  I have some great news to share with you.  

Purina Pro Plan has discovered a way to promote alertness and mental sharpness in senior dogs, 7 years and older, through nutrition!  They've introduced BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+®  dog food formulas.  I love the idea of achieving improvement in my dog's mental sharpness through quality nutrition!

> BRIGHT MIND 7+ was created with enhanced botanical oils shown to promote alertness and mental sharpness in dogs 7 and older, with visible results in 30 days.  When added to the daily diet of dogs 7 years and older, formulas that contained enhanced botanical oils promoted memory, attention and trainability.

> BRIGHT MIND 7+  contains glucosamine to help support joint health and mobility.

> BRIGHT MIND 7+ contains vitamin A and linoleic acid for healthy skin and coat.

> BRIGHT MIND 7+ contains high quality protein as the first ingredient!

These are all really important for an aging pet!

Purina Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND 7+ promotes alertness and mental sharpness in dogs 7 years and older 
By feeding Phoebe a daily diet of Purina Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND I'm hoping to see some positive changes:

** I hope she develops more of an interest in her interaction and play with me and my dog Icy.
 
** I'd like to see her catch on to new games and other things as quickly as Icy does, so she doesn't feel left out.

** I'm hoping to see an increased ability to deal with change.  That's especially important because we will be moving this year.  Phoebe doesn't like too much change, it stresses her out!  I want our move to go smoothly for our dogs as well as for us.

Click these links to learn more about Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+ and watch the BRIGHT MIND Effect video.


I have even more good news for you!  Purina Pro Plan is offering a great deal on dry food or litter, but it's only for a limited time!

***** WOW!! *****
SPEND $10 on any Purina® Pro Plan® product from 2/29 through 4/3 and you'll SAVE $10 on your next purchase of Purina® Pro Plan®

Dry Cat or Dry Dog Food (14lbs. or larger) 
OR
On cat Litter (6lbs or larger)
Redeem this $10 savings by 5/1*

You can purchase Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND at PetSmart stores or PetSmart online.

Remember to do a slow transition whenever you change your dog's food!  Transition your dog from his or her current food to Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND over the course of 7 to 10 days, following the instructions on the side panel of the package:


Get Social With Purina Pro Plan!  Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter




Friday, March 18, 2016

A Tale of Two Spay Neuter Tragedies

I wasn't going to write another post on the importance of spaying and neutering pets but some recent conversations have compelled me to do so. 

February was SPAY/NEUTER AWARENESS MONTH. All month long people were blogging about the importance of spaying and neutering pets, but not everyone agrees and not everyone is concerned about not spaying and neutering pets.

Not spaying and neutering pets can lead to tragedy
One of many unneutered dogs that end up in our shelters
I'd like to share stories of two dogs who were not spayed and neutered.  Things took a serious turn for the worse because of it.

The first story is about my sister's beautiful Dalmation, Suki.  I want to stress that this happened years ago, and she would never be persuaded like this again.  My sister got Suki from a "professional breeder".  Suki was apparently show quality but the breeder agreed to sell her to my sister at a pet quality price if my sister would breed her at least once, allow the breeder to show her, and give the breeder pick of the litter of puppies.  My sister really wanted Suki and thought having a litter of puppies would be a fun "experience".  She was dead wrong. 

The breeder's contract stipulated that Suki was not to be indiscriminately bred, the Breeder would provide an appropriate male stud.  She cautioned my sister about guarding Suki when she came into heat, explaining that an un-neutered male within a mile or more can scent a dog in heat and would go to great lengths to get to her.

My sister did her best to guard the chastity of her sweet girl.  However, while on a potty break in their own backyard an un-neutered neighbor dog jumped their 6 foot fence and mated with her.  It happened in what seemed like seconds to my sister, and she couldn't get that dog off Suki!

Poor Suki ended up preggers.  She called the breeder, who proceeded to chew her out (pardon the pun) for "not being careful"  What was she supposed to do, get a medieval chastity belt for the dog?!

Long story short, she brought Suki to the vet to abort the puppies.  The breeder steadfastly insisted on this and made some breach of contract threats - can you believe that??    Apparently, if she had puppies with a mutt she'd be ruined for life. 

Something went terribly wrong during surgery and Suki nearly bled to death!  Thankfully they were able to save her and had to perform an emergency hysterectomy.  Don't even ask about the breeders response to that - Yikes! 

In the end Suki was a happy, healthy member of the family bringing joy to everyone for many years!  Except that time she jumped up and snatched all the S'mores fixings I had laid out on the kitchen table during a family BBQ - LOL!!!  Angel Suki, you are still sorely missed.

It's nearly impossible to keep two unaltered dogs from mating with each other
An un-neutered male dog who ended up at the shelter where I volunteer
This next incident happened to a nice couple we met in one of Icy's training classes.  They had two gorgeous Leonbergers, a male and a female.  In the contract, the breeder they got the dogs from stipulated that they were not to spay or neuter the dogs until they were 2 years old. 

Many Veterinarians and breeders state that giant dog breeds shouldn't be spayed until they reach their full height at around 2 years old for purposes of bone and joint growth.  They feel that if the dog is spayed/neutered before 1 to 2 years old there is a greater chance of joint issues such as hip dysplasia.  I'm not a Veterinary health professional so I'm not qualified to affirm or dispute that.

The couple did their best to keep the two dogs apart, but eventually the inevitable happened and the female ended up pregnant at about a year old.  She had beautiful puppies, which the couple decided to sell on the internet (Grrrr!!).  The 6 pups were all pre-sold to people the couple had never met. 

Adorable videos were posted online for the future parents so they could keep up with the pups' growth.  All was well until they were 8 weeks old.  The puppies went to their new homes, all except one.  The one puppy couldn't go to her new home because she became sick.  Very, very sick.  After weeks of suffering for the puppy and several thousand dollars in treatment for the owners, the little girl had to be humanely euthanized by their Veterinarian.   They couldn't save her.

It was utterly devastating for the couple.  They felt so awful and grieved the sweet little puppy so deeply. 

Please don't let these spay/neuter tragedies happen to your dogs
My girl Icy wants everyone to please spay and neuter responsibly
Why am I sharing these tragic stories with you?  I'm doing it to illustrate how difficult it can be to prevent unwanted litters when you don't spay and neuter.  If your Veterinarian advises a family to wait until a certain age to spay/neuter their pet for medical reasons, I understand.  But please know the risks in doing so and put safeguards in place. Ask your Veterinarian or breeder for suggestions.

Having two dogs (or cats) in the same house that are not spayed or neutered is a disaster waiting to happen.  It was foolish of the breeder to think the couple above would be able to keep the dogs apart, living under the same roof, for nearly 2 years!  The breeder should have advised them to wait until one of the dogs was old enough to spay or neuter before bringing another dog into the household.

Please spay and neuter responsibly
A sweet shelter kitty whose owner had passed away.
What do you think the dog owners in these two stories could have done to avoid these tragic outcomes?  What would you have done differently?  Please leave us a comment and share your thoughts, we love when you Bark & Meow back at us!

If this resonates with you, you may also like my earlier post on Tens of Thousands of Puppies From One Dog.

Let's connect on Facebook!


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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Iditarod Sled Dog Fever!

Iditarod sled dogs and their mushers have been ripping up the Iditarod trail this week, heading for their final destination over 1,000 miles away, in Nome Alaska!  Although some have made it in only 8 days it can take up to 15 days to complete the race depending on trail conditions!  The race doesn't end until the last Musher crosses the finish line.


We had the pleasure of traveling to Anchorage, Alaska last week for the ceremonial start of the Iditarod, the "Last Great Race on Earth".  It was a real party!  TV crews, Newspaper reporters, Local politicians, and Thousands of people from all over the world converged on the otherwise quiet city of Anchorage to cheer the dogs and their mushers on to victory!


Seeing and hearing a team of sled dogs thundering by only a few feet away is so exciting!  I couldn't take my eyes off these amazing animals!  Check out this short video of the ceremonial race start:


I discovered that just a little further away from the finish line the track narrowed considerably and we were able to get up close and personal as the sled dog teams passed by.  Turns out these were the best seats in the house!  I captured a few more awesome videos like this one:


There were all sorts of characters milling around Anchorage at the starting line.  Holy Hanna, I was almost LUNCH!!


Look!  Even Chewbacca came out for the race.  No that's not me in the photo with Chewbacca.
Did you know that over the years Anchorage hasn't had nearly enough snow to support dog sledding?  They actually have to deliver snow by the truck load from another part of Alaska!  In one day they covered 3 miles worth of trail in Anchorage with snow delivered from outside the city.  In addition, the beautiful glaciers of Alaska have been receding at a rapid pace.  Climate Change is Real, folks.

These dogs are having a snack of slump before the race begins.
The Iditarod sled dog race is run not only as an exciting competitive sport, but it is run in honor of the Great Serum Run of 1925, which saved the town of Nome, Alaska from a deadly Diphtheria epidemic.   The epidemic may very well have wiped out a significant number of indigenous Alaskan people, which would have been tragic.

The Mushers and their teams are really dedicated, they all want to make the 1,000+ mile journey to Nome!
You can follow all the race action on the official Iditarod web site.

Have you ever been dog sledding?  Would you like to?  Leave us a comment, we always loving hearing from you!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Iditarod Sled Dog Race Honors Hero Dogs & Mushers

IT'S HERE! 

REFERRED TO AS "THE LAST GREAT RACE ON EARTH", THE ANNUAL IDITAROD SLED DOG RACE STARTED LAST WEEKEND!!

THE IDITAROD IS A PUNISHING 1,000 + MILE SLED DOG RACE, ENTERED BY THE BRAVEST MUSHERS AND EXTREME SLED DOG ATHLETES.  THIS HIGHLY COMPETITIVE SLED DOG RACE IS RUN ACROSS THE STATE OF ALASKA, STARTING IN ANCHORAGE AND ENDING IN NOME. 


Statue of Balto, the lead dog of the final sled team that delivered life saving antitoxin to Nome, Alaska
This statue in Central Park, NYC is of Balto, lead dog of the last sled dog team to reach Nome, Alaska with life saving Diptheria antitoxin. 
THE IDITAROD RACE IS A TEST OF EXTREME ENDURANCE AND SKILL THAT PAYS HOMAGE TO THE SERUM RUN OF 1925, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS "THE GREAT RACE OF MERCY".

THE SERUM RUN WAS THE RESULT OF A DIPTHERIA OUTBREAK THAT POSED A SERIOUS THREAT TO THE PEOPLE OF NOME, ALASKA.  DUE TO EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS, THE ONLY WAY TO GET LIFESAVING ANTITOXIN SERUM TO NOME WAS VIA SLED DOG! 

THE TRIP WAS SO HARSH, THEY NEEDED MULTIPLE SLED DOG TEAMS.  APPROXIMATELY 150 DOGS AND 20 MUSHERS MADE THE TRECHEROUS 674 MILE JOURNEY IN 5.5 DAYS, JUST IN TIME TO SAVE THE PEOPLE OF NOME FROM DEADLY EPIDEMIC!


The iditarod sled dog race is run to honor the 1925 Great Race of Mercy when sled dog teams saved an Alaskan town from a deadly Diphtheria
The Iditarod sled dog race is over 1,000 miles, often in treacherous blizzard conditions
THE IDITAROD RACE TAKES FROM 8 TO 15 DAYS DEPENDING ON THE SKILL OF THE TEAMS AND THE CONDITIONS ALONG THE OFTEN TRECHEROUS IDITAROD TRAIL.

IF THERE ARE ANY EDUCATERS OUT THERE, I HOPE YOU WILL FIND AN OPPORTUNITY TO TEACH YOUR STUDENTS THE AMAZING STORY OF THE SERUM RUN OF 1925.   

Sled dogs saved the town of Nome, Alaska from a deadly Diphtheria outbreak by delivering life saving serum via sled dog teams

KIDS CAN FOLLOW THE PROGRESS OF THE EXCITING IDITAROD RACE ONLINE.  WHAT A FUN, EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITY IT WOULD BE FOR STUDENTS TO FOLLOW ALONG, TRACKING THEIR FAVORITE SLED DOG TEAM

TEACHERS & PARENTS, FOR A WEALTH OF INFORMATION AND IDEAS HEAD TO THE IDITAROD EDUCATION PORTAL

I'M SO PROUD OF MY HUSKY'S HERITAGE AND HOW HER ANCESTORS HELPED SAVED THE PEOPLE OF NOME, MANY OF WHOM WERE PEOPLE INDIGENOUS TO ALASKA.

The Iditarod race, run in March, covers over 1,000 of rugged Alaska terrain

THE SERUM RUN OF 1925 IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF ALASKAN HISTORY, AND IT IS THEREFORE AN IMPORTANT PART OF AMERICAN HISTORY!

I'LL BE BLOGGING ABOUT THE GREAT RACE OF MERCY AND THE IDITAROD RACE OVER THE NEXT WEEK, SO STAY TUNED!

Do you follow the Iditarod race?  Have you ever been to Alaska during the Iditarod?  Leave us a comment and share your story!



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

You can't BUY Love but you can adopt It!

Money can't buy me love, but adoption sure can!  Phoebe is living proof of that.


Don't you agree?  Leave us your thoughts in the comments, we always love to hear from you!

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

5 Hero Dogs and a Human

On Saturday night I had the privilege of volunteering at one of the most fun and heartwarming events of the year, the 13th annual HERO Awards in Phoenix, Arizona!  The event benefited the Phoenix county shelter, with proceeds going towards low cost and free spay/neuter services the shelter provides to the community.

Diva, a therapy dog who was honored at the Hero Awards
Diva, an amazing therapy dog who was honored at the Hero Awards
 Award winners are animals who have demonstrated outstanding courage, ability to overcome extreme challenges, and the will to survive.  Also honored is one Human Hero, someone who has made an exceptional contribution to the lives of animals.

To celebrate the positive impact animals have on our lives, 5 exceptional Hero Dogs and one Human Hero were honored.  Grab a tissue because you'll be both inspired and moved to tears by their stories!

DIVA:
Diva is a Therapy Dog who, for the past 9 years, has brought joy and healing to hundreds of kids at Phoenix Children's Hospital.   When she's not busy visiting sick children in the hospital, she's working with kids in local schools, helping them improve their reading and writing skills.  Diva was a HUGE hit a the hero Awards, surrounded by adoring fans all evening!  She has the prettiest smile and the most loving temperament.  I loved meeting Diva and talking with her family, especially since my dog Icy and I are also a Therapy Dog team!


The Hero Awards honored 5 exceptional hero dogs and 1 human hero
Me with Diva and her Mom, an incredible woman who serves our community in many ways.
CHARLIE:
Charlie came into the shelter as a puppy with his fur half gone and his skin torn and itchy.  He had a horrible case of mange.  He was in such bad shape that he was slated for euthanasia!  Lucky for Charlie, a wonderful local rescue group, Medical Animals in Need  (MAIN) rescued him and later found him a loving home with a family that included a seeing eye dog named Kagan. A strong bond formed between the two dogs, they're inseparable and are considered a seeing-eye team!  These dogs and their parents were so sweet, I really enjoyed spending time with them. Charlie was super sweet and never left Kagan's side.



Charlie and his seeing-eye dog companion at the Hero Awards, where 5 hero dogs and 1 human hero were honored
Charlie (left) with Kagan and their parents.  You can just see the unbreakable bond these two dogs have!
LEO:
On his 10th combat rotation in Afghanistan, Army Ranger SFC Cory Remsburg suffered a traumatic brain injury.  He spent 3 months in a medically induced coma followed by 3 years in hospitals and rehab centers, working to regain speech and movement.  Leo is his service dog, who Cory credits as being one of the most crucial remedies in his recovery.  Leo was himself close to death, on a euthanasia list in North Carolina.  Cory's sister rescued Leo specifically with her brother in mind.  She somehow knew these two, who had both escaped death, would end up healing each other!  Leo is a beautiful dog with a dark, thick fluffy coat.  Slight flecks of brindle reflected off the lights.  On stage receiving their Hero Award  and pendant for Leo, Cory joked about Leo's breed, saying he did a DNA test because everyone kept asking what kind of dog he was.  According to the DNA test, Leo is a combination of just about every breed of dog known to man, LOL!!  Cory has become a celebrity in his own right, traveling extensively, sharing a message of hope and inspiration.  He's even met and been honored by President Obama.  Leo and Cory are both heroes, I'm so glad I had the opportunity to meet them!


One of the wonderful items available in the silent auction was a photo on canvas of Heidi, a Scout dog who served in Viet Nam.  I love this piece, such a beautiful dog!  Decades ago, families donated their dogs to the war effort.  I consider myself to be patriotic but I have to admit, I couldn't possibly give my dog up to go to war!
RONIN:
Ronin, a K9 Officer was fatally shot during pursuit of a gunman who had been threatening local businesses and innocent bystanders. The armed suspect ran through a neighborhood with Ronin and his partner, Officer Zygmont in hot pursuit.  When the gunman was cornered he opened fire, critically wounding Officer Zygmont and killing Ronin.  Ronin is a true hero who made the ultimate sacrifice.  In memory of his K9 partner, Officer Zygmont and his wife formed the non-profit Blue Line K9, which offers support and financial assistance to K9 teams across the country.  I am grateful to both Officer Zygmont and to Ronin for their service to our community.  Rest In Peace, angel Ronin.

STORMY:
Stormy, a gorgeous German Shepherd, was found at a construction site following a severe monsoon.  She was rescued by construction workers from underneath heavy debris.  To their surprise, Stormy wasn't along under there - she had a litter of puppies with her!  They had to be dug out by hand to prevent the structure from collapsing.  Stormy was in bad shape; emaciated and anemic, she had wires deeply embedded in her skin.  If that wasn't bad enough, she had a prolapsed uterus, a belly full of gravel since she had no food, and advanced heartworm disease.  She was given a 25% chance of survival, but she fought hard for herself and her puppies.  She and her puppies ultimately survived and thrived!  Stormy is so sweet and loving, it was a pleasure to meet her and her owner.

I'm holding Ranger, a super sweet dog who had been in the shelter for 6 long months before finding his forever home at the Hero Awards!  Congrats to Ranger and his new Mom!
Dr. Kit Slocum:
The Human Hero award went to "Dr. Kit", a local Veterinarian, for her tireless work helping animals in low income and underserved communities.  Many low income pet owners don't have access to transportation so Dr. Kit bought a mobile RV clinic and drives Vet services directly to them.  By reducing unwanted litters in Phoenix area neighborhoods with high numbers of strays, Dr. Kit has helped reduce the number of animals entering shelters. It's estimated that she has saved approximately 10,000 lives from euthanasia!  That certainly says Hero in my book.

CONGRATULATIONS to these deserving Hero Award recipients!

"Since 2006, Friends of Animal Care and Control has funded over 91,000 surgeries through the Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) preventing hundreds of thousands unwanted dogs and cats from entering our Valley shelters.  In fact, the ASPCA calculated that every two spay/neuter surgeries performed in Maricopa County, directly reduces euthanasia in our shelters by one dog or cat! This means there is no more cost effective way to save a life than by funding spay & neuter."

"...Since the Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) was launched in 2006, 55,000 fewer pets have lost their lives in Maricopa County shelters..."
- Friends of Animal Care and Control

This wonderful event, held at the beautiful Montelucia Resort & Spa, was hosted by Friends of Animal Care and Control and sponsored in large part by PetSmart Charities.