Wednesday, July 31, 2013

5 Dogs That Received an Honorary College Degree

By Linda Cole

Colleges and universities often bestow honorary degrees to individuals for outstanding contributions or distinction. Sometimes it's a four legged individual that impresses committee members. Ellis, Samson, Zeeke and Elvis are dogs who received honorary degrees for their contributions to their humans, and Dylan received a posthumous award for his owner.


Amanda Davis is legally blind, but having a disability didn't stop her from realizing her dream of getting a law degree. While she was getting her undergraduate degree at the University of Tampa, she was paired with a black Lab named Ellis after she applied for a guide dog from the Seeing Eye in Morristown, NJ. Davis was accepted into the New York Law School to continue her education, and Ellis was by her side the entire time. The school made room in the classrooms and gave Ellis time for breaks when they were needed. When Davis and Ellis crossed the stage on graduation day in 2012, she received her law degree and Ellis was given an honorary degree for his outstanding work as a service dog.


In 2011, a 2 year old yellow Lab named Samson graduated from and received an honorary degree from Oklahoma University. He entered the hallowed halls of higher education as an eight week old pup. Occupational therapist and faculty member in the Rehabilitative Services Department, Dr. Mary Isaacson, would spend the next two years training Samson as a service dog. Part of his training included learning how to hold open doors, retrieve objects on the floor, and turn lights on and off. Samson completed his education, donned his cap and gown, and graduated as a certified service dog ready to assist someone living with a disability in Oklahoma. When Samson received his honorary degree, he sat and shook the Dean's hand, like any other graduate. The 300 other graduates were thrilled to share their special day with a dog they knew and loved.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tips for Finding a Dog Rescue Group

By Suzanne Alicie

Although I’m not in the market for a new dog at the moment, when the time comes I will get a rescue dog. There are plenty of great dogs in need of a forever home out there. But what if you’re looking for a rescue dog to adopt, yet still want to get a purebred or a specific breed? That’s when you need to know how to find a rescue program for the type of dog you’re looking for.

Check with Breeders

Many dog breeders are approached when a dog needs a home, but they can’t take in all the dogs of a breed so they need to be able to tell people who to get in touch with for a rescue. Because breeders specialize in a specific breed, they often know a lot of people who deal with the same kind of dogs. When a person cares deeply about a breed and wants to be helpful, they will know of a reputable rescue where you can find the dog you’re looking for.

Look Online

Simply use your search engine to find rescue groups and then narrow down the search with the breed you are looking for. BUT keep in mind that not all rescues are the same. Do a little research, check out their website, and try to locate people who have worked with the rescue to make sure it is a reputable program.  Facebook is a great way to find out what people think of an organization and what their experiences have been.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Eight Easy-to-Train Small Dog Breeds

By Linda Cole

Training any dog can be hard if you aren't consistent and dedicated. Small dogs, which include terriers, come with big attitudes and aren't afraid to take on big jobs. These dogs are intelligent, agile and tenacious. Dogs under 22 pounds or standing under 16 inches are considered small, although there are some small breeds that weigh a little more and are taller. If you want a small dog that's easy to train, there's a nice variety to pick from, including the breeds listed below. Carry a pocketful of CANIDAE Pure Heaven treats, and these dogs will practically train themselves! LOL.

Yorkshire Terrier

This breed has been in the top ten most popular dogs for the last decade. The Yorkie may be small, but he's all terrier, with an expertise in rooting out and catching rats and other small rodents. The breed was developed in northern England's Yorkshire County to control rodents in coal mines and textile factories. Earlier dogs were larger than the breed we know today, and fearless when it came to doing their job. It wasn't long before high society adopted the Yorkie as a companion pet, and that's when the breed was bred down to the size we know today.


The smallest of the Spitz family of dogs, the Pomeranian is descended from Northern breeds like the Norwegian Elkhound, American Eskimo Dog, Samoyed and Schipperke. Before this breed was bred down to their 3-7 pound size, Poms weighed up to 30-35 pounds. The dog was developed in Pomerania, a small province in today's eastern Germany. This compact little dog can excel at agility and obedience, or be happy hanging out in the lap of the one he loves.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Sand Cat, a Small But Fierce Desert Wild Cat

By Julia Williams

The sand cat might just be the cutest of all wild cats, and it’s also one of the smallest. Don’t let that sweet face and tiny body fool you, though – this desert wild cat is tough as nails! Well yeah…it would have to be, to survive the harsh conditions where it lives.

Found in both sandy and stony deserts, the habitat of the sand cat (Felis margarita) ranges from North Africa's Sahara Desert through the Middle East into Central Asia. Although “sand cat” might seem to be a nickname related to its habitat, it is the cat’s actual name. Also called the sand dune cat, these plucky felines have adapted to the extreme temperatures and dry conditions in the desert. Their feet are thickly padded with fur to insulate them from the hot sand. They have large ears which help them hear their prey, and they are excellent hunters – a small rodent like a mouse does not stand a chance against a sand cat!

This hardy feline can survive in temperatures ranging from 23° F to 126° F. During extreme heat, the sand cat stays cool by retreating to an underground burrow. They use abandoned fox or porcupine burrows, but are also good at digging and will enlarge the small burrows of gerbils or other rodents.

Perhaps most impressive of all is that sand cats do not need to drink a lot of water. Although they do drink water when it’s available, if necessary they can get the moisture they need from their prey. This allows them to live comfortably in areas that are far from a water source.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ties That Bind: What One Dog Did For Love

By Linda Cole

Two stray dogs living on the streets of Terre Haute, Indiana met and “fell in love,” or so the story goes. Life took an abrupt turn, however, when the two became separated. But one of the dogs wasn't going to let anything stop him from being reunited with his best four legged friend.

Four and a half year old Ben, a mixed breed, and one year old Jade, a German Shepherd mix, were well known strays that called the streets of Terre Haute home. How they met is anyone's guess, but over time an incredible bond grew between them. The dogs were looked after by locals in the community, but the pair remained skittish of humans. When Jade became pregnant, the Terre Haute Humane Society (THHS) decided it was time to rescue both dogs.

Since they were comfortable with each other, the shelter kenneled them together until Jade gave birth to six healthy puppies. It was decided that they would be better in a foster home environment until the pups were weaned, and were moved to the home of Kali Skinner, one of the THHS adoption counselors. According to Skinner, “Jade was timid, but a very caring mother.” When the pups were old enough, they were put up for adoption and all quickly found forever homes.

Ben was overjoyed to see Jade when she returned to the shelter, and life was good until a young couple stopped in looking for a dog to adopt. Courtney and Jason Lawler fell in love with Ben, but they didn't want two dogs. The couple's three year old son, Peyton, and one dog would be all they could handle – or so they thought. Ben was led away from the shelter and his best friend, and Jade was left alone in the kennel. This might have been the end to this sad story of two friends saying goodbye, but Ben had other ideas and wasn't about to be separated from his love.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Geocaching with Your Dog

By Langley Cornwell

When I was young, I used to love scavenger hunts. I think I was first introduced to hunts at Girl Scout Camp and from then on, I was hooked. I remember asking my parents to organize a scavenger hunt for my birthday party that year and the trend took off. Several of my friends followed suit, and we had loads of fun racing around gathering random things. Eventually we got too cool to run around the neighborhood gathering stuff, and the scavenger hunt craze fizzled out among my pals.

I had not given my scavenging days much thought until I ran across an article about Geocaching. According to The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Website, geocaching is a free real-world outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Players try to navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Players may then share their experiences with an online community of cachers. Currently, there are about 122,615 active caches in more than 210 countries.

Geocaching is a compound word including GEO for geography, and CACHING, which refers to the process of hiding a cache. This is not to be confused with cache in computer terms, which usually refers to information stored in memory to make it faster to retrieve. In this context, cache refers to a term that is also used in hiking/camping as a hiding place for concealing and preserving provisions. Geocaching containers are usually weather-resistant vessels holding a logbook along with an array of coins, plastic toys, key chains and other small items for trade.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

No Yard? 5 Ways to Still Exercise Your Dog

By Tamara McRill

While a big backyard can be wonderful for excising our dogs, a lot of pet owners just don't have that luxury. That's something I learned when we downsized from two lots of running space to a teeny tiny yard.

Luckily, I was able to find several solutions that worked for us, as well as some that would also work for any pet owner who has more pent-up dog energy than grass square footage.

1. Leash Up and Head Out

It might be an obvious solution, but taking your dog to a place where they can exercise certainly solves the problem. If you don’t have access to a dog park or are unable to walk your dog for long distances, then consider a friend's yard. We make use of a neighbor's fenced-in backyard on occasion, so my Wuppy can get in some of the free running he's used to.

2. Hire Help

Sometimes time is an added problem, along with little yard space. If you ever run into a situation where you just get too busy to take your dog out to walk or play, then consider hiring a dog walker or taking them to a doggie daycare. That way, your dog gets all the exercise they need and deserve, and you don't have to feel guilty about being so busy. Plus, you get to spend your spare time snuggling with your pet!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Six Ways to Boost Your Pet's Brainpower

By Linda Cole

When it comes to learning, dogs and cats process information in two different ways:  “fluid intelligence” (smarts they are born with) and “crystallized intelligence” (how they process what they've learned). This is according to Stanley Coren, PhD, a psychology professor and author of How Dogs Think. We can't do much about our pet's fluid intelligence, but we can help them expand learned intelligence and boost their brainpower by introducing them to new things that keep their mind sharp.

Increase Their Vocabulary

Most of us talk to our pet daily, but what we don't do is teach them what a word means. Training is the art of teaching a dog or cat to associate a command (word or phrase) with an action. Even when we aren't consciously trying to teach, our pets pay attention to what we say and can learn word association on their own. If you tell your dog “go do your business” and then praise him for doing it, he learns what that phrase means. Our furry friends are comforted by our voice and pay more attention than you may realize. Never underestimate a dog or cat's intelligence. They can learn if you take the time to teach.

Work on Training

Teaching your dog basic commands helps the bonding process because of the time, attention and positive reinforcement you give them. Learning is a healthy workout for the mind, and daily reinforcement of commands will help boost your pet's memory. Some dogs may be stubborn, but that doesn't mean you can't teach them. Cats may seem incapable of learning, but they just need a little more incentive and motivation. With patience, dedication and commitment, you can teach a dog or cat anything that is within their ability.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Catification – Creating a Feline Friendly Environment

By Julia Williams

You won’t find the word “catification” in any printed dictionary, and it’s even too new to be found in online dictionaries. I’m not positive, but I believe the term was coined by Jackson Galaxy, noted cat behaviorist and star of the popular Animal Planet show, My Cat From Hell. If you watch that show, you’ve probably heard Jackson tell the clueless humans “you’ve got to catify your house!” Jackson has also had a Catification Column on his website for at least a year, so if he didn’t create the term – and the concept – he’s certainly had a hand in making sure cat owners everywhere are familiar with it.

So what is this catification thing, exactly? “Catification is about creating feline-friendly environments that cater to a cat’s natural instincts to climb, perch, rest, play, and own their space,” says Jackson. To catify your home means to provide adequate places that satisfy your kitty’s natural desires to either be up high if he’s a “tree dweller” or “down low” if he’s a bush dweller.

Jackson’s Catification Column is written by Kate Benjamin of, an online magazine for design-conscious cat people. It includes lots of terrific examples from cat peeps who have created feline-friendly environments in their own home, like the ultra cool kitty staircase pictured at right.

Although catification might seem to be all about the cat, it actually provides benefits to the human occupants as well. A happy cat is less likely to engage in undesirable behaviors, like making mincemeat out of your couch or carpeting. Which means that you get to have nicer things in your home and don’t feel the need to apologize to guests for your ratty décor (unless you happen to love ratty décor, wherein you wouldn’t be apologetic anyway.)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Still Looking for Love, Bruin Appears on The Bachelor

By Bruin, canine guest blogger

I just wanted to let all my friends out there know that, so far, my on-line dating adventure has not scored for me.  I did have an offer to appear on The Bachelor TV show though, and wanted to share my experience.  For those who don’t mind sitting in the hair and makeup room at 5:00 a.m., it might be just right for you.  As I’ve previously mentioned, hygiene is very important to me and I expect good grooming in others but even more so in myself.  Would you believe that they wanted to powder my snout and rough up my ridge to give me what they considered a more fashionable punk style?

There were six lovely lady dogs on stage from which I was to choose.  They didn’t give us much time to converse, so I had to decide based on grooming, breeding and which one gave more rise to my hackles.  Ultimately, I flipped a coin to decide if it would be head or tail.  The producers were somewhat perturbed when I bounded out of script and gave the lady I selected a CANIDAE dog treat instead of the usual corny, thorny rose.  She very graciously and not so genteelly jumped up and grabbed for it immediately.  Who knows, maybe this time I would get lucky!  We made arrangements to meet and have dinner the following evening at a very fine establishment.

Since the place was somewhat formal, I arrived dressed in a top hat and, of course, my tail(s).  The barking lot was full so I had to use the valet for my Range Rover but I wanted to get there early to have an opportunity to discuss whether red or white “whine” would go best with our CANIDAE and Chateaubriand.  The sommelier patted me on the head and said he would take care of everything.

A few moments later, Poochilla Presley walked into the restaurant and all heads turned as her lovely nostrils flared seeking me out.  There she was wearing a beautiful fur coat.  Relax now…her fur was a fake.  Yes, I said Presley, a distant member of the litter that produced the singer of my favorite song “You Ain’t Nothing But a Hounddog.” As we sat gazing longingly into each other’s eyes, they started to play “Puppy Love” and she suggested we dance.  I had to beg off though, explaining that I was sorry but I had four left feet.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sun Safety Tips for Dogs

By Suzanne Alicie

The heat of summer is upon us! My doggie, Bear, may be getting old but she still loves to romp in the back yard or simply lie under a tree and nap. Fresh air is good for dogs, and you may think that heat is better for your dog than cold but there are several ways in which both heat and sun can harm your dog.

Rule number one is to always make sure your dog has plenty of fresh, cool water and a shady or covered area to lie down and relax. We’ve discussed other summer safety tips for dogs here on the Responsible Pet Ownership blog, but let’s focus this time on sun safety.

You might assume that because your dog is covered in fur he’s unlikely to suffer any problems from the sun, but let me surprise you! There’s more to me than a sappy doggie mommy who has been trained to dole out the CANIDAE TidNips. I know some stuff!

Use Sunscreen

Sunscreen can help prevent your dog’s nose and ears from getting sunburn. These are sensitive areas and are exposed even if there is hair on the dog’s ears. Keep in mind that light colored dogs are similar to folks with very fair skin — they will burn faster than dark dogs. Some dogs have thick coats while others have thinner coats. Poodles that have been freshly groomed have quite a bit of exposed skin for sunburn, so it is important to keep a close eye on them when they are playing in the sun.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Top 5 Magazines for Dog Lovers

By Langley Cornwell

There are many dog magazines available today, and the mix is interesting. Some are just traditional ink and paper publications with no online presence, some have traditional and online offerings and some are simply online magazines/blogs. So whichever way you like to receive your information, there’s a dog magazine for you.

In this lineup I’ve only included general dog magazines. If you’re looking for a breed-specific magazine, there are plenty to choose from. Here are five dog magazines that I think are worth reading.

Best Friends Magazine 

A publication from the respected Best Friend’s Animal Society —the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary— this general-interest animal magazine is as impressive as the organization itself. The bi-monthly publication is filled with important information, tips and advice, heartwarming stories and beautiful photographs. This is a subscription-based magazine that you’ll receive for making a nominal donation to Best Friends. What I love about this magazine and this organization is that all of the proceeds from the publication support the animals at the Sanctuary. Further, it helps Best Friends’ mission to reach a time when there are no more homeless pets. That’s a mission I can stand behind.

Modern Dog Magazine

With a strong online presence as well as a thriving traditional publication, Modern Dog magazine reaches the masses. They tout themselves as the best dog magazine ever and I know people who say the same thing. This truly is a lifestyle magazine with charming features, health and wellness articles and advice from veterinarians, dog trainers and behaviorists. There are DIY craft projects as well as reviews of the myriad dog-targeted products. They get a lot of celebrities and their dogs as cover models. The blog-style online magazine is a go-to for many animal lovers.    

Monday, July 15, 2013

8 Positive Dog Training Tips That Work

By Linda Cole

The best teachers are those who first figure out what motivates a child, and then help them learn by communicating clearly. Training your dog is basically the same. If you know your dog and understand his point of view, it's easier to teach him when you’re both on the same page. The following positive dog training tips can help you be more successful.

Positive Feedback

Reward positive behavior and ignore non-aggressive negative behavior. Dogs are quick to learn what works and what doesn't, and when it comes to getting attention, even negative feedback is acceptable, from a dog's point of view. Yelling at your barking dog might stop him for the moment, but it doesn't change his behavior. If you don't want him jumping up on you, don't reward him with attention – ignore him. Teach him what's acceptable with positive attention, and reinforce his behavior with CANIDAE TidNips™ treats and lots of praise. Dogs learn what you teach them, good and bad.

Positive Reinforcement

Remember the high school teacher who gave you positive reinforcement and helped you work through problem areas until you understood? Staying calm, patient and consistent is the respectful way to teach kids and dogs. Yelling and losing your temper isn't cool and tells your dog you need to work on leadership skills. No one, including dogs, likes to be yelled at.


You have less than 2 seconds for your dog to learn to associate an action with a behavior. When training, treat/praise your dog as soon as he completes a command so he learns to connect his action with your command. With a “sit” command, treat/praise the second his butt hits the floor. Dogs live in the now and you can't punish him for what he did hours or even minutes ago. If you catch him in the act, however, you have a chance to change his behavior with positive reinforcement.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Is It OK to Love One Pet More?

By Julia Williams

Parents of human children rarely admit to others that they have a favorite. In my opinion, it’s probably not because they don’t feel a deeper bond with one of their kids. Every human being is a unique individual. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, to feel different things for different people.

One might say there are as many “shades of love” as there are stars in the night sky. So it’s a perfectly natural, human thing to have a favorite child, but most parents won’t admit it because the backlash can be brutal. Recently, one dad blogger received the internet equivalent of being burned at the stake after he confessed to having a favorite child. Society says we’re not supposed to play favorites with our kids. And that goes for our pets, too.

The reality is that some kids and pets are closer to our hearts than others. We may not understand why, but we know it’s true. It is what it is. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t create feelings of guilt. We think we should be able to love them all exactly the same, and we feel bad because we don’t. We can’t change what we feel, though, no matter how much we might want to.

I admit that I feel guilty for having stronger feelings for one of my cats than the other two. I positively adore Mickey and Rocky and would be a hot mess if anything happened to either one of them, but my spirit would be shattered if I lost my sweet Annabelle. I don’t know how (or even if) I could ever get over that loss, because this little cat has touched my heart in a way that I didn’t even know was possible, until one day … there it was. Annabelle is my heart cat. There will never be a cat that I love as much or more than Annabelle. As sure as I know my own name, I know this to be true.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Which is Smarter, Cats or Dogs?

By Linda Cole

Intelligence in dogs can be subjective because of the different jobs they were bred to do. The Bloodhound ranks at the bottom of the intelligence list, but that doesn't mean he's dumb. When it comes to finding a scent and following it, there's no other breed that can top the tracking ability of the Bloodhound. Dogs and cats have different innate skills that set them apart from each other, too. According to scientists, there is a difference in their level of intelligence. But does that mean one species is really smarter than the other?

I'm not a fan of labels, like smartest or dumbest, to describe animals or people. Everyone is good at something, and we develop needed skills that allow us to be successful. A science whiz can carefully analyze statistics from a study, but may freeze in fear when presenting it to a group of peers. A chef can create an exquisite meal that melts in your mouth, but can't fix the broken freezer in his kitchen. Cats and dogs use smarts they were born with as well as learned intelligence to process information they need to survive.

Cats do have smaller brains than dogs, but a smaller brain doesn't necessarily translate into being “not as smart.” If you've ever watched a cat stalking a mouse, you see a disciplined and patient hunter that knows the exact moment to attack. The cat may not realize the mouse is food, but instinctively understands the process required to be an efficient hunter. A dog is more apt to race around chasing the poor mouse until it collapses from exhaustion.

The danger to cats is when people believe felines are such good hunters that they can take care of themselves. Kittens that were never taught by their mother to hunt, kill and eat are capable of catching prey, but won't learn an important life lesson of survival. Lost cats have to learn that lesson on their own if they are going to survive.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

All Aboard for Dog-Friendly Cruises!

By Annie Manning

These days we’re pampering our pooches more than ever. From luxury dog spas to canine country clubs, they’re certainly getting used to living it up. The indulgence isn’t just reserved for home, however. More and more of us are taking our four-legged friends away on vacation with us, with a Pet Travel Survey announcing that 40% of dog owners intended to take their pooches away with them last year. If that wasn’t enough to get tails wagging, 90% of those asked also admitted they’d alter their plans if it would be beneficial to their dog.

From statistics like these, it’s evident that we love Fido as much as Fido loves us. Taking your dog away on vacation with you can be an extremely rewarding experience, especially if you have a family. What’s more, with 80% of vacationers saying they worry about their dogs being in kennels while they’re away, taking them with you can be a more relaxing experience. But where in the world?

If you’ve thought about going away with your dog, you might have considered a camping vacation, or perhaps somewhere by the beach – but have you ever considered a cruise? With the demand for pet-friendly vacations growing, many hotels and resorts have adapted for pet needs, and surprisingly, so have a few well established cruise liners. Although only one pet-friendly transatlantic liner exists thus far, there are many ferries offering smaller trips for both you and your dog to enjoy – all of which are certainly worthy of a visit during your next vacation.

Cunard Cruise Line

The pinnacle of pet-friendly cruises has to be Cunard Cruises’ flagship, the Queen Mary II. On this luxurious ship of dreams, you’ll find every possible amenity to make sure both you and Fido relax in style. The transatlantic liner indulges both of you right from the get-go, with dogs receiving a complimentary gift pack as soon as the ship sets sail. The gift pack includes toys, dog treats, a Cunard bowl, a portrait of both of you, and just in case your dog forgets who he is among all the luxury – a personalized name tag.

Throughout their stay dogs (and cats!) are treated to the very best in bedding and premium pet food, while a full time kennel master is employed to look after your dog’s every whim when you’re busy relaxing. The level of care and attention is unmatched and 100% tailored to your pets needs. If for example your dog is sociable, it can be arranged for him to play with other pets, or he can shun them in favor of snooty solitude. Playtime and walks occur several times of day (though you can specify otherwise) and visiting times for humans come in blocks of two hours. While you relax, you can be sure your pet is receiving the very of best of care; they’re never left unattended, even at night. Make sure to book ahead however; there are only 12 places reserved for pets, making it something of a VIP (very important pooch) occasion.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Why Do Dogs Love Some Dogs and Hate Others?

By Langley Cornwell

Dogs are amazing creatures. The amount of information they can discern in a short amount of time is really something. I have a friend whose dog, Sally, is like a cartoon character; everything the dog does is exaggerated. Seriously, this dog should have her own reality show! She’s like the Joan Rivers of canines. She knows in an instant if she likes or dislikes another dog, and she lets you – and the other dog – know it.

To give you the entire picture, I’ll start with the dog. Sally is a seven year-old mixed breed from a shelter. My friend has had her since she was 10 months old. The dog lives in a single-dog household with two cats. She gets along wonderfully with the cats, but my friend has been reluctant to adopt another dog because she can never anticipate how Sally will react to other dogs.

When she’s out walking Sally and another dog approaches, Sally can immediately tell if she likes the other dog or not. My friend works hard on breathing calmly and not communicating anything from the other end of the leash. It doesn’t matter what my friend does, though. Sally will make a snap judgment. She’ll bow up with her hackles raised and begin to bark threateningly, or she’ll drag my friend over to the other dog with her head lowered and her tail wagging in a friendly manner.

Her decision is immediate and unwavering. What’s more, Sally can make her assessment from great distances and it seems to have nothing to do with how the other dog is responding to her. In fact, sometimes she’s sized up the other dog before the other dog even notices Sally and my friend approaching.

When I pitched this article idea, Diane at CANIDAE responded by saying that her dog, Breezie, also instantly decides if she likes or hates another dog, and Diane has no idea why. Other friends have shared similar experiences, so I was curious about what the experts would say.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Phalene, a Lap Dog Loved by Kings

By Linda Cole

The early years of the Phalene were spent in the company of kings and queens as lap dogs to help keep their royal masters warm. The dogs were also good at catching rats that dared to wander the great hallways and rooms of these majestic castles.

This small dog breed has also been called Little Squirrel Dog (because of his bushy tail), Continental Toy Spaniel, Belgium Toy Spaniel, Royal Toy Spaniel and Epagneul Dwarf Spaniel. The name most people will recognize, however, is the Papillon. The Phalene and Papillon are considered separate breeds, but both are judged by the Papillon standard by the AKC, even though there is a difference between the two.

The history of the Phalene and Papillon are one and the same, with the Phalene being the older of the two breeds by a couple of centuries. The Phalene was bred as a companion pet, mainly for ladies, and their primary function today remains that of a companion pet. This is a happy dog that gets along well with other pets and wants to be with his human at all times. He is extremely loyal and protective of the one he loves.

No one knows for sure where or when the Phalene roots began, but three countries – Spain, Belgium and France – insist that the breed originated in their country. This little dog was also widely found in Italy. From the 15th to 18th centuries, Italian artists created portraits and tapestries of kings and queens with small dogs at the feet of their royal owners, and the earliest known portrait that included a Phalene is Italian, dating back to the 1400s.

This breed is believed to be a descendant of the Cayenne Dog and the English Toy Spaniels that are commonly seen in centuries old paintings. He is considered among the oldest of the toy spaniels. King Louis XIV, a 1600 French king, was very fond of this dog breed, as was Marie Antoinette. After the French Revolution, the Phalene became more popular in Belgium.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Coolest (Craziest?) Cat-Themed Decorations

By Langley Cornwell

There’s a gal in our neighborhood who is a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady. Of course, so am I, and we have a good time comparing the many over-the-top things we do for our feline friends. There is one area where she beats me hands-down, however. It’s her house. She has the wildest cat-themed decorations I’ve ever seen. Some are very cool and some can only be described as pure crazy… in a good way.

She wears cat earrings and has a cat scarf. Her house is resplendent with cat artwork - mainly paintings and prints but she does have some cool photography. She also has interesting cat statues. Her office desk is cluttered (don’t tell her I said that) with cat-themed desk accessories. Her kitchen has a soap dispenser in the shape of a cat but one of my favorite things is the cat butt magnets on her refrigerator. In fact, there’s even a hairball magnet. If you ask me, that’s funny.

I asked some online friends if they had cat-themed decorations in their homes. I was surprised at some of their answers.

Lots of friends collect cat figurines. Wendy has cat collectibles as well as a cat door mat and a cat throw. She has a black cat good luck token that her landlady brought her from Ireland that sits above the door frame between the dining room and the kitchen. She also has a cat curtain in her front window (which she says is actually a valance). I’ve never seen feline window treatments so I’d say that qualifies as, well, crazy. Thanks for sharing, Wendy.

Almost everyone who responded to my query has cat-decorated drinking mugs. Cate collects figurines and has blankets with cats on them. Virginia no longer has cats, but she has cat ornaments for her Christmas tree that reminds her of them each year. Sweet.

Debbie has a “wrought iron cat that wiggles and wobbles.” I’d like to see that.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Have a Safe and Happy 4th of July!

By Julia Williams

On Independence Day, most people don’t bat an eye when they hear the pop-pop-pop sound of firecrackers going off all day long, or the thunderous boom of fireworks at night. Not me. As a “parent” of three cats who are terrified of those loud noises, I cringe when I see the garishly decorated fireworks stands popping up on every corner.

I dread July 4th and especially nightfall, because I live right across the street from where my town sets off their fireworks display. Those loud booms are unsettling for me; I can only imagine how scary they are for my pets, who have no idea what those noises mean. Are we being invaded? Is the world ending? Where can I hide? At that first boom, my skittish kitties make a beeline for UTB (under the bed) and I usually don’t see them until morning.

It’s made me something of a curmudgeon, hating the Fourth of July when I should be joyously and noisily celebrating freedom and independence like everyone else. Yet, more pets go missing on July 4th than any other day of the year, says the popular adoption site, Petfinder. Emergency pet hospitals also see an upswing of visits.

So while it’s nice to enjoy the backyard barbecues, picnics in the park and fireworks that have become an American tradition on the Fourth, responsible pet owners also need to take precautions to keep their four-legged family members safe (and as stress-free as possible).

Don't take Fido to the fireworks display. This noisy, crowded scene can create anxiety and aggression in even the calmest of canines.

If you plan to set off personal fireworks, be sure to keep your dog in a safe location away from the display. Too many dogs have already been burned and otherwise injured by fireworks; it’s just not worth the risk.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Difference between Parson, Jack Russell and Russell Terrier

By Linda Cole

The Parson, Jack Russell, and Russell terriers are actually three different breeds, even though they're related and look much alike. The Russell Terrier was introduced at the National Dog Show in 2012 as a new breed recognized by the AKC. The Jack Russell is not a recognized breed, despite the dog’s popularity in this country. There is a good explanation as to why, but it can be a bit confusing.

The Parson, Jack Russell and Russell terrier breeds were all named after the Reverend John “Jack” Russell (1795 - 1883), a parson who lived in Devonshire, England during the 1800s. He was an avid fox hunter, when he wasn't attending to his duties at his church. The Reverend was also quite fond of fox hunting dogs, and bred them. His first terrier, a female named Trump, was likely the foundation for Russell's working dogs.

Reverend Russell, also known as “The Sporting Parson,” wanted a working dog that was feisty, strong and confident ,to hunt fox and go to ground to flush out fox or other prey from a hole. The Reverend lived in the southern part of England where the terrain wasn't as hilly, and a short legged dog met his needs. The small dog ran with hunters on horseback, and hounds following a fox. When the hounds chased the fox underground, it was the terrier's job to follow and flush the fox out of the hole so the hunt could resume.

It was after Reverend Russell's death when the JRT breed began to evolve into the Parson Terrier. Hunters living in areas where the land was more uneven and hillier wanted dogs with longer legs that allowed them to better navigate rougher terrain so they could keep up with the hounds and horses. They were also more interested in hunting other prey, primarily badger. If a pup was born with shorter legs, they were kept at home as companion pets, to roam around the barn and home catching vermin, and as watchdogs.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Getting Fit with Fido: Exercise You’ll Both Enjoy

By Lisa Mason

Now that summer is officially here, it’s time to head outdoors with your dog! Going for walks and changing up the pace is a great way for both you and your four legged friend to get some exercise. However, there are lots of other ways you and your dog can get fit and have fun in the sun at the same time.

Dogs love to play fetch. You can throw a ball, a toy, a Frisbee or a stick and they will happily chase it down and bring it back to you. That’s great exercise for the dog, but you are just standing there waiting for him to come back. Change up the rules and race your dog to the object you throw. He will catch on pretty quickly and will run faster to beat you to the prize.

Build a “walk the plank” structure in your back yard. You will need four or more concrete blocks and a sturdy board (at least 6 feet long and 2 feet wide). Place the board on the concrete blocks spaced evenly. You don’t want the board to sag from you or your dog’s weight. Step up at the end and walk across the length and step down at the other end. Encourage your dog to do the same thing.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Patriotic Dog Crafts for July 4th

By Tamara McRill

What could be more natural than pairing dogs with a day dedicated to independence, patriotism and love of our country? After all, our furry friends are the epitome of freedom, loyalty and love. At least that’s how my mind works, and so my patriotic canine crafting theme for the Fourth of July was born. These easy crafts range from dog-themed to actually for the dogs, with a little in between.

Uncle Sam Dog Hat

This was my favorite project, because it produced such adorable pictures and inspired the final craft. I started with one of those dollar store cloth hats, but you could easily make one from construction paper. Just be sure to have a camera and dog treats handy – I used CANIDAE Chicken and Rice TidNips™ to reward Wuppy for sitting pretty.

Supplies: Uncle Sam hat, white snow batting or cotton balls, glue gun, glue sticks, and 1 ½ foot of string or elastic.

1. Pull off enough batting to make two sections of pouf white “hair” to hang around your dog’s ears.

2. With the glue gun, glue each section to the inside brim of your hat, so it hangs down like hair, one section on the left and one on the right. Allow glue time to dry.

3. Pull off another section of batting, enough to make a goatee. Hot glue the goatee to the center of your string or elastic. Let the glue dry, then tie the goatee on your dog’s head.

4. OPTIONAL: You can also glue the string or elastic to the hat, like a chin strap, if you want your pet to wear the hat for more time than just picture taking. Loop it around from your dog’s head to chin, to measure the right length.

Firecracker Dog Treat Favors

Since I was handing out treats to get Dusty and Wuppy to pose for pictures, I decided they needed their own rocket favor containers. They were entirely too willing to pose with this craft!

Supplies: toilet paper or paper towel roll, small section each of red and blue poster board or scrapbook paper, white printer paper, scissors, tape, glue gun, 3 inches of string, and markers or paint.

1. Wrap the white paper around your toilet paper roll and tape it where the paper meets. Trim the excess paper off the top of the tube with scissors.

2. Decorate covered roll with markers or paint and write your dog’s name on it.

3. Take one of your poster boards or scrapbook paper and cut a half circle that is 3 ⅓ inches on the flat side. This is going to be the firecracker’s pointed cap.

4. Fold the half circle perfectly in half, tip-to-tip. Tape it where the flat bottom now meets in two sections.

5. Put a bead of glue along the top edge of your toilet paper roll and set the newly made point cap on top, with the point facing up.

6. For the feet: Cut out three or four identical feet from your poster board or scrapbook paper, for your firecracker or rocket to stand on. These should be an inch across at the top and taper where they will stand at the bottom.

7. Tape the string to the inside top corner of one of the legs, if you want a firecracker. You can skip this step if you want a rocket.

8. Cut 3 or 4 slits (depending on how many legs you made) evenly up the bottom of your tube.

9. Insert legs, with the narrowest point facing down.

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