Monday, November 30, 2009

Dog toy mountain to be built at Barrhaven business

2009 Barrhaven Santa Parade-0322Image by David.R.Carroll via Flickr
This is really a great idea!  There are many dogs and cats out there that need help from us and this is a very good way for you and I to give assistance.  If there were more of these types of people around, the dog rescues would not have to struggle quite as much economically.

Let's all put on our "thinking caps" and try to get something like this started in our own communities.

New shop hopes to give canines a good Christmas

November 30, 2009
A new business in Barrhaven is hoping to draw some attention to canine charities this Christmas with its version of Toy Mountain for dogs.

Bark & Fitz, which recently opened at 4100 Strandherd Dr., is collecting gently used dog toys, leashes, water bowls, blankets, beds, and other assorted canine products to distribute to local dog rescues in the first week of January.
“People always do Santa drives for children’s toys, but there really isn’t a drive in Ottawa for pets,” says managing owner Gaetan Ladouceur. The main exception for donations is that they will not be collecting dog food.

The store is planning a grand opening on Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will give a 15 per cent discount on purchases to people who donate to canine toy drive.

The items will be donated to local dog rescues such as BARK (Bytown Association for Rescued Kanines), Good Dog Rescue in Manotick and Hopeful Hearts.

The store sells high-end dog and a few cat products such as holistic foods and educational toys in a smaller setting with more personal services. Gaetan’s wife, Rosi, has also moved her 12-year-old grooming business from their home to the store.

Ladouceur describes the store as a family-run business, where his children Ashley, Cory, Andrew and his son-in-law AJ Mouchet all work together with him and his wife.

To read the original article>click here.  
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Grieving family fetches son’s dogs from Iraq

I know that today is Thanksgiving and I should be posting something about the holiday, but I found this posting and felt it deserved to be featured.  This family made a significant sacrifice to give their son's dog a long trip home.  I'm sure they will always be grateful to have such a loving and playful reminder of the love of their son.

After reading this, I am truly thankful for the pleasure and love I share with my Satchmo.  He has given me great joy and comfort, as only a pet can.  I wish everyone could experience the unconditional love you get from having a four-legged friend.

God Bless!

Sgt. Peter Neesley holding puppy Boris We learned about this story from author, Greg Mitchell, who has been pursuing stories about non-combat American deaths in Iraq. Greg is the esteemed editor of Editor & Publisher, the journal of the newspaper business which has won several major awards for its coverage of Iraq and the media. He has written eight books, his latest just published today: So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits and the President Failed on Iraq.
books.jpgIt is often said that a free press is the watchdog of democracy, insuring that the conduct of our leaders is examined with a critical eye. This makes Greg Mitchell the watchdog of watchdogs, his weekly column “Pressing Issues” over the past five years intensely scrutinizing the coverage of the Iraq war, the media’s views of the credibility of the Bush Administration, and such related topics as 9/11, the war in Afghanistan, and the CIA Leak Case.
Actually, back in 2003, Mitchell was one of the few mainstream journalists to question the grounds for war, this book providing a unique history of the conflict from the hyped WMD stories to the “surge.” It is a must-have book for anyone concerned with how we got into Iraq and why we can’t seem to get out.
This photo shows Neesley on a visit to his nephew’s 4th grade class in Grosse Pointe Farms, the school’s newsletter, describing it this way: “Sergeant Peter Neesley, uncle of Patrick D., visited Richard Elementary while home on leave from Iraq. Sgt. Neesley led the school in the Pledge of Allegiance and visited several classrooms answering questions from our inquisitive students. Thanks for spending valuable time with us Sgt. Neesley and don’t forget to write and keep in touch. Thanks to all the men and women in the armed forces. We are so proud of you!”
According to Greg, this is how the discovery began.
Peter Neesley died in his sleep on Christmas Day in Iraq last December but the dogs he rescued there live on, miraculously, back at his home in the USA. I’m proud to say that I had at least a tiny something to do with it. I wrote about Sgt. Neesley’s passing right after Christmas, both at Editor & Publisher (which I edit) and on my blog, when few knew about it. I also printed a photo of him taken recently with a group of kids at his old elementary school. The outpouring of response I received from friends (near his Michigan home and scattered) and family was incredible. Through their postings, many were able to get in touch with each other. He was clearly quite a young man, someone who hailed from a very well-off area who had a lot of other choices in life but joined the military.
But the story didn’t end there. It turned out that all of these people, and more, soon learned, from my writings or elsewhere, that Peter, 28, had saved and cared for a couple of dogs over in Iraq, and they were now in peril. So his family and friends, with the help of media and local groups, launched a campaign to rescue them, again, and bring them to the U.S.
dh.jpgAn AP story revealed: “In e-mails and phone calls from Iraq, Neesley talked about how he came across Mama, a black Labrador mix, and Boris, her white and brown spotted puppy, while on patrol in their Baghdad neighborhood. One of Mama’s puppies was later killed by a car, so Neesley and his friends built a doghouse to shelter the animals. Photographs show Neesley feeding the dogs and kneeling next to the red-and-white doghouse and Boris walking along the cracked sidewalks of Baghdad.”
After he died, “Still grieving, the family decided that they would honor Neesley’s wishes and try to bring the dogs home to Michigan. ‘To have something that they can hold and touch and care for that Peter cared about, that’s the whole thing,” said Julie Dean, his aunt.”
After four weeks of work, and the help of the Iraqi Society for Animals, the dogs recently arrived in the U.S.
Carey Neesley said her brother decided to re-enlist in the Army in 2005 after learning that one of his friends was killed in Iraq, leaving behind a wife and two children. Protecting others was part of his life, she said. “He didn’t want another young man who had a wife and kids at home to die,” she said. “He’s always had such a strong sense of family and protecting those who can’t protect themselves. Caring for a mother and her stray puppy, why would you ever think to do anything else?”
My own small role concluded when the well-known Banfield Pet Hospital office in Portland, Ore., contacted me saying they wanted to offer free lifetime care to the two dogs, at one of their local hospitals in Michigan, and asking me to put them in touch with the family. I contacted Julie Dean and last week the offer was accepted and announced. Peter, at least, would be happy about this.
ira.jpgYou can also hear a 4 minute NPR “All Things Considered” Feb 19th report with Sgt. Peter Neesley’s sister, Carey. In this AP photo by Paul Sancya, Patrick Neesley is petting Boris as his mom, Carey, holds him after arriving in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, from Iraq. She has indicated that the dogs are slowly adjusting to their new environment.
Neesley says both Mama and Boris are “very sweet and very mild-mannered dogs,” but Mama is used to having to protect her pup, as well as her food and territory. “So we’re just kind of trying to ease her into the fact that she’s safe and sound here, and nobody’s going to hurt them,” Neesley says.
The dogs also have to adjust to the Michigan winter. “They’re not used to the cold and especially not the snow,” Neesley says. “I have to carry the puppy out in the snow; he will not go. He goes to the bathroom right away and wants right back in the house.
“I think they’ll adjust. You know, right now, their coats are very thin because of the weather in Baghdad. And I think, you know, [once] their coats get a little bit warmer and they get used to it, they’ll be OK, but I think right now it’s a shock.”
Neesley says the family is thankful for all the help they got with the dogs. “They’re tremendous dogs, and we are so fortunate to have them and so grateful to everyone who played a part, down to the soldiers who were caring for them on the base, you know, making sure they were safe and fed until we could get them,” she says.
The family still keeps in contact with those soldiers, Neesley says. “There are two in particular … who were very concerned about the dogs’ welfare, and were very close to Peter, and we exchange e-mails,” she says. “I think part of what we’ve learned from all of this is that there are so many good, kind people in this world. There really are.”

Posted on Land of PureGold Foundation
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Puppy Love

Here's a cute little article about ratties and children at a Mother's Day Out.  I thought I'd add it because I chuckled when I looked at the photo.  I hope this brings a smile to your face also.

I am thankful for the love and devotion I get from my little man, Satchmo.  I hope to enjoy his company for many more years.  Won't you take a moment and be thankful for the animals in your life, too?


Daily News Photo,

First Baptist School’s “Mothers Day Out” class invited two special guests to campus Thursday. Rat terriers Alice and Rudy shared kisses in exchange for doggie treats, which the class donated to Animal Relief Foundation’s no-kill animal shelter. The class, instructed by Dale Robertson-Agosto, spent the entire day learning about animal friends. Participating students included Reese Monvoision, Avi Coleman, John Mason Futch, Kameron Kratzer, Jamell Davis, Jack Guidry, Olivia Benoit, Hudson Carter, Rossi Armstrong, Ian Albro, Waylon Wild, Abby Ortego, Ahnnie Albro and Mason Futch. (At left) Olivia Benoit makes a face after receiving a kiss from Alice.

For more local news, please subscribe to Jennings Daily News by clicking the “SUBSCRIBE” link at left or by calling 337-824-3011.

This article is from The Jennings Daily News online

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our foster dog is healing nicely!

We took Austen to get all of his shots and then we took him to be neutered.  It seemed irresponsible to not do this for him, even though his real mom was not terribly excited about it.  She thinks he is SO cute and should be allowed to breed, but when you see how many homeless animals there are all over the world, it doesn't seem quite right.  Anyway, we did it and he is finally all healed.  I don't really think he cares one way or another because he has not acted any differently.

But now he is a legal and healthy pet.  My sister is really campaigning for us to keep this dog.  I don't think it will happen, but if it does then that would be fine.  My little man is slowly adapting to having Austen around and they have begun to have spurts of real play-time in the mornings.  I think this is really good for my Satchmo.  He was getting so old and crotchety.  Now he at least is being more active.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Austen in his lovely collar (that lasted about as long as it took to take the pictures).  He obviously hates it and the look on his face says, "Hurry up and take the picture so I can pull this thing off me!"

Now we are looking into some grooming for him because he is getting pretty shabby looking.  He has poodle hair and doesn't shed, so that means he will need to be clipped.  Great!
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Do Dogs Laugh?

This is a good question, and one I have frequently asked myself as I watch my dog playing with his Baby.  I have always know that dogs can smile even though most people won't agree. 

Why is it so hard to believe that an animal can express some of the same emotions as a human?

Please read the article below and make your own decisions.  I, for one, will continue to believe that dogs can smile and, now, laugh!

Animals make laugh-like sounds when they are tickled or playing

For many years psychologists and behavioral biologists agreed that laughter was a unique emotional expression found only in humans. However, as the study of animal emotions expanded this idea was called into question. The Nobel Prize winning ethnologist, Konrad Lorenz suggested that dogs are capable of laughing. He says that it is during play that dogs actually appear to laugh. In his book Man Meets Dog, Lorenz describes it this way:

" invitation to play always follows; here the slightly opened jaws which reveal the tongue, and the tilted angle of the mouth which stretches almost from ear to ear give a still stronger impression of laughing. This ‘laughing' is most often seen in dogs playing with an adored master and which become so excited that they soon start panting".

It is this panting which Lorenz identified with human laughter. Although he may have been one of the first to suggest that dogs laugh, the idea that other animals laugh had already been suggested by earlier scientists. Charles Darwin started laughing dog the ball rolling in his book The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals published in 1872. He noticed that chimpanzees and other great apes produce a laugh-like sounds when they are tickled or when they are playing. More recently Jane Goodall described this same ‘‘laughing'' and ‘‘chuckling'' reported by Darwin and others as a sort of breathy panting that can escalate to a more guttural ‘‘ah-grunting,'' if intense. The general consensus is that this ape laughter sounds somewhat like the heavy breathing that might simply result from vigorous play is meant to be a signal of their playful intentions. According to Robert Provine, a psychologist at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, the sound of chimpanzee laughter is much breathier that that of humans which tends to chop the laugh sounds into short "ha-ha" sounds. Instead there are longer pant sounds with each inward and outward breath.

Research done by Patricia Simonet at Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe looked at laughter sounds in dogs. Simonet's team investigated the question by standing in parks with a parabolic microphone that allowed them to record the sounds that dogs made while playing from a distance. In describing the laughter sounds of dogs she says that, "To an untrained human ear, it sounds much like a pant, 'hhuh, hhuh." When the recordings were analyzed she found that that this exhalation bursts into a broader range of frequencies than does regular dog panting. She confirmed the positive effects of this laugh sound in an experiment on 15 puppies, which romped for joy simply upon hearing the recorded canine laugh. More recently she was able to show that these same sounds helped to calm dogs in an animal shelter.

Simonet noticed that when she tried to imitate the laugh panting sounds of dogs it seemed to have a positive effect on the animals hearing it.

I must admit that I was a bit skeptical about the usefulness of humans making these dog laugh sounds. So I began to experiment, originally with my own dogs. My first attempts were not very successful, causing virtually no response or at best puzzled looks from my dogs. However I was eventually able to shape a set of sounds which reliably evoked interest on the part of my dogs. It required conscious monitoring to get the sound pattern right. For me, what seems to work the best is something like "hhuh-hhah-hhuh-hhah..." with the "hhuh" sound made with slightly rounded lips, while the "hhah" sound is made with a sort of open mouthed smiling expression. The sound has to be breathy with no actual voicing. Thus if you touch your throat while making this sound you should not feel any vibration. This caused my own dogs to sit up and wag their tails or to approach me from across the room.

Since these initial informal experiments I have extended my observations and tried using my human imitation of dog laughter sounds to calm worried, anxious and shy dogs in a dog obedience class and in other settings. It seems to help if you glance at the dog directly only for brief intervals alternating with glancing away. Also short quick side to side movements appear to help. It seems to work best in calming dogs that are moderately anxious or insecure. If the negative emotions experienced by the dog are too intense it does not seem to help. This is reminiscent of trying to calm humans. If they are moderately anxious introducing some humor into the situation can be helpful and relaxing, while if they are in a state of panic your attempts might be viewed as actually laughing at their emotional state and may actually make things worse.

Stanley Coren is the author of many books including: The Modern Dog, Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? The Pawprints of History, How Dogs Think, How To Speak Dog, Why We Love the Dogs We Do, What Do Dogs Know? The Intelligence of Dogs, Why Does My Dog Act That Way? Understanding Dogs for Dummies, Sleep Thieves, The Left-hander Syndrome

 Read the original article here

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Best Friends rescue called Pup My Ride

The entrance to Dogtown Commons, on Cherry StreetImage via Wikipedia
I don't know if you watch this show or not, but I have gotten hooked on watching "Dogtown".  I love seeing the wonderful things these people can accomplish.  I watched as they took in the Vick dogs and worked diligently to rehabilitate them and find homes for the poor dogs.  I have a friend who took her vacation and went to visit Dogtown where she and her daughter worked for several days cleaning, bathing, loving, training and sometimes socializing by taking an animal for the night with them to the motel.

I found this site and read the post about this years rescue event.  Below is an excerpt from the blog and the link to go read the entire post.  He has videos and many, many pictures, so I recommend you visit.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.  I hope you tune in to watch Dogtown, too.

To read the blog and watch the videos, click here


Where I've been: Best Friends' Pup My Ride

The blog's been a little quiet for a while, I've been slightly busy...

Beginning on Nov 11 I participated in a Best Friends rescue called Pup My Ride, which we've done several times this year. Pup My Ride goes into the Midwest and pulls mostly discarded breeder dogs from puppy mills and arranges their safe transport to the Northeast, where they are very adoptable. These are dogs of all ages, mostly on the small side but usually with some surprises thrown in as well - like the beautiful and friendly pair of Mastiffs that turned up! This was my first experience with Pup My Ride and I was overjoyed to be asked to go along as the animal care supervisor - one of my dogs, Ginger, is a former puppy mill breeder and the cause is near and dear to my heart.

Co-worker Mary Richie and I met early on the morning of the 11th to begin the long drive from Kanab, UT to the staging area in a horse barn in the Midwest. I believe Mary's title here at Dogtown is receptionist but that doesn't do justice to her talents; and on this operation she is simply the Person Who Knows Everything and Keeps Track Of Everything. In a chaotic environment where dogs are constantly moving around and situations change on a moment by moment basis, she tracks every piece of information and can tell you anything about any dog at any time, as well as the closest place to buy an extension cord and where to obtain 6 bundles of newspaper at 1am.

Our noble steed for the long journey was to be a mid-90s Ford F350 Turbo Diesel Dually towing a cargo trailer loaded with all the supplies we would need for the staging area - soup to nuts, crates to poop scoopers. The rig really brings out my inner Tim Allen, I want to grunt every time I climb into the driver's seat. The coolest thing for the dedicated long-distance driver is the 75 gallon aux fuel tank built into the bed; between that and the two stock tanks it holds a total of 115 gallons of diesel for your long distance driving pleasure. The ride to the staging area took two days and was relatively uneventful, with Mary and I alternating driving and sleeping.

We arrived in the Midwest on the 13th at our host facility, a horse barn - which turned out to be PERFECT for this sort of operation! The 23 individual stalls each had their own door, so dogs could be let out to play in the stall areas or allowed to run around while cleaning was done without fear of escape - great! We met a few co-workers there including our fearless leader Kelli Ohrtman some dedicated Pup My Ride volunteers and began setting up the stalls to house dogs - including isolation areas and areas for puppies.

And oh, the volunteers... these are people who came here to do this for us and with us, some of whom traveled great distances to join us and stayed in hotels while on-site at their own expense. They all worked 13+ hour days without complaint, doing the dirtiest work you can imagine - scrubbing kennels and bowls, doing all the hands-on care. They were the lifeblood of the operation and some simply amazing, selfless, caring people.

Over the next two days, dogs came in and were dropped off by the vanload. Each dog needed to be given a collar tagged with an individual ID number and a crate location, so that we could keep track of every dog and make sure they were all taken care of. We also began the process of pairing dogs for transport, which I would continue right up until the transport truck loaded - the truck had 96 travel crates and we expected to ship 160 dogs on it, so it was important to pair dogs up as quickly as possible to see who got along with whom.

On rescues like this you never know what will turn up, and we were really lucky on this one; there were no medical emergencies - thank god! As the volunteers took dogs through intake and carried them back to their kennels they acted as the first screeners for possible issues, alerting us to things that needed to be looked at when our veterinarian came in to do physical exams on every dog prior to transport. Though there were no emergencies, many of the dogs displayed signs of an abominable lack of care that is unfortunately all too typical of puppy mills: painful burrs and matts in long haired dogs that had never seen a grooming, nails grown into foot pads, obvious flea infestation and ear problems - and oh, the smell. There is a smell unique to dogs that have just been released from the mill that will stay with you forever; it's not just the excretions they have lived all their lives lying in in too-small cages but also of untreated abscesses, of infected ears. It is the smell of cruelty, made bearable by knowing that these dogs were about to have such a vast improvement in their lives.

The two intake days went quickly, with constant activity - cleaning, cleaning, cleaning; checking on concerns and socializing with the dogs. Behaviorally they were also a great group - by and large shy and undersocialized, but also curious and friendly. We saw huge changes in some of them over just a few short days as they began to realize that everything would be different now.

Many of the rescued breeder dogs I have met on this Pup My Ride transport for Best Friends and other mill dog rescues act like this: when you open their crates and invite them out, they don't quite know what to do. No one's ever done that before - they've always been grabbed, usually not very nicely, for a veterinary procedure or to be thrown in with another dog for breeding. They slink for a few minutes and stay low to the ground, their body language speaking volumes about their uncertainty even as they taste freedom for the first time.

As sad as this can sometimes be to witness, it is also hopeful: nearly every dog like this that has the curiosity to come out and give it a try will make a full recovery and enjoy and revel in their freedom.

After two days of intake we had our medical day, where our incredible on-site vet did physical examinations and innoculations on 196 dogs in an 8 hour period, with just one 10 minute break. She was fast but also thorough, identifying what dogs needed further treatment and/or investigation. Volunteers lined up with dogs to keep a steady flow coming to her, which also gave ample chance to visit with dogs while they waited! As always, during the examinations crates were being cleaned, water changed, newspaper laid and dogs visited with - and in the evening, once the checks were done, the daily feeding. The barn was also surrounded by grassy areas that were great for walking the larger dogs - particularly Louie the Basset Hound, who always had a line of people who wanted to take him out!

On the morning of the fourth day the main transport truck arrived and we began to load it with dogs beginning at 6am - it contained 96 kennels which volunteers set up with absorbent pads and ice chips in buckets, then we loaded all the dogs. The load went very smoothly and the main transport truck was on the road by 9am, followed by a chase van that had some special cases in it destined for other rescues.

With most of the dogs safely on the road, our hard-working volunteers stayed behind to clean and break down every kennel and load the cargo van with all of the rescue supplies. That also went quickly and Mary and I began the drive back to Kanab at noon after loading 8 dogs into our truck, mostly special medical cases that would return with us to Best Friends for care. We decided to try sleeping in shifts and driving continuously the approximately 27 hours back to the sanctuary, and that worked out great! We stopped every few hours for food and dog care, then immediately got back on the road with our charges. The Big Red Truck arrived back in Kanab on-schedule and Mary and I both went home for a long nap!

And that's where I've been!

More information on Best Friends' Puppies Aren't Products campaign, including information on the Pup My Ride program

Lots more pictures!

A few videos
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cocoa and Pip -- Smile Like a Dog Photography

I happened upon this wonderful site.  I love the pictures and the comments.  This photographer has a real affinity for the subject matter and it shows.  Anyway, this particular set of pictures made me laugh.  I really cannot imagine trying to get one terrier to be still for a formal photograph, let alone two at the same time.  However, the resulting picture simply speaks to you of the intelligence, curiosity and playfulness of this particular breed.

Please check out Mark's blog and see if you don't get a chuckle or two just like I did.

The White and Black rattie could be a doppelganger for my Satchmo!  Only quite a bit younger!!


Cocoa & Pip

Posted on 17. Nov, 2009 by Mark in Dogs
Trying to photograph two terrier mixes for a poster is like…? You fill in the blank. To be fair Cocoa and Pip’s owner, who rescued them through Rocket Dog said it would be a challenge but I thought, nah, it’ll be on my turf. No problem. Well, let’s just say it took a little longer than usual but in the end we definitely got the money shot. Check it out below…


Heading back from St Francis
Heading back from St Francis
We Rat Terriers are a Proud Bunch
We Rat Terriers are a Proud Bunch
Me, proud? Not so much.
Me, proud? Not so much.
Terrier Times Two
Terrier Times Two

You can visit Mark's website to see more of his wonderful work or to contact him for your own setting for your dog at Pet Photos with Personality

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Going to the dogs: Before you take your four-legged friend skiing, make sure he's up to the task

Retro cross country skiing
Here's an article I found about taking your dog skiing.  I never would have thought about doing this, so I found this article very interesting. 

I know my dog loves to go places with me, and I enjoy having him come along.  We went to the beach in California but he absolutely HATED it and would not get anywhere near the water.  I can only imagine what would happen if I took him somewhere with snow.  After all, he is a southern dog from the warm climates!

The first time he saw snow, he looked at me very quizzically and refused to go outside.  So, I don't think skiing is in our future!

clear pixel Quantcast

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Before we get started this cross country skiing season, let’s talk about dogs.
Should you take them cross country skiing with you?
Or not?
One of the best places to ski nordically with a healthy and prepared canine companion is at the Mesa/Delta County Line Cross Country Ski Trails, expertly groomed by the Grand Mesa Nordic Council (GMNC).
The Nordic Council provides designated dog trails in this area. Loops from one kilometer (.62 miles) to about four kilometers (2.48 miles) are beautifully laid out by the good folks who groom these trails four times a week, weather permitting.
One of the worst places to ski with your pet is at Skyline Cross Country Ski Area, a few miles closer to Grand Junction. That’s because other backcountry users have major “issues” with your pet... holes in the track where a skier wants to plant and kick, dogs chasing you, dogs snarling at each other, brown klister ...
There are other life-threatening issues as well: your dog can get hypothermia, frostbite, have a heart attack or stroke, just like you. They can get injured, hungry, dehydrated and tired.
Sarah Shaw knows a lot about pets on Grand Mesa in the middle of winter. That’s because she and husband, Kenton, graciously donate their lives to the Grand Mesa Nordic Council, and they have participated in a half-dozen dog rescues over the past few ski seasons.
“People are slowly becoming more educated,” she said, “but they need to be reminded that animals can suffer as much as we can.
“If it’s a sunny day and the snow is hard as a rock and there’s no one around, I guess it’s OK, but for the most part, I don’t encourage anyone to take their dogs skiing with them. Some dogs just aren’t right for the winter climate we have here — puppies, old dogs, dogs with short hair — they’re better left at home.”
According to Drs. Foster and Smith, of the famous pet catalog company named after them, minor cases of frostbite in pets “usually involve only ear tips, whereas more extensive freezing causes the loss of the tail and appendages (toes and legs). Death may result if the limbs are involved. Dying tissue attracts bacteria, and severe, life-threatening infections can result.”
Hypothermia “is a condition in which the body temperature becomes too low for normal functioning. It is more common in animals that are short-haired, small, wet or have no shelter during periods of cold temperatures,” according to the good doctors’ Web site,
That could happen every day on Grand Mesa from now to next spring.
Want more on doggie issues like hypothermia, frostbite, and how to treat them? Check out AND ask your veterinarian.
If you ski or snowshoe with a four-legged sidekick, hazards exist that you may not see.
Remember, you’re gliding on top of the snow with your skis or snowshoes, while your dog is post-holing through the deep stuff. They may encounter stumps, ruts, vegetation, rocks, fallen trees, stream beds, water bodies, and many other natural and man-made objects that could cut a paw, sprain a leg or freeze a toe.
No matter what, as Sarah suggests, provide a hardy breakfast for your four-legged friend, at least an hour before exercise. (Longer-bodied dogs should eat two hours before exercise. Like horses, they may bloat, which is very dangerous). Carry plenty of snacks and water for your dog as well as yourself.
Before you take your dog skiing, check the temperature and wind chill factor. It’s updated daily on the Nordic council Web site at
Give your dog plenty of time to acclimate to altitude and a chance to rest. He’s working a lot harder than you are.
When your adventure is complete, be sure to have blankets or old sleeping bags in your car to warm your dog.
Check pads, stomach and groin area for scrapes or chafing from snow build-up. Never let your dog ride in an open pickup, wet or dry.
There are many dog friendly cross country/snowshoe areas in western Colorado. Check with local land use agencies before you go.
One final word: If your pet does not come to you when it’s called, it should not be off lead. But, if you’ve got a pet that needs to burn energy and get out as much as you do, do us a favor: pick up his doo-doo, and take Fido to a place where he’ll be appreciated.
Go to for up-to-date conditions reports on Grand Mesa, then either join the Nordic Council or drop a few bucks into the donation box at the trail head next time you’re there. After all, you are the beneficiary of their fine deeds!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Are Rat Terriers jumping dogs?

AmRatTerr11 fx wbImage via Wikipedia
Here is the best answer, rated 100% on Yahoo answers:

I own a rat terrier and we compete in agility. Lots to say about them...

1. You won't find out much about them on the AKC website. AKC still doesn't recognize them as a breed (they're in the ILP program in the process of being recognized by AKC).

2. They're in the terrier family but really aren't much of a terrier. They were originally a mix of a Manchester Terrier, Black & White Terrier (now extinct). Then American farmers mixed in some beagle (for nose), corgi (for herding ability), and sight hounds (Greyhound, Italian Greyhound, Whippet) for speed and eyesight. Teddy Roosevelt popularized this breed (brought his ratties into the White House and set them on the rat population in the Jefferson's aging greenhouse).

Thus, while they'd dig, they don't dig like most terriers. They don't go to ground like most terriers. And they tend to be more social and focused on people than most terriers. Also, while they'll sound the alarm (ie: good watch dog), they usually don't bark a lot. These dogs are quick, very agile, very tough for their size, athletic but unlike a lot of terriers (especially Manchester Terriers and JRT's) they have an "off" switch. Ratties typically aren't as good at "going to ground" as most terriers (who typically don't mind going into holes after particular vermin). Lots of rat terriers also don't care for water--mine won't go into a pond or beach for instance and again most terriers are fine about water.

3. I don't know what size rattie you have: toy (up to 6-8 pounds), miniature( up to about 14 pounds), standard (up to 28 pounds) or Decker (up to 45 pounds). Rat Terriers are great at tricks. It's rare that the bond with only one person.

4. The poster who talked about "dominating" your rat terrier is, well, that's totally different from my experience and all of the other rat terrier owners I know. Rat Terriers, unlike say a Min Pin, are sensitive dogs (that is the part of them that is kind of un-terrier like). They do much better with positive training methods than negative or harsh approaches. And as long as you use positive methods they're usually easy to train. The toughest part is given the combination of beagle (great nose) and sighthound, they're easily distracted. Case in point: I was running an agility course in my backyard and in the middle of a fulltilt run, my dog stopped and raced 40 feet away where he stopped and looked down. I walked over and there was a dying bee in the mulch. My dog was focusing on me, working hard at agility, running full speed but from his peripheral vision, caught the motion in the mulch of a bee 40 feet away. So Rat Terriers are often easily distracted through sight or smell elements. But in terms of trainability, not only does my guy do agility but I've taught him to jump into my arms while I'm standing, weave between my legs as I walk, crawl, roll over, climb on command onto specific objects (rocking chair, stool), recognize left from right. His favorite activity of all is soccer where he likes to run and juggle a soccer ball on his head so it doesn't touch the ground.

5. Are they "jumping dogs?" Well, my rat terrier measures 15 inches at the whithers/shoulders. He jumped out of a 42 inch ex-pen (without any kind of a runup to get speed). He can jump into my arms (that's about 44-50 inches off the ground). It will vary from dog to dog but generally speaking, ratties are athletic dogs. They like walks, they like playing with another dog (my guy likes to play keep-away and then vault the other dog as it runs).

6. My advice for a great relationship for you and your rat terrier.
--give it exercise. My guy is in good shape and we walk him alot (90 minutes a day) plus agility training or classes, sometimes he jogs with me, plus kicking a soccer ball. Walks, play dates with other dogs, kicking a ball, a class---all are good ways to exercise your rat terrier.
--give him mental stimulation. Start working on tricks right now.
--keep the training positive. These are typically smart dogs who will read your demeanor, learn from experiences. Clicker training works very well with ratties.
--they're also problem solvers. That means if they think their solution is better than your's, then they'll tend to ignore your command. So shaping behavior is important.

Last of all, a rat terrier story from a family I know that got a rat terrier. Husband and wife are on the sofa watching a movie eating popcorn. Rattie looks expectantly like "is some of that popcorn for me?" Humans tell him "no." He looks mournful. They ignore him. So he runs and gets one of the wife's shoe, brings it into the room and begins to shake it. Husband and wife get up to take the shoe away and he goes racing through the house. They finally find the shoe on top of the bed and return to their movie....only to see their rat terrier laying on the sofa eating out of the popcorn bowl. Wife says to husband "that dog is smarter than us." Like I said, they're problem solvers.

 I have to say that I totally agree with the writer about the intelligence and abilities of the rat terrier.
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Here are some videos I found showing the agility of these little terriers.  I laughed out loud when I watched these videos.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Living with Ratties!

Minature Rat TerrierImage by JKleeman via Flickr

 Here is a snippet I found out in the net about living with two ratties.  As I read it, I was chuckling to myself, as these thoughts have been expressed by anyone who owns rat terriers.  In this snippet, the author can't figure out how to keep the dogs out of the kitchen.  I simply gave that idea up.

Other rattie owners talk about how these lovely little sweeties can be so independent, intelligent, loyal, stubborn, did I say stubborn?  Well, all of those traits are true to the breed, but the best trait of a rat terrier is the love you get in such a compact bundle.

These are not cuddlesome, fluffy puppies.  These are more like caffeine crazed cats in a very small dog body!
They will cuddle--but when they want to.  They will be held--but only when they want it.  They will mind your commands--as long as you ask them to do what they want to do anyway.

Anyway, owning a rat terrier is unlike owning any other type of dog.  I have had mutts, pure breds, and I have to say having a Rat Terrier is my favorite!


Rat Terriers

I live with two Rat Terriers that are just plain smarter than I am. They have the ability to reason. I have an entry way to my kitchen from the living room and there is no door. When I have guests over to my house for dinner, I would like to keep the dogs out of the kitchen while I am cooking. I have tried various tall dog gates but so far, I haven’t found one that keeps the dogs out of the kitchen. The first one I tried had little holes in it big enough for the dogs to climb up like a ladder. Before I knew what was happening, there they both were in the kitchen! The next one I bought was an accordion style that they just kept knocking down any time they felt like it. I have even tried to crate them but the howling sounds they made would put a banshee to shame. I guess that I will either stop inviting guests for dinner or just explain to my guests that in our house, dog hair is a spice.

Posted on November 11th, 2009

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

These doggies jump, climb and leap

Agility field right side: The right side of th...Image via Wikipedia
LAGUNA WOODS- Linda Samson has trained her dogs to jump, climb and leap through obstacles, all with lots of coaching, love and of course the occasional treat.

Samson, originally from South Africa, has lived in Laguna Woods Village with her husband for just over a year now, and since she retired she has more time to devote to her beloved pastime—dog agility training.

Samson has spent the last six years training two 12-13 pound rat terriers—Lexi, 7, and Surfer Girl, 5. Lexi has won the high honor of "Accomplished Performance Dog" by the U.S. Dog Agility Association (USDAA), and both have competed and won numerous competitions across the country.

Laguna Woods Village resident Linda Samson, with her two rat terriers, Surfer Girl, left, and Lexi. Samson trains the award-winning dogs in many dog agility competitions across the country--but Samson says it's just plain fun.

"I've always wanted to do it," she said of dog agility training. "It's been a lifelong ambition of mine. I've always loved animals and I love training animals."

Dog agility competitions are run by both the American Kennel Club and the USDAA and can offer prizes up to $10,000. In dog agility competition, a dog is led through an obstacle course by a handler, and then given points based on speed, accuracy and the difficulty of the course. At some events, dogs compete in events for a few days, then judges tally points at the end to determine a winner.

"You plan your sequence to get the most number of points," said Samson of some courses where handlers can choose the obstacles.

Samson said she was always interested in dog agility training, and when she found she had the time, she began reading books, watching DVDs and taking coaching lessons.

She said there are a few different kinds of courses and using body language is key to leading the dog through, since they take silent cues from their handler. She said dogs like Lexi and Surfer, because they are small, pay attention to your feet. Although there is a lot of time put into training the dog, Samson said she likes it because it makes her and the dogs happy.

"I find them fun and challenging, too," Samson said of competitions.

Samson has been readying both dogs for the 2009 Cynosports World Games which begins Nov. 11 in Scottsdale, Arizona, one of the largest competitions put on by USDAA. Samson said Lexi will compete in six events and Surfer in three, with some of the best dogs from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Now that she is retired, Samson said she usually makes it to competitions twice a month.

Samson said it is fun for her and the dogs to train for these events. She said three times a week she attends classes at Jump Start Dog Sports training facility in Yorba Linda, and also rents a field to practice obstacles with the dogs. She also runs and walks with them outside daily. Samson said she prefers the jumping and running in dog agility to dog shows.

"It's so much more fun," Samson said. "Dog shows are just boring."

 In addition to jumping through obstacle courses, Lexi and Surfer also have worked with cancer groups and in hospitals as therapy dogs for patients. They perform tricks for patients to keep their spirits up.

Samson said Surfer loves tricks, as she performs an instant roll on the floor of her home when Samson yells out, "Bang, bang, you're dead." And she said Lexi, the elder of the two, is more focused when on the course.
And what are her secrets to training a dog? Positive reinforcement, said Samson, in addition to treats.

"I mean, you wouldn't work without a salary check would you?" she said.

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