Saturday, December 18, 2010

Get a dog, not a facelift

I just read a terrific article about the benefits of getting a dog vs. having plastic surgery. I've referenced the entire piece below, which includes some terrific photos, but for this blog's purpose, I am listing the pros to getting a dog here:

* They offer a lifetime of love.

* They are cheaper - facelifts can set you back a good $10,000.

* They make you happier.

* often have better breath.

* They can be your hang-out buddy.

* They won't cause talking behind your back.

* They fetch.

* They cuddle.

* They aren't nearly as risky.

* They care.

Enough said.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Are our topical meds making our pets sick?

Be very careful if you have a companion animal and use any kind of medicinal body cream, spray or gel, i.e., hormones, analgesics, treatments for psoriasis, etc.

We know how pets are prone to licking everything and that includes their human's hands, legs, or arms. Unfortunately, they can wind up absorbing these medications orally and becoming really sick.

Veterinarians from various parts of the country are reporting seeing dogs and cats with enlarged breast tissue, occasional vaginal bleeding, and confusing blood test results. Some cases are extreme, such as animals who appear pregnant, despite having been spayed months or years before.

Simply wiping your hands after using a cream, gel, or spray medication isn't enough to prevent your pet from absorbing the medication, experts say.

Here are some recommended precautions to take if you are currently using topical medications:

1. Creams, gels, and sprays can be effective if used on areas other than hands, arms, and legs. Try your backs and shoulders, or other places less accessible to your pet.

2. If you do have to place topical medications on your hands, arms, or legs, such as hormones, cover any affected skin left exposed.

3. If you must be with an animal while using topical medications, try to avoid close contact until the preparation has completely dried.

4. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after using any medications.

5. To be extra cautious, wear disposable gloves when handling topical products, but be sure to properly dispose of the gloves when finished.

Oh, before I forget, here are some great little stocking stuffers for your fur child:

Greenies Dental Chews!
Click on the Greenies and Stock Up Now

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Vick is Back

Have you heard? Michael Vick is starting to get his swagger back. At least that's what sports writers are saying about him.

Successfully prosecuted for torturing and killing several dogs involved in his very own dog fighting enterprise, Vick spent 17 months in prison. Most animal lovers, including the author, would like to have seen him locked up for 17 years.

But, as is the case with much in life, if there is money to be made by a public figure, an amazing amount of sins, transgressions, even criminalities, take a back seat. In Vick's case, his former employer, the NFL, opened their arms and took him back in to the multi-million dollar a year fold. The Philadelphia Eagles tapped him as their backup quarterback and when their usual quarterback was injured, Vick stepped right back in to the spotlight.

When the NFL Eagles hired Vick fresh from the penitentiary, a collective amnesia began. Vick's victims, the beautiful dogs subjected to unreal atrocities, many directly by Vick's hand, were all but forgotten. After all, Vick has thrown 15 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions since he stepped in to the position. There is money to be made!

These days we are subjected to articles from star- struck sports writers with titles such as, "Vick has become a true leader for young Eagles." There's a lot of talk about what an inspiration Vick is, what a born leader and decent man he is. Yes, the amnesia is just about complete.

“I have all the belief in the world of those guys," Vick is quoted as saying, referring to his Eagle team mates, "and I think the world of them and I’d go to battle with them any day."

Too bad you didn't give your dogs that kind of love and loyalty, Michael Vick. But then, you only murdered the ones who didn't make money for you and the green stuff is really the bottom line, isn't it?

I find it ironic that Vick is now the money maker - again. He received a second chance, something his dogs did not. And if he stops performing well and bringing in the bucks on game days, he'll receive something else he never gave those dogs - mercy.

Meanwhile, check out these Michael Vick Chew Toys - a perfect way to put Vick exactly where he belongs.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

More than food and water

We consider ourselves to be very responsible pet guardians and we doubt our dogs lack much, if anything, in terms of health and welfare. But an article I read recently provided a list expanding the definition of "welfare" and we were surprised to find ourselves lacking in a couple of areas.

For instance, we perform weekly physical checks on our dogs, including brushings, nail trims, palpations for lumps and ticks, and ear cleanings. But we don't do "vibe scans." You can do these scans by having your dog lay or stand comfortably in front of you while you hold your hands a few inches above him, high enough to "feel his vibe."

Staying in this "vibe" space, also known as the "energy space," slowly move your hand over your dog's head, down his face, up and down each leg, across his chest and around to the tummy and private areas, under and over the tail, then up and across the back, ending where you started - your dog's head.

The idea behind a "vibe scan" is to look for sensations of pain with your hands and intuition. Note: this won't work on a stranger's dog. You must already know your pet pretty well. Otherwise, the dog could actually block his "energy vibe" if he is not comfortable with you.

If you and your dog have been partners for several years, you can probably do this scan with your eyes closed and still learn what you need to know about his inner welfare. But most people will need to keep their eyes open so they can watch their dog's eyes and demeanor for pain signals rather than relying on intuition and vibe alone.

Either way, these "vibe scans" can be invaluable to checking in with your pet once a week. I'm sure these can be used with most any kind of animal. And they may be inner-species as well because I've actually seen cats perform these scans on their humans!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Click below for a delightful, fashionable way to keep your pet stuff organized

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Review: Paw Pads™

Reviewing pet products is always fun and often I find a real gem. I consider our family of 6 canines to be good test subjects. Ranging in ages from 2 to 16-1/2, we have a dog for just about any product's purpose out there.

This week I will review Paw-Pads™ Self-Adhesive Traction Pads. These are little stickers shaped like dog paw prints that, once attached to a pet's paw, are supposed to provide the animal with traction on any kind of slippery surface.

The Subject: Sassy, our 15-1/2 year old Border collie, who suffers from mild dementia and a left rear trick knee. We lovingly joke and call her "Aunt Clara," a character from the old show, "Bewitched." Things appear closer than they really are to Sassy and her right leg often goes to the left as her left leg also goes to the left. This sort of activity leaves her unsteady most of the time and flat on her butt on her bad days.

The Preparation: It was amazingly easy to fit Sassy with the Paw-Pads™ . We waited until she was lying down, placed them on her rear paws, pressed on them for a few seconds, and then let her stand. One pad needed redone, but then she was off, walking, walking, which in itself helped attach themselves to her paws.

The results: Sassy didn't seem to mind these as much as the boots we had tried last year. She got around fairly well for a time, but later, while laying down again, she let us check the bottoms of her paws and we found all the pads had fallen off. A set of 8 large full pads is priced at $13. Subsequent sets stayed on less than 1 hour and at that rate, this option could get expensive.

My rating: I'd give the concept of Paw-Pads™ 4 out of 5 stars, but I'd have to lower that to 2 out of 5 stars for practical performance.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pets welcome -
bad humans NOT

The #1 question I get asked as owner of "Is Florida becoming less pet friendly?" My answer: "Yes, I think our lovely state is becoming less pet-friendly, but I don't think it's because people are annoyed with the pets. I think it's because they're annoyed with the humans the animals have to drag along when they go out and about."

Throughout the 9 years I've had online, I've gotten several emails saying things like, "This dog park is filled with dog waste!" Or "This beach no longer allows dogs." Or "This dog park has closed." The reason for these situations has hardly ever been due to lack of money. Most often, it's irresponsible humans causing bad blood among the non-pet crowd.

In Rennes, the capital of the Brittany region in France, officials have installed dog toilets and special dog walk areas - right in the downtown area. They consider this to be an important part of what they call "initiatives to improve the integration of animals into the city and outskirts." Similar projects are sprouting throughout the UK, with great names like "Good Dog Campaigns" and "Poop Scoop Schemes."

A town in Brazil has built toilets for dogs to help stop humans from allowing their pets to use the beach sand as their personal bathroom.

Supposedly, Tallahassee has started a "Responsible Pet Ownership Neighborhood Scheme." I say "supposedly" because I've not been able to find any information about it. That tells me that "scheme" may not be coming along very well.

Why does it seem other countries put these things together better than Americans? I worry that we don't place value on providing public access for people and their pets. I worry about it because, if we don't start taking such initiatives seriously, we might just become one of the least pet-friendly states. And I can tell you, that would be very bad, not only for people and their pets, but for business communities all around the sunshine state.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Carry pet stuff
and stay fashionable

"Pursekets" are all the rage, fellow pet peeps. These cute little wrap ups come in various sizes and prints. When getting ready for the dog park, you could just grab a roll up and stuff the pockets with your keys, your cell phone, your pet's ID info, treats, portable water and food containers and more, depending on the size of your bag or tote.

You could get a second roll up and preload it with your own items, including cosmetics, a mirror, appointment book, checkbook, and more and with a switch of a rollup, be ready to dash out the door for work or a night out. Click below for all the information.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bad businesses

It's unusual for something that hits me the wrong way to pop up twice in one day, but it happened yesterday.

First, a friend of mine forwarded an email sent to her from someone claiming to be huge pet lovers, especially for those poor little rescue doggies, doncha know. They were asking pet people like her, and pet businesses like mine, to help them promote their free pet-related eBook. They even included a copy of the eBook, although it will also be available as a download on their web site. And since they're mailing this out to pet lovers, they figured easy marks like me would love the eBook and would help market it through our web sites and our newsletters.

And normally, I would have. Except...they have a business and sell items which I am morally against; specifically, electronic dog training and containment products, like electronic fencing. In light of that, I consider theirs to be an anti-pet business.

If you don't think animals feel pain having electronic products used on them, try hooking yourself up to them sometime. I've done this - a company wanted to prove my concerns about electronic fencing to be silly - and the shock brought tears to my eyes and my finger they wrapped the connector around hurt the rest of the day!

Even though they aren't charging for the eBook, the URL of this business's web site was given on at least two pages of the eBook. To me, that is a very sneaky way to promote one's business, sort of a bait and switch. They basically said, "We have a business that sells products that are controversial to the health and safety of animals, so we'll write up this sappy little eBook about animals that get rescued, and get pet-related businesses like yours to help us promote it, giving us some validity and making it seem like you agree with our product and its uses."

Later, I found an article online about a company that is volunteering to adopt a dog park in southern Florida. The company is going to get its engineers and architects involved to develop and build improvements to the dog park and even sponsor community activities for pets and their people at the park. Wow, what a wonderful corporate neighbor.

Sounds all nicey-nicey until one does a bit of Googling and learns the company sells "cutting edge dog training products." A quick visit to their web site to learn the specifics about these products reveals, yup, you guessed it, electronic fences, remote trainers and bark control devices.

Both these situations personify a very dishonest way to promote a business. That's why I am writing about it in this blog. Pet people need to be forewarned - people who could care less about pets, indeed, who are actually promoting or selling products that harm them - are out there, trying to get our sympathies, our admiration, but most of all, our business. It's a new trend we can do without.

Monday, September 13, 2010

No more excuses

I learned something today. I learned there are no more excuses to not have a dog park in every city or town in Florida.

Panama City just got their second off-leash dog park. (The first was Zollie Young Park on 43rd Street.) It doesn't have a name yet, at least none I could find, so I'll just call it Everitt Dog Park for now since it's located at 1137 Everitt Avenue.

With about two acres of land, some tables, water fountains and restrooms, Everitt Dog Park isn't anything real fancy at this point. But there are plans to add amenities and people and their pooches are lining up to use it.

The park is operated by Bay County and guess what? It's not costing tax payers one red cent. That's always been a big fat excuse used by some cities or counties not to organize and build a dog park for its residents. And if there ever is some interest expressed in some municipalities, the letters to the editor start from poor, non-pet-loving residents convinced they'll have to pay for something they will never use. (Forget about the childless couples, or men and women age 50 or over without kids, who still have to pay ever-increasing school taxes.)

Bay County Commissioner Jerry Girvin said the dog park cost about $16,000, but it was paid for with something called "recreational impact fees. That means there was actually no balance left to be paid with taxes.

If you're interested in helping to form a dog park in your area and want to know how Bay County Commissioners managed it without shredding their clothes and gnashing their teeth, you can contact Commissioner Girvin by writing to him at:

If you'd like to see a pretty decent listing of dog parks throughout Florida, check out our Places to Play.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Protecting our pets when we're not home

Lately there have been so many news reports about humans and pets losing their lives in house fires. The value of structures and personal belongings involved can be calculated and reimbursed through insurance companies, but the people and their animal companions are priceless and irreplaceable.

Fortunately, there are simple ways we can all get proactive about safety and minimize the chance of such a terrible tragedy happening to our family.

We should start by picking up some of those colorful decals to press onto our storm doors and windows that alert emergency responders to the presence of animals inside our home. There are spaces on the decals to list the number of dogs, cats, and other species of animals living in the house. We need to make sure we keep those numbers up to date. If we now only have 3 animals, we don't want firefighters risking their lives searching and searching for animal number 4 who passed on to Rainbow Bridge last year. While most online pet supplies sell these decals, we can get some free at ASPCA or print off one at home from ARF, and buy the materials to make clinging decals from our local office supply store.

A second must-have decal is the "Animal Alert Card." It is also available as a download from ARF. This card will alert emergency or medical workers there are animals relying on us to return and care for their needs and provides a name and number of someone to notify in case we are unable to do so.

Another way to make sure we and our pets stay safe and sound in case of fire or other emergency is to sign up with a monitoring service. For years, my husband and I laughed off the idea of needing a security service since we had multiple dogs and figured their collective bark was deterrent enough. That is until a friend asked us what the plan was for our pets if the house caught fire, or if there was a dog-hating intruder, and we weren't home. We researched several companies, asked lots of questions, and then decided on BroadCom Security (I think they've recently merged with ADT.) For more choices, just do a quick Google search for "home security systems."

I want to encourage everyone reading this to at least get the decals mentioned. I cannot tell you how much more prepared and secure we personally feel since taking the above steps. The bottom line for all pet guardians is to do what we can to protect all the members of our packs.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What is going on at Winter Park?

The Mayor is asking lawmakers to "let a sleeping dog lie." But some City Commissioners want to wake it back up. It’s been going back and forth for two years. What could be worthy of so much attention? Property taxes? Impact studies? Rooting out corruption from within?

Nope. The kerfuffle seems to be over allowing dogs in the parks of Winter Park. Last week, the Commissioners voted down an ordinance 3-2 that would have banned canines from Mead Garden, Kraft Azalea Garden and Dinky Dock Park.

Issue resolved? Nope. A few of the same Commissioners turned right around and agreed to discuss the issue again at their next meeting August 9.

Why? Allegedly concerned with "environmental protection," the city’s Parks and Recreation commission had originally recommended the ban include all city parks and some officials think the matter has just...not been...talked about...enough.

Despite the rejection this week of the ban, a couple of commissioners want to keep animals "from streets next to Central Park when they are closed as part of special park events." But Winter Park’s current ordinance already bans dogs on "streets, rights of way, or sidewalks next to Central Park that are closed to vehicles during special events." Do environmental concerns just apply to times the city is making money from people?

This leaves us confused. It really seems the interests of businesses rather than residents are behind this, and the whole thing borders on harassment of specific law-abiding, tax-paying, dog-accompanying residents. We agree with the one city commissioner who piped up this past week and asked, "At what point do we give this up and talk about something else?"

Friday, June 25, 2010

Politicians should do what’s right

My blogs are usually cool, calm and collected, conveying to those who read them what I hope to be helpful information about pets and issues that affect them.

But today’s blog is anything but calm. I am angry. I just learned that city officials of Brooksville, which is in Hernando County, are threatening to close down the county’s only dog park, the Rotary Centennial Dog Park, located in Spring Hill.

We’ve had this park listed on since it opened in January, 2009. You can read about it here. As you can see, yes, the county contributed financially, but that’s only part of the story. A lot of good, regular dog people made contributions toward the construction of this dog park and it took quite a while to make it all a reality. Now, rather than simply instituting a small fee-for-use of the dog park, which most park-goers would probably be happy to pay, these officials seem to think the answer to lack of financial resources is to block access to something those tax payers actually partially own.

The Hernando County Commissioners are also threatening to “leave dead animals on the road” by cutting operating funding for county animal control. Yes, you read right. Such action would also impact any kind of stray animal rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming efforts in jeopardy.

So, yes, I am upset. At typical political short-sightedness. At lack of caring for all of God’s creatures. At too much worry about getting re-elected and not enough doing the right thing unless there’s a camera around.

What can we do? I’m a big believer in speaking up for those who have no voice, including children, animals, or the very elderly. In this case, there are animals that need us; they need our voice. I hope you will join with me and write, email, fax, or call the Board of Hernando County Commissioners and tell them you are a voter with a pet and politely ask them to do the right thing, not just for themselves, but for those who elected them, and for all the animals those voters love and donate money to care for.

Why do this if you don’t live in Hernando County? Because counties follow the actions of other counties and if one does something, even a bone-headed something, others may follow and one of them could be the county where you are your family resides.

So, contact the Hernando officials and ask them to come up with a Plan B for the dog park. And ask them to not cut funding for a department that helps the most innocent among us. Hernando county contact info can be found here. And contact information for the rest of Florida’s counties can be found here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Companion Therapy Laser brings hope

A few years ago, I injured my back teaching my youngest border collie to catch a Frisbee. (I know, I know, shouldn't she have been teaching ME?) Due to that injury, two herniated disks, nerve involvement, and lots of arthritis, pain has become a constant and unwelcomed addition to my life.

Therefore, I have been constantly on the look out for new non-invasive, non-drug treatments that will decrease my pain, not just the money in my pocketbook.

Recently, during my weekly online research, I came across an article about laser therapy for dogs. It's called Companion Therapy Laser. Although also used for human members of sports teams, it does not appear to be something that will help me - at least not at this time. Nonetheless, I wanted to share it with readers with pets who might benefit from the information.

Here's how it works: The veterinarian directs a concentrated beam of light that stimulates cell growth and promotes blood flow into the injured part of the dog's body. Experts with the Newark-based LiteCure company, where the laser is produced, say it treats muscle and joint soreness and can be used as part of a surgery recovery program. A treatment only takes one to five minutes and can cost about $20 for a one-time post-surgical procedure or up to around $240 for a full therapeutic regimen.

For more information about this treatment, visit Companion Therapy Laser.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What do I think?

I was telling someone the other day what I did for a living and when I mentioned owning, the person asked if I found Florida to be pretty pet-friendly - overall.

I thought about it for a minute or two before replying and decided to use what I had to say as a blog entry. After all, some of you may like to know if I think Florida is generally pet-friendly and if not, what could be improved.

I placed online in October, 2001, so one could say I've been in the midst of all things pet-friendly for about a decade. So my answer is that I find Florida to be a bit less pet-friendly than it was nine years ago. There are some areas of the state more OK with dogs in public than others. But I'm noticing more and more public places, such as beaches and parks, closing their doors to the pooches.

Why is that?

The way I see it, the problem doesn't usually involve just the dogs; dogs are too pure and loving to be a problem all by themselves. The main reason places are becoming less pet-friendly is all the dog poop left by humans who don't bother to clean it up.

I have a pretty strong belief that if it were just up to the dogs, most would clean up after themselves and would only be seen in public with well-behaved humans.

So, that's what I think. What do you think?

By the way, we've been using the cool purple biodegradable poop bags shown above and just love them. Check them out!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Another pet food distribution location

WHAT: Pet food bank distribution

WHEN: Saturday, March 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHERE: Joseph A. Strasser Animal Health and Welfare Building, 6817 Norwood Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida

DETAILS: Administered by First Coast No More Homeless Pets, the food bank is for people struggling to care for their pets due to financial issues. Each pet will receive a month's supply of food, for up to four dogs and five cats per household. While you do not have to be a Duval County resident to receive food, you must present a valid photo ID, proof of income, and proof of pet's sterilization. If your pet is not spayed or neutered, that service will be provided at no charge if you qualify. Please leave your pets at home for the actual food distribution.

MORE INFO: To find out how to qualify - or to donate food for the cause - please call (904) 520-7903 or visit Jacksonville Pet Food Bank.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fight the blahs - attend a pet friendly event

In case you didn't know, keeps a pretty decent Calendar of Events filled with activities that are pet friendly, beneficial to a pet group, or both. One of my dreams when hubby retires is to hit the road with him and our pups for an entire year, attending every single pet event in the state of Florida and meeting as many pet people as possible. It would be awesome to do a special live pod cast sort of thing from each event to entice everyone to stop by and say hi and help out the animals through supporting the event.

Anyway, if you get bored with the month of February like I do (I mean, after the beautiful Valentine's Day card from hubby and the chocolate!) stop by our Calendar and review the events during what's left of February and what we've already got posted for March. We're currently working on adding more, so keep coming back. If you do attend an event, please drop me a note and let me know how it was. Many of these are yearly fundraisers and the more people who attend, the more benefits the animals will enjoy.

Also, if you are a member of an animal-related group and would like to get the word out about your group's activities, feel free to post all your events on our Calendar. It's free and no password is required. Drop me a note if you have any problems with the posting and I'll gladly help!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

People with Pets Vote

During the last Presidential campaign, we all heard about one of the candidates who had "allegedly" once strapped the family dog to the top of the family station wagon before heading across country for a family vacation. You know which guy I mean - the family man, of course!

Not only did I find the idea horrifying, I also knew I could never vote someone like that into public office. A man - or woman - with such total disregard for the comfort and safety of an animal under their care would not be able to gain my confidence for doing anything more than changing a roll of toilet paper while behind bars.

The whole thing got me wondering about which politicians were pet friendly and which ones were not. I mean, anyone can borrow a dog for an afternoon's photo shoot to make themselves look like a best friend to companion animals, great and small. But which ones have actually shared their lives with an animal or two for multiple years? Which ones are good, responsible pet parents? Which ones even use the advantage of their office to start some good pro-animal legislation that ends up making the lives of all animals just a little bit easier?

These were the things I wanted to know and so, I started digging and I asked some friends to do some digging too. The results of this research are detailed at Pet Friendly Florida Politicians. There's a lot of information here, gathered from several people's efforts, but if you know something none of us found out, please, please, send it on to me and I'll add it to our list.