Friday, May 29, 2009

Living in the moment

Less than one week after discovering her cancer, cherished Lucky passed away late last night.

Anyone who has truly loved then lost their family pet understands the strong feelings experienced during grief. Yet life simply goes on for everyone else around you and colleagues, friends and family may or may not understand. It can be a difficult time and even more difficult when it’s sudden or when the dog is young and healthy like Lucky was.

When the time comes for you to grieve the loss of your pet, take comfort in Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan’s words:

“One thing we can learn from dogs is how to appreciate and enjoy life in its smallest detail, every single day. When your dog does finally pass, he has probably lived a fuller life than you have. Your dog has savoured every moment on this earth. He is leaving it with no unfinished business, no regrets.”

Dogs teach us so much about being – about being real, about living.

In memory of Lucky 2005-2009. We miss her.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Not Fit for a Dog! The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food

Written by three veterinarians, this book provides a scathing assessment of the commercial and prescription pet food industry. The book is heavy on facts and provides plenty of evidence from the recent Menu Foods pet food recall. It also appears to contain a lot of personal bias.

In a nutshell, the authors believe that multinational corporations need something to do with their waste food products, so they process it into pet food. Their recipes are not science based. The food is purchased from questionable sources. It contains numerous additives to extend shelf life and is of questionable nutritional value. Ultimately your pets are the test subjects for this experiment, and they’re suffering from allergies and serious illness because of it. The same multinationals promote their products through universities to aspiring veterinary students, who are surprisingly uninformed.

The solution is that pet guardians should feed homemade diets of human grade foods to their pets – recipes are provided.

The authors are:

  • Dr. Michael Fox holds veterinary and doctoral degrees in medicine and animal behaviour/ethology and is a syndicated journalist.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins holds law and veterinary medicine degrees and works in private practice. Formerly she was the director of technical affairs at Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
  • Dr. Marion Smart holds a Ph.D. in nutrition research and a veterinary degree and teaches at veterinary colleges.

Buy it at:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Aren't puppies absolutely adorable?

Kane is a playful five month old Shiba Inu. Like any new puppy, he’s got a full learning agenda ahead of him.

Before You get Your Puppy is a wonderful first-time dog person training book written by dog psychology guru Dr. Ian Dunbar. By using Dr. Dunbar’s techniques, you can teach any puppy or old dog new tricks. Even cooler is that it’s available for free download -

Unless you’re 100 per cent sure they’re a shelter/rescue adoption centre, don’t get your new puppy from a pet store. They contribute to backyard breeding, puppy mills and euthanization of shelter and rescue animals.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Looking for a really special companion? Who needs cupid or lavalife anyway?

Tekko is an energetic and playful three year old Miniature Pincher who loves to please. Originally from Minneapolis, MN, he was taken from his first family by the Humane Society because he was not well cared for. Lucky for him, a friend of mine wanted a small yet active dog to fit his urban condo lifestyle. He found Tekko on, drove to Minneapolis one weekend to adopt him, and they've been inseparable ever since. Tekko has adapted well to living with an 11 year old cat, and loves to run at the dog park and snuggle under a blanket on cold winter days.

Rescue groups are great places to find your new dog. Typically volunteer-run, rescue groups are very organized and very professional. They work with shelters and individuals to find animals in need – mixes and purebreds. They often have transportation networks set up to drive dogs from province to province (or state to state). They have an adoption process and you typically have to sign a contract stating that you will return the dog to the rescue association if ever you cannot care for him or her anymore.

If you’re looking for a truly compatible companion, check out your local shelter. If you’re hooked on one specific breed, give a rescue dog a second chance. Both are far better options than buying one from a pet store. Visit your local shelter or, or Google the breed of your choice and “rescue”.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Have dogs, will travel

A friend of ours was heading down a grid road with their happy golden retriever seemingly securely contained in the hatch of their vehicle behind a protective safety gate. Their tire caught on gravel. The vehicle swerved. It rolled and the back window popped out. Their beautiful dog was thrown from the vehicle then excitedly raced around. Luckily it was on a back road and everyone was safe. On another day, at another accident, the dog could be severely injured when thrown from the vehicle, or it could easily be hit by passing vehicles.

Chevy the terrorist and mischievous Euclid pictured above are safely secured and ready for anything. They’ve got their seat belts on and a back-up crate to boot. Their mom is safe too. In the event of a high-impact accident, she’s completely protected from one of them smashing up and killing her or her passengers.

When travelling with your pets, make sure they’re crated or securely fastened. When an accident happens, riding in a hatch even behind a gate isn’t safe enough for them or you.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Chaos - more than just a name

Wow. Look at this dude. He’s one happy guy. Some dogs like to play ball. Chaos lives for it. This photo is not retouched!

When you’re thinking about getting a pet, make sure you match your intensity with theirs. If you love big dogs, and you’re a couch potato, get a mastiff or a Wolf Hound, or even better, think about adopting a slightly used older dog.

If you’re young, enthusiastic and love to move, get a young, enthusiastic big dog mix, retriever or staffie like Chaos so you can have fun wearing each other out.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Animals and emergencies

Buddy’s bags are packed and he’s ready to go. This week is National Be Kind to Animals Week and National Emergency Preparedness Week.

If your home is damaged through fire or flooding and you need temporary lodging, it’s important to find a place that allows pets or know what you’d do with your furry family. To prepare, think about where you could stay and make sure your home insurance covers the additional costs for pet care during such a transition.

When an emergency is broad striking a neighbourhood or community, people are evacuated and settled into make-shift accommodations. However, most often pets suffer because they’re left behind to fend for themselves. Think about the best place in your home or on your property to leave your pets so they can be safe on their own and have access to food and water.

Check out dog-specific emergency planning check-sheet at

Find people planning information at

Friday, May 1, 2009

Would a puppy manicure be called a pupicure?

Whoa, look at those toes. Ruby is a very young, beautiful, energetic weimaraner. Her family had her toe nails done in fiery peach passion, not just because she’s a girl and, hey why not, but because nail tips are functional too. These slick nail covers protect newly refinished hardwood floors from Ruby’s enthusiastic race around the kitchen island.

Even if you don’t get all fancy with it, nail trimming is an important part of regular dog maintenance. Many dogs wear their nails off when running and playing, so they don’t need nail trims. However, couch potatoes and older dogs are at risk of getting infections and even going lame when nails grow too long.

It’s best to start trimming your dog’s nails when they're young. Take him or her to a groomer or vet or get advice from someone who’s good at it. Make it a pleasant experience where your little one gets lots of love and treats at the same time as the trim, then they’ll grow to love it.