Friday, October 29, 2010

DDF PSA ~ Project Pet Slim Down

I have to apologize to everyone who has emailed me stories, products and PSA's they would like published on my blog - I've been busy and haven't had time to properly research your ideas. I'm going to try to get through the pile I've got in my inbox in the next little while but it takes time. I won't just copy and paste something without reviewing it and I refuse to promote a product without first checking it out.

If you are a company who sends me a FREE SAMPLE, please remember that this does NOT mean I will automatically give you a positive review. If your product is crap, I will blog about it. If your product is awesome, I will blog about it - probably more than once. I will let everyone know that they should purchase this product. I might even post some links on my blog for people to click on to purchase the item.

Now that I've said that, I have a PSA for you. It's not a product review because Purina wouldn't send me any food to test out; but that's ok. It's simply a review and a PSA with MHO!

I received an email about Project Pet Slim Down ( There is a $20 coupon from Purina Veterinary Diets offered through this email. Here's a bit about what this email said:

Did you know 45% of all dogs in the US are estimated to be overweight or obese? It’s higher for cats – 58% are overweight or obese! A 3-pound weight gain for a 15-pound Boston Terrier is like a 30-pound weight gain on a 150-pound person. A 3-pound gain for a 10-pound cat is like 45 pounds for a 150-pound person! It puts a lot of stress on our pets’ bodies to carry that extra weight.

Project Pet Slim Down offers a three-step process to slim your pet down. Visit the site to get great tips for how to help your pet lose weight responsibly.

Plus you can check out eight adorable dogs and their weight-loss stories, complete with weigh in’s, how-to suggestions and before-and-after’s. Who doesn’t love a great before and after? These dogs managed to lose some serious LBS in just 90 days!
So I went to the website and what I found was ... interesting. There are videos about a bunch of different dogs, what they weighed, how much they were overweight and the weight loss regimen the animals were put on. It is obviously a spin-off of the weightloss reality TV shows (Biggest Loser, XWeighted, etc).
The dogs were put on Purina Veterinary Diets® OM Overweight Management® Canine. From the sounds of it, there was no gradual change-over (though I might be wrong about this). You will note that the people in the video do NOT tell you how much of their previous food they were feeding their dogs. Most "weight loss" foods have a lot of fibre and useless mass in them. This helps fool the humans into thinking they aren't depriving their beloved pets by reducing the food but really doesn't do much for a dog - they are NOT built like a human! It also keeps the dog eating a large amount of food (don't forget - there are only so many cups of food in a bag of dog food and the company only makes money when you buy the bags so it would make sense to lower the amount of calories per cup so you have to feed your dog more AND spend more money!). Now, I've seen dogs go from eating 6 cups of food per day to 2 cups of food per day (different food with different caloric intake); the dog was healthier with the 2 cups! Doggie metabolisms were NOT made to eat excess FIBRE. They are NOT vegetarians like horses are (who DO benefit from beet pulp in their foods sometimes), they are NOT omnivores like people (who should have SOME fibre in their diet but not TOO much!). They are carnivores. Their bodies were designed to eat meat. Yes, some of the bodies they would have eaten would have tripe in it ... that doesn't mean a LARGE portion of their diet was vegetation/fibre. Do we eat grass when we are dieting just to keep our bellies full and calories down?? Why would you do that to your dog?
Now, these dogs were overweight. The mastiff was 30 LBS overweight. The other dogs were all about 30% overweight (according to the vets). Each one of these dogs were put to task with an immediate (huge) increase in their exercise regimen even when the owners told the cameras that the dog gets tired with a short walk. Every one of these dogs were told to leap over jumps!! Ok ... HOLD IT! These dogs are overweight ... and not only have you more than quadrupled their exercise, but you are having them jump over bars!?!?!? ARE YOU INSANE???? Would you like to know what kind of stress you're putting on that dog's joints? Now you are not only adding anaerobic and aerobic exercises to an animal who has not been super active for a while but you are also adding plyometrics?! Good grief. That's like asking a person who needs to lose 30 LBS to do plyometrics ... You'll blow out the person's knee unless you've done strength training to build up those ligaments!! Why wouldn't you do some good water/swimming exercises to start with?? They will safely work the muscles without damaging the joints or ligaments.

I'm not overly impressed with this program. If you want your dog to lose weight, REDUCE the amount of food you are giving him/her!! IF you feed 2 cups twice a day, then feed 1.5 cups twice a day!! STOP FEEDING COOKIES!!!

Take the dog for an extra walk. Build your dog up slowly. Would you be able to get up one morning and run a marathon?? NO. You need to train for that. You have to practice. You have to work up to it. Treat your dog the same way. Don't think that a dog who has had ZERO exercise can just get up and run around the yard to burn off the calories. Take your dog for a walk! Go for a liesurly stroll to begin with! Once your dog is ok with that level of exercise, increase your pace to a walk; then to a fast walk; then to a speed walk; then to intermitten jogging then walking! You build it up over WEEKS ... possibly even MONTHS. You do not just get up one day and say "hm! My dog is fat. He needs to lose weight. Here is some agility equipment to jump over so I don't get bored with what he is doing." NO NO NO NO NO. You need to take your DOGS needs into account.

If you have a 135 LBS mastiff and you want the dog to lose 30 LBS, you should not expect the dog to lose any more than 5 LBS per week (this is the MAX). Expect the same thing for your dog as you would for a PERSON! Think proportionally. So you have a Doxie and it is 10 LBS overweight ... don't try to lose all 10 LBS in one week! As a 200 LBS human you MIGHT be able to lose that much that fast but to a 15 LBS dog, losing 10 lbs is like the equivalent of a 200 LBS human to lose 85 LBS!!!

Don't be a dumbass. Be a good owner. Feed your dog appropriately. Keep them at a HEALTHY weight. Exercise them regularly to their level of fitness (and yours!).

Sorry if this turned into more of a rant than a review ... but these sorts of things DRIVE ME CRAZY.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

News Reel ~ The Importanct of a Solid Recall

Here is another reason why it is so CRUCIAL to have a solid recall! Your dog should come back to you when you call. Simple. Easy peasy. So why don't people teach their dogs to come back?!?

Check it out ... Car hits Minnesota man chasing his dog on I-94

My first question ... why doesn't your dog come back when called?
My second question ... why did you allow your dog to run away near I-94?
My third question ... why? Just ... why?
This incident has resulted in a dead dog. IMHO there is no excuse for asshattery on the part of the dog owner. You are supposed to be the responsible one! You are supposed to be the one in charge! You are supposed to keep your dog safe. Idiot.
PLEASE teach your dog to come back when called!! PLEASE teach your dog basic obedience!!

Above you will note that I found you a Dogs for Dummies DVD. There is no excuse not to teach your dog (no, not even "I can't read" because I found you a DVD). Watch it.

Alternatively, the below amazon link is a book that might help you.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Featured Rescue - Nana the Labrador Retriever

Today's featured rescue is Nana. She is a senior lady who needs someone to give her that super-special home where she can live out her life. Nana has a bunch of tricks in her "routine" including sit, shake a paw, lay down and roll over.

Unfortunately she does not seem to enjoy the company of other dogs which means that the shelter is looking for someone with no other dogs to adopt her. Fortunately, she is in a foster home and not in the kennels. I hate to see the older ones in the shelter ... and more so for those who don't like other dogs. It's a great environment to culture a negative behaviour that has been budding.

If you can offer Nana a home, please contact the Guelph Humane Society at •519-824-3091.

Friday, October 22, 2010

DDF ~ Love Life and Live

Today my dogs served me a reminder that I should stop focusing on all the things I cannot change and take pleasure in the world around me. How did they do this?? Well, of course I will tell you ... you thought perhaps I'd not bother to rant? Pah. It may be TGIF but the sky is still blue and hell hath not frozen yet!

Today there was snow. Around 3 inches of it stayed on the ground after falling last night. The dogs may not all get along very well right now (thanks to Red Dog) but that didn't stop them from frapping in the snow.

In fact, they were so busy loving life, running around the field like maniacs, that they forgot that wet snow makes it more difficult to turn on a dime ... one moment they were frapping around ... the next, two of them came straight at me, turning away at the last moment, when suddenly ... one of them didn't quite turn. She slipped, she slid, she skidded across the wet, cold snow ... right into the back of my knees.

Down I went. Into the snow. In the clothes I had planned on wearing to work today. DAMNIT! ARGH! SONOFABITCH! WRAWR! 

And you know what? I was so busy focusing on everything going on that I forgot to laugh. I was busy trying not to fall on top of the 32 LBS of love that just crashed into me ... busy trying to control the Red Dog who for once is NOT trying to kill the other dogs and just wants to go frapping too ... busy trying (and failing) to stay dry and warm ... busy trying to control myself and NOT kill the two dogs who were simply showing the world how much they love life.

Wait a minute. Here's where I had my epiphany.

I looked around at the four dogs who had all come over to see if I was alright, to lick my face, to whine, to try and climb into my lap, to roll upsidedown and be silly goofy clowns that make me laugh ... and I realized that I had clean clothes inside; that nothing in my knees was damaged; and the craziest thing of all??

I think my dogs were laughing at me.

For most of us, the first day of snow is a negative thing. People skulk around. They mope. They snap. They are downright cranky. But perhaps there is another way ... perhaps we could stop complaining about what we are losing and look at what we have. That's what the dogs do. Maybe we should take a page out of their lesson book and stop being so cranky.

Stop. Enjoy life. Don't get so busy that you neglect to feel and be aware of the world around because the world will pass you by without a second glance.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Training Rant ~ Housesoiling

Funny thing that I want to share ... about a year ago, I started offering dog training to people and the most common thing I get called in about is HouseSoiling (followed closely by Aggression and then Separation Anxiety). If they are bringing me in for housesoiling, it almost always turns out that the dog has other issues as well that they would like to work on (but didn't bother to tell me about).

The number one complaint from dog owners is housesoiling. However, housesoiling is NOT the most common complaint. The most common is aggression. (Campbell WE: 1986 - The prevalence of behavioural problems in American Dogs: Modern Vet Pract 67:28-31)

That means that although aggression is more common than housesoiling, people complain more about the housesoiling. People would rather have an aggression problem than a housesoiling problem in their house! Seems odd to me, but I suppose if you couldn't figure out how to resolve the housesoiling problem and you can manage the aggression problem (for example, by isolating your dog) then the aggression would be the lesser of two evils.

Interesting, no? For those of us involved in rescue, this is probably not a big surprise. How many of the foster dogs we bring into our homes are housetrained?? And yet ... in the majority of cases, how easy is it to do?

So there you have it. That's your tid-bit of useless information for today. So here's my question ... if aggression is more common than housesoiling, then why is housesoiling the number one complaint?

Monday, October 18, 2010

News Reel ~ Asshat Kicks Dog; Police Dispatcher Finds Stolen Dog

Check out this news article! Sick Thug Filmed Booting His Dog. You can't tell me that the reporter who wrote this article isn't an animal lover.

It is thought the footage was taken on October 1 and was filmed in Knee Hill Park in Woolwich, South London

How I'd like to put the boot to that guy ... like a piñata ... Instead, I am hoping that the RSPCA will be able to find this asshat and send him to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Damned SOB.

On a brighter note, the police dispatcher in Peterborough deserves a pat on the back today after she finds stolen dog onlineThe husky was left tied up outside a No Frills for 10 minutes on Friday ... the dispatcher heard about the stolen dog and started checking Kijiji ... The dog was being advertised as an eight-month-old husky for $600. Plainclothes officers arranged to meet with the sellers at a north-end car wash ... Two brothers, age 14 and 17, of Peterborough, have been charged with possession of stolen property.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

OffTopic ~ National Feral Cat Day

This is a little off topic but I thought I would share anyway! Today is National Feral Cat Day! Help spread the word! Below post is crossposted from my other blog, Drowning In Cats. Feel free to crosspost this information. Education about Feral Cats is the key.

Happy National Feral Cat Day!

October 16 is National Feral Cat Day. Take a few minutes today to help spread the word about Feral cats! Tell someone about what they are, why they are feral, what a colony is, about the pros and cons of having a colony nearby, and about population management! If you spread the word to one person today, that is one more person than yesterday who knew about Feral Cats.
Here is what Alley Cat Allies has to say about National Feral Cat Day:
October 16 - Ten Year Anniversary

National Feral Cat Day (NFCD) is your opportunity to help protect and improve the lives of cats around the county!

In 1990, most Americans didn’t know the best way to care for stray and feral cats. Thanks to Alley Cat Allies, today, improving their lives through Trap-Neuter-Return programs is widespread—and the movement continues to build. Hundreds of local groups work on behalf of stray and feral cats, while millions of Americans have reached into their hearts and their wallets to care for and feed them.

There is still work to be done. National Feral Cat Day—October 16th—is a perfect opportunity to tell others about our feral feline friends and truly make a difference in cats’ lives.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Featured Rescue - Fofee the Australian Shepherd mix

I went looking around to find a Red Merle Aussie to feature as today's rescue (spurred by Sweep's story) but when I ran across Fofee, I decided to feature him instead and turn this into a discussion ... I want your opinion.

I'm sure you're saying to yourself "Why would she post an 8 week old puppy? It's easy for them to get adopted" and you're right. However, I wanted to use this as an opportunity to look at different adoption processes and fees.

Fofee is in the care of the Mississauga Humane Society. Their adoption fee for an 8 week old puppy is a whopping $450! Some people might see that and turn and walk away. HOWEVER ... what we have to look at is what is included in this fee? The ad says: which covers 3 boosters, deworming, microchipping and neuter/spay when the puppy is five months old. If you went to an average priced veterinarian, the costs would easily be $600. Keeping that in mind, $450 for an adoption fee doesn't sound too far fetched.

I scrolled through the web page and found that almost each and every dog had a different adoption fee. Some were as low as $128; some $158; some $198; some $200; some $250; some $300; some $350; some $480!! Holy jumpin'! Talk about all over the board. The only one that seems to include future vet bills is the Aussie puppy. I thought it might have something to do with the age / breed of the animal but after scrolling through, it doesn't seem to be the case. Perhaps it has something to do with the amount of money / time they have put into the dog?? It's hard to say because most of these dogs are in foster homes.

What do you think? Do you think it's right for a shelter to change the adoption fees for each dog?? If not, why? If so, what would the criteria be??

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pupdates ... Stolen Dog ~ Found ... Red Visit Today

Well today is a day of good news!

First off, I received this email today about Sweep the Red Merle Aussie ...

---------- message ----------
From: chantal

Date: Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 4:36 AM

Subject: Re: [Comment] STOLEN: My aussie SWEEP

Sweep was found! The police found her in Toronto. The thief even dyed her fur a different colour. The person is being charged..and my dog is home safe and sound!

Hooray!! I am so pleased to hear that Sweep is home, safe and sound. I have edited my post from yesterday to remove Chantal's phone number (but otherwise left it unchanged).
Secondly, a lady is coming by to meet Red Dog this afternoon. Cross your fingers that she's "the one"! I think she sounds wonderful but ultimately the decision is up to Red Dog.

Short and sweet, eh?! Some days it's nice to have short and sweet ... uncomplicated and stress free ...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stolen Dog ~ Sweep

Hope everyone had a great long weekend!

I received this in my email inbox on Sunday and want to spread the word. If I were in Chantal's shoes, I would want everyone to know in the hopes that I would be able to get my dog back. If anyone knows anything about this dog, PLEASE don't hesitate to contact the owner!

On Monday October 4th, while I was at work, someone broke into my home, entered, and stole my beloved dog from her crate. They did not take anything else. We would love some help in finding her!!!!!!

She is a nine year old red merle Australian Shepherd, spayed female, grey and brown with lots of spots, white paws, 45 lbs. She was wearing a pink collar.


She was taken from her home in Shelburne and possibly was moved to the Toronto area, although we really have no clue. Any help would be appreciated- even just keeping an eye open for her. If seen, you can call Chantal at [removed now that Sweep has been found].

Friday, October 8, 2010

News Reel ~ Burned Dogs Available for Adoption

Back in March 2010, two dogs were set on fire by their owner. 36 year-old Katherine Brotherton faces two felony counts of animal cruelty. Investigators said she doused her family’s two pet dogs with gasoline and set them on fire. Brotherton allegedly claimed the dogs bit her and setting them on fire was the only reasonable thing to do. May Brotherton says her daughter has exhibited schizophrenic behavior in the past month (of March) ... and that she refuses to take her medication.

Sick sick sick. You can't tell me she's not spun. She's not an Asshat ... she's a genuine, bonified CRAZY-MOFO

While there is little help for Brotherton (as an "adult" over the age of majority, it is within her rights to refuse treatment), there is help available for the two dogs. More than 8 months later, they can finally find a new [safe] home.

The Burned dogs [are] healthy again; up for adoption in Johnson County. Jake, a black Labrador mix, and Boomer, a blue heeler, both suffered extensive burns when their owner allegedly set them on fire as a form of punishment.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Foster and Rehoming Tips 3 ~ Don't Trust The Dog

Way back when ago, I started a series of posts that were Tips for Foster Homes or people who wanted to become Foster Homes ... then I realized that the same tips could be used for people who were bringing a new dog or puppy home! Anyone who is rehoming a dog can use these same tips. (See "Foster Tips" label)

It's been a long time since I posted the last Foster Tips but I have one today for you ...

Don't Trust The Dog

What? Yep. You read that rightly ... don't trust the dog. People bring home dogs from various places (rehomed privately, from a shelter, from a breeder, etc) and more often than not, the people walk into their home and let the dog off the leash!! Then they can't figure out why the dog is going crazy (or why the dog attacked the kids when they were sleeping on the couch, or why the dog killed their cat, or why their existing dog started a fight with the new dog!).

In my opinion, that is one of the stupidest things you could do when bringing a new dog into your house. I don't care how KYOOT those eyes look. Why would you do that?? Even if you know the dog's history, you don't know the dog. I don't care if your friend owned this dog and you've known the dog for a while ... you don't live with the dog and therefore you don't know the dog. That means Don't Trust The Dog!

Small dog or big dog ... it doesn't really matter. Little JRTs or a Chihuahua can kill or do serious damage to your cats. Small dogs are just as capable of undesirable behaviour as big dogs are so don't write them off because they are so KYOOT.

Please ... for the sake of the dog you are bringing into your home. Think first. You don't know the dog so why would you trust it? It takes a bit more effort on your part to manage the environment and situation properly but it could mean the world if something happens and you are suddenly afraid of the dog you have just brought into your family. Here's to hoping you, your family and your other animals don't get hurt in the process ... It's your responsibility to ensure that doesn't happen.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pupdates - Red and Blue

Been preoccupied lately with some of the goings-on around here. Thought I'd share a bit of what has been keeping me from my blogging ...

Red Dog is still with us, looking for a home. I'm now looking into some less conventional ways to find her a home since she is a non-conventional kind of dog. I am trying to pull some heart-strings ... We are going away in November and after a lengthy discussion with someone off the record, I am concerned about sending Red Dog back to BAS when we go. I worry about whether or not she will be waiting for us when we get back and I doubt they would adopt her to someone in that short period of time (though stranger things have happened!). So I have people putting up posters, I am contacting newspapers and I am emailing lists like crazy hoping to spread the word. I have contacted a breeder in Ontario who will list rescue dogs on their website (though I haven't heard anything back yet) and I am waiting to hear back from a call to ACD rescue in Ontario that I was hoping might have some ideas.

Blue Dog is still having problems, though the problems have changed! Of course it's changed - heaven forbid that she have "normal" problems! Bloodwork came back relatively normal but protein levels in her blood are low and her albumin levels are off. Apparently this suggests a GI problem, so we had fecal samples run. They have come back negative. Now we're on to the next test. I don't know what it is yet - I'll be talking to the vet this evening. Last time I was talking to her we were considering which specialist to go to. I plan to ask if X-Rays would show anything unusual.

Instead of seizure-like-activity, or hypoglycemic-like-activity, her episodes have changed to stroke-like-activity (according to my vet). Awesome, eh? Last weekend she got all cuddly, then lost her balance, fell over and spent over an hour trembling, shaking and falling. It seemed like she had vertigo. She would panic if I left her side and she would panic if she was moved at all. This may sound sad but it was the first time I was able to actually hold her (normally she's a little firecracker who doesn't stop unless to sleep - I've never met a dog with more energy) and it was quite scary.  It took her more than 24 hours to recover ... she was so weak that for the first 12 hours after her "episode" she couldn't stand up without assistance and her reactions were very slow so she was not able to catch herself if one of the other dogs bumped into her. Since then she has been subdued and cuddly, neither of which are normal behaviours for her.

Cross your fingers and paws for us folks, I have a feeling this is going to be a bumpy ride!