Freebie Background!

Here's a pretty background I created for a challenge on Scrapbook Flair.  Feel free to grab it if it's something you like!

You can download the PNG file HERE

And the JPG file can be downloaded HERE

Hope you like it!

Hero Dog Saves Owner, Thanks to Pongo Fund and CANIDAE

By Julia Williams

The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank in Portland, Oregon is a non-profit charity created to help people who are unable to buy food for their pets. They opened in November 2009 with a donation of $125,000 worth of premium pet food from CANIDAE. In just one year, the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has distributed more than one million meals to help feed hungry dogs and cats in Oregon and southwest Washington! 

CANIDAE continues to support The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank with large donations of its premium dog and cat foods. The charity then gives the food free of charge to anyone who expresses a genuine need. The goal is to keep families and pets together in challenging economic times, and judging by a touching letter The Pongo Fund received recently, they are succeeding in ways they couldn’t even imagine.

In August, Gayle Jewell and Danny Fincher (former saxophone player with Paul de Lay Band) were at home with their beloved dog, a 14-year old lab mix named Ceili. They noticed that Ceili (pronounced Kaylee) was acting strangely concerned about Danny and wouldn’t leave his side. Ceili kept smelling Danny’s breath, licking his arms and legs, and whimpering. At around 11:30 p.m., Danny wasn’t feeling well and decided to go to bed. Ceili would not let him go upstairs, however. She got in his way and started tugging on his shorts and yipping at him. 

Ceili tugged on Danny’s socks and pulled off one of his shoes. When he sat down on the stairs to put his shoe back on, Danny suddenly felt like he was on fire, and he couldn’t breathe. Ceili began barking and running back and forth from Danny to the room Gayle was in, alerting her to Danny’s predicament. Danny was rushed to the emergency room where tests revealed he had suffered a massive heart attack.

Ceili was a “hero dog” that night – she saved Danny’s life by preventing him from going upstairs and alerting Gayle to the heart attack. It could have ended in tragedy, however. You see, Danny and Gayle were going through a rough period financially and couldn’t really afford to buy dog food. As a result, they had been considering the heartbreaking option of giving Ceili up. Thankfully, they learned about The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank and were able to get some CANIDAE food for her, so she could remain in their family. 

In her letter to The Pongo Fund, Gayle said “Thank you for providing such a valuable service for everyone who loves their furry four legged family members and is struggling to keep them at home. Life can be “ruff” sometimes, but you folks sure do help so many of us!”

When Larry Chusid, Founder and Executive Director of The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank, relayed this wonderful story to the folks at CANIDAE, he included a heartfelt message of his own. “This is a real testament to CANIDAE and their generosity. As I make magic kibble!”

Our Holiday Pet Food Giveaway

In the spirit of the season, we’re having a little giveaway of our own! Four lucky readers will each win a coupon for a free 5lb. bag of CANIDAE dog food or 4lb. FELIDAE cat food – any formula, winner’s choice.

Entering the giveaway is easy: leave a comment on this post about your own “hero” pet, or tell us what you love most about your pet. In short, just let us know you want to be entered in the giveaway. Please include your email address so I can contact you ASAP if you're a winner.

Want some extra entries? Here's how:

*Blog about your own “Hero Pet” with a link to this RPO post (include a link to your post in your comment below)
*Add a link to the RPO blog on your blog or website.
*Post a link to this giveaway on your Facebook page.

You’ll receive one extra entry for each of the above (optional). Giveaway begins today and ends at midnight Pacific Time on December 4, 2010. Contest open to residents of the USA and Canada only. Void were prohibited. Good luck!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Another celeb Frenchie fan

Ashley Olsen touched down at Los Angeles airport with her adorable traveling companion.


Very CUTE (& the dog, too)

Actor Gilles Marini and his French Bulldog Mila.

via People Pets

Train Your Dog According to Their Personality

By Linda Cole

Dogs are not created equal when it comes to training. Some learn faster than others, and some just can't seem to get what you're trying to teach. All dogs can be taught basic commands as long as you're willing to invest the time and energy to stay committed. However, dogs are individuals and like kids, they learn at their own pace. Knowing your dog's personality can help you devise a training schedule that works best for them.

Dog training isn't high on some people's priority list. I know many dog owners who have never spent one minute training their dogs to sit, stay, walk on a leash or any other basic commands. They feel that as long as their dog will come to them most of the time when called, that's all the training they need. Animal shelters are full of untrained dogs who have been surrendered by their owners because the dog developed behavioral problems they had no idea how to correct. Lack of training to correct behavioral problems is one reason many people give up their dogs.

Another reason dogs end up in shelters is because their owner didn't really know or understand their pet. A dominant dog who borders on aggression can become aggressive if his owner doesn't take the time to discover his personality. I'm the proud owner of a 10 month old Border Collie who was given to us because she wasn't housebroken. She was 8 weeks old when we took her in. Within a couple of months, she was housebroken and she now lets us know when she needs to go outside. As she grew, she became more aggressive with the other pets, but her personality is really more dominant than aggressive and training with positive reinforcement has curbed her aggression. Working with her on basic commands has shown me that she is eager to please and excited to learn what I want to teach her.

A dog's personality is formed by their environment, what they learned from their mom, how well they were socialized, and how we treat them. A dog can be confident, aggressive, submissive, fearful, shy, outgoing, happy, independent or dominant.

An already submissive dog who is shy or insecure will need slow and steady training sessions. Loud or sudden noises could easily send him searching for a place to hide. The independent dog can be harder to train because he hasn't formed a bond with his owner, and a fearful dog can show aggression if he feels threatened. Keep things simple and quiet and give the dog lots of praise and opportunities to succeed to help boost his confidence and gain his trust. A happy, outgoing dog is usually eager to please his owner. He needs to learn how to sit, stay and stay down to keep from knocking people over when he greets them.

A dominant or confident dog can be harder to train, because he'll try to be the one in charge. He needs an owner with a firm hand that's fair and gentle when the dog needs correction and gives praise and rewards when he does what is asked. I don't believe a dominant or confident dog is hard to train – as long as you know your dog and don't try to force him to submit to you, because you risk creating an aggressive dog with behavior problems you didn't intend. Stay consistent, patient and calm, and never let frustration come between you and your dog. When working with this personality type, if you or the dog become frustrated you need to stop, take a breather and try again. Once your dog understand that you're in charge, you might be surprised how fast he learns.

Regardless of what your dog's personality is, treat them with respect and love to earn their trust and respect. There's nothing wrong with taking a dog back to step one to reinforce what you're trying to teach them, and there's no specific time line for them to learn.

Dogs who are treated with love and respect will learn anything we want to teach them as long as we take the time to understand who they are and how best to train them. Just like us, dogs want and need to feel secure in their surroundings. We can eliminate confusing signals we send to our dogs simply by knowing who they are. It is that important to know your dog's personality to understand how they will learn. A dog owner also needs to evaluate their own personality as well, to know which breed or dog they are best able to handle.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Purrfect Relaxation

After Thanksgiving, we all need to relax. Here is my daughter's cat, Cinnamon, relaxing, getting ready for a nice cozy nap. We all know that cats are purrfect at relaxing. What is their secret?

I love this post on wikiHow, How to Relax Like a Cat. Some of the steps include:

* Be compassionate with yourself (Cats love themselves the way they are.)
* Practice cat yoga (Stretch like a cat!)
* Hide out (Cats like to find a special alone place.)
* Cuddle, hug and nuzzle. (Cats perform these caring rituals regularly.)

Check out the entire article (with adorable photos) here.

How does your cat show you to relax? What about your dog?

Holy Cow!!

Just won "Week's Funniest Scrapbook" over at Scrapbook Flair.  I cannot believe it!!  Here's the page, which was created for the challenge "Show Us A Free Kit."

The freebie kit I used was "Cute Cat" by Jaelop Designs (this was part of the Can We Keep Him Mommy? blog train).  I adore it!

Thanks to all who voted for my page...I'm truly thrilled and honored to have won this award!

Too many turkey days - must sleep now!

Shopping for gifts? Remember homeless animals

During this happy season of gift giving, please take a moment to give a gift to a hard working, tireless, and very worthy Animal Welfare or Animal Rescue organization in your neighborhood. appreciates and supports the hard work and valuable services performed by animal welfare agencies and rescue organizations, so we offer them FREE SHIPPING on their orders. If you are ordering for a welfare or rescue, please e-mail me for the coupon code and you will receive free shipping on any order delivered to a rescue, welfare, or humane society address.

If you're looking for the best value, to gift many rescued animals, consider USA Rawhide Seconds/Irregulars, 10 pounds of USA Rawhide (approx. 15 to 25 pieces) for $22.50, or Dog Toys, starting as low as $1.00 each. also has a great selection of Christmas Themed treats and chewies, some in bulk packs of 50 pieces - great gifts to keep homeless pets busy and happy at any time.

Animal Movies for the Holiday Season

By Suzanne Alicie

The holidays are a time when even the most diehard Scrooges are often overcome with a warm fuzzy feeling. There are classic holiday movies that have been favorites for generations, then there are newer holiday movies that are well on their way to joining the established ranks. But when it comes to animal lovers, there are some holiday movies featuring various fuzzy creatures that will always top the list. After all, there’s nothing that will warm your heart like a great family movie featuring your favorite animal. Keep in mind that this list is based upon my personal opinion and includes holiday animal movies that we love to watch at my house.

The #1 Holiday Movie with Animals

Okay, so maybe there aren’t real reindeer with shiny red noses, or even any real reindeer at all in this movie; but Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is a wonderful classic that will tug at your heartstrings as you gather to watch poor Rudolph save Christmas.

The #2 Holiday Movie with Animals

This is a new one we are looking forward to. The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation is a sequel to last year’s favorite, The Dog Who Saved Christmas. The new installment debuts on ABC on Sunday, November 28th and features Paris Hilton as the voice of Bella the French poodle, and Mario Lopez as Zeus. We enjoyed the first movie in this series tremendously and are excited to see how the new one stacks up. If you miss the TV showing, the DVD will be released on Amazon in early December.

The #3 Holiday Movie with Animals

Alvin and the Chipmunks may be about a lot of different things – singing chipmunks, the music biz, and a hapless human who hears talking animals – but it also has Christmas. With songs like The 12 Days of Christmas and Christmas Don’t Be Late, you and your kids can sing along as you enjoy the adventures of Alvin, Simon and Theodore.

The #4 Holiday Movie with Animals

101 Dalmatians has always been a favorite – who could resist that many adorable puppies? Apparently Cruella DeVille can. Whether you watch the Disney animated version or the newer version featuring real doggies and Glenn Close, you can be sure the family will enjoy the antics of the Dalmatians and their humans.

The # 5 Holiday Movie with Animals

This one is my personal favorite. A Dog Named Christmas tells the story of a child who convinces his parents to foster a dog over the Christmas holiday. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll find yourself hoping that Todd gets to keep Christmas, even though the agreement with his Dad is that the dog goes back to the shelter on the day after Christmas.

There are several movies I enjoy watching around the holidays featuring animals, that aren’t exactly considered holiday movies. When you watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (which does have a dog, and I suppose the Grinch is some sort of animal) and get in a Dr. Seuss mood you can always watch The Cat in the Hat. Home Alone is a holiday favorite for many, and I’m pretty sure there is a pet tarantula, a bird and possibly a dog in that movie as well.

Heck, it’s your holiday season, you can pick whatever movies make you feel warm and cozy inside. If you feel that the Garfield movies put you in a holiday mood, go for it. Add the fat orange cat and his pal Odie to your holiday must-view list. If you aren’t in a holiday mood, be sure to check out our great lists of movies for dog lovers and cat lovers.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

How to Teach Your Cat the High Five Trick

By Julia Williams

I’ve never been very successful at teaching my cats tricks. It’s not because training cats is impossible – I’ve seen plenty of performing cats in videos and at cat shows to know that felines definitely can learn tricks. My cat training failures stem mostly from a lack of patience and motivation. Since my cats run and hide from nearly everyone who comes to visit us, the payoff of teaching them tricks doesn’t seem worth the effort.

That is, until now. I’ve actually found a cat trick that is pretty easy to teach, most likely because it’s a fairly natural behavior. One of my cats, Rocky, is picking up the High Five trick quickly, and although we’re not at the “perform on command for your friends” stage, I’m betting it won’t be long. Of course, then I will have to find a way to keep Rocky from hiding under the bed when people come over.

If you want to teach your cat the High Five trick, keep reading for my step-by-step instructions. But before you actually start your cat training, make sure you have plenty of their favorite treats on hand. Cats are not usually motivated by praise, but most are quite motivated by food, especially if it’s something they love. So keep the cat treats handy, because you’re going to need them.

Step One: Take your cat and the treats into a quiet room where the two of you can practice without distractions.

Step Two: Have your cat sit in front of you on the floor or the bed.

Step Three: Hold one of the treats in your hand. Let your cat know you have the treat and allow them to sniff it.

Step Four: Slowly move your hand with the treat back and forth, above your cat’s head. If they get up on their hind legs or try to grab the treat with their paw, just move them back into a sitting position and try again.

Step Five: Hold your hand with the treat off to one side above your cat’s head to encourage them to touch your hand with just one paw. If your cat reaches for your hand and touches it with their paw, say “yes” and give them the treat. If they use their claws or mouth, pull your hand away and try again.

Step Six: Repeat step five several times. Next, make the same motion but without a treat in your hand. When you are able to get your cat to touch your hand, say “yes” and give them a treat you’ve stashed somewhere nearby.

Step Seven: Practice step six several times. Next, place your open palm in the same place above your cat’s head. Say “high five” if they touch your hand with their paw, and then reward them with a treat.

Step Eight: Repeat the entire sequence a few times each day until your cat learns the High Five trick. Just like people, every cat is an individual and they don’t all learn at the same rate. Some cats might pick it up with just a few training sessions, and others might take weeks. Be patient!

Tips for Teaching Your Cat the High Five Trick:

● Make sure your cat’s nails are kept trimmed for training.

● Keep the training sessions short and try to make them fun.

● If your cat becomes agitated during training, stop and try again later.

● Schedule the training sessions before mealtimes so your cat will be more motivated to get the treat.

If you decide to teach your cat the High Five trick, let me know how it works out! In the meantime, I’ll be working on Rocky to get him up to speed. Then I can work on teaching him to stay in the room when company comes over.

Photo by Michaela Kobyakov

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Happy Thanksgiving!

So much to be THANKFUL for . . .
. . . Loving family
. . . Great friends
. . . Delightful pets
. . . A beautiful world ...

Have an excellent Thanksgiving, everyone.


Pets Provide a Feeling of Thanksgiving Every Day

By Suzanne Alicie

One of my favorite traditions of Thanksgiving is the practice of choosing something each day from November 1 through the holiday to be thankful for. This allows me to devote a few minutes each day to be appreciative of all the blessings in my life. Pet owners often get this little nudge of feeling how blessed we are all throughout the year as we interact and enjoy the pets that are part of our families. When you look back at the year, you will find that many of your most precious memories include your pets.

While you may not think of your pets when you sit down at the holiday table with family and friends, there are definitely many reasons to be thankful for your pets. Now, I am a cat lover and can think of several wonderful ways that cats make life better each and every day of the year. But I am also a dog owner, so my list of reasons to be thankful relates more to our canine friends. There are also other types of pets that enrich our lives – and whether we enjoy watching the fish swim in and out of their little castle or giggle at the hamster spinning in his little wheel, all pets provide a pleasing presence to their owners’ lives.

This Thanksgiving, why not take a few moments to think about why you are thankful for your pet, not just on this day but all year round.

I am thankful for the comforting sight of my dog curled up in a big fluffy ball beside me while I work. I am thankful for cold noses and warm fur. I am thankful for unconditional love and warm brown eyes. I am thankful for the laughter and fun that our dog brings to our family. I am thankful for the protective and loving presence of my dog that lets me know every time someone walks down “her” street, no matter how annoying it is at 6 in the morning. I am thankful for the feeling that when the world has stomped me underfoot, there is one creature that is happy to see me no matter what. I am thankful for our dog that has helped me teach my children compassion and respect for animals.

While we only have one dog in our home now, I have to also be thankful for the years we had with our beautiful and wonderful Chaos who we lost to cancer this year. The personality and presence of our beloved dog sticks with our family and continues to affect us all even though she’s been gone for a few months. It warms my heart to know that my children remember her as fondly as we do, and that they miss her as well. The tears that spring to my eyes when I think of her will always remind me to cherish every moment with those I love because at any time I could lose them.

So when you are taking the time to list all the things you are thankful for this Thanksgiving season, be sure to include your pets. They make such a huge difference in the quality of your life and will be your faithful and loving companions as long as they are able.  If you feel like sharing why you are thankful for your pet, leave a comment below – we would love to know how your life is made better by having a pet.

From all of us at the CANIDAE RPO blog, we wish you and your pets a Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo: Bear and Bryan

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I like these Thanksgiving thankfulness training tips, from the Anti-Cruelty Society:
Don't forget to "thank" your pets when they are behaving. Too many times we notice our pets when they are misbehaving, but don't often encourage good behavior.

* If you see your dog chewing on his toy instead of the remote control, make an effort to scratch his chin and tell him how proud you are.

* Perhaps your cat eschews the sofa and has finally decided that the scratching post is suitable for stretching his claws? Let your cat know what a good decision he has made.

* Animals will more readily and more frequently repeat behavior that garners them praise and reward. Punishment serves to prevent behavior only when the owner is present -- and paying attention.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, from me and Kelly!
And Kelly, Thank You For Being Good!


Photograph by Michael McEvoy, DEEP Indonesia/Barcroft/Fame Pictures

A close-up of a blue-eyed moray eel in Indonesia captured an honorable mention in the "Indonesia Residents" category of the fourth annual Deep Indonesia International Underwater Photo Competition, whose winning photos were released to the press earlier this month.

Known to grow as long as about 5 feet (1.5 meters), moray species generally lack pectoral fins, unlike most other eel species.


Simple Dog-Inspired Crafts to Make

By Tamara L. Waters

Are you a dog lover, or know someone who is “doggone crazy” about their canine friend? Whether you are looking to decorate your own home with man's best friend or you want a cute gift for someone else, homemade dog crafts are a great way to show your personality and creativity. If you have kids in the house, they will enjoy making some doggy crafts just for fun. Check out a few of these dog-inspired crafts, and get busy!

Toilet Paper Tube Doggy

Recycle an empty toilet paper tube into a simple craft little ones can make. The website has great printable templates for toilet paper tube dogs. These are simple to make and always a hit with the kids.

Clothespin Dog

Use a tongue depressor craft stick and two spring-loaded clothespins to create your own little doggy. Clip the clothespins to the tongue depressor, one on each end to start. One clothespin should be more toward the middle instead of directly at the end of the tongue depressor. This end part of the tongue depressor will become the dog's head.  The clothespins will be your dog's legs and the tongue depressor will be the body.

Once you have assembled the body you can create the rest of the dog. It is really your own choice. You can paint the whole dog or just the head, tail and clothespin legs, then add felt to create a "fluffy" body. Cut a felt piece to wrap over the body and the tops of the clothespins and glue into place. Add any other decorative features (collar, etc.) and this little guy can sit on a desk or a dresser.

Juice Lid Doggy Magnet
This fun craft combines recycling (hang on to those metal juice lids!) and dogs for an easy craft. First, collect what you will need: a juice lid, wiggly eyes, pom poms, black or brown felt, craft glue, adhesive magnet, scissors, and creativity.

Start by cutting two ears from the felt. Make the ears however long or short you prefer.  I chose to make my doggy ears long and floppy. Next, glue the components of the face onto the lid. You will need two black or brown pom poms (about 3 mm), one red pom pom (about 1 mm) and one black, brown or pink pom pom for a nose (about 1 mm). Position the wiggly eyes (these can be any size) toward the top of the lid and glue into place. The black or brown 3 mm pom poms will become the dog's muzzle, the 1 mm red pom pom will be the dog's tongue (positioned under the muzzle) and the 1 mm pink, black or brown pom pom will go at the top of the muzzle.

After you glue the face, glue the ears into place and add a magnet to the back. There are some variations you can do with this doggy craft. Cut a circle from white felt to glue inside the lid, then glue the face on to create a more interesting look. You can also tie a piece of ribbon into a bow (add a small jingle bell to the ribbon) then glue into place underneath the dog's tongue. To create a girly dog, tie a small bow and glue into place over one ear. These are cute and easy for all ages to make.

Check Your Local Library or Bookstore

Make a stop by your local library or favorite bookstore for a book on dog-inspired crafts. I found this particular book on Amazon that would be worth a look, "The Dog Lover's Book of Crafts: 50 Home Decorations that Celebrate Man's Best Friend" by Jennifer Quasha. I also found "Dog Crafts (Kids Can Do It)" by Linda Hendry. Check them out for more great dog-inspired craft ideas.

Top Photo: Toilet Paper Tube Doggy,
Bottom Photo: Juice Lid Doggy, Tamara L. Waters

Read more articles by Tamara L. Waters

A Squirrel's Guide to Fashion

In the early 1940s, a woman in Washington, DC, adopted a squirrel after she found the critter orphaned in a tree. The squirrel, dubbed Tommy Tucker by the family -- of which he soon became a part -- accompanied the lady of the house on shopping trips, visits to the local children's hospital, and the like. She also, it turned out, enjoyed dressing him up in specially made outfits.


via The Pet Museum

A smile before your busy holiday.

Like everyone else, I'm busy getting ready to stuff the turkey and bake the holiday pies. So instead of the usual Wednesday pet roundup, I wanted to share this--one of the absolute most adorable videos ever. Since more than 4 million people have viewed this video, maybe you've seen it too. But I still love watching it, and hope you will too. It's a perfect way to add a smile to your day! So while you are cleaning the house and peeling potatoes, take a minute to relax and enjoy.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Soldiers and dogs deploy for Afghanistan

FT. LEONARD WOOD, MO -- Families and friends said their farewells to about a dozen military men, women, and dogs Monday.

Ft. Leonard Wood held a deployment ceremony for the Engineer Canine Company, 5th Engineer Battalion.

The group included 5 working dogs and their handlers, plus 4 veterinarian technicians.

The soldiers are headed to Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom.


Rachael Ray Donates $775,000 to Pets in Need

Wouldn't it be great if more wealthy celebrities would do this?
This holiday season, Ray is donating 100 percent of proceeds from her Nutrish and Just 6 pet food and treat lines to animal shelters nationwide, giving away a total of $775,000 before Dec. 31.

Currently on the road to promote her newest cookbook, Look + Cook, Ray is also sponsoring pop-up adoption events for the shelters she's supporting in the hopes of raising awareness for her cause. "We only give to no-kill shelters," she says. "But we give to small and large; no one's excluded. We want to keep as many animals alive as possible."


Eight Things Every Pet Owner Needs to Know

By Julia Williams

First of all, let me just say that what follows is not an “official” list of things pet owners need to know. I’m not a veterinarian or animal behaviorist, but I am an animal lover and lifelong pet owner, and these are my personal suggestions. Knowledge is power, and so is awareness. Both can help us take better care of our beloved pets.

Exercise is vital to a pet’s wellbeing. A body needs to move in order to stay physically fit and mentally healthy. Regular exercise burns calories, stimulates a pet’s immune system, and increases muscle mass and cardiovascular strength. Many aggression and behavioral problems in dogs can be attributed to lack of exercise. Dogs need to run and play, which helps to burn off excess energy and keep boredom at bay. Even cats are more prone to mischief if no one takes the time to play with them. Sure, some cats can be pretty lazy and may need encouragement to chase that feather toy or mouse – but they’ll live longer and happier lives, so it’s worth the effort to engage them in play.

Know what to do in case of an emergency. We should know what to do if our pet gets hit by a car, sprains or breaks their leg, cuts themselves, has a seizure, is choking, stops breathing, gets heat stroke or hypothermia, or ingests something poisonous, to name just a few. Basic pet first-aid courses are offered in just about every major city, and can literally save your pet’s life.

Training is not optional. Aggressive or unruly dogs that don’t listen to you or follow your basic commands are no fun to be around. No, they don’t need to go to obedience school for years or master every trick known to man, but a well trained dog makes life easier, and ensures that they won’t be a nuisance to your neighbors or at the dog park. Cats need training too – believe it or not, even people who adore felines don’t want to eat at a table that your cat has just been lounging on. Cats don’t belong on kitchen counters either! If you need some help training them so stay off of these “no-kitty” zones, check out this article.

Many common plants are toxic to pets. We may love the way a particular plant beautifies our home or garden, but if it’s toxic to our pets, it doesn’t belong anywhere they have access to. It might surprise you that the list of plants which are potentially toxic to pets is quite long – more than 700 plants have been identified as producing toxins that could cause harmful effects in animals, ranging from mild nausea to death. The “most poisonous” list includes lilies, azalea, cyclamen, oleander, tulips, castor bean and sago palm. Read Plants Pets Should Not Eat for more information.

Our attitudes and emotions affect our pets. Animals are adept at picking up on their owner’s mood, be it happy, sad, worried or relaxed. They know when we hurt, and they try to make it better. When we’re in good spirits, our pets are too. Because how we feel can greatly impact our pets both positively and negatively, it behooves us to choose calmness over chaos when they are around us. It may not always be easy, but we owe it to these sentient beings to try. Click here for a related article on pets and emotions.

Lock up medicines, household cleaners and automotive fluids. Responsible parents go to great lengths to keep these items safely out of reach of their children. Responsible pet owners need to do the same for their four-legged “babies.” Ingesting pain relievers, drugs, vitamins and chemical-based cleaners can lead to rapid onset of illness and even death. Be sure to keep these numbers handy in case of accidental ingestion: ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, (888) 426-4435; Animal Poison Hotline, (888) 232-8870.

Yearly wellness exams are essential. After you, your vet is the most important person in your pet’s life. Your cat or dog might appear to be perfectly healthy, but the only way to know for sure is to have them checked by a vet. Untreated dental disease can do more than give your pet bad breath; it can damage their kidneys, heart and liver. Some early signs of illness are very subtle, and many pets (especially cats) are masters at hiding illness. There is simply no substitute for a vet’s trained hands and eyes. Catching problems early will not only save you money but may also save your pet’s life.

Love works miracles. Love has the power to heal physical and emotional wounds like nothing else. The love you give to your pets is always returned, magnified to the nth degree. Dr. Karen Halligan, in her book What Every Pet Owner Should Know, writes “Loving a dog or cat is truly one of life’s most rewarding experiences. Animals can melt our hearts.” It’s true. An animal’s unconditional love can soften even the most hardened human heart.

Anatole France, novelist, satirist, playwright and poet, said it best: “Until one has loved an animal, part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

Read more articles by Julia Williams

New large pink moth discovered in Arizona

The mountains of southeastern Arizona have been a favorite collecting site for lepidopterists for generations. Yet new species continue to be described at the rate of about three per year.

One of the latest discoveries is the largest member of the genus Lithophane, a group of particularly large and beautifully coloured moths. Lithophane leeae has a forewing length 25% larger than the previous record, measuring 25mm, and more extensive and brighter pink coloration. So far known from a single female collected at 7,700ft elevation in mid-June in the Chiricahua Mountains, this species is predicted to feed on pine, like related species.


Penguin Gets Prosthetic Beak

Five month-old Tungo was found on a beach in Rio de Janeiro with a shattered bill that had been damaged by a boat propeller.

Discovering that he was unable to eat, vets at Rio de Janeiro zoo built him a brand-new acrylic beak, shaped from a broken piece of the original.

This is the first operation of its type on a penguin in Latin America.


via Neatorama

Huge Boa Constrictor Found In Car Engine

A California couple returning from a trip to the grocery store Thursday found a 9-foot boa constrictor under the hood of their car.

Animal control workers used a little cooking oil to loosen the red tail boa's grip on the car engine.

It's not clear where the snake came from. But animal control workers said they suspect it broke free from its owner's care.


Dog Behavior: Understanding Dog Fights

By Linda Cole

Breaking up a dog fight can be difficult and potentially dangerous. If your canine family includes two or more dogs, they may all get into a fight at one time or another. It's a scary situation, especially if you're alone and there's no time to think about what to do in the heat of the battle. Even a dog who is quiet and docile can turn into a raging bull when pushed too far. Breaking up a dog fight is one of the hardest things you may have to do. It’s a good idea to have a plan in place; even better, learn about the body language of dogs to prevent fights before they begin. Dog behavior that might lead to a fight is clear and easy to see, if you know what to look for.

I share my home with multiple dogs of different breeds, personalities and sizes, and I have had to break up dog fights. Smaller dogs are easier to deal with, but it doesn't matter if the dogs are small or large; any dog fight is dangerous because one or both of the dogs could turn on the person trying to break them up. However, there are warning signs before a fight begins.

Most dog fights can be stopped before it erupts into a full blown battle if you understand what the dog's body language and warning growls are saying. Read this article for more information on a dog's body language. Dogs give warning signals that tell you what their state of mind is. You may think a dog just attacked another dog out of the blue, but if you were paying attention to the dog's behavior, there were signs. Dogs don't hide their feelings, and knowing your dog's personality and breed characteristics can help you understand the signals your dog sends to you and other dogs.

When trying to stop a dog fight, you have to be prepared to do whatever it takes, and do it as safely as you can for yourself and the dogs. Grabbing their back legs and turning the dogs until they let go of each other may work for smaller breeds, but it won't work for all dogs. Turning a garden hose on fighting dogs or spraying a solution of water and vinegar in the face might work; however, no one solution will work for all dogs and you may find that none of the expert advice works for your dogs.

You need to think about how you would break up a dog fight before it happens and how you would control the dogs’ behavior after breaking them up. I’ve written an article with tips on how to break up a dog fight, which you can read here. It's like knowing what to do in a tornado, fire or other emergency in the home. Preparation may not stop a fight, but it will help you stay calmer and be less likely to panic.

Fighting dogs will not listen to you. They only have one thing on their mind and that's fighting. Yelling does no good, and kicking or hitting them will not stop a fight. By interacting with them in an aggressive matter, you risk having one or more of the dogs turn on you. You can use a piece of plywood, a garbage can or a lawn chair to put between the fighting dogs. For some dogs, throwing a heavy blanket or rug over them can stop the fight, but not always. It depends on the size of dog and the intensity of the fight. Keep in mind, when dogs are fighting, they are in a fight to the death, as far as they are concerned. Consider the number of dogs you have, their size and breed and how capable you are in breaking up a dog fight, especially if you're alone.

There are no simple solutions for breaking up dog fights that will work for all dogs, all of the time. Your best defense is to have a good understanding of a dog's body language and pay attention to warning growls. When you know your dogs well, you can look at them and see warning signs. You can see it in their body movements, their eyes, the hair standing up on their back and neck. They will give you plenty of signals that indicate a dog fight is about to happen. By assuming the leadership role with your dogs, you have the ability to stop the fight before it gets out of hand. Taking the time to learn what your dogs are saying with their body language is safer for them and for you.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

We won a prize!

When we checked in for our daily dose of Houndgirl a few weeks ago, Kelly perked up and took notice. There was a contest. She pawed at my arm, urging me to press those keys and enter.

The blog told about some biscuits that Haley and Fred especially loved, and then offered a free box, selected randomly from the commenters. Kelly was so excited when we got the news that our comment was chosen.

Emily, at Boomer's Biscuits, gave us a choice of
Gingerbread Dog Houses
Carob Chip
Apple Pie Bites
Minty Breath Bites

Kelly helped me choose the Carob Chip cookies.
Isn't it funny how dogs always know when something for them is in that cardboard box? Kelly immediately knew that these treats were something yummy.

They even included some adorable Gingerbread Dog Houses!

Kelly loved these treats, and I bet your dog will too. Boomer's Biscuits are wheat, corn and soy free, made with natural ingredients, and boxed in eco-friendly packaging.

Thank you Boomers Biscuits! And Thank you Houndgirl!

Breed Profile: Shiba Inu, the Brushwood Dog

By Ruthie Bently

The Shiba Inu is an ancient breed that originated on the island of Japan and is a descendant of the primitive dogs of the ancient Japanese people. The breed can trace its roots back to the third century B.C, although it was not officially named until the 1920s. They are Japan’s number one companion dog.

The Shiba Inu is a member of the AKC’s Non-Sporting group, which is interesting when you consider they were originally used for hunting, primarily to flush birds and small game. They were also used for hunting bear and boar, due to their superior senses and ability to traverse steep hills and mountainous regions that were inaccessible to people. According to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary, Shiba means brushwood and Inu means dog. Some Shiba Inus’ coat color is the same reddish color of these trees, hence the nickname brushwood dog.

The Shiba Inu is the smallest of the Japanese dog breeds, and through the Japanese Cultural Properties Act, they were declared a natural product of Japan in 1936. World War II and outbreaks of rabies and distemper brought the breed to the brink of extinction. Dogs from the three remaining types of Shibas were interbred to repopulate the breed. 

The Shiba Inu was first brought to the United States in 1954 by a military family. The first litter born in the United States was from a breeding by a pair owned by Julia Cadwell. The Shiba Inu was recognized by the AKC in 1993, and is the AKC’s 136th breed. 

Shibas are fastidious dogs, and many tend to avoid puddles. They are a confident breed and are fearless, courageous, brave and alert. They are fairly easy to housebreak and should be well socialized as puppies because they can be reserved with strangers. They need a firm hand and need to know their owner is the alpha of the pack, or they can become stubborn and will try to rule the roost.

They bond well with their family members and can be great with children, cats and other dogs. However, they should not be left alone with smaller pets due to their natural hunting instinct. Since their instinct to chase is strong, caution should be taken when walking them off leash. They don’t bark much, and are good travelers. They need daily exercise to keep them from misbehaving or acting out. A Shiba Inu can live in an apartment, but needs sufficient exercise. They do best in a moderately sized yard. As they regard themselves as a member of the family, they are not happy if left outside alone.

An adult male Shiba Inu ranges in size from fourteen to sixteen inches tall and weighs between eighteen and twenty-five pounds. Females range from thirteen to fifteen inches tall and weigh between fifteen and twenty pounds. The breed can be prone to patellar luxation (slipped kneecap), PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) and hip dysplasia. The life expectancy of a Shiba Inu is between twelve and fifteen years of age.

The Shiba has a short haired coat which is easy to groom. They do well with several brushings a week and do blow coat during shedding season. Their coat has a natural waterproofing and they should only be bathed when necessary so it is not removed. If you are looking for a happy, friendly dog for your family or just a walking companion with great endurance, the Shiba Inu may be right up your alley.

Top photo: "Sumo," 8-week old Shiba Inu puppy, by Mrs. L. Selle
Bottom photo: by Roberto Vasarri

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

Humor: Eight Reasons Your Dog Adores You

By Tamara L. Waters

Your dog loves you. Better yet, he absolutely adores you. There are many reasons why he thinks you are the best, but here are eight to start with.

Your Affection

Your dog loves affection from you. Whether it's a quick scratch between the ears or a leg-thumping back or belly scratch, your dog loves you for the physical affection you give him. Keep your dog happy by bestowing plenty of affection and attention on him, and he will reward you with his adorable antics and a slimy tongue in your ear.

Those Delicious Trash Cans

You dog adores you because of the wonderfully aromatic and delicious things you keep stashed in the garbage can or trash bag, just for him! He loves that you save wonderful “treats” and make him work for them, because as we all know, the anticipation and effort to get to those trash-can treats make them even tastier.

Your Bed

Sure, you might think your dog doesn't jump up on your bed, but the truth is, when you're not looking he's making himself at home. He loves you because you tolerate his bed hopping and when he sleeps with you at night, he loves that you don't mind sleeping on a tiny sliver of the bed while he sprawls out and gets comfortable.

You Clean Up After Him

What a great thing it is to have someone who will clean up every mess you make! Most dogs are lousy housekeepers and don't do well with cleaning up after themselves. They leave their business in a pile in the yard, then simply walk away from it. What do you do? You clean it up. What's not to love?

Your Kitchen Floor

The kitchen floor is a source of great treasure and your dog loves it. Not only does he love your kitchen floor but he loves you for not cleaning it immediately. Your dog will sniff around and find all the tidbits you drop and consider them a wonderful treat. This is a give-and-take part of your relationship. You can rest assured your dog will help you clean your kitchen floor (despite the fact that he is a terrible housekeeper) as long as you continue to drop bits of food now and then. It's a win-win situation.

You Don't Mind His Snoring

Sure, you probably complain about the log sawing your spouse does, but how about your dog? Dog snoring is much more endearing than human snoring. In truth, your dog doesn't care about his own snoring, or your snoring either for that matter. He loves you for tolerating his little habits.

You Put Up with His Gas

It might be a small thing, but your dog adores you for putting up with his smelly farts. Not only do you put up with the noxious odors that come from your pooch, you actually laugh about it. “Oh man! Bowser, now why did you do that? Hahaha – oh that's awful!” If your child or spouse passed gas that peeled the skin off of your face, you wouldn't be laughing. When your dog does it, you smile, pat his head and hold your breath while telling him how special he is. He really does love you for it.

You Take Care of Him

It's a dog's life… and it's really great. Your dog doesn't have to do anything, except eat, sleep, poop, play and hang out. You even give him CANIDAE Snap Biscuit® dog treats and affection. He doesn't have to clean his room, clean up after himself, take out the trash, get a job, do homework, do laundry or anything else except just be a dog. Yep, he loves you for it!

Read more articles by Tamara L. Waters

Doubts rise on bedbug sniffing dogs

Earlier in the year, I had posted about bedbug sniffing dogs.
According to a recent New York Times Article some doubts are being raised.

As the number of reported infestations rises and the demand for the dogs soars, complaints from people who say dogs have falsely alerted to bedbugs are also climbing. And within the bedbug industry, where some dog trainers and sellers are on back-order until next spring despite the dogs’ $11,000 price tag, there are fears that a rise in so-called false positives by dogs will harm their credibility and business.

This has led to many paying money for bedbug remediation where no signs of bedbugs ever existed prior as apartment complexes are having these dogs check every room.

Think Pink All Year Long with a Pink Ribbon Puppies Calendar

By Suzanne Alicie

We are thrilled to share with you a wonderful and inspiring project that has been put together by a long-time member of the CANIDAE breeder program. While the Pink Ribbon Puppies website may appear to be just an adorable site with puppies on it, there is a serious and touching story behind it.

The Pink Ribbon Puppies 2011 calendar is a fundraising project for breast cancer research. It features a litter of nine beautiful lab puppies born this past September. When the co-owner of the dam of this litter was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was decided that as much as she was looking forward to the puppies and wanted to be involved, she needed to focus on her healing process and leave the whelping up to the other co-owner. So while she underwent radiation therapy for five days of each week for six weeks, her friend and “co-mommy” began her days with puppy breath as she helped get the puppies off to a great start in life.

As a tribute to their “other mother” and her battle with this frightening and often deadly disease, each puppy was adorned with a pink colored ribbon. These little furry bundles of joy were also surrounded by pink toys and pink pillows as a show of support. This litter was quickly dubbed the “Pink Ribbon Litter” by the owner and friends. 

The Pink Ribbon Puppies calendars have been made possible by the dedication of this breeder to her friend, to her puppies and to the future of the fight against breast cancer. Elizabeth Arellano donated her photography skills to create the pink puppy images featured in the calendar, and CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods donated towards the cost of printing the calendars. All proceeds – yes, you read that right – 100% of the proceeds from the sale of these calendars will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®.

If you would like one of these Pink Ribbon Puppies calendars, simply visit their website and order as many as you’d like. In addition to the 12 x 9 wall calendar, they offer mini calendars, bookmarks and notecards. This is a worthy cause that has likely touched all of us at some time in our lives. October may have been breast cancer prevention month, but together we can help make sure that people “THINK PINK All Year Long.” This slogan is on each page of the Pink Ribbon Puppies calendar to remind us that every day of every year, our friends, mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers and all women are fighting against breast cancer.

The calendars feature the touching story of this litter of puppies and also this loving statement by the creator of the project:

“This project is in honor of my friend, all the women who have fought before her, and for those who will take the same path in years to come.”

Show your support by ordering a Pink Ribbon Puppies 2011 calendar for yourself and for those you love. If you would like to help spread the word about this wonderful project, be sure to visit and “like” the Pink Ribbon Puppies Facebook page.

Photos by Elizabeth Arellano 

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

Photography by Tim Flach

Photo credit: Tim Flach . . . the best dog photos I've seen in a long time.

Puppy Up

Recently Kelly and I participated in the 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up virtual dog walk. We were able to raise a bit of funds to help support cancer research.

In appreciation, 2 Million Dogs sent us these cool presents! Kelly got a Puppy Up bandana and some yummy cookies. I got a light blue bracelet that reads "cancer touches everyone."

This is a great cause to support, as scientists look for new treatment options and hopefully someday a cure. A card enclosed with the package listed the early warning signs of canine cancer:
Labored breathing
Loss of Appetite
Weight Loss
Foul Odor
Loss of Bodily Functions
Bloody Discharge
For more information, you can contact

Mom to the rescue

This incredible scene was captured minutes after a herd of buffalo tried to drive a lioness and her babies from their den.

The watchful lioness carefully nestled each one-day-old cub between her jaws and padded to a nearby bush for safety in Okavago, Botswana.


Hero dog from Afghanistan mistakenly killed

What a terrible story -

FLORENCE, Arizona — A dog named Target that lived through explosions in war-torn Afghanistan couldn't survive a brief stay at an Arizona animal shelter.

The shepherd mix was featured on "The "Oprah Winfrey Show" and local media for her heroics in Afghanistan, got loose from her owners on Friday and was put down on Monday after spending the weekend in a county shelter.

An unidentified employee at the Pinal County facility was placed on administrative leave after euthanizing the female shepherd mix by mistake, county Animal Care and Control officials said

I'm heartsick over this," Ruth Stalter, the county animal control director, said in a written statement. "I had to personally deliver the news to the dog's owner and he and his family are understandably distraught."

Stalter said that the shelter works hard to reunite lost pets with their owners and that an investigation had been launched to determine how the mistake was made.

"When it comes to euthanizing an animal, there are some clear-cut procedures to follow," Stalter said. "Based on my preliminary investigation, our employee did not follow those procedures."

Adopted by U.S. troops
Sgt. Terry Young, the owner of the dog, told The Arizona Republic, "I just can't believe that something like this would happen to such a good dog."

Target frightened a suicide bomber inside a military base and potentially saved dozens of soldiers' lives, Young said.

According to "The Oprah Winfrey Show" website, Target and two other stray dogs, Sasha and Rufus, were adopted by U.S. troops in Afghanistan after wandering into a military compound there.

The three dogs were hailed as heroes after attacking a suicide bomber who entered the compound, apparently headed toward barracks with some 50 soldiers inside.

Story: Dog that 'came back to life' gets new home
Story: Botched euthanasia leaves dog owner in quandary

Sasha was badly injured when the bomber detonated an explosive device and had to be euthanized, but Target and Rufus survived and were brought home with soldiers returning from their tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Young said the dog was treated like royalty at the base at Dand Patan, near the Pakistan border. Target was brought to the San Tan Valley area southeast of Phoenix in August, when Young returned home.

"He had personally been profoundly affected by this dog's heroism and had worked very hard to bring the dog back over here," Pinal County spokeswoman Heather Murphy said.

After the dog escaped from the family's back yard Friday, Young put out online notices and contacted TV stations that did reports on the missing hero dog.

A neighbor found Target wandering later Friday, put her in his back yard and called the pound. The dog did not have a microchip or tag.

On Friday night, Young found Target's picture on a website used by Pinal County's dog catchers to help owners track lost pets. Young figured the shelter was closed for the night and weekend.

He showed up at the shelter in Casa Grande to claim his dog on Monday, only to find out she was dead.

County officials say the employee mistakenly took the dog out of its pen Monday morning and euthanized it.

The Republic said Young and his family will get Target's cremated remains.

Lessons I’ve learned from My Cats

By Julia Williams

Pets are wonderful companions, but they can be great teachers, too. If you share your home with a pet, you’re probably being taught important life lessons by them every day. Usually, we’re so busy “being human” that we don’t stop to ponder life from our pet’s perspective. We don’t think about the things we could learn from our pets, but I think we should, because animals are wise beings with many messages to impart. Here are just some of the many lessons I’ve learned from living with cats:

1. Take pleasure in the simple things. Cats don’t need fancy toys or lavish homes to be content. Give them a paper bag and a cardboard box, and all is well. We humans don’t really need the latest, greatest gizmo to be happy either, but very often we’re so caught up in the pursuit of “things” that we don’t take time to experience life’s simple pleasures.

2. Don’t hold a grudge. Forgiveness is a hard thing for humans to achieve. Most of us know that being angry and resentful harms our bodies and our spirits, yet we struggle to forgive. I marvel at my cat’s ability to forgive so quickly. Moments after being harshly scolded for spilling my coffee, Rocky comes back for a pet as though nothing happened. If every human could forgive this quickly – just imagine what the world would be like. 

3. It’s okay to enjoy your food. My cats treat every meal as though it’s the most incredible food they’ve ever eaten. They don’t care that they get the same flavor of FELIDAE cat food every day – they devour it, and lick the bowl clean. Watching my cats eat has made me realize that food is meant to be savored.

4. Live for today. Cats don’t dwell on what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow – they live in the NOW. My cats have taught me to be more present in each moment, because this is where life happens, not last week or next month.

5. Trust your gut. Humans often try to rationalize a feeling or second-guess their instincts. Cats don’t wonder if that shadowy figure following them down a dark street is a danger to them– their instinct tells them to flee, and they survive because they do it. My cats have taught me to listen to my instinct, because it is always right.

6. If you want something, ask for it. Cats are definitely not shy about making noise to get what they want – they know that a tasty treat, petting or whatever else they desire is more likely to happen if they ask. My cats have taught me that people are not mind readers, and making a request is a better way to let them know I want something.

7. Patience and persistence pays off. When I lived in the country on many acres, I would often observe my cats sitting by a gopher hole for hours. This never ended well for the gopher. My cats have taught me that I need to keep forging ahead with a goal, even when it seems to be taking an inordinately long time to get to the finish line. 

8. Teach others how to treat you. If a cat doesn’t like something you’re doing to them, they make their objection known loud and clear. Humans sometimes keep quiet when they’re being mistreated, for many different reasons. My cats have taught me that it’s okay to speak out, and to never apologize for demanding to be treated with dignity and respect.

9. Pounce on every opportunity. I have a remote-controlled mouse toy that my cats love to play with. When it skitters across the floor in front of them, they don’t sit there pondering if they ought to give chase. My cats have taught me that if I see something I want, I need to leap into action immediately, because if I don’t it could get away.

10. Treasure every sunbeam, because you never know when a cloud might roll in.

11. You’re never too old to play. Even senior cats love to play – they might not do it with the gusto of a kitten, but they have fun nonetheless. My cats have made me appreciate the value of playtime, and I won’t stop having fun until I’m six feet under.

Read more articles by Julia Williams


via L.A. Unleashed

Why a Quality Pet Food Matters

By Linda Cole

The good people at CANIDAE produce premium quality pet food that helps keep our dogs, cats and horses healthy. They've gone through extensive research to offer pet owners reliable, natural and nutritious food choices. But this article isn't about a company who provides pets with the best diet possible; this is about why we, as responsible pet owners, need to be aware of why our pets need the best food possible. It’s also about something many pet owners may not realize – which is, that buying a premium quality food like CANIDAE can actually be more cost effective than grocery store brands.

On the CANIDAE website you can find a Cost to Feed Calculator which figures the daily cost of feeding CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods based on your dog’s weight. Just answer a few questions about which formula and size bag you buy (or would like to try), your dog’s weight and the amount your independent pet store charges for it. Then click the “calculate” button to see how affordable premium dog food really is! For a dog weighing between 51 to 75 lbs, you can pay an average of only $0.52 to $0.78 per day.

Any pet food will fill up a dog or cat, but most of the non-premium pet foods contain fillers with little nutritional value. It takes more pet food to satisfy their hunger, which makes that inexpensive brand not as affordable as you might think. “Premium” dog food, on the other hand, means a higher standard in both nutrition and quality. Each serving contains high quality ingredients that are more nutritionally available than in a typical grocery store pet food, making premium pet food the better buy in the long run. With more nutrients in every bite, your dog does not need to eat as much premium food as they would a brand that contains fillers.

A premium quality pet food like CANIDAE helps dogs and cats maintain a healthy immune system. A poor diet affects a pet inside and outside. Some skin conditions and medical problems can be dealt with by feeding your pet a premium food. Stinky ears and ear infections, itchy skin or feet, a thin coat that has an odor and feels greasy or flaky, bad breath and tarter build up, runny eyes, gas, diarrhea or constipation and lack of energy can all be signs of an unhealthy diet.

Some pets can develop health issues when not fed a premium diet. A premium quality pet food like CANIDAE gives dogs and cats all the essential vitamins and nutrients they need to maintain their energy level, a healthy coat and skin, bright eyes, strong bones, and overall good health because the food they eat is working for them and not against them. Because a premium quality food provides a pet with what they need, the dog or cat eats less, it's easier for them to digest and they have fewer bowel movements. On average, a healthy dog or cat should have one or two bowel movements a day.

It's up to pet owners to decide which brand of food to feed their pet. With all the choices available in different price ranges, a pet's good health can sometimes be lost in deciding which brand to choose. Sometimes, a pet owner makes a decision based on price. They may not realize that a premium quality food is affordable, because when you compare the amount of lower quality food it takes to satisfy the pet, the cost can be about the same. I know my pets' good health is related to the food I feed them. I also know that certain medical conditions which can make a pet's life miserable can be eliminated with a healthy diet. It makes more sense to me to feed them a premium pet food that provides them with a better quality of life and saves me money with fewer trips to the vet.

It really is true – when it comes to pet food, we get what we pay for. If you're a runner who competes in marathons, you wouldn't eat junk food and expect it give you the nutrients and stamina you need to compete. The food we feed our pets does matter, and it does make a difference to their overall good health.

Lexiann Grant wrote a related article for this blog, titled “Is Premium Dog Food Worth the Cost?” In it, she shares her experience about learning the difference between a quality dog food and cheaper brands.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Chubby Cheeks

50 Pictures of Chipmunks Stuffing Food Into Their Mouths

via The J-Walk Blog

Wednesday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup! Here's Kelly enjoying the fall leaves.

* USA Today Paw Print Post tells us of Bandit, a 15 pound terrier hero dog, who awakened the household by barking and jumping on the sleeping residents, to warn of dangerous smoke filling the kitchen (due to a neglected pot on the stove). Fortunately everyone--including Bandit--escaped safely.

* This is so funny, from The Oatmeal! How to Pet a Kitty. This cartoon includes whimsical instructions, and warnings, including: "An exposed belly is an invitation for a tummy rub. ...(it) can also mean that the kitty wants to ensnare you into a whiskered bear trap, composed of claws, teeth and agony.

* Why, according to, was one MIT professor so taken with the way cats lap up water without getting their faces wet? Because these findings might help in developing soft robots that manipulate liquids.

* From SF Gate: a study by found the best city to hire a pet sitter is Milwaukee, WI. This was calculated by number of pet sitters available, and average rate charged. Did your city make the top 10 list?

* Gotta love this picture (from the Huffington Post.) Dana Jennings, author of What a Difference a Dog Makes; Big Lessons on Life, Love and Healing from a Small Pooch, reflects on the four dogs who changed his life. Harry and Moxie, here, are definitely my favorites!

Look out, Rudolph!

UK supermarket Lidl is under fire for stocking reindeer meat and is accused of destroying the magic of Christmas.

Story includes a recipe for reindeer stew if you're interested.


Operation Blankets of Love

By Julia Williams

I first heard about the wonderful non-profit charity called Operation Blankets of Love (OBOL) while watching an episode of Pit Boss on Animal Planet. I’ve since learned a little more about them and wanted to share with you what they do. Why? Because Operation Blankets of Love is a lifesaver (literally) for shelter animals in need, and they have inspired me to help too.

Imagine being a shelter dog and having to lie on the hard, cold cement floors, or a shelter cat stuck in a steel cage with nothing soft to lie upon. It’s an uncomfortable existence to say the least, and one no creature should ever have to endure. Yet many of our nation’s homeless animals do have to endure it, because shelters go through thousands of blankets and towels every month, and rely on donations to replenish their supply.

This is where Operation Blankets of Love comes in – since their inception in January of 2008, they have collected and distributed more than 200,000 blankets, comforters, towels and other soft bedding to Southern California homeless pets in shelters, rescue groups, sanctuaries, and foster groups. OBOL is a great help to cash-strapped shelters to be sure, but let me tell you how they save lives too.

While it’s obvious that lying on a blanket instead of a cold cement floor would be much warmer and cozier for the animal, it actually goes a lot deeper. Studies have shown that when shelter animals are given blankets and comforters, their behavior changes dramatically. Instead of cowering in a corner or lying there depressed and dejected, they perk up, wag their tails and engage with potential adopters.

Having soft bedding makes the shelter dogs and cats more relaxed and they feel happier, safer and more secure. This is critical, because being calm and comfortable in a more home-like setting increases an animal’s chances of being adopted! The blankets also provide immense relief to older, arthritic animals who might otherwise have to lie on a cold floor. Puppies and kittens have soft bedding to snuggle into, and the soft blankets soothe sick or injured animals, which helps them recover faster.

Now that you can see how a simple blanket can make such a big difference to a homeless pet, don’t you want to be a lifesaver too? I know I sure do. Operation Blankets of Love helps the homeless pets in California, but you can do something similar where you live. It can be as simple as donating bedding items to your local shelter, or you can take it a step further and host a “blanket drive” at work, school, social club, the pet store or your child’s next birthday party. You can be the inspiration other animal lovers need to step forward, and together you can make shelter animals more comfortable and help to save their lives too!

More about Operation Blankets of Love

OBOL works with more than 512 rescue groups and 30 City and County animal shelters in California. OBOL conducts pet education programs for grades K—12, youth and civic groups. They also coordinate unique pet adoption events to help shelter animals find their forever homes as well as provide a venue for collecting blankets and other comfort items. As an Emergency Response team, OBOL partners with the Red Cross and other organizations to help animals displaced by natural disasters. OBOL exists in part because “every day is a disaster for a homeless pet.”

I’m so glad to know that organizations such as Operation Blankets of Love exist, and plan to join them in helping to save lives by making shelter dogs and cats more comfortable.

Photo: Tess, by Susan Kers

Read more articles by Julia Williams

New Freebie!

Created for Digital Scrapbook Artist2, this *.pack file contains a full alphabet (including numbers and punctuation) in a very pretty gold glitter script.  Very fancy, and perfect for your holiday scrapping!

Once downloaded (it will download as a *.pack file), just copy it into wherever you store your DSA2 digikits and it should show up automatically next time you run DSA2!

Have fun and I hope you enjoy it!