5 ways to keep your dog happy this Fourth of July

While humans are celebrating Independence Day with picnics and fireworks, many of our dogs are freaking out over the crowds and loud noises, sending many dogs under the bed - or over the fence and down the road, until they're lost. Or worse.With the Fourth of July just around the corner, here are a few tips to help keep your dog safe and stress-free.1) Don't feed Rover picnic food. While he might really enjoy a burger or a hot dog (or other things he can steal from your plate), changes … [Read more...]

To kill or not to kill spiders

Out in the yard this morning, I was watering plants and feeding the birds when I noticed a nest of spider eggs in my blackberry patch.My first thought was to get the diatomaceous earth so I could get rid of the nest. It's right by where I walk, right where the dogs cut through the bushes to come into the house. The likelihood was very high that someone, probably Bailey or Bandit, would brush up against the nest and dozens of spiders would get a free ride into the house on dog … [Read more...]

Taking my chicken to the vet, and other dizzying thoughts

The receptionist gave me the total for the office visit: $66.47. More than I'd expected but I was glad for the diagnosis of vestibular disturbance. For a while, it looked like death was imminent, so I was grateful that this was something we could treat with medication and rest.Did I mention that I'm talking about my chicken?I went out to the chicken run yesterday morning and noticed that one of my Polish hens, Lucy, was acting weirdly, bending her head down between her legs, and shaking … [Read more...]

Groundhogs, coffin parts, and other cemetery surprises

I was out recently with my Border collie Bandit when he came upon a groundhog hole. That's not unusual; the cemetery where I often walk is a certified habitat with the National Wildlife Federation, and is crawling with squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, deer, birds, and foxes. It's not the first time I've had a close encounter with critters while meandering among the dead.What was unusual this time? Around the entrance to the hole were items the groundhog had hauled to the surface while … [Read more...]

My dog eats a live bird (musings on animals doing what animals do)

My dog Bailey was just outside, just hanging out in the grass, enjoying the evening air. She'd been outside maybe ten minutes when I went out to bring her in and saw that she had something pinned to the ground...it was a bird. I called to her, she moved towards me, and the bird jumped away. Bailey went after the bird, pinned it, and let it go. It hopped, she pinned it again. When it flew up about a foot, Bailey leaped up and caught it midair.And the race was on. I told her to drop the bird, … [Read more...]

Cruelly abused German Shepherd gets second chance

One of the down sides of covering animal issues is the tidal wave of stories about abused and tortured animals that cross your desk daily. It can really take a toll on your spirit, and for that reason I have to confess that when I see pictures of horribly tortured animals in my newsfeed I often have to quickly scroll past. Not because I don't care, but because the images keep me up at night. It's overwhelming for me to feel so helpless, and I imagine for readers as well.So when I saw this … [Read more...]

Renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin dead at 48

 The dog community is mourning the loss this week of renowned veterinarian and animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin, who died Monday at her home in Davis, CA. Her death has been ruled a suicide.Dr. Yin was a veterinarian as well as a prolific author, lecturer and consultant who was a pioneer in the field of positive reinforcement methods of training. In addition to workshops and lectures, Dr. Yin as the author of  Perfect Puppy in 7 Days, How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves, and Low S … [Read more...]

Susie the pit bull mix named “American Hero Dog” of 2014

A pit bull mix named Susie from High Point, North Carolina, has been named this year's "American Hero Dog" at the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.Susie was only a puppy when her owner beat her savagely and set her on fire, leaving her for dead in a local park in Greensboro, North Carolina. She was rescued by a local animal shelter and nursed back to health, and then adopted by a woman named Donna Lawrence.Donna herself had been the victim of a terrible dog attack that n … [Read more...]

Dog and baby photos: are they cute or dangerous?

 This meme is making the rounds on Facebook - it's a photo of a baby and what looks like a Neapolitan Mastiff. The title says "How to Hug a Baby", but for dog trainers and animal rescue advocates, it's a red flag. While most people see a photo like this and say, "Aw cute!" we ask, "How long before the baby gets hurt and the dog gets sent to the pound?"What we often interpret as a dog showing love to a human baby is usually the dog's curious interest in that writhing, squeaking … [Read more...]

If your dog could talk, would he speak like a preschooler?

A friend posted on Facebook today: "Who decided that if dogs were able to speak and type they would do so with a speech impediment that makes you feel illterate trying to read it?"I understand what she means. As part of a community of dog writers, I see a lot of pets with blogs, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and to be honest, sometimes I have no idea what they're trying to say.  Dat for that, da for the, and a host of grammatical errors (like "i has not" and "U gotted") sometimes mean I … [Read more...]


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