Thursday, September 30

Art Walk On Again

I don't know how many of you have been following the on going saga of Art Walk being called off only to have the board turn around and reinstate the event, but it has been a bit of local drama that I can't seem to turn away from.  It all started last Friday when the "organizers" of Art Walk made the announcement on their website that the event was called off until next year when it would be reinstated as a quarterly daytime event and focused more on the art.  The reason for the change was said to be due to the event growing too large and is now too costly to maintain.  By Monday this statement had been corrected by the board and they had dismissed the Director that released that statement.  The latest message from the board is that Art Walk will go on as planned with no changes or plans to change in the immediate future.  So, October 14th Art Walk will be going on as planned.

I think this is a mistake, I really would like to see some changes made.  I love that Art Walk brings so many people Downtown, which is great for our businesses.  But it is way too crowded, they need to shut down a few strategic streets to allow patrons to walk around freely.  Trying to walk on the sidewalks with all the people, dogs, booths and in some cases bands, is just too much.  I think the event would flow much better and it would not be so dangerous to walk around.  I can't tell you how many people I have seen fall into the street with on coming cars and how many dogs I've heard yelp from being stepped on.  I think if they widened the space, these issues would go away.  Also, on a selfish note, I wouldn't have to fight so many people just to walk in the front door of my building. 

The other improvement I would like to see is to increase the amount of times Art Walk happens.  Instead of just once a month, why don't they try to do twice a month.  If it is increasing the amount of patrons going into our local businesses, I would think this is something they would want to do.  I will admit, I do not know the total cost of putting on this event, so maybe it is too costly to do.  But if there were a way to increase it, I don't see how it would be a bad thing.

These are just my opinions.  I know the board of Art Walk will do what they need to do to keep the event in tact and successful.  I would just like to see the patrons appreciate our beautiful Downtown a little more while they are visiting.

For the latest report on Art Walk, bark on the link:  Bark!

Wednesday, September 29

Foster Dog Saves Toddler From Rattlesnake

Dogster brought us a story yesterday that really touched my heart.  A 6-year old Boxer named Vandy was being fostered in Austin by a family.  While in the backyard, Vandy stepped in between the family's toddler and a rattlesnake.  The family says that it was a clear decision that Vandy made to step in front of the snake before it struck their toddler, not just a matter of happenstance. The dog took the venom but after $1,400 at the vet, is okay.  
Vandy, the heroine is still up for adoption and I hope this helps get her the perfect home.  She is very sweet and obviously great with kids, but not so good with cats.  If you would like to find out more on how to adopt Vandy or to give a donation to help with the vet bills, bark on this link:  Bark!
Below is a news report on the event:
For those of you wandering why the foster family is not keeping Vandy, it is because they are a foster family.  It is a unique quality to be able to bring a dog into your home and understand they are not staying forever, but to love and care for the dog as if they were until they find a "forever" family.  I know this is a special case, but the family wants Vandy to find the perfect family and they are more committed than ever to foster more dogs.

For the original story, bark on the link:  Bark!

Tuesday, September 28

Dine LA Week

Dine LA Week is about to begin!  I do not consider myself a foodie at all, but I do enjoy eating and the whole dining experience at any good restaurant.  Especially when it is local.  If you participate in Dine LA Week you can eat at some of the best restaurants Downtown has to offer for a much lower cost than usual.  There are amazing specials of three course meals with special discounted pricing.  It is a great thing to do with a group of friends or the perfect time for you and a date to try that restaurant you've been eying for a romantic night. 
Dine LA Week is October 3 - 8 & 10 - 15.

For more information on Dine LA Week, bark on the link:  Bark!

Monday, September 27

Hachi - A Dog's Tale

Last night this movie, Hachi - A Dog's Tale, premiered on the Hallmark channel.  This is a movie that never made it to the big screen here, but you can get it on DVD or if you can find it on the Hallmark channel again, take the opportunity to watch it.  The thing with all animal movies is that they tend to tug on your heart strings, so make sure there is a tissue near by.  This is a perfect movie if you are in the mood to just allow your heart to be warmed by the amazing amount of loyalty from one dog.  I will let the trailer say the rest....

For more on Hachi - A Dog's Tale, bark on the link:  Bark!

Friday, September 24

How A Bowl Should Be Licked

A dear friend forwarded this to me earlier this week and I thought it would be a great way to start your Friday.  It is so cute and heart warming, especially for those of you with dogs.  Sometimes the most annoying things they do can also be the cutest.  I challenge all of you to grab a camera next time and have a smile instead of getting irritated and yelling.

How a Bowl Should be Licked:

 The owner grabbed a camera
instead of chasing the puppy away.  
"Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains un-awakened." 
Give us a bark:  Bark!

Thursday, September 23

Rottweiler To Receive Bravery Award and Medallion

I read this article this morning from K-9 Magazine, it is really amazing!  A Rottweiler that was rescued and rehomed by the RSPCA in Coventry is being honored with a bravery award and medallion for preventing a sexual assault on a woman last July.  Apparently, Jake, the Rottweiler, heard the screams and went to investigate, he ended up chasing the offender off and then staying with the distraught woman until the police arrived.  Jake's owner's were so proud of him and very happy that there is a positive story to be told about Rottweilers, since so often all we here are the negative things.
WOW!   Jake is certainly my hero!

For the full story, bark on the link:  Bark!

Wednesday, September 22

Clifton's Cafeteria Sold

Yesterday morning during a press conference held at Clifton's Cafeteria (648 S. Broadway), Robert Clinton, whose family opened the restaurant in 1935, announced that after more than 70 years as a family business it has been sold to Andrew Meieran , who is best known in Downtown for opening The Edison, a bar and nightclub in the Higgins Building.  Meireran has plans to restore the restaurant to it's original conditional, upgrade the infrastructure and other building systems, and reactivate the bakery.  The most exciting part is that Meieran has said he would like to partner with the Midnight Mission to do job training and placement.  He would like to create 100 jobs within the building while continuing to employ the 65 that currently work there.
I am personally excited about this change.  Meieran had said that he is hoping that Clifton's can get people going back to Broadway for their after dark entertainment.  I would love to see that.  What is exciting to me is that Clifton's will not be going away, it is such a part of our Downtown history and for a while it looked as though the Bringing Back Broadway Initiative was going to drive them out of business, but now they will be leading it.  I can't wait to see how it changes and I sincerely hope Meieran can create 100 jobs, we need them!

For the full story, bark on the link:  Bark!

Tuesday, September 21

OK Go Video For The Dogs

I had an overwhelming number of people send this to me or tell me about this yesterday, so I had to share it today.  It is a really cute video and a great reminder of what a bit of training will accomplish with dogs.  As a trainer it is always fun to watch acting and modeling dogs to see all of the things they are able to learn.  But in this video, it is a lot of basic commands.  There are a few advanced things, but for the most part they are simple commands and a bit of agility!  But when you put it all together, it looks like this complex routine, I am certain it was much harder for the humans in this video than the pooches.  The trainer on set was Lauren Henry, my hat is off to her for a job well done with the dogs and the humans.  And let's not forget the one goat.

OK Go has decided after working with their four-legged acting counterparts to donate a portion of the profits made from this video to an animal rescue as many of these dogs were rescues themselves.  Pretty amazing.

For more on the making of this video, bark on the link:  Bark!

Monday, September 20

Dog Survives 1,100 - ft Plunge

On Friday ABC news reported on a dog that survived a 1,100-ft plunge into Oregon's Crater Lake.  The dog's owners got out of their car to enjoy the view, left their dog inside and did not set the emergency break.  The car began to roll forward and off the 1,100-ft cliff to plunge into Crater Lake below.  The dog was thrown out of the front seat, but was not seriously hurt and was able to climb back up to her owners!  The car was unfortunately totaled.
What a lucky little girl!

For the original story, bark on the link:  Bark!

Friday, September 17

Rescue Phoenix

In honor of National Adoption Month I wanted to bring you the story of Phoenix.  He is a German Shepherd mix that was rescued on Monday, September 13, 2010 by Coastal German Shepherd Rescue from a shelter in Downey, just hours before he was scheduled to be euthanized .  
Phoenix was originally rescued by the shelter and thought to be a bait dog, which is a dog that is used to bait fighting dogs in fighting rings.  His ears have been cut off to nothing, probably so there would be no need to treat wounds that would occur during fights and there is evidence that his month was wired shut so he could not fight back.  He is thought to be about 5-7 years old and remarkably has a wonderful disposition.  Tiffany Norton, who rescued him from the shelter, says that he is a learner, loves to be with you and really enjoy cuddling, especially with a kitten that is in the rescue with him.  He is really a sweet dog and very trusting.
Once again we are seeing in Phoenix what we have seen in so many other dogs that faced adversity and over came it, they are resilient animals and just amazing.

To learn more on adopting Phoenix, bark on the link:  Bark!

Thursday, September 16

Dog Tethering: Stop The Cruelty

Dogster posted an amazing blog yesterday about tethering dogs.  First they brought us up to date with what is happening around the country with the laws that should be protecting our dogs and then told us how we can help stop it.  I am very passionate about this, it is really a cruel thing to do to a dog.  People will justify it in many ways, but there is no excuse, dogs should not be put on a chain and left.  What kind of life is that, it breaks my heart.  It literally is telling your dog that they are not wanted and are bad dogs... that is message.  Horrible!  
I normally give you link to go check out, but this is too important, I am going to re-post the entire Dogster blog below.  I hope you all feel as I do and get involved to stop this and if you see it happening, please report it, the owners should have to face the consequences of their actions.

Mutts comic artist Patrick McDonnell uses Guard Dog to help draw awareness to the cruelty of tethering. Click on comic to get to his site.

A judge yesterday sentenced a North Carolina woman to a whopping three days in jail after her tethered dog was found dead in her yard. She’ll also be banned from owning dogs, although once she’s beyond Forsyth County lines, there’s probably not much that can be done if she decides to get another lucky dog.  
A chained mother and pup use a barrel for shelter (Photo: Unchain Your Dog)
The county is examining a law banning tethering, according to WXII12. It’s not alone. On the same day the North Carolina woman was convicted of animal cruelty, the Charlotte (Virginia) City Council enacted legislation that tightens the leash on people who tether, but doesn’t outright ban it. A Charlotte Observer article says the new law prohibits tethering dogs under four months old, and forbids the use of heavy chains. It also calls for some technical “improvements,” like having swivels on both ends of the tether, and requiring tethers to be at least 10 feet long and allow reasonable movement without the possibility of entanglement. (How is that possible?)
A few large cities have gone several steps further, and have outlawed tethering. Denver, Austin, and Fort Worth are among the cities who won’t tolerate dogs being chained or tied. Organizations against tethering are spreading the word about its cruelty, helping pass legislation improving tethering conditions or banning it all together, educating people about why it’s inhumane, and helping people come up with solutions. Some heartbreaking words from the site of Unchain Your Dog, a very active national group:
"Dogs are pack animals. In the wild, canines live, eat, and sleep with their family. In the absence of dogs, humans become their “pack.” A chained dog feels rejected and doesn’t understand why.
Imagine being chained to a tree year after year. You watch the door hoping someone will come play. No one ever does. You long to run, but you can only pace. You shiver in winter and pant in summer. Eventually, you stop barking. You have given up hope.
We have many forms of entertainment: movies, music, friends. Your dog only has YOU. If you can’t give a dog a good life, should you have one?
It is up to caring people like you to improve the lives of chained dogs. Some think, “It’s none of my business.” But it is the business of compassionate people to speak up when living creatures are treated like objects. You will feel good about yourself for helping a chained dog!"
Photo: Unchain Your Dog

There are plenty of ways to help stop this cruelty. Volunteers with the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, based in North Carolina and with chapters in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Georgia, have been building free fences for people with tethered dogs since 2007. To date, they’ve freed more than 500 dogs from living in torment at the end of a chain. Here’s how they describe the effects of their deeds:
Building free fences is a very effective and gratifying way to help large numbers of chained dogs. We regularly witness dogs who are depressed and stressed on their chains become relaxed and playful when they are released into their newly fenced yards. Relationships between the dogs and their owners are enhanced once they have a space in which to enjoy each other’s company. Due in large part to the immense satisfaction that comes from such tangible results, we have grown from a handful of volunteers to well over 100 volunteers who regularly contribute time doing everything it takes to get the chained dogs sterilized and off of their chains.
Want to help but don’t have one of these groups in your vicinity? No problem. Unchain Your Dog offers a list of 20 ways you can help a tethered dog. Some are designed for owners of chained dogs. Others, for dog lovers who want to make a difference. Tip #20, with its various sub tips, is the most appropriate for readers of  the Dog Blog. It discusses everything from helping pass anti-tethering laws, to educating people about the dangers and cruelty of chaining, to info on building fences.

Bill, wearing a bandanna -- not a chain
I have personal experience with dog chaining. Several years ago, in doing research for one of my doggy guide books, I came across a beautiful, big, black-and-white dog in the middle of the road in rural Northern California. I stopped, got out of my car, and approached him. He backed away, but when he saw I was trying to be friends, he came toward me, wagging his little stump of a tail. It was then that I saw what was around his neck: Not a collar, but a big thick chain that wrapped around his neck and extended about three feet, and was dragging on the ground. It looked like he had torn it loose, or maybe someone had cut him loose.
I put him in my car and asked around the neighborhood if anyone knew who the dog belonged to. I wasn’t about to give the dog back but I felt obliged to check out the situation. No one would say anything, but I finally ran into a woman who told me, “Yeah, I know whose he is, and I’m gonna do that dog a favor and not tell you. Just get him out of here.” I did. I called the local humane society just in case there was a terrible mistake and the dog had loving owners who were looking for him, but no one claimed him. (They had agreed to work with me if the people who claimed him did not have a decent setup for him, but fortunately I never had to deal with that.)
Our house already had enough dogs at the time, but I was able to find him one of the most amazing, loving homes in the Bay Area. The couple who adopted Bill live in a huge house in the San Francisco, and have 200 acres of property in the Sierra Nevadas. They adored him, and made his remaining eight years heaven on earth. I never regretted taking the dog away from the chains that bound him.
There are tens of thousands of Bills out there who need your help. Please let us know how you feel about the tethering issue, and if you’ve ever done anything about it, or plan to."

Thank you Dogster!

To view the original blog, bark on the link:  Bark!

Tuesday, September 14

The Dog Park Is Open

The new dog park in the Downtown Arts District is open and I couldn't be more worried about it.  It is really a small area and I am so afraid of what is going to happen in that space with all those dogs.  I really appreciate the people that thought about dogs and thought about giving them a space of their own Downtown, but in my opinion they got it wrong.  I am not a fan of dog parks, I simply see no good in them.  At least the one's in the Los Angeles area.  If you go to Texas I hear they are vast pastures, acres of land for the dogs to run and play... some even with water features.  Here the parks are usually not that big and even the bigger one's have far too many dogs per square foot of land.  In addition to the parks being crowded, there is no monitoring system, no one is watching the dogs or there to assist if something should happen.  So many owners are in denial about their dog's disposition, they may have aggressive, fearful or dog aroused dogs and they interpret their behavior as wanting to play, when in fact they want to hurt another dog.  I can't tell you how heart breaking it is to have to try to recover a dog that has been attacked by one or multiple dogs.  Or on the other hand to try to recover a dog that has attacked or even killed another dog, to have to look the owners in the eye and explain that their dogs must live a life on leash and in a mussel for their safety and all the dogs around them.  The worst thing I have heard is to have your dog attack another dog, the owner of the attacked dog sue you and you are forced to put down your dog.  All of this can be avoided by just not attending dog parks.  
I realize many of you will not take my warnings, so I ask this...please, if you go to dog parks, go during off times.  Early mornings are usually good or right before the park closes, if you are able to go in the middle of the work week, those are usually great times.  Go to your local dog park without your dog a few times that you would be interested in going and just check it out.  Notice the other dogs that are there and how they interact with one another, look for water and check for cleanliness.  The number one thing to do if you go to a dog park is PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR DOG AT ALL TIMES.  So many people turn their back to talk to another dog owner or get on the phone, but your dogs need you to pay attention.  If you see a dog around them that is displaying signs of aggression or hyper arousal, get your dog out of the situation.
I say all of this as a warning to keep your dogs safe.  I have made a pledge to actively be involved in the Downtown dog community to help provide a safer environment for our dogs and their owners. Please take my warnings with all the love they meant with and enjoy your dog today.

For Bark & Clark trainings, give us a bark:  Bark!

Monday, September 13

Dog Poop Into Power

Dogster brought us a story this morning about a Cambridge, Mass. dog park that has invented a Park Spark, which is a way to convert dog poop into energy to power a light.  Basically, everyone picks up their dogs poo in a biodegradable bag and deposits it into a feeding tube then turns a hand crank to allow the methane to rise to the top and provide the spark in the lamp to provide light for the park.  This is a great way to be green and I think probably encourages people to pick up the poo!  The best thing is that all the patrons of this dog park now have light at night to see by (so long as you stand by the lamp).
I encourage you all to look at the Dogster Blog, it goes into much more detail than I have here and there are a couple of diagrams to help explain the usage.

To view the Dogster Blog, bark on the link:  Bark!

Friday, September 10

Remembering 9-11 Dog Heroes

As we approach the 9th anniversary of 9-11 we prepare to honor the men and women that lost their lives, all the search and rescue teams and of course the brave ones that did all the recovery and clean up.  Along with all of these men and women, I would like to pay tribute to some very special "workers", all the search and rescue and therapy dogs that worked along side all of these people and one very special dog, Sirius which was the only police dog to perish in the attacks.  I have made it no secret the respect and pure amazement I have for working dogs, no matter the work.  The dedication and drive these dogs have are no less than inspiring and in the time when people needed that inspiration and just help, they were there to pull through.  Not just as search and rescue dogs, being able to go into very dangerous and small areas that humans could not, but as therapy dogs to sit near all the workers absorbing their stress and trying to calm.  These are truly some of the most amazing dogs I can think of.
So tomorrow, as we all honor the heroes of 9-11, please do not forget our four - legged friends.
As a tribute to them, here are a few pictures of the amazing work they did that day and so many days that followed.

To learn more about Sirius the police dog, bark on the link:  Bark!

Thursday, September 9

Harry Potter Star To Appear In 'Breed'

I've said it before, I really do believe that the UK has it together a little more than we do when it comes to speaking out about the mistreatment of dogs.  Now there is a play about it, Breed.  Though it is not starring the Harry Potter star, it is starring one of the Harry Potter stars, Jesse Cave or Lavender Brown for all us Potter fans.  This is said to be an outstanding play about the mistreatment of dogs.

A little about the play:
“From the night you were born, puppy, I knew I’d do anything for you.”

Liv is in trouble – her mum’s planning a dog fight, her dad’s getting out of jail, her brother's getting too close to her baby, the police are sniffing around and the pack is closing in.  A sharp and savage story of the animals we are and the people we try to be.

I wish I were going to be in the UK during the run of this show, it is one I would love to see.  If any of you are, I hope you catch it.  I will also keep my fingers crossed that it does well and someone in the U.S. will bring it here to share, it is certainly something that needs to be seen by the American audience.

To read more about the play Breed, bark on the link:  Bark!

Wednesday, September 8

What Dog Food Is Right For Your Dog?

Dogster had a guest blogger today, Veterinarian Michael W. Fox, to do some myth busting about dog food.  I don't mean to be on a Dogster kick, but this was a really good blog and I wanted to share it with you.  The questions I receive the most are about dog food.  I hope this helps answer some more questions or a least gives you a good resource to find answers.
A little about Dr. Fox: He is a graduate of the Royal Veterinary College, London, and holds doctoral degrees in medicine and ethology/animal behavior from the University of London, England. He is author of more than 40 books, writes the nationally syndicated newspaper column Animal Doctor, is a member of the British Veterinary Association, American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and Honor Roll Member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Dog Food and Feeding Issues: Myth and Reality

Dr. Michael W. Fo
By Dr. Michael W. Fox

There are several myths and truths about what we feed our dogs which I want to share because there are many health problems that could be prevented since the best and first medicine is good nutrition. We will look at these myths first, and then each will be dispelled in turn for dog’s sake, and for the sake of dog caregivers who want to avoid the harmful and costly veterinary consequences of feeding their dogs the equivalent of junk and virtual convenience foods that are not fit for a dog.
One long-standing myth was that manufactured dog food was good for all dogs, and that you just give more of the same the larger the dog may be. The industry dispelled this myth several years ago, coming out with new ‘designer’ diets especially tailored for breeds of different ages, sizes and activity levels. But there are other myths perpetuated by the industry and by ignorance that should not enjoy such a long life as the aforementioned.

1. The first myth to be dispelled is that dogs should not be fed human food, because dog food is made for dogs. Food is food, but what is often put into manufactured dog foods is neither fit for human consumption nor nutritionally complete as a ‘whole’ food. More details on this pivotal issue will be given shortly.

2. The old myth that one kind of dog food is good for all, long promoted by pet food manufacturers, has been replaced by three new ones. One is that modern dog foods are scientifically formulated and ‘balanced,’ and therefore provide complete nutrition for health maintenance.

3. Close on the tail of this myth is that dogs should never be fed table-scraps/left-overs from the dinner table because that would upset the balance of their specially formulated diets.

4. Another myth promoted for obvious reasons by many dog food manufacturers is that dogs should be fed the same kind and brand of manufactured dog food day in and day out because varying what they are fed will cause digestive and other health problems, and anyway dogs are not like us and do not enjoy or particularly need variety.

5. Yet another myth is that dogs, just like humans, really don’t need to take vitamin, mineral and other supplements because modern foods are nutritionally fortified with supplements and additives.

Before dispelling the above myths, I want to stress that there are some good quality manufactured dog foods on the market, including some with organically certified ingredients, and ranging from raw and freeze-dried to canned and dry. Unfortunately, along with all the junk breakfast cereals, processed and convenience foods, snacks and sodas taking up shelf-space for people, they are given little space in most grocery stores that continue to sell big brand, TV advertised, over-priced, and all too often inferior quality  pet foods. Specialty pet stores and health food stores provide better choices, and for a list of some dog foods that I have researched and endorse, check my website.

Now some pet owners will say that they never had any problems with their animals being fed the same food every day. While it is true that animals can adapt to some degree to deficient diets, it is also true that many health problems that could have been prevented, and which are soon cured with a proper diet and certain supplements, are not actually recognized as being diet-related. These include chronic skin, anal gland, eye and ear inflammation, periodontal disease, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, allergies, and serious conditions involving internal organs such as the kidney and urinary tract, heart, and pancreas as well as the digestive and related immune and endocrine systems.

These and other diet-related health problems, rooted in part in the consequences of raising pups and feeding their mothers on manufactured dog foods, have spawned the lucrative business of prescription and medicated veterinary diets. These have been critically examined in my book, co-authored with two respected veterinarians, nutrition Prof. Marion E. Smart, and former director of technical affairs with Hills Pet Nutrition, Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, entitled Not Fit for a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food.

Good nutrition from puppy-hood on, and indeed for their pregnant and nursing mothers, is a far better health insurance than lots of vaccinations and frequent treatments for internal and external parasites which may not actually exist, but do thrive on poorly nourished animals.
It should not be forgotten that many of the basic ingredients in these special prescription diets are the same as in far too many regular dog foods, the manufacture of which, using human food and beverage industry byproducts, some being frequently imported from third world countries, has become a multi-billion dollar recycling enterprise. The competitive nature of the multinational pet food industry has lead to a down-spiral of lowest cost ingredient formulations to maximize profit margins, tests being conducted on caged dogs and cats to evaluate digestibility. But every manufactured batch of products is never fully tested since this would be cost-prohibitive. Subsequent recalls are therefore frequent due to ingredient and supplement deficiencies, excesses, and bacterial and fungal contamination from poor quality ingredients. The massive pet food recall of 2007, where several brands of pet food were contaminated with melamine, imported as fake soy protein from China, resulted in the deaths of thousands of dogs and cats from kidney failure.

Knowing the risks of feeding big-brand pet foods, many dog and cat owners are choosing instead some of the brands listed on my website which contain whole food ingredients from reliable sources, often organically certified, minimally processed, and frequently manufactured in the smaller company’s own facilities where contamination is better monitored and controlled. Alternatively, people are preparing their own pet food and treats, as per the recipes on my website, or purchase from a local home- cooked pet food provider. Veterinarians are also providing their clients with basic recipes and utilizing the services of  the veterinarian-run company Balance IT®. They offer special diet recipes for animals needing to go on prescribed diets for various health problems as an alternative to the costly and often unpalatable manufactured prescription diets.

Now to dispel the above myths and see through the advertising propaganda on TV and in too many veterinary clinics promoting those manufactured pet foods which may not be fit for a dog.

1. Food is food, be it for humans, dogs, or other species. Food and beverage industry byproducts, including beet pulp, brewer’s grains, processed corn and soy meal,  poultry remains (‘byproducts’)meat and bone meal, discarded restaurant grease, and rendered proteins and fats from small processing plants are incorporated into many manufactured dog foods. Pet foods labeled as containing meat meal and meat and bone meal may include dead and diseased livestock, road-kills, and can included barbiturate-loaded, euthanized horses, and dogs and cats from animal shelters.
Far too many manufactured pet foods are nutritionally deficient either because the poor quality ingredients have been variously processed to remove desired nutrient components for human consumption: Or because other nutrients are destroyed or ‘denatured’ by heat-processing and extraction methods that can leave various chemical contaminants and adulterants. Synthetic additives to correct for nutrient deficiencies, along with chemical preservatives, stabilizers and coloring agents, make for a chemical mash that at best is an analog of real food.
The raw dog food movement is a reaction to this, the acronym ‘BARF’ diet meaning a biologically appropriate, raw food diet, not simply bones, which can harm dogs, and raw foods. Lightly cooking most ingredients for some dogs is advisable, however, and the risk of Salmonella and other bacterial contamination of meats calls for careful handling and preparation.

2. Scientifically formulated dog foods are not necessarily biologically appropriate, the science of pet food nutrition being limited in its mandate by corporate interests to maximize profits from lowest cost ingredients, and to minimize risks. This is a far cry from veterinary nutrition, advances in which were stalled for many years by the pet food industry’s assurances to veterinarians that their products were ‘science-based’, and by their continuing influence both financially and educationally on veterinary students around the world.

3. I advocate giving suitable table scraps as treats ( no cooked bones or high- fat scraps) to dogs after they have had their regular food, or mixing no more than 10 percent with their regular food. If they become picky eaters it may be time to stop feeding table scraps, or give a better quality dog food. Many dogs are constantly hungry and can become obese because they are never nutritionally satisfied by their regular ‘junk’ dog food. Dogs enjoy sharing what we have been eating, and I see this as part of the pack ritual when we share our lives with them.

4. Dogs enjoy variety, and in nature most carnivores and omnivores enjoy a varied diet. I advocate feeding pets different animal proteins like lamb, turkey, fish, beef, on a 3 or 7 day rotation. This can help both identify and avoid food-hypersensitivities/allergies, and is one way to reduce the odds of nutrient deficiencies and imbalances feeding just one kind of manufactured pet food. Sticking to one or two good brand with several different kinds or varieties, as per the selection on my website, may be wise. Animals should always be transitioned gradually over several days onto a new diet to avoid possible adverse reactions or rejection, by adding a little more of the new food mixed in with less and less of the old. Giving probiotics during this transition can be beneficial.

5. Supplements are called for especially if all ingredients are not organically certified, because the soils of conventional agriculture are nutrient deficient, and almost toxic with synthetic agrichemical fertilizers and pesticides which also contaminate crops. Produce from poultry and livestock fed these crops and their byproducts can also be nutritionally deficient and contaminated with agrichemicals.
These problems are compounded by the fact that most of the corn, soy and sugar beet derived ingredients in processed human foods and pet foods have been genetically engineered or modified (GM). ( For a review and links documenting the health and environmental risks of GM crops and foods, see my website.).
Beneficial supplements for companion animals include Brewer’s yeast, fish or flax seed oil, organic butter from grass-fed cows, and chondriotin, glucosamine, probiotics and prebiotics (like inulin). Some pet food manufacturers are touting these on their ingredient lists, thus indirectly acknowledging that supplements are of value and are not just hype or some consumer fad. They are key ingredients in prescription diets for various pet health problems.
Consumers are becoming more health conscious as the obesity, diabetes and other diet-related health problems reach epidemic proportions while government efforts to address these and related issues of food quality and safety issues intensify. But these efforts will continue to founder so long as government panders to the corporate interests of the transnational food and drug industrial complex. The parallels between what people are feeding their pets and eating themselves and the health-related problems they share as a consequence are striking indeed. I find it just as absurd for veterinarians to be selling high carbohydrate and by-product filled pet foods to the caregivers of carnivorous companion animals as it is for health authorities to permit the sale of high fructose, ‘fortified’ junk breakfast cereals, snacks and beverages for children to consume and then rationalize putting them on Ritalin and other psychotropic drugs to correct diet-related cognitive, emotional and behavioral impairments.
Making informed choices in the market place for oneself and family, including companion animals, is now part of the healthful eating revolution that recognizes good nutrition is the best medicine. My slogan for this long overdue revolution is “Kitchen Anarchists Unite”! The politics of the plate and the power of the fork are now being utilized by civil society to restore dietary sensibility and the ethics of eating with conscience. This will ultimately change agricultural practices for the better, and will do more to help insure food quality and safety for ourselves and for our companion animals than more government regulations and oversight at tax payer’s expense.

To find documented evidence of the nutritional superiority of organically certified foods and the prenatal (epigenetic) risks of poor nutrition and agrichemical contaminants, visit the Organic Center.

To view the original blog, bark on the link:  Bark!

Tuesday, September 7

Homage To The Working Dog

Yesterday, in celebration of Labor Day, Dogster had a really amazing blog... a photo homage to the working dog.  It is moving to see all the amazing things our furry four legged friends do.  They are fearless, loyal, hard working and simply fantastic.  Truly amazing animals. 

Please bark on the link to see this incredible blog:  Bark!

Friday, September 3

Top 10 Pet Friendly Colleges

With Labor Day here, I know many will be heading off to college in the next week or so, some may have already.  I thought it would be nice for all you that are college bound or parents of kids that are college bound to see the top 10 pet friendly colleges.  Not all are okay with dogs and cats, but I was really surprised to see how many were.  I remember when I was in college and I found the perfect puppy, unfortunately my dorm was not as excited as I was about my find!  How different it would've been to be able to keep him in the dorm and even have a dog run right outside.  Instead, my parents got a new puppy for a few months until I secured a place off campus. 
I hope you enjoy this list, it is fun.

10. Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York - Your winged friends are welcome at the college of Vassar in Poughkeepsie, New York, as are any other animals in aquariums and terrariums. 
  9. Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, California - If you've got yourself a cute little furry or scaly friend that you'd like to bring along, feel free to bring him to Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. As long as he can stay in a cage or tank and you get prior agreement from roommates and suitemates, the door is open.
 8. Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - The saying welcome to the Greek life takes on a whole new meaning at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with real live mascots in the form of dogs and cats that are permitted in campus housing.
Any student wishing to have a cat or dog in a campus house must submit a request. Pending acceptance, a maximum of one cat or dog is permitted in a fraternity or sorority at Lehigh. Dogs must be housebroken and cats must be domesticated for indoor living in order to live in a campus house. But don't bother explaining that to your new pet - it's all Greek to them.
 7.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts -  It seems the furry, four-legged friend that takes the smaller, sometimes easier-to-handle form of a cat, seems to make friends more easily with dorm room officials than say the larger, more labor intensive dogs, which school officials fear will bark, or ruin dorm furniture. At least it seems dorms are more likely to jump on the cat bandwagon and allow them to accompany to their 2-legged friends to school than they are to jump on the dog one. And MIT in Boston is one of those schools. Currently MIT students enjoy four cat-friendly dorms on campus. All cats must be registered with the Pet Chair before taking up residence in a dorm room. 
 6. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena California -  Are you a friend to all things feline? Then CALTECH might just be the best place for you and your meowing buddy. You can bring up to two cats with you to live in any of seven approved housing dorms on campus, as long as they are registered with the CALTECH Housing Office. 
 5. Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, Virginia - We at Petside know that you, the horse lover, have been waiting patiently for us to stop talking about dogs and cats and hamsters and gerbils and mention a place where you might be able to bring your horse away with you to school. Well here it is - Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Virginia. Granted, you must be part of the Sweet Briar Riding Program to bring your stallion along with you, but if it sounds just like you to take up riding, personal horses may be boarded here, so you'll never be too far away from your stud.
 4. Stetson University, Deland, Florida - Dogs and cats and hamsters and gerbils and guinea pigs and mice and rats, oh my!
All of the above are quite welcome at Stetson University's pet-friendly residence hall--Nemec Hall. Thirty-six of the hall's rooms are pet friendly, with dogs limited to less than 30 pounds. The administration wasn't just thinking of the college kid by making this move though, they truly want the animals to feel comfortable in their new environment as well. That's why a dog park outside of the hall makes it even easier for you and your pooch to enjoy some down time away from the books.
 3. Washington & Jefferson College, Washington, Pennsylvania - You don't have to just bring your fish to Washington and Jefferson College (although fish are permitted in all residence halls). Dogs, cats and creatures of all kinds are permitted in the "Pet House" here, or Monroe Hall, which is the dorm's real name.
As if that wasn't enough incentive - students who have been living in the Pet House for at least one year may be given the option to live with their pet in a double-as-a-single room, instead. All pets are to be registered with the Office of Residence Life prior to bringing the pet to campus.
 2. Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri -  Around Stephens College, Searcy Hall is known as Pet Central.  The college has been welcoming the animal kingdom to its hallowed grounds since fall of 2004. In fact, Searcy is home to dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, rats, mice, gerbils, sugar gliders, guinea pigs, lizards and birds. If that's not pet friendly, we don't know what is.
Again, certain breeds of dogs are not permitted (although there is no weight limit for those that are allowed, as long as all are up to date on vaccinations), and snakes and spiders must stay home.
Don't have your own pet to bring? No problem. Stephens will set you up with one to foster through the Columbia Second Chance. They will even petsit during school breaks, providing food and medical care.
 1. Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Florida -  There's simply no topping Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. when it comes to pet friendliness. Want to bring your snake to school? Sure, no problem. As long as your wriggly pal is less than six feet long and non venomous, he's just as welcome at Eckerd as you are.
Other domestic animals are permitted in all the awesome designated pet houses - including three student complexes and staff housing.
The only catch: The types of dogs are limited to medium sizes - not to exceed forty pounds when fully grown - and standard Pit Bull, Rotweiler and wolf breeds are prohibited. All pets must be registered with the Pet Council, as well.

To view the entire list, bark on the link:  Bark!

Thursday, September 2

National Dog Adoption Month

Yesterday was September 1st and that marked the start of National Adoption Month in the UK.  I know we are not in the UK, but I don't see any reason why we can't support it.   If you are ready to have a new family member and ready for the responsibility of a dog, go out to your local rescue or shelter and adopt.  There are so many of our furry four legged friends that really need a good home.  But I must say, if you are not ready and think that owning and caring for a dog is easy, it is not and you are best to wait.  Some of the worst training casing I have seen are due to people with great intentions that didn't know how to properly care for their dog.  
If you do decide to adopt this month, think about the dog you are getting and make sure they are the right dog for your lifestyle.  For example, if you are not the most energetic person, getting a dog like a Lab with high energy might not be the best for you.  Or if you know you will be away from your home for 8+ hours a day, don't get a puppy, they cannot be left alone for that long.  
I hope these tips help you find the perfect dog for you.

To learn more about National Adoption Month, bark on the link:  Bark!

Wednesday, September 1

Dyeing Dogs

 I had planned a completely different blog today, but then I read Dogster this morning and decided this really needed to be shared.  It is about people in China dyeing their dogs to look like other animals for attention.  The people claim that the dogs really like it because it gives them so much more attention from people.  I think it is dangerous.  How can dye be good for dogs? There is no research to say it is or isn't, but with all the toxins in dye and bleach, I can't believe this is good for them.  Especially puppies. I think the additional attention is for the dog owners, not the dogs.

For the whole story, bark on the link:  Bark!