Thursday, March 31

Spring Doesn't Just Bring Flowers

The weather is nicer, the sun is shining, the grass is growing, and even the air seems a little more crisp.  You would think this is the time celebrate by taking a hike and letting your pooch run free through a field.  But you might want to think twice before you do that.  With spring comes many things that can be a danger or at least not good for your dog.  The Bark magazine has a great article about this very thing.  It has useful information on what type of things spring brings that your dog should stay away from.

I hope you find some valuable information in The Bark's article below.

Spring Showers Bring Flowers and Some Risks for Dogs 

If it wasn’t for the stubborn little crocuses in my front yard, I’d be hard-pressed to believe spring has come to Seattle. But officially the season has sprung, and in most parts of the country, the change is happy news for dogs, who will be spending more time sniffing, romping and rolling in the outdoors. Hooray!

While longer, warmer days bring joy to our hearts, they bring some risks to our dogs. “Every seasonal change can bring dangers, but spring presents some specific risks that can be easy to address, as long as pet owners know what to look for,” says Dr. Peter Bowie, a veterinarian in Marin, Calif.

Among Dr. Bowie’s seasonal priorities is antifreeze. While the deadly chemical is most often associated with winter, he says, veterinarians at the Pet Emergency and Specialty Center of Marin see just as many antifreeze poisonings in the spring. Whether it’s due to shade tree mechanics cleaning their radiators, unidentified leaks, or portable basketball hoops, ethylene glycol–based antifreeze winds up in driveways and streets where it tastes sweet to dogs and, even in tiny amounts, may cause sudden kidney failure.  

Foxtails are another not-so-fabulous right of spring. These grass awns, which sprout in abundance this time of year, have microscopic barbules along their surface. Once they catch on animals’ fur, they can become lodged in their skin (most often in the webbing between the toes), ear canal, or nose. Foxtails cause extreme discomfort and often lead to bleeding, infection, and, in the case of ear canal migration, ruptured ear drums. If swallowed, foxtails can lodge in the throat, causing swelling and infection. If accidentally inhaled, they can cause serious damage and infection in the airways or lungs. (Check out Protecting Your Dog Aganst Foxtails by Nancy Kay, DVM).   

Activity in the garden can also be detrimental to our dogs, the use of slug and snail baits, in particular. These combine an attractant, usually apple meal or some other sweet-smelling base, with an active chemical compound such as metaldehyde to poison whatever swallows the bait. Unfortunately, this can include our pets. Increased rat activity also means increased use of rat poison this time of year, one of the deadliest things your pet can ingest. 

Fertilizers, even organic or natural fertilizers, can harm pets. Blood and bone meal are common organic fertilizers, which makes it tasty for pets but can cause vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatic inflammation. Grass and flower fertilizers can also contain toxic chemicals that may be deadly if ingested.

If you’re planting, remember some plants are toxic for dogs, including azalea, chrysanthemum, daffodil, rhododendron, sago palm and tulip. Consumption of these plants can lead to kidney failure in animals. The ASPCA provides a complete list of toxic plants with images.

“I urge pet parents to get outdoors and enjoy the season, just remain aware of your pets’ surroundings,” says Dr. Bowie. “Changes in the environment can be stimulating to them, but new smells in the yard or garden can also be harmful. Simply take extra precautions: be sure all chemicals are completely out of your pets’ reach, keep small pets on a leash at all times when outdoors, and remove foxtails as soon as you see them.”

Companion animals aren’t the only critters more active this time of year. Brian Adams of the Massachusetts Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) reminds us that spring is a time when wildlife is on the move. He suggests a few simple steps to minimize or prevent conflicts between us or our pets and wildlife.
  • Never feed wild animals intentionally or they will view your yard as a food source. The includes cleaning up spilled birdseed from feeders, which may attract turkeys, rodents, and the animals that prey on them. If you have bears in your area, remove bird feeders.
  • Avoid unintentional feeding by keeping trash and compost secured and by feeding pets indoors. 
  • Drive carefully and watch for wildlife crossing roadways, especially in areas where road salt remains from winter storms; this attracts wildlife.
Learn more from MSPCA about how to humanely live with wildlife, including advice on critter-proofing your home and what to do when you discover an orphaned animal.
If your dog spent a good chunk of the winter, cashed on the coach, eating a few too many sweet potato chews, you also want to be gradual about bounding into a spring exercise regime. “Often, pets get overly excited to go outside and strain themselves,” says Heidi Ganahl, CEO and founder of Camp Bow Wow. “Make sure you monitor your pet and start slow before engaging in strenuous physical activity.”
Still, there's no denying it’s a perfect season for launching a daily exercise regime. Dawn Marcus describes the health benefits and a plan for starting a successful walking plan.
Finally, another ritual of the season, spring cleaning poses risks for our pets. It’s important to think smart about your cleaning. Many cleaning products are irritating or even toxic for dogs. Invest in eco-friendly products, such as homemade cleaning solutions featuring vinegar or enzyme-based cleansers.

To view more articles from The Bark, bark on the link:  Bark!

Wednesday, March 30

Training, Training, Training

The number one question I am asked about training is group or private?  There is no "right" answer, it is a personal choice and it really depends on what you are looking to achieve with your dog.  For instance, if you are looking for basic training, you may find that classes are most cost effective and will serve your purpose, whereas, if you are looking to address aggression issues or something like that, a series of private sessions would be best as most classes do not get that specific.

I have a group class starting this Saturday for Basic Obedience and this is the first session in a very long time that I am having trouble filling it.  I had a handful of people interested, but quite a few pulled out at the last minute.  One sited because of rising gas prices and not wanting to drive additionally and another said they had some extra expenses they were not prepared for.  I guess I can just blame the state of the economy.

If any of you know of a person or people that have a dog that want to improve their skills or teach them the basics, please let them know about my class.  It is at 11am on Saturday's and it starts this weekend.  I promise it is entertaining and educational.

To learn more about my group class, bark on the link:  Bark!

Tuesday, March 29

Ring'n Spring Pooch Parade

The Ring'n Spring Pooch Parade on April 6th is coming up quick!  We have a fabulous night planned for you and your dog and you only have one day left to RSVP and there are only a couple of spaces left.  Don't delay, sign up today and show your pooch how much you love them.  Here is a little more on the event and how to sign up.

Ring'n Spring Pooch Parade on April 6th @ 7pm.  The night will kick off with the excitement and lights of LA Live, then a romp around the South Park District will follow with special to go treats from Pussy & Pooch to give your doggies along the way. Finally the evening will conclude with a chance for the humans to sit down and unwind with adult treats and  wonderful conversation on the dog friendly patio of Big Wang's.

Besides the obvious fun you will have, this is a great chance to learn about how to handle your dog downtown and in general with other dogs and humans.  This workshop's focus is on basic obedience to help your dog focus on you - not all the distractions. We'll also work  on manners specific to the city, such as sitting at all intersections before crossing; sitting for introductions and the proper way to greet other dogs.  Last but certainly not least, we address the ongoing battle of teaching owners the proper places to potty their dog and how to clean it up!

We teach uptown manners for Downtown dogs! This class is so fun, it's more like an outing... So let's take a stroll through the city and focus on doggy's ability to deal with the public, the lively city and all the other pooches out and about.

I am so excited about this Pooch Parade, I hope I will see you all there!  Be sure to RSVP by March 30th because space is limited, the cost is $40 to attend.
To RSVP bark on the link:  Bark!

Monday, March 28

Human Food For Pets

This is a hot topic around the pet world, do you feed your pets human food or not?   I think it comes down to what food we are talking about.  There are some foods that are harmless and can be beneficial to your pets, other foods could cause great harm.  There is also a difference in giving your pet a treat that is "human" food vs. feeding them the same dinner you have.

There is a wonderful article about this topic in Newsletter.  I have shared this article with you all below.  Please read it and feel free to give me your feedback on what you think.

Human Food for Pets: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Dinner's on the table and the family's ready to eat, but darn it, you forgot to feed the dog. You could just throw him a little of the lasagna couldn't you? And then everyone could get on with eating.
Not exactly. While some human food is safe and beneficial to dogs, some of it might be downright harmful. If your pet does swallow something they shouldn't, call or visit your vet as soon as you can.
"Don't wait for your pet to show symptoms; it's easier to treat problems earlier," says Dr. Justine Lee, author of It's A Dog's Life But It's Your Carpet and It's A Cat's World ...You Just Live In It. "If you go to the vet sooner, they can induce vomiting and the dog goes home in a few hours."
It's not just about being sick either. As Americans get larger, so do our animals. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than half of all dogs and cats in this country are overweight or obese.

According to Lee, much of this comes from their owners over-feeding them and the extra food they provide regularly from table snacks. She points out that while one slice of bacon doesn't seem like much, it could be a fifth of the calories a smaller dog needs for the entire day. If you do feed your pet human food, concentrate on good proteins.

For now, here's the skinny on keeping your dog slim, healthy and safe:

Vegetables: Canned pumpkin, fresh or frozen vegetables, especially green beans and carrots. These are healthy, low fat, high fiber foods, which mean your dog feels full so they won't eat too much and will poop more. You can mix these foods in with your dog's food or give them it as a snack.
Eggs: Give your dog an egg a day, which is an excellent dose of protein. To make it easy, boil a 12-pack of eggs in one go. Dogs can also eat eggshells, which contain protein.
Canned tuna and salmon: These fish, canned in water, are also easy to give to your pet and can both be mixed with dry foods. These also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which do everything from keeping joints healthy, to maintaining a healthy coat and protecting heart health.
Yogurt: Full-fat yogurt can be added to a dog's food to help with digestion and relieving gas.

Chocolate: Most of us know that this is bad for our canine friends, but in fact, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the worse it is for them. And of course, the more they eat, the more serious it is.
According to Lee, "It can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea, and it can cause a racing heart rate". "It can even lead to heart arrhythmias in dogs and cats--and it can be fatal in a massive amount or a concentrated amount." Pets can also aspirate the chocolate into their lungs, which can cause severe pneumonia", she points out.
Lee says dogs only need about an ounce of dark chocolate to get sick, but they can eat up to eight ounces of milk chocolate before they feel bad.
Caffeine: Found in chocolate, coffee and teas, caffeine can result in hyperactivity and seizures, according to Amy Zalcman, DVM, NYC Veterinary Specialists.
Onions: Onions, garlic, and layered vegetables can bring changes to your pet's red blood cells, making them fragile and liable to burst. Onions and onion-flavored foods can also cause a specific type of anemia.
Apple seeds: These contain cyanide and though they usually take a while to show, symptoms include rapid breathing, vomiting, and seizures.
Bread: Moldy bread or bread in large quantities can cause significant problems including convulsions and vomiting.
Macadamia nuts: These nuts cause a temporary paralysis in dogs but it's typically not fatal and lasts for 24 to 36 hours. They can also give your pooch weak back legs. If your dog does swallow some of these nuts, call your vet or local poison control center so they can induce vomiting or tell you how to do it.
Fatty foods such as bacon and fries: These are not poisonous, but can cause really severe reactions in your dog. When dogs have a fatty snack, it can inflame the pancreas causing profuse diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain. "Foods that have a high fat content can be challenging to digest for dogs and cats," explains Zalcman.
Vegetables: Veggies, especially asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, beans, and nuts, are likely to give your dog gas. And it's fairly certain that it will be more offensive to you than to him!

Grapes: Grapes and their dried cousins, raisins, or even certain currants, can cause kidney failure in dogs, and possibly cats.
"In general with most poisons, the more you eat, the sicker you're going to get," explains Lee. "I warn parents who have small children to beware of them throwing grapes and raisins off the high chair. " Don't forget that grapes and raisins can be found in everything from grape juice to Raisin Bran, fruit cake and trail mix.
Yeast: Unbaked bread dough or anything that contains yeast is attractive to dogs because of its smell. But once your pet has eaten the dough, their stomach becomes the new oven, its warmth making the dough expand.
"It expands so rapidly that they can need surgery to get it out," says Lee, "and it can be life threatening if the dog bloats too much. It also creates alcohol and carbon dioxide so they can get alcohol poisoning and get really drunk and lethargic."
Lee points out, while cats may nibble on some dough, they're unlikely to eat much of it.

To give us a bark or sign up for the Pooch Parade, bark on the link:  Bark!

Friday, March 25

Puppies vs. Cat

This video was sent to me and I got a good chuckle out of it.  Maybe I just think it is extra cute because the cat in the video looks so much like my cat Cowboy.  I believe he would act the exact same way this cat does if there were so many puppies approaching him. 

The puppies are out of this world cute!  I love watching the innocent curiosity in all of them.  It reminds me of all the trouble the Dachshund pups would get into that were in my house growing up.
I hope this starts your Friday off right.  Have a great weekend!


To sign up for the Pooch Parade, bark on the link: Bark!

Thursday, March 24

Celebrate National Women's Month

March is National Women's Month and the Grier Musser Museum is celebrating with an exhibit until March 26th.

Vintage memorabilia honoring women suffragist leaders like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Aimee Semple McPherson will be on display. Reservations are required, so call ahead to view. The exhibit began March 9.  Get in to see this exhibit while it lasts, which is only a few days!

The Grier Musser Museum is a restored Victorian Queen Anne house with monthly exhibits and events. The museum is open noon-4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday and is at 403 S. Bonnie Brae St., (213) 413-1814.

For more information on the exhibit, bark on the link:  Bark!

Wednesday, March 23

Top 5 Reasons To Sign Up For The Ring'n Spring Pooch Parade

April 6, 2011 @ 7PM is the Ring'n Spring Pooch Parade!  Space is limited so you need to sign up now, I promise this is the best outdoor, dog adventure you can experience Downtown.  You will learn something new, doggie will get to sniff around and stretch their legs and you both will get a treat by the end.  What a perfect way to spend the evening with your dog!

Without further ado, here are the Top 5 Reasons to Sign Up for the Ring'n Spring Pooch Parade:

#5 -  You want to show your dog what a hot party spot L.A. Live can be.

#4 -  You've been dying to try the wings at Big Wang's.

#3 -  You've been promising to take your doggie on a date since the last Pooch Parade.

#2 -  Doggie has not been on a proper walk since the beginning of winter.

#1 -  It's SPRING!  Time to celebrate and get your dog out to sniff around.

To sign up for the Ring'n Spring Pooch Parade, bark on the link:  Bark!

Tuesday, March 22

Whoopi Under Fire

This past Friday on The View, Whoopi Goldberg gave her view on the possibility of the state of New York preventing pet stores from selling puppies.  She stated that she did not need the state telling her what she could or could not do.  Now because of her comments every dog blog is ripping her a new one.  What is not being said and if you watched the show, which I did, you would've seen Whoopi agreeing that puppy mills are wrong and she does not support them, nor does she support pet stores that keep puppy mills in business and have unhealthy puppies.  What she was saying was that she does not want her right to buy a puppy from a pet store taken away because of the bad apples.  Meaning, not all pet stores treat their animals this way or buy from puppy mills.

I am not saying that I agree or disagree with Whoopi, but what I am saying is that everyone is entitled to their point of view and when you are a host on a talk show that the whole premise is to express different points of view, what do you expect but for her to give her view.  In this case, she has friends that own pet stores that do not mistreat their animals, they do not buy from puppy mills and they have healthy pups to sell, that is who she was talking about.  It would've helped her point had she said that on Friday, but never the less she is entitled to her view and she never endorsed the puppy mills.  If you watch the show, you know her role is to be a bit outspoken about things, especially when new laws or bills are about to be passed in her state that effect her rights.  I have heard her rant in the same way about smoking laws.  She is a smoker and she does not want to loose her right to smoke if she wants to and she doesn't believe she should have to smoke by a dumpster in the back corner of the building.  There are many others I could bring up.  Beyond this, if you watch the show you also know what an animal lover she is.  More for cats, but she doesn't support the cruelty that goes on in most pet stores and the puppy mills.

My point of all of this is that I believe you should have the whole story before you fire on someone.  Really awful things have been said about Whoopi and I believe it is completely unnecessary.  She gave her point of view on a bill that was about to be passed or not, that is all.  To make videos, write blogs and articles that say she is supporting the puppy mills is a little harsh.  

Just my view.

Monday, March 21


I think one of the most fascinating things about dogs is there amazing loyalty.  Not only to their owners, but to their other K-9 friends as well.  I see it all the time in so many different ways, but I don't think anything is as touching as this video from Japan that I know is going around.  A friend sent this to me at the end of last week and I found myself very moved.

If you have already seen this video, I hope you will watch again, if you haven't seen it, you just have to.  It is sad, but sweet at the same time.  The amount of protection, love and loyalty that is shown in a matter of a few moments is really amazing.  There is so much courage being shown in Japan right now, by both humans and animals.  I am keeping them in my thoughts and wishing for the best.


To find out how to help the pets in Japan, bark on the link:  Bark!

Friday, March 18

Trainer Saves Dog With CPR

If there was ever a video to demonstrate why every person that works with or owns an animal should know pet CPR, this is it.  When I got my Pet CPR certification, I remember feeling so much more confident that in the moment of an emergency I would know what to do.  Beyond that, because I would be focused on helping the animal, I would not freak out emotionally.  I think that point for owners is a huge one.  We can actually do more harm than good when we get so emotional about our pets and especially in a moment of crisis or trauma, they are going to look to us to be strong and take care of them.  If we show we cannot, that is extra anxiety we are putting onto them.
In the video below you will hear the owner really loose it, you can hear at the end of the video the trainer and person videoing say you did great.  But I don't think she did, she really had no idea how to help her dog and she is very lucky the trainer was able to spring into action to help her.  To her credit, she did pull it together and I can only imagine how devastating it would be to watch your dog drop to the ground and stop breathing.  If there was a reason to freak out, that is it.

The video picks up with the dog on the ground not breathing.  Apparently, during a regular training session the dog suddenly collapsed and stopped breathing.  The trainer is Ron Pace owner of Canyon Crest K9 Training Center in Seattle, WA, where he has dedicated his life to training diabetic alert dogs to alert their owners to dangerous blood sugar levels.  I hope this video will inspire you all to get certified if you are not and if you are, keep it up.

For information on Pet CPR training, bark on the link:  Bark!

Thursday, March 17

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today is St. Patrick's Day, do you have plans yet?  There is a lot happening Downtown, so I am sure the perfect plans are just a walk away.

Here are just a few of the events to give you some ideas for your perfect fun day and night.

Casey's St. Patrick's Day Street Fair
All day celebration of all things Irish, brought to you by Casey's Irish Pub. The first beer gets poured at 6 a.m., live music starts at noon with the Young Dubliners in Pershing Square, then continues back at the pub with cover bands Hollywood U2 and Petty Cash. The carousing goes on until 2 a.m. Simulcast live on 98.7 FM and 100.3 FM.

Casey's Irish Bar & Grill
613 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles,  90014
3/17/2011 - 3/17/2011
11:30 AM - 2:00 AM
Info: Bark!

St. Patrick's Day Free Lunchtime Concert Celebration
Event begins at 11:30am and concert starts at 12pm noon. Special Guest, Young Dubliners with Los Angeles Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums Band & Irish Dancers and Bagpipers.

Pershing Square
532 S. Olive St.
Los Angeles,  90013
3/17/2011 - 3/17/2011
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Info: Bark!
St. Patrick's Day Festival at L.A. Live
A mini-parade, Irish music and food, the Los Angeles Police Emerald Society Bagpipe Band and a beer garden with appearances by the LA Kings Ice Girls, the LA Lakers Girls and the Bud Light Models. Wolfgag Puck Bar & Grill and the Yard House will both be featuring Irish food specials.

Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live
800 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA  90015
3/17/2011 - 3/17/2011
4:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Info: Bark!

Some other places to check out for St. Patrick's Day celebrations are:

Big Wangs - 801 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA  90017
Down & Out - 501 S Spring St., Los Angeles, CA  90013
Bar 107 - 107 4th St., Los Angeles, CA  90013

 Whatever you choose, just remember to have fun, be safe and respect our neighborhoods.

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

Wednesday, March 16

What To Do If You Find A Stray

The most frequent question I am asked is what do I do now that I've found a stray?  Or I get a phone call in the moment, there is a stray on my street, what do I do?  So, when I saw this great article in the Newsletter, filled with tips on how to handle this exact situation, I thought I needed to share it with you all.  I hope you find it as helpful as I did.

As a pet lover, if you spot a stray dog or cat, you're compelled to help. But what should you do? Here, experts share their advice on how to rescue a stray. 

Determine Your Approach
First, ensure your own safety.
"Make sure it's a nice stray," said Lauren Bowling, DVM and owner of Bloomington Cat Hospital in Bloomington, IN. "If it shows any signs of attacking, call animal control."
How can you tell if it's friendly? Allow the animal to approach you instead of chasing it down. An animal used to people will be curious about you. If the animal is standoffish, Carly Stadie, an Animal Care Technician in Hampshire, IL, said it's important to have a basic understanding of animal body language. She recommends you watch for the following signs of aggression in dogs:
• tensing
• widening of eyes
• raised hackles
• growling or showing teeth.
According to Stadie, signs of aggression in cats include:
• wide eyes
• a lashing tail
• hissing
• spitting
More importantly, though, Stadie said it's important to follow your instincts when approaching an unfamiliar animal; if you feel uncomfortable about the animal, call a professional. 

Contain the Stray
If the animal is friendly, loop a leash around him or encourage him into a crate.
"Strays are often encountered while driving," Stadie said. "I think it's great to plan ahead and keep a spare leash or small crate in your car."
Get the animal to a safe location and examine it for injuries that need attention. If it requires care, call your vet or animal hospital and explain the situation; many vets will provide basic care to a stray in an emergency.
If you take the animal home, Dr. Bowling recommends that you separate the animal from your own pets.
"If you need to give it temporary shelter at your house, keep it away from your pets and wash your hands well. Cats and dogs both carry lots of diseases that they can pass back and forth, and you don't want to risk that," she said. 

Take Action
After you've contained the animal and assessed any injuries, the real work begins: It's time to find the animal's owner.
Hopefully the animal has identification like a collar and tag. Call the numbers listed - and leave a message if no one answers. They could be out searching for their lost pet. If the animal doesn't have visible identification, check for a microchip.
"Call your veterinarian or your local shelter," Dr. Bowling said. "All veterinarians and shelters can check for a microchip and contact the owner if necessary and if possible."
Ideally, you will locate the animal's owners through tags or a microchip. If not, start making phone calls to other resources in your community.
"Your local police station, animal control, and all local shelters should be informed that you have found this animal," Stadie said. "These outlets are able to check for filed missing reports that match the animal's description."
Once authorities have been notified, snap a photo of the animal and hang "Found" posters around town, in shelters, and at vet offices. 

If You Can't Find an Owner
If no owner steps forward, find out re-homing options from your local shelter - or consider adopting the animal yourself! However, Dr. Bowling gave one last word of caution.
"If you decide to keep it, make sure to take it to a veterinarian and have it checked for communicable diseases before you integrate it into your household." 

If you need to find a shelter or report a stray, just bark on the link:  Bark!

Tuesday, March 15

National Disaster Search Dog Foundation

I think we have all seen the videos and pictures at this point of what is happening in Japan.  With the death toll continuing to rise and the search for the missing continuing, it made sense that the search and rescue dogs would be called in.  The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation arrived yesterday with 6 teams ready to help.

These dogs are special, every dog in the program is a rescue themselves.  The Nation Disaster Search Dog Foundation is based out Ojai, CA and the organization was founded in 1996.  There are currently 74 SDF-trained teams around the US.  These dogs are trained to use their senses to search out all signs of life and then communicate their find to their handler.

The six teams that arrived in Japan yesterday were making their way to Ofunato City and they are ready to get to work.  “All rescue personnel will be awaiting a ‘Bark Alert’ from the dogs, letting them know there is someone in need of rescue. Everything the teams have learned during their intensive training will be put to use in saving lives,” says Janet Reineck, of the Search Dog Foundation.

My thoughts are with these dogs and handlers that  they can stay safe and find lots of people!

To learn more about the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, bark on the link: Bark!

To donate to the Japan Red Cross, bark on the link:  Bark!

To donate to Heart Tokushima Animal and the Japan Animal Earthquake Rescue and Support, bark on the link:  Bark!

Monday, March 14

Ring'n Spring Pooch Parade

Spring time is almost here and what better way to shake off the winter slumber than to get out and sniff around with your dog?   It brings me great pleasure to announce Bark & Clark's Spring Pooch Parade!

Please join us for Ring'n Spring Pooch Parade on April 6th @ 7pm.  The night will kick off with the excitement and lights of LA Live, then a romp around the South Park District will follow with special to go treats from Pussy & Pooch to give your doggies along the way. Finally the evening will conclude with a chance for the humans to sit down and unwind with adult treats and  wonderful conversation on the dog friendly patio of Big Wang's.

Besides the obvious fun you will have, this is a great chance to learn about how to handle your dog downtown and in general with other dogs and humans.  This workshop's focus is on basic obedience to help your dog focus on you - not all the distractions. We'll also work  on manners specific to the city, such as sitting at all intersections before crossing; sitting for introductions and the proper way to greet other dogs.  Last but certainly not least, we address the ongoing battle of teaching owners the proper places to potty their dog and how to clean it up!

We teach uptown manners for Downtown dogs! This class is so fun, it's more like an outing... So let's take a stroll through the city and focus on doggy's ability to deal with the public, the lively city and all the other pooches out and about.

I am so excited about this Pooch Parade, I hope I will see you all there!  Be sure to RSVP by March 30th because space is limited.

To sign up for our next Pooch Parade, give us a bark:  Bark!

Friday, March 11

Tragedy Strikes Japan

I know on Friday I usually keep it light and fun, but as I woke up this morning and turned on the news I was horrified by the sight.  While we were all sleeping Japan was struck with a 8.9 earthquake and a horrific tsunami followed.  Japan is now in a state of emergency.

I'm sure you are all watching the same news coverage I am, I am sitting here completely in shock by what I am seeing.  I can't help but send my thoughts and well wishes to the people of Japan.  I also can't help but think of all the animals, I hope there is help for them as well.  Here is a video of some of the damage.

As you go through your day today, just send a few good thoughts towards Japan.  As the death toll and missing person count keeps rising, I can only think of the friends and family of those people.  And all of the people that have lost their homes, belongings, everything.

Have a good Friday, a safe weekend and keep Japan in your thoughts.

Stay strong our friends!

For information about the earthquake in Japan, bark on the link:  Bark!

Thursday, March 10

Children Riding Dogs

Yesterday Dogster had a posting about a Dear Abby letter concerning a child that had rode a family dog like a horse and now the dog possibly has life long injuries.  It is a sad story, the parents had let their son's friend come over to play, the friend didn't have a dog, he was excited by the family's lab.  The next thing the father knows he hears the friend say "Look, I'm riding your dog!"  He of course rushed in the room, but it was too late, he was already riding the lab around.  Though the father stopped it then, the days after proved to be very painful for the dog and he was unable to make it down the stairs in their house.  Three weeks of pain medication later, the dog is still getting worse and they now need X-rays or a MRI to find out what injury actually exists.

When I say this is a sad story, I mean all around sad.  It is most sad that a healthy lab went from being fine to being crippled in a matter a seconds because a bad decision.  Of course the little 9-year-old boy had no idea what he was doing, he was just having fun, but very sad that this wasn't prevented.  It is sad that no rules were ever set with the children to say this would not be an acceptable way to play with a dog.

Kids are kids, they need parents, guardians, adults or someone of authority to tell them right from wrong and when it comes to pets it all needs to be spelled out.  I understand from a child's perspective how it might be appealing to ride a dog, especially if we are talking about a giant breed, but this is just a horrible idea!  I also understand how some parents might think it is cute to let their child ride their dog, do a search on Youtube and you will see what I mean.  However, according to Cornell University Veterinarian Sarah Bassman: “Children riding on the back of their family dog is very dangerous for the animal, and the child, even if you have one of the giant breeds as your family pet. The muscles in a dog’s back are not strong enough and not designed to carry a passenger and could be damaged by this activity. We worry about muscle sprain and strain, vertebral subluxation, and disc-related problems. Lesser sprains and strains may need to be treated with pain medications or physical therapy while serious spinal injuries could lead to paralysis which may or may not be able to be surgically repaired.”

I hope you all have a chance to check out Dogster's original  post, it is listed below.  But more than anything, I hope you all take away something from this story and are able to protect your dogs from a tragic mistake like this.  If you allow children to interact with your dog, just make sure the rules of play are well spelled out, as clearly as possible, the difference between good play and bad play.

To view the Dogster's blog and the Dear Abby Letter, bark on the link:  Bark!

Wednesday, March 9

Food Truck Wednesday

Are you looking for something to do for lunch today?  The food trucks are out again at 7+Fig, L.A. Mart and 1010 Wilshire.

The upper level of the Ernst & Young Plaza at 7+Fig will hosts Canter's, featuring pastrami and corned beef sandwiches and matzoh ball soup, Mandoline Grill, which serves up Vietnamese sandwiches, and Ahn-Joo, a Korean food option, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Greasy Wiener, serving hot dogs and curly fries, will be at L.A. Mart (1933 S. Broadway Ave.) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hungry Nomad, for flatbread sandwiches, will be at the lot across the street from 1010 Wilshire from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

For more information on the food trucks, bark on the link:  Bark!

Tuesday, March 8

Listening To Your Dog

Over the weekend I learned some unfortunate news.  A dog that I have known and loved for quite some time has been diagnosed with cancer.  I am not going to disclose the name of the dog or family, I am sure they would rather face this in private.  You may then ask why I am blogging about it at all?  The reason is because the other dog in the household told the owner long before there was even a sign to check out at the vet.

Apparently two months ago the second dog in the household started to avoid our sweet guy.  The owners couldn't figure out why.  As time when on he started to become ill and they went to the vet and he was diagnosed at that time.  Of course in hind sight it is easy to piece together everything, but how could you in the moment?  The lesson I think for everyone is to listen to what your dogs are telling you.  They talk to us everyday in multiple ways, we just have to listen.  I realize this is easier said than done in our busy lives, but try to stop and observe what they might be saying, you never know what they could know that you don't.

I know that all the positive energy in the world cannot heal this dear dog, but we can all will him to be comfortable and happy for his remaining days.  So I ask everyone that reads this blog send some good energy towards this dog.  He really is a sweet and amazing guy with such personality and love.

I wish you well my dear friend.

Monday, March 7

Pet Breast Cancer

I know Breast Cancer Awareness Month is October, but I wanted share this information with you now.  This is a story that was publish this past October for Breast Cancer Awareness, however, it is information we all can use all year round.  I think we all understand the risk of breast cancer in humans, but do you know there is a risk for your pets?  There is a big risk for your dogs and cats, especially if they were spayed later in life. 
Below is a story from Petside Newsletter about one cat's story dealing with breast cancer and a few tips to help you try to prevent or detect it in your own pet.

Lovely Suzy in 2005.
Suzy the cat was about nine years old when her owner, Michelle, noticed that one of her nipples was red and swollen. Unaware of what this symptom could mean, Michelle didn't think much of it. "I was clueless," she admits. "I didn't even think to compare it to the size and color of her other mammary glands."
When it didn't get better, she decided to take Suzy to the vet. At the doctor's recommendation, surgery was scheduled a few days later and two mammary glands were removed and biopsied.
Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, countless stories of breast cancer, braveness and being a survivor have been told in order to encourage prevention and detection. Just as women have been reminded to perform a monthly self-exam to feel for lumps, you should do a regular check for lumps, bumps and swelling on the belly and chest of your dog or cat as part of her health routine, too.
Unfortunately, statistics were not on Suzy's side. "Eighty-five percent of mammary masses in cats are malignant," says Avenelle Turner, DVM, veterinary oncologist at Veterinary Cancer Group in Los Angeles, CA, who treated Suzy. Dogs fare a bit better: there's a fifty percent chance of malignancy in canine mammary tumors.
Suzy's tests determined that her tumors were, indeed, cancerous and Michelle immediately began learning all she could about the disease in the hopes that she could help her cat recover.
She soon found out that the one true preventative measure she could have taken--early spaying--was out of her control. Suzy was adopted at around 2 years of age and had been spayed only a month prior to joining Michelle's family.
But if you have a younger pet, take note: "Spaying a dog before her first heat cycle reduces her lifetime risk of mammary cancer to 0.5 percent," says Dr. Turner. That risk increases to 8 percent if she's spayed between her first and second heat cycles, and rises to 26 percent if she's spayed later than that.
The benefits aren't quite as dramatic for cats, but spaying early does help decrease their risk as well. If your pet was adopted late in the game or spayed after her second heat cycle like Suzy was, don't panic, warns Dr. Turner. "Not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer," she points out. "The risks factors just increase."
Once you've done all you can to prevent mammary cancer, the most helpful step is early detection.
Detection and Care
While humans can get blood tests, mammograms and other screenings for early diagnosis, that technology hasn't progressed to veterinary medicine. "The best thing dog and cat owners can do is be vigilant, feel for any bumps or nodules around the mammary glands and watch for any discharge or swelling," advises Dr. Turner.
If you notice unusual symptoms, have them checked out as soon as possible. One thing that can aid in detection is keeping your pet at a healthy weight. While excess fat doesn't put your dog or cat at any greater risk, it does make feeling tumors more difficult.
Suzy eventually had another surgery and three rounds of chemotherapy.
In spite of the excellent care she received, the cancer was aggressive and spread to her lungs. She passed away on May 1, 2010 at about 10 years old. "Even though I lost Suzy, I hope her story will help other cat owners figure out how to prevent, detect and cope with mammary cancer," Michelle says. "If more people are aware, it could save their pets in the future."

For more information on help for pet breast cancer, bark on the link:   Bark!

Friday, March 4

Sleep Walking Dog

How many of you have watched your dog sleep and dream?  I find this to be rather entertaining if you have a dog that is active during sleep.  My dog has dreams that lead to him sometimes barking or running.  He has never got up on his feet and actually ran around, but a couple of times I thought he might.
I was telling a friend about this and they sent me this video, I thought it was perfect for a Friday.  It is a little bit of fun to get your weekend started.

By the way, the dog was not injured in this video.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 3

There Is A Dog In My Fridge And He Won't Get Out!

In Yuma, AZ a little black Terrier surprised a family by rushing into their home as they opened their front door.  The family tried to get the dog out, but he started snapping at them.  They opened the refrigerator door to get something out to lure the dog out of the house and that is when he jumped inside!  

The family did not know what to do since the dog continued to snap.  So, they called 911.  The Firefighters showed up, put on their protective gear and endured the dogs bites long enough to get him out of the refrigerator and into a carrier.  The dog was then reunited with his owner who had reported him missing earlier.  

At least this story has a happy ending, no matter how bizarre it is.

To read the original story, bark on the link:  Bark!

Wednesday, March 2

What's Up Downtown - March

Happy March everyone! has released their What's Up Downtown for March and there is a lot going on!  The most important part of this is the survey to help bring us the retailers we want (like Trader Joe's).  I really encourage everyone to log on and take the survey, it takes less than 10 minutes.  It doesn't matter if you work, live or play here, they want to hear from us all!

There is a lot going on this month to get excited about, a food truck festival at Union Station, Jane Fonda's show at the Ahmanson, amazing operas and concerts, and of course Lady Gaga will be in town at the end of the month.  There are some new spots to eat to check out as well, I highly recommend Mas Malo, it didn't disappoint!

Whatever your interests, I am sure you will find the perfect activity downtown this month!  Don't forget to take the survey.

To view What's Up Downtown-March, bark on the link:  Bark!

Tuesday, March 1

Kids With Dogs Are More Active

I read in K9 Magazine Online about a small research that was done at the University of Minnesota to focus on the physical effects dogs have on kids.  The research was simple, they had 618 kids ranging between the ages of 12-16 years old wear accelerometers for a week to measure their physical activity. Half the families of the kids had dogs and half did not. 

I'm sure it is not that big of a surprise to know that the kids in families with dogs got more exercise.  The surprise to me was that the numbers were not that far apart.  The kids with dogs averaged 32.1 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day, whereas the kids without dogs averaged 29.5 minutes.  I would've thought the numbers would've been more wide spread.

The research is likely to be just the beginning of a larger study.  This was a simple research that focused on only one thing, the exercise a child gets by having a dog.  However, there are other researchers at other Universities that would like to take the research further because the research didn't take into account the size or breed of the dog, the safety of the neighborhoods where the families lived or the level of attachment the kids had to the pets. 

Whatever new research comes from this, it will be interesting to see all the additional benefits of having a dog besides the amazing amount of love they give us.

To read more on this article, bark on the link:  Bark!