Friday, April 29

Things To Do This Weekend

The weekend is here and there are a few things that I want to point out that I think would be fun to do!

If you enjoy a good book and are always looking for your next read, you may like to go to one of the book fairs that is happening this weekend.  The first is the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books which takes place on the USC campus from April 30 through May 1.  The second is the Spanish-language book fair Léa L.A. (Read L.A.) that takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from April 29 through May 1.  Both sound great to this reader... I may not get as much out of the second as I am not fluent in Spanish, but for those of you that are, how often do we get this pleasure?

Another fun event this Sunday, May 1st is one that comes around only once a month and of course involves eating!  TRUCKIT FEST!  In case you haven't heard about this, it is a monthly festival (the first Sunday of each month) that takes place at Union Station and it features over 40 of LA's best Food Trucks, 200 local designers and artisans, Live Bands, DJ's and much more.

I hope this helps you find the perfect event for your weekend.  Don't forget to get out in this beautiful weather and do something fun with your dog!

For all your training needs, give us a bark!

Thursday, April 28

A Dog's Fairy Tale

Honey on her Swash bed

I want to thank Dogster for this great story.  With all eyes (or at least most) on the Royal wedding, I think it has put me in a mood for a good fairy tale.  This is certainly an excellent one for a dog.  It is a true rags to riches story and the best part is that it is not fictional, it is all true. 

Dogster's writer and creator happened upon this story on a recent visit to London.  She was visiting Valery Demure, a renowned showroom director for some of the world’s top accessory designers. She was taken by this golden beauty lying on a lush Swash bed and the story developed from there.  I hope you enjoy this beautiful story as much as I did.

A Short Fairy Tail

Once upon a time there was a dog with no name. She was found tied up to a post in front of a London flower shop. She was there for many hours. No one claimed her. She was scrawny, weighing half what she should. At the end of the day, she went home with Valery, who loved her as soon as she laid eyes on her. Valery had been wanting a sight hound of some sort, and this dog looked vaguely whippet. It didn’t matter, whippet or not, she would not let the dog spend the night tied to a post, and did not want to give her up to a humane society. She put up signs, and was thankful when no one claimed her.
Honey was 2 years old then. Fast forward four years. The dog is resplendent, lying in Valery’s studio, reposing on her comfortable Swash designed dog bed and listening to Valery go on about how much Honey has meant to her. The air is sweet with the smell of fresh-brewed tea and honey. Valery’s easygoing baby, Paloma, gurgles with her sitter on a comfy chair.
It turns out Honey, who has filled out beautifully, is probably half collie, half whippet. She sports a thick, shiny coat and a mellow temperament. (Except when Valery leaves; so Valery takes Honey as many places as possible. She’s a happy pup.) While Candy, the Swash team’s purebred whippet, may be Queen of the Swash kingdom, Honey is just an every mutt who hit the jackpot and is living the life she had once only dreamed of.
Honey may not be royalty, but by virtue of being at various fashion shoots in London and Paris (Valery’s native land) with Valery, she has taken part in several shoots and appeared in a number of fashion magazines. And she recently got the royal treatment: Swash featured her sweet countenance on a genuine Swash scarf. (See below.) She’s in one corner, Candy is in another. Squirrels, poop-bag dispensers, and pretty collars and leaves embellish the rest of the giant silk scarf.
It’s very sweet — just as life is for this once homeless girl who is now living happily every after.

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

Wednesday, April 27

Metro Tests

In the next two weeks expect some noise and lane closures due to Metro conducting a round of preliminary geotechnical testing for the Regional Connector. Crews will evaluate ground conditions to determine the best way to dig out the future underground light rail line that will connect the Metro Gold Line to the Metro Blue Line. Construction is expected to begin in 2014.

Most of this testing will be done during the day.  The tests started on Monday of this week and today they will be testing at General Thaddeus Kosciuszko Way, between Hope and Flower streets and Olive and Second streets.  Daily testing locations are updated at

Anytime the city starts working towards improving our metro line I get very excited.  It might come at a bit of a price of inconvenience, but I think it is well worth it in the long run.  I look forward to the day that you can travel anywhere you desire in Los Angeles and surrounding areas via the metro!

For more information on Regional Connector, bark on the link:  Bark!

Tuesday, April 26


The more dogs I train the more I understand that there are three very important things you must have for your dog.  2 of these are commands the third is a way of life.  So often people bring home their sweet dog or puppy and give them everything they want and end up creating or encouraging really awful behavior.  For example, never correcting a puppy that is mouthing and then they learn that biting gets them what they want... the behavior develops and now your dog that was once a cute puppy bites.  Not so cute.

So what are these 3 things?  My opinion is you need these three to have a happy, healthy relationship with your dog.

1.  Have structure to your home.  Have a clear set of rules and guidelines for your dog.  This doesn't necessarily mean no couch for your pooch, but it could.  It is whatever you want for your home, each person can determine what is appropriate behavior for their dog in their home.  But the basic structure should be you determine feeding time, affection time, play time, work time, if they can jump on you or not, is barking allowed or not, what toys can be played with, where they sleep, etc.

2.  Recall.  The recall command is when you call for your dog and they come to you.  This is one of the most important commands to have on your dog if nothing else.  To have the ability to call for you dog and them come to you no matter what they are doing or what you are asking them to leave.  This means you could call them away from danger or trouble.

3.  Stay.  The stay command is just that, you ask your dog to stay and they will hold the position until you return to release them.  This is important for a number of reasons, but the most important is again danger.  If your dog will hold a stay, should they ever be off leash or slipped their collar, you could ask them to down stay until you get to them.   Or maybe you have your hands full and need to unlock your door, to be able to drop the leash and say stay until you can get your door open is just handy!

These are my top three must haves for any dog.  I hope you find them helpful.  If you don't have these three things implemented for your dog, you should consider coming to one of my basic or intermediate classes.

A new basic obedience class starts on May 14th, bark on the link to sign up:  Bark!

Monday, April 25

Service Dog Bites Child

This is just a very sad case to read about!  A nine-year-old girl with brain cancer, Molly Kimball, has a had her service dog Ava for a year.  Now Ava's fate is to be decided by a New Jersey judge after she bit a six-year-old neighbor girl.  

The neighbors say this is not the first time this has happened, that shortly after Ava joined the  Kimball family she bit their son on the side of the face and now this time she bit their daughter on the nose.  The Kimball's are maintaining that this was an accident and that Ava was simply licking the girl and the bit was unintentional.  I am not sure I buy that seeing that it took 100 stitches to close up the wounds on the girls face.

No matter what the truth is, the whole situation is very sad.  The end result is that a nine-year-old with brain cancer will most likely loose her service dog and a six-year-old has gone through a very traumatic experience and will likely have a major fear of dogs.

Here is the video for the whole story.

Friday, April 22

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Friday and Happy Earth Day!  Make today a great one by doing something good for your earth and in turn doing something great for you.  It can be as simple as using a reusable bag for all your bagging needs today or plant a plant or flower for your window seal.  If you are still looking for the perfect Earth Day activity, maybe the list that KCPP published on their blog will help...

10 Earth Day freebies and deals in Los Angeles
1. First, pick up a free reusable bag if you don’t have one yet at the Nature Conservancy booth, which will pop up next to the main Clock Tower at the Original Farmers Market starting at 11 am. The bag will get you Earth Day specials at participating vendors throughout the market.

2. Then get $1 off your take-out order at M Cafe by reusing that reusable bag — and enjoy a free cup of organic coffee too for remembering your reusable mug — all day on Earth Day.
3. Or enjoy a free sustainable seafood lunch from the Border Grill Truck, which will be at the California Science Center from 11:30 am to 2 pm on Earth Day. Just say the secret password: @AlaskaSeafood.
4. More of a cook-at-home environmentalist? Make eating local easier and download the Locavore phone app free. Though usually $2.99, the iPhone and Android app — which keeps track of what fruits and veggies are in season and what farmers’ markets are near you — will be free on Earth Day.
5. Eco-fashionistas can put shopping dollars to a good cause at L.A.-based green fashion company Stewart+Brown‘s Earth Day event. Between now and Sat., April 30, Stewart+Brown will donate 20 percent of all full-price purchases at  to Riverkeeper to help protect watersheds.
6. Need an afternoon pick me up? Get a free cup of coffee or tea at Starbucks by taking your own reusable mug. No promises as of yet on whether either drink will be organic or fair trade certified.
7. In the evening, watch a free outdoor screening of “Avatar” at the 4th Annual Wilshire Center Earth Day/Car Free Day event, which will also feature e-waste recycling, tree adoptions, face painting, performances, eco-friendly booths, and more. It all starts at 6 pm at 3700 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.
8. Enter for a chance to win a free organic meal for two or organic wine at Pizza Fusion Hollywood. Simply stop by the restaurant to write down an Earth Month pledge, which will enter you into a drawing for 3 giveaways.
9. Then for dessert, eat a cupcake to plant a tree. For $3.25, you can get a special Earth Day cupcake at Magnolia Bakery. Pick from a vanilla or chocolate bottom with buttercream frosting in Earth or peace signs (sorry, not organic). Each cupcake sold will send $1 to the Plant a Billion Trees organization, an initiative of The Nature Conservancy to restore Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.
10. Make it a 2-day celebration by volunteering to create a new community garden in Watts as part of LA Works Earth Day of Service. For your good work, you’ll be rewarded with free breakfast, coffee, and an organic event T-shirt from bgreen. That event happens Sat., April 23, from 8:30 am to 1 pm at 670 E. 120th St, Los Angeles

 Whatever you do, do it green.  Have a wonderful weekend and don't forget to let your dogs help you be green!  Bark! Bark!

Thursday, April 21

Recycling Furniture For Your Pets

Spring is here and with the change in weather also comes spring cleaning and if you are like me a little bit of redecorating!  In the spirit of decorating your home, I found a couple of great ideas on what to do with old furniture or even luggage.  Both of these work well for cats or smaller sized dogs.  For the bigger pets, just use bigger furniture!

We all know how expensive it can be to replace even an end table and it is almost as expensive to by a good nook or bed for your dog.  Dogster brought us a story earlier this week on turning an ugly end table into a beautiful dog nook / end table!   It is really simple to do, just remove the door and all hardware, paint it your desired color (probably a few coats) and then put a dog bed inside.  You could also make your own bed by getting some cotton fabric and eco-friendly stuffing and construct it to the size you need and then sew.  Not only will you save money, you are being good to the earth!  Look at how fabulous it looks! 

The next idea I found through a friend of mine that is an Organizing Consultant.  This one make so much sense, especially for cats.  Those of you that own cats will understand!  The first thing my cat does the minute I get my luggage out is climb inside, so the notion to turn old (nice looking) luggage into a hip cat bed is a natural conclusion.  This is a really simple process as well.  

Make sure the luggage you are using has a hard plastic casing, remove one side and all the hardware (leave the handle), attach four legs, insert bed and show your cat his new bed!  Again, rather than buying a bed, you could make your own eco-friendly one.  Here is an example of the finished product.

I found both of these to be amazing ideas that are cute and can be stylish.  Anytime I can be good to the earth, frugal and creative, I am into it.  The best part is your pets will be very happy with you.

For more on transforming old furniture to new, bark on the link:  Bark!

For more on recycled home decor, bark on the link:  Bark!

Wednesday, April 20

Neville's Notes

I promised you all a new segment would be debuting this week, Neville's Notes.  A blog about dogs, downtown and everything around from one dog's perspective.  I have asked Neville to basically be my guest blogger from time to time so that you all can track his progress, but you can hear it from him.  It is with great pleasure that I present the very first Neville's Notes to you today.  Take it away my sweet boy!

Neville's Notes
Hello and welcome to Neville's Notes.  Mommy (Tamara) told me that you all know who I am and that she use to write about me, so you know a little about my history and how I came to live with her and Daddy (Adam).  Well, I will pick up where I know she left off and also where everything changed for me.  Daddy had went away for a long time, I remember having lots of time alone with mommy, except for Cowboy of course.   I really liked that, but I missed Daddy a lot and didn't know if he would come back. Then one night, mommy loaded me in her car and we went to that weird place with all the people, cars and things in the sky and her car stopped and suddenly Daddy opened the back of the car.  I was so excited I tried to jump out the back to get to him.  He got in the car and I licked him and smelled him and told him how much I loved him.  In that moment I felt it all change... this was my home, these were my people.
From there life continued as it was before Daddy went on his trip.  I was given lots of love, but we also did a lot of work.  Daddy continued to take me to classes, the instructor said I was the brightest in class.  Mommy continued working on helping me with the scary things on the streets and all the people.  For some reason people like to look at me and try to touch me, but Mommy always keeps me safe and tells me what a brave boy I am.  I love it when I touch something with my nose and she tells me I am brave!  I always look up at her to make sure it was the right thing, she is always smiling, so I must be doing it right.
Mommy and I are still doing Nosework, which I really like!  It is so much fun to sniff for the odor and get all the yummy treats.  I just got a new collar too, so now I look really good.  I like to show it off to everyone in class, they are nice people like Mommy, so I try to say hello to them and let them pet me.  
I also have made good friends, both human and K-9.  It is hard with the humans, I am not always sure I should trust them.  They seem nice, but I really prefer them to have a dog with them so I can talk to the dog and make sure they are okay.  Once I get a confirmation from their K-9 companion, I am usually okay.  I also am starting to understand, Mommy and Daddy protect me, they only let nice people around me.
Last Monday was the greatest day of all, Mommy signed adoption papers for me. Then I got a new leather collar and tags with my name on it.  I am so happy!  I finally belong somewhere.  I am in a home with a family that loves me how I am.  The best part is that I think I really make them happy too.  I just wish Mommy wouldn't kiss and hug me all the time, it is embarrassing in front of my friends, but I like it when it is just us
The best part of my new home is all the new and exciting things I get to do.  Mommy and Daddy work really hard with me, I work really hard too, but I like the work.  I keep doing new things that I never thought I could do before or sometimes even knew existedNext time I will tell you about some of these.
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed my first Neville's Notes!

For more information on training with Bark & Clark, bark on the link:  Bark!

Tuesday, April 19

Potty Talk About Your Pet

Who knew becoming a trainer would lead to talking about poop so many times a day!  But it is the number one question I get and honestly probably the most frequent conversation I have with clients, what to do for or why does my dog have diarrhea?  First, let me just say that I am not a vet and I have not taken any extensive training other than a CPR certification course.  So my answer is usually, what did your dog eat?  If there is no certain answer there, my next comment is take your dog to the vet.  When my dog has diarrhea, I can usually tell you why.  Either I allowed him to eat something new or I poured too much Flax oil on his food.  But, if it went on and on or I didn't have any clue why it was continuing, I would take him to the vet.  Most don't realize that diarrhea can be the symptom to something very serious.  Thankfully, most times it is just a simple upset tummy.  In any case, this is a topic that seems important to my clients, which is why I am sharing this great article from with all of you.  It is a very straight forward conversation about your pets and the possible causes of diarrhea.  I hope you all get a bit of information that can help you.

The Deal on Diarrhea and Your Pet--What's It Mean?  

By Susan Israel 

Just about 20 minutes after Ronald Smith picked up his 8-week-old puppy, Cara, from the breeder, she had diarrhea in the car. Two days later, Cara was still having diarrhea when Smith took her to the vet, but since she was in a new home and since diarrhea is common in puppies, the vet prescribed standard medicine and said Cara seemed to be otherwise very healthy.
Some days she would be fine; other days she was lethargic and she would have diarrhea and vomit - and then her stomach began to swell.
"One day, as I was in the garden and she was lying on the grass, I could swear that every time I looked over her belly was bigger," Smith said. A trip to the emergency vet clinic resulted in a diagnosis of intussusception, a condition in which one segment of the intestine telescopes into an adjacent segment of intestine. After emergency surgery, Cara slowly began to recover.
"It was probably a month or so before you could see weight gain and her hair growing back," he said. "Her first solid stool after the operation was a moment to celebrate...and a whole lot easier to pick up."
Does Diarrhea Mean Something Is Seriously Wrong? And What Causes It?
Fortunately, most cases of diarrhea in dogs and cats are nowhere near as serious and most are the result of indiscriminate eating. "In our multi-kitty household, there are two main causes of simple diarrhea: milk and junk," says Janis Badarau of Oconee, South Carolina. "Our kitties love milk, sour cream, cream cheese, even sliced cheese, and occasionally we give them a 'small' amount as a treat. Several of them are lactose intolerant, and we've seen the telltale chocolate pudding in the litter boxes for the next couple of days. They also eat stuff off the floor - dust, flower petals, unidentified - and this sometimes gives them diarrhea. A day or two on their normal healthful diet gets their systems right back in order."

"We see a lot of pets that get 'garbage gut'," says Dr. Duffy Jones, founder of Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. "They tend to eat anything that's not tied down."
While dogs more frequently suffer from the results of gobbling out of a tipped-over garbage can, cats are not immune. If your dog is still running around and eating normally, Jones suggests observing him for 24 to 36 hours to see if stool returns to normal before bringing him to the vet as long as he isn't showing signs of dehydration and there is no sign of blood in the stool. If you pick up skin and it stays tented when you let go, it's a sign of dehydration. Another sign is dry gums. "Dehydration can lead to kidney and liver problems," cautions Jones. "If after 36 to 48 hours the dog still has diarrhea, even if otherwise acting okay, it's best they be seen by a vet."
What Else Causes Diarrhea?
Another cause of diarrhea is someone changing the dog or cat's diet or introducing new treats without a gradual switch, according to Dr. Bernadine Cruz, associate veterinarian at Laguna Hills Animal Hospital, Laguna Hills, California. They should also stay away from salty, sugary and fatty foods. Sometimes diarrhea is the result of a food allergy, though Dr. Cruz points out that in this case it would likely be chronic rather than sudden onset. "Sometimes you have no idea what causes it," says Cruz.
If the pet is otherwise acting normally, Cruz suggests withholding food for 3 to 4 hours, then feeding multiple small meals of a bland diet. For a dog, Cruz recommends small amounts of cottage cheese mixed 50/50 with boiled rice several times throughout the day. For a cat, Cruz suggests feeding a mix of all meat human baby food with baby rice cereal (i.e. Pablum) and adding water or chicken broth. If there's no improvement, Cruz recommends you get a stool sample and bring your pet to the vet to determine the cause. "Even an older pet can swallow something he shouldn't. I had a cat who had spit up one hair scrunchie and had another in its stomach and needed surgery to remove it," says Cruz.

"I've learned that when a problem passes the 'normal' stage it is then 'abnormal' and should immediately be treated as such," says Smith, whose dog Cara is now a healthy 4-year-old. "Stretching out that 'normal' stage because everyone 'hopes' it will suddenly be all right is a big gamble that in the future I don't think I'd take."

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

Monday, April 18

April Is Adopt A Greyhound Month

I can't believe this month is over half way over, but there is still time to participate in a very worthwhile month long cause...Adopt a Greyhound Month!  I am such a Greyhound fan, I find them to be majestic, graceful and affectionate, certainly a breed I plan to own one day.  So when Dogster invited Cara Brockhoff, a Greyhound lover and rescuer, to write a bit about Greyhounds in honor of Adopt a Greyhound Month I knew I had to share it with you all.  I especially love the video at the bottom, I have a good laugh!  I hope you all enjoy and find this as informative and interesting as I did.

What Makes Greyhounds Greyt 

By Cara Brockhoff

April is Adopt a Greyhound Month and I’m here to tell you why you should!
Greyhounds are: calm, affectionate, short-haired, velcro couch potatoes. Greyhounds aren’t: perfect. But then, who is?
Sleek and handsome, Greyhounds have a unique way of embedding themselves into the hearts of their admirers to the point where The Potato Chip Syndrome applies – “It’s hard to have just one.” It is rare that you’ll find a single greyhound home: new owners become so infatuated they’ve gotta have more. We have seven. Having been raised and trained with their whole litters and living among kennels full of other Greyhounds during their racing careers, the dogs do better with companionship and having more than one dog can avoid separation anxiety, especially if left alone during the day.

Greyhounds have been bred for 5,000 years to hunt, and in their racing lifetimes, to chase the lure- it’s in their blood and their brains so adoption groups require new owners to have fenced yards and to keep their new kids on lead if they’re not within it. It only makes sense: a sighthound can see something moving a mile away and hit a top speed of 45 mph while chasing it. Unfortunately, they’re focused upon the item and not upon freeways or trees in their path. It’s impossible for a human to keep up with a greyhound to protect it from danger a mile away. So if prospective owners want a dog who will follow them on a street or a beach, they’d be better advised to look at labs or goldens or foo- foos (who should all be leashed anyway – it’s a bonding experience!).
I’ve just finished reading the article by Kathleen Gilly in Celebrating Greyhounds- The Magazine. Kathleen and Gill were masters of training and behaviorism, introducing new Greyhounds to their dancing and entertainment team of six with the least possible stress and instilling trust and pack-order from the get-go. I was awed by their knowledge, their understanding of doggie mentality, and diligence.

In our own home, our method is a contrast – we try to figure out what a newcomer wants and we give it to them. I know, I know – not wise, but then, we’re not adopting 2- or 3-year-olds fresh out of the kennels. Jerry and I are addicted to the seniors and returns – dogs who have been in family situations for years where previous owners gave them up either out of necessity or lack of compassion (would they relinquish their human children?). We’re seniors ourselves, so we appreciate the slower pace and we know they need us as much as we need them. We’ve got lots of couches. Actually, with seven hounds, we have eight beds or couches in my office, and the same number in the kitchen/library, greyt room, and bedroom, surrounding our own bed like an audience. We’re a tight family – the whole gang follows us from room to room and we like to give them choices.
If yours is not already a Greyhound family, you probably haven’t experienced a Greyhound gathering. Media folks and other observers are always blown away by seeing hundreds of Greyhounds mingling with their owners and the silence of it all – there is no snapping, no bickering, no angry “this is my space” warnings- they just appear to revel at being among their own kind. This is how it is in our own home when dogs have come from places where they were less loved or, by necessity, received less attention – they’re just so darned greytful to have a family of their own and trust that it’s finally their Forever Home.

Yes, we suffer more losses than those who adopt two-year-olds and get to adore them for 10-12 years, but for us, the Greyhounds who we are fortunate enough to have even for a year or two, feel as though they’ve been here for a lifetime. Their individual quirks and personalities leave such a mark upon our hearts that we wouldn’t have missed the opportunity for anything in the world. And we know that the love they knew with us is what they’ll carry with them into eternity. Just LOOK at these memorable faces (and read some of their stories!)
If your family is considering a new canine companion, don’t pass up an opportunity to meet some Greyhounds up close and personal at a local Meet and Greet or adoption kennel. It’s Springtime, so many groups are planning summer picnics where you can have a hands-on experience with lots of Greyhounds and visit with owners who relish the opportunity to brag about their babies! You’ll notice in the process that if you decide to adopt, you’re not only adding to your own family, but joining a family of devoted Greyhound adopters if you choose to do so. These are social folks who love social dogs – help is always nearby. We should let Cal speak for himself!
The Greyhound Project keeps an up-to-date list of adoption organizations all over the country to assist you in finding greyhound events locally. These organizations are adept at matching the right greyhounds to the right families, so applications always ask if you have cats or small dogs, small children, birds, etc. Because most retired racers have been in foster homes, foster parents are intimately familiar with each Greyhound’s personality and want to place them in perfectly suited homes.
Now if you ask ME, they’re all perfect. Especially the older ones.

Cara Brockhoff
Northcoast Greyhound Support, a FUN-Draising Enterprise
(100% of earnings to greyt causes)

Friday, April 15

Pet Expo and More....

Today is traditionally tax day, but we get a break this year thanks to some government holiday and we have until the 18th to file!  I think this is a reason to celebrate or at least have a fun filled weekend!  Lucky for us there is a lot to do... you can catch a concert at Walt Disney Hall, see a comedy show at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, take in a performance at Los Angeles Theatre Center or one of the two main attractions of the weekend the OC Pet Expo or the Great Urban Race.

The OC Pet Expo starts today and runs til Sunday at 6pm.  This is the perfect family event especially if you are looking for a pet or have one.  A big warning, try not to by into all the hype, you could end up spending a lot a money on things you really don't need.  But you also may really make out with all the free samples and take aways.  In addition to the exhibits you can catch a Splash Dogs competition in the parking lot and there are demos inside of other dog sports such as Agility and Nosework.  All of that plus all the animals that you can interact with and check out... this is my favorite part.  I can't make it there until Sunday this year, but I've heard this year is going to be even better than last!  For more information, bark on the link:  Bark!

The Great Urban Race - Los Angeles is this Saturday!   If you haven't heard of this, it is like the Amazing Race, but local (in Downtown) or a really cool scavenger hunt.  I have never participated in this, though I really want to.  I think it would be great to put together a team and just have a great time all day running through L.A. following clues.  Every year I have seen others doing it or friends of mine have entered and told me about it, I think it looks and sounds so fun and such a great way to experience our beautiful city!  It is not too late to sign up, there is still time.  For all the information, bark on the link:  Bark!

For a full list of events this weekend, bark on the link:  Bark!

Thursday, April 14

The Happiest Hello

I don't know that there is a better feeling in the world than coming home to your dog or puppy saying hello to you in their special way.  Of course, this intensifies the longer you are away.  I am already thinking of my return to my guy for my up coming weekend trip.  (Though he will probably prefer me to go away since he will be on a vacation himself at his uncle's and cousin's house.)  But can you imagine being away for a whole year?  

Well, I was sent this amazing video by a friend yesterday, that captures a very special and tender moment for a solider returning home after a year in Afghanistan.  The reunion between the solider and her dog is very sweet and real.  You can see how excited the dog is to see her mommy, it is very dear.  I just kept thinking what a wonderful way to welcomed home from something that had to be hell.

Once again, get the tissues ready and enjoy the video.

For more information on Bark & Clark training, give us a bark:  Bark!

Wednesday, April 13

Before You Go To Heaven...

As a daily reader and fan of Dogster, I end up blogging about some of their stories or interesting things they are up to.  This morning I read the most beautiful story on Dogster that was from a guest blogger, Ashely Owen Hill of Lucky Dog Rescue.  She did a guest blog two weeks ago and that one was really great as well, I recommend going back to read it if you can (the link will be below).  But today's really struck a cord with me.  Part because of the special dogs I've recently lost and part because of the special dog I just adopted.  There is an amazing love you receive from a dog that has not known love before, it is powerful and moving.  This story illuminates that love on both sides.  I won't lie, you will need a couple of tissues, but it is inspiring and beautiful.

Have your tissues ready, but enjoy the story and the message.

Before You Go to Heaven

By Ashley Owen Hill

I was asked to share the story about what I do for special case dogs on death row in shelters. I do realize that this might not be the most popular idea with all of you, but I’m hoping that maybe it will inspire someone to do the same. If you ever have the chance to do this, it will change your life.
When there are terminally ill dogs on death row, I’ve made the decision to do something very special for them. Because treating these dogs for their conditions would cause them immense suffering, I choose not to treat them. However, I also choose not to leave them in the shelter to be killed. In short, I bring them into my home for a few days. I adopt them into my heart. I love them with all that I have. And then I do what’s best for them, and let them go.
Annie had never known happiness. She had been beaten, neglected, and starved all of her life, and then she was dumped at a shelter to die. Annie waited on death row, terrified and lonely, crying every night for someone to help her. She was very ill, and the pound asked if I was willing to take her. Yep, I’m on my way.
When I saw Annie, it was obvious that she was very sick. She was underweight, coughing, and having trouble breathing, in addition to skin and eye issues. The vet told me that Annie had advanced heartworm disease, congestive heart failure, and several other severe medical conditions. It was highly unlikely that she would pull through any of the treatments, and she would suffer tremendously throughout the process. The vet asked me if I wanted to go ahead with euthanasia. “No. I’ll bring her back next week. Before she goes to Heaven, she needs to know love.”
That day, I brought Annie home with me. I looked at her — so broken, so sickly, so unsure of whether she could trust — and I cried. I sobbed uncontrollably for Annie. Over the sad life she had led, the abuse she had endured, and now the life she would never have, thanks to the worthless people who never cared for her. And while I was bawling like a baby, Annie walked over and licked my tears, as if to say, “Don’t be sad. It’ll be okay.” This precious, wounded soul was comforting me. This girl, who had never known compassion in her life, was consoling me.
Annie with Ashley
And so, I got up, stopped my crying, and vowed to give her the best week of her entire life. No more crying. Not around Annie. She deserves to know only happiness now.
That week, Annie slept in the bed with me. She ate the best food. She played as much as her little heart could stand. She laid next to me on the couch for belly rubs. She laughed at funny movies with me. That week, Annie was home, for the first time in her life.
Every day, Annie and I sat on my special bench by Rudy’s grave and talked to him. I told Rudy that he would have a new friend in Heaven soon, and asked him to take care of her. I told Rudy all about Annie, and Annie all about Rudy. Annie loved our talks with Rudy. She loved anything that involved love. She’d never had it before.
When Annie got so weak that it was painful for her to live, I took her to the vet to end her suffering. I stayed with her, comforted her, and Annie wasn’t afraid. She was happy because I was there with her. Her mom was by her side — the only family she had ever known. The only person who had ever truly loved her. She felt safe.
Annie knew it was time — it hurt too much to go on. And I was there to hold her, to love her, to say, “It’s okay. You can go now, baby girl.” And as they stuck her with the needle, I whispered into her ear, “Know that I loved you. Know that you mattered. Know that you finally belonged to someone you were everything to me. You will never really be gone, because you will live forever in my heart. Thank you for sharing your last days with me. It was truly an honor to love you.”
As the drugs entered Annie’s veins, she looked up at me one last time, and her eyes said, “Thank you. I love you.” And before she closed her eyes forever, I said: “When you get to Heaven, ask for Rudy. Tell him I sent you.”
And then, she was gone. I buried Annie in my backyard next to Rudy. She died on September 14, 2010.
But the week before her death, she finally lived.

To view the blog about Rudy, bark on the link:  Bark!

Tuesday, April 12

Neville News

Yesterday was one of the happiest days I have had in quite some time.  I signed the adoption papers from Mutt Scouts for Neville, so it is official, he is now a part of our family.  It sounds so silly, he was already a part of our family, but now it is binding by a contract and no one can take him away from us.  His safe, happy home is secure and is officially his forever home.

You all may have noticed that I quit writing about Neville.  I did this because there were people learning of his progress that I quite frankly did not wish to inform.  But now that the contracts are signed and Neville is really ours, I am ready to share his progress once more.  So, I will be introducing next week a new blog segment, Neville's Notes.  These blogs will be from Neville himself, everything from his perspective, his voice, but with the same topic as the rest of my blog.  He will talk about dogs, Downtown and everything to do with his training.  I will debut this next week sometime, so stay tuned, you don't want to miss what he will have to say.

Until then, I am going to continue to enjoy my little boy! We are so happy it is all official, I can't express the stress of thinking that someone could come along and take him from us.  He is such a special guy and the progress he has made is really unbelievable.  Everyone keeps saying he is a lucky dog, but I feel like I am the lucky one.  I have this amazing being that teaches me about life, myself and dogs everyday.  I love my Neville more than I can say and I am so happy he is now ours.

For information on adopting from the Mutt Scouts, bark on the link:  Bark!

Monday, April 11

Selecting Pet Insurance

If you have a dog or cat, I would highly advise having pet insurance.  Accidents happen all the time, your pet could be stricken with cancer, or some other illness or needed procedure could arise.  All of these are very expensive, pet insurance (especially the right one) can help ease the financial burden.  Yes, you would have an annual or monthly fee, but overall, you could still be saving.  In this time where we all are watching every penny we spend, I know thinking about another expense seems silly, but without the insurance, think of what you would have to spend. published a Beginner's Guide to Pet Insurance to assist pet owners in selecting the best insurance for them.  Below are the tips they outlined in the article, I hope you find it as interesting and informative as I did.

Insurance companies advise getting coverage as early as possible in your pet's life. This is because many policies don't cover pre-existing conditions and because puppies have a higher incidence of claims than dogs older than a year.

For most pet owners this is a new area to be venturing into. So where do you start?
The first step is picking an insurance company.
The first (and easiest) way to look into which insurer to select is to ask your veterinarian. Your vet should also be able to recommend an insurance company for your pet's breed since some companies have breed-specific limitations.
Try to choose a company that doesn't have a network, advises Wallace, so you can choose which veterinarian you go to.
Then check into whether you're dealing directly with the insurance company or an administrative company, advises Chris Ashton, co-founder and CEO of PetPlan, which is one of the latter.
The insurance company should have a name you recognize and should be rated A or A+. This rating should be easily found on the insurer's website and if you can't see it, a customer service rep should immediately be able to tell you the rating by phone. If there's no rating, steer clear, Ashton advises.
Find out how long the insurance company has been in business, too, he cautions. "It's not necessarily best that they've been around longer, but it's a good indicator."
Once you've culled a short list of companies, head online. Thoroughly browse the insurer's website. A good company will present its information to you in a very clear way, and a transparent company is one that you want to work with.
Also, look at the speed of a company's turnaround time and their reimbursement policy because you'll be out of money upfront.
Then compare the companies you like at and
You've made a decision and selected a company. Now you need to evaluate its policies.
Most important, says Ashton, is to find out what's covered and what's not in the policies you like.
"Companies can be a little economical with the truth," he points out. A particular favorite practice of some companies is to cover you for a certain issue one year, but discontinue that coverage the following year, so make sure you ask about ongoing coverage.
Some companies don't cover dental treatments or drugs so check into this. Also verify whether the deductible is per year or per incident, so you know how much you might have to pay.
There should be no surprises in an insurance policy. The information in your policy should be readily available and clearly presented on the company's website.
Says Chris Middleton, marketing manager of Pets Best Insurance: "If there are surprises there, who knows what other surprises you'll have down the road."

For the complete article, bark on the link:  Bark!

Friday, April 8

CicLAvia Returns!

Happy Friday everyone!  The weekend is here and the weather should be good by Sunday.  Which is a very good thing because CicLAvia is returning!!  I remember last year waking up to no sounds below.  Many streets are closed to cars so all you could hear was the whooshing of bike tires, no buses, cars, motorcycles or sirens.  It was a very relaxing and peaceful cup of coffee that morning.  But this Sunday I will not be so lucky, I will be having to figure out which streets to take to get to work.

So, here is a warning, if you are like me and have to find your way somewhere on Sunday anytime between early morning hours to about 4pm or 5pm, make sure you check out the map that is linked below for the road closures.  The amazing part of this event is they do leave crossing points open for cars, so it is really not that bad.  

For all of you that have Sunday open, you should come and enjoy this fantastic FREE event.  If you have a bike, ride it along the route or just come and walk it, it is a blast.  The sense of community is great, but just seeing all the cool bikes and double bikes, tricycles and unicycles is so much fun.  Then there are the food trucks to stop and get a bite to eat.  Or drop in at my friend's shop Express News on Main between 1st and 2nd for a drink or snack.  CicLAvia will begin at 10am and run til 3pm, but last year it seemed to last a bit longer.  

I am so happy to see this event return!  It is completely friendly to everyone, so come on bike, on foot, or even bring your dog.  It is a great event for the whole family, a group of friends or just you.

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

For information on the road closures, bark on the link: Bark!

Thursday, April 7

Pooch Parade Perfection

The Ring'n Spring Pooch Parade was a smash last night! We sang, we danced and we even got some pooch smooches.  It was a wonderful group of people who were ready to have fun with their dogs.  But the stars of the night were by far the dogs.  They were a great group!  They were able to handle every exercise I threw their way, at one point I asked if someone could make their dog misbehave just so I could have an example!  Don't worry, you will all have a chance to view it as the whole walk was videoed by David Rapka and he caught every moment.

All the human participants were most wowed by the gift bags from Pussy & Pooch!  Their favorite part was the $3 nail trim coupon, though they really loved every item in the bag.  I think they got more excited with each item they pulled out... I know their dogs were certainly interested in the treats.

At the end of the night we were wooed by the amazing staff, service and dog friend patio at Big Wangs.  It was a perfect night to be in the night air surrounded by heaters and that beautiful fire pit in the center of the patio.  Our dogs were treated like royalty being served water and treated to lots of belly rubs, kisses and pats on the head.

Overall the night was a success.  I would like to say a big THANK YOU to all the participants, David Rapka, Pussy & Pooch and Big Wangs.

Don't miss out on the next Pooch Parade, follow us here to see when the next one will be.

To give us a bark, bark on the link: Bark!

Wednesday, April 6

Dogs Having Spiritual Experiences

Do you think it is possible for dogs to have spiritual experiences?  I think this is just as likely as it is for humans to have these experiences.  Why not?  Dogs after all have heighten sensitivity to sounds and smells, it would make sense that they would pick up on things that we may not.  I found a blog on Dogster that discusses this very subject.  

The blog is based on an article in Daily Dog about dogs being able to have spiritual experiences.  Researchers and scientist discuss how dogs may be able to have these experiences and what part of the brain it effects and what the experience may be.

It is an interesting article and it certainly makes someone like me that lives in an old building stop and wonder what exactly my dog might be reacting to when his ears perk up.  I would like to see the same research for cats, maybe I would have a better idea of what my cat is starring at in the corner on the ceiling.  

To view the article, bark on the link:  Bark! 

Tuesday, April 5

What's Up Downtown April!

April is here!  This is my favorite month and there is so much happening.  To help you find the perfect event, show or new place to grab a drink, has just released their What's Up Downtown April.

To mention a few a the great things happening this month:  the AhmansonTheatre welcomes God of Carnage, Tina Fey will be appearing at Nokia, the LA Comedy Shorts will be screening at Downtown Independent, the return of CicLAvia, The Spring Fling Festival in Pershing Square and let's not forget the event closest to my heart... Ring'n Spring Pooch Parade tomorrow night!

In addition to the wonderful shows and events, you should check out the new businesses that have opened such as Angel City Brewing, Belasco Theater, Coffee Bar, Public School 612 and The Spice Table.

Whatever you are looking to do, you know Downtown LA will have something to meet your needs!
To view What's Up Downtown, bark on the link:  Bark!

Monday, April 4

Goodbye To My K-9 Friend...

This weekend was filled with stressful situations, chaos and lots of work.  But everything came to a pause yesterday when I was notified about a K-9 friend of mine loosing his battle with cancer way too young.  You all have seen him on my website, his name is Bomber and was one of  the cutest Basset Hound you have ever seen.  He was full of love and sweetness and touched my life by just simply existing in the world.

I remember the first time I dog sat for Bomber, his parents warned me that when he was tired he would growl (not in a mean way at all) and get vocal about being woken up, but of course would not bite.  This is probably one of my favorite traits of Bomber's!  It was the cutest thing!  He would fall asleep before his last potty of the night, I would wake his up and immediately he would growl and get up and growl all the way down the hall and out the door.  He sounded like an old grumpy man.  Extremely cute!

I have many snuggle memories of Bomber.  He was never one to climb up on the couch beside me or sleep in bed with me, but I would get on the floor with him and love on him and snuggle.   I also loved to get him to play, you could almost see a puppy still inside him.
Bomber, I will miss you dearly!  Thank you for all your love you gave to us and all the many kisses I got to enjoy.  I will remember you always.  Rest in peace my friend.

Friday, April 1

Happy April!

Happy April everyone!  Spring is here, we are moving into the 4th month of the year and the weather is beautiful outside.  I am a little bias, but April is my favorite month of the year.  I couldn't be happier that it is here and at least for today the weather is going to be great!  I thought there is only one way to really celebrate all of this... take your dog to the park and let them run!
In honor of taking your dog to the park and keeping things light and fun on Friday, I wanted to re-share the Bark & Clark video for the Cornfield.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

To sign up for Saturday Obedience class, bark on the link:  Bark!