Thursday, May 31

Two Bundles Of Joy Up For ADOPTION

I do not usually get involved in adoptions as I do not work for a shelter or rescue, but today I am.  An unusual and sad situation has come to my door step and I cannot help but try to help.  I have a client that has had a life change since getting her two amazing dogs.  This life change has left her no choice but to re-home her two dogs.  The whole story is below, please help if you can.  Forward this to everyone you know that might be interested or might know someone that is interested.   These two dogs are high energy and need an active life, but they are also extremely sweet and loving.  Part of the adoption will be at least two training sessions with me that are being transferred with the dogs, that will help the dogs get settled.

Lorca and Gitana were farewell surprises from Spain on a short trip my partner and I took there in 2010. By the Guadalquivir River in Seville, a young man approached us; his dog had given birth to a litter of 11 and he was out finding the newborns homes. In his pouch were the last two puppies that would then come back with us to the United States to bring us a joy and absolute love we had yet to experience. 
We've had a wonderful year and a half together in New York and now in Los Angeles. Unfortunately my new job requires me to spend most of my time away from home. These pups need a home where they will be loved and cared for all the time, preferably together; a home where their family is always present, where they will not have to sit in a kennel for many hours while everyone is at work. 
Lorca (the tan one) is an incredible character. She is earnest with her affections- she enjoys having her belly rubbed and warming your feet with her chin while you sit working and she dreams. She's quirky- it's a spectacle to watch her scramble under the bed; she's just the right size for the space- at 45 lbs, 28" tall, she just about fits. She also loves resting in the nook between your legs and the couch and taking a snooze. 
  Lorca relaxes indoors to conserve her energy for fun and games outdoors. Outside she loves to play fetch and run around with Gitana. They love competing for branches and playing tug-of-war. 
Gitana (the black one) is a beautiful lady (45 lbs, 28" tall), graceful and obedient. She sneaks in affection any time she gets; it is her prerogative to seek and offer warmth in every sense of the word. Like Lorca, Gitana is a calm indoor dog but knows how to get the best of an open field. She is a fetching pro- an impressive catcher, she glides toward the ball and leaps up to catch it in the air.
At home she loves to cuddle or lay her head on your lap to then sneakily crawl the rest of her body onto it. She understands cues, however, and slides right off If you're not in the mood.
Lorca and Gitana are the perfect home companions and outdoor playmates. They are 1 year, 8 months old, spayed, their vaccines are up-to-date, they are house-broken and they are trained to follow basic commands. 
Although these ladies are mutts (and litter mates), we did meet their mother and father when they were given to us. They were a lovely German Shepherd Lab and an Alaskan Malamute mutt. 
Again, I prefer not separating them but will consider doing so if there are extremely good homes that can only take one dog. I will provide travel carriers and all of their belongings. There will be in adoption fee to be discussed with interested families for the safety of the dogs.

Contact: Natalia
                (347) 542-2502

Please help find these two beauties a home!  They will make great companions for a person or couple that lead a somewhat active lifestyle and can give these two the love and attention that they will return to you.  Feel free to contact Natalia directly or you can also get in touch with me by giving me a BARK!

Wednesday, May 30

Good News for Pits!

It is not very often we get the chance to spread good news about Pit Bulls.  Mainly, because the media makes sure to cover every awful and horrific story that reinforces the belief that Pit Bulls are vicious and dangerous dogs.  To be fair, we have in the last few years started to hear some good and uplifting stories about Pits in the news, but they are much less than all the bad ones and unfortunately, the societal view is formed based on all the bad news. 

I find it exhausting at this point to hear another misinformed person talking about how scarey the Pit Bull on the corner is, when more often than not, the dog is actually very sweet.  Just yesterday I saw a client with one of the sweetest most endearing dogs that is a Pit Bull.  We had a conversation about his barking when people come to the door.  Like most dogs (no matter the breed) this dog barks at people when they approach the house and knock on the door.  Now, this dog listens and will settle down, but the problem for my client is that people are scared of his dog because it is now a "vicious" Pit Bull barking at them.  If this was a little Terrier or perhaps a Golden Doodle, people would think so differently. 

So, when I saw this article this morning on, I really wanted to share it for all the Pit Bulls in my life.   Ohio has changed it's law and Pit Bulls are no longer a "vicious dog" based solely on their breed.  Below is the full story:

To say the least, it's been a controversial month for pit bulls. Earlier this month, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that pit bulls were an "inherently dangerous" dog breed, prone to aggression that results in dog bites. As such, the state ramped up regulations surrounding pit bulls and made owning the breed more difficult by holding not only dog owners responsible for their pup's actions, but holding landlords who rented to pit bull owners liable as well. The decision made animal rights activists and pit bull advocates furious.
In a story that seemed to almost counter Maryland's ruling, a hero pit bull named Lilly saved her owner from certain death on a set of railroad tracks, showing a softer side to the breed. The question of whether pit bulls were actually naturally dangerous was muddled even further. Now, the state of Ohio, which formerly had a hard line stance on pit bulls, has softened their feelings on the breed.
(Maryland rules pit bulls "inherently dangerous")
According to an article on CBS News, a new Ohio law has redefined what it means to be a "vicious dog."
In the old law, a vicious dog was defined as a dog that "has seriously hurt or killed a person, killed another dog or is among those commonly known as pit bulls." The new law removes the references to pit bulls, and allows for pit bull incidents to be handled on a case by case basis.
The new move adds more fuel to the fire in the pit bull debate. The Maryland ruling had left many animal activists fearing that other states would proceed in a similar fashion in regard to their treatment of pit bulls, opening the door for widespread breed discrimination. The Ohio law seems to counteract that though. Perhaps the Ohio legislators were convinced by recent news events that pit bulls do have a softer side.

It is a small step, but certainly in the right direction.  To all my Pit Bull friends, no matter what your issues, I see you as the beautiful, amazing and loving dogs that you all are to me and I am happy for this small victory!

What do you think about Pit Bulls?

Monday, May 28

Happy Memorial Day!

To all those that serve, both human and K-9, today we salute you and say Thank You!  Happy Memorial Day!

I wish for everyone to have a fun, safe and hopefully relaxing day.  No matter if today is a normal work day, your second Sunday or a project day, take a moment to remember what today is about.  I of course will be thinking more about the K-9s that serve, just because I stand in awe of all service dogs.  But I do recognize that whether we are talking about our 4-legged or 2-legged service men and women, it takes a lot of loyalty and bravery to do what they do.

I hope you all have a great day and for those of you that have today off, enjoy and don't forget to do something fun with your dog!

Friday, May 25

Holiday Weekend and Your Dog

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend and if you are not traveling, you are likely going to or hosting a party or BBQ.  That is always fun for us humans, but what about your dog?  The good news for us in LA is that the weather is not going to be too hot, just a mild and beautiful warm.  So below are some ways for you and your pooch to have fun no matter what your plans.

Traveling over the long weekend is always fun, if your pooch is going with you don't forget he might need to make more potty stops than you.  If your pooch isn't use to long car rides, it may be a good idea to have him take a little ginger before you get started.  Even though you are in the car and the windows are down with cool air coming through or the air conditioner is on, your dog still needs water, don't forget to give him water when you stop for potty breaks or while in the car if it is safe to do so.  Lastly, make sure to pack a bag for your pooch with all his favorite toys and blanket, it will make traveling nicer for him.


Hosting a party or BBQ are sometimes the highlight of the long weekend, but it can also be a source of fear and anxiety for your dog.  Make sure you set up an area (crate, bed, separate room, etc.) for your dog to go to if they want to get away from it all.  If you know you have a fearful, shy or aggressive dog, set them up in a room or in their crate in a cool, safe place with water and come and check on them every hour or so.  Give them potty breaks, but you should try to avoid putting them in the middle of the party and stressing them further.  If your dog is a social butterfly, allow them to be out and about all you like, just watch out for your guests giving them unauthorized "treats" or teaching unwanted habits like begging or eating from the table.  Don't forget to make sure your dog is keeping cool, drinking water and above all, enjoying himself too.

Going Out

No matter if you are going out for an all day event or a night shindig you have to think about your dog.  If you have a dog that gets along with other dogs and people and you are taking your dog with you, just remember water, and keep them cool (no tethering in the sun).  If your dog needs to stay at home, remember to track how long you are gone, it is not fair to doggie to be gone for 12 hours without allowing him out for a break.  If your dog is use to being in a crate, put him there, this weekend may not be the best time to try out leaving him out.  Depending on what area you are in, there may be fireworks and that can be very scary for some dogs, so keep that in mind when you plan your evenings.

The last piece of advice is to take some time for your dog this weekend and do something special.  No matter if it is going to the beach or a hike or just a little extra play time in the park, include them in the celebration.  Be safe, have fun and don't forget about your dog!

Thursday, May 24

Acupuncture For Neville

We are well on our way with Neville's Acupuncture treatments, yesterday was #6 or #7, to be honest I have lost count.  It is such a pleasure to spend that time with him, it has really become a special bonding time for us.  Yesterday was by far the best to date in terms of his behavior while getting the treatment and the effects afterward.

He always is a bit anxious about being at the vets office, so the waiting period no matter how short, proves to be stressful.  But yesterday he was much better than usual.  There was a cute puppy in the lobby that he was taken with, so I think that helped a lot.  But he was not just interested in the puppy, he also sniffed one of owners, which was a man!  I was already impressed and the session hadn't started yet.

Once we were in the room and the music was going (I play Through A Dog's Ears to relax him) he settled down and greeted Dr. O'Dwyer with a big kiss hello.  He is showing more and more affection towards her which is a great sign!  As Dr. O'Dwyer and I talked, Neville laid down on the blanket between us, that is a first!  He stayed there for almost all the placements of the needles, it wasn't until we had to do the few he is not a big fan of that he got up and moved.

Once the needles were in and Dr. O'Dwyer left the room, he basically laid down and went to sleep and did not stir.  I touched his side at one point and he raised his head, but then went right back to sleep.  He usually lays down and will dose in and out of sleep, but never has he been this relaxed and deep into sleep.

Once the needles were out (which Dr. O'Dwyer is now able to take all of them out without me helping, Neville I think understands she is not placing any more)  he was still so sleepy and remained that way until we were home.  Walking through Downtown from our parking lot to our apartment woke him up for sure, but he was not pulling and seemed to not be shaking.  A skate board even passed us, granted it was a quite one, and he did not react to it.

The late night walk was a little hard to get him going, he wanted to stay and sleep!  But once he was out walking he did great and he did great on his morning walk.  His confidence in the house is changing a lot through this process.  It is most noticeable when someone knocks at the door, it is not just a scared bark from his crate, he is now running toward the door with a deep "scary" bark!  I still make him go to the crate and am now working on not barking at all, this was never a problem as the barks were usually only a few and then he would stop.

When were are out and about his pulling is much less and he is much more tolerant of the people he encounters.  Neville is also showing less stress signs.  They are still there, but much more reduced than they use to be.

My next step is herbs.  I want to see how that and they acupuncture work together.  It is a slow process, but I do see improvements, so I am going to keep going for now.  I am just so happy that he gets some relief from the fear, even if it is just the 20 -30 minutes during treatment.

Wednesday, May 23

What Do Dogs Think?

Dogster brought us a story this morning that I was so excited to learn about!  Emory University is doing a study on dogs brains trying to find out exactly how their brain works and what they think.  I know I have my own opinions based on the way my dog interacts with me on how much he thinks and what he is "saying" to me with his actions and eyes.  I have thought for a long time that dogs can communicate with us on a much different level than we give them credit for and I certainly think they can understand our feelings and emotions. 

The video below explains the study and for all of you wondering, they are very humane to the dogs.  The whole point of the study is to examine the dogs brain while they are awake and not restrained.  So they have trained their first two subjects to get into the MRI and lay down and be still.  The video takes you through it all.  Very impressive and interesting!

I hope this study unlocks some doors and allows us to go into another level of understanding our K-9 companions.

Tuesday, May 22

Important News About Gentle Leaders

Yesterday it was brought to my attention that Premier, the makers of the Gentle Leader Headcollar, had a defect announcement on their website about specific Gentle Leaders purchased from August 2011 - May 10, 2012.  I use Gentle Leaders all the time in my training and know many other reward based trainers that do as well, so I am assuming a lot of you out there reading this do too.

Below is the statement on the Premier website, it addresses how to check your Gentle Leader and what to do if it is defective.  They will replace any defective equipment free of charge.

Announcement about Gentle Leaders

It has come to our attention that specific Gentle Leader® Headcollars, sold from August 2011 – May 10, 2012, may have a defect in the quick release neck strap buckle, which causes an unintended release. The issue has been corrected. We recommend that all Gentle Leader Headcollars purchased during and prior to this period be inspected. We will replace any that contain the defect. We take this matter seriously and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your cooperation. Click on the appropriate link for a list of affected product, instructions on how to check your MCP/ICP labels if you are a wholesale customer, and defect testing instructions - images and video are both available. If you have any questions or need to exchange a defective Gentle Leader Headcollar, please email us at or follow one of the options below:

If you are a wholesale customer, call 800-933-5595 and press 1 for Sales.
If you are an end consumer, call 800-933-5595 and press 2 for Customer Care.
If you use a Gentle Leader on your dog that was purchased anytime within the dates listed above, be sure to check for this defect.  If you are not sure or need help, call one of the numbers listed above depending on the type of customer you are.

Monday, May 21

Dogs and Heat

This weekend I witnessed first hand what heat can do to a dog.  I was visiting with friends and the dog that lives next door was tethered with a chain in the sun and apparently without water, and we all discovered he had died.  My friend had the unpleasant experience of going to his neighbor and explaining what we saw out their kitchen window.  Though I do not think that the family intended to kill their dog that way, it was still neglect and I only wish we could've done something sooner. 

So in honor of this dog that lost his life, I thought I should put out some information on what to do for your dog in the heat.

The first thing everyone should understand is that it doesn't have to be a scorching day out to be a risk to your dog.  If the temperature is in the 70's, the sun is out and bright and your dog is without shade or water, that is enough to be a lethal combination.  Also if your dog is doing intense play or work, they need breaks for water and shade, and this is much safer if the play or work is in the shade.

Watch your dog!  Is he trying to get in the shade or digging in the dirt?  He is too hot, that is what he is telling you.  Stop, sit in the shade and get him some water.  If he is really over heated, you may also need to wipe his body and paws with a damp cloth (not cold and do not use ice) or have a cooling pad for him to lay on. 

NEVER leave your dog in a hot car, even for what you think is a short period.  It does not take much time to literally turn your car into an oven.  This is a mistake made over and over by pet parents and it costs them dearly.  When the weather is warm (like now), leave your dog at home unless you have the ability to leave your air conditioner running and your dog has access to water.

Heat strokes and heat exhaustion are extremely serious, below is a little bit more on this topic and some warning signs for you to look out for.

Dogs do not sweat through their skin like humans - they release heat primarily by panting and they sweat through the foot pads and nose. If a dog cannot effectively expel heat, the internal body temperature begins to rise. Once the dog's temperature reaches 106°, damage to the body's cellular system and organs may become irreversible. Unfortunately, too many dogs succumb to heat stroke when it could have been avoided. Learn how to recognize the signs of heat stroke and prevent it from happening to your dog.
The following signs may indicate heat stroke in a dog:
  • Increased rectal temperature (over 104° requires action, over 106° is a dire emergency)
  • Vigorous panting
  • Dark red gums
  • Tacky or dry mucus membranes (specifically the gums)
  • Lying down and unwilling (or unable) to get up
  • Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
  • Thick saliva
  • Dizziness or disorientation
Finally, if your dog is having a heat stroke or suffering from heat exhaustion, here are some good tips on how to help (along with the ones above):

  1. First, move your dog out of the heat and away from the sun right away.
  2. Begin cooling your dog by placing cool, wet rags or washcloths on the body - especially the foot pads and around the head.
  3. DO NOT use ice or very cold water! Extreme cold can cause the blood vessels to constrict, preventing the body's core from cooling and actually causing the internal temperature to further rise. In addition, over-cooling can cause hypothermia, introducing a host of new problems. When the body temperature reaches 103°, stop cooling.
  4. Offer your dog cool water, but do not force water into your dog's mouth.
  5. Call or visit your vet right away - even if your dog seems better. Internal damage might not be obvious to the naked eye, so an exam is necessary (and further testing may be recommended).
One last thing to keep in mind.  As we travel for the summer, remember that we may acclimate to areas quicker than our pets, so if you are visiting here and you are from a different climate, your dog may react to the heat in a more severe way.  Same is true if say you live here and are visiting a more humid and hot climate, your dog will not be use to the added heat of the humidity and you will need to take that into account for daily exercise and outings.  Stop for breaks and lots of water and shade. 

I hope these tips help you have a safe and fun summer.  Stay tuned, there will be more ways to beat the heat!

Friday, May 18

Man and Great Dane Reunite

Anyone that knows me knows that one of my favorite breeds of dogs are Great Danes.  I love them for their personality, pure hugeness and (like all dogs) their undying devotion and love.  I've not met one yet that doesn't have some cork to them and to me that is all part of their charm.  When I learned of this story about a man having to give up his Dane to be put down, only to find out two years later she is alive and well, I had to share it today.  I love to end the week on a happy note and though you may shed a few tears, I promise they will be happy.  Here is the beautiful story of the reunion of the Baton Rouge, LA man, Ben Gautreaux and his Great Dane, Bluebelle.

Isn't it nice when we get to wake up from our nightmares?
A Baton Rouge, LA, man was reunited with his beloved Great Dane on Monday after believing for the last two years that she was dead.
Before that fateful day two years ago, Ben Gautreaux had kept his three Great Danes in his fenced yard, but all three had a penchant for escaping, usually led by a 2-foot-tall blue female named Bluebelle. Officials "picked them up a couple of times and said that if they picked them up again then they would be [considered] a threat to society," Gautreaux told WVUE-New Orleans.
After the dogs escaped once too often, officials delivered an ultimatum
"They said either they were going to put all of them to sleep or they were going to put [Bluebelle] to sleep," Gautreaux remembered. Feeling that he had no choice in the matter, he let the officials keep Bluebelle -- believing that they would soon end the 4-year-old dog's life.
But two weeks ago, Gautreaux got a call from a staff member at the SPCA in Buffalo, NY, who shocked him by saying that Bluebelle was alive and well and had just been identified, thanks to a microchip that Gautreaux had placed in her years before.
Instead of being put down by Baton Rouge officials, she had been adopted by a family that then moved to an apartment in New York, where they could no longer keep her. That's how Bluebelle wound up in the shelter.
Buffalo resident Chris Silverstein offered to drive the Great Dane home to Baton Rouge.
"She knew she was in the South right away," Silverstein said, as reported by WVUE. "Her entire attitude changed. She was a lot more animated and quite a bit happier."
They arrived on Monday. When Gautreaux called Bluebelle by name, the big dog leaped into his arms.
The strangest part of this story is that the Buffalo SPCA director dubbed the dog Bluebelle even before learning that this was her original name, according to Silverstein, who has made a man and a dog very happy -- and has shown us all that we should never say never.
Thank you Dogster for bringing us that story! 

Please have a good weekend and keep your pups close!  Don't forget to do something special with your dog!

Thursday, May 17

Custody Battle For Puggle

The story of the ex's fighting it out in court in a $60,000 custody battle for their adorable Puggle is making news everywhere.  It is certainly the hot story.  For those of you who haven't heard, the story is that Craig Dershowitz got Knuckles (or Knux for short) when he was only a 2-month-old pup and raised him in NYC with then-girlfriend Sarah Brega for three years.  The relationship didn't work out, Brega moved to California and took Kuckles with her.  She claims the dog was a gift and Dershowitz claims the dog was kidnapped and taken without his consent.  Now, Dershowitz is suing for custody of the dog and to date has spent about $60,000. 

This is no rich man we are talking about, Dershowitz is working 3 jobs trying to raise enough money to fight this out and is now taking donations for people that want to help fund his cause.  His ex Brega, according to him, has a wealthy family backing her.

This has come up in so many conversations for me in the last few days and it also has me thinking about my own situation.  You never go into a relationship thinking that it won't work out, but the truth of the matter is, sometimes it doesn't and then what do you do when you have four-legged "children" together?

For me and my boyfriend, this very topic was discussed and decided when we got Neville.  I already owned my cat Cowboy, so he would of course stay with me.  But Neville came to us as a couple, however, I technically adopted him.  So, you guessed it, I would be the one to keep him.  This is not something I like to think about, I hope it will always just be a hypothetical situation.  But, it was important to both of us that we make it clear from the beginning so there is no conflict at the end.

I couldn't imagine having Neville taken away from me without my consent, especially by the person that you shared your life with.  And from the other point of view, I couldn't imagine having Neville and then my ex suing for him after he gave him to me as a gift.  Either way, the dog really looses. 

I am sure that little Knuckles has bonded with both of his owners and will go through abandonment issues and depression loosing either of them.  If the courts decide to now give Knuckles back to Dershowitz, I'm sure it will be very hard on him because he has had all this time to bond one on one with Brega.

Now, how many of you are reading this thinking this is just crazy?  It might be, but I understand it.  I don't want children, so my pets are in a sort my kids.  I would fight for them the same.  I don't know that I would go to this extent, but I also have never been in this situation, so it is hard to know what I would do. 

What I do know, is this is a heartbreaking story because I feel for the dog.  I wish for stability and a safe home for every dog and having so much conflict surrounding him, little Knuckles must be feeling the stress.

I hope whatever the outcome, Knuckles ends up happy and healthy.  I will continue to follow this story and bring you updates.  There was a great interview in Dogster this morning that lays out more details, it is worth a read.

What do you think?  Would you go to this extent to keep your dog or to get your dog back from an ex?

Wednesday, May 16

Spring Fever Pooch Parade Fun!

Last night's Spring Fever Pooch Parade was one of the best to date.  We had a group of made up of mainly small dogs with fear issues, but boy did those little guys and girls work!  All of the doggie parents did a great job of staying in the moment with their dogs and working through each exercise no matter how big of a challenge.  But above all, we had so much fun!

We started in Little Tokyo, where the traffic on the sidewalks and streets are a little heavy.  All of the dogs really stuck by their owners and we felt like stars as the visitors in the Little Tokyo Village broke out cameras to photograph us as we made our way through.

Next, we made our way over to the quieter side of Downtown, the Arts District.  It was nice to use a normal speaking voice and everyone could hear, as a matter of fact, our group was the loudest sound at one point!

Finally, we ended the night with to-go bags from Pussy & Pooch that were filled with goodies that they donated and a few extra treats from me and we sat down for yummy treats from Urth Caffe.

The dogs did so great and I watched the socialization work pay off as the night went on.  This is to date one of the best groups we had in the terms that everyone was there to work and have fun and boy did we!  At the end I stood looking at the group with a big smile because I was SO PROUD of each one!!

Congratulations Pooch Paraders, you did great and I can't wait for the next one!  Neville and I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 15

Puppy Mill Rescue In Florida

Dogster did it again!  Here I was early this morning sitting reading emails and wanted to enjoy my daily Dogster blog when I read the most heart warming and wrenching story about the dogs rescued from a Florida Poodle Puppy Mill/ Hoarding situation.  The tears were flowing!

For years and years I have been fascinated with dogs rescued out of these and other similar situations, it is a main cause for me becoming a trainer.  But, I have to say, reading about them and studying them from a far is much different than laying your hands on them and helping them.  I have in the last year had two dogs from hoarding situations and one dog from a puppy mill as clients.  These dogs have touched me in a special way.  Their ability to adapt to their home, their new life and the world in general is quite an amazing process and truly beautiful to watch.  The success was 100% because all three of these dogs were paired with the right owners.  Ones that understood and accepted the dogs just as they are.  That one element can make or break your relationship, especially with a dog that has a hard time trusting.

So, for my rescued friends out there, no matter where you came from, I am including the Dogster blog in it's entirety below.  Please read and take away the message that so important for everyone to hear.

Puppy Mill Dogs: Before-and-After Photos

After authorities raided a Florida puppy mill, we talked to Florida Poodle Rescue, one of the groups who stepped in to save the abused and sick dogs.
Until earlier this month, they lived their whole lives in cramped chicken-type coops in a backyard in Florida. Some died there. Then the the Sarasota County Sheriff's Department seized more than 250 small dogs who'd been surviving in wretched conditions in what was a former puppy mill. The dogs were horrendously matted, and some had open sores, heartworm, hookworm, or all of the above. All were infested with fleas. Many had serious health conditions.
"It was a horrible situation for them to be living in," Lt. Scott Ortner, county animal services director, said in an article in the Herald Tribune.
Economic woes and mental depression apparently turned the woman in charge of all this from breeder/puppy mill owner to hoarder. She backed off routine care, except for food and allegedly some medicine. Her husband says they still spent $1,200 a month maintaining the dogs.
"My wife developed hoarding as a symptom of her depression," he told the newspaper. "It started slow and then it continued, and pretty soon you find yourself not looking at things."
He said his wife has been having a hard time dealing with the removal of the dogs, and that despite appearances to the contrary, she was very attached to them. "It would be like someone taking your children," he said. "We're in the stage of trying to figure out what to do."
If you want to see the place as the sheriffs did, you can check out this raw video footage from the department. But please note that it may be disturbing, especially when they discover a little dog skull.
Fortunately, many animal rescue groups, veterinarians, and boarding facilities have stepped up to help look after these poor pups for now. One of the most helpful is Florida Poodle Rescue
I got in touch with the people (or rather, angels, as you'll soon see) at the rescue for more information about the conditions of the dogs. Joani Kautz Ellis, shelter liaison, told me the grim reality. The group took the worst cases, the ones most other groups wouldn't touch. Other rescues worked with them to lend a helping hand.
"Each dog we pulled has infected ears, internal parasites, anemia, [and] heavily tartared or broken and infected teeth. They also have coprophagia -- they are not as interested in food as they are eating their own waste. The mature females have mammary tumors. Many have cataracts. They all seem friendly, just very timid of the world outside of a wire cage," she explained.
One by one, the group's volunteers have been cleaning up the dogs and getting them into medical care. Can you believe the dog below is the same as the dog above?
Joani has been doing this for 16 years. She says she never ceases to be amazed by what puppy mill owners and backyard breeders let befall their dogs. "These owners, as humans, have removed all humanity from these creatures.
"I have taken dogs from puppy mills who have their internal organs exposed to the outside, with their mouth and eyes matted shut, their jaws broken and hanging like a broken hinge, and cleaned them up, loved them, and apologized for what we, humans, had done to them," she told me.
If you'd like to find your Kleenex now, I'll wait. I would suggest getting one before reading on if you have a tender heart.
Joani told me, "Occasionally, we see the survivor who has survived the mill, but at such a great cost that they can never be brought around. These are the dogs that have endured so much suffering that they remind us of children who are abused, and survive by separating their mind from the body. These damaged dogs may never fully trust. Some 'scurry' instead of walk. One lived under a bed for four years before she was comfortable enough to come out and join the rest of the household.

"So where does that leave these poor souls? Most are still capable of living out a wonderful life. They need a structured environment, but most importantly, a home where they are accepted for who and what they are. They may never jump up on a couch, never understand the use for a toy, but you will see them show joy and unconditional love. You'll hear a heavy sigh when you hold them close. To them, those small comforts alone are pure bliss," she said.
"These 'special ones' are the ones that normally never leave their foster homes. Ironically, these types of dogs normally do very well in a group-dog setting. Whenever we suspect that a mill rescue may be too far gone for a fast-paced family, we try to place them in experienced homes, quiet homes, or homes with other dogs. These are by far the hardest ones for our hearts to accept, but they are also a constant reminder of why we do what we do. Florida Poodle Rescue always needs more homes for these special ones."
The organization also has a few hospice homes very ill rescues can go to. "These dogs often live a long life, and bring many smiles and laughs when we sit around and talk about our 'special' furkids. We also take in the extreme old ones that are dumped in kill shelters," Joani said.
And then there are the "ancient ones." (Get your tissue ready.)
"The 'ancient ones' we bring in, bathe, and give soft food and warm blankets. Often they are too ill and old, and for some ungodly reason they were dumped by their family at a shelter. When it is their time, they get a cheeseburger all to themselves, and many get chocolate ice cream. (We believe all dogs secretly want chocolate ice cream but never get it during life, so what a great thing for their last meal.) Then comes the hardest part, to hold them and whisper in their ears that they were good dogs, and they were loved.

"These are ones that people don't really know about, because it is so hard to hear. We just hope someday, someone will let the public know about these ones."
I am honored to do so, Joani. Readers, please, if you have it in your heart and temperament to take in one of these "ancient ones" from any rescue group, just ask. They're probably there. They're just not exactly advertised.
I asked Florida Poodle Rescue board president Patricia Donati how it feels to deal with these mills year in, year out.
"It makes me angry and sick to my stomach," she said. "Sometime, we hate our phone. It never stops ringing. We answer and listen to the horrible accounts of animal abuse. We all shudder, and scribble unspeakable details on a scrap of paper. Often we arrive at the location and wince, because it's worse than we expected."
She wishes that everyone could learn about puppy-mill dogs so they'll make wiser choices when getting a dog. "Puppy mills are driven by the almighty dollar. As long as people can profit from them, they will continue," she said.
In looking at these amazing before and after photos of the Sarasota dogs, I wondered how it made Patricia feel to know her group has been helping give back life to these dogs.
She told me she feels both pride and honor. "Rescue is the most incredible, rewarding job in the history of ever," she said. "At the same time, it's also the most heartbreaking. I am so proud of our group for what we accomplish. We rescue dogs. In turn, dogs rescue us. Everything in between is so worth it."
 Before and after images provided by Florida Poodle Rescue.

Monday, May 14

Best Of Downtown!

I am very happy to announce that Bark & Clark has been nominated again for the Downtown News Reader's Choice BEST in Downtown LA Award.   Now, the category is a little confusing, but as these awards continue to evolve I am told they will soon have a more representative category for me, but right now I am in the Best Pet Boarding/Sitting/Walking.

I know that doesn't describe the training that I do, but it is where they have put me and I would love to win all the same.  Not for the sake of winning, but so my name can get out there more.  The more my name is spread the more I can continue to educate the dog owners in our neighborhoods and continue to create a better dog community, the best way to do that is by helping us spread our ideas and philosophies and being recognized for an award like this could help us do just that.

So now I turn to you my loyal readers, please vote for Bark & Clark!  It is a little bit of a process in that you have to register, but you are entered into a drawing for a pretty great prize! Which I think is awesome.  But if you don't have time to fill out 30 categories, you don't even have to, you can just forward to mine, #97 on the ballot.  But please vote soon as the polls close on June 1, 2012.

To vote, just simply bark on the link:  BARK!

Your support is appreciated!

Friday, May 11

Happy Early Mother's Day!

This Sunday is Mother's day and no matter if you are a mother of a 2-legged baby or a 4-legged baby, we want to wish you a Happy Mother's Day! 

Below are some pictures for your viewing pleasure displaying all the love and joy of K-9 Motherhood...

If you are looking for something fun to do with your Mom or your family is looking for a special gift for you, remember to check out Moms & Mimosas for all the delicious deals!

Happy Mother's Day and have a great weekend.  No matter what you do, don't forget about your 4-legged kids and do something special with them as well.

Wednesday, May 9

A Dog's Loyalty and Love

Dogster had a story in their blog yesterday about a few different dog's that have shown their undying loyalty by standing by their deceased owners until they were found.  I found each of these stories so intriguing and special.  All of you understand the bond and love you have with your dog and I am sure you have allowed yourself for a moment to think "I don't know how I will say goodbye when it is time".  But I wonder if dogs think the same thing?  The stories below would suggest that they are willing to stand by us until the very end, no matter what that might mean. 

Undying Loyalty: Dog Keeps Watch Over Cyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run

After the accident, the loyal dog stayed by his dead owner's side until investigators arrived.

They were friends until the end -- and then afterward.
A small dog stood vigil beside the dead body of its owner after the latter was killed by a hit-and-run driver while cycling on the California coast last Thursday.
The victim -- as yet identified only as a white male aged about 50 -- rode a black bicycle north on gorgeous Highway 1 near Santa Cruz that night. In a crate affixed to the bike was his dog, which Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter officials have identified as most likely a Cairn Terrier mix.
Sometime that night, "the victim and his bicycle were pushed off the right shoulder and down an embankment where he suffered fatal injuries," according to the CHP, as reported by NBC-Bay Area.
A passerby spotted the man's body, the damaged bike, and the dog in the underbrush on Friday morning and called 911, according to the Silicon Valley Mercury News. Broken headlight debris indicated that the man had been struck by a vehicle, which officials believe might have been a green sedan or SUV. Investigators arrived to find the dog standing vigil by the dead man's side after having stayed there loyally all night. 
Finally separated from his friend, the dog was picked up by the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter for evaluation.
Do dogs in these situations know that their beloved people are not simply asleep? Can they smell death? What do they think about while waiting for some kind of help to arrive?
Last October, a mixed breed named Lucky accompanied hiker Joseph Quen into California's Trinity Mountains for what was supposed to be a five-day hunting trip. Nearly two weeks later, rescuers found Lucky protecting Quen's dead body deep in the woods, according to KSDK-TV.
That same month, a boater went missing on a South Carolina lake. Russell Sandlin was last seen alive "getting into his boat with his dog" at Lake Murray, according to WXII-TV.
Sandlin's boss asked the Sheriff's Office to perform a welfare check after Sandlin failed to show up for a meeting or answer his phone. Searchers found his body among some tree limbs, where he was apparently thrown after his boat ran aground in a shallow cove. There were no signs of foul play.
"Searchers said Sandlin's Weimaraner, Sadie, was trying to remove the branches and was licking her owner's face."
If that's not love, what is?
Such sad situations in each of these stories, but what an amazing gift each of these dog's gave their owners by not leaving them, not even in the event of death.

Give your dog an extra hug today and I hope they never have to act as these dogs did.

Tuesday, May 8

Dog Food Recall

It was announced at the end of last week that some Diamond Food products are being recalled due to salmonella contamination.  I know I have received a couple of letters from stores carrying these products and they are being pulled off the shelf, but make sure you check the food your dog is eating. The Associated Press brought us the story below, it lists the brands that are recalled.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Fourteen people in at least nine states have been sickened by salmonella after handling tainted dog food from a South Carolina plant that a few years ago produced food contaminated by toxic mold that killed dozens of dogs, federal officials said Friday.

At least five people were hospitalized because of the dog food, which was made by Diamond Pet Foods at its plant in Gaston, S.C., the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. No pets were sickened, according to the Meta, Mo.-based company.

"People who became ill, the thing that was common among them was that they had fed their pets Diamond Pet Foods," said CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell.

Three people each were infected in Missouri and North Carolina; two people in Ohio; and one person each in Alabama, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the CDC said.

"Our folks are really wanting people to be aware of it. They want to be aware that this is causing people to get sick because they may have product in their homes. For every one that is reported, there may be 29 others," Russell said.

People can get salmonella by handling infected dog food, then not washing their hands before eating or handling their own food, health officials said.

The South Carolina plant temporarily was shut down April 8. Diamond Pet Foods has issued four rounds of recalls for food made at the plant, located outside of Columbia, S.C., between Dec. 9 and April 7. The latest recalls were announced Friday.

"We took corrective actions at the plant, and today the plant is up and running. Our mission is to produce safe pet foods for our customers and their pets in all Diamond facilities," the company said in a written statement Friday.

In 2005, a toxic mold called aflatoxin ended up in food made at the same Diamond Pet Foods plant in South Carolina and dozens of dogs died. The company offered a $3.1 million settlement. The Food and Drug Administration determined the deadly fungus likely got into the plant when it failed to test 12 shipments of corn.

FDA officials were not immediately available for comment Friday on the most recent problems with the plant.

Agriculture officials in Michigan found the strain of salmonella during routine testing of dog food on April 2 and health investigators noticed there was a possible link to the food made by Diamond Pet Foods. An ill person still had some of the food, and authorities were able to link the cases to the food, the CDC said.

The recall covers a number of pet food brands made at the Gaston plant, including Canidae, Natural Balance, Apex, Kirkland, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul, Country Value, Diamond, Diamond Naturals, Premium Edge, Professional, 4Health and Taste of the Wild.
Though there are no reports of this causing illness in CA, I would still take caution with this food.

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

Monday, May 7

What's Up Downtown May!

Happy May!  I hope you all had a great first weekend in May and got to celebrate Cinco De Mayo!
May is here and Downtown has a lot to offer you in the way of fun things to do, new places to eat, shows to see and of course special deals for Mother's Day. 

I, however, am most excited about my own event, the Spring Fever Pooch Parade on May 15th.  You must RSVP by May 8th and it is getting full, so RSVP today.  It is going to be so much fun for both you and your dog!!

I am into food, so trying new places to eat is high on my list of things to do.  I am looking forward to getting a burger from The Counter Burger on 7th, they are so yummy, I'm sure this location is no different.  I've already had a chance to sample a sandwich from Mike's Deli on 1st, delicious food and high quality service!  I am also looking forward to getting a cocktail sometime soon from Bar Thirteen, it looks like a great vibe!  There are more new places to try, but these are just a few.

If you get as much joy from seeing shows as I do, there are some good choices to see right now.  To name a couple, La Bohรจme is coming to the LA Opera and Follies is now playing at the Ahmanson.  Those are just two, there are so many exhibits to see and concerts, you could keep yourself entertained every day of the month!

Finally, don't forget that this Sunday is Mother's Day.  If your mom lives in the area or is coming in for a timely visit, there are some great brunch offers to treat her to.  To view all the participating restaurants and their special brunch offer for Mom's and Mimosas, just bark on the link:  Bark!

Happy May Everyone!

Thursday, May 3

My Bond With Neville

Tuesday was one of the most emotional days I've had with Neville to date. Not in a bad way, just emotional. There are a few factors involved: I had been rushing around preparing for my trip I started yesterday for the few days prior, the events Downtown for May Day and all the chaos that was surrounding that, he had an acupuncture treatment and then I left him at the kennel. With my energy being weird and the intensity of Downtown, my sweet boy was a little stressed.

Right before I took him to his acupuncture treatment I read a blog that my vet had posted about the connection we have with our pets and how they rescue us just as much as we rescue them. This is a thought I have a lot about both my dog and cat, but especially Neville. So going to the vet, I was already in a sentimental mood.

The treatment went really well and he was extra sweet to me and my vet! We spent some quite time in the exam room after his treatment so I could say goodbye. I felt like my heart was being ripped out as he sat in front of me and looked so lovingly at me with his big brown eyes. Neville has this look that he gives at all the right moments that is a mixture of the cutest puppy you have ever seen and a stunningly handsome dog. It melts my heart every time.

So after lots of kisses and hugs and a quick trip outside for one last potty, it was time for goodbye. I walked him back to the kennel area and as he rounded a corner I turned back and ducked out before he could see me leave. I barely got into my car before the tears started to come. The silly part is that I leave him at this kennel because it is a safe place for him. It is my vet so I trust her and the staff and Neville really likes it there. On top of all of that, he only has to stay for 2 days and then my friend and mommy to his girlfriend, will pick him up for a weekend sleep over. Why I got so upset, I don't know. Logically, I know it is fine, but still somewhere in my head all I could think about was my sweet boy being scared and lonely and not understanding what was happening.

Ultimately, when I was at home Tuesday night and felt how empty the house was, it just made me appreciate how far Neville and I have come with our bonding. I know I can't imagine how or what my life was without him and I hope one day he can forget the life he had before me. I know I love him and he loves me and it is one of the most amazing feelings to be loved and bonded with such a special dog.

I know each of you can relate with this because of your own special bond with your dog. No matter if they are truly a rescue dog or not, my bet is that they rescued you in whatever way you needed them to.

Take a moment to hug your dog today and just feel the love between you, I know that is all I want to do today but my sweet boy is so far away so I will have to wait a few more days.

Tuesday, May 1

Spring Fever Pooch Parade... Don't Miss Out!

 A few weeks ago I announced the Spring Fever Pooch Parade that is going to be on May 15th in Little Tokyo and the Arts District.  I want to clear a few things up about what this event is and why it would be good to attend.  Many people have asked or inquired, is this just a walk or is this just training on how to walk your dog?  The answer is no.  It is much more than that.  Really, the Pooch Parade works on socialization for your dog.  Socialization on a broad scale, so that includes other dogs, people, cars, buses, skateboards, bikes, and everything else that comes with the city.  We do take a walk, but during the walk I have you stop every so often to do different exercises to work on your dog's focus on you. 

At the end of the night, we sit down at a restaurant, this time will be Urth Cafe, with our dogs.  This allows for your pooch to rest, but also for you to have a pleasant dining experience with your dog. 

Space is limited and there are a few spots left, so hurry and RSVP today or at least by May 8th.  All the details about the event are below from my original post.

The temperature is risin'!  Get your dog out & let's sniff Downtown's air on the side of the city we don't get to very often!  

It brings me great pleasure to announce Bark & Clark's Spring Pooch Parade!

Please join us for the Spring Fever Pooch Parade on May 15th @ 7pm

The evening will start with me, Certified Trainer, Tamara Clark, leading your pooches through the busy streets of Little Tokyo and we will make our way through the lights and people over to the sometimes no sidewalks of the Arts District.  We'll keep your dogs tail wagging with special to-go treats from Pussy & Pooch and, as usual, the evening will conclude with a chance for the humans to sit down, unwind and enjoy wonderful conversation at the dog friendly, Urth Cafe.  So fun!  

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.  The Spring Fever Pooch Parade workshop's focus will be on you dogs socialization with busy sidewalks and streets and safety where sidewalks don't exist.  As well, we will have our usual education on the approved potty places and how to get your dog to go there. 
The benefit of working your dog in this environment is it helps reinforce their basic obedience and uses those skills to increase their 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. 

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 and if you can't be there, I hope you will help spread the word!  

Be sure to RSVP by May 8th because space is limited.  The cost is $40/dog.

To sign up for The Spring Fever Pooch Parade, give us a bark:  Bark!