Thursday, September 27

Boots & Barkley Bully Stick Recall

If your dog loves Bully Sticks (or Twizzle Sticks) as much as my dog does, you are going to want to pay attention to this recall.  Boot & Barkley are recalling their Bully Sticks sold at Target, all the information from is below.

Boots & Barkley is recalling its American Beef Bully Sticks that were sold at Target stores nationwide from April through September, over potential salmonella contamination.
The voluntary recall was issued by Denver-based Kasel Associated Industries, the sticks' manufacturer, and applies to all six-count 5-inch packages of Boots & Barkley "American Beef Bully Sticks."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is urging pet-owners to look for signs of salmonella in animals that ate the sticks, because the infection can be risky to both pets and humans.
Salmonella bacteria can sicken animals that eat these products and humans are at risk for salmonella poisoning from touching contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after handling.
People who may have been infected with salmonella could experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. In rare cases, the bacteria can lead to severe symptoms like arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain and urinary tract symptoms.
Pets with salmonella may appear lethargic and have diarrhea (sometimes bloody), fever and vomiting. Other pets will show a decreased appetite, fever and abdnominal pain. What's more, infected pets who appear otherwise healthy can carry salmonella and spread it to other animals or humans.
"If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has any of these signs, please contact your veterinarian," the FDA said in a press release.
Kasel is recalling all lot numbers of the sticks after tests by Colorado's Department of Agriculture found salmonella in the following four lots: BESTBY20APR2014DEN, BESTBY01JUN2014DEN, BESTBY23JUN2014DEN, and BESTBY23SEP2014DEN.
No illnesses have been reported to date in animals or humans in connection with this recall.
This past May, a salmonella outbreak tied to some products from Diamond Pet Foods sickened 14 people across nine states.

Consumers who have purchased the six-count 5-inch packages of Boots & Barkley American Beef Bully Sticks are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Kasel Associated Industries at 1-800-218-4417.

Wednesday, September 26

The Yellow Dog Project


Have you seen the picture above?  If not take a minute to read it, this is something that is very important if you are a dog owner or live around other dogs. 

Most of my clients and many of my friends have reactive dogs and the hardest part of managing them are other people and their dogs.  My clients and friends end up feeling helpless and often trapped because even though they ask for the approaching people and dogs to keep their distance or not greet their dog, most do not listen and they do it anyway.  This of course causes their dog to react and sometimes quite severely which is dangerous to the approaching dog and person.

All of this could be completely avoided if people would just simply respect each others space.  That is where the Yellow Dog Project comes in.  The hope is that anyone with a dog that requires some space, no matter what the reason, will where a yellow ribbon on them.  This is a clear indicator to each person passing by that their dog should not be approached and needs some room.

So, now I need your help to spread the word about The Yellow Dog Project.  You can start by learning a little more about it at

Help make the dog community stronger and safer by getting the word out about what a yellow ribbon means and why this should be respected.

Monday, September 24

Autumn Lights Fun

The Autumn Lights event this past Saturday was great fun!  There was a large turn out and a good amount of dogs!  We ended up not just doing one walk at 8:30, but we added a second walk at 9:15!  The Pussy & Pooch booth (above) was just adorable!  They made sure every dog stood out with their purple or green glo band around their neck.

                                        (8:30 group)

Pershing Square was lit up in so many different ways!  Lasers being shot overhead, projectors on walls, screens and some creative surfaces, people in glow in the dark paint, and so many beautiful and creative art pieces made up of light or glow in the dark material.  The live bands kept the vibe fun and festive.

Walking dogs through this massive crowd was a challenge, but we all had fun and the dogs did great.  The walk was only about 10-15 minutes long, it didn't take long to get around Pershing Square, but the participants did get to see every exhibit and have the chance to dance with their dog!

                                      (9:15 group)

Thank you to everyone that came out and especially Pussy & Pooch for the amazing booth and inviting us to be a part of it.  Seeing dogs walk around the event with glo bands around their neck is one of the cutest things I've seen!

If you missed it this year, I hope to see you there next year, it is fun community event for DTLA!

Friday, September 21

Something Fun & Free For the Weekend

Are you looking for something fun and FREE to do this Saturday night with your dog?  If so join me for a Free Pet Parade at Autumn Lights!

I will be leading a Pet Parade for the Pussy & Pooch booth at 8:30pm at Autumn Lights in Pershing Square on Saturday night.  The event is pretty amazing, Pershing Square is completely illuminated and the art should be fun.  Through all the people and exhibits we will be doing a Pet Parade, focusing on handling your dog in crowds and manners in public.

I am very excited to pair up with Pussy & Pooch!  They will be handing out free glo bands for you and your dog!

To sign up, all you have to do is go to the event and be at the Pussy & Pooch booth prior to 8:30pm to get your glo bands and get on the list.

Below tells you a little more about the Pet Parade and you can find out more about Autumn Lights by barking on the link.

I hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 20

Keeping Your Dog's Focus On You

A common problem I address in almost every one of my trainings is keeping your dog's focus on you while you walk, rather than all the other people and dogs.  It is my belief that when your dog is on leash, unless you cue them otherwise, their focus should be on you, the handler, not everything around them.  The leash acts as a telephone wire between you and your dog, you are in constant communication with them, they feel your emotions and reactions and you feel theirs... or at least you should. 

The leash is not just to keep your dog in tune with you and you with them, it is also for control, you have a way to direct them left or right, faster or slower and to keep them at your side at the times they may want to do something you do not wish for them to do.

One of the most common issues for Downtown dogs owners, are dogs greeting other dogs.  Many dog owners will allow their dog to rush into the face of other dogs no matter if it is really the best thing for their dog or the other dog. 

Just last night I was working with an aggressive dog.  We were working at a restaurant patio, and the intent was to see other dogs and work on his reaction and recovery time.  The owners would like to be able to enjoy a meal out with their dog.  Many dogs went by and he was doing great, then came one little white dog.  I could tell from his approach, this was not a well socialized dog.  The dog I was working with had a citronella collar on, it was going off as he barked at the approaching dog and the owner and myself were clearly working with him and keeping him away from this dog.  The owner was not satisfied that her dog was not able to greet my client, so she purposefully let out the leash and let the dog get in my client's face.  After some sniffing and some snapping from BOTH dogs, her dog was not as friendly as she believed, she moved on.  

This is the most frustrating thing for my clients.  Of the dog mentioned above and many others that have dogs with dog issues.  They get set up in unfair situations because other owners think it is fine to let their dogs just go into other dog's faces.  But the truth is, it is very dangerous. 

If you don't know the dog you are approaching, you should at the very least ask the owner if it is okay to meet.  Maybe your dog is perfect and has no issues, that is not a guarantee that the other dog is the same way.  Also, maybe the owner or handler is doing some training on focus and want their dog to just pay attention to them, letting your dog rush into their dog's face is such a distracting, and in my opinion, rude behavior.

There is another benefit to teaching your dog to focus on you during walks.  Have you passed a really excitable dog or puppy on the street or maybe that is your dog?  When you allow your dog to greet every single dog, they will consider it their right to do so.  This means every dog you pass they will jump and play bow and do all sorts of "out of control" or "hyper" behaviors.  Where as if you just teach them that they are not allowed to say hello until you give the signal, you will have a dog that is well mannered in front of humans and dogs.

My goal is to see dogs able to pass each other on the street without a commotion, greet each other politely and pay attention to their owners.  On the flip side, I dream of the day when owners pay attention to their dogs, control who their dogs greet and have respect for fellow dog owners that may be dealing with some pretty difficult issues.

If you have a dog that needs help with anything mentioned above, please give me a BARK!  I would love to help!  Downtown is so close to having an amazing dog community, I am dedicated to making certain it happens.

Wednesday, September 19

Dog Discovered On Google Maps Has Happy Ending

I saw a post on Dogster a few weeks ago about a dog, called Sonya, that was found on Google maps.  On the Street View a couple saw her and contacted a rescue to get her off the streets.  This story now has an update, there is a bit of a twist in the story, the whole thing is below.  If you missed the original story, I encourage you to click the link below.
In August I wrote about dog rescuer Eldad Hagar and his saving of Sonya. I have an update to share, but first let’s revisit her previous situation, as new info has come to light since the story ran.
Sonya, a Chow-Golden Retriever mix, had been living on the streets of an industrial area in Long Beach, California, for years and could clearly be seen via Google Street View sitting on the sidewalk in the slim shade of a utility pole. Two concerned people who don't live in the neighborhood -- identifying themselves only as Patrick and Jen -- learned about Sonya and asked Hagar and his Hope for Paws group to rescue her. They wanted a better life for the street dog.

(Sonya found shade wherever she could.)
Hagar arrived in the neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon and saw Sonya sitting underneath an RV parked on the street. She had no collar or tags, and her fur was a matted, flea-and-tick-infested mess. Hagar corralled her using fencing kept in his car, then he took her to a groomer and home. The next day, Sonya went to a vet, where she stayed for a week receiving desperately needed medical care.
The vet surgically removed ingrown dewclaws as well as a growth on her left elbow, the result of her almost-constant contact with concrete. She had dental work done and ear infections treated. She also got vaccinated and microchipped but was already spayed. Once given a clean bill of health, Sonya went to Patrick’s mom, Joan, as a foster.

(Sonya all clean and comfy at the Hagar home.)
As soon as Hagar shared the story of Sonya’s rescue on Facebook, drama ensued. Certain commenters said that the dog, called Choka, had an owner and had lived in the Long Beach neighborhood for more than 18 years. She was a street dog, but well cared for, they said. Supporters of Hagar fired back at the commenters with accusations of neglect and cruelty.
Hagar made contact with one of the commenters and eventually spoke with Vince Guerrera, who said he was Choka’s owner. I recently talked to Guerrera as well to get more of the story behind the dog’s former situation.
Guerrera has run a machine shop from the building seen in the Google Street View for more than 25 years. He said he found Choka as a pregnant stray more than 18 years ago and that he has provided care for her ever since, including her spay surgery and regular shots. She had a shelter and water bowl on the sidewalk near his entrance, but they were missing when Patrick visited before contacting Hagar. Guerrera said he even attempted to domesticate Choka.
“We tried to get her in the house a couple of times, but she would just eat through the door," he says. "She didn’t want to stay in the house. So I would go down there seven days a week and feed her.”
Guerrera said he fed her a half-pound of liver, one and a half chicken breasts, and half a can of dog food a day. Choka does not seem hungry in the video Hagar shot of her rescue. She actually ignored most of the cheeseburger bits he tossed toward her in an attept to lure her out from under the RV.
Choka was registered, according to Guerrera, but he did not keep a collar on her because he was afraid someone would use it to grab her. He also said that area animal control officers knew she belonged to him and let her roam the area around his shop.
“She was like a watchdog,” he said. “She didn’t want to stay inside.”
Guerrera said he had already been by to feed Choka by the time Hagar captured her that Sunday. When he arrived at his shop Monday morning, she was missing.
“After 18 years of being greeted by her, she was just gone,” he said.

(Sonya roams her old neighborhood.)
Guerrera said he sent workers out to search for Choka and checked area dumpsters in case she had been hit by a car and placed inside one. He went to the pound twice. He only learned where she was after someone from the neighborhood spotted her on Hagar’s Facebook page. The men talked, and Guerrera decided that Choka, now Sonya, was in good hands at her new home.
“I’m very happy she has a place to convalesce for the last years of her life,” he said, adding that, “It’s perfect timing. We’re about to move the business. I was already concerned about what was going to happen with her. I don’t think she would have stayed with us at the new location. I’m not happy I wasn’t notified, though.”
Guerrera said he would like to donate money to Patrick's mom, Joan, for Sonya’s care, as he worries she may not like a different diet.
“I’m sure she’s not being fed the way she was used to," he said.
Perhaps not, but Sonya has certainly settled into her new home well, recently leaving her foster status behind to become a permanent member of her new family.
According to Jen, “Whenever anyone comes to the door, she gets up to greet them with a smile and a wagging tail. Her tail always seems to be wagging these days."
Sonya likes petting so much, Jen said, "She literally buries her head in your lap because she wants you to scratch behind her ears. If you stop, she’ll gently grab your hand in her mouth as if to say, ‘No. Don’t stop!’ She lets me hold her face and kiss her all over her head and nose, and she returns the kisses.”
Jen also said Sonya has found a new best friend in Jack, Joan’s other rescue dog: “She follows him around the yard and will sneak in a little kiss every now and then.”

(Sonya relaxing at her new home with Jack.) 
Jen also reported that Sonya continues to receive the medical care she needs. She said she took Sonya to her vet a couple of weeks ago to get the staples removed from her elbow, where Eldad's vet surgically removed that growth. From the X-rays taken at Eldad's vet, Jen's vet was able to see that she has a large bone spur on her lower back. She also has some arthritis in both her knees.
"That explains why she walks a little slow and stiff and is a little wobbly on the back end," Jen said.
Because of Sonya's age, though, the vet recommended agianst surgery to remove the spur. He provided some medication for inflammation and discomfort and recommended some supplements.
"She went for her first ‘real walk’ to the end of the block a few days ago," Jen said, "and she did great."
Upon hearing that Sonya was one of his many foster fails, Hagar said, “My job is done at this point. I am just super happy it all worked out so beautifully.”

It is so nice to hear a happy ending for a story like this.  I am sure Guerrera was providing the best care he could and it is very apparent he cared for and loved the dog.  The truth is, she needed something more.  I think this is something we see a lot, people with the best of intentions, but they may not be doing the best thing for the animal.  Again, I am so happy this all worked out for the best and Guerrera has the peace of mind that the dog he loved has a good and happy home.

Tuesday, September 18

The Power of Mental Stimulation

So many of my clients contact me because of bad behavior caused by boredom.  Yes, your dogs get bored too.  Most people think if you exercise your dog physically, that is all you need, but in fact that is only half of it.  I have seen it over and over again in my training, mental stimulation will tire your dog and keep them happy.

A lot of people think this means buying a lot of expensive puzzles or games, but that is not necessarily the case.  You can certainly do that and if your dog likes the puzzle or game they will have hours of fun and stimulation.  But if they don't, that is a lot of money wasted.

You can start by carving out 10-15 minutes twice a day to do obedience commands and tricks.  The easiest time is meal times.  Before giving your dog the food, have them sit, down, stay, shake, go to their bed, dance, play dead or anything else they may know.  With each command give them a treat or better yet, use their food.  You can feed them their entire meal this way making them work for every bite or just a few and then you give them the rest in the bowl.  

Your dog will enjoy the interaction with you as well you are working on mental stimulation.

I know mornings can be hectic, but it is important to exercise both the mind and body in the morning to prepare your dog to be home all day.  Though your dog may have a break in the middle of the day, it is likely to be purely physical.  Something else you can do is leave out brain teaser toys.  These can be anything from a buster cube to a self made treat in a bottle.  There are so many of these types of toys now.  Just the other day I saw a ball inside a big ball, this was made for our ball obsessed dogs.  They will chase the little ball inside for hours, until they are tired or move on to something else.  

Having several of these types of toys out during the day will help your dogs stay entertained and keep them out of trouble.

If you have questions about what you can do specifically for your dog, give me a bark!  I would love to help you and your dog find the balance of mind and body stimulation.

Friday, September 14

World's Tallest Dog

I have such a soft spot in my heart for Great Danes, but Zeus is a special one, he now holds the 2013 Guinness World Record for being the Tallest Dog.  The story from is below.

Denise and Kevin Doorlag weren't looking for a purse pooch or some scrappy little Dachshund. No, they wanted a big dog.

So almost four years ago, they brought home a Great Dane named Zeus, then just a little ball of black fur.

As Zeus grew, the Doorlags's hopes did, too, one inch at a time. Now 3 feet, 8 inches tall – and 150 lbs. – the aptly named canine is officially the world's tallest dog, according to the Guinness World Records 2013 edition (which launches Sept. 13).

"It's kind of comical," Kevin Doorlag tells "Everybody we see is like, 'Is that a horse? Is he part horse, part giraffe?'"

Zeus bests the previous record-holder by an inch (although that dog, fellow Great Dane Giant George, tipped the scale at 250 lbs.). But don't let his size fool you: he's more of a gentle giant than a big bully.

"He kind of acts like a small dog," Doorlag says. "He towers over [most dogs], but it's kind of funny. Even the smaller dogs will start sniffing, and if they bark, he'll run behind you. He's scared. He doesn't really realize how big he is."

Case in point: "He loves to sit on laps," Doorlag says. Besides frequent smooches for his owners, Zeus "loves human contact. He's a leaner."

Good Boy

Nowhere is Zeus's sweet side more evident than when he volunteers at the local hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich., as a therapy dog.

"When we're doing pet therapy, he'll go up to the beds," Doorlag says. "It's nice with his size – patients don't have to bend over. He's actually at face level."

Back at home, Zeus keeps close company with the couple's children, 20-year-old Miranda and 17-year-old Nicholas, as well as their other dog, a German shepherd named Sagan.

The family keeps food available for him around the clock, and "there's no special diet," Doorlag says. When he feels like napping, he sleeps in the couple's bed, but when it's bedtime, Zeus retires to a queen-size futon mattress all for himself in another room.

And for all of the welcome attention Zeus has attracted, there's just one downside to owning the world's biggest dog.

"It's not bad," Doorlag says, "But if he stays on my lap for a while, he tends to get on the heavy side."
I love that Zeus is described by his owner as a "leaner".  One of my favorite traits of these huge dogs is their love to sit on your lap or lean on you.  Zeus sounds like a perfect delight, congratulations on being the tallest dog in the world!

Happy Friday everyone, be sure to do something special with your dog.

Thursday, September 13

Lost Deaf, Three-Legged Dog Survives Bear Country

When I read this story, my heart was in my throat the whole time.  Even though the title told me the dog survived, I couldn't help but think how scared this dog must have been and how absolutely devastated the family was.  This is an amazing story of Mazzy Star, a 15-year-old, deaf and three-legged Husky.

Mazzy Star was camping with her family, The Clydes (mom, dad, 2 young boys and one 18-month old) and her 2 other K9 housemates in a campsite in Alaska's Russian River area.  The three dogs all had kennels, but when the family woke up in the morning, Mazzy was gone.  The search was on.  Mazzy's family and the campground employees all went searching through the brush-filled woods.  Some even ventured down a 100-foot ravine to search the river bank.

The night before Mazzy went missing, there were Black Bears trashing tents throughout the site and Grizzly's with their cubs wondering the river banks.  In other words, there were a lot of bears!

After a week of searching, the family had no choice but to give up and go home.  Jobs and school were waiting for them and everyone was sure, Mazzy did not survive.  It was a heartbreaking decision.  "Leaving a dog who you think had a horrible ending, who was expecting you to save her somehow, was just terrible," Karen (Clyde) told the Dispatch. "I just had to say bye to her and realize that I wasn't going to see her. Chances are she'd been eaten. I had this horrible feeling in my stomach the whole way."

One day after the family was home, they received a call that Mazzy Star was found!  Mr. Clyde drove 15 hours straight to go get their beloved pet.  "When I got out of the truck she hopped right over and looked at me with 'Wow, I am safe now' eyes," he told the Dispatch. "You could tell she had been giving it her all. It seemed like she hadn't stopped to rest the whole time she had been gone."

Mazzy was dirty, tired, had lost a few pounds and lost a bit of fur on her tail, but she was alive.  Somehow she survived this experience.

It is an amazing story with a very happy ending.  I wish there was a video camera attached to Mazzy Star, think of what a great movie or documentary this would make.  I'm sure she had quite the adventure.  I am so happy for her and her family that they were all reunited safe and sound.

Wednesday, September 12

Another Dog To Be Punish By Euthanasia

I read this story last week and was greatly saddened by it.  It is a tragic and very unfortunate story.  This time, I understand why the punishment was euthanasia, but I also see how there could be restrictions put on the dog without having to go to that extent.  This is the first offense and very unique circumstances.  No matter what the outcome ends up being, this is such an unfortunate event and so sad it couldn't have been prevented.  Thank you Dogster for bringing us this story.

Here’s yet another story about a Pit Bull-type dog facing euthanasia because of exaggerated fear over a breed. We recently reported on the case of Lennox, a friendly dog who was put down in Northern Ireland simply because the Belfast City Council mistakenly believed all Pit Bulls are dangerous. Meanwhile, in Colorado, the O’Brien family is trying to save their Pit Bull, Dre, from court-ordered euthanasia for escaping from the family garage. Dre did not bit anyone when he got out, and he had no record of aggressive behavior.

(Photo courtesy of Charlie's Facebook page.) 
The case of Charlie the 18-month-old Staffordshire Terrier is different, in that he attacked and injured a police horse. What's more, a U.S. Park Police officer was injured when he was thrown from the horse. But we believe Charlie deserves another chance. The young dog had never seen a horse, and he overreacted. Charlie, who has no history of aggression, made a mistake -- and his owner, David Gizzarelli, is willing to accept any restrictions the city sees fit in order to save his beloved pet’s life.
It was a typical summer day at San Francisco's Crissy Field for Gizzarelli and Charlie. There was a light breeze coming off the bay, and after their run, Gizzarelli chatted with some other dog owners while Charlie romped with about 25 other dogs in an off-leash area of the national park.

(Park Service Officer Eric Evans and Stoney.) 
Just as Gizzarelli was heading home, U.S. Park Service mounted police Officer Eric Evans appeared on his horse, Stoney. Charlie, who had never seen a horse, became excited and ran toward them, with Gizzarelli in pursuit. "Me and Charlie had been enjoying ourselves like we always do, and then in an instant there was just fear," he says.
Charlie's barking spooked the horse, who threw Evans. Charlie then chased Stoney through the park, biting him on the belly and legs, causing several gashes and possible tendon damage. A motorcycle officer finally stopped the attack more than a mile away. Evans received a concussion and an injured shoulder. Charlie had chest injuries from being kicked by the horse.
On Aug. 23, San Francisco Animal Care and Control held a vicious-dog hearing to determine Charlie’s fate. After receiving testimony and reviewing photos of Stoney’s injuries, hearing officer John Denny ordered Charlie to be destroyed within three days, even though the dog had no record of aggression and displays no aggressive tendencies. Gizzarelli hired an attorney and filed a writ, which stayed the euthanasia. The case is now in administrative review while Charlie awaits the determination of his fate in an isolation kennel.
The park service came down hard on Gizzarelli. Evans issued him four federal tickets, including failure to control an animal, assault on a police horse, and assault on a police officer, which could send him to federal prison for up to a year if he’s convicted. 

(Photo courtesy of Charlie's Facebook page.) 
In Charlie’s case, the park service is no longer involved, according to spokesman Howard Levitt. “Whatever happens to the dog will be up to the city of San Francisco,” he says.
Nonetheless, the park service gave conflicting information about the extent of Stoney’s injuries. At the Aug. 23 hearing, a tearful Evans testified that Stoney would possibly have to be retired. But several days earlier, park service police officer Austin King told KTVU News that Stoney had already been cleared for “light work.” Six days later, Levitt said the horse was still out of service and its future was uncertain.
Gizzarelli was unfamiliar with the hearing process, and his testimony might have damaged his case. He said that given the unpredictability of dogs when they encounter horses for the first time, it might not be a good idea to have mounted patrol routes so close to an off-leash area.
“They’re putting farm animals together with domesticated animals,” he told hearing officer Denny. “Any dog, not just a Pit Bull, not just Charlie or my dog, could have chased after that horse, could have caused a problem.” 

(Charlie as a puppy.) 
Nationwide, mounted police units have been cut or reduced because they are expensive and add limited value to daily policing. It is widely agreed that police horses are most useful for crowd control and for public relations. But in the animal world, horses are prey and dogs are predators. The species have an uneasy relationship, particularly if dogs are unfamiliar with horses, so routing horse patrols near off-leash areas could be considered tempting fate.
Nonetheless, the park service has no intention of curtailing the mounted patrols near Crissy Field because of the presence of dogs.
“The national parks have used horse patrols for more than 100 years, and for many, many years Crissy Field has been part of a patrol route,” Levitt says. “We are not going to change that.” 
Gizzarelli’s comment was not what Denny wanted to hear, either. Denny believes horse patrol routes are not really the issue, but rather that it is critical for dogs to be under control at all times in public. Dogs can be spooked into attacking by any number of things, Denny says. He has seen cases where dogs were provoked by shopping carts, mechanized wheelchairs, bicycles, and children who were screaming or running.
“If horses are not allowed near off-leash areas, where do we draw the line?” he says. “There are a lot of bicyclists and children who use Crissy Field -- do we ban them as well? If the horse was under control, it’s not too much to ask the dog to be under control.”
(Charlie dressed for the winter.) 
Denny says Gizzarelli has to understand he now has a different dog. With a record of violent attack, Charlie has to be kept under close control. Denny adds that too many dog owners tend to blame those who are attacked: "If only the mailman didn’t start waving his arms, or if the little kid down the block didn’t start running, my dog would have never reacted like that."
Denny says dog attacks on police horses are very rare. There have been two in the past 10 years, and in both cases the offending dogs were not put down. 
“This incident with Charlie is a first-time accident, I get it,” Denny said. “But if it happens again, it won’t be. We can correct it, but the owner has to be willing to take precautions.” 

(Photo courtesy of Charlie's Facebook page. )
Gizzarelli says he did not mean to sound unremorseful at the hearing. He says he feels terrible about what happened and has always been willing to take responsibility. He wishes he had been advised by an attorney. “I thought I was just fighting for my dog’s life,” he says. “I’ll accept any restrictions to prevent Charlie from being euthanized.”
Meanwhile, Gizzarelli and Charlie have received a great deal of public support. More than 8,000 people have signed a petition to save Charlie, and some people have contributed toward Gizzarelli's legal fees. You can read more about the story at the Help Save Charlie Facebook page
Gizzarelli’s attorney, Christine Garcia of the Animal Law Office, hopes that Charlie will be spared.
“I think we can come to an agreement with Animal Care and Control,” she says. “After all, I think everybody wants to find a way to keep this little guy from being put down.”

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 11

9/11 Anniversary

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the tragic events that occurred on 9/11/2001.  I don't want to make this blog about reliving those moments through videos and horrible images.  Rather, I would like to focus on how we moved forward. 

For me, anytime you mention 9/11, very clear images of the days after the towers fell come to mind.  The very beginning steps of us recovering.  The images of all the search and rescue and therapy dogs.  Yes, I know there were many men and women working search and rescue too and I am not forgetting them.  But, for me, the images of the dogs in special "shoes" to walk on the hot debris or sitting at the feet of the human search and rescue, consoling them in the moments it all got to be too much are what stand out the most.

These images are not ones of sadness and defeat, but of hope and comfort.  The message in each of those dog's eyes was "you will be okay".  And we are.

We will forever remember what happened that day, we will forever remember the ones we lost, but we will also continue to move forward and grow stronger.  Looking in the eyes of our children for what the future holds.

So today remember in the way that you want to.  I will be focusing on the amazing job our K9 friends were tasked with.  Not just the search and rescue that they did in horrible conditions, but the ability to comfort and console and in some cases motivate the humans to keep going.  This is something I think our pet dogs probably do for us every day.

Monday, September 10

Goodbye To A Special K9 Friend: Chaco

I learned this past Thursday that a good friend of mine and Bark & Clark's passed away, Chaco.  His human family are very good friend's of mine and supporters of my business.  I have known them for about 12 years or so and remember when they first adopted Chaco.  

To say I will remember Chaco fondly is an understatement!  If you ever met him, you would fall in love with his sweet demeanor and high energy.   You would think that as time went on that energy would start to fade, but not for Chaco.  I remember in his front yard he had created what looked like a racing track from all the times he had ran around it... not out of boredom, this was just his routine!

I have lots of memories I could share, but what I remember the most is how great he was with his family.  Not just the adults, but how awesome of a kids dog he was and how friendly he was with anyone that came to the house.  Chaco was an ultimate greeter for sure!

I was even lucky enough to have Chaco as one of the few dogs that helped me kick off my first ever Pooch Parade! 

He was smart, loyal and loving and I feel so honored I got to know him for the time that I did. 

Rest In Peace sweet boy, you will forever be remembered and loved!

Thursday, September 6

Dogs Empathize With Human Emotions

The love of a pup: A Labrador plays with a toddler - with research suggesting dogs are very in tune with our emotions

I blogged about an article along these same lines a while ago, but when a friend sent this to me, I thought I might as well post this one too.  After all, I think it is great that more than one study has been done to prove that dogs do in fact understand our emotions, respond to them and when appropriate try to console us.  Pretty impressive for an animal that is not suppose to be capable of complex thoughts!

Below is the article from Daily Mail UK.  The article states the findings of a study completed at Goldsmith University.  Please have a read and enjoy. 

Dog lovers have always known it, but now science seems to be lending weight to the idea that our canine best friends empathize with us when we are sad.
In fact, research published this month in the journal Animal Cognition suggests that that dogs may respond more to our emotions than anyone other species - and that includes other humans.
They will approach strangers in distress to comfort them, regardless of expectation of reward or care.

The research by Goldsmiths University doctors concluded that dogs nuzzle and lick humans they think are in distress - behaving in a submissive manner designed to offer comfort. 

Dr Deborah Custance and Jennifer Mayer, both from the Department of Psychology, developed a test to examine if domestic dogs could identify and respond to emotional states in humans.
Eighteen pet dogs, spanning a range of ages and breeds, were exposed to four separate 20-second experimental conditions in which either the dog's owner or an unfamiliar person pretended to cry, hummed in an odd manner, or carried out a casual conversation.
Significantly more dogs looked at, approached and touched the humans as they were crying as opposed to humming, and no dogs responded during talking. 

The majority of dogs in the study responded to the crying person in a submissive manner consistent with empathic concern and comfort-offering.
Dr Deborah Custance of Goldsmiths, University of London, said: 'The humming was designed to be a relatively novel behaviour, which might be likely to pique the dogs' curiosity.
'The fact that the dogs differentiated between crying and humming indicates that their response to crying was not purely driven by curiosity.
‘Rather, the crying carried greater emotional meaning for the dogs and provoked a stronger overall response than either humming or talking.’
Sad eyes: Dogs will nuzzle and console us when we are down, perhaps following years of evolution alongside Man
(Sad eyes: Dogs will nuzzle and console us when we are down, perhaps following years of evolution alongside Man)

The study also found that the dogs responded to the person who was crying regardless of whether it was their owner or the unfamiliar person.
‘If the dog's approaches during the crying condition were motivated by self-oriented comfort-seeking, they would be more likely to approach their usual source of comfort, their owner, rather than the stranger,’ said Jennifer. 

‘No such preference was found. The dogs approached whoever was crying regardless of their identity. Thus they were responding to the person's emotion, not their own needs, which is suggestive of empathic-like comfort-offering behaviour.’
Custance told Discovery News: 'We have domesticated dogs over a long period of time. We have selectively bred them to act as our companions.
'Thus those dogs that responded sensitively to our emotional cues may have been the individuals that we would be more likely to keep as pets and breed from.'

I would love to say this is astounding news and rave about how amazing this is, but if you own a dog, it isn't news at all.  What I will say, is that I am SO happy science is backing up what all of us dog owners and lovers have known for a very long time.  I don't know what I would do without my 4-legged companion.

Wednesday, September 5

What's Up Downtown September!

Oh September, you are here!  Does this mean the weather will start to cool and we will move towards fall?  I doubt it, we live in Southern California after all.  So that means the weather will continue to be warm and beautiful, perfect to come Downtown and experience an event or new restaurant.

This month there is not a ton happening, but there is enough to keep you busy!  There is the end of  Summer on the Plaza, the ongoing Whitney exhibit at the Grammy Museum, and on September 22nd Autumn Lights in Pershing Square!  This is a art light installation and a fun annual event, but the best part of this event is you can bring your pet and see ME at the PUSSY & POOCH booth!  We are doing a Pet Parade for FREE.  The parade starts at the Pussy & Pooch booth at 8:30pm, the parade will be lead by me, Tamara Clark, Lead trainer of Bark & Clark.  This will be a mini pooch parade, but we are including all pets!  It will be fun and a way to exhibit the benefit of our pets being there.  Hope you can make it out!

Who is in the mood to try something new?  There are a few new food and coffee places.  These all have been open for a bit, but I have not tried them and if you haven't either, maybe you will soon!  Tierra Mia Coffee on Spring and 7th, Kitchen Faire on 6th  between Olive and Grand (this is a great lunch place, one of my new favorites!), Localita & The Badasserie (Vegan Cafe) on Los Angeles & 8th, Guild New American Bistro on 7th and Grand, and Il Mare Ristorante Italiano on Hope & 11th.  WOW, I'm hungry now!

Whatever you do this September, I hope it will include DTLA!

Happy September!

Tuesday, September 4

12 Tips For Dogs During A Disaster

Anytime there is a disaster in the world, I don't think you can help but think, "What would I do in that situation?".   Dogster put together 12 tips to help dog owners during a disaster, I hope you find it helpful, I certainly did.

As current events in Louisiana demonstrate, disaster can strike at any time. What does this mean for dog owners? It means taking steps without delay to ensure your furry family member's survival, and planning ahead to get your pet organized. Muttshack Animal Rescue Foundation has done dog's work in the Gulf region since 2005, when the group saved hundreds of animals from perishing during Hurricane Katrina. Dogster debriefed Amanda St. John, who co-founded Muttshack with her husband, Martin. Here are her 12 expert survival tips.

Pet dog ferried to safety by

1. Get Spot a Microchip

Hundreds of pets get lost every year when disasters strike. During the confusion, animals can travel great distances from home. They may run away trying to escape the chaos, or may be rescued by a Good Samaritan and taken far, far away. Statistics show many rescued pets are never returned to their owners. Why? Because of lack of identification. So the first order of preparation is to check your pet's ID tag, Amanda advises. "Is it still legible and current? Is there enough information to find you, even if your phone has been disconnected? Does it have a street address or email?"
"Getting pets microchipped is so worth it! There is an army of shelters, vets, and rescue organizations that will return your pet from just about anywhere in the United States, if he or she has a chip," Amanda says. "A scanner will ID the chip, and the chip number is indexed on a national database. It's up to you to make sure your information is regularly updated on the database; for instance, if you move to a new address after adopting your dog."

2. Take photographs

One picture really does tell a thousand words, so take a photo of your dog as he looks today and place it in a plastic Ziploc bag in your Pet Disaster Kit.

3. Make a Pet Disaster Kit

For each pet you'll need a folder with the pet's name with your address, phone number, and email; a current photo; and copies of current distemper and rabies shots, other immunizations, and licenses. These are required by boarding facilities, and you may need to board your dogs during the emergency.  

Dog on sidewalk by

4. Help the people who might help your best friends

"You might not be home when disaster strikes or the order comes to evacuate," Amanda warns. "The disaster might also be localized to just your own home -- like a fire. If your animals are kept indoors or at home during the day, make sure that you have the information about how many pets there are, and their species, displayed on a laminated sign near your front door." For instance, the sign might read: POLICE/FIRE DEPARTMENT: ANIMALS LIVE HERE. 2 DOGS, 1 CAT, 1 BIRD.
Also, corral your pet leashes and collars on a hook near your front door, so your critters can be swiftly secured, by you or (if you're not there) a rescuer. Faced with a stranger, dogs will comply with being leashed by their own, familiar-scented leashes -- but they might be terrified of a rescue rope and resist rescue. Stack up empty animal carriers so they're ready to be deployed at a moment's notice.

5. Set up a buddy system

Do this with a trusted neighbor who also has pets (this is also super-helpful for last-minute pet-sitting during a non-disaster emergency -- if, say, you have to spend time with a family member in the hospital). In an emergency they (or you) will pick up the pets and meet at a pre-arranged location. If you've been exchanging pet-sitting favors, you'll already have house keys and be familiar with each other's pets, so you'll have a better chance of finding hiding animals than someone who's never met the pets before. Also, let your emergency buddy know where you keep your Pet Disaster Kit and pet carriers.

6. Moving animals to a safe location

Evacuate pets early -- don't delay. Bring a safe carrier or crate for each pet. Since pets are not allowed inside shelters for humans, you may need to board them or take them to a friend's. Boarding facilities will need proof of immunizations, especially distemper shots, so make sure those are included in your Pet Disaster Kit.

8. Update, update

Update and restock your supply of business cards -- you'll need to exchange information with lots of people, quickly and efficiently, in the event that you are looking for a lost pet. Write your pet's description on the back (better yet, have a photo of the dog printed right on there).
Also update your address book to include pet emergency numbers (including the numbers of your vet, local animal shelter, and animal control) and alternate housing numbers (boarding kennels, vet hospitals with kennels, and pet-friendly hotels). "Getting your pet into a secured environment quickly is key, whether it's home or someplace like home," Amanda says. "The longer the pet is out, the greater the chance they may get lost or injured."

9. Stock up on supplies

Refresh emergency rations, including cans of pet food and jugs of water, plus food bowls and treats. Also, make sure your first-aid kit is stocked with povidone iodine, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, bandages, gauze, and tape. Include a small blanket and a large plastic bag in your carryall. The bag could become ground cover or a raincoat for your dog, and a dry chew-bone will keep Spot distracted during a long confinement. And don't forget paper towels and poop-scoop bags.

10. Keep your dog calm

Dogs can become fearful and agitated during an evacuation, so keep speaking softly to your pets to keep them calm and to reassure them that you'll all be going back home together when it's over.

11. Make a lost dog flyer

Do this ahead of time, and make a couple dozen copies -- this can prove to be a dogsend if she does become lost during a disaster. And don't forget to visit MuttShack's page on Facebook to report a lost or found pet. "You'll find an outpouring of help from animal bloggers," Amanda promises.

12. Going home again

When you return to your animal house, inspect the place for any possible new dangers before you let your pets loose.