Whole Dog Journal Blog

Not how I was planning to start the day (Dog ownership 201)

October 7, 2013 - I rolled out of bed this morning and was greeted by an “erp, erp, erp” sound – that dog-vomit-is-imminent noise. Tito the Chihuahua was standing in the hall outside my bedroom door. I picked him up (one hand on chest, one under hind legs, so as not to hurt his tummy more than it was already hurting) and whisked him out onto the deck in the nick of time. That’s one thing you can’t do with a big dog.
Posted at 12:21PM Comments (5)

Virtual Dogsitting

September 30, 2013 - A friend has fielded complaints from a neighbor about her dogs’ barking. The thing is, she leaves her three dogs in the house when she’s at work, and the neighbor who complained to her is, I’m not exaggerating, at least 1,000 feet from her house.
Posted at 01:56PM Comments (7)

What’s the most appropriate home?

September 23, 2013 - Two couples are both interested in a big, active dog at the shelter. One couple is older. They own their home. Property is at least several acres, but unfenced. Husband is retired and home most days, puttering in garden and with hobbies. Wife works 30 or so hours a week. They formerly owned another big, active dog, who recently died of old age. They have a 2-year-old small dog who misses having canine company. They have a trainer who they have worked with previously and plan to do so again. Second candidate couple is young, early 20s. They are renters. They also live on several acres, but their home property is fenced. They have another big, young, active dog, a female. They both work.
Posted at 03:17PM Comments (43)


September 16, 2013 - Last week, when I was at the emergency clinic with my yellow Labrador foster dog, Riley, I saw another yellow Labrador who was spending the night in the ER. This dog had been bitten by a rattlesnake, and was undergoing treatment. It’s weird, because another time I was at the emergency clinic with a foster dog -- about four years ago, with a puppy whose kennel cough had taken a turn for the worse (pneumonia set…
Posted at 10:48AM Comments (3)

Keep Drugs Somewhere EXTREMELY Safe

September 9, 2013 - Some blog posts just write themselves -- like this one. It’s almost 3 am, and I just got home from the emergency veterinary clinic. At approximately 11:15 pm, Riley, an 18-month-old Labrador I am fostering for my local shelter, walked into my home office happily chewing something. I couldn’t see what it was, so I got up from my chair and put my fingers in his mouth. I extracted a white plastic lid, the kind that caps a large childproof medicine bottle. My mind spun, and I remembered that there had been a bottle of another dog’s medicine on my kitchen counter earlier in the evening. I trotted into the kitchen, and sure enough, the bottle was gone.
Posted at 02:21PM Comments (7)

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

September 2, 2013 - I love being asked to find “the right dog” for friends or family. Especially when it’s for a person or family who is committed to taking their time to find the exact right dog –- people who don’t fall for the first cute but oh-so-inappropriate dog who comes along.
Posted at 10:36AM Comments (5)

I’m so sorry, Uncle Otto

August 26, 2013 - One potential hazard of fostering dogs, when you already own dogs, is that your dogs become stressed or unhappy about the foster dogs, who often need remedial training and lessons in basic good dog manners. Other dogs enjoy having canine company, even if the visitors are ill-mannered. While my dog Otto is currently the latter, I think that when he’s a senior dog, I will have to forego fostering for a time. I suspect that…
Posted at 04:22PM Comments (6)

Critters all around us

August 19, 2013 - I have a friend whose dogs are currently being terrorized by a band of aggressive turkeys in her neighborhood. Plus, her yard is not fenced, so the turkeys who wander down the block often take detours through her yard. They are not only large and noisy and numerous, they advance rather than retreat when her dogs approach them -- to the point that her dogs no longer want to go outside in their own yard. And quiver when they look out the windows and see the large birds foraging in the shrubbery.
Posted at 02:59PM Comments (10)

Dog haters: What can be done about them?

August 12, 2013 - Have you ever noticed that almost any article about dogs in any non-dog (mainstream) publication will be followed by a certain percentage of comments by people who HATE dogs and their owners?
Posted at 10:07AM Comments (11)

A nice vacation turns sour: Pet stores and puppy mills

August 5, 2013 - I took a vacation recently, in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. While there, I got to tour a dog food and treat manufacturing plant, Bio Biscuit, in Sainte-Hyacinthe, Quebec. That was awesome – great company, great products, made by caring, competent people. Bio Biscuit makes its own line of baked food and treats, Oven Baked Tradition, and co-manufactures products for other companies, too.
Posted at 02:28PM Comments (22)

Going somewhere especially fun for humans? Leave the dog at home!

July 29, 2013 - I love bringing my dog with me – when I go to a place where I know he will be comfortable and have the opportunity to do the kind of things he likes to do: run, swim, pretend-hunt, and greet and interact people he knows and likes. I don’t bring him with me, however, when I’m going to places where I know he will be uncomfortable and can’t do anything that’s fun for him.
Posted at 10:00AM Comments (16)

The Rescue Journey

July 19, 2013 - In my “editor’s note” in the July issue, I mentioned that I recently got to experience the power of a well-organized, energized rescue group. I was at a loss as to how to best help Buddy, a very handsome but very boisterous young hound, who had been in my local shelter for going on two months without finding a home – and whose behavior was deteriorating by the day.
Posted at 12:23PM Comments (6)

Prevention is the better part of valor (With apologies to Shakespeare)

July 12, 2013 - I was at a veterinary clinic recently with a dog I was dog-sitting; he had a foxtail (grass seed awn) in his ear. I overheard someone responding to the vet tech’s questions regarding another patient.
Posted at 10:52AM Comments (1)

Dog Got Skunked? DON’T Use Water (At Least, Not at First)

July 8, 2013 - Chemist Paul Krebaum gets the credit for applying his chemistry knowledge to the age-old need for a substance that can neutralize the smell of skunk spray. He researched the putrid oil (which skunks can shoot out of special glands under their tails as a potent defense mechanism) and determined that the chemical responsible for the distinctive odor was in a class called thiols. The human nose is extremely sensitive to these organosulfur compounds, and can detect them at 10 parts per billion. But if you subject the substance to just the right compound, you can inactivate the chemicals responsible for the odor, as fast as a chemical reaction can occur.
Posted by Nancy Kerns at 01:58PM Comments (13)

What’s your dog like when you’re not there?

June 28, 2013 - I have a guest dog for a few weeks. I’ve known Leila for a few years – she’s about six or seven, and supposed to be a Papillion – but I’ve never hosted her when her family goes on vacation. This year, though, my availability jibed with their vacation plans, and so here she is, one of my pack for a couple weeks. So far, she’s pretty low-maintenance and easy: a tiny bit clingy (appropriate when ditched with people, dogs, and cats you don’t know) but overall well behaved.
Posted at 01:54PM Comments (9)