Whole Dog Journal Blog

Giving thanks for my steadfast friends

November 25, 2013 - I’m grateful, beyond what words can express, for the companionship and health of my near-perfect “heart dog” Otto, a six-year-old scruffy mixed breed. Our early years together were a challenge but worth the effort, and I count on him to behave well in all sorts of circumstances and he *almost* never lets me down.
Posted at 12:08PM Comments (11)

Fighting Words

November 18, 2013 - So, one of my sisters visited recently. She lives out of state, and I loaned her my car to drive for a week, which she was going to spend traveling to see her daughter -- about 6 hours drive from me -- our other sister and a friend about five hours from there, and then come back here. All that happened.
Posted at 09:46AM Comments (12)

About the coolest thing ever

November 11, 2013 - I can’t hold it in any longer: I have the most photogenic dog ever. And now I get to celebrate his gorgeousness life-sized, forever. There is a small chain of pet supply stores in Northern California called Petfood Express. It’s my personal favorite, for many reasons. But one of its coolest innovations is something it calls its “My Mutt Program.”
Posted at 11:12AM Comments (7)

Dog Food Nutrition and Feeding Trials

November 4, 2013 - I received a message on WDJ’s Facebook page about feeding trials the other day. Feeding trials are considered by most veterinary nutrition experts [emphasis added] to be the “gold standard” for proving nutritional adequacy claims – superior to the “nutrient levels” method of proof. That’s because it’s quite possible for a laboratory analysis to confirm that a food contains the amounts of various nutrients judged to be necessary for maintaining a dog, but for the product, in practice, to fail at that very job.
Posted at 01:41PM Comments (6)

Are your dogs prepared for Halloween?

October 28, 2013 - Every year for the past seven years, I’ve experienced a Halloween preview that used to be more stressful for my pets than Halloween itself. I live across the street from a tiny YMCA; the facility is just one small building with a fenced play yard smaller than my own front yard. But every year on the weekend before Halloween, the YMCA hosts a huge haunted house in its building and yard. The event, a major fundraiser for the organization, draws hundreds and hundreds of adults, teenagers, and children, who will walk, intermittently screaming, through a winding path of scary sights and sounds.
Posted at 11:35AM Comments (10)

Thanks for getting me outdoors

October 21, 2013 - Two nice dog walks this weekend, with two different friends and their dogs. Saturday evening, my friend Leonora and I met at a local trailhead in a part of our local wildlife area at the same time as a carload of duck hunters – which is how we learned that the duck season opened locally that day. Whoops.
Posted at 10:59AM Comments (5)

“General practice” veterinarians: What are your likes and dislikes?

October 14, 2013 - I was thinking about the traits I like in a vet after a friend told me about a bad visit to a new (to her) veterinarian. She was moving to the new vet because of some bad experiences at another practice, and she heard good things about this new practitioner in town. She had called the old practice and asked them to send her dogs’ records to the new practice, and had asked the new practice if they received them; it took several calls over the course of a week or so to confirm that the records had been sent and received.
Posted at 08:42AM Comments (14)

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)

Snakeanoia

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)