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New Year’s Resolutions, canine edition

I don’t know anyone who is a perfect dog owner. I know people who do an amazing job with their dogs from a training and behavior perspective – and who feed their dogs really crummy dog food. And conversely, I have friends who spend a fortune on top-quality food for their dogs – that is, their terribly under-socialized, untrained dogs. It seems like we all have an Achilles heel when it comes to managing our dogs’ emotional, intellectual, and physical health (or our own, for that matter! But that’s another story.).

The Reformation of a Killer – A Chicken Killer, That Is

When I brought my dog Otto home from the shelter, I knew he was a killer. He had at least one murder on his rap sheet. His cage card said, “Kills chicken.” (It was a typo…I assume he either killed one chicken, or will kill chickens.)

Recommending Dog Books for the Season

“Outside of a dog,” said Groucho Marx, “a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” If you’re looking for best friends of the book variety, here are five that belong on your gift list and on your own bookshelf.

A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE – When Bad Things Happen to Good Dog Owners

‘Twas a few weeks before Christmas, and all through the house, The Miller family was heading for bed, including the spouse. I carried Scooter upstairs with care, Because his tiny Pom legs can’t carry him there. I returned downstairs for the rest of the crew, Knowing they wanted to go to bed too.

Think Ahead When Adding Dogs to Your Family

Back in 1998, we were a happy one dog family, made complete by the light of my life dog, Axel, a grand Bouvier des Flandres. So why did I have to mention in passing to his groomer, a woman active in Bouvier rescue, that maybe we’d like to add another?

Topical Flea and Tick Treatments

I worry about using the topical flea and tick treatments. I hate the idea of applying a deadly pesticide to a dog's skin – a substance so toxic that it can kill fleas for a month. And yet, the bites of fleas and ticks are awful. The itching caused by a flea bite can cause a dog to literally tear her skin open and infections can set in.

This old dog is learning a new trick: Video!

For years, I’ve been begging the powers that be who own this magazine for the resources that would enable the production of videos that would accompany articles in the magazine. My concept was that people learn differently, and while some people can read about something (and look at the photos and captions) it won’t make sense to other people until they can see it acted out – video!

Another Foster Dog Found Her Way Into My Car!

It was the inevitable; Nancy has taken in yet another foster dog! As outlined in her blog, with the right socialization and behavior modification, virtually all shelter dogs are adoptable. The key ingredient is the dedication of the foster parent.

Lifelong Learning for You and Your Dog

“Why are you taking an agility class? Isn’t Otto agile enough?” That’s my husband’s question. Otto is plenty agile; I am much less so. But that’s not why Otto and I are taking an agility class.

Celebrate life!

I attended a unique canine-related event yesterday, and while I was initially reluctant to go, I’m really glad I did. An acquaintance, not someone I know well, was holding a “celebration of life” for her Boxer, Dempsey, who has terminal cancer. She knows it’s just a matter of time before she has to put her very special dog to sleep.

Risk of Salmonella: What Worries Me is Not What Worries Them

I took a quick look at a list of animal-related products that were recalled in the past year due to Salmonella contamination. (I happened to be looking at the one on the website for the American Veterinary Medical Association (avma.org); its list is based on information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration”s Center for Veterinary Medicine (fda.gov/cvm)).

Shelter Sadness

I spent a half day at my local shelter recently, working with a half-dozen large, adolescent dogs who have been languishing there for two or more months. Not one of these dogs knew the cue “sit” but they were friendly and healthy and in need of homes.

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Oh, Mama

I didn’t plan to foster this year – not until Otto has passed. But a friend, the vet tech from my local shelter, called...