It’s amazing to me how many times I’ve assigned an article to one of WDJ’s regular contributors, or one of them has approached me about writing an article, and within days of receiving that article, I’m suddenly faced with the subject of the article in person – so to speak.
For example, I asked Cynthia Foley, who lives in upstate New York, if she could write something for us on Giardia and Coccidia, parasites that I’ve had to deal with several times while fostering puppies for my local shelter. I received the article, started tinkering with it – and within a week, I had heard from three different friends whose combined five dogs had diarrhea, who called me wanting to know what I knew about these protozoan pests. Thank goodness I had an article I could refer to!
It turned out that the three dogs who lived together all tested positive for Giardia, another friend’s dog tested negative, and the owner of the fifth dog reported that the dog’s diarrhea had stopped, and she was going to delay testing unless it returned. All that talk made me start fretting about my dog Woody’s occasional diarrhea, and given that he’s romped with every litter of parasite-infested puppies I’ve fostered in the past year, I submitted a stool sample to his veterinarian. Negative! Whew!
It happened again with Pat Miller’s article on front-clip harnesses. When my shelter had to evacuate about 80 dogs in February (go ahead and Google “Oroville Dam” – my shelter and I are both located just downstream) – I was miraculously able to put a wealth of harnesses into use on dogs who had never been taught not to pull. Great timing!
I’ve actually been immersed in this latter topic for a few months. Pat gave me a list of 15 or 16 products that had been recommended by fellow force-free trainers and clients, and I narrowed down the candidates that we would test to an even dozen. I wanted our readers to see how the harnesses all looked on the same dog, and resolved to use Woody as a model. My fuzzy guy, Otto (pictured with me above), is actually a far superior model; he’ll stand quietly for any amount of time and look noble on cue (the secret is the phrase, “Where’s the cat?”), whereas Woody, like the adolescent he is, starts to look bored and morose within minutes (as you can observe on the opposite page). But you just can’t see training gear on Otto; his fuzz is too profuse!
I carefully measured Woody again and again, since all the harness manufacturers use different dimensions to size their products. Even so, four of them had to be returned for a product in a different size, and then all of them had to get photographed and sent to Pat for her tests. At last it’s all done, the results are in – we hope you enjoy our recommendations! And the products are being sent home with dogs who are about Woody’s size who have been adopted from my shelter.