I couldn’t be more excited about the changes you will see in this month’s issue of WDJ, not least of which is the new illustration of a dog on the cover, which was based on a photograph of my nine-year-old mixed-breed dog, Otto! Nepotism may have gotten Otto the spot, but I honestly think he serves as a perfect representative of what WDJ is about: a vibrantly fit, happy, intelligent, confident “everydog.”
In any given month, we have a number of new subscribers – people who are opening the pages of Whole Dog Journal for the first time. They may have heard about us from a friend, trainer, or breeder. They may have been told that we review commercial foods and discuss home-prepared diets. Or they may have heard that we’re a great source of information about dog-friendly training, and offer honest product reviews. They may have learned about Whole Dog Journal when doing a web search for holistic treatments for a vexing health problem afflicting their dog. Within an issue or two or three, they should see that, indeed, we offer all that. But new readers may not realize right away what they won’t find in WDJ.
It used to drive me crazy when my parents used to say it, but, gee, time is going by faster than ever – and it never ever goes faster than when I’m gathering information for a dog food review (our annual examination of dry dog food will appear in next month’s issue). So many products to examine, from so many companies! And this on top of ordering, fitting, sending back, re-ordering, re-fitting, and photographing a dozen front-clip harnesses for an upcoming review of those. Product reviews are the most time-consuming thing I do!
Most of us see our beloved dogs snuggled in their beds (or ours), romping in our yards or local parks or play groups, on walks along the most picturesque paths we can find, and then back at home, on the couch or by the fireplace. It’s easy to forget about all the homeless dogs, the ones who have homes but who are locked out of them in all weather, and those who are abused out of anyone’s sight.
Having peroxide on hand is also a great idea in case you just discovered your dog ate something he shouldn’t have. Again, time is of the essence. Having to send someone to the store might cause enough of a delay to contraindicate the induction of vomiting. Speaking of dietary indiscretions, having plain canned pumpkin on hand at all times is another good idea.
See the photo? That’s the house where my office is located. I use two rooms downstairs, and my husband and I usually rent the bedrooms upstairs to students at a local trade school. Only, recently, we’ve had some family members—and more recently, a family friend and her two dogs—in crisis and in need of a dog-friendly place to live. So, the owner of that dog on the roof—see the dog on the roof?—needed a place to stay, and not just any place, when you have a dog like that.
Have you ever had the experience of getting incredibly “stuck” with your dog, unable to teach him a certain new behavior? And then an experienced trainer steps up, and has your dog happily performing the behavior again and again within a minute? At that moment, part of you is happy because your dog “got it,” but part of you may be seething, too. What the heck, dog?
There was a week in December when I had 16 foster dogs staying with me. It’s not quite as crazy as it sounds; 15 of them were puppies – they took up only two crates’ worth of space at night! Nine of those puppies were from one litter of pit bull-mixes that were brought into my local shelter. Six were from another litter, perhaps Chihuahua/terrier-mixes, and are being fostered by a friend, but she was traveling (with her own three dogs!) over Christmas and couldn’t drag the tiny puppies along, too. Both sets of puppies were estimated to be about 4 to 5 weeks old when they were brought to the shelter by people who claimed to “find them.” The last foster who was with me – and is still with me – is a year-old hound.
Friendly wolves, pet heroes, canine yoga, dogs underwater, puppies shaking - and so much more! Check out Whole Dog Journal's January book recommendations. Last month, we listed just a few of our favorite dog reads. There are so many great books out there, we had to do it again!
Okay, readers, it’s confession time. I’m about to tell you something that I haven’t ever confessed in these pages, not even hinted at it in 17 years: I once was so pig-ignorant about dog care that I allowed my dog – my best friend at the time, my stalwart, beloved Border Collie Rupert, to develop heartworm disease. It’s true, and deeply painful to think about now.
Did you know there are still “Nazis” fighting a war? Supposedly, the war is in the dog world, and it’s being fought for the hearts and minds of dog owners over training methods. Apparently, the Nazis – they are scornfully referred to as “Pozzie Nazis” – are on one side, and people who call themselves “balanced” – but who are derided as “brute force trainers” – are on the other. Well, folks, call us Switzerland, because we just won’t fight. Give peace a chance, shall we?
Have you experienced that moment when your family has been reduced for whatever reason from multiple dogs to just one, and you keep thinking you need to check the back door to let someone or other back inside? You get used to the rolling thunder of dog paws and canine vocalizations when the doorbell rings, and a circus-like amount of hubbub first thing in the morning when you head to the door to let the pets out – and then suddenly there is just one calm dog, politely following you around. It’s weird, but at the moment, given that I’ve only loaned out my second dog (not lost him), I’m enjoying it.
A few weeks ago, in preparation for writing WDJ’s annual dry-dog-food review (which starts on the next page), we asked readers on our Facebook page what they most wanted to know about dry dog food. We received a lot of good questions, including a great many that revealed a common depth of interest in (and confusion about) feeding dogs. We were somewhat disappointed, however, by the number of people who took the opportunity to criticize dry dog food of any quality – the whole concept of kibble. More than one person asked, “Why would anyone feed such an inappropriate diet to a dog they loved?”
Wow! It’s the start of WDJ’s 18th year of publication. Sorry to sound like a cliche, but where did the time go? When I was hired to edit the inaugural edition of the magazine in early 1998, I had an extensive history of editing horse magazines; I told my new boss flat out, “I don’t know that much about dogs!” Of course, I had a dog – I’ve always had dogs – but most of what my publisher had planned for WDJ to cover was new to me, such as raw diets, minimal vaccine schedules, complementary and alternative veterinary medicine, and especially, force-free training.
I often dog-sit for friends and relatives. It’s easy for me, because I have all sorts of dog gear, food, treats, and chews laying around. Also, my own home and the house down the block where I have my office are both securely fenced (and well-outfitted with crates and dog beds of various sizes). Plus, if the dogs are fidgety and in need of exercise and stimulation, I can grab my camera, load the dogs into my car, and head out to a nearby open space area to run them on trails or allow them to swim in the river – and any good pictures I get, or interesting experiences I have with the dogs, are helpful to my job!