Thursday, April 30, 2009


Cindy Taylor April 29, 2009

Germanton, NC

Phone: (336) 591-5358


Meggie Olivia Taylor is a cancer survivor who has beaten the odds. Diagnosed with t-cell lymphoma on Jan. 31, 2008, and given 6 to 8 months to live, the 10-year-old will participate in the May 15 Relay for Life in Stokes County, NC. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life is an annual 24-hour walk held in hundreds of locations throughout the country.

What makes Meggie’s story so remarkable is that Meggie is a dog – a red-haired golden retriever to be exact. Meggie also has a knack for fundraising. She currently is ranked second on the list of fundraisers for this Relay for Life event, having collected $1,625 in contributions from friends and admirers.

After Cindy Taylor of Germanton, NC, Meggie’s ‘mom,’ posted her story on the Golden Retriever Forum, an on-line community of golden retriever lovers that includes members in the U.S. and around the world, contributions started pouring in. Meggie soon met and quickly surpassed her initial $200 goal. Soon thereafter, the $500 goal fell, followed by $750 and $1,000 targets. Her current goal is to raise $2,300 to aid the fight against cancer.

“Having Meggie with me every day is something I don’t take for granted,” Taylor said, “but knowing that Meggie has inspired and given hope to others makes her life even more special. We hope that through this Relay event we can give back and help fight back against cancer.”

Meggie will participate in the Survivor Lap, complete with a special purple T-shirt, at the start of the 24-hour event, most likely riding in her shiny, new, red wagon. Meggie tires easily, so she sometimes needs to use her ‘wheels’ to get around.

Meggie finished her chemotherapy in May 2008 and also underwent two half-body radiation treatments at North Carolina State University’s veterinary teaching hospital. As a result of the radiation, Meggie lost her hair and went through several months of intense skin issues, but she has regained her beautiful red coat.

Now in her 15th month post-diagnosis, this canine survivor also has struggled with several other complicating factors, including a grade VI heart murmur and a diagnosis of myasthenia gravis in December 2008 after a bad case of pneumonia.

The West Stokes Relay for Life will be held at West Stokes High School, with the Survivor Lap beginning at 6 p.m. Additional contributions to Meggie’s fight against cancer can be made at

For more about Meggie, visit her Web site at

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I just put all of the entries into a hat, and with the supervision and assistance of a co-worker we drew the winner of the Bully Stick Giveaway.

Miss Muddy Paws would like to congratulate Katherine for winning the first ever giveaway at The Wet Nose. Katherine is the winner of a 12” all-natural, chemical free, free range, organic bully stick, and we’re sure Abby, Katherine’s lab will love her bully stick!

Katherine writes, “Abby would love a bully stick because a lab never turns down anything edible,” that sounds like so many dogs I know! In the spring and summer Abby’s favorite activities include going to the dog park, hikes through the woods, and swimming, Katherine tells us.

To everyone who entered the giveaway, thank you, because without you this would not have been possible. Please continue to check back as we are currently planning some exciting new giveaways, and there will be more chances to win! I wish that everyone could have won a bully stick, because it was such a pleasure to hear about all of the fun and exciting activities you enjoy with your dogs during the spring and summer!

Katherine, please comment with your email address so we can arrange shipping for Abby’s new all-natural, chemical free, free range, organic bully stick!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Economic Turmoil - There Are Food Options

This economy is crazy! The markets continue to plummet, more and more people are being laid off, companies are enforcing salary freezes and even cost of living raises have been cut from many company budgets. Times are tough for many Americans, to say the least.

If you need to cut back on your dog's food budget (temporarily) or for a few years there are some better cheap foods to consider. Costco Kirkland brand Lamb and Rice dry food sells for $27.63 on their website for a 40 lbs bag! The food isn't the best dry food on the market, but I'd say it is comparable to many Science Diet formulas and Nutro's formula. You can increase protein in your dog's diet by feeding an egg a few times a week (especially on days of heavy exercise) to the dry food. You can either feed raw egg or hard boiled, and if you chose hard boiled you can even feed the shell - extra protein! I'd recommend supervising your dog if you feed shell on for the first time. Hard boiled eggs are great because you can boil a week's supply at the same time and just keep them in the fridge, if you travel or go to dog show's you can simply toss a hard boiled egg in your drink cooler and keep it fresh for your dog's feeding time.

Ok, so you want to find a decent canned food too? One that won't break the bank, and is made in the USA? I suggest hitting up your local Trader Joe's and trying their canned food in Lamb and Rice. It is twice the size of most dog food cans, measuring in at 22 oz, and at $0.99 you can't beat the price! While there are better canned foods on the market, this is a decent option because unlike typical grocery store brand foods Trader Joe's canned food contains no corn (often an allergen in dogs, and a common filler in pet foods). Like many canned dog foods Trader Joe's food is not as meaty as most would like, and contains a high percentage of water. However, without spending double or triple the amount for a canned half the size you'd never be able to find a canned dog food that is at least 90% meat.

Because both of these foods are produced in large facilities I recommend frequently checking petfood recalls. In 2007 Trader Joe's voluntarily recalled all of their canned pet food as a precaution - While no recalls have occurred in nearly two years regarding either of these foods it is always better safe than sorry.

Before you have to re home your dog because of the economy first look at cheap options that aren't that bad. Both of these foods are better than many, if not all, you'd find on grocery store shelves, and the size is larger and the cost less. You can also look into this service for human groceries, Angel Food Ministries - it's a good deal, and there are no income restrictions or requirements, but you have to be willing to eat what is on the menu for the month. If you need help for you or your pet there are numerous organizations and individuals willing and able to offer you support in these trying economic times.

Don’t forget there is still time to enter the Bully Stick GIVEAWAY!

Friday, April 24, 2009


One of my favorite things about having dog-owning friends are the doggie slumber parties that go with all dog-owning friends. I love being able to ask a pal to dog sit Milly, and know that she will not only stick to her regular feeding, exercising and playing routine, but also get the same love and attention she would from me. I know to Milly a babysitter isn't quite the same as "mom", but I also know that she thrives on winning over people, and any opportunity to win over a pet-sitter is one she'll surely enjoy!

I apologize for not blogging more this week, but because I have enjoyed those days of vacation (without Milly, sadly), I am happily returning the dog sitting favor for a pal this weekend.

The dog I am dog sitting is named Riley, and he's a Spring Spaniel (don't ask me what kind, because I forgot, but if you're curious feel free to comment and I'll find out!). Milly and Riley have a very special relationship, because they live together (unfortunatley this living situation will end in 3 weeks... Milly and I are both very sad about this), but Riley normally has his "brother," a Jack Russell Terrier named Chance to play with. However, on this weekend, Chance has another dog-sitter, and it's just Riley, Milly and I.

I gave both of the dogs their dinner (1 cup of their respective kibbles), but jazzed them up a bit with a scrumptious egg, green beans, sweet fresh peppers, carrots and bananas! Obviously, I asked Riley's owner permission before enhancing his kibble, but both dogs loved their summer cuisines. I think it is so enjoyable to be able to supplement the boring kibble with not only the protein of an egg, but also the freshness of ripe vegetables and fruits (all in moderation, of course).

Here's a picture of Milly and her beau Riley. I wish I could have caught one of them earlier snuggling on the living room floor, but I think they're cute all tucked in to their respective beds!

Don’t forget there is still time to enter the Bully Stick GIVEAWAY!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


As the trees fill with blossoms, and the sun begins to shine more regularly, I know that all of those April showers have paid off, and my May flowers are just around the corner. With spring, and the onset of summer, I yearn to be outside more and more.

There is a little dive bar in Arlington, VA called “Jays” where my roommates and I love to go during the summer. As all dive bars do, Jays has plenty of character, and it is simply a pleasure to sit outside on a warm afternoon or early evening, and drink some beer while chatting with my friends. While I do enjoy these moments with pals, I cannot help but feel a bit guilty that I am not spending time during the brilliant weather with Milly.

Well, I no longer have to feel guilty, as “Yappy Hours” are popping up all over the place, Jays included. Yappy Hour is a fun social event for our canine companions and their human parents. Yappy Hour is the perfect opportunity for humans to mix and mingle while their dog socializes with their buddies. In fact, some Yappy Hours are even creating a doggie play area for extra play time!

If you aren’t a beer drinker, don’t worry! Many vineyards have caught on to the fun and exciting trend of Yappy Hour, and who wouldn’t want to sip some pinot on a porch, while their pup sits happily at their feet? While Milly has never attended a vineyard sanctioned Yappy Hour, she has gone on numerous wine tasting adventures. I always call ahead to make sure each vineyard is dog friendly (some will require your dog to remain outside while you taste indoors), and pack plenty of water and treats for Milly. It is so much fun to leave the hustle and bustle of urban living behind and head to the countryside (in our case, Middleburg, VA and surrounding areas) and dart through the rows of grapes.

I encourage all of my readers to check in your local area for upcoming Yappy Hours. They are so much fun! If you don’t have a dog, don’t worry – just tag along with a dog owning pal, or “borrow” a dog from a multiple dog owning friend. It’s probably best to leave the treats at home to prevent dog jealousy, and call ahead to see if your Yappy Hour provides water bowls, if not, you’ll want to bring your own. As always, please drink responsibly, and make sure you have a designated driver.

Don’t forget there is still time to enter the Bully Stick GIVEAWAY!

Friday, April 17, 2009


It's FUN FRIDAY so I'll share a video I learned about on the Golden Retriever Forum I belong to.

This video is simply INSPIRING!

Next time you think you have an excuse or reasons not to be able to train your dog remember this woman.

Don’t forget there is still time to enter the Bully Stick GIVEAWAY!

Summer Bathing and A Great Product!

With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner many dog owners are spending more and more time outdoors with their pets. If you live in a relatively urban area, and enjoy taking your dog for a swim in rivers, creeks or bays it is probably a good idea to at the very least rinse your pet off with fresh, clean water post swim. For those Chesapeake Bay area readers, last summer I read in a local Annapolis publication dogs should always be rinsed or bathed after swimming in the bay.

A good rinsing is important, but sometimes you need to do a thorough bathing, and with so many wonderful and exciting outdoor pet-friendly activities I find myself having to up the bathing during the summer months.

When it comes to grooming products there are countless options, but I’ve been using Cowboy Magic for over a decade and LOVE their products. I began using their products only on horses, but must admit the Rosewater Shampoo and Rosewater Conditioners smell so good I’ve used them on my own hair a handful of times. About a year ago I learned these products are appropriate for use on dogs too, and promptly started using them on Milly. I love them, because not only do they smell heavenly, but they also leave the coat shiny and smooth. Did I mention these products won’t break the bank either? I’ve seen a bottle of the shampoo for as low as $5.50! The shampoo is so moisturizing that you can get by without using the conditioner, but I find the combination of shampoo followed by conditioner really leaves the coat much softer. The shampoo lathers very nicely and is a high quality shampoo, so remember to rinse your dog very thoroughly.

In the summer I like to towel Milly off and then sit with her in the sun for a little natural drying, I then finish up the drying with a blow dryer on the cool setting. If your dog is prone to hotspots make sure you thoroughly dry your dog after each bathing session, because wet hair can lead to hot spots.

Overall, I give Cowboy Magic 4-Paws and 5-Stars!!

Don’t forget there is still time to enter the Bully Stick GIVEAWAY!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


You’ve asked for it, and now you’ve got it! The Wet Nose’s first ever GIVEAWAY!  Tell Miss Muddy Paws why you think you should win a 12-14 inch all natural, free-range, chemical-free Bully Stick for your pup. Follow these simple steps for the most ways to win:

  • One Lick: Leave a comment telling Miss Muddy Paws why your pooch deserves the Bully Stick, and what your favorite springtime activity with your four legged friend is. You will be entered once in the drawing.
  • Two Licks: One lick, plus become a follower of The Wet Nose and tell a friend about The Wet Nose (on your honor). You will be entered twice in the drawing.
  • Three Licks: One and two licks, plus link to The Wet Nose from your blog, or add The Wet Nose to your blog’s Side Bar. You will be entered three times in the drawing.
  • Four Licks: One, two and three licks, plus e-mail multiple friends about The Wet Nose giveaway (you can CC MissMuddyPaws @ (no spaces)). You will be entered four times in the drawing.

Unfortunately, this drawing is only offered to followers in the United States. If you live abroad and want to enter if you win you must be willing to send the prize to a U.S. address (of your choosing). For the non-dog-owning followers Miss Muddy Paws is happy to send the Bully Stick to a friend, rescue or shelter of your choosing.

HAVE FUN!!! And remember; if you like what you read here please comment on the blog!


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 2009 AT 3:00PM!!!

Nail Trimming

Trimming a dogs nails can be stressful for both the owner and dog. With the risk of trimming too short and cutting the quick, and the problem of the nail splitting or chipping when cut, many dog owners turn to a professional groomer or vet for routine nail trimmings.

But here’s a secret that can make this task easy and safe: A Dremel Tool!

You’ve seen those infomercials for Pedi Paws, saying how this tool grinds the nail, avoid the quick, is easy, safe, etc. In my experience Pedi Paws does not work very well, especially on larger claws like a Golden Retriever’s. I think the product would be fine for small dogs (no bigger than a Jack Russell Terrier, but most appropriate for toy breeds), but it simply does not have the power and/or durability for larger dogs.

Did you know the idea behind Pedi Paws is a Dremel tool? You can find this tool at any hardware store. For those who are unfamiliar with the Dremel tool, it is a tool that rotates a bit a high speeds and holds the bit in a collet. The Dremel tool makes use of speed rather than torque to get the job done. That is why Dremel tools have varying speeds ranging from 3,000 to 37,000 RPM.

Many different types of bits can be attached to the Dremel tool but for dog nail trimming purposes use the grinding or sanding bit. Many dog fanciers, top breeders, AKC show dog groomers and handlers swear by their Dremel as it allows them to quickly and safely trim dogs’ nails, and have used the Dremel for this purpose for years. The Dremel tool is available in both battery powered and cordless models.

If you decide to use the Dremel with your dog have plenty of treats handy and take your time. Let your dog adjust to the sound, the handling of his paws and finally the feeling and noise of the Dremel on the nail. Talk softly to your pet, and feed him treats throughout the process. For a skittish or shy dog it may take a few sessions to even be able to apply the Dremel to the nail, but in the end it is much better to have this be a positive experience.

Interview with Bo's Breeder:

If you’re interested in the Presidential Pooch you might enjoy reading this interview with Bo’s breeder. I felt it was very nicely done, and extremely informative.

You can also check out this now famous breeder’s website

Amigo Portuguese Water Dogs

Also, you might be interested in hearing Joe Biden’s breeder’s side of the story, and why she'll never, never, never again sell a puppy to a public figure. I found this to be very interesting, because I fell into the trap of criticizing this breeder for being a high volume breeder. There always are two sides to every story.

Never, Never, Never Again

A Puppy On Pennsylvania Avenue!

An AP photo showing President Obama running down the White House halls with new pup, Bo.

It is official; the First Dog has been selected, and moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue yesterday! Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog, will be added to the long list of Presidential Pets.

During Barack Obama’s presidential campaign he and his wife Michelle promised their two daughters, Sasha and Malia, a dog after the election. While campaigning, the Obama’s pledged to adopt a dog from a shelter or similar situation, bringing much needed positive publicity on the animal front to the campaign following Joe Biden’s own puppy purchase from a high volume breeder.

The number of dogs to choose from was greatly diminished as the Obama’s needed a dog suitable for Malia’s allergies. They publically announced they had narrowed the search to a Labradoodle (some reports state Goldendoodle) or Portuguese Water Dog. The announcement of possibly bringing in a “doodle” outraged much of the dog world, because there are no guarantees that an F1 breeding (first generation) will pass on the low shedding coat of a poodle, the breeding of mixed dogs for profit is often viewed as irresponsible, and the selection of a less popular breed like the Portuguese Water Dog had citizens and media claiming they would never find such a dog in a rescue or shelter. I am not exactly sure why the Obama’s chose the Portuguese Water Dog, while an excellent breed, they are not the ideal dog for first time owners, and they do shed and are not hypoallergenic (no dog is). I do hope Malia’s allergies are not triggered by their new family member.

Associated Press Writer, Sharon Theimer, articulated the questions racing through many Americans minds in her words,

Is Bo a rescued dog or not? Did President Obama keep or break a campaign promise in picking the purebred as the family's new pet?

The twists and turns of the Portuguese water dog's route to the White House make for the kind of intrigue that political junkies and the highly opinionated dog world delight in.”

Bo, a 6-month-old puppy, was given back to his breeder after his first owner (who called the puppy Charlie) found him to be a poor fit. Bo was then matched with the Obamas by his breeder, also the breeder of Senator Edward Kennedy’s dogs, and given to the Obama’s.

Technically, the Obama’s new addition is not a rescue, but is a rehoming. He never spent time in a shelter or rescue, but he is now with his second owners, The Obama’s. Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of The Humane Society of the United States says Bo is a “quasi-rescue dog.” However, Bo’s own breeder, Martha Stern, of Boyd Texas, says she does not consider Bo a rescue dog.

The rest of this post are excerpts from an AP article by Sharon Theimer that perfectly explain where the intrigue comes in:

  • Bo's breeders happen to have bred Sen. Edward Kennedy's Portuguese water dogs. The Massachusetts Democrat, an Obama friend and political ally, also acquired a pup from Bo's litter. Bo's breeders are fans of Obama and named Bo's litter the Hope and Change litter.

  • Bo's first owner lives in Washington

  • Bo was returned to the breeder in early March, fitting the spring timeline the Obama’s had given for their dog adoption.

  • Kennedy and his wife Victoria helped line Bo up with the Obama’s. Before moving into the White House, the pup spent nearly a month with the Kennedys' dog trainer in Virginia.

  • In fact, Bo is a gift to the Obama’s' daughters, Malia and Sasha, from the Kennedys, said Katie McCormick Lelyveld, a spokeswoman for Michelle Obama.

"They were starting their search with shelter dogs, but when the Kennedys learned of this dog and offered it as a gift to the girls, they met the dog, it was a perfect fit for their lifestyle and for Malia's health concerns," she said, adding that the Obama’s are making a donation to the Washington Humane Society. "Because this gift came before their pound search sort of was completed, they made a gift to some of the places they were looking."

Still, conspiracy buffs might speculate that Bo was meant for the Obama’s all along. Was his adoption engineered to look like a rescue—or at least blur the line to head off criticism that the Obama’s had picked a purebred from a breeder?

The Humane Society's Pacelle acknowledged that the Obama’s never flat-out promised to get a dog from a pound or rescue group. And the society has kind words for Obama on its Web site: "Thanks, Mr. President, for giving a second-chance dog a forever home," it says.

"He's in a gray area," Pacelle said of Bo. "But I will say that many animal advocates are disappointed that he (Obama) didn't go to a shelter or breed rescue group, partly because he set that expectation and because so many activists are focused on trying to reduce the number of animals euthanized at shelters, and there's no better person to make the case to the American public that you can get a great dog from a shelter than the president."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Good Reads:

This past Christmas I enjoyed reading Marley & Me. I found it to be a fun read, quite the page turner, and heartwarming. There were parts of the book I loved, parts that made me cry, chapters upon chapters of laughter and pages where I found myself not agreeing with all of the pet-rearing methods used with Marley. All in all, I loved reading the book, and couldn’t put it down. I give it Four-Paws, and Five Stars!

I also enjoyed the Marley & Me movie, but as always, I found the book to be much better, and wished the movie had developed more of the topics covered in the novel. I give it Four-Paws, and Four Stars!

I am currently reading what is proving to be an amazing book called Merle’s Door. Thus far, I think Merle’s Door is more eloquently written book than
Marley & Me, and the descriptions carry you off to another land and place, one with Merle at your side and nature all around you. I’ll let you know what I think when I’m finished reading it.
Here’s the synopsis on the back of the book:

Merle's Door: Synopsis

Merle and Ted found each other in the Utah desert. Merle was about ten months old, surviving on his own, and looking for a human to hang his heart on. Ted was forty-one, liked to write about animals, and had been searching for a pup whom he could shape into a companion. The training went both ways. Ted showed Merle how to live around wildlife, and Merle reshaped Ted's ideas about the complexity of a dog's mind, showing him how a dog's intelligence could be expanded by allowing it to make more of its own decisions. Acting as Merle's translator, and using Merle's life and lessons as a door into the world of dogs, Ted takes us on the journey they shared. He explores why the dog-human bond is so intense and how people and dogs communicate so readily with each other. He also uses the latest wolf research—showing that wolves treat maturing pups as partners rather than as subordinates—to explain how sharing leadership with your dog, rather than being its alpha, can help to create a healthier, more self-reliant, and better-socialized companion. Funny, fascinating, and tender, Merle's Door is a moving love story that reveals how the partnership between dogs and humans can become far more than we have imagined.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Petland, Puppy Mills, and Lies

Last fall I saw a news clip about Petland pet stores selling puppies that are from puppy mills, and lying to customers by telling them the puppies came from carefully screened breeders.

Three years ago I found myself in a Petland store looking for a dog bed. This particular Petland had small cubicle type rooms they called playpens. Any adult customer could request to play with a puppy in this small enclosure. On one hand, it is nice to play with the attention deprived puppies, on the other hand constantly allowing strangers to handle and play with puppies can be very stressful for the puppy. I decided to play with a few puppies this day, and noticed one of them walked with a strange gait, almost hopping. I asked two employees where the puppies came from and was told by both of them they came from responsible breeders. One employee told me they only came from local breeders, while the other told me they came from small scale breeders throughout the region that were hand selected and carefully screened. I specifically inquired whether or not any puppies came through brokers, from high volume breeders, or from puppy mills, and was assured none of these puppies were from any of these sources.

If you want to know more about why not to purchase from a pet store, and the horrors of puppy mills I encourage you to read this flyer. Puppy mills have gotten very creative in their marketing, whether it is selling over the internet, calling their breeding operation family run, or selling certain sized or colored dogs (often that are not bred to the breed standard) as rare or valuable. In a day and age where our own Vice President purchased from a puppy mill, Oprah purchased from a high volume breeder/border line puppy mill and celebrities are purchasing mixed breed purse sized dogs at over inflated prices from irresponsible breeders it is easy for a normal citizen to be led astray. I encourage you to read my very first post, and learn how I too almost purchased from a puppy mill!

Adoption vs. Purchasing From A Breeder

When it comes to getting a new dog there are two options: purchase from a breeder or pet store or adopt from a shelter, rescue, rehoming ad, etc. I strongly urge my readers to never purchase a dog or puppy from a pet store, because these puppies are almost always from puppy mills or extremely high volume, for profit breeders. By purchasing from a pet store you are financially supporting the practice of puppy mills, and encouraging it to continue, and you are purchasing an irresponsibly bred dog, which can lead to health problems and high vet bills.

There are pros and cons to adopting and pros and cons to purchasing a dog from a breeder. Some organizations and individuals will tell you never to purchase from a breeder, while others will encourage purchasing from a breeder. It’s a tough call, especially with thousands upon thousands of homeless animals in this country.

I can not say enough wonderful things about adoption. There is the exact dog you are looking for in a shelter somewhere, and usually that shelter is within a five hour drive of your home. There are purebreds (many with papers), there are mixed breeds, designer dogs, small dogs, young dogs, old dogs, trained dogs, and yes, even dogs that have won championships in various competitions like agility are out there looking for their forever home. If you look, you can find a dog in a shelter that is exactly what you are looking for. I found Milly, and since adopting her I have come across countless amazingly trained, perfectly socialized wonderful dogs in shelters.

However, there are times when purchasing from a responsible breeder is also the right choice. I am an advocate of purebred dogs, and I believe in preserving the breeds through responsible breeding. Right now I am planning on purchasing a puppy from a breeder in the very near future. I would love to get involved in AKC sanctioned competitions, particularly showing in conformation, obedience and agility. In order to do this I not only need an AKC registered dog, but also need an exceptionally well bred dog. I have spent two years researching the breed I want and finding a good breeder, and am currently on the waiting list for a puppy (expected breeding sometime this month!). Purchasing from a breeder or adopting a purebred dog gives you a sense of what your dog will be like because of known breed traits, but do keep in mind all dogs are individuals, and a purebred dog is no better or smarter than a mixed breed dog when it comes to having an amazing companion. You can still take part in obedience, agility and other fun dog activities with a mixed breed dog.

With all this said, I am very against irresponsible breeding. If you are purchasing from a breeder who truly is breeding dogs to the breed standard set out by the governing organization (in this country the AKC, Canada the CKC, Europe the UKC) you are helping preserve the breed. A responsible breeder will have planned the breeding well in advance, having researched the pedigrees of both parents, looked at health records for multiple generations, done health clearances on both parents (and usually health clearances going back multiple generations) and taken into account how this mating will better the breed. A responsible breeder does not breed their pet, because it is a sweet dog and people would want puppies like their pet. A responsible breeder also does not simply breed two successful or pretty dogs and expect amazing puppies, but instead really considers what traits these dogs have, and how these traits have been passed down in previous generations. A responsible breeder breeds for temperament, conformation, and brains by constantly striving for the whole picture in their puppies.

Breeding for profit, or breeding just to have cute puppies is part of the reason there are so many homeless dogs in this country. A responsible breeder usually will have sold every puppy before they are born, and often have a long waiting list for puppies before the breeding ever takes place! In my case, I am on the waiting list and have been for months for a puppy whose parents have not been bred, and most likely every puppy that will be born is already reserved! To prevent homelessness in the puppies they sell, a responsible breeder will have a clause in their sales contract stating that if at any time in the dog’s life the owner is no longer willing or able to care for the dog it must be returned to the breeder who will give it a forever home, and cannot be given away or put up for adoption. This ensures forever homes for every single puppy ever whelped.

If you find yourself thinking about purchasing a dog because the breeder is selling it for about the same as an adoption fee from a rescue, purchasing a dog because you want a puppy right away, purchasing a dog from the internet, or purchasing a dog because you want papers you are probably purchasing for the wrong reasons. Please always do your research before buying a dog. There are thousands upon thousands of irresponsible breeders in this country. For every 100 irresponsible breeders there is maybe one (but probably less than one) truly responsibly breeder. Irresponsible breeding often leads to homeless animals. So before you buy that puppy, please do your research, and take a look at all of the animals in your local shelter.


On this lovely Good Friday I wanted to give my readers something sure to make them all smile. Now ask yourself this:

Golden Retriever puppy, or Alligator???

Note: This is an adorable video, and so long as this behavior is not encouraged on a regular basis, and this is just a once or twice thing I see no reason why this chomping method of snacking will be carried into adult hood. The owner knows this, and has stated this is just a one time thing, and she does not allow Gilmour to snack like this usually.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fur Fashions - No Animals Harmed!

Perhaps you read yesterday’s post, and started to wonder what you could do with all of that hair. My first suggestion would be to spread it around your yard, and let birds collect it to use in their nests. I regularly do this with both dog hair and horse hair after grooming. What fun it is to go for a stroll and see fibers from my animals in nests! However, if you go this route, you better act fast, as it is the end of nest building season.

Have you ever thought about incorporating fur into your fashion? No, I don’t mean killing mink, rabbit or fox to use their skin and fur… use your dog’s fur! No killing involved – in fact, just the opposite, by regularly grooming your pet you are improving their health and well being, and the excess fur can be spun into all sorts of fashionable accessories. A few people are currently capitalizing on the enjoyment of having a “piece of your pet” with you at all times, and the great thing is, this fur comes from regular grooming sessions! Catty Shack Creations gained their fame by collecting cat fur removed in routine grooming sessions and creating purses and other accessories, but they are now creating accessories using dog fur too! If you are interested in creating your own dog hair fashions check out the book, Knitting With Dog Hair.

If I saw someone carrying this bag made by Catty Shack Creations I would not think it came from the fur of their dog, would you?

A dear friend of mine over at Kate’s Equine is creating bracelets from horse’s tail hair. Again, no animals are harmed in the creation of this fashionable jewelry. I am actually wearing one of her bracelets as I write this. My bracelet is made from a horse I rode and showed in high school and college named Crabby. Crabby was recently retired, and donated to a young woman with Williams Syndrome, and is currently being used as a therapeutic riding horse. He’s the type of horse that loves having a job, but in his old age needed to step down from competition. He is miserable when he is not being ridden, groomed and loved and this is the perfect retirement situation for him. His new “mother” is hoping to compete in the Special Olympics this summer, and I am so proud of both her and Crabby!

When I was little my mother and I made a beautiful and fashionable hat embezzled with peacock feathers belonging to Mowie, our peacock. While I don’t condone ripping feathers from a bird, peacocks naturally do shed or drop feathers occasionally, and overtime these can be collected and used in all sorts of crafty ways. Mowie, named for the Mohawk of feathers he had as a baby, was a wonderful asset to our farm, as he enjoyed dining on ticks, which helped reduce the risk of tick born illnesses in both my family and our four legged friends.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

FURminator deShedding Tool: I can't imagine my life without it!

A year and a half ago I heard of a product called the FURminator deShedding Tool, and read rave reviews, both official reviews on pet websites, and consumer testimonies from both friends and members of horse and dog forums I belong to. At first I was reluctant to bite the bullet and purchase the FURminator deShedding Tool, because at a cost of over $55 it is far from a cheap grooming tool, but the rave reviews did me in, and I ordered the large FURminator deShedding Tool. You can now find the large FURminator on for under $30.

When the package finally arrived I was ecstatic, and decided to try it immediately on my Golden Retriever, Milly, who sheds copious amounts of hair year round. At the time, Milly was blowing her coat, and the dog hair around the house was at an all time high. I rarely wore my favorite black or dark colored clothing in public, because I knew I was a walking example of a nutty dog owner. Worse, Milly’s shedding was starting to really get on my roommate’s nerves as massive balls of fur seemed to be in every corner of the house.

I decided to test the FURminator immediately, and sat down on the living room floor with Milly, and set to work.

Milly: The First Experience With the FURminator

In less than five minutes the FURminator deShedded numerous handfuls of hair from Milly.

Milly has a medium-thick coat (I’ve seen Golden Retrievers with much thicker coats, but also ones with thinner coats), but she does have a thick undercoat. Her naturally thick undercoat and the fact that she was blowing her coat at the time made this the perfect opportunity to test out my new grooming tool.

Milly loves being touched, groomed and handled, especially by her person, me. As soon as I ran the FURminator through her coat, she lay down flat on the floor and closed her eyes in delight. I spent about 45 minutes that first day FURminating Milly, and accumulated three plastic shopping bags of soft, golden, dusted with white dander dog hair.

I now use the FURminator deShedding tool in 5-10 minute intervals at least three times a week. I have noticed lots of little sessions with the FURminator are more affective than one long session. I have also started doing it outside, as the FURminator deShedding Tool seems to have some sort of magnetic or static charge that attracts the hair, and the shedded hair loves to cling to clothing, furniture, etc.

This image is from the FURminator website, and I took twice that amount of hair off of Milly on our first use!

Four Paws for the FURminator!!!

From my experience with FURminator, I give this tool a 4-paws up, 5-star rating. It has become an essential part of my day-to-day life. I am particularly happy that I have fewer allergy symptoms, am able to wear some of my favorite black clothes again and my roommate is no longer constantly upset about the massive amounts of dog hair throughout the house.