Thursday, July 30, 2009

Is My Dog In Heaven?

I came across this very touching story and learned there is a thoughtful, loving soul working in the dead letter department of the U.S. Post Office.

Abbey and Meredith

Our 14-year-old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4-year-old daughter, Meredith, was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to Heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in Heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her, you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.


We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to 'God/Heaven'. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to Heaven.

That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed to Meredith in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in Heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in Heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and send it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.

I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Quality Time

Do you ever wonder if your animals get enough of your attention?

If you worry about whether or not your dog gets quality time with you daily, you're not alone.

Most dogs like to just be around you. When left alone the effect of your absence has on your dog can depend in large part on the quality of attention that you give your dog once you are home.

So if you are gone a lot, make sure that the time you do spend with your dog is quality time. Dr. Jon recommends a few ways you can make the most of your time together.

1. Go for a long walk. (It will be good for both of you.)

2. Make sure your dog has plenty of opportunities to exercise. If your dog has a lot of energy, make sure he is able and has the opportunity to work it off. Wear him out until he is good and tired.

3. Spend some quiet time together. While you watch TV, read the paper or do some work, talk to you dog and let him know that you are there and that you care.

4. Provide plenty of play toys. When you are there or away, make sure your dog has plenty of toys to play with to keep him entertained. But dogs can get bored with the same old toy, day in and day out. A choice of several toys can make a day a lot more interesting for a dog.

5. Make sure your dog is healthy. Take care of any medical problems, such as allergies, pain, skin irritations or fleas. It is miserable to be alone all day and not feel well, so keeping your dog healthy will also help keep him content.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tips For Mealtime Ritual

What is mealtime for your dog at home like?

Feeding your dog is the perfect time to work on the pack dynamic and reinforce positive behavior. Here are some tips from Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, to make mealtime not only about providing sustenance, but also a time to help your dog become happier and more balanced.

Make your dog work - In a natural setting, animals must work for food. Wild dogs and other canines have to track their prey over long distances. Mimic this by taking a long walk with your dog just before mealtime. The physical activity will keep her in tune with her natural instincts.

Create a regular routine - Have your dog sit as you prepare the food. Make sure she maintains calm and submissive energy while she waits. You may find this regimen strict, but it will encourage your dog to maintain a balanced state.

Stay calm and assertive - Humans will sometimes talk and signal in a high energy manner before they feed their dog. The dog becomes excited based on the owner's energy which, if repeated every time the dog is fed, can create lasting behavior problems or make existing problems worse. By remaining calm before mealtime, you will help your dog do the same.

Don't reward negative behavior - Anxiety, territorial behavior, and aggression can all manifest when you feed your dog. The reoccurrence of these behaviors is almost guaranteed when you "reward" your dog by feeding her after she displays any of these habits. Be patient! Wait until your dog is in the balanced state you desire before you give her food.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Insight For Dog Lovers

The more you learn about dog psychology, the better you will be able to connect with your canine companion.

Here is some advice from The Dog Whisper, Cesar Millan:

Dogs are not humans. Before they receive love and affection, they need exercise, clear direction, and leadership. Giving them love alone doesn’t create balance in their lives. Be a pack leader!

Rehabilitating a dog is not about “fixing” it. It’s about you, the owner, creating the intention for what you want, not what you’re feeling. Dogs pick up on feelings of fear, doubt, or worry – and they will move to fill them by attempting to become dominant.

Practice unwavering leadership every day, especially on your walk. The energy you’re projecting internally is the message you’re sending to your dog.

Dedicate at least 45 minutes of time to the dog’s walk in the morning. Let the dog know you have a consistent pattern that you expect it to follow. Utilize your dog’s energy in a positive manner.

Don’t expect more from your dog(s) than your own children. Dogs need discipline, too. Give them rules, boundaries, and limitations as well as love.

Avoid nurturing your dog’s fears or unstable mind. Imagine a successful scenario and hold it in your mind when dealing with your dog.

You are the source of your dog’s energy. You are the role model.

Challenge the dog’s mind – dogs want to know what to do with their lives. Let the dog work for your affection. Once in a calm-submissive state, your love will intensify those qualities in your dog.

Dogs need “on” and “off” time. Engage them fully in structured times together; then they can relax and avoid impatient or destructive behaviors.

Dogs show us how much we can learn – they live in the moment. Try it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Homemade Dog Treats

Pet stores are full of dog treats. But did you know that you can make your own healthy dog treats at home?

Here are some dog treat recipes to help you find a way to your dog's heart:


2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons oil
1 egg
1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix barbecue sauce, honey, oil, egg, water. Add to dry ingredients. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut into 3 to 4 inch pieces. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 F. Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Beg-for-more Peanut Butter Treats

2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine oil, peanut butter and water. Add flour, one cup at a time, forming a dough. Knead dough into firm ball and roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into 3 to 4 inch pieces. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Chick'N Fingers

2 1/2 cups white flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup chopped chicken
1 cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons softened margarine
1 egg
2 T milk

Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine flour, cornmeal, chicken, chicken broth and margarine. Form into a soft dough and knead for 3 minutes. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into 3 to 4 inch finger shapes. Beat egg and milk together and apply to top of biscuits with brush. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 F for 35 minutes. Makes 24 fingers.

Spicy Treat-balls

2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup white flour
1/2 cup bran
1/2 cup brewers yeast
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons corn oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat honey, corn oil, egg and milk. Gradually add mixture to dry ingredients to form a dough. Form into 1-inch balls and bake at 350 F on an ungreased cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Makes 18 balls.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Healthy Dog Treats

Here are some healthy alternatives for dog treats.

Anyone who's ever seen a dog eat grass or greens knows there's a vegetarian side to your pet. Before domestication, when dogs hunted for their living, they ate the entrails of their prey, which contained a considerable amount of digested vegetable matter. Most animals still want some of this vegetation, but can't digest the tough fibrous components on their own. Try offering your dog some cooked green beans, carrots or peas. Many pets love them, and you can even mix them into their regular diet.

I planted an extra row of peas in the garden for my Golden Retriever.

Another favorite for many pets are rice, popcorn and pasta. A bit of a rice cake or some air popped popcorn is a great substitute for a high fat treat. Cooked rice can be added for bulk to a weight control diet. It's a way of giving your pet more food without adding a lot of fat calories. Cooked pasta is also great. Many pets relish a few elbow macaroni or other plain pasta.

Ebony knows when the popcorn maker comes out of the cupboard.

A cooked egg is a great protein treat; hard boil a few and keep them on hand. A little dab of cottage cheese or plain yogurt substitutes for licking that ice cream bowl!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Small Traveler

Ebony and I enjoy morning walks, or sometimes I skate, on the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia Washington.

It is one of Washington's "rail-trails," public-access trails built on abandoned railroad rights-of-way. They provide recreational opportunities for a wide range of nonmotorized uses, more than any other kind of trail. They preserve unique greenspace, contributing to the green aesthetic that is so much a part of the natural beauty of Washington State. They also keep alive the last vestiges of railroad history in a more visible and active way than the few remaining steam engines displayed at local parks. Rail-trails provide a connection between public parks and open space in a way roads can never achieve.

Besides, they are fabulous places to skate, and meet interesting people!

Meet Jim and his dog Brandy. Brandy is seven years old and one of those cute, little shaggy dogs whose name I can never remember. Help me out here, someone.... Jim told me that he purchased the basket that Brandy rides in when he was in Holland. They have been riding together for several years.

Ebony, Jim, and Brandy

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Free Pet Sitting!

I just returned from the Lavender Festival in Sequim, Washington.

The Annual Sequim Lavender Festival is the premier celebration of the joys of lavender and the largest lavender festival in North America. Sequim is located on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, cradled in the “rain shadow” of the Olympic Mountains and Olympic National Park. The Sequim-Dungeness Valley has an ideal microclimate for growing lavender and with less than 20 inches of rain per year; the area is similar to the Provence region of France. Because of the unique conditions and dedicated farmers, Sequim lavender has received world-wide recognition for its superior quality and fragrance.

The Festival includes the opportunity to visit seven unique lavender farms where you are not only treated to the fabulous scent and views, but also get to partake in an array of music, art, crafts, food, and many demonstrations. It is the most well organized Festival I have ever been to.

I was very impressed with the FREE PET SITTING that was provided at the Street Fair.

Started in 2001, Olympic Gentle Paws has sponsored a pet sitting service at the Sequim Lavender Festival. Dogs are not allowed at the lavender farms and because the festival is held at the end of July, temperatures can get very dangerous for animals left in cars. They provide shade, crates, exercise pens, water, treats (Thanks to "Yummy Chummies", wild Alaska salmon doggie treats from Artic Paws LLC, who donated a case of treats for the dogs.), and attention for 30 minutes, an hour or all day. Your pet is in good hands, at a safe place, while you can enjoy the street fair and visit the lavender farms. Olympic Gentile Paws enjoys providing this community service and do not charge a fee, but do accept donations to our club.


Olympic Gentle Paws is a therapy dog club whose purpose is to utilize their dogs to provide comfort and companionship to people in retirement homes, assisted-living facilities, and Alzheimer facilities. They also visit schools, have a reading program at the Port Angeles Library, and provide many other services for the community.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Believe It Or Not

Yes, Believe it or not dogs can eat these items without an emergency trip to the veterinarian!

This list comes from a veterinarian.

Acrylic paint
Ballpoint pens
Bath oil
Birth control pills
Bubble bath soaps
Citronella candles
Elmer's glue
Fabric softeners
Glow jewelry
Hair conditioner
Hand lotion
Indelible markers
Magic markers
Mineral oil
Modeling clay
Newspaper - non-colored
Pencils (no longer made of lead)
Petroleum jelly
Rubber cement
Shaving cream
Silica gel packets
Suntan lotion
Teething rings
Water colors

If you have any doubt, always call your vet or local emergency clinic.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lessons Dogs Teach Us

What can dogs teach us? Or is all that training and teaching one way? We all teach and train our dogs, but they teach us, too.

I think that dogs can teach us a lot of good lessons.

For instance, when life gets super busy and stressful, take a look at your dog's life... then take a deep breath, slow down, smile and just relax.


Dogs can also teach us something about positive energy. When you come home, they jump up and run to the front door to greet you with tail wagging and plenty of kisses. They're so loving and excited just to be near you - how can you not smile at that?

Here are some more things that dogs can teach us, but we must pay attention:

1. Always be happy to see your friends and loved ones.

2. Attitude is everything, so approach each day and each new experience with enthusiasm.

3. Never underestimate the power of praise.

4. Play every chance you get.

5. Don't be afraid to show your joy! When you are happy - show it. Wiggle and wag.

6. Enjoy a nice nap, and always stretch and yawn before you get up.

7. Never turn down a chance to be with someone you love.

8. Be loyal.

9. Lounge under a shady tree on a hot day.

10. Every once in a while, put your head out the window and enjoy the feel of the wind on your face and hair.

I like this poster

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


As you know, urine marking is a typical behavior for a canine male. It's how he marks his territory. So most dog owners are not surprised or alarmed if their male dog lifts his leg outside to pee on a few bushes, fence posts and fire hydrants. They understand that it is normal for a dog to do this.

Some dogs have an obsession about marking their territory. After all, it is their heritage as pack members to live within a well-delineated territory. That territory contains all the commodities and valuable resources necessary to sustain the pack, including their mates and their progeny. This marking ritual makes it clear to strangers (other dogs) that they have crossed a line with respect to another pack's territory, which helps to avoid unnecessary fighting.

Here is Chester creatively marking!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lightning & Thunder

I manage to stay oblivious to the weather except when I am traveling. This morning I noticed it was cloudy as oppose to yesterday's sunny start.

The Chehalis Western Trail was very quiet and I only passed a few regular walkers with their dogs. I thought about us die-hards.

I heard a rumble off in the distance and wondered if this were why very few were out on the trail considering it was a weekend. A few raindrops fell, but it felt warm and I love the smells.

Next thing I know there is lightning and thunder not far away. Ebony and I increased our speed as I was determined to do our seven miles. I am glad that Ebony is not the kind of dog that reacts to noises in phobic ways. As the rain began, the next thing I knew there was a lightning strike in the trees on our left side and a LOUD boom to our right. Ebony looked to me for comfort and reassurance. I could not believe I was out skating in the lightning and thunder! There were a couple more strikes and booms as we high tailed it down the trail. As I past the other travelers in the storm we exchanged "Oh my gosh, I can't believe....." expressions and comments on how close the lightning was as we hurried down the trail.

Soaking wet and at the car, I thought what an incredible experience! Not many venture out in a lightning and thunder storm, but a few of us have stories to tell!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Senior Dog Out For A Walk

This morning I was skating with Ebony on the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia Washington. Not only is this a great trail, but I meet all kinds of interesting people.

Today I came upon two ladies who were wheeling a bicycle cart down the trail. It was much too big to be a stroller. As I skated by, I noticed inside the cart was a Springer Spaniel watching everything going on along the trail.

When I inquired about the dog, I was informed that Pete is 15 years old. The two women had figured out a way to make daily walks enjoyable for their senior dog.

Ebony and Pete touched noses, but I missed that sweet photo.

Clever Women and Happy Dog

Friday, July 10, 2009

Best-Trained Dog

This dog is unbelievable!

Maggie has to be one of the best-trained dogs I've seen. Seriously. Take a minute to watch this video and you will be amazed, too.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Will Beg For Food

Does your dog beg for food?

According to Cesar Millan, it is one of the easiest behaviors to correct. Here are his five steps:

1. DO NOT GIVE FOOD. This tip may seem like common sense, but you'd be surprised how few people consider it when they're looking into the wide, wet eyes of their beloved canine companion. That high-pitched whine is an effective tool against you, and your dog knows it. Why? Because it's worked before! Giving food is a form of affection, and giving affection reinforces the behavior preceding it. Your dog has learned that if he begs, he gets food! Take a stand and start a new trend. Find the willpower to withhold that food, and your dog will learn that he can't expect rewards for begging behavior.

2. IGNORE. Begging is an attention-seeking behavior. Rather than give in to your dog's demands, ignore the behavior and teach your dog that it does not get results! When you talk to your dog, give him affection, or engage in direct eye contact, you are feeding his mental state. Instead, practice no touch, no talk, no eye contact.

3. DON'T FEEL SORRY FOR YOUR DOG. Your dog is well-fed. You should know; you feed him! He is not in danger of going hungry if you don't give him that scrap off the table, so don't feel sorry for him when he flashes you those doughy eyes and places a single paw forlornly on your leg. If you become concerned about how much your dog should be fed, talk to your veterinarian. This can help ease your concerns and allow you to remain calm and assertive!

4. BE CONSISTENT. In any kind of training, consistency is the key to success. For your dog to learn that his begging behavior is ineffective, it has to be ineffective 100% of the time. Inconsistent enforcement of the rules leads to an inconsistently obedient dog! Make sure that every pack leader in the household understands and enforces the same rules.

5. BE PATIENT. Few dogs change overnight. If you have followed these tips to the letter and your dog continues to beg, don't despair! See Tip #4. Stay consistent and don't give up. Your reward will be a better behaved dog!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cool Your Dog This Summer

Here is a clever idea..........

A quick and easy icy treat maker for your dog. What a cool idea! (No pun intended.) You actually put some treats and small toys inside then freeze it. Later, you have a giant doggy popsicle filled with yummy treats and toys that will keep your dog cool and hydrated. It's really fun, but more importantly it will keep your dog cool and hydrated during these hot summer days.

Check out the Kool Dogz.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fourth of July Noise

How did your dog fare the fireworks?

Is your dog afraid of fireworks? Many dogs are. The loud noise of fireworks can send these dogs into a state of panic. Some dogs have even had seizures during fireworks.

The combination of loud noises and bright lights can scare dogs, even those that don't normally have a history of noise phobias. Lots of dogs have phobias, and the most common dog phobia is fear of noises.

My previous dog, Lacey was a Golden Retriever. A very good natured dog who was extremely afraid of loud noises. We happened to live next door to a marksman who would occasionally do target practice in his backyard. Unfortunately, we never knew when he would do this. At the first sound of gunshot I would raced to find Lacey. If I did not get to her in time, she bolted. It was a good thing she had tags on her collar because whoever found her gave me a call. It was amazing how many miles she ran!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Installing an Invisible Fence

I bought a house and moved this past week. My excuse for not blogging.

Where we were living, Ebony, my dog, was spoiled with the freedom to run in the woods. Although my house is on a half-acre, I decided this time that she needed to be contained to the property. An invisible fence, also know as an in-ground fence, was the answer.

They are amazingly easy to install and it was accomplished in a few hours even making a mistake which had to be re-done.

First, I laid the wire on the ground circling the perimeter of the property. In a few places I tacked it to the ground with large staples. It is very important to twist the wires together tightly when returning to the house and the electrical box. I learned the hard way and had to undo everything and retwist the wires. When they are too lose they do not cancel the electric current in each other. Thus, the dog would not be able to cross this line and circumnavigate the house.

The directions for the installation of the electrical box are very easy to follow. You can set the range in which the collar will beep in warning before the dog crosses the line. There is also a vibration mode. Next, you use the tester with the collar to make sure everything works.

Flagging is the last step before the teaching begins. It is suggested that you heavily flag in the beginning and then gradually remove some flags when the dog learns the boundaries.

I believe Ebony knew exactly what I was up to. She was trained to an invisible fence as a puppy and it worked great. It is important to teach the dog the boundries by pointing out the flags and using a command when the collar beeps. I walked the line, pointed, and said "flags." She got the message very quickly. I think her little brain retrieved the memory of puppyhood because she has not crossed the line even when I leave the property. Amazing device!