People can get really creative this time of year, and the pet stores really make it worth your while to go all out and dress up your pet. Last Saturday I spent the afternoon at the Scarborough Pet Quarters Halloween party. Despite the foul weather, a great time was had by all.
This years costume winners go once again to the Pugs,
Puppy and Sissy, who are already working on next years costume I am sure.
Both outfits were all hand stitched.
Check out the detail!
And a big cheer for Henry the golden puppy who just last month underwent expenisve hip surgery after his hip came completely out of it's socket. His human Kate hand made Henry into a piggy bank, with her a Maine Quarter, to represent the money she put into him. This costume earned Henry free Nutro dog food for a year. Not bad huh?
Henry found it a rather comfy dog bed.
Update-Can't get enough of dogs in costume?
Then click here for thousands more dogs dressed up on the
Dogster Halloween Stroll.
Extreme high winds and once again Sophia the Weatherdoodle was there.
High winds = superior stick selection.
Freddie concurs also.
Sophia has rightfully earned her own Weatherdoodle category.
Be sure to check back soon for further adventures of...
"Sophia the Amazing Weather Doodle Dog".
Note-Playing with and chewing sticks can be very dangerous for your dogs. I allowed the stick play for pictures only and then redirected all the dogs to safer toys.
Today I am an ace sleuth detective. I slip into the furniture store wearing inconspicuous clothing and dark sunglasses, determined not to make another furniture mistake. Purchased less than a year ago, our current couch has turned out to be a “dreaded dog hair magnet.” So under the cover of anonymity, I wander purposely around the store, searching for suitable fabric that will camouflage and repel fur.
Having dogs, and therefore having dog hair, you learn things about material. Parachute nylon-good; codura nylon-bad, very bad. It’s embarrassing watching the kids go off to school after their backpacks and pants appear to have spent the night down wind to a furball tumbleweed. Denim is usually good, but I do not want to live in a denim house. As a grown-up, I long for a real couch, instead of the usual fur and jelly cushions.
At the end of the aisle, I spot Ultra Suede. Very interesting. As I stand there pondering, I’m startled by a voice: “Can I help you?” Then before I can answer, I’m receiving the spiel about the wonders of this new miracle fabric: stain resistant, easy to clean, and guaranteed. “Sounds wonderful,” I say and then excuse myself to the ladies room, only to double back a few minutes later when the coast is clear. Carefully I open my zip locked bag of dog hairs and scatter a few on the sides of the arm. To my astonishment, it looks as though the couch is playing catch with the fur. My mouth is gaping as I witness a perfect couch landing. The hair went south and due west to connect with the ultra suede. Another dreaded pet hair magnet! Could there be above average static electricity today, for some reason? No, this cannot be. I have come prepared and reach into my bag to retrieve a dryer sheet. Palming the “Bounce” like a magician, I stretch my arms and covertly wipe the couch arm, and then drop a few hairs once again. Inconclusive. Back into the bag one more time for the lint brush and tape. The ultra suede passed the removal test unlike some fabrics that just seem to inhale the hair.
Moving on, I methodically test couch after couch. Some seem to be feeding on fur. Note to self; write a B-movie about couches that need dog hair to survive.
I do not even bother with the silk and chintz type materials. Never mind dog hair, they would never pass the kid test. We are a tough family-the kind of family that stain-resistant fabric was invented for.
Moving on, I arrive at the home entertainment couch. It has rocking seats, moving foot stools and hidden compartments. Storage bins could hold a weeks worth of food. The next Noreaster, we would only need to leave the couch for bathroom breaks. I start to feel sea sick, so continue on. Here is an interesting one. They call this brushed fabric. The fabric looks tough, but it’s also very similar to what we have now, and I know that doesn’t work for us.
And then I spot the leather. For a few moments I allow myself to dream of life with this beautiful couch, love seat and ottoman, but then the reality of canine toenails, Koolaid, and the ache in my foot where I was impaled by the ears of the Lego giraffe this morning sets in. We would destroy this couch in no time flat.
My high expectations are gone. I ask for several swatches and head for the car. At home I will double stick tape the swatches directly to the dog’s bed for further observation. Deep in my heart I know we will be a slip cover family for a few more years.
William Wegman fabric. It was not yet invented when The Couch was written.
Charlee says Happy Halloween!
Some of you may remember that last year I was a judge at the annual costume contest at Pet Quarters flagship store in Scarborough.
This year looks to be bigger and better!
With the exception of the Falmouth location , all PQ's are having a costume party with prizes awarded but the biggest event is happening in Scarborough.
Check out the following...
Annual Pet Costume Party
Dress your pet in a creative costume and compete to win one of 3 gift card prizes...$75, $50 & $25. The Scarborough store is offering 3 extra prizes: A years supply of WYSONG pet food (12 coupons for a 16 pound box). A years supply of NUTRO pet food...(12 coupons for 20 pounds of dog food and 12 coupons for 6 pounds of cat food).
This year Pet Quarters in Scarborough is holding a fund raiser to benefit the Animal Welfare Society and here is the schedule of events.
Costume Judging 1-2 Pm
$1.00 dollar donation for 1 game, $2.00 for three games
Biscuit Toss 2-2:30
Bobbing for treats 2:30-3pm
Musical Poo Bags ( a game that I invented-it plays like musical chairs, only you step on bags -sans poop of course!)
Announcement of contest Winners 3:30-4
In addition PQ is holding a drawing for a chance to win free food for a year
Truckload sale on Artemis and Timberwolf food (10-4)
I will also be there from 1-3:30 for behavior consultations and tricks for treats. Come to me, put some cash in my donation jar and pick my brain, and/or show me your dogs best trick for a chance to win a prize.
All the talk about Cabelas
coming to Maine sent me to their web site to see what they had to offer. Of course I clicked the pet section and nearly fell off my chair to find 84 different ways to shock a dog.
EIGHTY FOUR-I counted!
Call it what you will, but it is still painful. I will grudgingly admit to a small number of trainers who use shock collars successfully and humanely with their bird dogs, but I also submit that there are far more people ruining dogs by using too much force than their are people using shock collars safely, humanly and effectively. Field work is the one area of dog training that has not embraced positive training and the top field champions are pretty much all trained with varying degrees of aversive techniques. Of course there are purely positive trainers out their in the hunting world, but they have not achieved the level of notoriety, success and championships as their aversive method using counter parts.
Please don't write to tell me how wonderful your dog is with his shock collar. This is my POSITIVE dog blog and I will delete your comment. In this instance, I have the power to do that and I will. If you are a humane shock collar trainer, this blog is not aimed at you.
This blog is aimed at the frustrated dog owner who will see 84 shock items on line, or in a store and may take what they think is the easy route to training. There is no such thing and your relationship with your dog will surely suffer. I can't even count how many burnt out gun dogs I have helped to rehabilitate. These dogs come to me as shells of a dog, too afraid to even move for fear of when the next shock is coming.
It is sad, and I hate it.
I am a member of the ever growing Truly Dog Friendly trainers and we pledge to never use anything but positive methods.
For a positive trainer near you, check the above web site.
In the meantime, in case you were thinking about buying one of the 84 ways to shock your dog from Cabelas, check one of these many articles on the Truly Dog Friendly Home page first.
Once you fracture your dog's trust, you may never get it back.
Sophia confirms fall is still here!
Here on MaineToday.com if you want to know the weather you can read the weather report and/or click on the weather bloggers, and/or weather cams.
But here on A Dog's Life I would like to introduce my secret weather predictor, Sophia the amazing Weatherdoodle dog. Back in the spring Sophia let us know the split second Mud Season hit. In the summer, she was the first dog in my kiddie pool, but unfortunately I didn't have my camera handy. Rest assured that this will not, and can not be allowed to happen again, and Sophia and I will undoubtedly be at the ready to report the next seasonal change just as it occurs.
And now, without further ado, I give you Sophia's latest weather prediction:
Sophia confirms that Winter is coming!
Sophia also confirms that all seasons are just fine with her!
Thanks to Pam for sharing photos of her weekend hike at Tumbledown and Blue Mountain
In case you have noticed the lack of blogs this week, here is why.
Lots of germs pass through my home. I have three kids. Need I say more?
Last week one of my kids had an early case of the flu. The rest of us got sick but didn't miss work or school.
One of my client's dogs was diagnosed with Kennel Cough (Bordatella) at the same time. I am getting sicker with a nasty cough that is barky and quite distinctive.
Three people yesterday jokingly asked me if I had Kennel Cough, but not before I wondered the same thing myself.
So I came home and goggled Kennel Cough, and yes apparently humans can get it! Usually it is those with compromised immune systems. I had pneumonia two years ago, so I guess I fit the bill for that. If I am worse tomorrow I will go to the doctors but it got me thinking...
If I do have Kennel Cough, can I pass it on to my client's dogs? Tomorrow (Monday) I would come in contact with about 15 client's dogs so I need to know!
Comments most welcome!
Some of my fondest earliest childhood memories are of Sunday drives with my parents. My family owned a retail business and everyone worked hard, but my Dad always found the energy for our drives.
Sometimes we just went for a ride, and other times we went "somewhere".
Today I packed up the kids, a few of their freinds, plus Charlee and we took a Sunday drive to the location above.
The kids were not quite as enthusiastic as I was but they did like it.
You still have two more weekends to go and check it out.
The first person to post a correct comment in the comment section wins a suitable for chewing MaineToday.com Frisbee.
Drive North of Portland and down the lane.
Hoof it over there by the end of the month before the exhibit is over.
Look what we got! More on Freddie, a 7 month old Maltese soon. He is here due to a work schedule change of a friend. Think good thoughts that we return him safe and in one piece. Right now I have Freddie's teeny crate with the door open, in Finney's large crate (door shut)so he can move around. I didn't feel comfortable with his puppy playpen, because my dogs and kids could easily get IN.
Please wish us extra luck, it is after all Friday the 13th.
Have you ever heard or read that one intact female cat can produce 420,000 offspring? Leave it to Gina to not only question this number, but put the Wall Street Journal's number guy on the task of coming up with a more realistic figure.
It is a very interesting read even if you are not a numbers person. The Humane Society has since taken this number off their web site, and replaced it with more likely statistics.
Check out this snipet.
"To get to 420,000 would require two litters a year from each cat, every year, and that 1.4 kittens survive each litter to live healthy (and productive) lives. (Dog owners, take note: A similar calculation for canines finds one female dog could, theoretically, produce 67,000 dogs in six years; this stat is also popular among animal advocates.)
The earliest reference I could find to the cat-reproduction figure was a 1988 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (citing the Humane Society). If you take a mythical cat beginning in that year, and let her and her offspring reproduce at the theoretical rate over the 18 years since, you'd have a cat population of nearly 50 trillion. That would mean the U.S. produces far more cats than coal: If each cat weighed, on average, five pounds, this catastrophically huge feline colony would weigh 120 billion tons -- or about 100 times the amount of coal produced in the U.S. last year.
Just becuse the numbers didn't add up, does not make the homeless pet situation any less serious.
Our Maine shelters are over run with cats!
Spay and neuter your pets!!!
If cities can have sisters, then so can blogs and this blog picks
It's a Dog Life to be sisters with.
Notes & Jottings from the World of Murphy & Oz
posting from Little Village, Norfolk, United Kingdom.
Follow the adventures of two lovely dogs from across the great pond.
I have been reading Gina Spadafori syndicated pet column for years and freely admit that I am addicted to her blog Dogma, and I never miss an entry.
Check it out!
To me, Gina is but another far away friend that I just haven't met yet and I have even heard another dog person lamenting "When I grow up I want to be Gina". She gets paid to write about pets, and I write about pets and don't get paid. So yes when I grow up I want to be Gina to!
Gina has written several pet books, and recently teamed up with Dr Marty Becker to pen Why Do Dogs Drink From the Toilet and Do Cats Always Land on their Feet. I hear through the very ripe grape vine that both books are quick, fun and interesting reads, and the price is right to.
Take the tests, and leave a comment and let us know how you did.
And as if that wasn't enough you can win all sorts of free stuff with the purchase of the books.
PS-I haven't had a chance to check the books out in person yet. This pro Gina blog comes to you without the usual free book from a PR person. But, because I LOVE free, I lifted the great picture of Woody, her working Flat Coated Retriever getting some big air, off of her very worthy of checking out photo blog over at
"Your dog needs more exercise, does he have any dog friends to play with?" I ask as I hand back the leash to the new owners of a young rowdy rescue lab mix during a group class.
"He LOVES other dogs! We will take him back to the dog park just as soon as his conjunctivitis clears up."
I smile a frozen smile, give a short lecture, and then excuse myself to the bathroom for a warm wet paper towel to wash my eyes.
"Your dog has pretty bad breathe does he drink out of the toilet?" I ask of a new client .
"No we always leave the lid down because I am afraid he will drink bleach" she tells me.
"You may want to discuss this odor with his vet and have his teeth checked, there is quite a bit of tarter in there." I was really quite alarmed at the smell but didn't want to freak her out at the beginning of her first private session, and I planned to bring it up again before she went home.
The large black dog jumps up and kisses me square on the mouth while neither of us is paying attention to him.
She exclaims "Oh wow, he really likes you!"
I then I reiterate that this dog's mouth smells foul, and again voice my concern, and I am told in a matter of fact way;
"Really? Oh well sometimes he eats poop in the yard."
All I had.
Then I excuse my self and run to the bathroom again.
Thanks to my new friends at Chimpfeet.com, I am enjoying drinking my morning coffee from my very own mug, featured above.
Love the saying,
Love the color, and I
Love love love the size. I can pour an extra large cup of joe, and still not be spilled on when the kids or dogs bump into my hand, which is just about every time I try to enjoy a cup of coffee.
Year before last, I bought this platter for my brother and sister and a few dog loving friends from the now defunct Bark 'n Roll in the Old Port, and the mug is from the same maker.
Chimpfeet.com carries lots of fun stuff for animal lovers and pets, and I really love the clocks. Either of these would look great in my house.
But for now, I think I need to go find my credit card, cause there are some things in life that a girl just has to have.
For the third year in a row, Camp Buster was a blast, and a great time was had by all. I am already formulating a camp song (can't believe we don't already have one!), and working on next year's skit for the talent show. All the dogs and their people got along famously, and if you haven't tasted Brenda's cooking, and especially if you have, buy the Camp Buster Cook Book when it becomes available. A doggie weekend and gourmet food, how great is that!
The only bad thing about the weekend, was that my camera malfunctioned, and that means no pictures! But I do have several campers sending me pics that I will be posting on the Maine Today Seen page real soon. For now, check out Holly's great pictures over at the ever fabulous DownEast Dog News.
Click here to see the Down East Dog photos and yes that is me with Charlee drinking out of the water fountain.
Publisher/photographer Holly Sherburne was one of my many cabin mates, and I know we will be seeing her back at camp next year.
For the third year in row, I returned as Barks 'n Crafts director and this year we made paw print tiles and decorated bait bags. It has been suggested to me by many people that I should add my duties at Camp Buster to my resume!!!
One of the best things about Camp Buster is that you can do everything or nothing at all and still have a great time with your dog.
And three cheers for my new pup Finney who passed his AKC CGC test at camp with flying colors.
It is not too early to plan for next year, and we expect to be full up by early spring.
My good friend's dog died suddenly when a medical procedure went horribly wrong. Her death was the result of a problem with an oxygen line. Maggie, pictured above, was immortalized as a puppy by well known artist Raven Okeefe. Maggie's image has been used by many Border Collie Rescue groups as a fund raiser T- shirt.
I am wearing my Maggie shirt right now, and while I didn't see her very often, I will miss her and all the wonderful stories that my friend shared about her these last short 6 years.
Knowing how very loved and important Maggie was to her family, I find my words to them hollow and well, just not right. My question today is---
Does anyone have a poem or a quote that they find is comforting to a family that lost a pet? I am looking for something more personal than the Rainbow Bridge .
What do you all say?
If I was to pick the one thing about my job that is the hardest, it is loosing clients that I have known for years. In a very close second are the stories that I am told about the previous beloved dog, when owners bring their new dog to me for training. I couldn't even begin to count how many tears I have shed over dogs I never even met, but even after all these years, it seems I never say the right thing.
Last week over at the always great Dolittler blog, Dr Patty Khuly shared that she learned grief counseling in Vet school.
This is not something that I ever learned in school, but I do know that my sincerity helps. Even in grief, I think people do know when you are sincere and when you are not, but it would be nice to have that right thing to say when you want to help to comfort someone.
As for Maggie's family, I already know that there are no words, and even time won't help heal Maggie's loss.
She was that special.
Life's sure not fair.