Archive for December, 2010

Stuff on my mind

Posted on December 30, 2010. Filed under: 1. Daily Life, 3. Trainer On Call | Tags: , , |

I noticed Michelle and Nina updated the site today, and was checking out the new stories.  I just wanted to share how much it touched me reading about David Dayan Fisher’s new book Puppy School.  I am sure I am a little biased since NCIS is my favorite show, and I can’t  watch enough reruns of it, but it really touched me that Fisher wrote the book, and is donating 1/2 of his proceeds to In Defense of Animals.  What a cool story, I can’t wait to check out the book.

Only a couple of days away from the new year.  Please be safe everyone, keep people food and drinks away from your pets, and if your pets don’t like a lot of commotion, confine them to a quiet area with lots of their toys and blankets.  Have a great New Year!!!

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Hollywood Villain Has Heart for Puppies

Posted on December 28, 2010. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , , , |

Hollywood Villain Has a Heart for Puppies

By day he is a Russian terrorist on NCIS, but by night, David Dayan Fisher is penning childrens’ books about puppies.

A British actor who often plays villains in TV shows like 24, Fisher reveals his softer side in the upcoming childrens’ chapter book, Puppy School (Sunnyfields Publishing).

After becoming a dog rescue advocate nine years ago, the book was literally a dream for Fisher.

“I was at dinner with friends one evening and joked that their dog should go to puppy school since he was so wild,” says Fisher. “That night, I had a dream about the story of Puppy School from start to finish and immediately wrote it down the next morning.”

Burton and Monkey are two pups from very different backgrounds. Burton is a pedigree, a perfect chocolate lab, who, as part of the canine elite, goes to Puppy School. It’s a place where pedigree dogs earn their “dogree.” Monkey, on the other hand, is a mutt, whose coat looks like an “accident in a paint factory.” Despite being told that mutts do not attend Puppy School, he sneaks in anyway.

A heartwarming story of determination and equality, the two dogs go on to forge an unlikely friendship. Burton takes Monkey under his wing, and after several mishaps, including a terrifying stay in the puppy prison, Muttly Manor, both pups end up earning their dogrees and learn they are not so different afterall.

About Puppy School, director/producer, Jon Turteltaub says, “David’s massive heart is all over this beautiful and bold story.”

Burton and Monkey are the names of Fisher’s real-life rescue dogs, who he says actually rescued him from a not-so-glamorous life in Hollywood that resulted in drinking and depression. Supporting rescue dogs has become Fisher’s passion and he will donate 50 percent of the proceeds from Puppy School to In Defense of Animals (IDA).

For more information, please visit

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Boarding Your Pooch While You’re Away

Posted on December 23, 2010. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , |

Unfortunately we can’t always take our furry friends with us when we travel. So with the holidays here, if you’re searching for a great place to board your animal, consider these tips courtesy the Pet Paradise Resort out of Jacksonville, Florida.

1) Take a Tour: Be sure that you tour any facility that you are thinking about using.. you should feel comfortable with the staff and the accommodations. Also understand what a day in the life of the pet entails. Where do they go outside.. for how long.. how many times a day…what is the latest they go out? What time do they get out in the morning. Do pets get to play with other pets or are they just walked on a leash for a little while.. the more you understand about the different facility options, the better your decision will be for what is best for your pet..

2) Food for Thought: Be sure to bring your own food. preferably in ziplock bags with the date and time on each bag.. It keeps your pet on their same diet and eliminates any confusion on how much two cups are

3) Medications/Records: Bring any medications that your pet needs along with written instructions. You should have a copy of your current vaccinations, which include rabies, distemper and bordetella. If you have used the facility before, they probably already have this on file.

4)Emergency Contact: the facility may already have your vet information, but be sure to leave an emergency contact and a cell phone if available.

5) Ask a Friend: It is always good to check resources and friends and family about who they use. The more comfortable you feel with a place, the more comfortable your pet will be!

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Winter Reading for the Animal Lover

Posted on December 9, 2010. Filed under: 2. Fun Pet Stuff We're Trying | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Dewey’s Nine Lives –

“Dewey’s Nine Lives” is a follow-up book to the bestseller “Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat that Touched the World.” Now I admit I’m a dog person, but I also have a huge respect for cats. Their spirit and attitude seem so different from dogs, but the bond we have with them as pets is just as deep.
Dewey, a little orange cat, was abandoned in the book drop of a small-town library in Iowa one cold winter night and saved by the library director Vicki Myron. The first book tells about how Dewey became  a soothing presence in the library. This second book tells more personal stories of the people Dewey touched and the legacy he left behind.
I especially like this quote from one of Dewey’s fans who describes what cats mean to so many of us:

“Some cats are special because they are sweet. Some cats are special because they are survivors. Some cats are special because they were exactly what someone needed at exactly the time they needed it: a soul mate, a companion, a distraction, a friend. And some cats are just plain crazy.”   Watch Dewey’s Video.

Kasey to the Rescue – The Remarkable Story of a Monkey and a Miracle

I first read about Kasey in a magazine article and I was instantly drawn to how a small monkey helped a family through one of the most difficult challenges life can deal you.  When 22-year old Ned is left paralyzed and brain damaged after a car accident, his mother Ellen was left to help him redefine his shattered life. For Ellen, she had suddenly become what she called an accidental caregiver.
The book “Kasey to the Rescue” is Ellen’s account about how a trained therapy monkey  named Kasey helped them through their darkest days and became Ned’s “wingman.” But it didn’t happen overnight and Kasey was about as high-maintenance an animal as they come. Ellen was not only taking care of her paralyzed son, but also learning how to deal with a “Diva,” and make monkey chow.

“Kasey to the Rescue” is a heartwarming story and a lesson in making lemonade out of some pretty bitter lemons.

K9 Heroes –

I have to admit I have a real soft spot for working dogs, especially K9 cops, military dogs, search/rescue dogs and therapy dogs. “K9 Heroes” is Nicole Arbelo’s first book and a true tribute to her love of the dedication of the dogs of war. Nicole chronicles the stories of military dogs and their handlers and the incredible risks they take every day.

The book showcases the bond born out of the instinct for survival and loyalty. “K9 Heroes” can be quite the tear jerker. Some of those profiled are killed in the line of duty and we get a true sense of their courage and commitment to our country. The stories and photographs Nicole includes in her book are touching and inspiring. She did an amazing job for a first time author and for anyone wanting to learn more about the military dogs of war along with stories of courage and sacrifice, this is a great read!

Fixing Freddie –

Freddie the beagle is every dog trainer’s worst nightmare. Like “Marley and Me,” Freddie gives his owner Paula Munier constant entertainment, frustration and pure love. Paula chronicles these adventures in “Fixing Freddie.” By the way Freddie even has his own You Tube channel.

But more than just the story about a very bad dog, this memoir is more about a single mom navigating some difficult challenges in life and learning to live with what she calls a very, very bad Beagle. Although it didn’t quite grab me and tear my heart apart like “Marley and Me,” it’s still a fun read that most dog owners can relate to.

Freddi the Dog –

The children’s book “Freddi the Dog,” is not related at all to the book “Fixing Freddi,” just a popular name for naughty dogs I suppose. “Freddi the Dog,” is by Lisa and Randy Herman, with whimsical illustrations that kids will love by Bruce Hammond. Freddi is the Herman’s real dog, an English Bull Terrier whose full name is Fredricka. It’s a cute story about how Freddi has a habit of eating everything in the house, especially when her naughty bone gets tickled. It’s a silly story that you’ll enjoy reading to the little ones.

Many families will be able to relate to having a dog that thinks a cell phone is a chew toy and underwear left on the floor, smelly cheese. In fact, my sister-in-law’s dog Bella got into a lot of trouble after gulping down socks and underwear… sending the pooch right to the animal ER. I recommend “Freddi the Dog” and look forward to her next adventures.

-Nina Jimenez


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“The Love That Dog Training Program” Book Review

Posted on December 6, 2010. Filed under: 3. Trainer On Call | Tags: , , , , |

I recently got asked to review a book for called “The Love That Dog Training Program.  I thought it would be interesting to brush up on some of my training skills and see if my ideas were similar to those of a very renowned trainer.  Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz has worked with dogs in famous families, such as the Kennedy’s and the Obama’s.

What struck me initially is that Dawn is a normal person who had animal training fall into her lap.  She became one only because she loved dogs.  She had a normal life with kids and family and found her life taking a turn during a divorce and needing to bring in an income for herself.

There are always areas of training that you can brush up on, and the wonderful thing about training is there are so many ways to train a behavior that you can always pull ideas from other people.  Dawn does a wonderful job of explaining training in simple everyday terminology that everyone can understand.  She bases her training on positive reinforcement but is not afraid to admit that even she used other methods of training that have been more accepted in the past.  Such methods as punishing for accidents in the house.  One of the hardest concepts to understand as a trainer is positive and negative reinforcement and positive and negative punishment.  I will spare you the details in this blog, but if you are interested, you can e-mail me or read “The Love That Dog Training Program.”  Dawn diagrams it out so everyone can understand the principles.
In this book, Dawn prepares a new family thinking about getting a dog.  She covers everything you should consider from choosing the right dog, going to the shelter, working with breeders, and developing training goals.  She even provides checklists, including what supplies you will need and dog proofing your home and yard.  She literally covers everything in detail.  You will even learn to set up your daily routine based on your new puppies needs.

Once you have the necessities, you can begin learning how to train the basic training behaviors to create an obedient healthy puppy.  These include sit, stay, come, crate training, luring and leash walking, down and release.  Dawn explains everything very well and teaches you how to be consistent and successful.

For the more advanced pet, Dawn gives ideas on how to do more advanced tricks and behaviors, such as using a clicker, shaking, rolling over, targeting and fetching just to name a few.
“The Love That Dog Training Program”  is a wonderful book.  I was able to confirm some training principles I practice, as well as brush up on some of the other behaviors that I have not trained in a while.  It is very easy to read and understand so any pet owner can succeed.  I highly recommend this book to anyone thinking of getting a new dog, or anyone that has just taken that leap and is ready to get started training their new addition with basic obedience and puppy needs.

Devon Gaudet;

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Six Tips to Ensure Your Pet has a Happy Holiday

Posted on December 4, 2010. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , |

The holiday season is the perfect time of year for family and friends to come together to celebrate, eat, drink and be merry.  While we love decorating every inch of the house with colorful lights, sparkling tinsel and never-ending bowls of chocolate, we must always remember to make a special preparation for our four-legged family members. Heidi Ganahl, the founder and CEO of Camp Bow Wow and Home Buddies by Camp Bow Wow, offers the following tips to make the upcoming holiday season both safe and fulfilling for pets and humans alike.

1. Keep Those Paws out of the Candy Dish- Although chocolate can be somewhat irresistible at times, it can make your pooch very sick.  Make sure all chocolate is stored away and out of reach from pets.
2. Stressing Out your Pet with a House full of Guests- The holidays are often filled with family and friends coming in and out of your house all day, everyday.  Pets have a tendency to get very excited and stressed with the constant crowds of people.  Have a room closed off where your pet can go to relax and unwind.  Place blankets, food, water, and toys in the room and remember to check on your furry friend regularly.
3. Don’t get  “Shocked”, Hide all your Extension Cords- Christmas lights are on the best indicators that the holiday season has finally arrived.  However, extra cord and plugs can look like a chew toy in the eyes of your pet. To play it safe, tape down or cover all the cords in and around the house to avoid shocks.  Unplug all lights when you are not home.
4. We didn’t Start the Fire- Keep all candles out of reach and placed on high shelves. If you plan on lighting up the fireplace, always make sure to use a screen.
5. Tinsel, Tinsel, Tinsel- This festive decoration can really brighten up a room but it is not the safest for your pet.  Hang your tinsel high and secure so your furry friend cannot get to it.
6. Pet Vacation- If you are traveling for the holidays and prefer to leave Fido at home, remember to hire a pet sitter or to secure boarding accommodations for your pet. The sooner the better, now is the perfect time to finalize arrangements.

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Posted on December 1, 2010. Filed under: 2. Fun Pet Stuff We're Trying | Tags: , , , , , , |

If Oprah can have her “favorite things” for the holidays, so can the “furry” reviewers at We’re really impressed with some of the cool dog toys we’ve been testing out. Check out Indy and Lola at the beach with the Soft Bite Floppy Disc.



Fortunately for Lola and her little mouth, the discs come in three different sizes. They not only fly pretty high, but they also float when they hit the water, which means you’re not going to lose it when  your dog misses a catch. Our “furry” critics had no problem keeping busy chasing these fun floppy discs up and down the lovely beaches of La Jolla, California.

The Dogzilla Disc is another saucer type disc, which also flies and floats. It seems a lot more rugged for dogs that like to sink their teeth into things. It’s made of a high-quality foam which is puncture proof. Another flying disc to check out is the BOODA Designer Flyer which is actually made from parachute material, although I doubt your dog will realize it. Still it makes it very light weight and easy to toss around for both you and your pet. I especially like the saying on the disc, “A house is not a home without a dog,”  We fully agree!

Dogzilla Disc

BOODA Designer Flyer

Now if your pet is crazy for squeakers, the BIGSQUEAKS will definitely get its attention. It promises not to rip apart or unravel, so for those dogs determined to gut the toy and kill the squeaker, good luck. Indy, my Border Collie tried, but the toy held up. I like that each BIGSQUEAK has a different fun word on it like “Zip!” “Pow!” and “Splat!” Of course we would not want to leave out the little dogs and puppies, so BOODA has the  Tuff Plush Cookie Cutter toys. Their cute, tiny, soft and squeaky, just like a puppy.

Puppy Tuff Plush


Indy especially enjoyed BOODA’s Dogzilla Tug, because he thinks he’s the top dog and is determined to win in any tug-of-war game. What’s also pretty cool about the Tug is that it has a little compartment for treats, which is another reason your dog will want to win in tug-of-war match.

Dogzilla Tug

If your dog is a ball fanatic, Indy recommends the Go Get It! Retractable Ball Launcher. We liked it too because who really likes picking up the goopy mess of a tennis ball after a few rounds of fetch. With the launcher you can pick the ball up, no hands required, and launch the ball farther then any major league pitcher. Since it’s retractable you can easily throw it into your beach bag and pack it up very easily.

Go Get It! Ball Launcher

The first thing you notice about a lot of these pet toys is the sweet vanilla scent. Also, according to the manufacturer the toys are designed for canine eyesight, which is interesting if you consider the limited colors dogs can see. Many of the toys are in shades of blue, which apparently is one of the shades dogs can see. Indy and Lola just loved testing out all of these products and give them the paws up! If your looking for ideas for your pet’s Christmas stocking ask your local pet store for the Petmate products featured here.  The best part is everything we checked out was under $20.00. Of course they also have some great products for the cat of the house too.

-Nina Jimenez

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