4. Guest Bloggers

Confessions of a Guide Dog – The Blonde Leading the Blind

Posted on December 20, 2011. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , , , |

Confessions of a Guide Dog – The Blonde Leading the Blind

By Mark Carlson and Musket

Have you ever wondered about Guide Dogs?  How do they know where to go?  Do they understand traffic lights?  Where are they allowed?

And most important, how does a blind owner find the poop?

These and many other strange questions are answered in Confessions of a Guide Dog.  It tells the remarkable story of a man and his little buddy in a way no book ever has.

It only takes a glance at the title to tell the reader this is not a typical dog book.  For one thing, the dog has a job.

Secondly, he definitely has a fetish for treats and belly rubs.  He attracts women like Hugh Jackman in a thong, and the most amazing things seem to happen around him.

Musket helped write the book, to make sure the facts were told his way.

But Mark managed to squeeze the truth in here and there, since he was the only one who could type.

Musket is not only cute and lovable, he’s a great Guide Dog who has accompanied Mark all over the country, met celebrities and astronauts, been featured in several articles and television news, but also changed the lives of people with disabilities.

So sit back, relax and prepare to hear some very revealing confessions.

You may never look at an Assistance animal the same way again.

This is their story.

The book is available at:


For more on Musket, please visit: http://musketmania.com/

Also, check out the video Petopiatv produced: Musket the Inspirational Guide Dog

The team at the San Diego Air & Space Museum Courtesy Linda Stull All Rights Reserved

“Houston, I have a problem. I have to pee!” Courtesy Linda Stull All Rights Reserved

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Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season…

Posted on December 20, 2011. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , , , |

SEAACA (Southeast Area Animal Control Authority; www.seaaca.org) has released a helpful list of tips for pet owners to keep their animals safe this holiday season.  Holiday gatherings and celebrations are great for people, but they can at times pose problems for pets.  SEAACA’s tips to help pets and pet owners enjoy the festivities are:

  •  Watch the Decorations.  Decking the halls is fun, but it also can be dangerous to pets.  Make sure electric cords and candles are out of reach of dogs and cats.  Remember that pets can easily eat ornaments and tinsel.  Also, poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, and many other holiday plants can be toxic to dogs or cats.
  • Wrap It Up.  While gifts and giftwrap can make the holidays very festive, beware of bells, ribbons, small toys, and other items that could be choking hazards for your pet.
  • No “Roasting on an Open Fire.”  Fireplaces, candles, and hearths are great for chestnuts and holiday gatherings, but they can be dangerous to wandering or excited pets.  Make sure all fire sources are monitored and pets don’t have the opportunity to accidentally knock over a candle or anything else.
  • Don’t Supersize Them.  Do not feed your pet human food.  But, if you do, avoid giving large amounts of food during the holidays.  Humans are much larger and heavier than dogs and cats and can handle bigger food servings.   Our pets cannot.  During the holidays, it’s very easy to forget and over feed pets, upsetting their digestive system and compromising their health.
  • Rich Foods Lead to Poor Health.  Holiday foods can be filled with spices and seasonings and can cause health problems in pets.  Human holiday treats, which are not good for pets, include buttery foods, nuts, candy, and chocolate, all of which can be very toxic to some animals.  Just try to keep your pets on their regular schedule with their regular food.
  • No Paws on the Bubbly.  Pets and alcohol don’t mix.  Keep the champagne, wine, and other drinks out of reach of pets, which might sneak in a sip only to find they are very sick afterwards.
  • “Ain’t” Too Proud to Beg.  As pets become accustomed to human food, they can learn irritating begging habits.  These habits can be rude to family members and guests during holiday time.   Try to keep pet meals in a separate room with designated pet food rather than human leftovers.
  • Adding A New Member To The Family.   Many families choose the holidays to give a pet as a gift or to add a new pet to the family animal population.  There are many wonderful “adoption” events at SEAACA and with SEAACA partners during December.  Remember, time and effort are needed to acclimate a pet to a new environment throughout the year – the holidays are a special challenge requiring even more time and attention.

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Is your senior cat happy and healthy?

Posted on October 16, 2011. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , , |

Wendy and her rescued Russian Blue Pasha

Did you know that of the 86.4 million cats in the United States, more than half (58 percent) are mature or seniors aged 7 and up)?  That’s why it’s important for cat owners to know how to keep their feline friends feeling their best as they enter their golden years.  In celebration of National Pet Wellness Month this October, Hill’s Science Diet has teamed up with Today Show pet contributor and Animal Fair editor-in-chief Wendy Diamond to provide the latest and greatest products to ensure your older cat is living a healthy and happy life.

  • For the mind – Keep your cat’s mind sharp with Hagen’s Cat Design Senses Food Maze – a constantly changing maze that challenges your cat to figure out how to retrieve food or treats
  • For the body – Try new Hill’s Science Diet Senior 11+ Age Defying – a new cat food specially formulated to help senior cats be more interactive, alert and agile in just 30 days
  • For agility– Want to make sure your cat stays active?  Pick up an item such as The Incredible Motor Mouse Cat Toy – a battery powered mouse races around the toy’s loop, staying one step ahead of your cat
  • For the house – Check out products such as the 6-in-1 Cat Tree House & Scratching Post – it’s a great, safe place for your cats to lounge, keep their joints limber and also minimize scratching in other parts of the home

Log onto Hillspet.com/DefyAge and take the new Science Diet CatAge quiz powered by RealAge. By answering simple health and lifestyle questions about your cat, owners can determine how old their four-legged friend really is. Every quiz participant can enter to win thousands of prizes, including a trip to Canyon Ranch Spa and also receive an exclusive coupon for new Hill’s Science Diet Senior 11+ Age Defying cat food.

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Brushing Teeth and Dog Mom Guilt

Posted on February 6, 2011. Filed under: 1. Daily Life, 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , |

I admit it, I don’t brush the teeth of my two dogs. It’s just another one of those things inflicting dog parenting guilt on me. Although I love and adore my furry kids and spend as much time as I can with them, there’s always a certain amount of guilt associated with perhaps not taking them on enough walks;  feeding them dinner late; brushing their hair every day and brushing their teeth. I’ve tried to brush their teeth, but for some reason they just don’t like me sticking a long plastic instrument into their mouths and swirling it around.

So when I got this reminder from the CEO of Camp Bow Wow, Heidi Ganahl, that this month is National Pet Dental Health Month, I thought it was appropriate to share and perhaps provide some new motivation to get out those doggie tooth brushes.   -Nina Jimenez

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
A dental routine is not only beneficial for human health; it can also save Fido’s life. Without brushing, plaque buildup can put your dog at risk for gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath.  In severe cases, infection can spread to your pup’s heart, kidneys and liver, causing life-threatening conditions.

1.  Buy The Right Tools: The first step to brushing your dog’s teeth is finding the right dental equipment. Make sure you purchase a dog toothbrush that is angled and soft. For large breeds, stick to longer toothbrushes so you reach difficult places. A finger brush is easier to use on smaller animals. Remember to never use human toothpaste on dogs because it contains ingredients that can harm Fido’s stomach. There are many dog-friendly toothpaste options that come in fun flavors like peanut butter, beef or chicken.

2.  It’s All About Timing: It’s important to approach your dog when it is relaxed and in a good mood. Don’t force contact, because the pup will rebel against you.

3. Positioning: Make sure your dog is comfortable before beginning. Avoid standing above your dog in a threatening way. Instead, get on the same level and sit in front of your pet.

4. Prep the Gums: Test your dog’s anxiety level and willingness to have his mouth touched. Gently rub your finger on the top row of teeth and gums. You may have to repeat this step a few times before proceeding.

5. Taste Test:  Place a dot of the dog toothpaste on your finger and have Fido lick it off. The key here is to find a flavor that tastes like a treat. This will make brushing a lot easier.

6.  Master the Technique: Start by opening your dog’s upper lip and brush along the gum line with a 45-degree angle. Continue to brush the rest of the teeth in a circular motion. Brush a few teeth at a time and focus on the plaque. Keep your dog calm throughout the process by gently patting his head and talking in a soothing voice.

7.  Reward Your Dog: Congratulate Fido for being a good sport with a treat, special attention or extra playtime.

8.   Establish a routine: Although daily brushing is ideal, three times a week is a good start. Remember that dental hygiene doesn’t end with brushing. Special treats were created to fight plaque buildup. Visit your veterinarian to determine the right routine for your pup.

-Heidi Ganahl, Camp Bow Wow

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Hairless Kitten Dies After Airline Mishap

Posted on January 25, 2011. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers |

We received the following letter from a Petopia.tv fan. We felt it was worth sharing as it’s distressing that transporting our pets via a commercial airline still seems to be so risky. Any suggestions out there for how to ensure a pet will be safe when flying them from point A to point B?

Letter from Petopia.tv fan Heather Lombardi – Bristol Connecticut:

Last night our family experienced the worst tragedy I have ever personally experienced & I wanted to send this hoping to reach as many animal owners as I possibly can. I appreciate anything at all you can do, even if you only tell your friends. Here is the story of my kitten Snickers & her last night alive. (1/22/2011) I also have attached a picture of her.


We purchased an 11 week old Sphynx kitten (Hairless Kitten) from a breeder & her flight was scheduled to come in last night at 8:40PM on Delta Flight # 738 into BDL (Hartford CT). (Climate controlled cargo by Delta Dash)

We arrived at the airport at 8:15pm, camera & 2 kids in hand to pick up our long awaited new arrival. We immediately went to baggage claim where we would pick her up from her long flight from Utah.

When we arrived, we were told to go sit by the conveyors for luggage & that as soon as the plane was unloaded, they would bring our new family member out to us. We waited & waited & at 8:50 I went to the baggage claim & asked for an update. I told the woman that the kitten was a Sphynx & had no hair & that I was beginning to worry since it was only 7 degrees outside. I was told the flight had arrived on time (8:40pm), but to sit back down, that the cargo hold latch was stuck, but they were doing all they could & would bring her out as soon as they could.

I wasn’t incredibly alarmed; After all, I paid $290 for her to be in a climate controlled cargo area. I figured she would be fine as long as she wasn’t outdoors. At 9:30pm, they brought the carrier out to me & the woman who handed the carrier to me told me I should take her out & that the carrier was very cold. She removed the zip ties & I took the carrier to the floor & opened the door.

The kitten was ICE cold, limp, and unresponsive. I IMMEDIATELY put her into my coat, grabbed my kids by the hands & ran out of the airport to get her into my car & cranked up the heat putting all vents on her as I rubbed her trying to warm her up.

She couldn’t lift or control any limbs, her breathing was labored, she had a blank stare in her eyes, and she let out a meow. As if to say help me — please.

We rushed her to the emergency vet clinic, but to my utter devastation, on the drive, she let out a blood curdling cry & went completely limp as we frantically drove to the vet.

When we arrived, I literally ran in, and gave her to the nurse who whisked her into the back. After 10 minutes, a vet came out & told me that she that she was “DOA” and that there was nothing they could have done to save her. There was nothing I could have done to save her either.

The vet then explained to me that once a plane lands, the cargo compartment depressurizes & there is no longer climate control. She told me that she didn’t stand a chance in this freezing weather sitting in the Delta Cargo hold for almost 50 minutes.

I spent the rest of the night last night crying & more or less having a nervous breakdown. She died cold, lonely & scared. Her last hour of life was spent frozen & unable to escape. I am so utterly devastated — I cannot express to anyone how this feels. I am so sad for her, her little 11 week life lost for no reason. A tragedy that could have been prevented if the airline had valued her little promising life.

Delta didn’t have much to say to me last night & the “investigation” is now being handled by the Supervisor of Claims, (You know the person you call when they lose your luggage?) the bottom line is that they can’t bring her back to me or my family, there is nothing they can say or do to make this whole. We don’t want a new kitten; we fell in love with HER. She was our new child & there is nothing that can be done to bring her home to us. Snickers lost her life unnecessarily.

I just hope that by sending this, I can save someone else the devastation. If you travel allot with your pets or are buying an animal & live in a cold climate — PLEASE RETHINK YOUR FLIGHT WHEN IT IS BELOW 30 degrees.  You can put a pet in a climate controlled cargo, but if it depressurizes — IT IS NO LONGER CLIMATE CONTROLLED.

Please please please don’t let another animal die, be patient, let it warm up a bit. She just didn’t stand a chance against a cargo area that is utterly freezing with employees who are more concerned with getting luggage to their respective owners. Value life everyone, I have just experienced something I pray no one else has too. Don’t let Snickers lost life be in vain, I pray you guys read this & maybe another animals life won’t be lost to the cold & lonely Delta Cargo holds.  – Heather Lombardi

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Walk for a Cure for Canine Cancer

Posted on January 14, 2011. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , |

Petopia.tv was recently contacted by Magali Wright who suffered a terrible loss when her dog Teeka died from cancer last year. Awareness over the impact of this disease in animals is really starting to grow. Wright is now helping in the Canine Cancer Campaign by organizing a walk next month in San Marcos, California. She shares more of her story in this guest blog and how you can get involved by simply taking a walk.


One out of four dogs over the age of two dies due to cancer. This statistic never crossed my mind until I lost my dog, Teeka, two days after her 11th birthday in February 2010. Since then I have wanted to make a difference so our ‘furry kids’ can lead longer, healthier lives. I  did a lot of reseach and discovered Morris Animal Foundation and their Canine Cancer Campaign. They have made great advancements in the search for a cure but need our help in their continued efforts. I noticed that there were walks in other cities but not in my hometown which has many dog lovers. Therefore, I decided to organize San Diegos 1st Canine Cancer Cure Walk which will be held on 2/19/11 with 100% of proceeds going to MAF. You can walk with  or without a dog on the 1 mile trail. After you can visit with vendors, exhibits and listen to experts from our area discuss cancer prevention, wellness, cancer research and treatment and how to be an advocate for your dog’s health. All attending walkers will receive prize drawing tickets, a bandanna for their dog and an awareness band. -Magali Wright

Please join me in this cause by going to California K9 Cancer website. Once there just click on the yellow San Diego button to get to all the other links.

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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 www.PuppySchoolTheBook.com.

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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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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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Cancer in Pets – What You Need to Know

Posted on November 17, 2010. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , , , , |

Unfortunately cancer is not just something humans need to worry about.  In honor of National Pet Cancer Awareness month we have some important information from Zachary M. Wright, DVM DACVIM (oncology), Staff Oncologist and Intern Director at VCA Veterinary Care Referral Center in Albuquerque, NM.

Breakthroughs in veterinarian medicine across wellness, trauma, infections and surgery have led to our pets surviving more conditions and living longer. The extended life of a pet consequently provides an increased chance for developing other issues, including cancer. One in four domesticated dogs in the United States will die of cancer, and that number increases to almost one in two for dogs who reach the age of 10.
Owners can take a proactive role in identifying cancer in their pets. Skin tumors, the most common cancer in dogs and cats, can be easily felt while spending quality time your pet.   Middle to older aged animals may display vague signs that including vomiting, lethargy, weight loss, lameness, or coughing, which can all be linked to cancers of internal organs. The smaller the tumor the more effective therapy will be against it, so never just watch a lump on your pet. If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should bring your animal to the nearest VCA veterinarian.
If your pet is diagnosed with a cancer, ask your VCA veterinarian for a referral to the nearest veterinarian oncologist. Veterinary oncologists are veterinarians who have done 3-4 years of additional training in cancer diagnosis and treatment. VCA has more than 10 veterinary oncologists nationwide who are skilled at evaluating, treating and researching cancer in pets.
A cancer diagnosis comes with a variety of treatment options:
  • Surgery: Typically a first line of treatment as it can offer a cure for many tumors if they are completely removed.
  • Radiation: The least used treatment modality in veterinary oncology because of the lack of radiation units across the country. However, it is a great second line option when surgery is ineffective or incomplete.  VCA currently has four hospitals across the country with radiation facilities.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy use in veterinary medicine is very different than the perception of cancer treatment in human medicine.  Much lower dosages are used as quality of life is most important. Approximately 90% of dogs and cats will have little to no obvious side effects from their treatments; thus allowing our pets to be at home, feeling great, with their loved ones.
  • Clinical Trials: Oncology has our own breakthroughs in cancer treatment and many veterinary oncologists are able to offer pet owners clinical trials for new cancer therapies.
If you have additional questions about cancer in pets please visit the following links.
– Zachary M. Wright, DVM DACVIM (oncology), Staff Oncologist
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