isn’t everyone?

    Tue, 19 Nov 2013 03:47:03 +0000





    My Dogs New Job – Grief Therapists



    Tue, 19 Nov 2013 01:50:30 +0000


    My mom with Pickle & Dexter

    My Mom

    My mom really loved animals. She actually preferred them to most humans. She didn’t make human friends easily, but dogs & cats she understood & they were drawn to her. Growing up, my mom was the pied piper of pets. In our home we typically had anywhere from 4 to 6 dogs & an equal number of cats. A haven for strays & wanderers. These pets became my siblings. I was to respect them, learn to understand them & knew that having opposable thumbs did not make me more worthy of care. For all of her social awkwardness, her love of animals was the hallmark of her humanity.

    My mom whispering to Dexter

    That love for animals did not falter even when she was first diagnosed with cancer. They were her comfort through the sickness associated with radiation & chemotherapy.  While waiting for her to come out from a PET scan I wandered over to a nearby animal shelter where I met Pickle. When I went back to pick her up she asked what I had done during the wait. When I told her she insisted we drive straight to the shelter so she could meet Pickle. She was so tired & sick, but was excited to meet a potential granddog. Pickle was adopted & rode home on my mom’s lap. Pickle would not be a part of our family if it hadn’t been for my mom’s insistence. During her second bout of cancer I would bring Dexter with us to appointments. He would rest his head on her lap & she would pet his tiny head. When the cancer returned a third time her condition worsened dramatically. In the little time we had left she told me how proud she was of me. In part because I was an independent, educated woman, but mostly because I was kind to animals. That was the legacy she wanted. She wanted me to remember to feed the birds, play with the cats and walk the dogs. Those were the only responsibilities that really mattered to her & I loved that about her.

    Therapy Dogs

    When she died in May of this year I was lost in a way that I could never have predicted. Inconsolable. Even now I exist in a storm of emotion that waxes and wanes. I am the last of my human line. No other family and no children. I have a support system of wonderful friends. Some are fellow adult orphans who empathize. Others have experienced great loss & understand deeply. There are those who do not know what to say, but wisely choose to stand by patiently loving me for who I am. Even if I am, for the time being, an emotional mess. I am forever grateful for the calls, hugs, knowing glances, emails, texts & sympathy cards.

    Honestly, though, the things that have truly carried me through have been my pets. They do not judge. They do not demand explanation. They do not operate on a timeline where grief simply passes. They do not care if I am a different person today than I was at the start of this year. My rat terrier, Dexter, who typically demands a ton of exercise & attention, has now spent countless hours curled up at my side. Sequoia, my big sweet mix of a mutt, presses her forehead against mine & gently wags when I find myself collapsed in a wreck of sadness. Pickle shoves her head under my hand & then flops on her side. Content just to be in contact.

    They were not trained to be therapy dogs. They would probably be unsuitable to bring into a hospital or nursing home. Here at home they are, by necessity, grief therapy dogs. They have been the only reason I have gotten out of bed on days where I was certain I could not go on. My mom’s voice playing in my head, “T. You can’t let the dogs go hungry just because you’re sad”. I remember how the day I adopted Pickle my mom smiled from ear to ear even though I know it took everything in her power not to vomit in the car because she was so sick. I can still envision how she would gently tap her pointer finger of her right hand on Dexter’s nose & tell him, “You’re such a handsome little man”.  They remind me of a happier time, yet they are steadfastly present in the here & now. They will not let me drown in this heartbreak. They are more than mere canines, they are my family.

    My mom’s love for her granddogs, grandcats, and all animals lives on in me. My mom was a hero to so many dogs, cats, mice & birds throughout her 56 years. She is forever a hero of my heart.

    My mom & her beloved kitty Tiki




    Do Indestructible Dog Chew Toys Exist?



    Thu, 24 Jan 2013 22:29:47 +0000


    So, you want something indestructible, right. You only want to buy that one miracle dog chew toy. Spending money on something to see it destroyed before your eyes seems almost cruel. It’s like writing a love letter & watching it get ripped up in front of you (especially if you have a penchant for the dramatic).

    If you know me at all, you know that while marketing is part of what I do for a living it’s also a point of frustration for me as a consumer, pet owner & human. In my 20 years of experience, I have seen the word INDESTRUCTIBLE [insert flashing lights, jazz hands & whatever other attention grabbers you can think of here] thrown around by virtually every dog toy manufacturer under the sun. Admittedly, it’s such a readily used term that I use it as a keyword/tag because undoubtedly there are a lot of people out there who are going to use it to search with.

    Here’s the trouble with the word indestructible as it relates to dog toys. Dogs like to be destructive (ie. to destroy things). Your dog is a dog with no regard for the amount of human attributes you’d like to recognize in him/her. When humans are stressed or bored we do things like crossword puzzles or stare at a computer screen reading blogs about dog toys. We find these types of behaviors at the least distracting and at the most soothing. Dogs hate crossword puzzles and blogs (no matter how witty or intelligent they appear to be). Dogs love to chew. They are wired for it. They have jaws that can crush bone. Even your itty bitty chihuahua can crush bones, albeit itty bitty bones. Chewing releases endorphins into their brains. It makes them feel better.

    Now, of course, that doesn’t mean they should be permitted to chew indiscriminately or to the extent that furthers anxiety. Some dogs can actually develop a form of OCD called . What I’m talking about here is your average, every day dog who’s got a natural thing for chewing. You have to let them chew.

    The TWO S’s: When it comes to a dog chew toy there’s really only two things you need to know.

    Indestructible somehow implies that if it cannot be destroyed then it poses no danger. Regardless of the claim made about how sturdy a dog chew toy is, you will always find some kind of warning on the packaging.

    …swallowing pieces or fragments of the toy can be harmful to your dog. If you think your dog has swallowed a portion of a toy (or if you notice that a fragment of the toy is missing) remove the toy from them and promptly inform your veterinarian. – Bionic Pet Products, toy use & care statement

    Supervised use only. Inspect toy frequently – Remove toy if damaged. – Kong Extreme, label warning

    You know what, we humans really need to heed these warnings. Keep an eye on ANY dog chew toy. Especially if you have a power chewer. Your dog isn’t going to stop chewing on something because it’s unsafe. It’s our responsibility as their caretakers to remove damaged toys, purchase appropriate toys based on their chewing habits & .

    (ie. will my dog play with it and/or chew on it?)

    Here’s a little story for you. I bought my rat terrier, Dexter, (the most dedicated of chewers in my household) a hard plastic toy that could be put in a blender & come out unharmed. WOW! I thought I had found the holy grail of dog toys. I brought it home with unabashed enthusiasm. I threw the toy. Waved it around while singing a little song. Put peanut butter on it. Each time my rat terrier started to engage the toy, but then after one or two gnaws he’d wander off. Ugh! C’mon! Thing is, the toy was too tough. I like to think of it this way – Jolly Rancher vs. Bubbalicious. Both taste awesome, but nobody wants to bite into a Jolly Rancher & nobody wants to suck on a piece of Bubbalicious. Neither sounds very satisfying, right? That’s because Jolly Ranchers are made for sucking on & Bubbalicious is made for chewing. It’s all about design. The toy I had bought was designed more for the human who was hell bent on buying their dog the absolute most indestructible dog toy on the planet (me). It seemingly was not designed to offer any real chewing satisfaction for the dog (poor Dexter).

    What I Suggest

    After buying & selling many, many, many dog chew toys there has honestly been only one that I have been completely satisfied with. Be warned – I’m about to get a little preachy here, but know that’s it coming from a place of true experience & enthusiasm. GoughNuts are Glorious! I describe it below in the form of a clever little video.

    To summarize the video,

    are made in the US (Modesto, CA), contain a red safety core to serve as a visual indicator that tells you when the toy is no longer safe, and are made of rubber that can withstand up to 3900 psi (pounds per square inch) yet has enough give to be satisfying. In addition, they float, bounce & roll.

    When , I decided that I would focus on one line of toys that I could really get behind.

    is my choice. After selling them for two years online & in the shop I would get customers who would come in, hear me out about how sturdy

    are, laugh at me, buy one as a challenge & return a month or more later to tell me how shocked they were that their dog(s) still had not destroyed it.

    Glorious, but still NOT indestructible

    That being said, it’s important to realize that , while sturdy, are not indestructible. I’m all about being clear & honest when it comes to what you should expect. However, it took a very bully american pit bull terrier ten months to expose the red in his . The owners said he chewed on it nearly every day & that he had destroyed every other toy they had bought him in less than a day. I checked my numbers. In 2011 I sold just over 100 . Of those, 6 were brought back & replaced. In most cases, we upgraded the toy to a larger size or different shape & they were not returned a second time.

    So, my point is this. The term INDESTRUCTIBLE is often times purposely misleading when it comes to dog chew toys. Plus, the toys that are designed with only being indestructible in mind will likely be pretty boring for a dog who loves to chew because  it probably isn’t real fun to chew on (like a Jolly Rancher), even if it makes you feel like a savvy consumer.




    Chew Toy vs. Play Toy – Is There Really a Difference?



    Sun, 30 Dec 2012 01:18:20 +0000


    This post was written in April 2011 for our old Blogger site. I thought it was worth re-posting here, as it is a common misconception that all toys are designed for or appropriate for chewing. Enjoy!

    Is There Really a Difference Between Chew Toys & Play Toys?

    Absolutely. Without question. A Chew Toy is specifically designed for chewing. I know this sounds obvious, but most dogs will try to turn anything into a chew toy. It’s your job to make sure that only chew toys are used for chewing. A Play Toy is designed specifically to call on other doggie instincts, such as retrieving or chasing. It’s important to also point out that mouthing & chewing are two different things. Mouthing is where the dog holds the toy in his/her mouth or even grooms the toy, but it is not damaging to the toy. Chewing is a soothing behavior for dogs or can be a result of teething.

    Another important point is that NO TOY IS 100% SAFE UNSUPERVISED. Leaving your dog with a Kong or a Nylabone while you’re away is a calculated risk. Light to moderate chewers are typically okay, but aggressive chewers are at greater risk for obstructions (where undigested pieces of the toy get stuck in the intestinal track). If you are going to leave your dog alone to chew, then make sure that there is plenty of fresh water available to aid in digestion. Always check the toy for damage when you return home and if you suspect that your dog has swallowed pieces of the toy contact your veterinarian especially if you see vomiting, constipation, lethargy or any other signs of abnormality. Remember, your safest bet is to call the vet.

    Examples of Each

    Plush toys with and without stuffing and/or squeakers are Play Toys. Once the tossing and mouthing is done, the toy goes back in its place.

    Rubber toys such as Kongs or GoughNuts state on their packaging that they are designed for chewers and are considered Chew Toys. However, their disclaimers still state “Supervised Use Only”.

    Digestible Toys such as Nylabones or Greenies are really more like a treat than a toy, but some dogs will play with them. They would be considered Chew Toys. However, their disclaimers also state “Always supervise the use of chews and toys”.

    Rope and/or Tug Toys are Play Toys. Once the tugging is over, the toy goes back in its place.

    Things That Confuse the Issue

    While it’s not necessarily irresponsible of companies to name their toys “Invincible”, “Ruffians” or “Tough One” it does confuse the issue. Some dog owners might see those names & think that the toys are tough, rough or invincible enough for their chewer. However, they are usually just sturdier than your average toy in that they are double stitched, lined with canvas or other tight fibers, virtually seamless or devoid of the dangly bits that temp most dogs. Basically, these types of play toys are designed this way to extend their use by slowing your dogs ability to damage it during play.

    Toys Should Be Fun, Not Scary

    When humans understand the best way to use toys with their dogs, then all of the above concerns go out the window. Use your dogs toys to engage him/her in play with you or another dog. Try not to use toys as a diversion from attention, but instead as fun addition to attention. Have a toy box or basket where toys live and only come out at play time. Pay attention to what toys last with your individual dog. Know when to throw away a toy so there is never need for concern.

    Live, Play, Bark. WOOF!




    Why the Shop Must Close, but Tails Will Continue to Wag



    Sun, 09 Dec 2012 05:40:28 +0000


    A Brief History:

    After having a year of success with , I decided that it would be better to actually talk with customers face to face & see the pampered pups in real life. So, in January 2010 I opened up a 400 sq ft boutique on Main Street in Placerville.

    Although we were tucked away in the Fountain Courtyard (now called the Foundation Courtyard), we were met with great enthusiasm from our wonderful dog loving community. Carol Patton, then owner of Placerville Clothing & popular little Jack Russel Shaka, provided us with our first dollar that is proudly displayed in a frame to this day. Members of local dog focused organizations reached out ( & ), as well as fellow dog related business owners (Jess of , Eden of , Cherie of

    & Jennifer of ). They helped spread the word that there was a new dog shop in town. First time customers became regulars (Rose, Toby, Mickey, Rocky, Ursa & Dot, Jake, Jacques, Freckles, Max, Ollie, Goliath & many more).

    for slideshow of our canine customers.

    We had several fun Yappy Hours in the beautiful courtyard.

    made doggie gelato, which they still carry to this day, &

    brought Yappetizers.

    By the end of the year, I knew that for as supportive as our regulars were, we were still just too hard to find. I would go to events & find myself making people cross eyed by trying to give them directions. I’d say, “Are you familiar with where the Cary House or the gelato shop is? Well, there’s a walkway right next to the gelato shop. You’ll see the cheese shop with the cow out front. If you keep walking passed that, it’ll open up into a beautiful courtyard & that’s where we are.” They would smile, nod & never make their way to us.  I went so far as to have a map printed on the back of our business cards. So when Anniberries decided to move down the street to a smaller location, I jumped at the chance to move out onto Main Street. The space had laminate floors (perfect for dog nails & accidents), a photo booth, built in display racks, a big front window & plenty of space. So in February 2012 we opened up our new 1850 sq ft expanded location.

    Now we were able to offer services like walk-in pet portraits from ,…

    …educational workshops with professionals in their field, like ,…

    …and even small group dog training with Melissa Morris, CPDT-KA ( for our list of recommended local trainers).

    Sadly, it was all just not enough.

    A Hard Decision:

    There was so much enthusiasm for the business. Sadly, enthusiasm is not valid currency. More & more people come down to Main Street to go to get a cup or coffee or have a glass of wine & then window shop. The reality is that without robust sales at the end of the year (August – December) it is very difficult to support the slow months (January – July).  The brick & mortar had to close.

    December 31st, 2012 will be our last day…at least in the way you’ve come to know it.

    A Tail Waggin’ Future:

    Pampering Pickle is

    going out of business. What inventory isn’t sold in-store will just go into boxes to be sold online. The rent will go away. The liability insurance costs will decrease significantly (it’s pricey insuring a place where dogs can bite people and/or each other). You will still be able to call (530.344.7451) or email us (pickle@pamperingpickle.com). Pickle will gladly inspect every shipment that goes out the door.

    She’ll probably be wearing some silly little outfit during the inspection. It just wouldn’t be fun any other way.

    In addition, I will focus on assisting dog related businesses with their marketing & design. Dog Geek Design & Marketing is in the works. If you see us sitting in the courtyard with a cup of

    coffee working on a laptop, please stop to say hello. My love for this community is not diminished. My love for dogs & the people who share their lives with them will never lessen. My time on Main Street has taught me many lessons, created some lifelong friendships & will always hold a special place in my heart.

    A Tear to my Eye:

    While sad, I must focus on the future & the positive without forgetting this leg of my journey. Here are a few heartwarming snapshots from the last two years that highlight my bond with the canine community & some of the accomplishments I am most proud of.

    We’ve watched Jake go from a goofy little puppy…

    …to a calendar model…

    Rose first came to us as a fuzzy little pup…

    …and has grown into a polite & gorgeous adult…

    We have proudly played a part in making the Wiener Dog Races a Main Street staple with the help of the , ,

    & . In its first two years it raised $2500 for the

    We have helped to reunite many lost dogs with their owners (this one all the way from Coloma) utilizing just our .

    We have supported many local artists by providing them with a spot in our shop to display & sell their work (, Yates Garden Art, , Simply Purrfect, , Cathy Keil, , Rick Paulline Jewelry & More).

    Our partnership with

    brought our community poo bag dispensers on Main St & the Meet the Breed series where the public could speak with breed experts.

    Ever notice the ‘Dog Friendly Spot’ stickers on businesses up & down Main Street? We worked with the

    Tourism Department to get them implemented in 2011.

    We have worked with

    (People for Animal Welfare in El Dorado County) &

    to support & find forever homes for homeless pets.

    We have repeatedly donated to & helped raise funds & awareness for local organizations like ,

    & …

    …but, mostly I have loved hearing your stories and getting to know you as more than customers, but as people.

    One Last Thing:

    PLEASE CONTINUE TO SHOP LOCAL. Trust me, it makes a big difference in your community. Some things might cost a little more, but those dollars STAY in your community through wages, taxes & donations. The next time you think about driving down the hill take a trip down to Main Street. Shop mostly online? Well, before going to Amazon check to see if your local businesses offer online shopping.

    Pickle & I would like to thank you in advance for your continued support. We look forward to your call (530.344.7451), email (pickle@pamperingpickle.com) or online order ().





    Pickle Was Attacked. My Training Went Out The Window.



    Sat, 27 Oct 2012 19:24:07 +0000


    We were traveling out of town for the weekend. As usual, we brought all 3 dogs. Our stay at the wonderfully dog-friendly Red Lion Inn had been great. I was really tired from all of the driving the day before, so I told my boyfriend that I needed a bit more rest before hitting the road again. He sweetly offered to take the two little dogs out to the grassy patch at the end of the hotel parking lot to potty. He hooked their leashes to their harnesses & went out the sliding glass door. I was mustering up some energy when Sequoia, our big dog, began to whine in a low concerned way that I had never heard before. I sat up & before I could get to the window to look out I heard IT.

    In my 20 years of experience, I have heard a million dog fights of varying severity. I know the proper protocols when it comes to breaking up dog fights. I have learned how to keep myself & my fellow handlers safe while minimizing the damage to the dogs involved. This was different, because IT was the sound of my tiny little Miss Pickle screaming in fear. IT evoked a far different response in me than I ever would have expected.  20 years of training went out the window. This was not simply the scream of a frightened canine. This was the scream of my beloved little companion whom I had spent nearly three years with. In those three years after her rescue, she had learned to trust me & I had grown to love her in a way that only other crazy dog people could understand.

    I ran barefoot over the lava rock that lined the hotel walkways, cutting the bottoms of my feet without notice. What I saw came to me in snapshots. Dexter, our Rat Terrier, was in full avoidance mode. He was half out of his harness and pulling in the opposite direction. Pickle was on her back. A 90# Pit Bull had her by the throat & was literally wiping the cement with her. My boyfriend had pulled out his utility knife & was yelling to the owners that if they didn’t get their dog off, he was going to stab their dog. Three major problems. No time to think.

    I grabbed Dexter under my arm in a split second (fortunately, he’d been trained to hop up into my arm rather than run away). As I ran toward Pickle I yelled, “Stop!”, in part to my boyfriend & in part to the Pit Bull. My voice hit a childish pitch & cracked under the emotional pressure that had built up so quickly in my chest. I don’t remember ever really looking at the other dog. All I could see was Pickle’s terrified face. I threw my shoulder into the Pit Bull while still screaming. My wild approach & seeming disregard caused the other dog to release for just long enough for me to scoop her up. With a terrier under each arm, I ran back to the room & back through the lava rock.

    No blood. A ton of spit. Good signs. Normal pupils. Normal gums. Normal gait. Pickle was okay & I thanked my lucky stars that the Pit Bull had good bite inhibition & clearly had not intended to do serious harm to her.

    My boyfriend returned at first concerned, but upon realizing that Pickle was okay began to fill in some of the details I had not seen. Apparently, their Pit Bull was not on leash & when my boyfriend expressed his anger at the fact that they had neglected to control their dog in the most basic of ways the woman responded with, “I’m so sorry, but I just had a baby.” Okay, I don’t have children, so I can’t speak personally to what childbirth does to the human mind, but it seems to me that it should not preclude you from having the sense to put a leash on your dog.  She also threw in, “Your dog was barking at my dog.”  Sigh. Clearly there was not going to be any sense of responsibility on her part. She never even asked how Pickle was.

    He also told me that the Pit Bull rushed up in a “combative stance”. He tried to continue walking & avoid the dog (I would have picked them up, but it’s always easy to blame somebody for not doing what you would have done).  The situation escalated quickly as Pickle barked at the dog in a likely attempt to make it go away. The offending dog threw Pickle to the ground with such vigor that it broke the hardware that connected her leash to her harness (seen below).

    One other aspect to this tale is that Pickle came to us with a fear of other dogs causing her to be reactive (hitting the end of the leash, twirling & making crazy noises). I have spent three years working with her. She was finally to the point where I could comfortably walk her down Main Street here in Placerville & keep her attention on me no matter the distraction; including other dogs. My endless hours of counter-conditioning was virtually destroyed in an incident that lasted under a minute. Granted, her recovery will be quicker this time, but it is still incredibly frustrating.

    I learned three things that day:

    1. Irresponsible people are always going to be out there & no matter how much I work with my dogs & do endless training there is always the chance that something bad will happen. I can only hope to train my dogs to be good canine community members, encourage others to do the same & do my best to avoid those who do not.

    2. It really didn’t matter to me that it was a Pit Bull. What mattered was that it was an uncontrolled 90# creature overpowering & terrifying my dog. When the front staff at the hotel heard about it their first reaction was to comment that “of course” it was a Pit Bull. I was quick to interject that the breed of the offending dog was NOT the point. It was the lack of a leash, the lack of control & the poor attitude of the owners that was so egregious.

    3.  When it’s your own the heart trumps the head. As a professional, I would

    recommend doing what I did. If I were to objectively watch a video of myself that day I would be quick to point out a dozen things I did wrong. Things that put my very person at risk.

    So, what SHOULD I have done?

    I was lucky. You may not be. I only tell this tale because it taught me something about myself that I think others can learn from.

    Miss Pickle safe & sound at home




    Bacon is the best thing on the planet, but my dog still doesn’t get any



    Tue, 16 Oct 2012 21:14:08 +0000


    Bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon. Makes the mouth water of any meat eating human & is an enormous canine temptation. Sequoia is no exception.

    I awoke the other morning to the glorious scent of bacon wafting down the hallway & into the bedroom where myself & the dogs were sleeping. We all gleefully hopped out of bed as if it were Christmas morning. My boyfriend proudly presented me with a plate of still sizzling bacon. I sat down & began to eat this delicacy of the every man. Sequoia planted herself on the ottoman. As if she believed herself invisible, she wormed her way closer & closer to the plate.

    My boyfriend called me mean for not giving her any. He could not understand how her begging eyes had zero affect on me. He even said, albeit with a splash of sarcasm, that I did not love her. “C’mon, one bite isn’t going to kill her”. I informed him that I avoid starting down slippery slopes, as I typically end up unwittingly at the bottom of said slope.

    Would one bite kill her? Nope. So why no bacon for Sequoia? How was I able to resist this face?

    Simply put, because the benefit doesn’t outweigh the risk. Bacon is not only full of fat, but salt. Plus, I don’t want her to learn that cute look = getting whatever you want. Still, she was so focused & motivated I couldn’t resist taking advantage of it. I went & grabbed my bait bag & loaded it with her breakfast. In a room smelling of bacon, she happily worked for her kibble. In this case, I think I was redirecting my own behavior as I was still able to give her something & I didn’t have to feel an ounce of guilt.  So next time you’re tempted to give your dog table scraps try redirecting your own behavior to giving them something that’s actually good for them. That way you don’t feel guilty & you don’t risk a dog with pancreatitis or one with an growing waistline.




    Jolly Ball Tug-n-Toss Durable & Fun



    Sun, 14 Oct 2012 03:19:11 +0000


    The Jolly Ball line of toys is pretty popular & widely available. They offer a variety of well thought out dog toys, but today I’ll focus on the Tug-n-Toss.

    I was drawn to the Jolly Ball Tug-n-Toss mostly because it reminds me of these:

    Remember these from childhood? They were sooooo much fun. That’s not actually me, but it gives you the idea.

    So, I bought one for Sequoia (my 73#  1 yr old hound mix) who is a pretty serious chewer. This is what it looked like when I brought it home:

    After about a week it looked like this:

    So, here’s the breakdown of my review.



    Purchase a Jolly Ball




    Pet Store Dog Will Travel…for Dog Food



    Wed, 29 Aug 2012 01:45:12 +0000


    As a small pet store owner I do not often have the luxury of ordering dog food in large quantity. I hop in my little white Yaris & drive out to the distributor to pick up the Orijen & Acana dog food we carry. This time I decided to bring my biggest dog, Sequoia, along for the ride so that she could see the nice ladies at Companion Pet Food. The ride there was wonderful, but the ride back meant we had to make space for her & the product. This was the result…

    Sequoia graciously squeezes herself around boxes & bags of dog food

    Sequoia is very nervous in the car. Want to learn more about making travel less stressful for your dog? Check out my Anxious Traveler post.





    Kong – Stuffable, Durable



    Tue, 14 Aug 2012 23:44:13 +0000


    Reviewing a Kong toy is kind of like reviewing Kleenex. It’s been around so long that its use has become widely accepted. I’m still shocked when someone has not heard of a Kong. Still, we have learned a few things about this awesome durable & stuffable dog toy over the years.

    Dexter loves his Kong

    1. It’s the Gold Standard. It revolutionized the dog toy industry & dogs love them!

    2. It’s not actually indestructible. It’s simply durable. The revolutionary design that allows for it to be stuffed is also its weakness. The hollow center makes it so clever dogs can get leverage & peel it apart. While working in veterinary care I assisted in a few obstruction cases where the offending bit was a rubber piece of Kong. The company even has a warning on the package that reads,

    “IMPORTANT: Supervised use only. Inspect toy frequently – Remove toy if damaged.”

    4. If you make your Kong interesting for your dog by layering goodies or , then your dog is on the road to learning self soothing skills & impulse control. This is because they are forced to focus on a single task over time. The reward comes gradually & with work, so it is more satisfying.

    Need to BUY a Kong?




    Cooling Kong Recipe



    Tue, 14 Aug 2012 20:13:25 +0000


    Your dog loves a Kong & it’s a super hot day.  Here’s a simple way to cool your pup down while limiting his/her calorie intake.

    What  you need:

    Kong, tiny dab of peanut butter, kibble, bowl, spoon, water, solo cup or pint glass, freezer

    Step 1: Plug the tiny end of the Kong with a dab of peanut butter to seal it (you’ll see why in a few more steps)

    Step 2: Determine how much kibble fits in your pup’s Kong. Soak that amount in a bowl of water & let it sit until the kibble has absorbed most of the water.

    Step 3: Once the kibble is fully soaked use the spoon to scoop & pack it into the big end of the Kong.

    Step 4: Pour some of the remaining juice (the water the kibble was soaking in) into the big end of the Kong until it begins to overflow.

    Step 5: Place the packed Kong into the solo cup or pint glass with the big end up as not to pour out any of the juice.

    Step 6: Place in the freezer until frozen.

    Step 7: Give this wonderful Kooling Kong to your grateful pup.

    I recommend giving this treat in a crate, on tile floor or any other spot you don’t mind a little mess. As the contents melt a little mess is made that your pup will gladly clean up & leave no trace of.

    Need to BUY a Kong?




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