"The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog."

Introducing the newest member of our herd

Several people told us the same thing: Emmett was waiting for Violet. “He wanted to make sure you were OK.” Maybe. I don’t know. It’s a lovely sentiment, regardless. I don’t yet have the words to write about Emmett’s life–or his death, for that matter. He himself was larger than life. Over the last year or […]

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What to do if your dogs fight (other than cry)

Emmett and Cooper are thick as thieves. They just prefer to be together. In fact, we make an effort to separate them on occasion because, well, Emmett’s not going to be around forever, and Cooper needs to learn to be alone. When we walk one, the other sits at the door and waits. When one wants […]

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My pets are my Valentines (obvi) + free printable pet-approved Valentine’s Day stickers! #BestLifePets

I found my happy place. Well, one of them. Over the past couple weekends, working on this #BestLifePets planner with an audiobook playing in the background (currently: Everyone Brave is Forgiven)… It’s totally relaxing and seriously fun! Here’s what I’m learning and what I wanted to share with you guys today: The things I’m capturing […]

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Lucky and Sam are their Names

I have two great companions

Lucky and Sam are their names.

Lucky, white with a bit of caramel,

And Sam, brown just like honey.

 

As I walked through the door,

I am never ignored.

I am greeted with joy,

And I tell them “who’s the good boy?”

 

They wag their tails with speed,

And lick me with so much glee.

They jump up high with their feet,

Hoping for a tasty treat.

 

They listen to my conflicts,

And are belly-rub addicts.

They can sniff up any danger

And protect me from a stranger.

 

I love them very much

Lucky and Sam are the names

Of my two companions.

tags: 
poems

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Getting Ready for the Warm Weather

Tips for preparing your pup for summer activities.
On the first warm day post-winter, I took my older dog, Nemo, on a walk up a local bike path. After months of inactivity indoors, walking three miles was a bit ambitious and Nemo slowed down considerably towards the end of our outing. In my eagerness to make the most of our first break from the cold, I didn't listen to my own advice on easing our pets into an active lifestyle. Now that spring is finally here, it's important to get your pets ready for the adventures that come with warmer weather, whether that be a long walk, a hike up a mountain, or playing fetch outside. Here are a few things to consider as you prepare your dogs.

Activity Level

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Frequency of Urination Related to Dog Body Size

Little dogs pee more often on walks

Scent marking is a common form of communication across a wide range of mammals. Although dogs can scent mark in various ways, they most often use urine, which is obvious to anyone who has watched dogs pee here, there and everywhere out on walks or during play time.

Urination, and other forms of scent marking, allow animals to convey a large amount of information in an indirect manner. That means that they can communicate without direct interactions. That has the advantage of avoiding the costs of social interactions, which can include stress, the energetic costs of interacting and potential injury. In many species, body size is closely correlated with competitive ability, which is why scent marking may be especially important to smaller individuals, who may be unlikely to fare well in direct encounters.

tags: 
blog
behavior
research

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Bruno the Wonder Dog

lifted table high
the dog did not make a sound
shattered leg shaved
and then
the smooth needle slide

the girl
her head touching his
her fingers fur deep holding
her whispers
it’s okay it’s okay  it’s okay
her uneven breaths
catch between the tears
between the good-byes
between the open and close
of his still faithful eyes
it’s okay  it’s okay  it’s okay
and long after he left
her fingers still fur wrapped
her head still bowed
it’s okay  it’s okay  it’s okay
and nothing is left unwet
by her tears

tags: 
tributes

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A Mudroom Dedicated to Muddy Paws and Sleepy Dogs

Muddy paws are no problem in this new multipurpose room

Ken Perrin, owner of Artistic Renovations of Ohio, says he’s being asked more often to make accommodations for the furriest members of the family. “We aren’t asked to do remodels just for dogs and cats,” he says. “But if we are hired to do a remodel, we are often asked to include elements based on the animals.” Case in point: When Perrin was hired to redo the kitchen, dining area and utility room of this Akron, Ohio, home, the owners asked him to include a dog shower in the mix. “They have two dogs, and there’s a large lawn and a creek on their property,” Perrin says. “They were constantly cleaning the dogs’ paws to keep their floors and carpets clean. At some point, they had had enough.”

tags: 
lifestyle
green
life with dogs

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Smiling Dog: Henry

Dog's name and age: Henry, 4 years

Adoption Story:

Several months after losing their Golden Retriever, Daisy, the family decided it was time to add another dog to their life. They were torn between getting a rescue dog or getting a Goldendoodle puppy. During a chance visit, they found a two year old Goldendoodle, Henry, available for adoption while on a trip. Of course, they fell in love with his adorable face and decided it was meant to be: a Goldendoodle who also needed a new home!

Henry's Interests:

"Henry Dancing Bear" loves going out on morning walks, playing hide-and-seek, and meeting new people. Although he's not too good with other dogs (they scare him), he loves to surround himself with people because he loves the attention.

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blog
smiling dogs

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For Every Dog There is a Season

And a time for every purpose under heaven

It’s fun to watch dogs enjoy snow, especially the first one of the season. Some dogs truly come alive in winter weather, and are never more joyful than when they are plowing nose first through the drifts and leaping around in snow that is up to their shoulders or even higher. For dogs who love it, snow brings out their most playful tendencies.

Other dogs clearly love the springtime when the weather begins to warm up and they no longer have to decide between the misery of heading outside to pee and the misery of continuing to cross their little legs. There are plenty of dogs who do not enjoy cold weather, even if they do have a lovely coat, but especially if that coat is quite short. These dogs could all be named Crocus or Daffodil, because they perk up and become cheerful when the snow melts and the ground thaws.

tags: 
blog
life with dogs

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Two Dogs Eat Ice Cream

They have different styles

Daisy and Cooper are both ice cream-loving dogs. When their guardian takes them through the drive thru of a fast food restaurant, they share an ice cream cone. Just for laughs, watch the way each dog eats. They definitely have different styles!

tags: 
blog
behavior
videos

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Lessons from a Small Animal Surgeon

A Utah veterinarian reflects on the changing industry and lessons learned.
If you were an animal lover as a kid, everyone probably told you that you should grow up to be a veterinarian. Working with animals is rewarding, but people seldom talk about the challenges. When New York Magazine interviewed Dr. Jesse Terry, a small animal surgeon in Utah, it gave an interesting peek into the changing veterinary field and lessons learned over the course of his career.

About 80 to 90 percent of Jesse's patients are dogs. Specialists like himself are becoming more common as dogs are increasingly treated as valued family members. Jesse performs a wide range of operations from neurological surgeries to heart operations.

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Behavior Advice: Helping Your Dog Adjust to a New Home

Tips on easing the stress of moving

Move is a four-letter word. (So is “pack” by the way, but that whole issue is subsumed within the horror of the move.) It’s not just you who hates moving—everybody does. The misery associated with it affects our dogs, too. There’s no way you can avoid some of the unpleasantness of moving, but there are ways that you can ease your dog’s transition to a new home.

tags: 
blog
life with dogs

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Try a New Dog Sport This Summer

Outdoor trials are a unique way to enjoy the warm weather with you pup.

Last week I wrote about getting your pup in shape for summer fun, which focused a lot of hiking and long walks. The spring also marks the start of another activity I love—outdoor dog sport trials. It’s such a fun way to enjoy the warm weather while bonding with your pup and meeting fellow dog lovers.

If you’re interested in trying a new sport, start by searching for your local dog training club by looking online, asking around at the park, or getting recommendations from your veterinarian or groomer.

There are also clubs that focus on one dog sport, often affiliated with national organizations. Their web sites often list local clubs and chapters that can connect you with beginner classes. You can also search to find trials, tournaments, and events in your area to get a better idea of what the sport is all about.

Here are some web sites to get you started.

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Smiling Dog: Pawnie

Dog's name and age: Pawnie, 4 years

Adoption Story:

Ready to adopt a dog, Pawnie's person headed over to the Indianapolis Humane Society. Their family had always adopted from local shelters because they believe in providing a great home for rescue animals. Seeing (soon-to-be) Pawnie sitting by herself in the kennel they could tell she had great energy and had the sweetest face. Needless to say, they couldn't leave without her.

Pawnie's Name:

When Pawnie's person was very young they had two imaginary friends, that were giraffes, named Tawnie and Pawnie. When thinking of names the first one that came to mind was, Pawnie. Naturally Pawnie now has a stuffed toy giraffe named, Tawnie.

 

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blog
smiling dogs

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Dine Indoors with Your Pup

Pub Dog may be the most dog friendly restaurant in the country.

The warm weather marks the return of countless outdoor activities you can do with your dog. And that includes enjoying a good meal together. As we get closer to summer, I’m looking forward to being able to dine outside with my pups again. It’s something I miss when it gets cold and also makes road tripping with your pets a lot easier.

A new Colorado Springs restaurant aims to solve this dilemma and easily wins most pet friendly eatery in the process.

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The Bark Author Interviews

Author Q&A Series Summer 2017

Date: Appearing May 3, 1 pm (EST) on The Bark Facebook

Bring your questions for author and shelter volunteer Amy Sutherland.

Q&A with Amy Sutherland, author of Rescuing Penny Jane: One Shelter Volunteer, Countless Dogs, and the Quest to Find Them All Homes
What shelter dogs need is obvious—a home. But how do we find all those homes? That question sends bestselling writer and lifelong dog lover Amy Sutherland on a quest to find the answers in her own volunteer work and beyond. The result is an unforgettable and inspiring trip through the world of homeless dogs and the people who work so hard to save them.

tags: 
blog
book reviews

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It’s the Year of the Cat… and #HealthyMeetsHappy

Over the years, people have told us that we treat Newt like a dog. Even a vet said that to us once… to our surprise. What does that mean? Well, the first thing is that we had her microchipped! That’s what elicited that vet’s comment. Apparently it’s rare for a cat to be chipped. (But… […]

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Our light has dimmed

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to share with you: Emmett passed away over the weekend. He left peacefully and at home. (My favorite picture of Emmett ever, 2008.) His loss has left a hole in our hearts and in our home. We’re going to take some time to grieve, then […]

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Why DO dogs react to cats

Scientific study into the cues causing dogs’ reactions

“Fighting like cats and dogs” is an expression that succinctly describes the worst case scenario of dog and cat interactions. Not all dogs and cats have to get along with each other to live full and happy lives, but it sure is important to know which dogs can live with cats and which ones can’t. That’s especially critical for shelters seeking to find homes for dogs, because nobody wants to adopt a dog who will terrorize their cat. Though there are many ways that shelter staff can evaluate a dog’s response to other dogs and to people, there is far less information, and no validated assessment tool, for evaluating how a dog will react to cats. In most cases, we don’t even know what it is about a cat that sets dogs off, other than the useless knowledge that the dog is reacting because the cat is a cat.

tags: 
blog
research

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Smiling Dog: Saphira

Dog's name and age: Saphira, 4 years

Adoption Story:

Saphira was rescued from an unfortunate situation. She lived with drug addicts, was severely malnourished, and not cared for. Thankfully she was taken in by her new family and forever home! They have helped Saphira grow and enjoy life.

Saphira's Interests:

Saphira named after a character from the movie Eragon loves to swim, go for walks, and chase squirrels. She's known as a referee in her household, keeping an eye on her two pitbull fur-siblings when they play. When her person was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had the surgery, Saphira was there, like a good friend. Her family loves and appreciates her.

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blog
smiling dogs

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Wildlife Researcher Recalls His Backcounty Co-pilot

Field Notes

During the mid-1970s, I directed one part of a multi-agency study of the responses of elk to logging in the northern Rockies. My study involved an area in western Montana on which we mapped site-specific annual levels of elk use by counting pellet groups on contour transects. I was always accompanied—and often surprised—by my Norwegian Elkhound, Tigre, who was inclined to herd anything on four legs.

tags: 
essays
literature

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How Dogs Interpret Facial Expressions and Audio Cues

Dogs Interpreting Expressions

Seems like our two species, human and canine, have gotten really good at reading each other’s faces. Which shouldn’t be a surprise— after all, we’ve spent a long time together, anywhere from 15,000 to more than 100,000 years, so we have a lot of practice in mastering this important social indicator.

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Dog Behavior: Beware of Simple Names for Complex Problems

Dog Training / Dog Behavior
Dog Training / Dog Behavior

During their first appointment, my clients told me that their dog had “severe territorial aggression,” and that they had been advised to euthanize him. I looked at the wide-eyed and quaking Hound mix hiding under a chair and had a strong suspicion that the label given to this dog was far from accurate.

As it turned out, the dog was actually terrified of strangers. Not only was his problematic behavior based in fear and totally unrelated to any concept of territory, he had never hurt anyone. He whined, barked and showed his teeth to anyone he didn’t know who got too close to him, giving them an awful scare, but even when people tried to pet him (unwise, but it happened!), he didn’t bite.

Over the years, situations like this have made me increasingly disillusioned about the labels that are so often applied to dogs’ behavior problems. I find that labeling often does more harm than good, especially when the label is wrong.

tags: 
behavior
training

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Therapy Dog Uncovers Contaminated Water

San Diego is starting district wide water testing after a dog refuses to drink water from a classroom sink.
It's easy to get caught up in the busy day to day of our lives and overlook important details. On the other hand, our dogs live in the moment and take notice of of all the little things we miss. They also have the benefit of a much better sense of smell and hearing than we do. So in a way, it's not surprising that a San Diego therapy dog alerted a school to a serious problem.
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Dog is Official Greeter at Assisted Living Home

Izzy stayed after her guardian died

Izzy lives at an assisted living senior center in Tennessee, even though her guardian, Jim, died months ago. When Jim came to live at the Brookdale Kingston senior living facility, he was able to bring his dog Izzy with him. Izzy was friendly to everyone, and became close to many of the residents and to the staff.

As Jim’s health got worse, other people stepped in to help take care of her. Staff members took her for daily walks. Other residents and their visitors spent time with Izzy, and she became an even more beloved member of the community. When Jim passed away, there were no relatives who could take care of Izzy, so she stayed at the assisted living center. Residents and employees said they were so glad that they didn’t lose Izzy, too, after Jim passed away.

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blog
life with dogs

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When Your Partner Doesn’t Want a Dog

Persuasive strategies to consider

You’re all ready to adopt a dog! Perhaps you’ve been dreaming of this moment for years, or maybe it just occurred to you today that you need—really need—a dog in your life. There are so many wonderful dogs waiting for a home and the love of a family, and your life may soon be enhanced by a new best friend of the canine persuasion.

But what if you need to convince your partner—husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend—to get on board with your obviously fantastic plan? Well then, you have some work ahead of you, and it may not be easy. Your dream of adopting a dog is on hold. How can you proceed?

The first step is to figure out what your partner’s objections are. Many people who are opposed to getting a dog like the idea in general, but are held back by one or more particular concerns. If you can come up with a solution to what your partner views as the problem, you increase your chances of successfully convincing him or her to adopt a dog.

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lifestyle
life with dogs

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Smiling Dog: Katie

Dog's name and age: Katie, 11 years

Adoption Story:

Katie's mom often went by the shelter to see the dogs in need of a home. On this particular day, after a jog, Katie was spotted in a kennel at PAWS rescue along with her sister. They greeted their soon-to-be mom with eyes that said You are my mom! She got into the kennel with them and just knew these two intended to go home with her.

Katie's Life:

Now Katie gets to enjoy napping, playing and hanging out with her mom and her sister everyday. Katie is pure love. Her health hasn't been well in the last year so her family makes sure that everyday Katie knows how much they love and treasure her! 

tags: 
blog
smiling dogs

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Dogs Make Great Exercise Partners

Helpful tips on shaping up with your dog.
Get Fit Running with a Dog

Frank Wisneski of West Covina, Calif., started smoking when he was 11 years old. When hit by a heart attack at the age of 38, he weighed 215 pounds and had been smoking a pack a day for 27 years. He had a five-year-old daughter and a wife who was eight months pregnant. But it wasn’t until about seven years ago, when his daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, that he knew he had to make changes.

“At the rate I was going, I realized I probably wasn’t going to be around to help my wife take care of her. That’s what pushed me to quit smoking. About six months after that, we got Major, and I’ve been running with him ever since.”

tags: 
wellness
lifestyle
activities & sports

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