Sunday, December 19, 2010

Meet Jasmine - Home From Iraq - Entry # 4

UPDATE: We started with the photos of Jasmine as a pup earlier today, and then Michelle sent in photos of Jasmine today and the rest of her story!

Jasmine now!

From Michelle:
Since coming home to Indiana, Jasmine has been a great dog--crazy and active and interested in everything!  She went to puppy classes and did some basic training.  She won first place in the sitting contest...although she only sits for treats!  She's really inquisitive and plays well with other dogs especially Gussy her brother (a short stocky Lab mix who is 7 years older than her). She also enjoys company and loves to run in the snow.  I think this is the first time she's ever seen snow and she just has fun running and being crazy.... crazy is her favorite way to be actually.  Some of her antics include chewing up a pillow to get to the fuzzy stuff inside, bringing me a calculator when I needed it...even though she really didn't know what it was and wasn't supposed to touch it, and freeing herself from the backyard to run and find some new neighbors to play with.  She is always finding something to get into and running laps around the back yard.  I love her dearly and she has become a perfect part of the family.  Now Jasmine, Gussy, and I are just waiting for Michael to come home and go for a walk!  We thank Operation Bahgdad Pups for all they have done to get her home as well as our local vet and the Indiana State Vets Office for making her trip and acclimation here in the United States as smooth as possible!

Original Post Earlier Today: From Mike

Jasmine as a pup

Jasmine's photo was sent in by Mike who is serving in Aghanistan. Jasmine is one of the pups from Operation Baghdad Pups!

Jas has been one of the biggest highlights in my life. She's full of life and is so curious and loves her new brother Gus, and the next door neighbor dog Rocco. We also got to take her on a family vacation to Hocking Hills. She's so cute on a drive she like to stick her nose out the window when it's not too windy. She has been so happy and it's a far cry from what she was use to in Iraq. Michelle has been the key to getting her home and Jas has kept us all on our toes. I wouldn't give her up for the world.

Note: The photo of Jasimine is when she was a puppy. Stay tuned for a recent photo of her soon.

Thanks Mike for serving your country and for sharing Jasmine with us.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Contest Entry #3 Wyatt

Wyatt graced the pages of our premier issue of "Writer With Dogs:The  Magazine Where Dogs Meet Art". Here he is in his favorite spot - the garden!

Wyatt helped start tomato seeds early last spring. Then Wyatt helped prepare the soil and plant the tomato plants and water the tomato plants.
Little did Wyatt know, that we would have an extremely cold summer and the tomatoes would never get ripe! But Wyatt is a dog and he knows that sometimes the journey is it’s own reward!
Plus, green tomatoes are like tennis balls and make for good fun!
Happy Digging,
Visit Wyatt's blog Gardening With Wyatt.

Remember to vote for your favorite dog by leaving comments. Contest ends Feb. 14th and the photo with the most comments get the grand prize of  $300 for the winner's favorite animal rescue group.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

#2 Ruby - Second Entry In The Love My Dog Contest!

Ruby- The Smart Lab - Being Caught On The Furniture!

Entry number two is Ruby! Her person is creative coach, Elizabeth Cassidy. See another great photo of Ruby and Elizabeth on her web, Coaching For The Creative Soul.

Remember the dog with the most comments win. You have til Feb. 14th to leave comments.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

#1 Our First Contest Entry From Writer With Dogs Magazine

Cheska: entry number l in Writer With Dog's Magazine Contest.
(See side bar to link to magazine for contest details. The dog with the most comments on Feb.14, 2011 wins!)

Our dog, Cheska, is a rescue: we found her on where she was listed by a lady who had gone to the animal control shelter in Harlem, NYC to pick up a golden retriever, and they begged her to take this sweet dog, also, because she was due to be euthanized because of overcrowding there.

We've had her DNA tested and she is at least 25% German Shepherd, at least 25% Chow Chow, and (to our surprise) at least 25% Labrador Retriever.

Since we've had her she's survived cancer (lost one of her back toes in the process), xylitol poisoning (she "counter-surfed" and ate some sugar-free gum while we were out), and anaplasma (tick-borne disease with ultra-high fever).

She may have racked up some hefty vet bills (in the thousands), but she more than justified the expense last year when she prevented our house in upstate New York from burning down:

One morning around 6am she was pacing nervously and woke me up.  I assumed that a thunderstorm was approaching (she's terrified of them), so I went downstairs to shut off our battery backup units (so their alarms wouldn't go off if the power went out).  Cheska followed me, and stood at the top of the basement stairs staring at the door and doing the classic "Lassie Whine".  Curious, I opened the basement door and heard a strange and ominous crackling sound.  It turned out to be the electrical panel, which was sparking loudly/dangerously!  We called our electrician who told us to turn off the main breaker to the entire panel/house immediately and he'd be right over (on a Sunday morning, no less!).  Long story short: due to a badly installed gasket in the electrical meter on the outside of the house (by our local power company), water was leaking in and down the cable directly into the panel.  If Cheska hadn't warned us, the entire house could have burned down!  (The entire panel/meter had to be replaced.)

So it turns out that we have rescued each other - talk about manifestation of good karma! :-D

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dogs And Thanksgiving: Some Safety Tips To Remember

Keep An Eye On Fido This Thanksgiving!

Don't find out that your dog has gone through the trash to get a share of your Thanksgiving turkey!

Cooked turkey is safe for your dog to eat, in small amounts. Remember that any change in diet can cause stomach issues for a pooch. So don't go overboard with table scraps as a treat for the holiday season.

Dogs like to snatch anything that smells yummy. Be careful of the things you use and discard after cooking your bird. Even good dogs go bad around the aroma of turkey. Skewers, string, pop-up timers, roasting bags all have that yummy turkey taste and, if left unattended, or disposed of without thought, there is a good chance your dog will grab them. Swallowing such things can cause an intestinal blockage or perforation. 

Turkey bones and all poutry bones splinter easily and can lodge inside and also perforate a dog's intestines. Watch when you discard turkey bones and other garbage. Be sure to keep trash away from your dogs and in cans they can't sneak back to and rummage in.  

Turkey skin is another treat your dogs will want to snarf up.  The fat in poultry skin can cause stomach problems and Pancreatitis, a serious inflammatory condition of the pancreas that causes vomiting and dehydration.

Let your dog join in your celebration by adding a few pieces of boneless, skinless turkey meat to his/her kibble. You and your dog will be thankful you kept safety for fido top on your holiday menu.

Sometimes It Feels Like This At Our House With Six Dogs Waiting To Be Fed

Wishing Everyone A Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fashion and Dogs, Art Deco Ladies Artist Giovanni Nanni

Giovanni Nanni was an Italian painter and illustrator active in the mid 1915 period of Italian postcard designs. Most noted and loved are his fashion postcards of beautiful Art Deco style women in wonderful hats and exotic fashions. This group of six grand postcards show how fashionable women loved their dogs. (Giovanni Nanni 1888-1969). So elegant and stylish each with her own special breed of dog.

Enjoy the view. Feel free to copy any of the images for your personal use.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The StubbyDog Project And A Call For Help

The StubbyDog Project is working to break down discrimination against these once favored family pets. Pit Bulls are getting a bad rap in the media. The problem is bad owners, not bad dogs.

StubbyDog will be one of the groups featured in my online dog magazine that launches on December lst. Want to get the premier copy for free? Contact me with your e-mail! and put magazine copy in the subject line.

Check out StubbyDog on Facebook.

The Pit Bull Positive Show is putting together a video to show the many faces of American Pit Bull Terrier owners and they need your help! All you have to do is submit a short video of you saying this line " I am (your name and occupation) and I am an American Pit Bull Terrier owner." That's it! Send your videos (an...d any questions about the project) to

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Prevention Magazine Says Dogs Help Stress Management

I am so relaxed with my little doggie to hug. And I promise this is a faux fur I am wearing.

The December 2010 issue of Prevention magazine (the print issue and online) lists six new stress management strategies. Their article, Everything You Think You Know About Beating Stress Is Wrong, suggests cuddling with pets, instead of talking to friends and family, as the new boost for stress relief.  It is number three on the list.

Prevention cites: "Having your pet, whether a cat or a dog, with you during a stressful event turns out to be more soothing than a best friend or a spouse," says James J. Blascovich, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara."

To read the full article online, visit Prevention magazine by clicking on this link.

No wonder I can nap during the day and sleep for hours at night. My stress level must be zip. I have my six stress relievers living under my roof. Or is that woof?

The ladies and gentlemen in Victorian times knew this too! But I bet that one of these dogs was stressed out by his owner. Can you find which one?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Trick Or Treat!

Trick or Treat

Dogs and Halloween, now there are two words to scare the bejeezers out of me. It’s a great time to keep your pet safe indoors and watch closely the candy you have placed near your door for little visitors. I have six unruly dogs when it comes to company and food.

My house does not sound goblin friendly when you walk past it. Six dogs sit in the picture window waiting to alert me of any movement they detect on the street. My fifties ranch is nestled behind tall loblolly pines, far from the road, in a quiet area by a dead end street. The window is floor to ceiling, and wide enough for six bodies to squirm, and wiggle past the table and chair immediately in front of it, to sit and watch. Their eyesight is keen. I never know which dog starts to bark, but you can be sure, five follow. I shudder wondering what the neighbors think as the crescendo starts to escalate.

The howling from my dogs on any given night makes the Hound of the Baskervilles seem demure. Halloween is an especially devilish time when my dogs are more aware of the little children that are crossing the street in front of my house. Their small shadows dart back and forth in the glow of the moon.  I wonder what monster they fear lies behind my closed door. For they never make the walk up my driveway. They just hear the sounds of my hellhounds echoing into the night and walk in the other direction.

“A hound it was, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen. Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glowed with a smoldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

I still buy candy, but end up eating most of it myself, while whispering to the dogs, shhhh. They pay no attention and bark until I turn off the lights and sit by the soft glow of my TV, waiting for the evening events to subside. Their interest then turns to snuggling down under the quilts I have strategically placed over my leather chairs. Only then can I switch on the lights and breath a sigh of relief.

Halloween is actually a favorite holiday for me. I have just learned to appreciate it behind the scenes, keeping six dogs at bay.

Several thoughts come to mind to make Halloween safer for everyone.

Keep your candy out of reach of sniffing dog noses. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and many candies contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener, than can also be deadly to dogs. Don't leave candy wrappers where your dog can snarf them up. It would be easy for a dog to choke on these yummy castoffs.

I know my dogs are super friendly, but when strangers approach, I err on the side of caution. Even the calmest dog can be startled by a quick move from someone new.

When I was an antique dealer, doing the Lakewood Antique show each month, I was amazed at how many parents allowed their children to just reach out and touch someone else’s dog. As an adult, I still ask permission before I pet a dog I’ve just met. I want to give that courtesy to other dog owners that I would like for myself. Then it is a free for all when I get the OK to approach. Puppy dog tails and kisses fly through the air.

From my collection of Halloweenie doggies!  Early postcards to celebrate a holiday that is enchanting and magical.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane

A walk down memory lane with my late dog Jake
I started walking outdoors today. The air had a little snap to it, so I opened up my windows and turned on the attic fan. Oh the heavenly smell of fresh air as it danced around my head. Six dogs took notice of it too. Normally sprawled out on my chairs and couch, six bellies up in the air, six dogs suddenly started to come to life. They watched with keen interest as I laced up my New Balance walking shoes. Bray, my timid black Afghan mix, actually pranced around the living room. Chloe, the Chi, noisy as ever, yapped loudly, dashing back and forth across the floor. Dear Foxy, my old dog, now thirteen, raised her head from the floor. I heard it thump back down as she decided if it wasn't time to eat, she was not moving her thin, frail body. Annabelle, the old hound dog/beagle mix, just yawned and put her head back under the throw pillow. She is a whenever dog. By that I mean, she only moves whenever she feels like it. The air got her nose out from under her pillow. That was the most movement from her since breakfast, when she ate, and crawled back on the couch. Of course Rascal, the bull dog mix, and Miss April In Paris, my hunting dog mix, ran for the back door, tripping over each other, popping out onto the patio in a frenzy of barking. Chloe ran behind them and the three dogs raced for the back yard.

I slipped out the front door. I wanted to take a walk and enjoy a bit of quiet. It was such a glorious afternoon I wanted to drink in all the delights that come with the beginning of fall. I am sure this was a false start, as the weather is due to warm up again. But for today, I was in heaven.

I headed up the street looking at my neighbors yards and a familiar feeling came over me. I remembered walking my old dog Jake on that triangle where the street deadends into my yard. Jake and I would head down the driveway, walk up one side of the street, only a short distance, cross over and come back to the house. The huge Rosemary bush would leave Jake smelling heavenly as he stumbled against it and rubbed his nose on the short spiked branches. I stumbled into it myself today. I must admit, I came home smelling yummy.

Jake. My dog who had to be walked with a rear end sling. I only had two dogs then. Jake, my ninety-five pound German Shepherd, a dog that had showed up in my yard eight years earlier and Foxy, the dainty German Shepherd/Malamute mix who came to the house as a seven week puppy.

Jake's legs were not working well, then not working at all. He had a neurological problem, not hip dysplasia. But he liked to get out and exercise those legs. Some days he'd make it back fine, other days he'd stop and I'd have to put a sling under his hind end, and haul his butt up the driveway. Then there were the days he would just sit and smile at the sky. I had to roll the wheelbarrow down the drive and scoop him into it. A task easier said then done. Jake left me April 2009. A month later, dogs starting moving in from the local shelters!

Thinking of Jake today brought back so many memories. He was a happy dog and loved life. He didn't care he couldn't walk. He just loved to sit and be part of the family. It is amazing how memories can be triggered by the smallest things. Today a fall breeze was all it took.

I pulled out a few old photos of Jake and Foxy. Foxy has aged so in the last year, but I didn't need photos to know that. You can feel her bones when you run your hand across her side. She still holds her own with the new dogs. I remember someone saying to me that month that Jake left, "Maybe you shouldn't get another dog. Foxy is old and it may be more than she can handle."

I am glad I didn't listen to that. But when do I ever listen to advice? The new dogs keep Foxy active. So don't be fooled by that old wives' tale.

Today's walk, the smell of the air, the hint of fall, was more than a walk to enjoy the day. I had a walk down memory lane with my old pal Jake. His  smile was as bright in my mind as it was when I hauled his butt up the drive with a sling and a wheelbarrow.

Jake enjoying the ride.

Foxy and Jake on another fall day.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ghosts Of Dogs Past - Victorian Cabinet Cards

The Cabinet card was the style of photograph which was universally adopted for photographic portraiture in 1870. It consisted of a thin photograph that was generally mounted on cards measuring 4¼ by 6½ inches.

Do you ever look at old photos of people and their pets and wonder what story is behind a picture? I love the old cabinet card photos. Such proper portraits that show the styles, dress and proper attitude of the
Victorian age. The ghosts of children looking so somber with their favorite pet. How difficult do you think it was for the photographer to get them to sit still long enough for to capture the picture?  Don't you know the children wanted to just sit on the floor and hug their dogs!

For your viewing pleasure some lovely time worn old images.

Top Photo From England

Now here is a dog waiting to be kissed!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

That Same Old Question, Again

"You have six dogs?" It was not so much a question as a statement bordering on disapproval.

"Sure do." My chest puffed out a bit, which made my own puppies look larger than I like. Had to make my point, and just a simple yes without the body language did not seem strong enough. "Had my old dog Foxy and then started adopting dogs from my local shelters."

"That's not having pets. That's having a pack. Ridiculous!" The man speaking to me is actually a friend I haven't seen in some months.

"Well, they are my writing muses." I admit I am chicken. Why I just can't say I love sleeping with dogs, I don't know. So I go the other route and make them sound like they are my work in progress. If I think about it, they are. I love dogs. I love to write about dogs. Every time I open my mouth I talk about dogs. My new book, Covered In Fur, is about dogs. I am a dog person.

Make Note: I am not a dog hoarder.

So, yet again, I am defending my position that I chose to bring five dogs into my home in a nine month period. Add in my old gal Foxy, I have a six-pack at home. If I were younger, I could have had a baby in that time frame. But instead, I filled my home with dogs that needed love as much as I did. Now there is a big love fest here nightly.

They eat my chairs, they have ruined my rugs, they have nibbled on my primitive old painted coffee table. They can be like locusts when they are bored and swarm through my living room eating whatever is in their path. I come home and am never sure what my house will be like, but I know it will be full of life. And that is what makes it all worthwhile. Life. A home brimming with it.

Then there is the other factor: unconditional love. My love for them, but more importantly, their love for me.

I have tossed away five rugs, there is one remaining in my living room. Will it last? I hope so. But if not, I will stencil in big letters on my old and gently worn hardwoods, I used to have rugs, but now I have dogs.

Life. What would it be like if it were neat and tidy? I like mine spiced with dog kisses and wagging tails. While my pack gets a little roudy when I am gone, the minute I step through my door they are my well behaved children. The Leader Of The Pack has returned and they know who is in charge.

Hard to say that about kids. But then most kids don't pee on your rugs, or so I am told.