Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hunting season's over: Help discarded beagles

Beagle and hound lovers, we need your help. We need to raise awareness. Now's the time.

For many states hunting season is over. It's a time of year many shelters and rescues dread.

See some hunters, not all, but enough, have this tradition. If the dogs won't hunt, or they are too old to hunt, or they are too old to breed hunters, they turn them loose, or turn them over to shelters.

And the shelters are full.

According to many rescues and shelters, hundreds of hounds and other hunting dogs are taken in. And it's not just in the south (though southern shelters are overrun with hounds), it happens all over.

In Maryland, a rescue took on some of the beagles rescued out of West Virginia. The shelter is known for taking hunting castoffs.

In Richmond, VA, many of the dogs in the SPCA are hounds.

And in Louisiana, rescuers are organizing convoys to get 80 beagles and hounds out of a hoarding situation and out to California. It's believed many of the hoarded dogs were rescued hunting dogs. The same rescue that's helped to organize this convoy, Priceless Pet Rescue, recently took in beagles from a hunter with dementia in California.

And my friends in Kentucky tell me that hunting season never ends, and hounds fill the shelters.

Not all hunters do this, I want it understood. The culture is changing. Most now consider their hunters more as pets than just property. Many even use trackers.

But some, especially in the South, keep 20 to 30 hounds -- beagles, foxhounds, treeing walker coonhounds -- at a time. They let them loose, if they don't come back, they don't go looking for them. If they are too old to breed, or too old to hunt, they are let loose or they surrender them to the shelters. And the same too if the dogs won't hunt -- at any age.

I'm going to post a list of shelters and rescues by state, all suggested to me by friends on Facebook.  I ask that you go to their adoption pages and just crosspost the animals that they have for adoption. Share with your friends and followers on social media -- Facebook, Twitter, Google+. Hopefully we can help get some of these hounds into better homes. Because when shelters each euthanize dozens of dogs, it grows to hundreds across the country. Hundreds of hounds that could know a better life.

And if you see a dog you want to foster or adopt, even if you don't live in their area, don't assume you can't get the dog. There are always ways.

And if you know of a shelter or rescue not listed here -- tell us in the comments below.

Beagle Rescue, Education and Welfare
Adopt A 

New Jersey
North Carolina
South Carolina

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

AlmostWordless Wednesday: Legal Beagles

Before we start, just want to announce the winner of the autographed copy of "The Dogs Were Rescued (And So Was I)" by Teresa Rhyne.

The winner is Terrie Roberts Lee! Congrats, Terrie!

Meanwhile, it turns out Lulu and Jasmine are looking into law school while I go to work. I'm ok with this. Maybe now they'll contribute more to the household then just shedded hair and poop.

NOTE: The phone number goes to an automated message, we've learned, for a sweepstakes hotline. Don't call it.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Get in shape with Kale Chips! Challenge helps 85-lb beagle

Photo Courtesy of One Tail At A Time
This is Kale Chips. That wasn't his name when he first came to One Tail At A Time in Chicago earlier this month. It's meant to symbolize the long journey he will have to make back to good health. And it's one you can make with him too.

Kale Chips weighs 85 pounds. He was surrendered by his elderly owner because he could barely walk.

One Tail At A Time is now working out a diet and exercise plan for Kale Chips, who is in a foster home. But they need help.

Photo Courtesy of One Tail At A Time

One Tail At a Time is hosting a special fitness challenge to help you get in shape, and also raise money to help care for Kale Chips. He will go on a special diet, and also start on hydrotherapy to help him lose weight. These things are not cheap.

Here's how the challenge works:
  • Head to the Team Kale Chips Challenge website. 
  • Pledge to exercise and log a total number of miles.
  • Pledge an amount of money per mile.
  • If you fail to make the pledged number of miles, pledge to give a higher amount.
Don't want to take the challenge? You can donate money, or even buy Team Kale Chips merchandise.

Want to help? Head to the Team Kale Chips Facebook page.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pulling a beagle up by the ears and other things you don't do to dogs

People do stupid things to pets. Then they let it be documented visually, then are shocked when people get upset about what they did.

I'm talking, of course, about this.

Courtesy Presidential Pet Museum.
In 1964, Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th president of the United States, caused a stir when a picture appeared in Life Magazine of LBJ picking up one of his beloved beagles by the ears.

There was an outcry from dog lovers, though some beagle experts did stick up for the president, saying it was a common practice among hunters. Johnson apologized but also said, "I've been pulling Him's [the dog's name was Him] ears since he was a pup, and he always seemed to like it."  (Information courtesy of Presidential Pet Museum)

I asked Lori Norman, an AKC-reputable beagle breeder in South Florida about whether it was ok to pull a beagle up by the ears, or even common practice.

"NO! They should never be pulled up by the ears! Besides being extremely uncomfortable it can be harmful to the ear! They aren't meant to bear the full weight of the dog," Norman said.

Courtesy Presidential Pet Museum.
By all accounts, Him and Her (that's their names) were beloved dogs. Johnson was not a bad dog owner.

But he had some crazy notions of what a dog thinks is ok. He's not alone in that.

When we see pictures like this:

Or this:

Or this:
Or this:
Some get justifiably upset for the dog. But what worries me more are the people who say "oh, but the dog is letting it happen, so they are ok with it!"

And when a celebrity posts the pictures, you have dozens of people who think it's cute and ok so they let their kids do it too -- to get those cute pics, of course.

But while the dog might tolerate it a few times, it won't be long before the dog has had enough.

"Ask yourself what would happen if someone did that to you. It is usually the same for a dog," Norman said.

It only takes one moment. The kid steps in the wrong spot or grabs the wrong piece of face or the president grabs the ear the wrong way. The dog gets hurt. Or worse, the dog turns and does what anyone does when they don't want to get hurt. They defend themselves.

They bite.

Monday, January 5, 2015

10 dog books to read in 2015, plus a giveaway

I did not get any compensation for this story, except for the donation of the giveaway book by Teresa Rhyne. All opinions are my own.
"If you want to hurt me fine. Take my books. Burn down my house. Shave my head while I'm sleeping. But nobody, nobody screws with my dog."  -- "Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs"
My books are among my prized possessions. People who tell me it might be time to get rid of them when I move incur my wrath.

Some see this and think "what a nice half-full bookcase." I see this and think, I need more books!
My pets are not possessions, though certainly they are the most cherished things in my house. And lately I've found myself buying and reading more books about dogs than ever, when I get the chance to read, that is.

So I want to share some of my favorite dog books for 2015. Some of them I've read, some I haven't but they are on the list. And at the end, I have a giveaway!

1) The Dogs Were Rescued (And So Was I) by Teresa Rhyne. If you are a beagle lover and you have not read this, or Rhyne's previous best-selling book, The Dog Lived (and So Will I), what are you waiting for? I  reviewed Rhyne's journey toward a more compassionate life last year. And yes, much of it is about going vegan, but it's also about understanding our role in the world of animals for commercial use, and especially beagles. Beagle Freedom Project figured prominently in the book too, as Rhyne adopts a BFP alumnus named Percival to be companion for rescue Daphne.  And Rhyne does it with the same wit and strength that she wrote her first book. Keep reading for a chance to win an autographed, pawtographed copy!

2) Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor.  This is not a training how-to book, it's more of a reference book. But Karen Pryor is one of the pioneers of positive reinforcement training. She's an animal behaviorist. This book has been around for over 20 years and is still in publication (updated with clicker training information, which I do with Lulu). So it is on my reading list for 2015.

3) Bark and Lunge: Saving My Dog from Training Mistakes by Kari Neumeyer. What goes through your mind in the aftermath of a dog bite? Any responsible pet parent would wonder if there is anything they did wrong to lead to that moment. Kari Neumeyer explores the mistakes she made leading to her German Sheperd's incident, and what she did after to make sure it never happened again. I'm currently in the middle of reading this one. And I recommend it to anyone with a reactive dog.

4) The Great Grisby: Two Thousand Years of Literary, Royal, Philosophical, and Artistic Dog Lovers and Their Exceptional Animals by Mikita Brottman. Just out in October, The Great Grisby is a personal essay-esque examination of our love of dogs throughout history. Tales of dogs both real and fictional intermingle with Brottman's own stories of her French bulldog Grisby. I'm currently in the process of reading this and it's very enjoyable (though no beagles or hounds of any kind yet).

5) Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words by Dr. John W. Pilley. Think your dog is smart? Can your dog recognize more than a thousand words? Chaser is a border collie who can do just that. Pilley explores the work he did with Chaser to see how far his dog's intelligence could go. The bottom line: don't underestimate them! (Especially beagles! Grrr!)

6) Decoding Your Dog: Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and Steve Dale. This is currently on my book shelf waiting to be read. It takes a scientific approach to animal behavior. It also gives step-by-step methods to correct unwanted behaviors. Good for anyone who is new to all this... or someone who could always use a little extra help.

7) Texts from Dog by October Jones. I discovered the Tumblr account when I first started playing with Pinterest and it's hilarious. October Jones' Dog made me wonder what Lulu's texts might be like, and I actually sought out a text generator and did a post on making your own Texts from Dog.

8) The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs. I've always wanted this. It's a series of essays and stories on dogs from all sorts of people, from Malcolm Gladwell to John Updike and Roald Dahl. Plus it has all those great New Yorker magazine cartoons (all dog-related, of course).

9) War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love by Rebecca Frankel. The long history of military working dogs in America is told through tales of dogs and their handlers in the current combat zones, but also in Vietnam, and even going as far back as the American Civil War. The book also incorporates lots of photos. Some of the stories are heartbreaking, some triumphant. All make the case for treating our military working dogs as the heroes they are.

10) Life's a Bark: What Dogs Teach Us About Life and Love by Larry Kay. My final selection is all about inspiration and life affirmations. With a doggy twist. Life's a Bark is all about looking at our dogs and understanding what they are really telling us about our lives and what they think about us and how we live them. The book is full of colorful pictures of our favorite pets.

There's more books to come this year. Keep reading!

And now, here's your chance to win a signed, pawtographed copy of "The Dogs Were Rescued (And So Was I)" by Teresa Rhyne. The giveaway runs now through Jan. 20. U.S. residents only, sorry.

There's one mandatory thing you must do: Sign up for my new newsletter, sent to your email (which won't run more than twice a month). You can do that below. After that make sure you fill out the RaffleCopter! Make sure you do that, because you get extra entries, plus it's how I will pick the winner!

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Pet Blogger's Gift Exchange: Meet Hawk, aka the Brown Dog

I'm taking part in the Pet Blogger's Gift Exchange! Time to meet another great pet blogger.

Every year we pet bloggers get together and exchange blogging info. Kind of like a Secret Santa.

For my gift exchange recipient, I got a brown dog!

Hawk, or Hawkeye, is named after the famous doctor from the TV show "MASH." He's a Chesapeake Bay retriever who blogs about his training and his beautiful home in Virginia!

Hawk loves to play hide-and-seek with his humans, play outside, go for boat rides and more. His blog is full of big beautiful pictures!

Hawk also uses his blog to talk about other browndogs that need homes.

If you haven't checked out Hawk's blog before (he's been around since 2009!), you should. The pictures are beautiful, plus there's great training tips.

Meet Hawk on his blog: BrownDogCBR (that stands for Chesapeake Bay Retriever). You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year, new pet: An audit for 2015

For Howl'd Lang Syne, me dogs, 
For Howl'd Lang Syne.
We'll lick a bowl of kindness yet,
For Howl'd Lang Syne!

Happy New Year!

Here comes 2015! Are you ready? How about your pet?  

Now is a great time to take stock of your pet(s), and your relationship with your pet(s). If the new year is a good time to renew yourself, It's also a good time to renew your pet.

I've broken down some pretty basic categories into questions you should ask as we head into the new year.
  • FOOD: How is your pet's food? Is your dog getting enough food? Do they look healthy (shiny fur, bright eyes, healthy poop)? Now is a great time to think about whether you should look for a better food or different food for your pet.
  • WEIGHT. Is your dog's weight ok? Remember this chart:
 Now's a good time to check your pet's weight and see if they need to lose weight. Are they getting enough exercise? I learned this year that just letting Lulu out the backyard was not enough to get her a workout. The vets say her weight is ok, but I'd like her a little more slim, just on the safe side.
  • PHYSICAL/MENTAL STIMULATION. It's time to play! Your dogs need more than a squeaky toy though. Are you taking them out to play? Are you giving them things to figure out? Are you getting them new experiences? Teach them new tricks, take them walks to new places. It keeps them young and healthy! Not to mention yourself. It's better for them than just lounging around (though that's good too).
  • VETS/BOARDING/GROOMING. Are you happy with your vet or the other people who handle your pet services? Now is the time to research another one if you are in the market. That way you are ready when it's physical time.
  • COMFORT. How's that dog bed looking? The crate? The collar? Now is a great time to look into new ones -- inventory time for stores is a great time for clearance sales.
Take stock of your pet, and have a great new year!