Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Whoever is shooting their gun near my house, you're scaring my dogs!

You know how all the dog lovers complain about people shooting off fireworks for days after Fourth of July?

How about gunfire, or something that sure sounds like it?

Today, I was in the shower when I heard a loud bang. It sounded like someone hammering into a block, I thought.  The dogs started barking like mad. Then I heard it again and again. Through my glass shower door I started to see Jasmine pacing. I know from reading about rescue dogs that pacing is a sign of anxiety. I finish my shower.

I hear the bangs again. That's not someone hammering next door.

Since I moved into this house, every once in a while, between 9 and 10 in the morning during the week, I hear a series of shots. To me, it sounds like someone firing off a gun. Whether it's someone with some Red Ryder BB Gun or someone with a .22 or someone with a shotgun I don't know.

Or maybe it's a nail gun. Like a super-powered nail gun. I dunno. Here's what I do know.

Lulu has, at least outwardly, recovered.

Jasmine, on the other hand, is no where to be found. The doors are all closed, the gate is still up on the other side of the house. No windows are open or broken. She's not in the living room, the kitchen, the dining room, not in her crate. So I decide to try a hunch. I get my camera, attach it to the monopole, lay on my bed and start taking pictures underneath.


I find her.

This dog has long, long legs. She was able to fold herself up and get herself under my bed, and on the other side where it's not too easy to get around.


And she would not come out.

I called the sheriff's office, but what are they supposed to do? I don't have proof it ever happened. No one is home. I think the noise is coming from the street behind me, but where?

And here's the thing -- if it is gunshots, in Florida, the cops may not even be able to do anything!

A law on the books since 1987 pretty much allows Floridians to shoot guns on their own property with few restrictions (Florida statute 790.15). A man in Big Pine Key, Florida discovered this last January and started target practice in his backyard.

And then, in 2011, lawmakers added teeth by prohibiting local lawmakers from restricting gun use on private property. Local leaders can be fined or even removed from office.

Now if you're on a 10 acre farm, fine, have at it. But if you're in a dense residential area, like a subdivision, NO! That should not be allowed. But apparently the lobbyist behind the NRA in Florida has pictures of all the lawmakers playing golf with Satan or something, because crazier and crazier pro-gun laws are being approved in this state.

By the way, that lobbyist, Marion Hammer, also represents the groups that killed a proposal to require shelters spay and neuter animals and provide state funding to make spaying and neutering cheaper for people -- you know, the local kennel clubs and the Sportsmen's Associations.

I get the Second Amendment, I do. I get why people own guns. I don't like it, but I get it, and it's your right. But at some point I have to be allowed the right to live a life without worrying if I'm going to get hit with a stray bullet in my backyard, and my dog shouldn't have to do this all the time.

Have your guns, but lets be safe about it, huh? Take that crap to a gun range and stop scaring me and my dogs!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#SummerofPets: Cool pet products and Pet 360's summer pet tips

The Dog Days of Summer are upon us -- which has nothing to do with dogs and everything to do with Sirius the DogStar.

And while for many of you the summer is half over, in Florida the summer goes on... and on... and on...

So how can you keep your pet cool and safe this summer while everyone is having fun? We've got a few ideas.

PET COOLING MAT

Time for a ride, but do you find your car is a bit hot?

The inside of a car is always hotter than the outside during the summer. Other surfaces can be hot in summer too, like maybe your pool deck, for instance.

The Cool Pet Mat is from the Green Pet Shop. The light blue pad has a non-toxic gel inside that, when pressure activated, cools you down. It lasts up to four hours, and it recharges itself once you're done. It doesn't need to be refrigerated, though you can put it in the freezer if you need recharge it faster.


The dogs weren't quite sure what to make of it at first, but eventually Jasmine sat on it. The pad comes in several sizes, and are great for cars, crates and other areas. I'm thinking of getting one for myself. Cars are hot for people too!

You can find the Cool Pet Mats at PetSmart, Amazon.com or on the Green Pet Shop website.

PAWZ

If you're like me and you have no choice but to take your dogs out between noon and two every day before work, you know that pavement can get pretty hot. Plus, when you're dog is outside on grass at parks or other place, lord knows what they can trod on.

 
PAWZ is a rubber bootie that looks like a balloon and slips on your dog's paws. I've tried other boots and Lulu was able to kick them off in seconds. But the PAWZ founder put them on Lulu at the last Global Pet Expo and ran with her. She didn't love them, but she couldn't get them off either.

They come in a lot of colors, and they can be reused over and over. But they are also disposable.

You can find PAWZ in most stores. 

KUMFYTAILZ

I've reviewed the Kumfytailz harness before.  It's a great harness designed to keep your pet hot or cold, depending on what you are needing.


The harness is designed with a pocket that comes with an ice pack that can also be heated in the microwave. The pouch is situated over the dogs chest, because that's where the dog's core is.

This year Kumfytailz improved their design, and it's even a better fit than it was before.

You get a Kumfytailz harness in a variety of sizes and colors. Head to the Kumfytailz website for more.

Now -- there's more to summer than just keeping cool. Pet360.com has created a great infographic with some helpful reminders:

 Head to Pet360.com for more tips PLUS -- they have a great giveaway going on with summer products for both dogs and cats. ENTER TODAY!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stinky beagles? Smell it and weep, it might be true

Quick, grab your beagle and take a whiff!

Tell me, how does he or she smell?

This isn't the start to a joke. What does your beagle smell like?

"If I have baths, how can I be stinky?"
While asking for suggestions for the recent Beagle Myths story I did, one of the suggestions I got was that beagles smell.

I had not heard this before until I started researching this. Beagles smell! I asked what they smelled like. People couldn't tell me exactly why beagles were such smelly doggies. They all say their beagles smell fine.

Was it a case of we've all lived with the stench so long that we don't notice it?

Well here's the deal -- we don't necessarily wash beagles as much. In my unscientific survey of beagle parents, I discovered most maybe wash their beagle once a month, if that. Some wash them every couple of months unless they roll in something!

Thundershirt means I can roll in the grass more!
 Now, every dog does have a certain smell. Ever see dogs sniff each others' butts? They secrete that smell in their anal glands. That's where the smell is strongest.

But that smell can also be found in fur follicles. It's a chemical ID, like a fingerprint. For beagles, some experts say that smell is stronger because beagles developed it to help identify other members of their pack while hunting.

I do notice that if the dogs are running around and get dirty Lulu will have a stronger smell than other dogs, but it's nothing to worry about.

So what about bathing? Well, if you bathe a beagle too much you can strip their skin of natural oils. That can lead to irritation and itchiness. I leave it up to you how long you go between baths. Lulu gets bathed once a month. I don't want to go too long because I don't want too much oil and dirt to build up on her skin either.

You should use a good sensitive skin shampoo that doesn't have a lot of harsh chemicals. EarthBath makes good shampoos. I also like Organic Oscar.

When bathing, I use this rubber bathing brush.



I got it at Petco. It massages the soap deeper into the skin. The dogs love the feel of it. Then, it's really important to rinse and dry well.

In between baths, makes sure to brush your dog to keep the coat nice and soft and shiny. I use a Furminator. It does an amazing job of grooming and de-shedding (yes, beagles do shed).

My doggies don't smell! At least no one's told me they do. :)

PS: Ever smelled your dog's feet? Do they smell like Fritos?

So tell me... what does your doggy smell like?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Aroooo to you! Our new Life With Beagle award

Hello Team Beagle fans!

Lulu and I have been discussing it for some time. We love to receive blog awards, and we love to acknowledge the people who do amazing stuff.


So, with that in mind, we have come up with our own award. Periodically, we will post about a few people we think deserve this.

What's the criteria?

We see something you did, we like it, we offer you an award. You could be a blog. A rescue group. A business. Or just a regular person. We'll do this once in a while, at our discretion.

What do you have to do if you win?

Absolutely nothing. No surveys, no sharing, nothing. I encourage you to place the award on your website and link back to me. But you don't have to. :)

Can you nominate people for the award?

Sure! You can nominate on the Life With Beagle Facebook page, or tweet us @LifeWithBeagle. I reserve the right to choose who wins though.

So, without adieu, here are the first five Aroooo to You Award winners!

Carma Poodale and Bunny Allen

Carma is a poodle, and Bunny is her mom. Carma uses her blog to talk about her experience as a service dog and as a spokesdog for Owensboro Humane Society. Her and her mom Bunny champion dogs that may have been saved from being euthanized, but they are still living in a shelter, hoping for a home. Sometimes for a long time.

Recently, Dozer, a long time resident at the Humane Society, finally got a forever home. He waited three years. But he's home now, and it's thanks to them. Bunny does amazing work to help these dogs, and she and Carma deserve high praise.

Check out Bunny and Carma's blog at CarmaPoodale.com.

Caren Gittleman

Caren runs two blogs: Cat Chat with Caren and Cody and Dakota's Den. She also is an ambassador for BlogPaws. She is the one who makes all the new bloggers feel most welcome in the blogging world. She is always great to all of us.

Caren deserves to be honored for the work on her blog, and also for just being a great advocate for dog bloggers every where.

Check out Cat Chat with Caren and Cody and Dakota's Den.


Kol's Notes


 Jodi Chick's blog is all about ways to raise a pet the homegrown way. Check out their archive of recipes, and tips and tricks from handmade birthday cards to making doggy pillows. Great pictures, nicely designed blog! And great info too, that's easy to follow. I love Jodi's projects, plus Kolchak the puggle and Felix are adorable, if cantankerous.


The Pet Blog Lady

Lisa at the BlogPaws Nose to Nose Awards.
Lisa is quirky. It's what makes her blog so fun. That and her absolute adoration of animals. Lisa's blog celebrates all animals in fun and funny way. Her posts always make me smile, especially on Facebook. Whether she's talking about Oscar, her dog, Frank (the fish) or her trips to Mexico to help SPCA, or even Squirrel Appreciation Week, you will always enjoy what you're reading, and you'll learn something.

Follow Lisa at The Pet Blog Lady.

Oz the Terrier



Oz the Terrier is funny Cairn Terrier who writes beautiful poetry. Ok, they're dirty limericks about his friends. But he has their permission, so it's ok.

Oz and his mom Gina are also always traveling around Florida, camping out in all kinds of places and showing how to make these camping trips enjoyable for dogs of all shapes and sizes. And one of the first things I also enjoyed about his blog was how the title graphic used the same fonts you'd find in a copy of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Toto was a Cairn Terrier, you know.

Follow Oz and Gina at Oz the Terrier.

Congrats to all these first winners of Life With Beagle's Aroooo to You Award!





Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Texas-sized beagle rescue and a new cruelty-free app

Courtesy Beagle Freedom Project.
This beautiful beagle is free.

This week Beagle Freedom Project announced its first rescue in Texas. Seven beagles rescued from a lab on the border of Texas and Mexico.

Beagle Freedom Project will not say what lab it was, that's part of the agreement. And they can't say what these beagles (named Candy, Luca, Frida, Dolly, Nina, Bobby, and Grumpy) have been through. But some of them have been waiting to be freed from the lab for nine years!

Some 96 percent of animal testing is done using beagles because they are such sweet dogs. Your prescription meds, makeup, household cleaners and even your toothpaste may have been tested on a beagle.  

Courtesy Beagle Freedom Project.
Thanks to BFP these dogs are getting their first experience with a soft bed, grass and sunshine. They'll be fostered before they are adopted out. And it takes a lot of patience to foster and adopt a lab beagle. They don't know what it's like to be a dog. Some have trouble trusting humans. They've never had a treat. They've never walked outside to go potty. 

How can you help?

Beagle Freedom Project is trying to build a new recovery center. You can donate to them.

You can also sign up to foster or adopt a BFP dog. 

You can sign the petition and contact your state lawmakers to get them to sponsor the Beagle Freedom Bill, which forces labs to retire their lab beagles to rescue groups instead of killing them.

But you can also send a message to companies that test on dogs.

These companies, and many others test on animals.

Beagle Freedom Project came out with an easy way to find companies that don't test on animals.


If you have a smart phone, you can download the Beagle Freedom Project Cruelty Cutter app. You can use it to scan products in your house and find out if they are tested on animals. You can also find cruelty-free alternatives. Start telling companies that you want products that don't test on animals.

This is just the latest story I've written about the Beagle Freedom Project. You can read my other story here, including my two-part interview with BFP president Shannon Keith, below.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Calm on the Fourth of July: Easy ways to keep your dog safe

Fourth of July -- barbecues, parades, patriotism, red, white and blue --


What does your dog do when the fireworks go off near your house? Have you ever watched your dog when there's loud booming noises?

Many dogs freak out over loud noises, particularly thunder and fireworks. In Florida you have both in abundance in July. Even though Fourth of July is one day, fireworks can last for weeks in Florida. People go to those pop-up fireworks shops, sign the paper promising they'll use the fireworks to scare birds from crops, and then spend the next few weeks blowing stuff up and guess what, rarely any birds around.

Fortunately, Lulu seems to be able to deal with fireworks. I lived close to Universal for years. But my Mom's dachshund Cappy I know goes nuts when he hears fireworks or thunder.

The anxiety from fireworks can cause your dog to cower in a corner. But it can also spook them enough that they'll tear through a house, smashing and knocking things over to get away from the sound. And some -- will escape. In facts, more pets are lost on July 4th than any other holiday.

Pet Amber Alert.com released this infographic with some basic tips:


But there's more your can do:
  • Compression: A Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap is an easy way to do that. But you can also use a towel or tight t-shirt to get the desired effect. The idea is akin to swaddling a baby. The compression in certain spots is meant to soothe the pet. It doesn't work for everyone, but these kinds of compression shirts have had a lot of success, so it's worth a shot.
  • Distraction: Now is a good time for a big bone or a Kong or a favorite toy or an antler, something that will allow them to chew and or otherwise distract them.
  • Scenting: When you create that safe space for your pet, include an item of your own that has your scent on it. If you are going away for Fourth of July, this will help them feel a bit more secure.

    Also, try essential oils or calming candles. Lavender, chamomile, vanilla, valerian, sandalwood and jasmine are all helpful scents. If you use essential oils, be sure to follow the instructions. If you put them on the dog, be sure not to put it directly on their nose and keep it away from their eyes.

    You can also try lighting scented candles. But don't do it close to their pet bed, and make sure you are still home when they are lit.
  • Know your dog: You need to know if your dog is afraid of fireworks.  You need to know how to react. If your pet will react violently and possibly hurt themselves -- maybe you should stay home.
  • Be up to date: Make sure your microchip contact information is up to date. If your pet gets out, it could mean the difference between coming back to you and being re-homed... or worse.
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

From food to intelligence: 5 beagle myths debunked

Beagles are dumb. They can't be trained. They talk too much.

You've probably heard it all. Lord knows I have.

Every breed gets a bum rap in one way or another. While every breed has telltale attributes, at the end of the day it comes down to the individual dog.

I asked some beagle lovers what they think, and we came up with:

1) Beagles are not smart.
Wanna see a beagle lover bristle? Tell me my dog is dumb. In the words of that great beagle Snoopy, she ain't no stupid beagle!


I smile because I am constantly underestimated.

Here is what was written on Dogster.com back in August 2012:
"Beagle: This breed has won at Westminster, so it’s clear it can prance around a ring on a lead very well. But the Beagle’s learning capabilities are limited, with the exception of using his sense of smell. This is put to use to find contraband in the Beagle Brigade, the troop of dogs who work airports. This is a very, very sweet breed who is devoted to his family."
 The qualifications for a breed being dumb: difficulty in training, the ability to zone out, confusion about who is in charge. That's basically why a beagle is dumb.

Excuse me, but from those qualifications Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison would be considered idiots.

"Beagles figure out what you want them to do in 5 seconds, then spend the rest of their lives trying to find ways not to do it," said Lori Norman, an AKC reputable breeder who runs Lokavi Beagles in South Florida. 

"Don't confuse that with being stupid, just be smart enough to stay one step ahead of them! If your mind can't stay with them they win."

A beagle's learning capabilities are not limited if the trainer is focused and consistent. Which brings me to the next myth.

 2) Beagles can't be trained.

For my arguments, I present Exhibit A.


This is Lulu with her American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizens Certificate. She passed her test. How can a dog who can't be trained pass a test like that?

Here's Exhibit B.

This is Shannon. She and her six-year-old beagle Gabe compete in Rally and Obedience. And she's 11.

Beagles also do agility and, of course, nosework. 

So it has to be possible.

3) Pocket Beagles for sale.

 If you are looking for a pocket beagle, I hate to tell you -- they don't exist. Not in a healthy, reputable fashion.

There are beagles who are bred to be small, and people call them pocket beagles. You will see them in ads, and people will actively search for them.

Pocket beagles existed in, like, the 1300 hundreds. But reputable breeders do not purposely breed pocket beagles. In fact, beagles who are that small have defects. AKC standard is 13 inches, and most breeders will stick with that. 

If someone is selling pocket beagles, make sure you ask lots of questions about genetics and the health of the beagles. Make sure your prospective pet doesn't have any issues.

4) Beagles are bad with kids.

My niece surrounded by beagles in 2012.
Not sure where this came from. But I have heard it, especially with little kids.

My niece and Lulu pretty much grew up together. Lulu was six months old when my parents brought her home, and my niece was three. They loved each other, and Lulu is always excited to see my niece now when she comes to my house.

That does not mean that my niece and Lulu had a completely peaceful relationship. Something would happen from time to time, and Lulu, who was a puppy, would get snappy, or growl. In every time, my niece did something my dog didn't like. And she doesn't always understand that she can't do certain things with dogs. But I don't blame Lulu for that.

Most dogs will react when a child goes too far. Especially when a dog sees the child as a sibling, another puppy.

It's up to parents and adults to set the right example.

5) Beagles eat everything.

I know what you're thinking -- please stay with me for just a moment, and I promise you can argue with me later.

Yes, beagles have no mechanism to tell them they are full. Yes, beagles will do most anything for food (maneuvering chairs and jumping on counters? Done!). Yes, beagles may eat strange things you would not consider edible (like money -- $275 to be exact).

But will beagles eat everything they see? I say no. A dog who does that likely has a bigger issue at work -- like a nutritional deficiency. Or something else going on. In my completely unscientific survey on my Facebook page, many people said not only did their dogs not eat everything -- they were picky! That's right, picky beagles! Say it ain't so!

Again, I think it comes down to individual dogs. While there are things that are indicative of every breed, I don't think this is one of them.

So, those are my five beagle myths. There are more, but those are the ones I'm doing today.

What do you think of my myths? Are there any others you want me to go after? COMMENT BELOW and let me know!