Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Breakfast time

We bloggers are often looking for special moments to share with our readers. But sometimes we may confound and darn right frustrate our pets. 

Take today. All I was doing was giving Lulu breakfast. But I was a little late doing it this morning, which meant Lulu was impatient. She howled at me. But rather than hurry up with the food, I grabbed my phone, hoping to recreate that moment. Here's what happened:

Note how Lulu walks in a circle. She is walking from the pantry door to her food dish and back. She is pointing to the pantry. That's where her food is.

Lulu's quite content now. But I doubt she's satiated though. She is a beagle, after all.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hurricane survivor: Katrina the beagle's amazing journey

Katrina spends her days snoozing (more like snoring... like a sailor!) in a South Orlando house on a golf course. She gets two meals a day, treats, walks, beds and all the love she can handle. 

Katrina with Lt. Col. Mike Brasher.
At 15, she's living on what her pet parents, Lt. Col. Mike Brasher and Melanie Brasher call "borrowed beagle time."

It's a far cry from how she began her life.

Sept. 1, 2005 -- New Orleans.

Photo Courtesy U.S. Geological Survey
Parts of Interstate 10 looks like a fishing pier. While Hurricane Katrina caused damage in the crescent city, it was nothing compared to the damage caused when the levies broke.

Brasher and his rescue unit, the 301st Rescue Squadron out of Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, landed on part of I-10 near Lake Pontchartrain where dozens of people were stranded. But humans weren't the only creatures needing rescue.

"We could only carry six to sometimes 10 people, so we had to make multiple trips back," Mike recalled. "And this beagle just kept coming up to our helicopter."

Sr. Master Sgt. Pete Callina with Katrina.
Photo Courtesy Senior Airman Heather L. Kelly, Air Force

The beagle would also hang with Sr. Master Sgt. Pete Callina, who would gather the next group of survivors while the helicopter ferried people to safety. She would help herd people. 

Brasher said his unit rescued 50 to 70 people from the bridge, and when they made their last trip, they took the beagle with them. She didn't seem to belong to anyone on the road. 

They left her with one of the groups helping displaced animals, Brasher and his unit went on to rescue more people -- 184 people in 13 hours, he said. 

Meanwhile Brasher's wife, Melanie, wondered why he didn't keep her. That started the search, especially after they saw the beagle on a Fox News report. 

With the help of a webmaster for, Melanie and Mike tracked the dog down to Arizona Humane Society in Phoenix. They had taken some 18 pictures of her from all angles, but the telling thing about her was a heart-shaped spot on her back. 

The beagle, by now named Katrina, wasn't in great shape. She was heartworm positive, had respiratory problems and ear infections, along with cuts and scratches. But within two months she was on a Continental flight bound for Orlando -- for free. The humane society kitted her out with a bed that she still sleeps on and toys, most of which she didn't play with. 

The Brashers knew they had the right dog, but if there was any doubt it was put to rest when Sgt. Callina and Katrina were reunited. "She jumped up on Pete, tail wagging," Mike said. "Pete cried." 

It was after the Brashers got her that Katrina's family was found. The family had evacuated and left Katrina behind (many people left pets behind). They were living in FEMA housing while their house was rebuilt. 

"We said we'll foster her until they're ready," Mike said. 

But it didn't sound that the family wanted her back. The wife was upset that the shelter had fixed Katrina. It turns out she was kept in the backyard and used for breeding. In fact, she had given birth a few weeks before Hurricane Katrina. They tried to make her a hunting dog, but she was too skittish. 

How did Katrina get on that highway? Brasher said the family lived between the lake and I-10. He believes when the flooding happened she was carried out of the yard to the overpass, and then she just climbed up. 

Brasher said he contacted the husband. 

"He asked, 'do you guys have kids? Do your kids love her?'" Mike said. "Melanie was in tears, I was bawling. I said 'we all love her.' So he said go ahead and keep her." 

"We continue to think about oh, my God, all the luck, all the return on luck to find her."  

Katrina's world is much different now. She's the 301st Rescue Squadron's unofficial mascot. She can wander Patrick Air Force Base, no questions asked. She has done appearances with kids too. 

Mike's now in the corporate world, and he says people always ask about her. A vice president of a company once found a reason to fly to Orlando just so her could meet Katrina. 

These days Katrina's not seeing and hearing as well as she used to (though her nose is just as good!). She has an enlarged heart, Cushing's disease and allergies. She takes pills in the morning and evening (using Publix rotisserie chicken). She'll still work for a snack. 

In the last few months she's become a barker, even barking for hours when they're not home. Mike travels still for work, so he isn't home all the time. 

"I lost a precious year out of her life, 2013-2014, on a military assignment," Mike said. 

"If you weren't in the military, we wouldn't have had Katrina," Melanie tells him. 

But for Melanie and Mike, Katrina is their obligation. She changed their lives. 

"I would not discount the incredible chain of events that led to her," Mike said. 


Mike helps a New Mexico animal rescue group that he says does amazing work. Animal Village in Alamogordo, New Mexico is a nine-acre no-kill facility that rescues death row cats and dogs. Its founders exhausted their savings to care for the animals.
"There are a lot of shelters between here and there, and a lot of shelters doing great work," Mike said. "But in New Mexico the quality of work they do is pretty rare." To find out more about the shelter and how to help them, head to their website.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Your dogs will beg for Rocky's Rollers by Jones: REVIEW and GIVEAWAY

Jones Natural Chews is a proud sponsor of Life With Beagle and Lulu's Favorite Things, our annual fundraising campaign for Harbor House of Central Florida. Although we received compensation for the post, my opinions are my own -- and so are Lulu's. 

This Saturday, April 25, Harbor House is hosting the Paws for Peace Walk at Blue Jacket Park in Orlando. We are raising money to help Harbor House's Paws for Peace kennel for the pets of domestic abuse survivors. You can donate here! And if you are in Orlando, please join Team Beagle and walk with us.

How much does Lulu like Rocky's Rollers?

We first heard about these new treats from Jones Natural Chews while visiting their booth at Global Pet Expo. They gave me a sample -- long lamb sausage links. I gave one each to Lulu and Jasmine that week. Lulu did something I'd never seen before -- she pulled it from Jasmine's mouth!

What are Rocky's Rollers?

Lulu barely gave me a chance to take photos, always stealing a bite!
Rocky's Rollers are long sausage links.They come in three flavors: lamb, beef and chicken. They're soft and easy to chew, and they're easy tear apart and use as training treats.

These particular rollers were lamb. And the first ingredients are lamb and lamb lung. The ingredients are all natural, made in the U.S.A. Jones Natural Chews has been in the meat business for a very, very long time. Family butchers since 1850! And they are family-run out of Rockford, IL.

So how much does Lulu love Rocky's Rollers?

Yeah. You'll need to keep them under lock and key.

Find Jones Natural Chews at a boutique/natural pet shop near you, or you can order online at They have all kinds of great pet chews, from bones to lamb lungs and wind pipes to sausage chews. 

So do you want to win some for your dog? Here's your chance!

Jones is giving away a package of Rocky's Rollers. Just enter through the Rafflecopter below. MANDATORY: Sign up for Life With Beagle's monthly mailing list.

Giveaway is open to viewers in the U.S. only, sorry. Void where prohibited by law.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Tax day for you and your dog

It's April 15! Have you filed your taxes yet?

This is your friendly reminder that your pet is not tax deductible unless:
  • They're a service dog.
  • You can make money off of them (like if your dog does commercials).
I was also reminded by Tampa Bay Beagle Rescue that if you foster a pet for a 501(c)3 non-profit, you can take off those expenses too! Do you foster?
Otherwise, even though your dog or cat is your child, the government doesn't actually consider them children.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Harbor House hosting its Paws for Peace Walk: Join our team

Today, H is for Harbor House of Central Florida in the A to Z Challenge!

Last week we talked about domestic abuse and how it affects people and pets. This week I want to talk a bit more about Harbor House and the amazing work they do.

Harbor House takes in domestic abuse survivors from all over Central Florida, but primarily Orange County.

Sadly, Orange County has some of the highest rates of domestic violence in the state.

Harbor House helps people escape their dangerous situations in Orange County. And they help pets too!

The dog park for the Paws for Peace Kennel.

The cat porch at the Paws for Peace Kennel.

A dog kennel at the Paws for Peace kennel.
Since the Paws for Peace Kennel opened in 2012, Harbor House has saved 111 pets -- 82 dogs, 24 cats, 3 guinea pigs, 1 bird and 1 turtle.

The amazing facilities have kennels, dog runs and a dog park, plus cat condos and a cat porch, and grooming tables and other facilities for pets. It's more like a pet resort! And the best part is, owners can visit whenever they want and be with their pet because it's on site with the shelter. Only 3 percent of domestic abuse shelters in the COUNTRY have this kind of facility.

It's not cheap though. To sponsor a pet in the kennel for 6 to 8 weeks is $250. Veterinary care for pets is $200 a month. Many come in abused, traumatized, missing shots or other needed care because the abuser stopped the pet parent from properly caring for their pet.
 That's why, on Saturday, April 26 at 9 a.m. we are walking to raise money for the shelter. It's the Paws for Peace Walk at Blue Jacket Park in Orlando. We have sponsored a water station for the walk!

You can help!

Head to my fundraising page to donate.

And if you're in the area, you can join Team Beagle and walk with us! It's $20 but you get a goodie bag and the knowledge that you helped people and pets get a new chance at a fresh start, away from abuse.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

If 'Game of Thrones' characters were dogs...

 G is for "Game of Thrones." The best show on television (disagree? TOUGH!) returns this Sunday. I can't wait, every third thought is something "Game of Thrones" related. And this blog post is something I've had in mind for a looooooong time!

One of the reasons why "Game of Thrones" is so popular is how well the characters are drawn. Even when the characters have shadowy areas of their personalities, there are certain things you can pick out about them. It's the same with dogs.

What if these great "Game of Thrones" characters were played by dogs? What dogs kind of match up to what characters, in the same way that recent studies have shown pet owners actually are very similar to their dogs?

I present -- GAME OF BONES!

NOTE: To Stark followers still smarting from the Red Wedding, I apologize if this offends you. The North will Never Forget!


Single-minded determination. Arya Stark is a scrappy kid who had plans to become a fighter, no matter what her father had planned. It was cute when she was a little girl, now it's dangerous. Especially since her targets all did her family wrong.

Beagles are scrappy dogs with big dark eyes and single-minded determination as well. Normally though, it's about food for them.


Tyrion is smart. Uber smart. Unfortunately his talents aren't always put to best use in the family (maintaining the plumbing?). But he's loyal and wants to please his family. And he tries so hard. But when he's left to languish it's easy to get into trouble.

Border collies are very much the same -- crazy smart, extremely loyal and loving dogs. They aim to please. But they need constant stimulation or they will get into trouble -- though they probably won't resort to whoring and drinking.

Ok, maybe whoring if not fixed, but definitely not drinking.


Smart, stubborn, great fashion sense. Standard poodles are champion dogs who are also not afraid to get their paws dirty (did you know they are hunting dogs?).

Cersei is all that, plus a manipulative, nasty person. It's important to note that individual dogs are not indicative of a breed in general.


The description you find most for the Afghan hound is "aloof and dignified." They're elegant and spirited, but they're suspicious of people they don't know.

So Sansa may not have fit those qualifications in the beginning (GOD she was so whiny!), I think she's grown into them, for tragic reasons. By the end of season 4 you have a new appreciation for the character. Can't wait to see what happens in season 5.


This one may be a bit controversial (a pit bull plays a warrior?!), but follow me on this.

Pit bulls are eager-to-please family dogs. They used to be nannies. They are friendly and loyal dogs. But they aren't to be trifled with either.

Jon Snow loves his family. He almost broke his Night's Watch vow to fight at his brother's side when their father died. And he is loyal to his comrades and those he loves. But don't mess with them, and don't mess with him.

What do you think of our choices? What breeds would you pair up with your favorite Game of Thrones characters? Tell us below! 

Fat on your dog: Scary new numbers

We skipped E in the A-Z Challenge because we had some technical issues. But we are back on F, with hopefully no more troubles.

F is for fat. And it's a problem, not just because we have an obesity problem among pets, but because pet parents don't seem to realize it!

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention is a group of vets trying to help parents
keep their dogs healthy.

This latest study was released just last month. The numbers are staggering -- 44 million dogs and 55 million cats are overweight and obesity.

But it's the fat pet gap that is the most disconcerting.

Ninety percent of overweight cat owners and 95 percent -- NINETY-FIVE PERCENT! -- of overweight dog owners say their pet is of normal weight.

Now, we have the same kind of problem with humans as well, I guess, but it's worse with dogs. Just a couple pounds in some animals is dangerous, for all the reasons that being overweight is dangerous in humans -- arthritis, cancer, diabetes (at least directly in cats, indirectly in dogs).

“We’re seeing an increasing number of obese pets and the diseases that accompany excess fat,” reports Dr. Julie Churchill, veterinary nutritionist at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. “Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and many forms of cancer are associated with obesity in animals. It is critical pet owners understand an overweight dog or cat is not a healthy pet.”

So, pet parents, here's a handy chart to help you get started on figuring out if your pet is the right weight.

The Association of Pet Obesity Prevention has special charts to help you determine your breed's ideal weight.

They also have an interesting chart that explains the calories in some of the most popular pet treats.

Here are the calorie counts for Milk Bones:
  • Original: 10 
  • Puppy Biscuits:10 
  • Small Biscuits:  20 
  • Medium Biscuits: 40 
  • Large Biscuits: 115 
  • Extra Large Biscuits: 225 
How about Beggin' Strips?
  • Bacon: 30
  • Cheese and Bacon: 30
  • Beef and Bacon: 30
Snausages? 25 calories

Busy bones? A whopping 300 calories for a small/medium bone!

But you could try something else -- veggies for instance are great for dogs. So are fruit.

 There are also some great low-calorie treats out there.

Here's something else. If you are giving your dogs treats, you should also consider how much food you give your dog. If you're going to do a training day, for instance, with lots of high value treats, you might want to give you dog less food.

And don't forget exercise. Not just a brief walk. It's good for you too!