Monday, December 31, 2012

Day 2: Diary of Lulu in a Thundershirt

To read Day One, Go Here.


First, I had to get Lulu's Thundershirt back on. Fortunately she seemed to like the idea. She came right over, sat and stood for me very well with tail wagging. I just hope I got it back on right.

So I took her out to the park in my apartment complex to see how she would react to her surroundings. On the way she was barked at by one of the neighborhood dogs on their patio. She didn't respond. That's a good thing, but since she rarely does respond to a dog barking at her from the patio, I don't know what that means.

Walked her back, not much for her to respond to. When I went to work, I took her out. A guy came around on a skateboard -- no barking. That's good. Normally Lulu would bark. Another guy walked around in dark clothes -- kind of suspicious. Lulu barked at him. I think that was bound to happen. It was dark out and she couldn't see him well. So after two days, the jury is still out on the Thundershirt.

One more thing she did do, before I left for work:

Good thing the Thundershirt is machine-washable.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Diary of Lulu in a Thundershirt

This is Lulu.

She is so happy to be home to roll in her front lawn.

Lulu is wearing a Thundershirt. Why, you ask? Because Lulu has some problems:
  • She likes to bark at every dog she sees. A lot.
  • She likes to bark at every squirrel she sees.
  • She likes to bark at every cat she sees.
  • She likes to bark at every person who goes by on a bike, a scooter, a skateboard, a golfcart, or runs by.
  • She likes to bark at big trucks. Cars don't bother her though.
Lulu is in training and we are trying to deal with her issues. But my trainer let me borrow a Thundershirt for a week, and we are going to try it out and see if it helps.

What is a Thundershirt? The idea is to wrap the shirt around the dog, kind of like swaddling an infant. It's supposed to help the dog be less anxious, particularly by noise (like thunder. Hence the name).

While it does work for some pets (my trainer loves them), it doesn't work for all of them. Hence, the test.

So for the next week, Lulu and I are going to explore the Thundershirt, and see if it works for her.

Day 1:

My trainer put the Thundershirt on Lulu just before class. I don't know that I saw much change in her, but he said she was calmer. She did "settle down" reasonably well in front of class, so that is an improvement, whereas before we couldn't get her attention.

I brought her home and went to work. When I came home, I found her blanket on the floor in the living room -- far from the bedroom.

And Lulu's bed -- was hanging off my bed. And in the middle, was her Thundershirt.

I think what happened was the velcro on the shirt got stuck to the bed, and Lulu pulled it off to get free. So lesson to learn: if you get the Thundershirt, make sure the velcro is well-secured.

To read Day 2, go here.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Easy ways to help animals all year long

Last month, we talked about ways to help pets during the holidays. Sadly, pets need help year-round, don't they?

So here are some easy ways you can help pets all year long. Some of these I've already mentioned in other posts... but some are new.

Shelter Drive-bys:
The concept of the shelter drive-by was so simple that it's worth doing year-round. Iams and the Helen Woodward Animal Center in California have a compiled a list of shelters across the country, and many have wish lists on their websites.

Find out what simple things the shelter by you needs -- hand sanitizer, kitty litter, paper towels, laundry detergent, that sort of thing. The next time you go to the store, pick up some things. Then just bring it by the shelter.

Ever heard of U Promise? The program came out about 10 years ago. Companies offered kickbacks for people who bought items using U Promise, and the money would go to college.

Adopt-a-Shelter is essentially the same thing, only it helps shelters.

There's three steps: Pick a shelter and shop hundreds of companies through the Adopt-a-Shelter site. Every purchase made means a commission for the shelter you select. All the money goes to that shelter. So if you're shopping online anyway, why not make the extra step and help a shelter?
Play a game every day, and win free food for shelter dogs and cats. is one of the most visited rescue donation sites on the web. And Halo Pets is the official sponsor, donating thousands of pounds of food every year to shelters and food banks around the world.

The Animal Rescue Site:
Another place were a simple click and help rescue animals get food. The Animal Rescue Site is a  partner of, the animal rescue site. Buying items from the site can also help.

Know any other sites that worth adding? Let me know and I will add them! I am keeping this post up year-round.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

My photography teacher always said kids and pets are impossible to work with. That lesson was reiterated today.

It's kind of like an indie rock music cover.

Merry Christmas from Cappy, Jasmine and of course...


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Holiday edition

"Ok, I'll wear the jingly collar. But I won't wear the antlers!"

"Fine! I'll wear the antlers! Happy? Now gimme my cookie!"
"Servant, get this thing off me or I will cut you!"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

10 Things I Learned About Dogs from the AKC championship in Orlando

THAT is a really big trophy.

Only one dog in all the world could win that trophy last weekend at the AKC/Eukanuba World Challenge in Orlando, as part of Celebrate Dogs! weekend.

The road to getting this trophy though is not easy, and that's the first thing I learned.
  1. Showing a dog isn't easy. I got to show a dog myself as part of the Blogger Stakes. They paired me up with a show dog named Copper. On top of the grooming and the lessons and everything else, there's a whole particularly way to show a dog in the ring. I had to learn it all in a few minutes. We'll talk more about this soon, but this isn't easy.
  2. The American Kennel Club is not just for pure breeds. Mixed breed dogs may not be allowed in the big show rings, but you can register your mutt, and there's plenty for them to do -- from obedience to canine good citizenship. Head to the AKC website to find out more.
  3. Rescue dogs can join AKC too! The Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege program allows you to register your dog with AKC even if it doesn't have papers. You just need to include pictures of the dog in your application. Check out the PAL/ILP section of the AKC website for more information.
  4. Eukanuba is getting into breed formulas. Eukanuba is the sponsor of Celebrate Dogs! and they were there in full force. We won some awesome prizes, and learned about their newest products, including Shakeables treats, which come out in January. They also just added a dachshund formula, and mom is pretty excited about it. Now we just need to find it.
  5. There are field beagles. I often wonder whether Lulu is a full beagle. She is bigger than the beagles I saw at the show this weekend. And while one Treeing Walker Coonhound breeder thought she might have some coonie in her, the beagle breeders in the "Meet the Breed" section thought she may be a field beagle. They tend to have a different body type. I had never heard of that before. I hope to find more information when I contact the beagle breeders this week.
  6. There are lots and lots of breeds! I knew there were lots of dog breeds, but I was amazed at the Meet the Breeds section at Celebrate Dogs! There were dozens of breeds. They filled aisles and aisles. Some of the breeds were familiar, like the beagles or the dachshunds. Some I had never heard of before, like the Xoloitzcuintli! There are dog breeds all over the world. So when you walk into a shelter, and you see a dog that's unusual, don't just walk past it. It may be a great dog!
  7. Children can show dogs. After a day at Celebrate Dogs! my six-year-old niece was itching to get into the ring. Well she can. AKC told us that my niece can show dogs at her age. Of course, she needs a dog she can show first. Cappy and her new rescue dog are not quite ready for primetime.
  8. Dogs can do awesome things. There were high-flying dock-diving dogs, and soccer-playing dogs, and hurdle-jumping, agility-racing dogs, and dancing dogs, and celebrity dogs, and service dogs, and of course, show dogs. It's amazing what a dog can do if their owner (and the dog) put their mind to it.
  9. Show dogs eat regular food.  I asked around, and many of the owners feed their dogs Purina Pro Plan. I was amazed by that. You'd think they would go for one of the cadillac brands, or make them special food. And some do. But others use Pro Plan or Eukanuba. Very interesting.
  10. Show dogs are just like regular dogs. At the show, I saw show dogs bark at people and other dogs. I saw show dogs beg for treats. I saw show dogs try to play (or fight) with other dogs. I saw show dogs have accidents. Just like my dog. Ok, so my dog doesn't get groomed daily with $100 brushes, and Lulu isn't exactly show quality yet. But she is just as good as the beagles I saw at Celebrate Dogs! -- they all eat their food on the same side of the bowl!
My niece with some of the beagles at the Meet the Breeds section.

Monday, December 17, 2012

GIVEAWAY: We have a winner!!

And the rafflecopter chooses...  KIMMIE DAVID! Kimmie and the Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue will get the Natural Balance pet food vouchers. I will be contacting Kimmie soon.

Thanks to everyone who took part. Stay tuned to the coming year. I hope to have more giveaways like this one.

Who is Natural Balance? They're an all-natural pet food company started in 1989 with actor Dick Van Patten and his partners. On top of their ultra line, they also have limited ingredient and grain free foods as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Livestrong bracelet for pets: Project Blue Collar supports the underdog

Today... Lulu is sporting her latest accessory.

See it? That narrow blue strip of silicone around her neck? It's not a flea collar -- Lulu is supporting the underdog.

You've heard of Livestrong bracelets, right? Well this is Project Blue Collar. It's a Livestrong bracelet for dogs.

Who are they supporting -- why their friends still in shelters, of course!

Project Blue Collar is the brainchild of Carole Feeny. She created the project as a simple way for shelters to raise money.

"I thought, how great would it be if others got to see how these dogs turn out, that they aren’t damaged but instead are wonderful loving members of our family?" Feeny said. "The second piece was that people who have rescued a dog are proud of the fact and want to tell their story.  This gives people a way to show and share their pride."

So she debuted Project Blue Collar at Barkworld Expo in Atlanta last October. That's where I bought Lulu's.

The concept is simple: each collar costs $10. When you buy a collar, Project Blue Collar gives a collar to a shelter. The shelter can then sell the collars at any price they want to raise money for the shelter.

"We choose one rescue or shelter per month to receive that month’s donations," Feeny said. "Versus onesies and twosies, we thought it made more sense to be able to give in bulk.  The intent is for the rescue organization to sell the collars themselves and keep the revenue."

So far, they have donated collars to three shelters: Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP), Save the Animal Foundation (STAF) and K-9 Second Chance. 

They are working on getting the collars into stores, but if you want to buy one right now, just go to Project Blue  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Paint Your Pet at Painting with a Twist

UPDATE: The next Paint Your Pet event in Orlando will be Feb. 24 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. And you can reserve your seat online now!

Many people would love the idea of having a portrait of their pet on canvas. Unfortunately, most of us can't afford the painter's sitting fees.

Well, I know of a way to do it yourself for less money. But I have no artistic talent, you say? Not to worry -- you can even do it with a glass of wine in your hand.

Painting with a Twist has 73 locations across the country. Choose a two-hour or three-hour class, and learn to paint a masterpiece, a landscape, or something else to your liking. And they offer wine and beer to make the class a little more fun (hey, it worked for Renaissance and French Impressionist painters).

Some locations also offer a class called Paint Your Pet. Here you get to paint a beloved pet of your choice, almost Andy Warhol-style.

How does it work? Ana Perez, owner of the Orlando Painting with a Twist location, says it all starts with you. Take a close up picture of your pet... preferably of their head and shoulders.When you sign up for the class, give that photo to them.

"The end result depends on the quality of the picture," Perez said. " So as long as you provide us a high quality photo, you will get a good portrait of your pet."

The artist then takes that photo, projects it onto canvas, and draws the pet on.

When you get to the store for your class, your canvas is there for you, along with the picture of your pet, and a paint palette already prepared. Artists will work with you to mix the right shades of colors to give your pet and your pet's fur dimension.

Normally there is only one artist teaching the class. The artist stands at the stage and guides the students through the painting. But during Paint Your Pet, there are more artists on hand to help you. Did you ever consider that a black dog is not just black? said Ana Perez. There are blues and purples in the fur too.  The artist is there to show you how reflections and shadows give your pet's portrait personality.

The class is three hours long, and costs $55. Sometimes the Orlando location will make the class a charity event.

There is a class coming up on Sunday, Dec. 16 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. If you want to attend, head to the Painting with a Twist website to sign up.

Not in the Orlando area? Find a Painting with a Twist near you here.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

PHOTO TOUR: Harbor House's Paws for Peace kennel opens

While a everyone went gaga over the grand opening of New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World, much further north in Orange County, I joined a group of community leaders a very different grand opening.

Harbor House Board of Directors President Janet Ziomek, Orange County Animal Services Division Manager Dil Luther, SeaWorld Orlando VP of Marketing Toni Caracciolo, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, and Harbor House CEO Carol Wick cut the ribbon on the Paws for Peace kennel.

Harbor House of Central Florida opened its new Paws for Peace kennel and in-kind donation center Thursday, after years of fund raising and planning.

Sadly, this kind of facility is desperately needed.

The Harbor House says up to 48 percent of domestic violence victims delay getting out of their bad situation because they don't want to leave their pets. And up until this week, Harbor House had no place for pets. Across the country, only 70 domestic violence shelters accept pets at all.

Back in October Life With Beagle helped organize Doggy Day Out Orlando, which collected donations for this very facility.

And in November I walked in the Paws for Peace walk, and raised about $150 for Harbor House.

This is why we did all that. And take a close look at the following pictures... you may recognize some of the things you donated.

A 2,100 square-foot warehouse will hold in-kind donations. Harbor House goes through thousands, if not millions of items every year. Not only do they need to keep their facilities stocked, they also help families start over. Many escape without more than the clothes on their backs.

A section for pet items.

In the shelter itself, a pantry for food.
This sink is part of a full-service grooming area. Hollywood Houndz in Lake Mary helped provide the equipment and volunteers.
Two sets of these cat condos! There's room for 10 cats to live comfortably. They are working on getting a multi-story condo for cat families.

A cat porch! Owners can sit out here with their cats and relax.
What are they watching on the cat porch? The dog park!
There are 10 of these kennels for the dogs. And each have a bed, dishes and something to chew on.
And finally, dog runs. For when the dog just has to go.

 The Paws for Peace kennel and Harbor House could still use some donations. If you are interested in helping, head to the Harbor House website.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Loving the Fall

Loving the cooler weather. We've been spending hours at Dr. Phillips Community Park!

Don't forget: Sign up for my first Giveaway! You can win free Natural Balance pet food for you and a charity of your choice!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Celebrate Dogs, AKC/Eukanuba Championship Coming to Orlando

Lulu and I have class today.

Alas, I doubt she and I will make a great championship dog team.

But I can dream, and so can you, and the perfect place to do that is in Orlando the weekend of Dec. 15.

Celebrate Dogs! is a big family event at Orange County Convention Center Dec. 15 and 16, with the crowning event being the AKC/Eukanuba Championship.

More than just a dog show, Celebrate Dogs! gives people a chance to learn about different kinds of dogs, and about what dogs can do if you channel their instincts. That includes agility, soccer, dock jumping, obedience and of course, the big show.

Meet dozens breeds and breeders, meet celebrity dogs, and check out the dealer section with all kinds of stuff for your best furry friend. You can't actually bring your own dog, but you don't want to do that if you're getting them a Christmas present anyway, right?

Celebrate Dogs! is $20 at the door for adults, $15 for seniors and young adults, and $5 for kids 2 to 12 years old.

UPDATE: I just added a pet events page to Life With Beagle! Find pet-related events in Central Florida every month. And, if you know of any, let me know! Drop me an email at