Friday, February 28, 2014

Frazzled Friday: Needing some peace

Hey all! I've been quiet for the most part around here. It's been a crazy month. I am feeling stretched a bit thin. I will try to explain it all this weekend.

For now though, I could use some of that serenity I got from St. Augustine. So here's Lulu back on the boat, as we flew through the Matanzas Bay. Look how happy she is. I hope it brings you peace too.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Uno the beagle bobblehead supports Angel on a Leash

If you're a beagle lover, chances are you've heard of Uno the Beagle.

Uno is the first beagle to win the Westminster Kennel Club's "Best in Show." K-Run's Park Me in First (that's his fancy official name) won the prize in 2008. 

Uno is still the talk of the doggy world. This year he won "Show Dog of the Decade," an American Kennel Club contest on Facebook. 

And now, he's immortalized as a bobblehead -- for a good cause.

Courtesy Angel on a Leash.
Angel on a Leash is selling the Uno the Beagle bobblehead for $20, and you can buy it on the Angel on a Leash website.

Angel on a Leash is a charity that helps set up therapy dog programs across the country. After Uno's big win, he joined up with Angel on a Leash and started touring the country, visiting health facilities as he went.

"He's been such a great friend of Angels on a Leash for so many years," said David Frei, the voice of the Westminster Kennel Club show and chair of Angels on a Leash. "He and his owner were great friends."

Frei spent a year traveling with Uno around the country. They rode on a Macy's Thanksgiving Parade float, visited the White House, rang the NASDAQ  opening bell and threw out the first pitches at a Milwaukee Brewers game and a St. Louis Cardinals game. He also visited hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses everywhere he went.

Frei told us one story that sort of encapsulates how special Uno is. When they went to Milwaukee, Frei offered to visit the Ronald McDonald House there, which did not allow therapy dogs. The interim CEO said yes. 

But when Frei and Uno got there they found a number of people who were not staying at the house. Turned out the CEO was going to use Uno to try to convince the board members to allow a therapy dog at their Ronald McDonald House.

"Uno visited and did an unbelievable wonderful job," Frei said. "And about a month later the board approved allowing a therapy dog."

Uno with David Frei at the Milwaukee Brewers game in 2008.
David Frei said it's getting easier to convince people that therapy dogs are good for patients and residents at health care facilities. Doctors have been helpful with this. Frei said doctors are starting to take stock in the research that shows patients do better in the presence of a dog. And dogs don't necessarily bring any more germs than the people who walk into those facilities.

"We continue to try to work to educate people and continue to let them know it's not what it used to be," Frei said.

Uno, meanwhile, is living with his elderly owner on a 200-acre ranch outside Austin, Texas. He's older now, his face is white, but his owner said Uno still has that great personality and that bay people love.

Uno's therapy dog registration has lapsed, but he still gets requests to visit. He also helps promote beagle rescue.

"A lot of doors open for him because he's Uno," Frei said.

 To learn more about Angel on a Leash and how to become involved, head to their website, .

Friday, February 21, 2014

Serenity on St. Augustine Beach: A #RecipeforMoments *SPONSORED*

Our story is a part of the #RecipeForMoments blog hop hosted by BlogPaws. Link up below to share your story of the bond you and your pet share. What do you think your pet feels in your special moments? Five random U.S. winners who link up their blog post will win a Nature’s Recipe® lightweight collar camera to capture special moments from their pet’s point of view. See BlogPaws for official rules and details.

. . . . . . . . . . . . 

For me, no trip to St. Augustine Florida is ever complete without one sunrise. 

Sunrise on Matanzas Bay in St. Augustine, 2012.
But this time, things would be different. I had Lulu with me during my trip this past week, and since she'd never been to a beach before, and I hadn't been to St. Augustine Beach yet, I decided to rise early and try to catch the sunrise there.

The pier at St. Augustine Beach.

St. Augustine Beach, like most St. Johns County beaches, allows leashed pets. But I didn't know how Lulu would react. The only water she seemed to enjoy being in were puddles -- especially muddy ones. She shied away from the lake at Fleet Peeples dog park in Winter Park, and she only stepped into the little plastic pools at Dr. Phillips Park when she needed to cool off. How would she take to an ocean of water?

We found a parking spot near the pier just after the sun rose. Dogs aren't allowed on the pier, but we found a sort of staircase of tightly packed sand under the pier and made our way onto the dunes.

Lulu was intrigued by the layer of shells that made up our first steps. She crept slowly onto the cool, tan sand, her prints leaving deep marks. Once she got her bearings we made our way (slowly!) to the shore. 

It wasn't long before Lulu found dogs to bark at: A man walking two dachshunds. Another man walked a black lab in the opposite direction of us. But I used the waves to distract Lulu. If she got closer, it meant she'd have to watch the water. For her it was a torturous way to get her to stop barking, but it worked.

Eventually I sat at the waters edge, but Lulu was too intrigued to sit with me: the smells, the groups of seagulls bunched up nearby, the sound of the waves, the open scenery with amazing vantage points. 

I meanwhile listened to the waves. A friend of mine says a day on the water adds a year to your life. Surely it must work for both dogs and humans, right?

Finally, I decided that Lulu would have to get her paws wet. I pulled off my socks and shoes and crept closer. Lulu followed. She trusted me, the poor pup, and I was leading her astray. Every time a wave came by, she was able to scoot away.

But soon, a great wave crashed to the shore, and the cold foamy water slid up past my feet and onto hers. She wasn't happy, but she didn't try to run either. 

The great experiment over, we began to trudge away from the water's edge. I watched our foot prints, and I knew that long after they washed away, those prints would be there forever.

Nature's Recipe is sponsoring this post and a contest. Share your #RecipeforMoments in our special blog hop and enter to win a lightweight collar camera for your pet. Winners will be drawn randomly on March 3, so enter today!

 This post is sponsored by Nature’s Recipe on behalf of the BlogPaws Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Nature’s Recipe For Moments on behalf of Nature’s Recipe, but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Nature’s Recipe is not responsible for the content of this article.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

PHOTOS: Pet-friendly St. Augustine -- A taste

We've been pretty quiet all week, and with good reason. We've been on an adventure in the oldest city in America: St. Augustine, Florida.

We'll be talking more about St. Augustine in the coming weeks, but for now, I just want to show some pictures of our trip. Just a taste.

The new St. Augustine Baywalk was created as part of the restoration of the St. Augustine Sea Wall. Pets are allowed on the Baywalk, which gives a great view of the marina.

Small pets are allowed on the Galeon San Pelayo, a full restored Spanish galleon that will be docked at the St. Augustine marina until June. It holds an exhibit about the founding of St. Augustine. The galleon actually SAILED from Spain to come here.

Lulu gets a treat outside the Spanish Military Hospital Museum. The museum is pet-friendly, and gives a good idea of what health care was like centuries ago.

Lulu on board the Cetacea, a boat operated by St. Augustine Eco Tours. We got a guided tour of the Matanzas Bay, saw dolphins, met a Cannonball jellyfish and rode out into the Atlantic Ocean.

 Lulu met lots of dogs and did all right with most of them.

And we enjoyed dinner at Meehan's Irish Pub. They are extremely pet friendly, and the food was delicious.

Have you visited St. Augustine, Florida before? Tell me about your trip!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Do you want to know a secret?

Listen... do you want to know a secret?

Do you promise not to tell?


Let me whisper in your ear.

Say the words you long to heeeeeeaaar...



Happy anniversary to The Beatles!

Via Portal Do

Monday, February 10, 2014

Nutritional supplements: Are they worth it for your dog?

My high school biology teacher always said that once you get your daily value of vitamins and minerals, there's no point in taking more than that. Taking 200 percent of vitamin C will not make you healthier. Everything after what you need is just expensive urine.

So when people started talking to me about nutritional supplements for my dog, I had the same thought. It sure seemed silly. If I'm feeding my dog well, why would she need supplements?

I interviewed several vets, and the answers I got was this, generally: if you are feeding your dog well, you shouldn't. Unless the pet has issues.

Courtesy Steve DePolo via Flickr Creative Commons.

Like Centrum or One-a-Day, a multivitamin has all the basics, from A to Zinc. It also may include Glucosamine, Omega 3 acid, turmeric and more.

Most vets I talked to, however, agreed that if you are feeding your dog a proper diet, with a quality food, you shouldn't need to give your pet one of these. In fact, taking too much of certain vitamins can be dangerous.

Brittney Barton, DVM, is a certified veterinary journalist with a practice in Dallas. She said some vitamins are fat-soluble.

"Fat-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin A, D, E, and K are collected and stored in the fat within the pet's body," Dr. Barton said. "You can overdose on the fat soluble vitamins."

Barton said vitamin D, for instance, can raise calcium levels and cause kidney problems.  Other vitamins can cause organ dysfunctions.

Water-soluble vitamins, such as B and C, are used, and then anything more than the body needs is flushed out. Hence, expensive urine.

"The supplements you use should be chosen for a specific reason and function," Dr. Barton said.


This one is pretty important for beagle owners, so listen up.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin are good for pets with joint issues. Beagles are a breed that is prone to joint issues, especially hip dysplasia. If was surprised to hear some say that Lulu should get Glucosamine now. But Dr. Barton explains why.

"Chonro-protective agents, such as Chondroitin sulfate and Glucosamine only work when there is cartilage present," Barton said. "Adding in joint support supplements after the cartilage has eroded will not be as beneficial.  Therefore, supporting the cartilage with early addition of these supplements is a good idea."

Not every breed has those genetic predispositions. But you might get told you dog needs to shore up joints and such. Such as osteoarthritis.

Dr. Kathryn Primm from the Applebrook Animal Hospital in Tennessee said a pet parent can choose supplements, or special food.

"I saw a Great Dane mix today with very poor rear leg conformation and I suggested joint supplements for her," Dr. Primm said. "Her owner elected to try a prescription diet with additives already present so she could minimize the mixing and remembering and because our diets are palatability guaranteed."


" I like omega fatty acids. I love omega fatty acids," said Dr. Talitha Neher, a vet at Canyon County Animal Shelter in Boise, Idaho.

Omega-3 fatty acids are often praised, not just for humans but for pets. While good quality dog food has fatty acids, sometimes your pet can do with a bit more, especially if they have inflammation issues.

Courtesy Meg Melligan via Flickr Creative Commons
"I put dogs with joint disease, and dogs who are probably going to get joint disease, on omega fatty acids," said Dr. Neher. "Purely anecdotally, I've backed some dogs off anti-inflammatories and maintained them on OFAs."

Neher also uses OFAs for dogs with allergies, with heart disease and renal disease.

Be sure to stick with fish or salmon oil, as they have more potency.


Other supplements may also be helpful for your dog. They include probiotics or coconut oil for gastrointestinal issues. Coconut oil is also good for skin and coat.

"I also use coconut oil, or Archway macaroons, (good source of medium chain triglyerides) in cases of inflammatory bowel disease," said Dr. Neher. "Like probiotics for allergies, this is based on human studies that found decreased signs of IBD in patients taking MCT."

"I also like Denamarin (SAM-e and Milk Thistle) for pet's on chronic NSAID therapy for arthiritis," said Dr. Brittany Barton. "NSAIDs are primarily metabolized through the liver and the Denamarin helps support liver regeneration."

So how do you know what to use, and what is worth using?

"It seems that there are always fads and trends that wax and wane on the internet," said Dr. Kathryn Primm. "These types of things have been around since the traveling “snake oil” peddlers in olden days. Ask your vet if he or she has seen legitimate studies for the supplement you are considering. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Your veterinary team is an excellent resource to help you wade through the info."

"When choosing a supplement, research the company who manufactures it," said Dr. Barton. "Since the FDA doesn't regulate these types of drugs, the onus falls on the company to perform due diligence when choosing sources for their ingredients."

Dr. Barton also offered up a website to help do that research: National Animal Supplement Council.

Do you give your pets supplements? What do you give and why?

Help me get Lulu the beagle to eat strawberries

The strawberries this year are fantastic!

Strawberries chillaxing in some chocolate Cool Whip.
How many of you knew Plant City, Florida is the winter strawberry capital of the world? If you are eating strawberries right now, chances are they're from Plant City, which is just outside Tampa.

A water tower in Plant City, FL
Not only are strawberries good for you, they are good for your dog. They are good for all the reasons they for you -- high fiber, great antioxidants. Plus, they can help whiten your dog's teeth naturally.

So I tried to give Lulu some strawberries. I even sliced one up and put it in her food bowl. She left the berry in the bowl.

I'm all for getting Lulu to eat fruits and vegetables. But that's only part of the reason. See, I'm going to Parkesdale Farms on Wednesday with Lulu. The farm stand itself is pet-friendly, and I'm hoping to talk about great ways to serve strawberries to dogs.

So, I am asking you: how do I get Lulu to eat strawberries?

I will collect ideas from you guys up until Feb. 27 (National Strawberry Day). One idea will win a prize!

Just comment below, and be sure to leave your name and email.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

AKC: Beagles are fourth most popular dog breed

We're number 4! We're number 4! We're number 4!

One of the beagles who took part in Meet the Breeds at the AKC Show in December.
Beagles kept the number four spot on American Kennel Club's popular breed listing. That means beagles are the fourth most popular dog among Americans who register their pet with AKC.

Here are the other nine most popular breeds from the Top 10:

2013 Most Popular Dogs in the U.S.
1. Labrador Retriever
2. German Shepherd Dog
3. Golden Retriever
4. Beagle
5. Bulldog
6. Yorkshire Terrier
7. Boxer
8. Poodle
9. Rottweiler
10. Dachshund

Labrador retrievers are the top breed for 23 years running! That will be tough to beat.
In order to register a dog, the puppy must come from a litter that is AKC registrable. So it's something you have to work on with the breeder of your pup. This list doesn't include non-AKC litters or shelter dogs.

A beagle with her award from the AKC show in Orlando last December.
 It also doesn't include AKC's Purebred Alternative Listing, which lets people register their pets into AKC. Then they can take part in any AKC competition, except the traditional show competitions.

Lulu got her Purebred Alternative Listing certificate last week! Now we can compete in AKC Rally or Agility if we want to. My trainer is interested in getting Lulu into Rally.

To register for PAL, you don't need a special lineage, just have your pups measurements, and pictures, and send your application in. Oh, and you get to give you pet one of those special names.

Lulu's is Zizo's Absolutely Fabulous. :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

BlogPaws Nose to Nose awards: Help me pick a post to nominate

Lulu and I are looking through old posts to nominate for award season.

It's BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Awards season!

Right now, people are nominating bloggers for Best Dog Blog, or Best Video, or Best Microblogger, that sort of thing.

I would like to submit a post for Best Blog Post. And I'm asking for your help.

Lulu, Galadriel and I are considering the following. Please take a quick look at these posts and tell me which I should submit:
  1. Celebrate a Florida Christmas with your dog
  2. Getting a dog for Christmas: Four things to consider
  3. How your dog can have Thanksgiving dinner with the family
  4. Canine diabetes: Can you prevent it?
  5. Products to make diabetes easier for pets
  6. 5 steps to take when your dog eats something bad
  7. Cold tail, limp tail, beagle tail: What is it? What should you do about it?
  8. You know your dog is a beagle if... The beagle nose
  9. When China gets in the way: Origins' cruelty-free problem
  10. Puppy Cake doggy cake mix review -- sort of
Please help me with this. COMMENT BELOW and let me know which posts you like best. Thanks!

And: if you are interested in nominating me or another blog for the BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Awards, here's what you need to know:

 Nominating period is open through Wednesday, Feb. 12.

You need my full name: Christie Zizo
You need my email address:

Here are the categories:


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Puppy Bowl player Pong and Florida Little Dog Rescue

Courtesy Heather Munson.
Too. Stinkin'. Cute.

Pong visited my workplace Sunday morning before her big debut in Puppy Bowl X on Animal Planet. There's lots of excitement in Orlando for the big game -- PUPPY BOWL!!! Biggest game on Earth! (Is there another game being played today...?)

Pong is a seven-month-old Havanese mix. The girl holding Pong actually assisted in her birth.

Pong is representing Florida Little Dog Rescue in the Puppy Bowl.
FLDG is a non-profit rescue that specializes in unwanted, abused and abandoned little dogs. FLDR pulls dogs who need emergency medical care, and likely would not get adopted in the shelters. They taken in dogs of all ages, all over Florida.

Pong's inclusion in the Puppy Bowl is great exposure for Florida Little Dog Rescue and its little dogs.

Check out Pong's page on the Florida Little Dog Rescue website, and be sure to watch the Puppy Bowl TODAY on Animal Planet.