Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#WholeBodyHealth: What pet owners say is important #sponsored

This post is sponsored by Natural Balance and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Original Ultra Whole Body Health Pet Food, but Life With Beagle only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Natural Balance is not responsible for the content of this article.

Remember this?

Last month we asked you guys to take a survey on what Whole Body Health meant to you in terms of your cat's health or your dog's health. The survey results are now out.

Here's two numbers I find interesting: 
  • 97 percent of pet owners believe nutrition is important for pet health and well-being.
  • 55 percent of pet owners say nutrition is the most important factor for pet health.
If this is the case, why are some of the top-selling dog foods in the world so horrible for your dog?

A good dog food should not be so full of fillers. It should have high-quality protein. It should be properly balanced in terms of vitamins and minerals.

The good news is many pet owners are moving to better quality foods. So now is a good time to talk about the sponsor of the infographic.

First, a word about the sponsors of the survey, Natural Balance. They've come out with a new pet food line called "Original Ultra Whole Body Health." 

The new line includes a gluten-free formula for both dogs and cats. It focuses on seven key areas:

1. Supports Neural Development: Formulated with optimal levels of  DHA EPA from marine sources to support an active, healthy brain.
2. Supports Healthy Skin & Coat: Balanced Omega‐6 and Omega‐3 ratios support healthy skin and a luxurious coat. 
3. Digestive Support: Using multipl  types of fibers – fruits & grains – our unique fiber layering system helps maintain healthy digestion.
4. Healthy Muscle Development: Quality proteins to help support healthy muscle, important at any age. 
5. Antioxidant Nutrients: Our proprietary blend of antioxidant nutrients helps maintain a healthy immune system. 
6. Strong & Healthy Bones and Teeth: Proper levels of calcium and phosphorus maintain strong bones for all that fetching and playing. 
7. Helps Maintain Healthy Heart & Eyes: Added taurine for healthy heart and eye function.

Natural Balance uses chicken, chicken meal and duck meal, or venison, turkey meal and lamb meal for its Original Ultra Whole Body Health varieties. And among the ingredients is brown rice, oats, potatoes, pea protein, blueberries, cranberries, carrots and flaxseed. 

The food is for puppies through seniors. Here's why Natural Balance does that:
In Nature, your pets would not have the choice of puppy or kitten formulas; they would simply live on a diet of mostly meat and and some grain. In a natural free environment, animals instinctively eat more or less, depending on their age and activity level. Puppies will require a higher caloric intake than an adult, therefore we suggest feeding puppies, up to 6 months of age, two or three times a day. Natural Balance Products are scientifically formulated to provide  complete and balanced nutrition for all stages of your pet's life. We recommend that you do not add vitamins, minerals or any other supplements, except upon the advice of a veterinarian.
Interested in trying it for your dog or cat? Here's you chance at a coupon.

Click here to download a coupon for $3 off the Original Ultra Whole Body Health dry formulas. Act quickly as the coupon expires December 31.”

And for more updated and promotions from Natural Balance, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How about a little Monday Mischief? Lulu and Jasmine get spunky

The weather has been greatly lately -- perfect for beagles who want to be outside. We've been trying to spend more time outside, but I've been busy working. So Lulu and Jasmine are starting to get rambunctious outside by the pool. Look at the mess they made!

So we got to take a ride to a park Saturday for the first time in... forever!

We went over to Doctors Dog Park in Apopka. It's a HUGE park, with large areas for big and small dogs, and it's got some shade too. 

By the time we were done at the park, Lulu and Jasmine were pretty exhausted, but Jazz had time for a little more silliness.

Your foot is comfortable.
What do you want to see on Life With Beagle? Take our survey, tell us what kind of stories are important to you, and be entered to win a gift card! Enter today!

Take our survey and enter to WIN: How can we make Life With Beagle better?

UPDATE: A number of people have checked out this post, but no one has commented on it. This is a reminder that if you answer the survey you MUST enter the Rafflecopter and comment below with the word "Done" in order to be entered to win a giftcard. To make it easier on people, I will remove the captcha code on comments.

We've been thinking a lot about what we do here lately. Now it's your turn to tell us what you think. Keep reading.

"I'm thinking... I'm thinking...."
When we started this blog two years, almost three years ago, Lulu and I set out to talk about what life is like for a beagle and a new pet owner.

A lot has changed since then. I'm not a new pet owner, and sometimes I have a hard time writing like I am. I sometimes worry that our focus is all over the place.

I just decided to take down the Orlando Pet Event Calendar, for instance. I just don't know that my readers are getting much from it.

I want to know what YOU think of my blog!

"What DO you think? Huh? HUH?!"
Why do you come here? What stories do you want to see? Where can we improve?

Here's your chance to tell me what you think!

It's not a long survey -- but it will tell me a lot about the direction we should take Life With Beagle in.

In exchange for your help, you'll be entered to win a $15 gift card!

Pick one: Petco, PetSmart or Amazon. I will send you a $15 gift card.

All you have to do is take the survey, and then enter the Rafflecopter. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter, and also comment below with "DONE!"

Don't delay though, this giveaway is only good through Oct. 31! Take the survey today!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Here's the World War I Flying Ace: 5 facts on Snoopy's iconic fantasy

When I wanted to dress Lulu up as Snoopy, only one costume came to mind.

Snoopy is one of the most famous dogs in the world. But while PetSmart does sell Peanuts Halloween toys, no one seems to sell costumes for pets. Lulu is actually wearing the hat from my Build-A-Bear Workshop Snoopy doll and a red scarf I found at Macy's!

I even went so far as to suggest a "World War I flying ace" costume to one of the big costume makers at Global Pet Expo earlier this year. Hopefully they will come up with something.

But I digress. The World War I Flying Ace in my opinion, is Snoopy's best fantasy (and way better than silly Joe Cool). Here's a little about the World War I Flying Ace.

What is a flying ace?
The term flying ace did begin in World War I.  In the beginning the French and Americans considered a pilot an ace if they got five victories in the air. The number has varied over the years.

Who is the most successful World War I flying ace?
Sadly, not Snoopy, but his nemesis: Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron.

Courtesy National World War I Museum.

How did Snoopy become a World War I flying ace?
According to "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: The Making of a Television Classic," by Lee Mendelson, Snoopy's status as a World War I flying ace was inspired by Charles Schulz's son Monte. Monte was a World War I enthusiast and a model plane builder. According to the book, he suggested his father make Snoopy a fighter pilot.

According to the Intrepid Museum in New York City, Schulz said this: "Like Snoopy, most people turn to fantasy for fun and refuge. I have always believed that his flights of fancy are what help him survive, and we must admit that a dog’s life is not an easy life."

Snoopy's first appearance as the World War I flying ace was in a comic strip.
His first appearance was in Oct. 10, 1965.


Snoopy's World War I flying ace fantasy has made it into museums all over the country.

There was a special exihibit at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, MO. You can still see pictures of the exhibit online.

Snoopy has also been featured at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. In 2009 Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace featured prints. But even cooler, the Intrepid showcased some of the Snoopy artwork that crew members would draw on the walls of the Intrepid, called "sailor art."

Snoopy is also immortalized in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. You can find, for instance, an album of the Snoopy vs. the Red Baron song by The Royal Guardsman. At the Air and Space Museum there is an exhibit on World War I air combat, called Legend, Memory and the Great War in the Air. They talk about the Red Baron there.

Want more about Snoopy? Check out my 5 ways to tell Snoopy is a beagle article from last year.

Monday, October 13, 2014

7 truths about shelter or rescue dogs

A few months ago the Washington Post published an editorial on why one person would "never adopt another shelter dog."

You can read it here.

It's a nasty piece of work that is based on bad experience and not much more. And it hurts an entire group of pets who just desperately need homes as much as any other pet.

This month is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. Many have posted about the myths of shelter and rescue dogs. As the owner of two shelter dogs, I'm going to tell you about what's true.

1) They are often the victim of uninformed humans. How many dogs are left in shelters because they weren't potty trained, or the human didn't realize the dog's chewing on things had to do with the dog being bored? Or that some breeds need more exercise than others?

Darius is 3 and a half years old. He was recently sent Orange County Animal Services in Orlando.
This is true for all dogs. Do your research before you get a dog. Know what type of dog can fit your lifestyle. If you can't go out for long walks with a dog, you probably shouldn't get a dog who needs lots of exercise. Dogs require structure. You need to be prepared to give them that.

2)  They come in all colors, shapes and sizes. Don't think you can get the breed you want? Think again. There's a rescue for almost every breed of dog in the country. And if you can't find one close to you, you'd be surprised how many perfect strangers will take turns driving however far to bring you your dog. Sites like Petfinder and Adopt-a-Pet  will help you find the pet you're looking for.

Shelby is an adult beagle mix at Lake County Animal Services.
3) Older pets are better than puppies. Can you get a puppy in a shelter or a rescue? Of course. Especially during certain times of the year. But should you? Puppies are a lot of work, and they don't let you sleep through the night necessarily. And they may have to be housebroken.

The good thing about older dogs is they may be more mellow. They also may be housebroken. If you're not used to having a dog, consider an older dog.

4) All dogs can get sick. Sure breeders might offer a guarantee that their dogs don't have any problems. But more than half of golden retrievers get cancer.  Cocker spaniels are susceptible to a number of illnesses.  Beagles can get hip dysplasia and intrervertebral disc disease.  Any dog is capable of illness. And mix breeds may actually be less susceptible to certain illnesses.

5) Some shelter or rescue dogs may have training. When you are looking at dogs, be sure to ask the shelters and rescues what training the dogs have had. Some will train the dogs to make them more adoptable. Nothing fancy, just basic behavioral stuff.

Pup pup is a poodle mix at Pasco County Animal Services.
6) You don't HAVE to go to a shelter to see a shelter dog. Shelters make people sad or they scare people, and that's why some avoid the shelters. Think you're scared? You should see some of the dogs! They sit in a corner and won't look at anyone because they don't understand what's happening.

There are different ways to see a shelter dog. You can go online, look at the websites, or the Facebook pages (they all have them). Then you can go to the shelters and meet the dogs out of the cages. Some shelters have fenced in areas or rooms where you can meet the dog and see them come out of their shell. Or, you can visit an offsite location, like a pet store or a rescue event. PetSmart and Petco both host rescue events on the weekends.

7) Shelter and rescue dogs are grateful. I don't know how else to say it. I don't mean that dogs from breeders are not grateful to the people who adopt them. I just mean I hear lots of stories about shelter or rescue dogs saving their owners or their owners' children. They also become therapy dogs or medical alert dogs.

Here's some stories:
Tell me about your shelter dog! In the comments below, tell us about the dog you rescued, in honor of Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

How does your doggy cuddle? 10 cuddling beagles

Sometimes I just want to cuddle my dog.

Don't get me wrong, I love to blog. But between blogging and working, sometimes my dogs don't get the love I think they should.

So some days, I turn off the computer, and love on my dogs. But while Jasmine loves it, Lulu is not as much of a fan. She really has to be in the mood -- either because I've been on a trip or she's cold or something.

Experts will tell you dogs don't like to be hugged. Some trainers even say that, to a dog, putting your hands (paws) around the dog is a form of dominance.

But it seems some dogs do like to cuddle. Some dog breeds are even known for being particularly snuggly, according to Note beagles don't make that list.

So I asked my followers on Facebook to show me their snuggling doggies. And apparently quite a few enjoy a good cuddle! (lucky ducks). Here are 10 adorable photos. And be sure to head to my Facebook page to see more.

PHOTO/Andrea Beth
PHOTO/Nathalia Pineiro

PHOTO/Jackie Bouchard (and Rita)

PHOTO/Kerri Temos Tollinger.

PHOTO/Christina Reece (And Jackson)

PHOTO/Kathleen Klunk

PHOTO/Mis Marie
PHOTO/Jeanine Wright-Decker (and Baxter)
PHOTO/Rachelle Bankhead (and Bernadette)
PHOTO/Genea Kercheval (and Daisy)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rescued by some beagles: Author Teresa Rhyne on her new book

"The Dogs Were Rescued (And So Was I)" is now out in bookstores by SourceBooks! Remember, if you buy a book between now and Halloween, part of the proceeds can go to Beagle Freedom Project.

Rhyne is the author of the New York Times bestselling "The Dog Lived (And So Will I)," about her battle with cancer, and also her beagle's battle with cancer.

Last month I reviewed the book, and talked about how Rhyne focused this book on her journey toward a more compassionate lifestyle. As you can see in this interview, Teresa is passionate about this journey. Check out our interview.

1) When you were working on The Dogs Were Rescued (And So Was I) did you plan then on ever writing another book? 
I certainly hoped to. I’ve always loved writing and have taken a lot of courses, gone to a lot of writer’s retreats and conferences and spent a lot of time with my butt in the chair actually writing, so of course it’s nice when some of that gets published. The surprise was that I wrote another non-fiction book—another memoir! I’d always written fiction until, as they say, life got stranger than fiction. So I assumed I’d go back to fiction. But apparently my life will always be stranger than fiction. After this second book, I now think of myself as a non-fiction writer who might one day try her hand at fiction.

2) How was the decision to write this book different from the first?
It was primarily different because of the timing. With the first book, I had fully completed the experiences I was writing about—and in fact, parts of the book were about a time more than five years in the past. With this book I had an idea for a follow-up memoir, but as I was writing and as life unfolded, a completely different story happened. It started as a book about finding a healthier lifestyle for me and my dog and it wound up being a book about living a compassionate lifestyle and all that entails, and two more beagles had entered my life. So I was writing in much more “real time.” And of course another significant difference was that it was much more of a certainty that this one would be published and see the light of day. With the success of the first book, I was able to sell the second book on the basis of about a ten page outline and proposal. Then, of course, I had to write the darn thing!

Chris, Percival, Teresa, Daphne. (PHOTO/Teresa Rhyne)

3) As I read through the book I realized I had witnessed many of the earlier moments unfold from your Facebook updates (going to India, for instance). How did that notoriety you gained from the first book impact your life and the eventual changes you made (i.e. veganism, Beagle Freedom Project, etc.)?
The biggest challenge was getting other people’s comments out of my head so that I could stay true to my voice while writing. Thanks to social media, Amazon, and Goodreads reviews, I know exactly how people felt about the first book (and in many case how they feel about the “me” they believe they know), so it’s tempting to respond to that or to make changes. For example, there were a few complaints about the swearing in the first book and I hesitated then to swear in the second book. But here’s the thing—two cancer battles made me swear! I can’t lie about that. It was true to my voice and to change it to anything else would have rung hollow. There is actually far less swearing in the second book, and I questioned whether I had toned it down because of the comments or because I just didn’t swear as much in the situations described in The Dogs Were Rescued. Once I was comfortable that it was answer b I moved on (“get out of my head Amazon reviewers!!”). For the most part, I feel really lucky with the folks I’ve “met” on Facebook and in social media—people like you who love animals as much as I do and are trying to do the right thing. I’ve learned so much about veganism, animal rights, dog rescues, even beagles (and I’ve had beagle companions in my life for over 25 years now). I hope I can do my part in inspiring others to adopt a more compassionate lifestyle as well.

4) Daphne kinda just happened (Percival less so). Do you think the suddenness with which she came into your life lessened the pain of losing Seamus, or just channel it off into other directions?
I think in a way the adoption of Daphne lessened the immediate pain of losing Seamus, and it also deferred it, but it certainly didn’t eliminate it. My grief in those first few days was immobilizing. Daphne pulled me out of that because I had to focus on her and her extensive needs at that time. And I threw myself into that. Once Daphne was adopted and healthy, I began to relapse into heavy despair over losing Seamus. More than once I unexpectedly broke down in tears when doing a talk or a book signing and mentioning Seamus. I still do! And I’m not much of a crier normally. I would never intentionally adopt a dog that soon after losing one, but I truly believe Daphne was meant to be with us.
Teresa and Percival at Beaglefest (PHOTO/Teresa Rhyne)

5) You were already thinking about getting a BFP dog before it became a possibility. And you were even looking at Percival. So is it possible the Beaglerette was always going to choose him? It certainly read like it was meant to be?
Ha! Yes, that was definitely “in the universe.” I can honestly say I had an open mind about it. I think because we originally heard that Percival was not available for adoption, my mind had moved on to the other options and opened up to all of them.  I adored (and still adore) Rizzo and if the decision had been left to me I honestly can’t say who I would have picked. So I’m glad it was Daphne’s decision…though she’s certainly had days where she’s regretted her choice. LOL. And clearly, above all else, we know Chris and Percival were meant to be together.

6) I kept waiting for you to mention that the dogs were on a vegan diet. There were several points where it was a logical progression, almost foreshadowing. Are they on a vegan diet at this point?
This is something I struggle with on a daily basis. I have not turned them vegan. I give them only vegan treats, but their meals still have animal protein. Each vet (even a few holistic vets) I’ve talked to has been against turning them vegan. And I feel like if there isn’t extensive scientific study and recommendation for a vegan diet for a dog, trying it out on a dog who has battled cancer repeatedly and another who was a victim of a pharmaceutical lab’s testing for eighteen months is just not wise. I keep looking into it though and I occasionally mix in V-Dog vegan dog food just to cut down on the animal product in their meals.

Daphne and Percival. (PHOTO/Teresa Rhyne)
7) It doesn't look like you've become a "hemp skirt-wearing hippie" yet. Do you ever think you'll get into the kind of activism you talked about seeing in the book (at the animal advocacy museum)? Or are you still working toward finding other methods of making a difference?
I’m coming to terms with each of us doing to the best of our abilities—and my abilities (I hope!) lie in writing and speaking about the issues, so I plan on doing as much of that as I can. You may yet one day see me at a protest carrying a sign and, likely, bawling my eyes out. I’ve got to acquire that kind of strength.

8) Have you eased into a place at this point where you can be comfortable around people (other than Chris) who eat meat?
Yes, and no. It still makes me very sad to see the way people glorify the eating of a tortured and dead animal. And I’m appalled at the way Americans throw cheese and cream on everything. Everything! It’s like we don’t think it has flavor if there isn’t animal secretions on it. But, I realize I don’t get anywhere by saying things like that to folks or getting up and walking away from the table. If, however, someone comments on my meal, I will respond with a comment on theirs, as that seems fair. I have to be if not comfortable, tolerant, around meat eaters since the vast majority of people in my life are meat eaters. On the other hand, I adore being in a vegan restaurant or at a vegan catered event where I can indulge in every single item and everyone around me (vegan or not) is doing the same. Not a dead animal to be seen! Complete bliss!
9) Do you feel like you've found your "tribe" at this point?
I’m getting there. I shouldn’t be surprised it hasn’t been an easy thing to do though--it goes with my whole “not a group person” thing. But I’m enjoying learning different aspects of veganism from a variety of groups. There are many, many aspects to a vegan life and that keeps things interesting for me.

10) What do you want people to take away most from this book?
I want folks to think more about their choices and how animals are affected by those choices. Make conscientious choices and own those choices. It’s hypocritical to say that you are an animal lover and you can’t watch factory farming documentaries because they’re too sad, and then turn around and eat a cheeseburger. If you’re eating a cheeseburger, you’re contributing to that “sadness.” You’re the reason that pain and death happens to that animal. If you eat that cheeseburger, you’re not an animal lover. You’re a “dog lover” perhaps, but not an animal lover. Be clear about that. Think about that.  Because that’s a choice you are making. Think about the products you’re buying. Do beagles need to suffer and die for your mascara? Your laundry detergent? Your shampoo? They don’t. But they will if you don’t take the time to be certain you are shopping cruelty-free. If you don’t take time to make a conscientious choice, animals will continue to suffer. It’s that simple. And that’s what I want people to take away from this book—the power of their own choices.