Train Your Dog and Feed the Squirrels

January 24th, 2015 Comments off

January is Train Your Dog Month, and while working on this week’s Paw Prints, I have been sidetracked several times. Seems like there are “special recognition days and months” for just about everything. I certainly did not know that there was a “Squirrel Appreciation Day” celebrated every January… and although we feed the squirrels and enjoy watching their antics, I never imagined how many sites feature this special day.

I don’t know how effective squirrel training might be, but I do know that dog training is a vital aspect of responsible pet care. Inappropriate behavior is a major reason given when a dog is relinquished to a shelter, which is sad for both the humans and the dog, especially when most problems could be resolved. Dog training is not just an 8 week class; it is an ongoing effort that will continue for the life of your dog, and, like people, no two dogs are alike, so they respond differently, but the best way to change unwanted behavior is by positive reinforcement. If you want your dog to do something, find a way for it to make sense to her and she will respond, and be reasonable in your expectations… a dog is a dog is a dog!

  • When it’s time to train, put aside your frustrations of the day, and focus on the positive relationship you would like to have with your dog. Training should be an enjoyable experience for both you and the dog, and if you are not in the right mood for training, don’t even start the session.
  • Always ask yourself what you want your dog to do in any given situation. If you don’t know, she can’t possibly know either. Sometimes it is possible to prevent the dog from making a mistake in the first place by teaching her substitute behaviors. Instead of jumping up on people, teach her to sit. Instead of chewing on shoes, provide appropriate dog chew toys (and put your shoes away so they are not temptations) She will soon learn that sitting gets a better reaction than jumping up, and that scraping human body parts with her paw doesn’t get her a walk in the park.
  • Use whatever reinforcement your dog enjoys the most, something highly prized…treats and praise rate high with most dogs.
  • Dogs respond best to short, calm commands. Use exactly the same word every time, and avoid constantly repeating a command. Say it once, using a firm tone that is crisp and cheerful. Then wait for compliance.
  • Timing is important. Delayed reinforcement seldom works. Your dog sits, but by the time you say, “Good dog,” she is standing again…so what are you encouraging? Re-enforcing too quickly is also ineffective as giving rewards for behavior that has not yet occurred simply creates confusion.
  • Use all of your dog’s behaviors to earn him “what he wants.” Make getting anything that your dog desires a learning opportunity. It doesn’t matter what behavior you ask for, as long as you ask the dog to do “something” in exchange for a valuable reward.
  • Training should never involve any negative or punishment-based component… no yelling, hitting or chain jerking. Each session should be upbeat and positive with rewards for well done.
  • When training, it is important to be consistent with sessions every day, and repetition is important. Everyone is busy, busy, busy, but, If possible, short sessions two or three times daily will work miracles with your dog…and don’t forget to feed the squirrels!!!

While we are busy teaching our dogs to sit, stay, and roll over, they are teaching us love, loyalty and joy.—Yorinks



Protect Your Animals From Winter’s Chilling Blasts!

January 17th, 2015 Comments off

Major snow storms, bitterly cold temperatures, and extremely high winds have hit with a vengeance, and as tough as this weather is on humans, it can be even tougher on our dogs. NEVER leave your dog outside in weather like this, and remember, even if the temperature isn’t that low, wind chill can threaten your pet’s safety. If it’s too cold outside for you, then it’s too cold for your companion animal. If your fingers are cold, your dog’s feet and pads are too! They are vulnerable to frostbite and hypothermia in less than an hour’s exposure. It is the responsibility of pet caregivers to keep their dogs safe and healthy through the harsh winter months.

We don’t approve of “outdoor” dogs at any time of the year, because dogs are pack animals and are happiest and healthiest when kept with their human pack, but it is especially dangerous in extremely cold or hot weather. . Why have a dog if he is tethered or confined “out back”? If you don’t want a dog in the main part of your house, surely there is a heated area that could be kid- gated where he could spend his day in warm comfort. If he has behavioral issues, the solution is not to banish him to the back yard, but to spend the time to train him. Dogs are usually willing to comply to house rules if they understand what the rules are. TAKE him out for just a short, brisk walk, or if you have a basement or upstairs, you can exercise him by playing fetch up and down the steps (or even through the halls), and provide him some entertainment if you will be gone for an extended period of time. Popular “puzzle” or “foraging” toys are great!

My very favorite is the Kong which can be stuffed with part of your dog’s meal, or a combination of meal and treats. A few Kongs will keep your dog happily occupied for hours, and will lessen the chances of inappropriate behavior. If you absolutely refuse to let your dog into the house, at least fix up a warm corner in the porch, basement or garage, using plenty of blankets to provide a barrier from the cold floors and build him a warm, cozy “den.” There are many small, safe heaters that can be used to warm his den….don’t keep pets in unheated areas, but use caution to keep any electrical cords out of chewing reach…just in case.

A high quality, nutritionally balanced diet is essential, especially in the winter. To find out how different foods rate, google, an independent company, that rates all the major dog foods. Check out the food you are currently using…you may be surprised at what you find. All dog foods are not created equal, and with all the slick marketing techniques used, it’s tough to sort out what is good and what is simply advertising mumbo jumbo.

Many dogs need a sweater or coat to protect from the elements, but after evaluating dozens of different brands, we concluded that most of them are worthless. Some are difficult to put on the dog; many are ill-fitting or stretch out of shape quickly, others have uncomfortable bands that do little except irritate the animal, and most of them expose the dog’s vulnerable underside. Premier Pet “Fido Fleece” coats are really designed to keep Fido toasty warm. Made of anti-pilling fleece, they are durable and feature a collar-to-tail Velcro closure for easy on and off, wear like iron, and are super easy to clean— just machine wash and dry. Look up Fido Fleece Dog coats and you will find a wide choice of style and color.

Salt and de-icing chemicals can cause your dog’s pads to become dry, cracked, and painfully sore, so be sure to carefully snip the tufts of hair between her toes to help prevent ice balls from sticking. You can find dozens of dog boots or booties in pet stores and catalogs—most are cute but quite ineffective…and most dogs rebel against wearing them! A thin layer of aloe or Vaseline rubbed onto her footpads will provide a protective coating, and is safe even if she licks her feet. It is important to always clean off paws after a walk, even though the oil helps keep ice and snow from clumping so badly between the toes.

Please get involved if you see a neglected or shivering animal left out in the cold. (Shivering is the first sign of mild hypothermia) Urge people to bring their dogs inside, and as difficult as it is, don’t be belligerent or accusatory. Try to get your point across in a friendly manner. Ignorance is curable by education. However, if you meet with resistance, alert the authorities. Concerned neighbors are often the only hope for these poor animals.

We can judge the heart of a human by that person’s treatment of animals.

—Immanuel Kant


Don’t Let S.A.D. Get You Down

January 10th, 2015 Comments off

The festive holiday lights no longer sparkle, the tree is stored or discarded, and the decorations have been put away. BRRR, it is cold outside, and as we face the prospect of several months of gray, cold, gloomy days, many of us feel the “blahs” …some of us become afflicted with the disorder, SAD. Officially, SAD is thought to be caused by a lack of bright light affecting hormonal balances, but no one seems to adequately understand this “Seasonal Affective Disorder” …it just makes us depressed, sometimes seriously depressed.

Do our dogs suffer from SAD? Probably not, but they are prone to cabin fever, and even worse for them, they cannot entertain themselves as humans do, by watching old movies or texting friends. Our TLC residents are definitely a little out of sorts…weather has not permitted their usual long healthy walks, and they have creatively tried various methods to boost themselves out of winter’s doldrums.

After spending some extra time with the canine crew, we offer these ten New Year’s resolutions from our dogs’ perspective:

  • Resolution 1: Even though it is too cold to bare my butt outdoors, I will use the pet door and go outside to do my business, as tempting as it is to just squat in my warm den. However, sometimes there are special considerations, and I may have to decide what those special considerations are. How cold is too cold?
  • Resolution 2: I will stop acting like I am starving. I‘ve got begging down to a fine art—those TLC volunteers are putty in my paws, but it has become demeaning. I will reserve the begging for worthwhile things, like Roberta’s homemade dog cookies.
  • Resolution 3: I just discovered that I am scheduled for my annual checkup, so I will try to remember that the vet and staff are just trying to help in their own, weird way, although they really know how to push my buttons with those needles. I will try to relax, so that they will start to say, “Good Dog,” and “Nice girl” instead of “get the muzzle for this one.” I won’t bite if a snarl is effective.
  • Resolution 4: I will try to introduce myself to new TLC visitors in more appropriate ways. I will focus above the waist when introducing myself because somehow, I get the feeling that my normal greeting methods offend them… something about “invading their private space.”
  • Resolution 5: I realize that all of the toys are not specifically MY toys, and will be more sharing. New squeaky toys are not included….I will do my best to keep them hidden under the covers in my bed…definitely off limits to everyone—four-legs or two-legs.
  • Resolution 6: If it is warm enough, and I get a walk, I will not roll on nasty stuff… unless it is irresistible…some things are irresistible.
  • Resolution 7: I will not chew on pens or crayons that get dropped on the floor, especially not the red ones, because the volunteers get really panicky thinking that I am hemorrhaging.
  • Resolution 8: I am going to get paw prints on a petition stating that leg humping be a juried competition in major dog shows. Humping would certainly be more productive than some of the strange things the judges expect.
  • Resolution 9: I realize that there are many chained dogs, injured animals, and lost and wandering pets who need intervention by someone who cares, and I am thankful that I have been rescued. I pray that more humans will realize that companion animals are sometimes at risk and it’s up to compassionate animal lovers to bring them to safety.
  • Resolution 10: I will continually remind myself to practice tolerance toward the two-legged ones. They need all the help they can get, and I must do my best to make life easier for them.


2015—Let’s resolve to make this the very best year ever, filled with peace, love and joy!!


Words of Wisdom for the New Year

January 1st, 2015 Comments off

The arrival of the New Year brings the inevitable resolutions. We are all familiar with the promises to improve our lives and the lives of our dogs in the coming year, so perhaps we can all benefit from a few words of wisdom for 2015:

  • Walk with your dog every day, smiling. Emulate your dog…..greet everyone you meet with honest enthusiasm.
  • Live with the 3 E’s: energy, enthusiasm, and empathy.
  • Read some books on dog training: then follow through with the suggestions.
  • Listen to quiet, relaxing music every day…it is nourishment for your soul and most dog enjoy it too.
  • Spend more time with your family and your dog than you did last year. Sharing our lives with others is a privilege, and it is humans’ responsibility to provide proper care and attention those dependent upon us.
  • Put together a pet first aid kit and a disaster kit so that in case of an emergency, you are prepared. If you have a kit, be sure to update it on a regular basis.
  • Eliminate clutter…in your house…in your office. In your mind…and clean out the dog toy box and donate some of the toys he never plays with to a dog that doesn’t have any toys.
  • Never pass up an opportunity to help an animal in need. Chained animals, injured animals, lost and wandering pets—all of these animals need intervention. Removing them from dangerous situations may be the difference between life and death for them. Animals can’t dial 911 or ask for help; they are at the mercy of humans, so be prepared and willing to help an animal in need.
  • Support the efforts of local shelters or rescue groups. If you can’t adopt, volunteer to transport animals for a rescue group or give financial support to struggling organizations. Animal rescue is a 24/7 operation and groups need as much help as they can get—both physically and financially.
  • Donate supplies. Call to find out specific needs, but most groups need blankets, paper towels, and toys, and many shelters have website posts with “wish lists” of the most-needed items.
  • Never buy pet supplies from stores that sell puppies – you will be supporting puppy mills. Regardless of what they tell you, almost ALL stores that sell puppies are supplied by puppy mills.
  • Stay informed. Join animal welfare groups to keep you updated on current legislation. Write to your congressmen, encouraging them to support better laws to protect our companion animals.
  • Recognize that you can pass through another year, just coasting on cruise control, or as Pablo says, “You can step out of your comfort zone, trying things you have never done before and make 2015 the year that you elevate from where you are and soar high…Make it happen.


Walt Zientek offers this prayer for the New Year:

I pray for every dog searching through alleys and trashcans for breakfast, a forever home with plenty of food and love.

For every dog who spends his nights chained or isolated in the back yard, a soft, warm bed with a human nearby.

For every “Christmas pup” that was given, a tolerant, caring person who realizes that a dog is forever, and must not be abandoned, no matter what.

For every ailing pet, enough money for the caregiver to pay bills, and a skilled veterinarian to make him well.

For every lost dog, a clear, safe road, and well-marked path to lead her home.

For every old and tired friend, a warm fire and soft bed to ease the aches and pains.

For every dog who has passed on, a moment when he is remembered, and missed.

Life is beautiful, and this year offers wonderful opportunities to make it the best year ever.

Our First Plea for Help in Fifteen Years!

December 22nd, 2014 Comments off

Our first plea for help in fifteen years!!!

Most of you know that Iowa still ranks as number 2 in the number of puppy mills in the state in Iowa. For fifteen years , the TLC Canine Center has been actively working to raise awareness to the problem, and help Iowa dogs…we now have a GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY, but we NEED HELP. We understand that animal rescue groups are all struggling, but we would appreciate it if all of you would just post our plea for help on every site you can think of, and list a link to our center- – perhaps some will be led to help our venture. As Mother Teresa observed, “I can do things you cannot; you can do things I cannot. TOGETHER WE CAN DO GREAT THINGS!”

Ellen Hartstack has been involved with the TLC for eight years, and she has committed to re-locating to Iowa in the Story County area…a very needy area that received a great deal of negative notoriety recently because of one of the 10 worst puppy mills in the entire country was located in that area. This facility has finally been closed down, which offers the TLC the opportunity (and responsibility) to turn a Bad Newz Puppy Mill into a GOOD NEWS rehabilitation and training center for homeless dogs out here on the Iowa prairie.  We have the option to buy the perfect place right down the road from the Bad News Mill…All perfectly situated to be exactly what we want and where we need it.

Our goal is to help find forever homes for deserving dogs and train dogs with behavior problems who might be in danger of losing their homes. WE NEED $100,000 TO BRING THIS DREAM TO REALITY! IMPOSSIBLE? As Shel Silverstein asserts, “Nothing is impossible. Anything can be.” We have been pledged $50,000 but WE NEED MATCHING FUNDS. I am reminded of Mother Teresa’s observation: “I can do things you cannot; you can do things I cannot. TOGETHER, WE CAN DO GREAT THINGS.” On behalf of the many Iowa dogs that are lonely, frightened, suffering, and sometimes dying, we humbly ask for your help. Working together we can make the Iowa prairie a safer, healthier, happier place for needy dogs. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

God Bless & Merry Christmas!
Pauline and Ellen
Co-directors of the TLC Canine Center

Christmas Is A Time for Miracles

December 22nd, 2014 Comments off

Christmas is a busy time of year, with traveling, family gatherings, and parties, but please don’t forget that it is also the time of miracles. Because you are busy, it’s easy to look past the cold neighbor dog left outside on a chain, or the stray shivering in the cold; perhaps you are the only one who can provide the miracle needed.


Unseen they suffer; unheard they cry;

in loneliness they linger; and in agony they die.

The lighted window shows the room so warm and softly glowing;

A tree so tall with twinkling lights and stacks of presents showing.

While just outside, a starving cat stands shivering in the cold,

And down the street, a stray dog limps…tired, sick, and old.

How can we turn away when we know such sad things are so?

And say they don’t concern us…just close our eyes to what we know.

How can we celebrate Christmas while ignoring those who suffer needlessly?

When all the time we know it’s up to us if improvements are to be. We must not turn our backs on their pain just because it’s hard to see. They have no other places to turn; they’ve only you and me.

Mary Martin relates her true story about their miracle dog:

We had promised our son for quite a while that we would get him a dog, but we kept putting it off…we were just so busy. We procrastinated as long as we could before we finally took a trip to the area shelter where we lost our hearts to a scrawny, obviously frightened puppy (not realizing that he would grow up to be quite large one day). We named our new pup Ralph—but maybe he should have been Inch, because of the way he inched his way into our hearts.

Our agreement was “No dog in the house.” We had a large fenced yard and a nice, sturdy doghouse for Ralph, but he wanted to be with his family, so he was soon allowed him into the kitchen. He was obedient, but still longed to go wherever we went. He would lie on the kitchen floor with only his paws on the carpet, then slowly inch forward until we gave in and said, “Oh, come on!” It wasn’t long before he gained our trust and we gave him the run of the house.

He assumed that everyone was his friend, and if a new person walked in the yard, Ralph was there to greet him.. Then, as we would stand and talk, Ralph would slowly inch his way forward to gently lean on the visitor’s leg. Most people would automatically reach down to pet him, but if they didn’t, he would gradually lean a little more, then a little more, until he got the attention he wanted. With patience and persistence, he would earn the love of the most non-dog friendly people. We chuckled because we knew Ralph’s tactics.

Ralph was a mild mannered, well behaved guy, but he wasn’t sure about his first Christmas with us. That big tree filling up the whole corner in the living room just didn’t seem right. His hackles would go up and the growls would come, until he finally accepted the fact that the weird looking monstrosity was not a threat to him or his family. Then he decided that it was his responsibility to protect the tree from intruders…he would lie full length in front of the tree and carefully evaluate visitors. Ralph learned to love Christmas as much as the rest of us, and every year he would station himself as guard dog. He never snooped through the gifts under the tree, and on Christmas morning he listened attentively as we read the Christmas story, and watched politely as we opened our presents. When he got his own gifts, he tore them open with the same enthusiasm we did.

Ralph was a miracle dog. He taught us to recognize many of the miracles of life. We can all learn from this gentle giant: By patiently persisting, we can accomplish great things. Inch by inch. And if we can’t do great things, we can do small things in a great way.

It is our prayer that we all enjoy a blessed Christmas filled with miracles.

Great Gifts For Your Favorite Pooch

December 14th, 2014 Comments off

Every pet outlet is taking advantage of the impulse buyer at this festive time of year. Pet stores and sites are tantalizing dog lovers with a vast array of “dog stuff”, and it is tough for dog lovers to resist with all the “hot buys” offered. Here a toy, there a toy, everywhere a toy, and your dog certainly needs a new toy (or two, or three!) for Christmas, right?

It is important to realize that there is NO agency overseeing the yearly $50 BILLION dollar dog toy market, and many of them are not good for your canine. With the market flooded with cheap imports, it’s BUYER BEWARE. Double check and then check again to make sure any toy is non-toxic and SAFE. Hazards can include anything from needles left inside stuffed toys to chemical laden paints and choking dangers, which are all too common with many of the toys. Although tennis balls are wonderful for some dogs, if the dog is an aggressive chewer, he can puncture the ball with his teeth and the ball is stuck in his mouth, or if he chews them in half, pieces can be swallowed…we have two dogs at the shelter right now that LOVE tennis balls, but cannot be left unattended with them. Squeaky toys are a favorite for almost all dogs, but again it is common for dogs to choke on them often causing a blockage that requires surgery. Dogs also love rawhides which can become soft when they are chewed and can lodge in the throat. I do not recommend ever giving raw hides to your dog!

Please choose products made in North America or Europe over those mass-produced and imported from other countries where safety standards are minimal. Inspect any toy for loose parts or pieces that might easily break off. Don’t give children’s toys to dogs, because they would probably chew off and choke on the eyes and noses of stuffed animals.

One of my very favorite commercial toy for dogs is the Kong. The Classic Kong has been around for more than 20 years, and is a “must have” staple for dog caregivers. Kong toys are uniquely shaped, extraordinarily strong, rubber toys with hollow centers, and they have an unpredictable bounce that lures most dogs into an ongoing game of catch, chase, and chew. (Sadly the Kong Company is now outsourcing some of their new products, but the Classic Kongs are made in the USA.) This amazing toy can be used for therapy, boredom, separation anxiety, other behavior problems, and just plain fun! Every dog should have several Kongs, especially if he is left alone for extended periods of time. A Kong can be stuffed with almost any kind of food your dog likes. Mix some of his meal with a little canned dog food, yogurt, peanut butter, cottage cheese…combinations are endless.

Another favorite toy is the CUZ, an ingeniously designed, natural rubber ball with feet….but that is not the only inventive thing about it. It squeaks…and the squeaker is built into the Cuz so that it won’t fall out. It has become a real favorite with the dogs at the shelter. It is a well-made toy made by JW Pets, a US based company that claims their ideas are l00% homegrown. They do their own inventing, designing, and creating in their facility in Texas…no outsourcing. They also have a big assortment of other creative, well made toys, with the latest addition being the Cuz Tails, which has a soft, squeaky tail that can be bounced, tugged and fetched …fun for both humans and canines. JW dog toys are better quality than most of the toys you find in dog toy departments. We encourage you to check out their website at You’ll find some really fun dog stuff.

Remember that no toy is indestructible, and as long as the toy industry is an unsupervised playground, it is the responsibility of the caregivers to keep their eyes on the ball, stuffing, and squeaker.


It’s Beginnning to Look Like Christmas

December 10th, 2014 Comments off

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go,  and  the gamut of holiday activities –baking, shopping,  gift wrapping, parties, and house guests—is in full swing.  Busy, busy, busy with many extras vying for your time.   As schedules become frantic, how do our pets fare?  What happens to the daily walk, the game of fetch, and  the quiet snuggle with a favorite human companion?   Taking care of your dog in the holiday season  requires a bit of  caution, because with all the interesting foods and decorations in our homes, there are many hazards.

  • The traditional Christmas tree needs to be placed in an area where it is not likely to be knocked over, and secured well.   There simply are no perfectly pet-safe ornaments, but  glass ones, or easily broken ones should be placed high on the tree.  Ornaments with hooks to attach them to the tree often fall from the tree, and pets may catch their mouths on them , or swallow them.
  • Most dogs (and cats)  are attracted to tinsel, and may try to eat the stuff  which can slice up their gastrointestinal system.   Sweep up the pine needles that drop  to prevent ingestion of needles which  can cause gastric irritation.  Turn the lights on only when you are home because risk is always there with a live tree.   Do not allow your pet access to the tree water to drink.
  • Dogs love to investigate and most don’t understand that the presents are not chew toys.  Inquisitive dogs may tear open wrapped gifts,  and ingest decorative ribbons or strings (not to mention that gifts can be destroyed by a playful pet).  It is wise to limit unsupervised  access to the area.
  • During the holiday season, many lights are displayed, and, with these lights,  come electric cords.  Curious pets can find these cords interesting and fun , resulting in electric shock or burns.
  • Don’t leave lighted candles unattended.  Dogs may burn themselves or cause a fire if they are knocked over.  Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface, out of paws’ reach.  And if you leave the room, put the candle out!  Essential oils are highly toxic and should be also kept out of reach.
  • Fatty, spicy, and no-no-human foods such as chocolate, or anything sweetened with xylitol,  as well as bones should not be fed to your four-legs.  Ingestion of  high- fat foods  or other holiday foods such as yeast breads or fruit cakes with currants and raisins can result in serious gastrointestinal upset.  No alcoholic beverages should be left where an inquisitive dog can reach them.  Make sure your dog doesn’t have access to the trash where you throw away the string or paper used to wrap the turkey or ham!
  • If you have house guests, remind them to keep all their meds zipped up and out of reach.  Handbags typically contain many items poisonous to dogs, including prescription meds, pain meds such as Tylenol, sugarless chewing gum, asthma inhalers, cigarettes, coins, and hand sanitizers.

Veterinarian Pamela Perry  emphasizes that the holiday season is stressful for both humans and canines.  “Your dog should have access to a quiet room where he can retreat if he becomes overwhelmed with all the hustle and bustle.  To keep his stress levels low, maintain his routine as much as possible.  Spend a few minutes –one-on-one  several  times a day, so he knows you  haven’t forgotten him.  It is likely that it will lower your stress level too.”

Dogs are treasures and are worth  making a few compromises and taking a little extra care to ensure a  happy, safe holiday  for everyone.

Christmas Puppies For Sale!

November 28th, 2014 Comments off

Most of us are busy writing our lists and will soon be checking them twice. We urge you to think carefully before you give a dog as a Christmas gift. Animals come with responsibilities, and the person receiving them may not be prepared to adequately provide for the animal’s care. When the holidays end, the kids go back to school, and the adults go back to work, what happens to the puppy?

A puppy is not a stuffed toy that can be tossed on the shelf when the newness wears off; the reality is that a pet is a serious long term responsibility and the decision to include a dog into any home should come only after careful consideration.

Please don’t just “get a puppy for the kids,” unless you are prepared for a lifetime commitment! And don’t fall for all the slick marketing techniques from the pet stores, and on- line-sites. Their motivation is not your happiness or the welfare of the animal; it is financial gain, as illustrated in this poem by Shannon McClure.

Adopt Don't Shop

Adopt Don’t Shop


Excerpt From – Merry Christmas From Ye Olde Puppy Shoppe!

By: Shannon McClure

We love our puppy customers.
They’re our #1 bread and butter,
Especially right now at Christmas time
With their MasterCards all a-flutter.

Oh sure, they’ve heard about puppymills
They don’t live in a cave.
The tree-huggers dreamed THAT whole thing up.
They’re really quite depraved!

All OUR pups came from “Local Breeders”.
These signs around TELL you so;
We paint em up and hang em high
Cause we want you to know!

We don’t put a price on honesty,
But this pup will cost eight hundred dollars.
You don’t think that we make the big bucks
Selling fish food and martingale collars !

But back to our Christmas Greeting
And why we wish you all Good Cheer;
You see, you are $pecial folks to us
At this festive time of year.

We love you cause you just don’t care
You buy it because you want it.
You can lay your cash on OUR counter, ma’am,
If you’ve got it, you OUGHT to flaunt it !!!

We love the things you DON’T ask !!!
It makes our job so easy.
If you saw the sights behind the scene
You’d probably get quite queasy.

You’ll never see the breeding dogs
Who suffer on the wire,
Or pups die of hypothermia
When their truck gets a flat tire.

We’ll keep you from our back room too,
And put a padlock on the freezer.
Those tiny puppies stiff and cold
Would not be a crowd pleaser.

We hope you have a vet you like
That pup’s probably gonna need him.
Ivomec wears off in thirty days
That’s how long we’ve guaranteed him !!!

Who cares when you get that blue slip home
And find out that it wasn’t true.
Your Local Breeder’s way out in Kansas ?
HO! HO! HO! That joke’s on you !!!

We’ve got the carols playing
And a Santa, for good reason;
We’re all scrubbed up and lookin’ good
So you’ll make our Christmas season.

A Grateful Heart

November 23rd, 2014 Comments off

“The year has turned its circle; the seasons come and go.

The harvest all is gathered in, and chilly north winds blow.

Orchards have shared their treasures; the fields, their yellow grain,

So let your hearts overflow with gratitude… Thanksgiving is here again!”


The Thanksgiving holiday is a time to celebrate the blessings of the season with friends and family, and with the huge assortment of home-cooked food, it is tempting to share a few tasty treats with your canine companions, but use caution when offering your dog bits of your bountiful feast. Veterinary experts warn that many of the traditional holiday recipes for people are dangerous to your dog’s health, but if you feel you must share, do it safely with a few choices that are healthy for dogs:

  • Small tidbits of white turkey meat without the skin
  • Plain baked or sweet potatoes without the skin
  • Steamed carrots or green beans without any better, sauce or seasoning
  • Plain canned pumpkin, but NOT pumpkin pie filling…just plain pumpkin
  • Sliced raw apples or raw baby carrots

Thanksgiving leftovers can also be dangerous to your dog, and should be stored or discarded out of paw’s reach. Turkey bones and skin, the string used to tie the turkey, and the carcass itself can be lethal if eaten.

If you want to bake a healthy Thanksgiving treat for her, try this recipe by Liz Palika for some sweet potato cookies:

Sweet Potato Cookies:

  • Combine 2 cups diced sweet potatoes, cooked until mushy
  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2.5 ounce jar of turkey baby food.
  1. Mix ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet
  3. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. (20-25 minutes)
  4. Cool and store in the refrigerator.

Happy Thanksgiving from a thankful dog! Enjoy a tail waggin’ true tale as told to his favorite human, Barbara Shaner:

Hi! My name is Teddy and it is Thanksgiving time in our house. The humans are happy and so am I. I am a rescued dog, rescued from the Pound Place where I was with other confused, frightened dogs. I was not a puppy like some of them—I was all grown up so it seemed like no potential family even looked at me.

One day a lady came and talked to me. I tried my best, but she left and went to talk to some puppies. Oh, well, I thought, as I sadly went to the back of my cage and sat down. Then the lady came back with a man and their two human pups. They took me out to the big yard where I ran and jumped and played with the human pups. When the lady said, “I think this is our dog,” everyone smiled… especially me.

I was so nervous at first that I marked the dining room table, and I growled at the resident cat.

I was afraid they would take me back to the pound, but they just said, “This is our dog, and we will work things out.” And I am so thankful that we did work things out and I am thankful for many things: I have my own toys and daily playtime with my family, my own place and bed to protect me from thunderstorms (and sometimes I sleep with the humans!). I am loved and have the best life possible. I try to show how grateful I am by doing stuff like offering to clean the meat pans. Mom says no, but she just smiles and gives me an extra dog cookie. I help my people get their exercise and meet new people. I wish for all canines around the world a loving family, a warm house, tasty food, a cozy bed, lots of snuggles, good smells, and happy playtime

… now about those meat pans

just a couple licks surely couldn’t hurt me, could they?

(If I make my very sad face, I may not get the meat pan, but I will surely get another dog cookie…life is good).

A grateful heart unlocks the fullness of life

It turns what we have into enough, and more.

It turns chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a simple meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

A grateful heart makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow

—Melody Beattie