Friday, November 27, 2015

The Life and Times of a Therapy Dog

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Our friends at HooplaHa! brought a new YouTube series to my attention. For everyone who has every wondered what life is like for a Therapy Dog, this series follows Sullivan, an adorable Golden Retriever, as she goes about her days, bringing love, happiness, stability and security to a wide range of people. 

The first episode, which is below, from HooplaHa! and Inclusion Films, finds Sullivan at a nursery school in California. Sage was trained as a puppy at Project Chance in Jacksonville, Florida. I found it a little jarring that a dog named Sullivan would be voiced by a woman but apparently he is a she. Further on in the video, Sullivan is seen having snacks with the children. It bothered me to see the Golden having popcorn which is not something most of us would recommend since the kernels can either get caught in the dog's throat or scratch the throat. I hope they'll pay more attention to such small details in the future.

In future episodes, of Sullivan's Travels, Sullivan will be seen with handicapped adults at work with his dad, Joey Travolta, at Inclusion Films a really wonderful company that deserves attention. Sullivan also visits nursing homes. 

I wrote one of the first article - if not the first - on therapy dogs. It's nice to see that their work can now be so easily understood through the use of video.  

If you enjoy this, you can click to subscribe to the series.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Safety & A Special Treat for You

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Happy Thanksgiving to you and those you love. It's time to stop and think about everything for which we are grateful, for the special people in our lives and the special people and pets who have graced our lives. I am very grateful for my sixteen year old Chartreux, Aimee, who makes every day special.

We love our companions and as the holiday season starts, we have to be aware of keeping them safe and healthy with so much food around. Some people food is definitely not good for pets! Even if you think it's out of reach, chances are it isn't. Never underestimate a clever and agile dog or cat.

There are things you must be sure they don't ingest. Be sure you warn your dinner guests not to give them any of the following:

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Caffeine
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Nuts like Pecan, Walnuts, almonds contain high amounts of fats causing vomiting and diarrhea
  • Alcohol - Some guests think it's amusing to let the pet drink alcohol. It's potentially lethal.
  • Citrus peels, leaves, fruit and seeds of plants 
  • Coconut and Coconut Oil
  • Coconut Water is high in potassium which is not good for pets
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Salt
  • Salty snack foods
  • Yeast Dough rises and can result in gastrointestinal problems including bloat among other issues and is potentially lethal
  • Xylitol is in sugarless chewing gum and is showing up in peanut butter. Read candy and gum labels carefully
Your pets may be consuming small amounts of some of the above but please be careful. Better safe than sorry. Avoid possible death and definite veterinary bills. There's a reason why veterinary hospitals are so busy during the holidays.

Obviously, keep trash sealed and put where your pets cannot possibly get into it.

Now, as a treat for you, here's a chance to watch a couple of Golden Retriever puppies eat and grow. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dogs on Deployment Donation Match

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If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that i've written about Dogs on Deployment. This post is a little late but, thankfully, not too late! Pet's Best Insurance is matching donation to Dogs on Deployment through the month of November. Why November? Simple. It's in honor of Veteran's Day. It's never too late to think about our veterans and our men and women still serving in our armed forces.

Pet's Best is a leading sponsor of Dogs on Deployment and will match donations this month up to $1000. 

Dogs on Deployment connects military members with volunteers who will take care of their pets while they are on deployment. This is so important for their peace of mind, knowing that their beloved companions will be cared for until they can return to them. 

This is the second year that Pet's Best has teamed with Dogs on Deployment.  If you've been reading my blog for awhile you may remember that the 2015 Dogs on Deployment Military Pet of The Year is Leonidas. He and his dad, Tim Johanssen, are both war veterans, having served time in Afghanistan. Leonidas is protected by Pets Best Insurance.

Friends of Dogs on Deployment save 5% on pet health insurance plans from Pets Best and $40. will be donated to the non-profit for every submitted pet insurance application.

Thank our veterans and donate!

For more information about Pets Best visit:

NOTE: I received no compensation for this post, nor am I a spokesperson for Pets Best. I wanted to pass along information that I think is important. Your choice to donate to any charity is, of course, your own.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

It's Always a Good Time to Take Your Dog To Work!

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I'm a huge fan of taking your dog to work. Dogs help us lower our blood pressure (and we lower theirs when we pet them), they help us smile and take the stress out of the day for everyone. As long as your dog is well-mannered, he or she should be a welcome addition to any office. 

This "Chicken Soup for The Soul" moment is a HooplaHa original.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Whisker Greens? Yes! It's #PetGrass

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This post is sponsored by Pet Grass and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping create awareness about the launch of Whisker Greens but PerPETuallySpeaking only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Pet Grass is not responsible for the content of this article.

As a cat owner, I've made a point of giving Aimee a healthy diet, fresh water available at all times, lots of environmental enrichment. Okay, that may be a bit of an understatement. She has two full toy boxes and other toys scattered in every room in the house because a kitty girl never knows where she'll be when she wants to play. We have interactive play sessions and lots of snuggles and cuddles and kisses. She is, of course, indoors only, no declawing. I practice what I preach. What's missing from this picture?

For years I saw cat grass kits in pet supply stores but, frankly, I had no idea of what kind of grass it was, what sort of seeds and to be brutally honest, I'm not exactly good with plants. Pets flourish here. Plants, not so much. 

Then, along came the opportunity to try the brand-new Whisker Greens™ from Pet Grass®. The difference? It's certified organic Wheat Grass grown from 100% certified organic seeds. It contains lots of nutrients. Protein, fiber, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes and antioxidants. The seeds are planted by hand in real soil and I didn't have to plant it. They rotate the little seeded pots through their greenhouses where they get the perfect amounts of sunlight and water. We know darned well that I couldn't do that because my house doesn't get enough sunlight and I'd probably love it to death with too much water.

It arrives, already grown and is sold in packs of three for a one-time price of $24.99. If you opt to join the Pet Grass® subscription service you will pay only $22.49 per delivery and you decide when it ships: weekly, every two weeks, every three weeks or monthly. The little plants come sealed in a resealable plastic bag and stays fresh in your refrigerator for 2 weeks. Or you can leave the plants out for your cats to enjoy whenever they like. There are individual pot holders included with the shipment.

At age 16, this will be Aimee's first experience with cat grass. Little Miss. I-Don't-Talk-To-The-Press-Even-WhenIt's-Mama will be videotaped for your enjoyment (and mine) in a future post.

Meanwhile, if you can't wait to order Whisker Greens™ for your kitty, here's where you can find ordering information and more: Whisker Greens™

For 10% off on your first order, Use Coupon Code: perpetually10

You can find them on various social networks:

Vine:           pet grass

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thai Street Paws and Contest Winner

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Dogs in need of help are everywhere. It seems that every corner of the globe has a problem with homeless dogs. It's heartbreaking. Many people wonder why "someone" doesn't do something. We are, each of us, "someone." One woman who has changed her life in order to help street dogs in Thailand, is Tamara Johnston.

Tamara originally went to Thailand from her native Australia, to teach. A qualified primary school teacher, Tamara taught eleven years in Australia and five years in Thailand and Malaysia, bringing her teaching skills to children in other lands. This is her second time teaching in Thailand. While in Thailand the first time she began to see the problem with the Thai street dogs. Her "lightbulb" moment came when she found a puppy, a mere four weeks old, outside a Temple. The little one was in danger of being run over by cars. Tamara brought home the puppy she called Bella and they have been together ever since. This meant going through the work of getting Bella into Australia when she went home and back to Thailand when she made up her mind to sell everything and return to Thailand. Tamara's passion for helping the street dogs of Thailand began the day she rescued Bella. 

Tamara had continued to help the street dogs from Australia but she knew it would be easier to accomplish her goals if she were on the ground in the country. While there are a couple of big rescues in a major area, Tamara is in Songkahla where no one helped the dogs. No one but Tamara.When she moved back she moved to Bangkok but when she went back to visit Songkahla she knew that that was where he help was most needed. She started Thai Street Paws Rescue.

The problems are enormous. Veterinary bills can quickly add up. Even though it's less expensive in Thailand, she lives in Thailand, consequently, her life is also tied into their economy so it is just as expensive for her as for any other resident. 

Social media allowed her to show people the dogs, raise funds, arrange adoptions. Ah, but the devil is in the details. Raising funds puts her in competition with everyone else who wants money to help various causes. If you've been reading my blog for awhile you know that I advise against donating to organizations so big that they are on TV and promising gifts when you donate. Gifts? You're buying them. What about the payment to the various staff members from the Director on down? Better to donate to a grassroots organization. It doesn't matter if it's in your backyard or on the other side of the world, they are the ones who are truly in need and are usually functioning on a shoestring. Then there are the dogs who need veterinary care, those who need to stay in a foster home. Tamara fosters some herself and cares for about 30 dogs that are on the street near her residence. She obviously needs volunteers.

"The plan is to live here for many years," says Tamara. "I even moved my dogs from Austrlia to here and that was a big step." It was, indeed.

With homes lined up in various countries, the problem has become getting the dogs to their adopters. She needs volunteers who are flying out of Thailand. She will take care of all the paperwork. It costs them nothing. They just need to accompany a dog on the flight, otherwise, they can't leave.

When a friend in the U.S. wanted to send her beds and blankets for the dogs it was outrageously expensive and nearly impossible. She ultimately mailed them but the money that went to the post office could have gone to feed or vet the dogs. 

Tamara still works as a teacher. She teaches at a Thai university and she has her own tutoring centre. She would dearly love to work full-time with the dogs. She has three dogs of her own now, and she takes three foster dogs at a time, the rest are boarded out in private facilities. Her goal now is to open a safe house for the dogs, separate from her own home, where they will be able to recover and wait for their forever homes, off the streets and into loving arms.

Tamara knows she can't save every dog but each one is a victory. She is one woman in an adopted country, with a heart of gold who has the courage of her convictions and has put her life where her heart is: saving as many street dogs as she can.

For those who want to help, every little bit counts, it is put with the donations of others and it adds up.  You can donate through her You Caring fundraising site:

Here is the link for the YouCaring Site so that you can donate to this life-saving cause:

Thai Street Paws Fundraising

You can follow her on Twitter: @oztam76  


Facebook: Thai Street Paws Rescue

Contest Winner: The winner of last week's contest to win a copy of Simon Tofield's newest book, Simon's Cat Off to The Vet... and Other Cat-astrophes is Nancy Dionne!  Please contact me through my website:, with your name and address to send to Akashic Books. Congratulations, Nancy!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Simon's Cat Off to the Vet..And Other Cat-astrophes & A Contest

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The first time I saw Simon's Cat on YouTube I was hysterical and hooked. Here was a cartoon that utterly captured the feline personality without speaking a word. Whether waking his owner or trying to get one over on a kitten, it was obvious that Simon Tofield, the artist who created Simon's Cat, knows and loves cats. He doesn't need words to express his cat's feelings or moods, the cat makes tiny vocalizations just as a real cat would. He gets into mischief and romps through life leaving everything in his wake, and some of it still standing.

Since 2007, Simon and his team have created nearly 40 short videos much to the delight of cat people everywhere. To date, his YouTube channel has over 3 million subscribers and more than half a billion total views. It's mind-boggling but completely understandable. As a Certified Animal Behavior Consultant, Simon is as familiar to me as any cat I've been called to see. Simon's deceptively simple drawing of a cat come to life whether in animation or in a book.
Simon Tofield & his creation
His first book, Simon's Cat in Kitten Chaos was quickly followed by Simon's Cat vs. The World, released 6 months apart in 2013. Now, his vast audience can enjoy Tofield's newly released Simon's Cat Off to The Vet. It has been his most-requested topic which is not surprising. Every cat owner knows what it's like to take their cat to the vet, from wreaking chaos in the exam room to coming home wearing an Elizabethan Collar, better known as The Cone of Shame. Tofield, who is in the U.K.  hits just the right note with cat owners worldwide.

All three books are published in the United States by Akashic Books. Simon's Cat Off to the Vet retails for $27.95 in Hardcover and $16.95 in Trade Paperback.  

The nice people at Akashic Books have made a sneak preview available:

I suspect most cat owners will recognize this scene

Here's a preview in color:
In the Exam Room

Akashic Books is giving a copy of Simon's Cat Off to the Vet to one lucky reader of this column! Please leave a comment below telling us why you want to win. I'm sorry but it is restricted to U.S. Residents only. You can enter through Sunday. The winner will be announced next week so don't forget to check back.

This is bound to be a popular gift choice for the holidays whether for the cat owners in your life or for your veterinarian.

NOTE: I was given a review copy of this book. The review is mine. I received no monetary compensation.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Search for The "Real" Trix Rabbit

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Do you remember the Trix Rabbit, the cute cartoon bunny who has evolved over the years? I thought so.  I do, too.  General Mills, the company that makes Trix Cereal, has decided to reformulate the cereal to make it healthier.  It will still be tasty but you won't have to worry about eating something that really isn't exactly a health product or feeding it to your two-legged kids. After all, the cereal's slogan was, Trix are for kids! Yes, I remember that, too. You'll find the new one on shelves in January 2016.

To celebrate the introduction of the newly formulated Trix, General Mills is on a hunt for the Real Trix Rabbit. The contest has been going on for a couple of weeks but you still have time to enter before the November 6th closing date for entries. One real rabbit will be featured as the honorary face of Trix. Pet rabbits from across the U.S. could become the #RealTrixRabbit and appear on limited run boxes in the winner's hometown. Really. I know I usually talk about cats and dogs but plenty of people have pet bunnies!

Real rabbits to other pets in bunny costumes (I don't want to know) you can take pictures or videos and upload them to:  You can also check out the competition and, of course, you can follow #RealTrixRabbit on social media.

The animated Trix Rabbit will still be around. He has a long-term gig, after all!  But this is a chance to make your pet a star, at least in your hometown!

Check out the "B Roll" of the Casting Call:

Here's the Trix timeline for those of you who are feeling nostalgic for the Trix Rabbit you grew up with:

NOTE:  I received no compensation for this blog post other than a box of the new Trix to sample. 

Making Shelter Pets More Adoptable. Plus Contest Winner

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Photo by Rabi Dixon
Walking into a shelter and seeing all of those sad faces is heartbreaking. Dogs that are trying to get your attention or, conversely, are frightened and shaking in the back of the cage. Cats that either reach through the bars to get your attention or are lying in a bed, totally shut down. It is probably one of the most depressing places to be. It's hard not to want to take them all home. Unfortunately, because of lack of the right kind of interaction with volunteers, many of these dogs and cats are either ignored, adopted and then returned to the shelter or just lead lives of hopelessness until they are put down or put to sleep, or whatever words are used by the shelter to replace death and killing. It's gut-wrenching.

If you have been thinking of volunteering at a shelter, or even if you haven't, I have a couple of suggestions for you. I hope you will seriously consider them.

The first is for those of you who know how to clicker train. The idea originated with Karen Pryor who created dog and cat clicker training kits for shelters who wanted to adopt the program. I really don't know how many did but I do know that clicker training works. 
Photo by  Lisette Brodey

Some years ago, to honor the memory of my late friend, Karin Winter, I contacted the Albuquerque City Shelters and arranged to teach their volunteers to clicker train. Albuquerque was the last place that Kari had lived and she was an ardent supporter of rescue dogs and the most remarkable volunteer I have ever met.

I brought along enough of Karen Pryor's iClicks so everyone got one. I taught them the basics of loading, or charging, the clicker so the dog or cat would understand that click means treat and we could teach the pets the basics.  Once they had that down, we started with the dogs.

They had chosen some rowdy teenaged dogs, the type that pull your arm out of the socket when you walk them and jump on you in greeting, potentially knocking you down. Not exactly endearing characteristics for the potential new owner who may not know how to deal with this.  They offered me the opportunity to choose other dogs. I'm sure they were convinced that these dogs were impossible and I would look like a fool. No, I said, these dogs are fine.

That particular shelter was set up in a shopping mall to attract attention.  We took the dogs into the mall and I broke them down into small groups of volunteers and we worked, initially, with one dog at  a time. The first out was a bouncer. The dog looked like he had a built-in pogo stick.  It wasn't long before he was sitting nicely. Dogs want to please, they just have to understand what you want. The clicker is an event market and tells the dog he did something right.
By Nancy Ross

Next we brought out one of the dogs who pulls on a leash. None of this is uncommon, by the way, if a dog hasn't been trained.  It didn't take long before each dog was walking politely beside me. I showed them how to stop and wait if the dog ran ahead, how to talk to him and pat me leg as we walked, and how to reward good behavior.

The dogs were turned around before I left.  

Then it was on to the cats, using a pencil for each one since we didn't have chopsticks to use for nose touches. Everytime the cat showed interest and touched his nose to the pencil, he got a treat. One sad little one had never come our of his bed, he would barely look at anyone. He was completely shut down. The normal treat didn't work. I didn't think it would and the volunteers felt vindicated, convinced that he was impossible. Just a sad case.  I asked a volunteer to go in back and bring me a can of the smelliest cat food she could fine. Guess who became interested? Guess who got out of his bed and came forward? Volunteers were calling each other to come and see!  It was heartwarming. Only one volunteer, an older man, refused to learn. He just came in and cuddled the cats. I think he was doing it more for himself than for the cats but at least they were getting some human interaction.
By Nancy Ross

Another idea for volunteers involves groomers. I know two different groomers living in two different States who set aside one day a week to groom shelter pets, usually dogs.  This, too, helps make them more adoptable.

Everyone can do something to help. How are you helping?


The first winner drawn who was one of the "unknown" commenters whose link I followed: Alicia Heindorn.  Congratulations!  I hope you enjoy BUDDIES as much as I did.

The Publisher is providing the book and will send it directly to you once I have your address.  Please contact me through my website.