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Has your dog gone Postal? Will no treat satisfy her/him?

We’ve just been let into a little secret from the people over at Postal Puppy. They are about to start shipping shiny new dog stuff to doorsteps every month. We’ve convinced them to share the contents of their first boxes with us: Natural dog treats, along with some organic dog treats (made with locally sourced ingredients), an organic flea and tick control, a professional pet shampoo AND something magic. It’s so magic that it’s guaranteed to stop unwanted barking, console whimpering puppies, reduce hyperactivity, minimize fear of thunderstorms, calm your dog in the car, and more!

So, you can head over to PostalPuppy.com to guarantee yourself a box full of goodness or you can enter this contest to win a box. (Or, both!)

Please note, the first Postal Puppy boxes don’t go out until July. But, yours will be shipped mid-June, wahooo!”

Boozer already received his box full of premium pet products.

Do you think your dog would appreciate this box? Qualify for a give-away right here and receive this exclusive box with treats that are USDA organic, and locally sourced.  A professional, high-performing pet shampoo.  All-natural deliciously healthy treats.  And, an Organic Flea repellent.  And, the last insert is a digital download of music that is sure to calm almost any dog (seriously). Sorry, we can only ship to US addresses.

 

 

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How you can prevent dog bites – Interview with Teresa from Doggone Safe [Audio]

This year I told the story of a young man who got bitten on a playground area for dogs. He was ignoring the signs the dog showed him – and got bitten in his face. 133,683 people, including kids, were bitten in the US in 2001. What are the reasons, and what are we doing wrong? I was doing research and found Doggone Safe’s terrific website. After exploring the site, I wanted to know more about its programs and the organization itself, which was founded by Teresa Lewin and Joan Orr in 1998. Education is key to preventing dog bites!

Doggone Safe teaching children in school

Doggone Safe is a non-profit organization with offices in Canada the US, functioning worldwide, and providing the public with resources, guidance and information to prevent dog bites, ensure child safety around dogs and provide support for dog bite victims. Doggone Safe educated 16.000 children about dog bite prevention last year, and continues its wonderful work in educating the public.

We had the great pleasure of speaking with a passionate and dedicated advocate, Teresa Lewin. We talked about how she began her journey with this cause, about the importance of understanding the body language of dogs, and the valuable programs and events offered by Doggone Safe. And by the way: it’s International Dog Bite Prevention Challenge Month!

Teresa recommends following books and links:

How To Speak Dog: Mastering the Art of Dog-Human Communication By Stanley Coren

For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend

Living with Kids and Dogs…Without Losing Your Mind

DogGone Crazy – http://doggonecrazy.ca

Also please download the flyer ‘Talk Dog’ here (provided by the Liam J. Perk Foundation) and pass it around to friends, parents, kids and your community to educate and prevent dog bites. Thank you!

About the interviewee:

Teresa Lewin has had a lifelong interest in animal behavior. While other kids were riding their bikes and playing hopscotch Teresa was training dogs and horses. She has over 20 years experience in the field of animal behavior and training. Teresa has attended many lectures, seminars and university courses and was mentored through her education by Dr Ed Bailey, noted Canadian animal behaviorist. She has trained puppies, pet dogs, tracking dogs, protection dogs and service dogs. In her consulting practice Teresa specializes in rehabilitating problem dogs, particularly those with aggression and anxiety issues. Teresa has been a guest lecturer at several colleges and at the University of Guelph and her articles have appeared in the CAPPDT and ADPT newsletters.

Doggone Safe’s website: http://doggonesafe.com

Facebook: DoggoneSafe

YouTube Video about Dog Body Language:

If you liked the interview please share it with your community or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you for making an impact!

If you see any typos please send us an e-mail to info@packpeople.com – Thank you!

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Every purchase supports small rescues – PackPeople’s new online shop

How can we sustain packpeople.com and keep our important work going? How can we make money with this website? These are questions we asked ourselves last year… and we came up with several ideas. Nothing really new or surprising, just the random things every blog owner starts considering one day. Advertising on PackPeople and earning money with google ads, sponsored links and affiliates; everyone who has a pet-related blog knows what I’m talking about. We want to keep the website clean, informative and not overloaded with ads.

An online shop with unique stuff. That’s the idea!

Our newly-launched online shop has been created to support our work at PackPeople, as well as the work of small, struggling rescues. We will donate 20% of all proceeds to rescues and animal welfare organizations – we keep the rest to buy treats for our dogs :). Prices are fair and the shop looks great! Visit our shop here or use the navigation on top.

From a pool of high quality manufacturers and wholesalers we have picked the most unique and special items (to us:). Ideas we like, products we love and companies we want to work with. Most of the products we sell are produced and manufactured in the U.S. with love by small- to medium-sized companies. Independent artists and pet lovers who make a living in selling their passionate products. For the beginning you can expect the following brands and products in our online shop, and we’ll continue to add more every month…

Get your funny Bandana today for $7.95

For now, we proudly present:

Ruff Ruff and Meow (Pet Apparel)

Arm the Animals (T-Shirts for humans)

Paco Collars (Leather Collars and Leashes)

Threads by Stevie (Bracelets with paw charms)

Felt Monsters by Michiko (Creative needle felted animals)

Please visit and explore our shop and consider buying and contributing – We at PackPeople and the small rescues appreciate your support!

If you think your products would be a great addition to our shop, we would love to hear from you (just know that we’re picky). Please shoot us an email (info@packpeople.com) and we’ll talk about it.

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Animal Stories Articles Cool and Fun Stuff Get informed and educated Pet Care Pet Care

Is This Really My Dog?

Your Dog’s Got a Personality. Get Used to It!

You know how some parents want their kids to grow up to be doctors and they end up with musicians? The same kind of thing can happen with dog owners and their beloved pets. We sometimes hold our puppies to expectations that they can’t fulfill, nor should they. They, like children, manage best with acceptance. So do we.

 

Ringo is my first dog. I adopted him a year and a half ago, and he gives me tremendous joy. Through him, I’ve been given sense of loving purpose with which I’m sure many of you other packpeople out there have long been familiar, but to me, it’s still something new.

Once in a while, so is his behavior.

I can’t lie: when I adopted him, with his sweet little face and quiet disposition, I imagined he would change the world, one melted heart at a time. He seemed a perfect candidate for therapy dog training, and after he aced his first obedience course, he earned his American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen certification at the local dog club. He was on his way, I thought, to a career of healing, visiting local hospitals to spread his warm, magical fuzziness wherever it was needed.

Then he started growling.

About six months into our relationship, Ringo got comfortable enough to reveal his true self. He’s not that “into” people. He trusts only a few, shows affection to even fewer, ignores many and downright dislikes the rest (“grrrrr…”)

Sure, I was disappointed, but I’ve come to accept that he’s a living, thinking being, full of his own opinions and tastes. His behaviors I can train (treats have proved helpful in meeting new people), but his personality is his own. He’s “aloof.”

“That’s okay,” said one of his trainers. “He doesn’t have to like everybody; he’s just not that kind of dog.”

When he likes someone, however, he really shows it. That’s the kind of dog he is. He’s also the kind of dog who sits on command, leaves my things alone and never makes messes in the house. He may not be therapy dog material but in other ways, he’s a dream.

Nobody’s perfect, and the same goes for dogs. The best that we can do is encourage their best assets, despite the expectations we place on them.

If you’re new to dog ownership, take it from me. More likely than not, your dog’s behavior will change in some way during your first year together. That’s not necessarily bad, but character-building, for both of you. You’ll need to practice acceptance, discipline and the diligence to research the most effective ways to deal with negative behaviors. In doing so, you’ll see that your pet’s brightest traits and talents will truly shine.

Ringo may never be a therapy dog, but that’s okay. He may never be a doctor, either, but if he decides to take up a musical instrument, I’ll pay for lessons. What matters is that I encourage him to be the best Ringo he can be.

Good, Ringo! Good boy!

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Adoption Articles Get informed and Educated Get informed and educated Health Pet Care Pet Care

Getting a Pet Can Improve Aging in place

In partnership with aginginplace.org, we would like to publish this great article today. You can find the original post on http://www.aginginplace.org/seniors-and-pets/

Are you wondering how you are going to care for your pet as you age in place? Are you wondering if you should adopt a pet as you age in place? This guide will help you decide on the best choice for you. Studies have shown that owning a pet can be physically and mentally beneficial for people of all ages. In the case of senior citizens, “just 15 minutes bonding with an animal sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain, lowering levels of the fight-or-flight hormone, cortisol, and increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. The result: heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels immediately drop. Over the long term, pet and human interactions can lower cholesterol levels, fight depression and may even help protect against heart disease and stroke” (Byrne, 2015).

If you are mostly immobile, a cat may be the best option because you don’t have to walk them. A small dog that uses pee pads or a caged animal may also be a good option. Senior dogs and cats are better for the elderly because they are more calm, quiet, and less maintenance. Be sure to have the pet checked out by a veterinarian. A pre-existing illness or disease could drain your bank account or make you sick. For those seniors who want a dog, there are many reasons to be wary of jumping into pet adoption too quickly. The lack of mobility and inability to drive to and from the vet, groomer, or pet store worries them. The initial costs are usually high. They also worry that if and when there comes a point when they can no longer care for the dog, that the dog might be taken to a shelter and eventually euthanized. Many seniors feel like their worsening health condition is a burden, and a pet might possibly add to that.

PETS_infographic_aginginPlace

Top 6 Reasons Seniors Should Adopt a Pet

There are numerous reasons for adopting a pet. From companionship to security, pets can provide seniors a better quality of life and improve aging in place. Finding the right pet for you or your family member is easy, and the benefits can be far-reaching

Matching Older Dogs with the Elderly

Pets for Seniors in Illinois created an adoption program that matches senior dogs and senior cats with senior citizens. They worked out solutions to the issues that seniors have with pet adoption, and the program is very successful. The program pays for most of the adoption fee, chooses calm and housebroken older dogs, and provides support every step of the way. If the animal is not a good fit, the organization will take back the pet and refund any fees. Other humane shelters around the nation are trying to replicate this model.

Pet Therapy for Seniors

Those who work caring for the elderly say that pets pull withdrawn seniors out of their shell, provide mild activity and cardio through walking and grooming the pet, and offer a way to feel needed and connect with the world. Pet therapy can also help with Alzheimer’s Sundowners Syndrome. Nighttime can be very confusing and disorienting for folks with Alzheimer’s disease. This is when some Alzheimer’s patients try to run away or leave their home. A pet can prevent this issue by keeping those with Alzheimer’s connected and occupied.

“Animals’ non-verbal communication and profound acceptance can be soothing for those with difficulty using language; some may even connect with memories of their own treasured pets”

“Animals’ non-verbal communication and profound acceptance can be soothing for those with difficulty using language; some may even connect with memories of their own treasured pets” (Byrne, 2015). Pet therapy has shown to improve appetite, social interaction, brain stimulation, and tactile activity. The unconditional love of a dog brings healing and meaning to a sometimes lonely stage in life. Ask your doctor, physical therapist, or social worker about any pet therapy programs in your community. Just because you give away a pet or choose not to take one into your home, it doesn’t mean that you can’t visit with other family pets or receive pet therapy. There are pet therapy home visit services all over the country. Alliance of Therapy Dogs and Therapy Dogs International are volunteer-run organizations with outposts all over the world. A local volunteer will come to your home and bring a trained service dog that is very well-behaved. The dog can play, cuddle, and perform commands during a half-hour or one-hour session.

Service Dogs for Seniors

For seniors with disabilities, a service dog might be the best option. “The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 2011 defines service dogs as those trained to do work directly related to a person’s disability.  Emotional support animals and dogs used as crime deterrents are excluded from this definition.  A service dog is expected to accompany a person with a disability at all times” (Wang, 2013). Service dogs go through extensive training to remain calm and help their owner with mobility issues.

Service dog skills include: opening doors with a strap, pushing doors closed, helping their handler dress and undress, helping those in wheelchairs sit up straight & place feet and arms on footrests and armrests, preventing falls, and retrieving wheelchairs and walkers. It’s amazing the tasks these dogs can do! In an emergency situation, service dogs are trained to perform life-saving tasks, like retrieving medication, calling 911, opening the door for EMT and first responders, running to get help or barking for help after identifying an emergency and laying down on their handler’s chest to help them a cough or breath better. For hearing impaired owners, service dogs are trained in alerting their handlers to the presence of other people or particular sounds, retrieving dropped objects, carrying messages, and warning that an unseen vehicle is approaching. For visually impaired owners, service dogs are trained in avoiding obstacles like moving vehicles, signaling a change in elevation, locating objects on command, and retrieving dropped objects.

Find the right service dog for you. Pets often increase the amount of exercise pet owners get versus non-pet owners. More exercise isn’t always a good thing for older people with injuries and susceptibility to falls. There are also some nonprofits in existence that will help elderly folks care for their pets when walking their dog multiple times a day or cleaning out the litter box is too burdensome. Look to see if there is one in your area.

If you want to learn more about 

  • The cost of Pet Ownership
  • The Risks and
  • How to Care for Your Pet While Aging in Place

Please visit http://www.aginginplace.org/seniors-and-pets/ and let us know what you think about this article. Thank you. 

 

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Toni Eakes and the truth about A wish for Animals rescue

Hello dear animal lovers and friends,

In  2012 I wrote an article about Toni Eakes and her rescue and she threatened to sue me and I had to take it down.

I left this short post up to let people know why I took the previous post down.

For whatever reason, maybe because the universe wants it, this post ranks #1 in google when you search for “Toni Eakes” and I receive countless emails, phone calls  and blog comments from people seeking help with all kind of issues revolving around Toni Eakes and her rescue “A wish for animals”

I never worked with her or met her, but due to this overwhelming flood of people and authorities looking for help or information about her, I felt the urge to publish some of the emails sent to me without publishing names.

You decide whether you want to work with her, adopt from her or volunteer for her. I’m just helping the public and the animals in sharing these emails.

  1. Hello, I tried reading your blog but looks like it was taken down. I fostered for Toni 2 years ago in October of 2013. It was the worst experience of my life. I was wondering what your blog had said. I’d love to know that I wasn’t the only one who got screwed by her then harassed and threatened Thanks

  2. Toni Eake’s facility is actually located at 5930 jasmine St in Riverside. Its a hell hole.

  3. I worked for her and stayed at her property. Animal control was there the day I took these pics and did nothing. I’ve called everyone and sent these pics. Police and animal control don’t seem to want to help. Dogs with mange ticks injuries and illness. What more do they need to see? The matted dog was aced and shaved by a volunteer. Toni asked me to do it and I told her to have him anesthetized and groomed by a vet. Instead she bought ace promazine and had a volunteer do it. The last pic is what he looked like before they attempted to do anything. He came to the kennel clean and developed the mats over months in her care. Last Tuesday the director of services,  Frank Corvina told me he sent officers to the property the previous day to check on a litter of five week old puppies that were dehydrated to the point where the volunteers were giving sub cutaneous fluids to them. A volunteer informed me AC never even came.

  4. I would like to get a copy of your article.  I have been in rescue for many years and known that she was bad but i need to show others occasionally .  Thanks

  5. Hi. Can you please tell me more about Toni Eakes? A Wish for Animals has been pulling dogs with high pledges from southern California shelters. And most recently one of the dogs was deemed aggressive. The foster can no longer keep the dog and the rescue isn’t cooperating in taking the dog back. Any insights would be much appreciated. Thank you.

  6. To whom it may concern,
    Good morning, my name is L. and I am a proud Pitty adopter for the second time. In doing research on google about a Wish for Animals I found your post about having to take down the article about Toni Eakes. I unfortunately made the mistake of adopting a rescue from her and it may turn into a legal issue. What should be a joyous and happy event has turned into one of the worst experiences I have ever had.  I was wondering if you could help with some information and or any help in dealing with this group. Thank you.
  7. Hello, a woman has asked us for help with a foster she has had that belongs to Toni Eakes. This woman has paid for EVERYTHING for this dog. Toni has given her $0 towards the dog. She has had him over a year now. She must move & contacted Toni.Toni won’t take the dog back. Toni told the foster that she is in breach & is abandoning the dog. I always thought the rescue is the owner!  When the foster said she would re home the dog Toni told her that’s illegal cos she owns the dog. Whatever! I need some info so I know what to do to help this foster.

  8. Hi, I hesitate to write to you because quite frankly, the woman scares me.  However, I couldn’t agree more that she shouldn’t be involved in animal welfare.  I have a long sorted story regarding my experience with her and since it isn’t over, I would rather not go into details about it in this email. In fact, I would be much more comfortable talking about it, than writing it since I want to avoid a retaliation from her.  Once my involvement with her is over, I would like to help in whatever way I can, as well as sharing my story on your comment board.  In the end, there needs to be a way to get the word out about her.

  9. Hi thank you for responding. I recently adopted a dog with Toni and it turned into a nightmare. The dog was nothing like the dog that they described when I adopted him. He was not neutered, vaccinated, or microchipped. I was told that’s what the $350 paid for but Toni never returned my calls when I tried to contact her about getting these things done. Toni never responded to any of my communications. He got aggressive around my 5 year old and all other dogs.  He also bit my parents docile elder dog on several occasions. When I contactedToni saying this wasn’t the right home for the dog she got so defensive that she turned it all around on me. Verbally attacked me and said I had made the dog act that way and that I had put the dog in danger. She insisted that I return him by the end of that day. She was unwilling to refund my $350 so I could adopt another dog. I I cannot believe she gets away with it. I have been told to take her to small claims court but not sure if I will win because she says what I paid was a donation to a non-profit organization. Very frustrating. Thank you for the info!

  10. Hi, I am very concerned and discouraged after working withToni on Saturday. I would appreciate a phone call or and email with any information that can be provided.

  11. Hi, Thank you for putting an article together about Ms. Toni Eakes. I thought her lawyer might have contacted you and that is why I could not read the article. I met Ms. Eakes two years ago and the experience was horrible. I have a dog that is now, in decent health this is of course spending over 15,000. The story is a long one and I ended up going on a mission because of her crueltyto animals to get her shut down and I had no luck. I appreciate you taking the time to write an article and hope one day she will be stopped.

  12. Thank you for sharing. I was the one that called animal control on her in 2010 for the place in Laguna Hills. I had a report on her from Orange County Animal Control over 500 pages. I followed her for a awhile and called animal control at her home which again, animal control stepped in. I also got threats from her lawyer and my lawyer wrote her letter then, I never heard from her again. I was lucky my lawyer is an animal advocate. I am sorry, that this behavior of Ms.Eakes has continued for so many years. It is truly sad for the animals involved and the community. My hope is that her cruelty someday stops.

  13. Thank you for emailing me back so quickly. On Saturday, my ten year old and I met Toni and several of her dogs at a Petsmart in RSM. I filled out paperwork, which I assumed was to foster a dog. Before we left she had me sign it. Since I have a King Charles at home, I asked about his vaccinations, worms and flea/tick medicine. She assured me everything was up to date. With all the excitement, I did not get a copy of what I signed. Huge mistake!!! In fact, I did not bring home one piece of paperwork. The next day (Sunday), I called her and asked for a copy of what I had signed and proof of his vaccinations. She was rude and said that I was only fostering and did not have rights to the vaccine records. She also informed me in an email later that night that what I signed was not a foster agreement, but an adoption agreement. She said she had crossed out adoption and put foster on the form (without my knowledge) and asked me to sign it. She still refuses to give me a copy or any records on the dog I brought home. She has been extremely unprofessional and is insisting I sign the foster agreement. The foster contract holds me liable for neutering (which was done by someone already) and that “I must provide proper care (proper food, water & shelter), including necessary medical care, regular checkups and vaccinations as necessary.” It also states that, “I promise and agree to be solely responsible for these animals and to indemnify and hold harmless A Wish for Animals from any and all claims of liability for the conduct of this animal while in my/our home and care. THIS IS A BINDING CONTRACT ENFORCEABLE BY CIVIL LAW.” I find this unacceptable, especially since I am being refused any of the records. I am happy to train, provide a good environment for him to grow in and am in a situation where this would benefit the dog. Her website says foster parents will receive everything from medical care to food at no cost. I found that contradicting and concerning. In addition, on Monday night, two nights after bringing him home with my son and King Charles, I found out the dog had tape worms and fleas. She told me it was easy to take care of and all available at Petsmart. I did not know it would cost me $91. It had only been two days since I had brought him home! I should not be responsible at such an early stage for those costs. When I emailed her (I do have copies of these emails if you want to see them) about reimbursement, and contract concerns, plus I gave her updates on the dog, she refused to pay for the de-worming and flea meds and said I should have waited until this coming Sunday (which would have been 7 days later.) She said she could not afford it. This of course was not an option with my other dog. I didn’t want fleas all over my home or risk getting worms. She didn’t answer any other questions concerning the contract and just stated I needed to sign it. When I brought the dog home she told me he was a lab mix. After researching online, I discovered he is a Rot/Pit Bull Terrier mix. She had no response about my questions on that either. I was informed after bringing him home that he was about 1 1/2 years old and was a shy dog. Then after speaking with her trainer I was told he was most likely a puppy mill dog and knew no life except a cage. Toni was so rude when I asked questions. The dog seemed fearful of people, sounds and cowered like he had been beat. Toni said he had never been beat or aggressive. She treated me like his behavior was my fault. She then very rudely proceeded to lecture me about what I had to do to care for the dog, including which collar I had to use (which slipped right off his head). Not once has she shown gratitude, compassion, appreciation or excitement about the progression of this dog. The trainer who was keeping him for two weeks left him in a large backyard with her 6 Mastiffs. The trainer said a week ago he could not even be pet or walked. When I brought him home, he was clueless what affection was, did not know how to play and still could not be walked. He was nervous about being pet. He has never been in a home environment and was scared to death when I showered and washed dishes. I have worked so hard with him. I hate to give him back to her, but I do not feel like I have a choice. This is a good dog that has an opportunity to grow and be trained, but he is not ready to go into any home. He needs time to learn what home life is and be appealing for adoption. I do not want to make this about me or her. I just am floored by the legal stand point, her demands and unprofessionalism. I fear in the end the dog is going to suffer. I do not know what you recommend. There is more to my story, but those are the main points. I also have the emails as proof. I am an honest, loving, moral divorced mother of 1. I hate drama and avoid it at all costs. This has had a huge impact on me because I have not seen anyone behave so irresponsible, controlling, unethical, dishonest and rude as she is. It is truly disturbing. I have made great progress with the dog. He walks on a leash very well, has learned how to play, smiles, is potty trained, affectionate and discovering what being loved feels like. The progression is unreal. All she seems to care about is herself and money. Thank you for any insight or support you can give. I am very discouraged right now. I also filed a complaint with the BBB. She has had 3 other complaints and her record is an F with them.

Please leave a comment! Thank you very much.

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Articles Cool and Fun Stuff Get informed and educated Pet Care Pet Care Product Reviews

Collar vs. Harness

The Competition Runs Neck-and-Neck.

So I’m talking with fellow packpeople David and Yurda about pertinent blog topics and the age-old issue of leashing dogs with collars vs. harnesses comes up. Naturally, there is no easy way to answer this – there are arguments for both and I’ll get into that in just a bit – but the funny thing is that no sooner had we discussed the topic than I discovered that Ringo (my 15 lb. mix of corgi, dachshund and possibly seal) needed a new harness. My neighbor Connie, who takes care of Ringo when I work late, had noticed redness on his chest, and the subsequent discovery of frayed, protruding stitching on his harness’ chest strap sent Ringo and I straight to the pet store.

Why does Ringo wear a harness? It’s this simple: when I adopted him, he was wearing one. He always wears a collar for ID as well as decorative purposes, but for leashing he and I are accustomed to the harness. I like the security of its hold over his torso, and as he’s a smallish dog, I’m more at ease knowing I won’t inadvertently hurt his somewhat delicate neck. Looking over the vast selection of collars and harnesses at our neighborhood pet supply store, however, it’s clear to see that there are countless options available, in styles ranging from eco-friendly hemp fiber to breathable nylon mesh to bright, bold and bejeweled.

Collars vs. harnesses. Everyone’s got an opinion, and you’re best to form one of your own, with expert guidance from your veterinarian. Here are some thoughts, though, that seem to recur in many dog care forums on the subject:

Basic collars, when fitted properly, are a comfortable choice for dogs without “pulling” tendencies. Some collars can be useful for training, with choke chains and prong collars providing methods of correction (and in these cases, it’s highly important that humans are trained for their safe and sensible use). Collars are also easy: easy on, easy off, and even if you opt for leashing your dog with a harness, the addition of a collar is more likely to accommodate pet ID tags with a characteristic metal D ring.

Leashing on a harness minimizes the risk of injury to a dog’s neck and back, particularly in smaller breeds. Simple nylon harnesses can be purchased, as well as specialty harnesses designed to provide the same corrective effectiveness as traditional training collars. Harnesses are also available which provide transportation safety, with designs that are compatible with automobile safety belts.

After about 30 minutes of walking back and forth and trying things on in the collar and harness aisle, Ringo and I settled on something new (for us, that is). Typically, he’s been wearing a simple nylon-strap harness, but this time we opted for a breathable mesh harness that covers more of his chest than his previous gear, allowing pressure to be more evenly distributed across his chest. It’s a Comfort Control Harness made by Four Paws Products, and we chose a fetching shade of royal blue because that’s all the store had left in the appropriate size, and also, we’re fancy. We walked around a bit in the store parking lot to “test drive” the item, and the change in attire suited us both. I felt no loss of control in guiding Ringo at my side and he seemed perfectly comfortable.

So I urge you to consider all your needs when choosing not only between a collar or harness but also which collar or harness. There are thousands of them out there. You might even choose more than one, for different applications. Take a look at fit, finish, materials and construction involved as well – Ringo’s reddened, irritated chest taught us both, the hard way, to examine details like stitching and seams for durability and comfort.

Then, adequately equipped, you’ll enjoy peace of mind and greater control over a safe and secure dog.

This way, Ringo. RINGO. THIS WAY. Good boy!

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Adoption Advocacy and Activism Articles Cool and Fun Stuff News Pet Care

De La Doggies – Dog walking and photography in Downtown Los Angeles

meandlilly-1I met Marissa at the South Los Angeles Animal Shelter on a Sunday morning, while she was holding a big heavy camera and waiting for the shelter staff and volunteers to guide her. At the time, I was volunteering at another animal shelter and had come with a dog trainer to show new adopters basic dog training skills, with the help of the shelter dogs. While we were waiting for the first potential adopters and spending some time with the shelter dogs in the play yard, I asked Marissa to join us. We talked about dogs and the shelter system in Los Angeles and discovered that we had a lot in common — like our passion and love for dogs.

Today, after nearly 2 years, I’m very excited to voice our support for Marissa, who has just started her new business offering pet photography and pet sitting services in Downtown Los Angeles.

Allow me to introduce this very talented photographer and passionate animal lover to the Packpeople audience with her own words and bio:

Hello,

I am Marissa de la Torre and Dog is my God.

When I moved to Los Angeles from Oakland, California this time, three years ago, I didn’t have much. I didn’t have a job, not many friends, and not too many hobbies or passions.

Growing up I always enjoyed photography, thanks to my dad, and I was lucky to grow up with dogs in our household. As a matter of fact, I had no siblings growing up, so the doggies were often my play mates throughout the years.

When I first arrived in L.A. I moved into a condo right behind a Petco. The very first day I moved in I decided to visit. I always loved going inside Petco and visiting the rats, mice and guinea pigs — watching them and taking photos always made me happy.

While there I noticed an adoption event going on, that was adopting out dogs and cats, Save a Life Rescue. I was immediately drawn to the furry mammals. After visiting them for awhile, I then talked to the founder of the rescue and soon found out they were in need of a photographer. I was ecstatic. It all seemed perfect — I can use and learn my new digital camera my dad recently bought for me, I could hang out with dogs and cats and help find them forever homes and I can literally do this in my backyard, every Saturday! Tula-1

I then began my romance with doggies and photography, and most importantly it was for a good cause, and I had found a new hobby!

I helped Save a Life for a year and then moved to Downtown L.A. and then began volunteering my time in local high kill animal shelters. It was then I quickly learned about the big problem L.A. had with homeless pets and how packed shelters were with dogs being surrendered or found on the streets, with not enough people adopting or knowing where to find a new pet at.

I soon discovered and starting volunteering my time for non-profit organizations and groups like; United Hope for Animals, L.A. Love & Leashes, and The Lu Parker Project, that were helping a lot of these dogs and cats in the shelters get the proper exposure they deserved through photography and networking. To take a picture of a homeless dog, post it online and see the dog get pulled from the shelter into a loving home, made it all worth it and reassured me time and time again I had picked the right hobby 🙂

Batman-7Fast forward three years, I am still living in Downtown L.A. and have had a string of 9-5 jobs that were not particularly interesting to me, but they paid the bills and I feel I was doing what I was supposed to do, whatever that means. Similar to when I had first moved here, I did not have any clear goals on what I wanted to do for work and had no real passions I thought I could potentially make into a career. It took some time, a lot of jobs I did not like, a lot of support from friends and family and most importantly my continuous time with doggies to finally realize that I could make spending time with the furry mammals into my career. It really just boiled down to me taking that jump and being confident and prepared!

So now I am proud and happy to officially launch my own dog service business, De La Doggies, offering dog sitting, dog walking and most importantly dog photography in the Los Angeles area.

walker-1I think I can finally say I love my job and most importantly I feel rewarded and fulfilled as a human to be helping take care and provide for human’s best friend, dog.

For more info, rates and examples of my photography work with dogs, please visit my website at: www.deladoggies.com follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook Fan page. You can also find me on tumblr.com and dogvacay.com

All you need is Woof!

~ Marissa

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Why Deaf Dogs Rock – Interview with founder Christina Lee

Deaf Dogs Rock Logo

‘Oh, that one, he’s not going to be adopted anytime soon, he’s deaf’. This is what a worker at one of the rescues where I have volunteered said, when I asked her why a particular dog wasn’t being shown to the public. ‘Nobody wants to deal with a deaf dog, they all want ‘perfect dogs’.

Some dedicated dog rescue organizations show that this statement is simply not correct — and we’re glad we can introduce our audience to one of them: Deaf Dogs Rock.

Through my volunteer work at different animal rescues I was always amazed by the deaf dogs at the shelters. I always wanted to learn more about their personalities, ways of communication and why some dogs are born deaf or become deaf with time. After we interviewed Blind Dog Rescue Alliance last year, I always had it in mind to find a reputable organization to add to our ongoing serious of interviews. Fortunately, we found a wonderful rescue dedicated to deaf and hearing-impaired dogs.

Deaf Dogs Rock is dedicated to helping and advocating for deaf  or partial hearing-loss dogs by rescuing dogs in shelters, assisting deaf dog owners, and educating the public about these wonderful, capable animals. Deaf Dogs Rock is a non-profit corporation in the state of VA run by a group of dedicated volunteers. We had the great pleasure of interviewing Christina Lee, the founder of Deaf Dogs Rock, and learned a lot of important facts about deaf dogs.

How did your adventure in dog rescue begin? It all started with my first deaf dog Nitro. A friend of mine worked at the City of Salem Animal Shelter here in Salem, Virginia. The AC officers spotted an 8 week old skinny white deaf boxer puppy at the Salem River. They knew they could not adopt it out to just anyone so they called me and asked me if I would adopt this pitiful little deaf puppy. I told them I would ask my husband but I thought it would be a long shot. We already had 3 dogs and we weren’t really looking to adopt another dog, especially a “special needs” puppy. When I asked Chris what he thought after showing him a photo of the puppy he said “yes” and I was shocked.

We ended up adopting our Nitro the next day but we ended up staying up most of the night learning as much as we could about ASL and training deaf puppies. What we discovered was most of the information on the internet was slightly outdated so we ended up going into training for the first year at Field of Dreams Training Center in Vinton VA. Although they had never had a deaf puppy in their classes they were pleasantly surprised how well Nitro excelled in all of his classes. Before long the local TV station did a story on him and it went National and my email box started filling up with questions and deaf dogs in need of homes so Chris and I decided to launch Deaf Dogs Rock to help others to have one site to go to and feel like part of a special community who can help with deaf dogs and the challenges they face, and to also list deaf dogs up for adoption.

Why did you decide to help deaf dogs in particular? What continually fascinates you about them?

Nitro 1

I adopted Nitro and when I realized most shelters put deaf dogs to sleep the minute they walk into the shelter, then it sort of hit me like a brick. I would look at Nitro and just think about all the deaf puppies and dogs just like him that were never ever given a chance so I knew Nitro and I had to do something to change people’s perceptions about them. They are not hard to train, just different to train.

You have many cute dogs on your website available for adoption. Approximately, how many dogs in total do you have listed on your website?

Right now we have about 125 deaf dogs listed. We have had as many as 200-300 listed at one time (in the beginning). We are getting a lot more traffic these days so a lot more dogs are being adopted because of our Deaf Dogs Rock Website.

Approximately, how many dogs have been adopted through DDR? It’s hard to say at this point because I only stared keeping track (the best I can) about six months ago. Six months ago I added an “Adopted Deaf Dog” section so I could start moving our adopted deaf dogs over to the Adopted Deaf Dog section so I would at least get some idea of how many are adopted off our website. On a good month, 30 deaf dogs are moved from our available for adoption to our adopted section. This month right now I think we are right at 24 for the month of May. For 2013 I estimate the number will be between 250 and 300 deaf dogs going to new homes from being listed and networked from our website.

739987_10200557651090032_1879114279_o-001What happens to dogs that don’t have the chance to be adopted?

If they are at a reputable rescue they can remain in foster care for years. We have one listing Ziggy who has been with his foster mom now for 3 years. If it is an Animal Control center then they usually get put to sleep. If a puppy is at an Animal Control many times through our network of rescues we will sponsor the puppy to be pulled, and also we help get the puppy transported to a rescue where we know the puppy can learn basic training, but also a rescue is going to have very strict guidelines for potential adopters looking to adopt a deaf puppy.

How do you locate and rescue dogs?

Ha! How do I find them, well I don’t, they find me! Deaf Dogs Rock has such an amazing group of deaf dog followers and rescue organizations that if a deaf dog is networked on Facebook, I can almost guarantee DDR will be tagged in a deaf dog listing. Once DDR is tagged then I send the organization a message with guidelines of what they need to send me to get the dog listed on Deaf Dogs Rock.

How can I find out if my dog is deaf?

What are the indicators? They sleep deeply and don’t wake up to noise. A person can pull up in your driveway and they might not notice although they do feel the vibration sometimes. Once they are asleep if you jingle your car keys and they don’t wake up that is a very good indicator. If you call your dog and he doesn’t turn around to make eye contact then that is another strong indicator your dog is either deaf or partially impaired.

Why are mostly white dogs affected?

The most common cause of congenital deafness in white dogs is pigment related. If there is un-pigmented skin in the inner ear the nerve endings die off or atrophy and die off in the first few weeks of a white puppies life resulting in the pups inability to hear anything. Sometimes it happens in both ears which is called Bilateral Deafness and sometimes it happens in only one year which is called Unilateral Deafness.

What are the most common reasons people give up their deaf dog?

It depends. Sometimes it is life change like having a baby so a family might worry about a deaf dog being startled by a baby. Sometimes a family thinks they can raise a deaf puppy without fencing so when the puppy comes to live with them and has nowhere to safely run and exercise the high energy deaf puppy resorts to chewing and destroying furniture. Some folks don’t realize how much of a time commitment training a dog or a deaf dog in general takes. Many times a family will adopt an 1 or 2 year old deaf dog and the resident hearing dog at home protests by attacking the deaf dog so the deaf dog is the one who has to go. I do get puppies from breeders who don’t feel right about selling a deaf puppy to anyone because they know a potential adopter needs to be someone special willing to go that extra mile to raise a deaf puppy. DSC_0011

What can people expect from a deaf dog, compared to a hearing dog?

The two are very much the same because when we train a puppy we are teaching them our communications skills. With a hearing puppy we teach them verbally but with a deaf puppy we teach them through visual hand signs. The main focus when training a deaf dog is to make sure the dog is looking directly at you. For this reason we start off all dog and puppies on a leash or a tether so we can tap them, teach them the “watch me” sign and then start teaching them commands through hand signs.

Your website is very informative and a great resource; you give tips and answer many questions. For newbies, can you tell us in a nutshell what are the most important things to know in terms of training and handling your deaf dog? How do dog owners communicate with deaf dogs?

To read up on positive reinforcement clicker training and substitute the sound of a clicker with a visual sign like and open flash of your hand . I start signing “watch me” and every time the puppy makes eye contact I give them an open flash of my hand to mark the correct response to my sign and then treat as a positive motivator. I start by signing for everything I do with the dog. So the first step is learning the simple signs or you can make up you signs but make sure you are consistent by using the same signs for the same commands. We do feature a short video on DeafDogsRock.com by Alisha McGraw where her video can teach you most of the signs you need to know. Also I highly recommend “tether training” you deaf dog the first week you have it because it bonds you to the dog and it also teaches then a lot in a short time. You can go to our Training Blog on Deaf DogsRock.com to learn more about deaf dog tether training.

Can dogs lose their sense of hearing with time or are they mainly born deaf?

Absolutely they can lose their hearing as they get older (senior dogs) or they can lose their hearing from infection or blunt force trauma to their head.

Who is the perfect adoptee and how is your adoption process?

Someone who can offer a safe and loving environment for the dog. Someone who is patient and will not ever punish the deaf dog with his hands but always redirect with a toy or treat. A home where the dog lives inside with the family but has access to secure fenced yard. A person or family willing to step up and be the deaf dog’s advocate. What I mean by advocate is help the dog become the best Canine Good Citizen he can be by taking the deaf dog out and socializing the dog. Also by enrolling in positive group clicker training classes (we use a visual marker instead of the sound of a clicker to mark the correct behavior) or at the very least for them to do their research on how to properly engage and train a deaf dog themselves. If you look on DeafDogsRock.com and go to our Deaf Dogs Rock Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Therapy Dog Wall of Fame those are the kind of adoptees our friends in rescues look for when it comes to potential homes for deaf dogs.

If I already have a deaf dog and need help with general questions, can I contact you?

Yes I do get a lot of emails and I try to help as much as I can. I usually will direct a person with a problem or challenge to post their question on our Deaf Dogs Rock Facebook page because we have the most amazing Deaf Dog owner community. We have 12,000+ followers on FB and many of these deaf dog owners are very experienced and have been through years of training and raising deaf dogs. Whenever a question goes up within a couple of hours there will be anywhere from 30 to 150 comments under a particular question.

Can you describe a rescue experience that has moved you?

There are so many but one of my favorites is Indy’s Story. I got a message from one of our followers that a deaf boxer puppy had been returned to the shelter because it was deaf just after only 24 hours. I was going to list the puppy on my website but I had a FB friend who had been following DDR since day one and she had white boxers. She had mentioned a few weeks earlier she had learned all the signs and she really wanted to adopt a deaf boxer so instead of listing the puppy I sent her a text.

It was her day off and she was going to sleep in until she received my text I had the perfect deaf boxer for her but I needed her to get out of bed and drive from Ohio to Hamilton Co Indiana. Her head was spinning.

She tried getting the shelter to hold the dog for her to make the long drive but they don’t hold dogs. When I told our DDR FB followers what was going on they took it upon themselves to flood the Humane Society of Hamilton County with messages to “please hold the puppy for Vicky until she can get there”. The Humane Society’s phones were also ringing off the hook from our followers asking the staff at the shelter to hold the puppy for Vicky. One lady who lived near the shelter in Hamilton Co somehow saw what was going on and she took off work early to go “sit on the puppy” until Vicky could arrive from Ohio.

All of our followers in Australia, England, Texas and all over the country waited in anticipation for the outcome. After a few hours the shelter placed a photo on our DDR FB page and asked us to “call off our dogs” that they would indeed hold the puppy until Vicky could get there to get her new deaf puppy.

Vicky did not get home until 1am in the morning so everyone on FB had to wait for an update until the next morning. We had folks all over the world waiting on pins and needles but we had a huge FB Celebration the next morning when we all got news. We also had one of Vicki’s friends keeping us all updated throughout the day through text messaging. It was one of the most heartwarming adventures that it felt like we all went on together. You can read Indy’s Happy Tail in detail under our Deaf Dogs Rock Happy Tails section.

What are the biggest challenges your rescue center faces?

We are not a rescue center in the conventional sense of the word. We are a website which advocates for deaf dogs through education, networking, sponsoring deaf dogs, paying for neuter/spay surgeries/medical, transporting deaf dogs out of a bad situation into rescues we work with all over the country and even in Canada. Deaf Dogs Rock also provides training resources, inspiration through our Happy Tails and CGC – Therapy Dog Wall of Fame and we list deaf dogs in need of foster homes or forever homes.

What do you need most for your mission, and how can people get involved? In general, why should people adopt from a rescue?

Every community needs volunteers to either walk the dogs, go play with the dogs or even clean kennels. Most of my rescue friends put in 60 to 70 hours a day and they can only do so much. The dog need to be stimulated and given affection so they don’t go crazy being locked in a kennel until the right family comes along. If a young person can just commit to maybe 2 hours a week that makes a huge difference in a rescue dogs life while they are waiting for their forever home. We need people to consider fostering deaf dogs. Many of the rescues and shelters are over flowing with dogs so every family willing to sign up to be a foster family will save a life one dog at a time. People should consider adopting from a rescue because the only chance these dogs have is if families open their hearts and their homes to them. Deaf dogs may not be able to hear with their ears but they can certainly hear and know love through their hearts.

Do you have any upcoming events you want to share with our community?

We just got back from the National BlogPaws Conference in Tyson’s Corner, VA. Last year we won the Halo Foods Nose to Nose Social Media Award for the Best Cause Blog so we got to go back this year and we were awarded $2000 to go to our favorite Service Dog Foundation which was Saint Francis Service Dogs. Nitro and I came back and we presented the check to them today so that was very exciting. This weekend we will be at the 7th Annual Woofstock Dog Festival in Downtown Roanoke. My husband built the most amazing Deaf Dogs Rock kissing booth so we have some of our followers with well trained dogs coming into do meet and greets.

[PP: CONGRATS ON YOUR AWARD!]

If you could give pet owners one piece of advice, what would it be?

Give up your Starbucks everyday and put the money you save towards Positive Reinforcement Group Training Classes. My best advice is when you adopt a deaf (or hearing) puppy if you spend the first year of your deaf dog’s life doing consistent training and socialization, then you will have an amazing deaf dog you will be proud to take anywhere for the next 10 or 12 years.

What makes rescue so rewarding? What keeps you going?

Knowing that I can change people’s perceptions through advocacy, education and inspiration. If I can change how shelters view deaf dogs, I can buy the deaf dogs time to get a rescue or foster to make a commitment. I will never ever forget the day I saw a listing in the Philly PA Craigslist with the title “Deaf Dogs Rock” where the Philly Animal Control put an add up for a deaf pit bull which said “If you don’t believe a deaf dog rocks then just click here” and the link went back to our website. Can you imagine an animal control officer giving a deaf pit bull in Philly a chance at adoption? Somewhere someone at the AC of Philly saw our site and had an “Aha” moment. All I have to do is look into Nitro’s eyes and I know in my heart he would want me to do this for all the dogs out there just like him. My Nitro is my heart dog and deaf dogs like him deserve a chance at a happy life.

Do you have pets of your own?

Yes I have two deaf white boxers Nitro and Bud. I also have three hearing dogs Tallulah, Lexi and Bailey. I have three horses also and we live on a farm in Virginia with all of our animals.

Do you want to share websites and links with PackPeople?

If folks are thinking about adopting a deaf dog they can view our adoptable deaf dogs here: http://deafdogsrock.com/category/available-dogs

hear-with-heartsWebsite: http://deafdogsrock.com

Twitter: Deaf Dogs Rock

Facebook: Deaf Dogs Rock

If you liked the interview please share it with your community or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you for making an impact! 

We are humans, so if you see any typos please send us an e-mail to info@packpeople.com – Thank you!

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Articles Get informed and educated Health Pet Care Pet Care

To Treat or Not To Treat?

Treats for dogs

The dish on giving your dog “people food”

Our dogs can be so darned cute that it’s tempting to lavish them with the finest things possible… but remember: they’re dogs. What may be our idea of a delicious treat may not always be the healthiest option for our little friends… and the way we give it to them can affect their behavior more deeply than we might expect. Finally, before you give your pet a special treat, ask yourself exactly who you’re rewarding: your dog, or you?

“People foods” warrant really careful consideration. Know that certain foods, even in tiny amounts, can be toxic, even fatal, to dogs. Raisins, for instance, may cause kidney failure, and only a few macadamia nuts can cause muscular tremors or paralysis — a huge price to pay for a seemingly innocent snack. Before you decide to give your dog any food that isn’t expressly prepared for dogs, be sure you’ve done your homework and investigated a few educated opinions on the subject, by asking veterinary experts or studying online.

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Articles Get informed and educated Health Pet Care

30 miles/hour can kill you and your dog

Safety for your dog in the car.

I’m always shocked how careless and frivolous some people are with their dogs driving in cars. I see them jumping on the driver, licking the face and sitting on their laps. For responsible travel with a pet is to properly secure the animal. In an accident, an unrestrained dog becomes a projectile, risking serious injury to the animal and human passengers. For your, your family’s and dog’s safety, do not allow pets to ride in the front seat, no matter how much the pet enjoys it. Pets riding in the front seat can be thrown into the windshield if you have to make a sudden stop or your air backs can injure them, if they have to launch out. Dogs on the back seats are very dangerous too, if they are not secured.

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forAnima.com, an eco- and animal-friendly, vegan online marketplace

foranimastartWould you like to experience an all-new vegan shopping experience? Do you want to buy or sell animal-friendly products? We found something you might find very interesting… forAnima.com is the place to join. This brand new concept is an animal-friendly community marketplace where animal-friendly brands can create their own stores, decide how they wish to ship their products and offer promotions. In addition to a “one-stop shop” for eco- and animal-friendly products and services, we also offer “groups” for animal lovers and vegan businesses to communicate about the green movement. forAnima is created to provide vegans with a place to virtually hang out, but also to appeal to mainstream shoppers and show that there is no need to shop in way that harms animals or the environment. The foranima.com team is a caring group of vegans who have been animal rescuers their entire lives, and animal activists for the past 10 years.

foranimaPint

We had the great pleasure of talking to forAnima founder Sarit this week and found out what inspired her to create this exciting marketplace, why she became vegan, how she wants to make an impact on animals’ lives with forAnima.com and how you can join this platform or get involved with their mission. Listen and enjoy an entertaining and informative interview.

Sarit recommends following websites:

www.mercyforanimals.org

www.veganoutreach.org

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Website: www.foranima.com

Twitter: @foranima

Facebook: ForAnima

Pinterest: ForAnima

If you liked the interview please share it with your community or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you for making an impact! We are humans, so if you see any typos please send us an e-mail to info@packpeople.com – Thank you!