Friday, November 29, 2019

Black Friday Shopping Plans

In case you're out doing some Black Friday shopping today and start wondering how you could help out your local shelter animals.....

Monday, November 25, 2019

Podcasts for Dog Lovers

Do you listen to podcasts?

I have about five different ones in rotation that I listen to while I'm running or when I'm cleaning the house. Things like Stuff You Should Know - information/history/trivia on a multitude of topics, Oh No Ross and Carrie - the hosts join religions, undergo alternative treatments, and seek out the paranormal to find the truth, and The Minds of Madness - a true crime podcast.

But my absolute favourite podcast is Can I Pet Your Dog? on the Maximum Fun network. It's a weekly podcast hosted by Renee Colvert and Alexis Preston.

They talk about dog news, dogs they met that week, and training problems with their own dogs (Tugboat and Crumb!) Most weeks they have guests stop by - usually celebrities in their own right - to talk about their dogs. They visit different dog-related events in and around Los Angeles and report back. Renee is also a dog sitter, and her stories of the shenanigans she gets up to with strangers' dogs will keep you laughing all day.

They also have a segment each week called My Mutt Minute where a listener submits a one minute recording telling the audience all about their dog. Take a listen to the August 20th, 2019 episode - that's me and my puppers on My Mutt Minute! I'm famous now, right?

Can I Pet Your Dog? (affectionately called CIPYD) also has a Twitter account (@CIPYDPodcast) and an Instagram account (@cipyd) you can follow.

On Facebook, there is a private user group called Can I Pet Your Dog? (obviously) that anyone is free to join. There are over 10,000 members talking about their dogs and sharing photos and support. Check it out!

Okay, enough cheerleading for CIPYD. If you're interested in some other dog-related podcasts, you might want to try:

The Bad Dog Agility Podcast

Dog Save the People

No Bad Dogs Podcast

Why Are You A Dog?

Friday, November 22, 2019

2020 Humane Society Pet Calendars

I'm still looking for Christmas present ideas. There are A LOT of dog lovers in my family, so a gift that they will love AND that will benefit animals in need is just the ticket.

In our area, there are several humane societies and shelters that put out special calendars each year.

The Ontario SPCA has the 2020 Happy Tails Calendar ($20). It shares the stories of twelve dogs that have found new lives through adoption.

The Brant County SPCA (Brantford, ON) teamed up with the Brantford Professional Firefighters Association this year to create the 2020 Paws in Time Calendar ($20). Like the Ontario SPCA it also features dogs that have been adopted through the shelter and are now living their best lives.

In Richmond, BC, the Regional Animal Protection Society has the 2020 RAPS Dog Calendar ($15). The dogs featured in the calendar are residents of the shelter, and the money from the purchase of one calendar will feed a shelter dog for 43 days.

And of course there is the 2020 OPP Canine Unit Calendar ($10). Twelve months of the brave four-legged officers from across the province that serve with enthusiasm every day. Proceeds from the sale of the calendar benefit the OPP Youth Foundation.

There are a multitude of police detachments all across the country that have created K9 calendars this year - find the one nearest you!

Outside of Canada there is the SPCA of Texas in Dallas. They are selling the 2020 Pet Photo Calendar ($15) - a collection of photos submitted by supporters of the SPCA.

And in Sioux Falls, SD, the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society has their 2020 Pet Calendar for $20.  They also have some really fun t-shirts in their online store.

For our international readers, the Royal SPCA provides animal welfare all over England and Wales. They do not have a 2020 calendar, but they do have animal-centric greeting cards (£9.99) and a 2020 pocket diary (£5.99).

And the Royal SPCA Australia has a 2020 Dog Calendar ($20), a 2020 Cat Calendar, and their 2020 Corporate RSPCA Diary (really nice!)

That's just a few of the calendars that are out there - I'm sure there are hundreds more, and you can find one in your area. If you're stuck for a gift, or you just want to support your local humane society, please consider buying a calendar this season.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Pup-centric Advent Calendars

Whether you want to admit it or not, the Christmas season is upon us. And I bet your dog is already putting together their Christmas wish list. If your dog is like mine, they'll be wishing for a treat to come every day.

Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming. Gerhard Lang, an Austrian printer, is believed to have created the first calendar with doors, back in the early 20th century.

Nowadays, there are calendars ranging from simple paper with (sometimes terrible) chocolate treats, to extravagant diamond-filled calendars from Tiffany.

Regardless of your religious leaning, it's always fun to spoil your dogs a little bit, and these doggy advent calendars are just the trick. I like getting them all excited for what might possibly be in there - What could it be? Is it for me? Is it food?

Trader Joe's Advent Calendar for Dogs

Trader Joe's has a salmon and sweet potato advent calendar. Each day shows a little note from the dog - either letting you know what toy they'd like to receive, or an activity they'd like to do. The treats come in different shapes to keep it interesting.

Trader Joe's Advent Calendar for Dogs

Bosco and Roxy's 24 Dog Days of Christmas Advent Treat Calendar

This is such a pretty box. Bosco and Roxy's make two different styles of advent calendar with treats made from crushed peanuts and applesauce.  And the final cookie is a big one. Yum!

Bosco and Roxy's 24 Dog Days of Christmas

Wufers Advent Cookie Calendar

The Wufers Christmas cookie advent calendar is as beautiful as its cookies are tasty. The book-style calendar has a magnetic closure to keep everything fresh. Each cookie is individually decorated with pet-friendly icing and sprinkles.

Wufers Advent Dog Cookie Calendar

Dog Treat Advent Wreath

Etsy has some beautiful handmade calendars. This one from Dog Bones Boutique is my favourite, I think. It's a wreath made of 24 dog treats in the shape of bones, each one numbered to help with the countdown. And it's made in Canada!

Dog Bones Advent Wreath

GoodBoy Pawsley Meaty Treats Advent Calendar for Dogs

This advent calendar has treats made from real, human-grade meat. Chicken strips, duck bites, chicken stars and more. You'll have to make sure to keep it out of reach!

Good Boy Pawsley Meaty Treats Advent Calendar

Primitives Pocket Good Dog Advent Calendar

And if you want to go really simple and handmade, how about this fabric pocket calendar? You can fill the pockets with treats of your choice so you know exactly what you're giving your dog.

Fabric Pocket Dog Advent Calendar

How's that for choices?!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Feature Friday - Zac the Potcake (Dadli Dog)

It's our final Feature Friday, and who better to end with than Mr. Zac - a legend in his own mind.

Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua

Zac is a classic tan Potcake - the most common Potcake type. The Potcake is a mixed-breed dog from the Caribbean - Zac is from the island of Antigua. They are called potcakes because they were traditionally fed the leftovers from dinner, most often rice and peas that had congealed at the bottom of the cooking pot. Each island has it's own nickname for potcakes - in Antigua it's "Dadli" dog, after the original name of the island.

Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua

If you recall Scarlett's origin story, Zac came along for the ride when we adopted Scarlett from PAAWS Antigua animal shelter. We had only intended to adopt Scarlett, but when we inquired about her they asked if we would be interested in adopting Zac as well. The two had been kennel mates from a very young age and were bonded. We remembered him, thought he was sweet, and took the plunge. Because of this we call him our "bonus dog".

Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua

Zac is 3 years old and about 50 pounds. He has one sticky-uppy ear, one white sock, and the cutest underbite. I'm not sure exactly where on Antigua he was found, but he did have one sister named Zia who was adopted quickly.

Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua
Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua

He is feisty and full of personality. He is the complete opposite of Scarlett in that he is always at the front of the line for treats or attention, and is rambunctious and playful. After taking a few months to get familiar, he and Sasha have become terrific playmates and will wrestle and chase each other around.

Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua
Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua

Zac doesn't really have a favourite toy, though he'll grab a stuffed animal once in a while and toss it around. What he does love are brain teasers, or what are commonly called "canine enrichment" toys. He gets his breakfast in the purple egg - called the Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble. The kibble falls out of the holes on the ends as he bats it around with his nose and paws. Scarlett also loves this as she follows along behind, scooping up the pieces he misses. Second breakfast!

Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua kibble nibble slow feeder

The other treat dispenser he loves is the PAWZ Road 2 in 1 feeder. He had trouble understanding it at first, but once we put the cylinder on the ground and he realized it was like his beloved egg, he was getting the treats in no time.  (There are links to both of these feeders here and in the sidebar if you're interested in them - we highly recommend them and have not been paid to say so!)

Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua PAWZ Road 2 in 1 canine enrichment

We built a bigger dispenser with pop bottles and a tension rod to go across the doorway, but it fell down the first time he played with it so now he's afraid it's going to get him. :-) We'll keep working on it.

Zac is my morning snuggle buddy. Really, he's ready to snuggle at any time, but in the morning, after breakfast, if I'm still in bed he'll jump up and burrow into my shoulder for a nap. Once he's asleep he's a rock - you can pet him, tickle him, try to move him around...it doesn't matter, he's not budging. He'll just groan and cuddle closer. I truly love it.

Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua
Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua

He is so smart, and has so much energy, that we've started taking him to rally obedience classes. Rally-O is similar to agility training, except that instead of only jumping over and through obstacles, the dogs perform an obedience task such as sit/stay, pivots/turns, back up, etc. at each station. It has enabled him (and us!) to learn obedience skills, and also forces him to concentrate as the course changes all the time. He is exhausted at the end of each one hour class.

Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua

This little turd gives me the biggest headaches, but also the biggest smiles. I'm so glad we got him. Or did he get us?

Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua
Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua
Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua
Zac potcake dog PAAWS Antigua

**If you would like to support PAAWS Antigua or would like to know more about potcakes in general, please click on one of these links:

PAAWS Antigua

Eastern Ontario Potcake Rescue

Potcake Place (Turks & Caicos)

Monday, November 11, 2019

Remembrance Day (Human and Canine Veterans)

Today, November 11th, is Remembrance Day in Canada, Veterans Day in the United States. It is a day to honour and remember the men and women who have served, and continue to serve, during times of war, conflict, and peace.

In 2011, National Service Dogs launched a program using dogs to assist veterans and first responders suffering from long-term PTSD. There are many reports that service dogs speed recovery from PTSD and help reduce reliance on medication.

canadian veteran service dogs

Service dogs are trained to detect and intervene when their handler is anxious, contribute to a feeling of safety, and promote a sense of relaxation and socialization.

According to Veterans Affairs Canada, among the 18 veterans with PTSD who had a service dog for 12 months and who completed the full 18-month study period, they showed:

  • slightly increased their physical activity – logging more daily steps and spending less time in sedentary activity;
  • reported fewer nightmares and improved sleep quality (participants felt they slept better, fell asleep more quickly and slept more hours per night);
  • had a reduction in PTSD symptoms (e.g, cognitive intrusions and hyper-arousal) with the majority experiencing a very significant decrease;
  • had a moderate, long-lasting reduction in depressive symptoms;
  • reported increases in certain quality of life domains;
  • experienced a significant increase in venturing into their communities and feeling more comfortable in public places (mostly starting after 6 months of having the service dog)
These service dogs that help veterans are  now being recognized alongside their owners on Remembrance Day.

veterans affairs canada service dogs
gambler the blue heeler

In addition to these wonderful working dogs, the dogs that served alongside our military men and women are also recognized on this day.

It is estimated that more than 8 million animals sacrificed their lives to help humans in World War 1 alone. It’s believed that tens of thousands of horses, dogs, birds, and other animals have specifically served Canada and the Canadian military during times of war, helping with everything from transporting equipment and supplies, carrying messages, and saving troops under fire.


Here is a link to stories of some of the heroic animals (pigeons, and goats, and mules, oh my!) that have captured a place in Canadian history.

The Ontario SPCA has issued three new commemorative pins to recognize the "Animals of War". A portion of the proceeds of the sale of the pins is donated to the Royal Canadian Legion to support veterans.

ontario spca animals of war

No matter how busy our days are, it’s worth sparing a moment for all of those furry lives lost during conflict too.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Feature Friday - Sasha the Rottweiler

It's Feature Friday time again, and this week it's all about Sasha.

Rottweiler Sasha

Sasha is a full-bred Rottweiler and currently 9 years old. She and I have a special connection as we share the same birthday - Dec 29th (keep it in mind - I'm expecting gifts :-)).

Rottweiler Sasha flowers

We got Sasha at 10 weeks and it was the first time I'd ever raised a dog right from a puppy. It was only a few weeks in and I wasn't sure if she was going to make it. The peeing, the tiny teeth, the not listening! Maybe she's taught me a bit of patience?

Rottweiler puppy Sasha
Rottweiler puppy Sasha

She is such a happy dog though. We call her our court jester as she'll jump around or flip her dog bed, and then look at you to see if you're watching with a big smile on her face. She's full of energy - even at 9 years old - always ready to go for a run or a bike ride, or to just chase you down the hall.

Rottweiler Sasha
Rottweiler Sasha
Rottweiler Sasha

One thing that's unique to her is that she was born without a tail. Most Rottweilers have tails that are then docked (though less do these days), but she was born with just a little floppy stub. There was also some sort of nerve damage (possibly in the womb) and that stub doesn't wag - which is one of our favourite things about Rotties! Sometimes we tell her we got a dud.

Rottweiler puppy Sasha

Sasha is our resident present opener. She dives right in there like there's a time limit. Once the present is opened she's on to the next one without even looking at what was inside. At Christmas and on her birthday I'll wrap up some of her old toys just to give her more to open.

Rottweiler Sasha

She is the biggest cuddler around. She likes nothing better than to climb up on the couch or bed with you and snuggle right in. She'll flop on top of you for the first few minutes and then fall to the side and spoon. She and Zac have finally figured out their sleeping arrangements and you'll usually find them curled up together in the morning, legs going every which way.

Rottweiler Sasha
Rottweiler Sasha

She's a brave girl who will stick up for any of the other dogs, but she's a big chicken when it comes to loud noises and power tools. When we're working on a project and walk downstairs to get a tool - power or otherwise - she immediately runs for the spare room and dives under the bed. We've also found her hiding behind the TV, in the closet (behind the clothes), and once just sitting in the corner beside the couch - like if she didn't move the loud monster wouldn't get her.

Rottweiler Sasha
Rottweiler Sasha

My sweet Sasha is the light of my life. I love all of our dogs, but I'll admit that Sasha just might be my favourite.

Rottweiler Sasha
Rottweiler Sasha heart sunglasses
Rottweiler Sasha gopro outward hound