Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Mischief-Meet The Breeds 2013

For the past several years the Javits center in Manhattan has hosted an event that for me is better then my birthday, Christmas, and Halloween all rolled into one.   The event is Meet The Breeds and its a gathering of breed fanciers and their dogs and cats that allows the public to learn more about the unique breeds in the AKC and CFA and to hopefully determine which pet might be a good match for them.   I love this event because it is a gathering of responsible breeders and rather then being a sales pitch, all of the individuals there truly love their chosen breeds and are committed to educating the public thoroughly.   I firmly believe that a major reason so many dogs and cats wind up in the shelter system is that people do not do their research.  They choose their pet based on appearance or rumored traits and wind up with a dog or cat that is a terrible match for them.  Other people turn to disreputable sources and wind up with an animal companion with significant health problems.  At best this causes discomfort for the pet and signficant financial expenditure for the owner, at worst it causes serious discomfort for the pet and heart break for the owner.  

Since first attending Meet The Breeds three years ago my husband and I have learned more about many of the breeds we were initially attracted too and have eliminated many of them from our list of potential future family members.  Other breeds we may not have initially been drawn to have become favorites.  Of course the best part of the event is meeting so many adorable dogs and cats!  My phone pictures of the event definitely do not do  it justice if you live in the New York area, you just have to go!

Pekingnese are an example of a breed I really like the look of (adorable Muppets) but have come to realize are probably not for me.   The Peke fanciers I have talked to have all told me they are not super affectionate or playful like their pug cousins, traits that are very important to my husband and me.

The Boston Terrier is a dog I like the look off and know would be a good match for us.   I love the history of these dogs too.   In the future I definitely plan on having a Boston in our family.

This Shar Pei was so sweet.  They are not a dog I'd necessarily ever want to own but its lovely to meet them.

The Norwich Terrier is an example of a dog my husband and I previously didn't pay much attention too but since meeting them at the event they have become favorites of ours.  I love the look and spirit of all of the breeds in the terrier group but know that many of them are not good matches for us.  The Norwich however has all the traits we are looking for with manageable exercise needs. They are one terrier that fits in well in a city environment when provided with sufficient exercise.  I also love their long life span, another trait that is very important to me.

I love the giant breeds like New Foundlands and Irish Wolf Hounds, who I forgot to get a picture of, but I know they are not really right for our home.  My husband is set on sticking with small dogs in the future and since he is fine with having five dogs, and several cats, I figure I can't complain.  This big guy was so sweet though!

My favorite of all the animals in attendance though is actually in the feline section, I've come to really love Sphnyx cats.   Years ago I got hooked on them when I took care of one at a vet's office I worked at.  I had previously thought they were ugly, as so many people do, but when saw how affectionate, soft and warm they are, I fell in love.   I adore visiting them every year and I have gotten good information on their special care needs so that some day when I get one, which will definitely happen, I will fully know what it entails.  I am hoping it will be many years before my husband and I add a Sphnyx kitty to our family since it wont be until our current kitties are no longer with us, but thanks to Meet the Breeds I have a list or reputable breeders, rescue groups, and resources to turn to when I do get one.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Traveling With Pets

If you ask me a meal out shared with your pet is all the more enjoyable, so the same should go for travel.

I'm a firm believer that all the best experiences in life are made better by sharing them with your pets.   I feel the same way about vacations and travel, if it can't involve my pets then I am not interested.  Thankfully, as dogs and cats positions as family members becomes more established in our society traveling with pets is getting easier.  That is why I am so happy to be able to share this article from Priority One Jets on staying safe while traveling with your pets.   It has great advice on airplane travel and international travel.

Baby Weasley traveled by air from Tonawanda, New York to our home in Jersey City, New Jersey. It was a very short flight and likely much more comfortable for him then a long care ride would have been.

I have never traveled internationally with my pets but I have had a puppy, Weasley, shipped by air with no problems.  I would certainly consider taking one or two of my smaller dogs along on a plane trip as long as they could fly in the cabin, which is generally possible with proper carriers on most air lines.

I have taken several local car trips with my dogs and I regularly travel with my small dogs on the New York Subway and New Jersey Path train system.   

From my experience with local pet travel I'd say there are a few absolutely essential rules to follow.

1) Vacinations/Medical Records-I tend to avoid vacinations with my adult dogs and prefer to rely on titer testing since I believe over vacinating is unhealthy.  However, many hotels and doggie day cares require proof of vacination, not just titers.  I would recommend calling all hotels, daycares, boarding facilities and any other place you will be visiting with your dog to find  out what proofs of  vacination they require and if they will accept titer testing.  I was able to have a letter from my vet and copies of my dogs titer test serve at one out of town day care my dog visited.

2) Proper Restraints-When traveling with dogs in a car, seatbelts are an essential.   I use smaller car restraints from pet smart for my pugs, but for my large dogs Bob and Norbert I found a more accurate fit was important.   I think the best seatbelts are from the Ruff Rider Roadies available online.  These seatbelts are every bit as high quality as those made for people and they offer complete restraint.

3) Proper Carriers-When traveling by Subway and path train with my pugs I generally use a doggie stroller.  When Weasley was a puppy I used a travel bag, however for all but very small dogs I find the stroller more comfortable for dog and human.  

 Its important to make sure that any stroller you use zips completely shut as that is a requirement on most public transit.   It is also a good idea to avoid rush hour and to check what the specific pet rules are in your area.

4) Identification-A double sit of identification tags on your dogs collar and leash are another must.  While traveling with your pet I would make sure they are wearing ID at all times.    

Current photos of your pet are another must.

5) Have a Back Up Plan-Every time I've traveled over night with my dogs we have stayed in the home of friends or family.   Luckily this has always worked out for us.  I do think it is important to realize though, that not everyone is going to be as dog crazy as you are.  Unless you know the people you are visiting are dog nuts have a back up plan for occupying your dog if you have to spend the day apart, maybe a day spent at a local doggie day care or grooming spa.  Also its a good idea to know of a few pet friendly hotels in the area in case their is a problem with resident pets or another issue that requires you to stay in a hotel.   

I'm hoping that as the years pass and hopefully my bank account grows I will be able to spend more time traveling with my pets.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy Dog!

This picture was taken of Norbert in front of the Happy Dog Gallery in Piermont New York.  Norbert doesn't stay well for pictures so he prefers having a parent on camera too!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Urban hounds-The Story of Old Drum

This is a repost from one we did last year but its one of our very favorite historical hounds stories so we couldn't resist sharing it again.

A Man's Best Friend is His Dog

Every dog lover knows the saying but not everyone knows about the legal battle that surrounds it.  September 23rd marks the 142 anniversary of  the Old Drum Court Case.  Old Drum was a beloved foxhound owned by Charles Burden who was shot to death by a neighboring sheep farmer, Leonidas Hornsby, who was also Burden's brother in law.   Burden was furious over his dog's death and immediately sued Burden.   The case dragged through the Missouri courts with the men on both sides appealing decisions until it finally reached the State Supreme Court.

In the Supreme Court Trial Burden was represented by George Graham Vest, a lawyer and politician who had served on the Confederate Senate during the civil war and supported the secession of Missouri from the Union.   Vest was a gifted orator and his closing arguments in the trial, known as "Eulogy on The Dog" won the case for Burden and have gone down as one of the most memorable speeches in US courtroom History:

Gentlemen of the jury: The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it the most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.
Gentlemen of the jury: A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.
If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.

A statue of Old Drum inscribed with Vest's speech was erected in 1958 and stands outside the court house in Warrensburg, Missouri 

Another monument was built in 1947 in Blue Springs, Missouri in the location that Drum's body was found after being shot.

Both monuments are frequently mentioned in guides to America's road side attractions.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Little New Yorkers-Dog Vacay Post

Thanks to the author of the adorable blog Simply Shaye I heard about  a very cool pet blogging campaign put together by Dog Vacay.  The campaign allows pet owners to show photos illustrating how their pets represent their city.  By using Dog Vacay if you choose to travel without you can locate a network of pet sitters in your area to watch them while you are away.

If you read our blog then you know that we live in the big city

In these pictures you can see the NYC skyline  across the Hudson River.

in the New York area to be exact.  We don't actually live in New York though, we live in Jersey City which is just 25 minutes from the mega metropolis of Manhattan.  Jersey City has a lot of nice things artists, parks, restaurants, a cool old movie theatre but what it has more of then anything else is commuters.   Jersey City is the second city, right after New York, on the list of US cities with high public transit use.   That is because Jersey City Residents are constantly taking trains and buses into Manhattan for work and fun and it is also number 17 on the list of US cities with the most pedestrian commuters because so many Jersey cityites walk and bike to their jobs and entertainment.

If you read our blog you know we are commuters too.  We have taken trips to Central Park

  Prospect Park

  the village

 Nelson Rockefeller Park

we have been to Brooklyn for Pie
and to Chelsea for Donuts

These are just a few of the trips into Manhattan and Brooklyn we have taken so you can see like all Jersey Residents we are big time commuters.  Sometimes we take the car, its a must when big guys Norbert and Bob come along, but often when its the pugs we take public transportation or ride our bikes.

Baby Weasley on the path train on the way to Manhattan.

Ping and her dad on the Brooklyn Bridge.

 So you can see like other Jersey City and New York residents we are avid supporters of public transport and we love how it helps keep our city green.   Too many cars anywhere is not a good thing, but particularly not in the big city.   Recently mom bought the pugs a new stroller, we will be reviewing it on the blog soon, to make it even easier for us to take the train into Manhattan.   Lots of new adventures await us!

 If your human is thinking of taking a trip to Manhattan, or maybe Jersey City remember its minutes from the big apple and hotels are a lot less expensive, tell them to check out Dog Vacay.  They can find a reliable pet sitter to watch you while they explore the metropolis and of course buy something nice to bring home to you.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday Family Photo

We took this picture over our summer break on a day trip to Piermont New York with Norbert.   With multiple dogs I think its really important to take one on one and small group outings with them.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Staying Safe With Chewies

I'm sure my dogs have a long list of things about me they would like to change.  They probably wish I stayed home all day and they would certainly put an end to any no dog outings that my husband I take.   Treat dispensing would increase a thousand fold and all kibble meals would be accompanied by hamburgers in pizza crust, in fact we could just hold the kibble.   Tooth brushing and baths would be out and four hour park walks and eating goose poop would  be in.  One thing they would change  for sure, they'd make me less stingy about chews.  If it was up to them I'm sure they would be enjoying about ten chewies a day.

I certainly cant blame them, all dogs have a natural instinct to chew and as pet owners its our responsibility to provide our furry companions with appropriate chews.   However, with all the chewies on the market finding the right one can be pretty overwhelming.

In fact I am so confused by the plethora of chewable treats available and the various risks and benefits that accompany each of them that I don't really give my dogs chewies that often.  Recently though I've decided to try to give in and provide them a little more chewy time. Weasley constantly snacking on my slippers while they are still on my feet is a pretty powerful motivator.  

I did some reading up on chews and then ordered some venison tracheas from doggie loot.
Eeek they look gross.  If you are a human you are probably gagging if you are a dog your drooling.

After reading about dog health and watching my own dogs and listening to friends stories I've learned  some chewy safety guide lines.  This is by no means a complete list and I welcome suggestions.

1) Buy American or Canadian made chews and really read the label.  We all know treats from China are bad, unfortunately there are still a lot of them out there.  Also some chews say made in the USA but the meet products are from china.  It is important to read the entire label and make sure that at no time has any part of your dogs treats be in china.  If in doubt you can call the company.

2) Avoid unnatural additives like food coloring and chemicals.  Dogs do not care what color their food is so why on earth do they need a dyed red rawhide chew.

 A better choice is a natural chew such  dried trachea, antlers, Himalayan chews, or pizzles.

 3) Bigger is better.  Get the right size chew for your pup, that means the chew should be significantly bigger then your dogs mouth in order to prevent them from gulping it down.  This is particularly important with brachycephalic, flat faced breeds, like pugs and bulldogs.   These dogs have large mouths and small tracheas so they may bite of a large piece of chew and then choke on it.  When my pugs and bulldog have worked their chews down to small lengths I take them away and dispose of them.
This is a big chew for Weasley so he can't easily gulp it down.

4) Avoid chews with chunks that will  break off.  I don't feed my dogs raw hides or Greenies because I feel that these treats tend to break into big chunks that they will then gulp down.  I've heard plenty of horror stories of intestinal blockages caused this way.  I do give my dogs Nylabones because they love them, but I'm thinking I'm going to stop this too.  It is just not worth the risk.

5) Know your dog.  Some dogs are worse gulpers then others.  I know that Tubby, Bob, and Weasley tend to gulp their chews, particularly Bob.  I've had to pull a chunk of chewy out of Tubby's throat on at least one occasion and Bob has vomited several times while having chews.  For that reason I watch them very closely when they have their treats.   I usually take Bob's chews away before he is finished or else he will throw up. 

 Bob is a gulper but Ping is a more delicate chewer.

6) Separate your dogs.  If you have more then one dog, even if they get along really well, you need to separate them when they have high value chews, otherwise you are asking for a dog fight.  I use baby gates and crates for this.  The dogs are happier too since they feel more secure that their precious chewies are safe.   

In all honesty chew treats still make me a little nervous but with these guidelines I should be able to let my dogs enjoy one of their favorite activities more often.  Happy Chewing!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Black and White Sunday-Vintage Style

I've never agreed with Paul Simon "that everything looks worse in black and white."  The most beautiful photos, I think, are the oldest ones.   Today on our neighborhood walk Weasley wore his Victorian Bell collar from Linden Line Designs, I reviewed them in this here,  and I was wearing a vintage dress and hat from Adeline's Attic.   When we got home and I looked a the picture my husband snapped of us I realized it kind of reminded me of this old photo of a Victorian era girl and her bell wearing pug.

Of course I'm not a little girl and Weasley, like all modern pugs, looks quite different then his Victorian forebears but you get the idea.    If by any chance you have an interest in vintage style my other blog, The Old Fashioned Way, is about my love of all things vintage (including vintage dog stuff).

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Happy Gotcha Day Rin Tin Tin

Apologies for the repeat if you have read this previously but I am reprinting a post about my favorite historical hound, Rin Tin Tin.  Today is his Gotcha Day.

Today in Canine History-The Discovery of a Superstar

In 1918, somewhere around this time (the exact date is disputed), a litter of five homeless German Shepherd pups, and their scrawny mother, where discovered by US army Corporal Duncan Lee and his battalion in a bombed out dog kennel in Lorraine, France.  Lee took one of the pups and named him Rin Tin Tin  after a puppet popular with french children.  Less then two months later WWI came to an end and Duncan took Rin Tin Tin, or Rinty as he called him, back home to the Los Angeles, California.

Lee spent a great deal of time teaching the dog tricks and Rinty was apparently a natural at performing, impressing dog show attendees with his tricks.  Film making and cameras where the new thing and Lee was convinced that his dog could become a star, and he was right!  In 1922 Rinty got his big break playing a wolf in The Man From Hell's River.  He followed that with a starring role in Where the North Begins  in which he plays a wolf-dog faced with the either staying with the wild wolves who raised him or becoming the companion of man.  The movie was so successful that is credited with saving Warner Bros. from bankruptcy.   Numerous other roles followed and Rin Tin Tin became the first real canine movie superstar.

Rin Tin Tin lived to the good, relatively, old age of 14 and as befits any film legend there are several rumors about his death.  One popular story held that he died in the arms of Jean Harlow.  In reality he passed away in his kennel.  His death was announced with eulogies on radio stations and newspaper throughout the country.

Hollywood loves a sequel and Rin Tin Tin spawned a succession of accomplished dogs. Rin Tin Tin Jr appeared in several movies in the 1930s and Rin Tin Tin Jr. the third helped  Duncan Lee train dogs for the first US Military canine corps.  In the 1950s Rin Tin Tin the fourth starred in a series of successful films  such as, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin.  Today Rin Tin Tin the 12th travels around the country attending events.   On September 7, 2011  he rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange when the American Humane Association honored the 300 canines who helped in the recovery efforts at ground zero in September of 2001. 

Susan Orlean's biography, Rin Tin Tin-The Life and The Legend is a wonderful read for anyone wishing to know about this amazing canine.

Here is a clip from the Original Rin Tin Tin's last film

Friday, September 13, 2013

See Beautiful-Prospect Park Dogs

Over our end of summer break we went to Brooklyn's Prospect Park to check out their famous dog beach and dog friendly green spaces.  Even though we lived in Brooklyn years ago and the hounds Grand Dad still lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn we had never been to the park.   It is not a traditional "dog park" in fact their is a leash law in effect from 9 am to 9 pm but it seems that it is not enforced.  The result, since this is a large green space transformed into a doggie paradise.  I didn't see a single unpicked up poo or dog fight.  We brought only our three pugs since Bob and Norbert can be somewhat unpredictable with off leash dogs.  I also kept Weasley leashed since I'm not 100% confident of his recall.  I think its the fact that ever single dog guardian I saw in the park seemed to know the dog and respectful of other people's dogs that keeps this place so wonderful.  Of course I can only speak from one visit but the idyllic sight of all those happy dogs and happy humans  was definitely one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen, unfortunately my phone pictures don't do it justice, and I can't wait to course back.  Of course Tubby, Ping, and Weasley loved it too.

After we we played in the park we visited the delicious Pie Shop Four and Twenty Black Birds. 

 They have the best pie and I love this sign they have hanging outside their shop.
 If like me you are a fan of the TV show Twin Peaks, you may remember this is a reference to a famous line from that show.