About Pet Blogs United

Pet Blogs United aims to support our fellow pet bloggers by encouraging members to visit other members and leave comments. It’s a great way to find great blogs & new friends.

Pet bloggers are some of the kindest people we’ve come across, so we know that with your help, this site will become a great place for everyone.
We will have a featured blogger every week once we get going and that person will hopefully be showered with comments from our members.

To be a PBU featured blogger, first become a follower through Google Friend Connect (juct click the follow button you always see). Then just send an e-mail to Pet Blogs United. We'll contact you, have you pick some of your favorite posts and feature you when your turn comes up on the list. Pet Blogs United will only feature blogs about, by or for pets & animals.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Shutterfly Cards, Review & Giveaway - 3 Winners!

Last year I discovered how awesome Shutterfly was for holiday cards.

You may know that Oskar has his own blog, and for Valentine's day I got him some great cards to send to his female admirers.

We also ordered our holiday cards from Shutterfly last year and loved the way they turned out.  I have to mention how easy it was to order them & how quickly they got here.  They offer tons of different layout options for you to choose from, or else you can just follow one of their pre-made themes.

With one of Shutterfly's great coupon offers, I even ordered Oskar's cards for this year, but you don't get to see them until they are mailed out!  I will tell you I really love the non-traditional style of the ones I chose :)

Shutterfly also has a great selection calendars, photo gifts & greeting cards.

Are you a blogger? Want a chance at 25 free cards this holiday season? Register here: http://goo.gl/DDw7Q

Now for the best part!  Shutterfly has offered me a giveaway of 25 free cards to different Pet Blogs United readers!

We're going to make this contest simple, so here are the rules:

1.  Be a follower of Pet Blogs United, with GFC, Twitter (@PetBlogsUnited), or through networked blogs. 

2. Go To Shutterfly and tell me what kind of cards you would like to order.

That's it!  Leave one comment telling me how you follow Pet Blogs United and which cards you like best.  On November 8th I'll pull a name 3 names out of a hat.  Make sure that your e-mail address is in your profile or in your comment, or you can't win.

Comments will close 11/07 at midnight Eastern time.  Winners will be notified via e-mail and have 48 hours to respond or else a new winner will be chosen.

*Shutterfly is providing free photo cards to me in exchange for this review.  All opinions expressed are my own, I really do love this company :)

What are you waiting for, the holidays are getting closer!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Luna, A Dog's Life - Featured Blogger

Today we are pleased to introduce you to Luna, A Dog's Life:

Luna is very excited to be a Featured Blogger on Pet Blogs United. When we had decided to bring a puppy into our lives I was already sold on starting a blog for him/her, this was before I even discovered the numerous other bloggers out there! I used to think I was the only one! :D Originally we were set on getting a boy but when we found little miss floppy ears Luna our hearts just melted and we had to have her :)

My partner Antonio and I have both grown up with dogs and so it was only right for us to bring a little puppy into our family, and boy is she spoilt! The blog is a great way for us to show the world our little girl, and to connect with other likeminded people in order to learn from them.

Luna and I write most of the content and Antonio is starting to get more actively involved, so it's really great for us as a family. Luna is almost 5 months old but she is the most important thing in our lives.

I hope you can stop by and enjoy the stories of a little Beagle girl in Melbourne :)

A few of my favourite posts would have to be:
Our very first post: Coming home..
Top 10 treats to keep Luna happy...
Photos: Building a kennel...


Friday, October 28, 2011

Welcoming Your New Cat Home

This article is brought to you by Wet Nose Guide, a nationwide dog care directory which lists dog stores and dog businesses for when you’re away from home.

The first day you welcome a new cat into your home is an exciting and joyous occasion. This is your cat's first day in a brand new world, and for you it's a new addition to your family. It's reason to celebrate, but it's also not a day that should be taken lightly. Welcoming a new cat into your home requires a bit of preparation to make sure that things run smoothly and that your new feline companion makes an easy transition to the new environment. Take the following steps to give your new cat a perfect homecoming.

1. The first step you need to take is before your cat arrives in the first place, which is to prepare your house for its new guest. "Kitty-proof" your home to make sure your cat can't wander into trouble. This means no sharp edges, loose pills or small, choke-able objects that your curious cat might find interesting.

2. Secondly, make sure your place is well-stocked for the new arrival. You'll need food and water, and dishes for both. Whether you're feeding your new cat wet or dry food, make sure to stock up on plenty of both. A litter box (and newspapers, until your cat learns how to use the former) is also vital. Also, assuming your new cat isn't declawed (which is a whole other issue, entirely), make sure to have a scratching post on hand for those busy claws.

3. It's also vital that you have a game plan for where your cat is going to stay for his first few nights in the new place. Remember that cats can be timid, excitable creatures, and it's usually best to keep them isolated in a relatively small place until they get comfortable with the sights and smells of their new surroundings. So have a room set aside for your cat.

4. Another vital preparation is in the event that you have kids or other pets that might be curious as to their new housemate. For the ease of everyone involved, give your cat at least a few days before introducing his new family members. And keep a close eye on any encounters for the first few days, at least. Again: your new feline is going to be intimidated and perhaps a bit erratic for these early days, so the idea is not to let him get too worked up.

5. Finally, once you've determined that your cat has grown accustomed to his limited surroundings for those first few days, open up the house and let him explore. If you live in a relatively calm neighborhood, exposure to the great outdoors comes next. Keep him on a cat leash for his first few trips outside, for obvious reasons. Once he's accustomed to his surroundings, your new cat will fall into the rhythm of his new life and you will fall into his!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hate The Deed - New Blogger Alert

Today we are pleased to introduce you to Trip & Kimberley of Hate the Deed:

Serenity & Trip
My name is Kimberley. I am a Senior at a great university in the midsouth, majoring in the Department of Communication studies. I plan on furthering my education, and attending Grad school, I am in the process of trying to apply (so wish me luck!). I live with my boyfriend and our 3.5 year old daughter, who is our entire world. We got Trip about 8 months ago, to save him from getting into the wrong hands. I was in love with him immediately, but the thought of his breed, a pit bull, worried me and so I did tons of research on whether we should keep him or find him another home. After doing a lot of research, and gathering information from both sides, I realized that if this dog is raised properly that he can grow to be a friendly family dog (In 1980, they were actually considered the best family pet).

Trip is a very energetic dog, that shows his eagerness to please us. He is VERY easy to train. He loves to learn new tricks, because he knows that means he gets a treat. He is kennel trained, and he is a house pet. He doesnt know that he is seen as a fierce and scarey animal, because he thinks he is a lap dog. He loves sitting next to people, and if you don't give him attention, he will sit his heavy self ontop of your feet or on your lap to make you give him the attention he is craving. He loves our daughter Serenity, and they play together everyday. They play chase, He loves dragging her around the house (gently) when playing tug of war, and their own version of hide and go seek which is really adorable.

I actually started this blog as a school assignment, but after I decided to do it about the dog, and trying to reimage his breed, I decided it is worth much more to me than any school project. I want people to get to know him for his funny and energetic and loving self, instead of the image that is given to people by the media and unfair statistics.

Thank you so much for allowing me to do this! :)

Oskar & I would like to thank Kim & Trip for spreading the word about what loveable pets pit bulls can be.

Please take a moment to visit Hate the Deed and give them some comment love.  If you're interested in being featured on Pet Blogs United, drop us an e-mail at PBU at comcast dot net.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Guinea Pigs Have Arrived

We  want Pet Blogs United to be a place for all pet lovers and bloggers to learn more about each other.  Since we don't have a lot of guinea pig exposure here on PBU, I asked Angela Mitchell from
Guinea Pig Today to tell us more about these adorable fuzzies.

The Care and Life of a Modern Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs can be very rewarding animals to bring into your life, and with proper care and socialization, your guinea pig can live up to eight years as an active member of the household. You might be surprised to find the modern guinea pig's needs are quite different than what you would expect. Guinea pig pairs nap on fleece blankets, enjoy open floor time, and can be litterbox-trained, making these social pets clean and easy to handle.

These gentle rodents are not from Guinea and are not related to the pig. So how did they get their name? Nobody knows for certain, but perhaps they were mistaken for natives of West Africa and made sounds reminiscent of the barnyard pig. Their names vary in other languages as well. The German call them Meerschweinchen, meaning "sea piglet." The French term is Cochon d'Inde or "Indian pig." The Spanish say conejillo de Indias or "little rabbit of the Indies." Guinea pigs also go by the name "cavy," referring to the family Caviidae, where guinea pigs are scientifically classified.

Guinea pigs are naturally prey animals and require a lot of handling to overcome their instinct to run and hide, but they will bond with their caregivers. Cavies typically live in social groups, so it's best to keep a bonded pair in your home. With patience and care they can be very personable and can be taught tricks like making a circle or sitting up. Guinea pigs make a range of sounds to display different moods, and they jump or "popcorn" to show they are happy. Their cage can be lined with fleece blankets, which can be washed and reused, limiting trips to the pet store to purchase bedding. Unlike a dog or cat, their mess is contained within their cage. A healthy guinea pig will have small, dry droppings that can be easily swept up. They will learn a routine and adapt to your sleeping schedule. Don't be surprised if they welcome you after learning the sound of the front door or beg for food after hearing the sound of the refrigerator. You may find keeping fresh vegetables in your home for your guinea pig means you begin to eat healthier as well.

General misconceptions and outdated ideas land unwanted cavies in rescues and shelters. While guinea pigs are usually gentle, some will bite or "kiss with teeth." Families with small children need to take special care. The "Parent's Guide to Guinea Pigs" can help you decide if a guinea pig is right for your family. Guinea pigs are not low maintenance. They require daily supplies of lettuce and other fresh vegetables, fresh water, fresh grass hay, high-quality timothy hay–based pellets, and a stable source of vitamin C. These daily needs make guinea pigs a poor choice for classrooms, where they will often need to make it through the weekends and holidays alone. Guinea pigs need more space than pet store cages can provide, and floor time is essential to keeping your cavy fit and healthy. Many guinea pig owners choose to build their own cages or create homemade toys and treats. Cavies require veterinary care from an exotic vet, which can be expensive and difficult to find.

If you are considering acquiring guinea pigs as pets, please find a pair at your local shelter or rescue. Your local rescue can help you find a compatible friend if you already have a solo guinea pig, help you acquire supplies if you would like to build a larger cage, and assist you with guinea pig services like nail-trimming or vacation pig-sitting.

If you'd like to keep up with the latest in guinea pig news, health, and living, check out Guinea Pig Today. We celebrate the cavy lovers interested in integrating their pets' needs into their lives by keeping them up to date on the latest national trends and activities. There's a rescue map to help you connect with volunteers in your area. Join us on Facebook and Twitter to plug in to the guinea pig world.

Thank you to Angela for letting us in on what great little pets guinea pigs make!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

MOO Business Card Review

When I was contacted by MOO business cards to do a review of their pet themed line, I was thrilled.  I had seem some of their cards before & the quality was really high.

The animal & pet cards have really adorable themes to work with or you can design your cards yourself.

I chose the Mucky Pups design & I was not disappointed.

They come in a nice sturdy storage box that even has little tabs on the inside for separating your business cards from ones that you collect from others.

The paper is thick and almost silky to the touch and the graphics are awesome.  I wish I had a better camera to better show you the designs.

Moo has great designs in many different categories so do check them out the next time you're in the market for some high quality business cards.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mariodacat - Weekly Featured Blogger

Today we feature a kitty that needs no introducion.  Ladies & gentlemen, Mariodacat from Mario's Meowsings!

This is such an honor to participate in your blog. We always just assumed it was strictly for doggies until you said something. Thank you so much for opening it up to we kitties too. I'm very happy to be part of your great community.

Mario actually adopted us 3 years ago. In fact, that is one of my favorite posts - see link at end of story.

Over a 48-year-span, Mario is our fourth cat. Because we are senior citizens and both have Parkinson's Disease, we asked our daughter if we were to get another cat, would she and her husband take our cat in the event something happened to us. Well, obviously, they said yes, because we now have Mario.

While we loved our previous 3 cats and 1 dog very much, Mario is that extra special cat that doesn't come along very often. He is extra loving and friendly to everyone who enters this household. When the doorbell rings, he's right there to greet people. Once they sit down, he'll hop on the first lap available, make himself comfortable (weather you like cats or not) and purr for you. Mario just charms his way into your heart, even if you are not very fond of cats.

We've been through a lot together. Three weeks after adopting him he started his first round with tooth problems. To make a long story short, before he had been with us for a year, he had to have all his teeth pulled. Another favorite post. He now uses his blog and the toothie story as a type of reference for any Twitter/blogger pal who is starting to have a problem with their teeth. We call him our $l0,000 moggie kitty.

Since both my husband and I have Parkinson's Disease, our future is bleak. But getting thru the struggles of daily living is so much easier with Mario around. He brings true joy into our lives. I can easily say he is the best cat we've ever had or could ever hope to have again.

I'm only listing two favorite posts from Mario's blog because they are rather long:

My Toothie Story - 3 posts in one and on it's own page for easy reference.

Life After Adoption - (The CallMeGraham story)

You might find my own personal blog, Shuffling Along With PD interesting, especially if you know someone with Parkinson's disease, have PD yourself, or know or have some other handicapping condition.  
I have to say that if your a pet blogger or active on Twitter you're probably already familiar with Mario, but even if you are go over and tell him hello.  He is one pawsome kitty.

If you're interested in being in the Pet Blogs United spotlight, and that includes kitties, horsies or any other kind of pet blogger, drop us a line at PBU at comcast dot net.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pet Insurance and Drinking Water

Pet insurance assists you financially if your pet becomes ill and requires veterinary treatment. You should take good care of your cat, however, by making sure he or she regularly drinks clean water to keep them in good health.

Pet insurance can be an investment in your cat’s future health, as your insurance policy can provide financial security to cover the cost of veterinary care.
Drinking water will flush the kidneys out and remove toxins from the blood; it also helps keep your cat hydrated and healthy overall. Cats can be very sensitive to kidney failure, so lack of sufficient water is a very serious problem. If your cat does have kidney failure, they may need intravenous fluids or a subcutaneous drip provided by the vets. This kind of procedure can soon become very expensive, and if your cat requires on going treatment for kidney problems, you will soon appreciate the financial support your John Lewis Insurance policy can give you.

You will get to know your own cat’s drinking habits, so allow your cat to drink water as she or he likes. Keep an eye on how much water they are drinking, and talk to your vet if anything changes or seems amiss. You can test your cat’s hydration levels by gently pinching the loose skin at the nape of their neck; if it goes back into place quickly then your cat is well hydrated, but if the skin is slow to recede then your cat may be dehydrated and at risk.

Cats can get water directly from drinking, and also indirectly from food. If your cat eats mostly dry food, they may need to drink more water to keep hydrated. You can always add a splash of water to dry cat food to help with the water content.

Cats tend to like to drink fresh water, so make sure you change their water several times a day. You may even find your cat will only drink out of a running tap or from a freshly poured glass, whilst other cats like automatic water fountains - however your cat likes to drink fresh water, be sure there is plenty of it!

Water will keep your cat healthy, but conversely over-drinking water can be a sign of bad health. If your cat is drinking a lot of water, it could be a sign of feline hyperthyroidism or feline diabetes – you should consult your vet immediately.

Company Profile:

John Lewis Insurance offers a range of insurance services selected by the John Lewis Partnership. These include car, life, travel, wedding, event, pet Insurance products.

For more information about John Lewis Pet Insurance please visit the website John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of AXA Insurance UK plc which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and eligibility criteria apply. A full copy of the policy wording and the insurance complaints procedure are available on request.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Donna Sword, Puppy Raiser – Canine Companions for Independence, Part 2

Inga at graduation.
How many training dogs have you had before Yaxley, and will you continue on after Yaxley is returned? Yaxley is my third pup for CCI. Our first puppy was Inga IV, a lovely full Labrador retriever. She was a super intelligent and easily bored puppy. Inga could be a little stinker; if she wasn’t challenged with a job then she would simply find one on her own. With these leadership qualities (plus the happy fact that I must not have messed up too much raising the first pup) she was successfully placed with a young boy as a Skilled Companion Dog. We couldn’t be happier or more proud of her.

Number two is the mighty Micron, our college dropout. He was released from CCI after three months of Advanced Training. Micron’s bubbly personality (squirrel!) is just not suited to service dog work. As his puppy raisers we’re given first dibs on adopting him. I absolutely adore this dog and feel like one lucky chick to have him in my home.

Yaxley will be in the puppy program until next August. We’ll be looking forward to puppy number four around that time to ease the heartache of turn-in time.

What’s your funniest story about raising a CCI dog?I’m reminded of a couple of stories that fall into the “it was funny later” category. There was the CCI presentation Yaxley and I did at a preschool, where we suffered a miscommunication about Yaxley’s training as a Service Dog. This came out at the Q&A, but I just wasn’t picking up on the clues. Why were the kids asking to see Yaxley balance a ball on his nose and stand on his hind legs? Then a little later that morning I overheard a kidlet say, “Look! There’s that Circus Dog I told you about!” Forget Toastmasters; if you want lessons on talking clearly and slowly, just get feedback from a room of four year olds.

Another story is about a humbling lesson in dog behavior. I have an unflattering character flaw that encourages me to stretch myself a wee too thin. Silly things like overlapping puppies in training while working a full-time job. With three months to go before Micron’s turn-in to Advanced Training, we brought home puppy number three, Yaxley.
Mudpuppy Micron
We’re all out in the backyard so I can take the obligatory First Day photos of eight-week-old Yaxley’s adorable mug. Micron and Jager are playing nicely while I’m busy with the new puppy. Well, that’s where I was in my happy place mindset. The dark reality is that Micron was not very happy about the attention shift and had opted to demonstrate his displeasure about this new little roommate. And just like kids, if things get too quiet, you know it’s time to check on them. I find Micron blissfully exploring the restorative powers of a mud bath. Ugh, swamp dog. Oh, but not one to be topped, the otherwise fastidious Jager had found something rather squishy and very decayed to roll in. I don’t know who really won the contest for the Food Lady’s attention that day, but I was the clearly the loser in the deal.

Donna, can you tell us some of what you go through when you return the dog to CCI? And also when you meet the dog’s new owner? A question we hear as a puppy raisers is - How do you give them up? How, indeed. I’ve answered this before as “with a lot of pride, a box of tissues and a margarita.” But setting silliness aside, it’s hard thing to do because you just fall in love with these pups during the time you have them.

But looking over at Yaxley - this beautiful, intelligent puppy - I know this isn’t my dog. Never was. I’m in this for a reason.

Our first pup, Inga IV, is today a Skilled Companion; she was teamed with a young boy in August 2010. We met Inga’s new family at the CCI graduation ceremony and we were simply wowed by these people. For the last year, they have been sending photos and sharing stories of their new life together. They are absolutely in love with Inga. I drop a few happy tears every time I see that return address on an envelope in my mailbox. May these blessings continue.
Yaxley at Blogpaws.
I would encourage anyone considering puppy raising to attend a CCI graduation. A celebration is held at the end of two weeks of intensive team training of assistance dog and handler. The graduate is recognized on stage, and then the puppy raiser of their dog is asked to come up with the dog and “hand the leash over.” A little symbolic, but a very real experience. Last August we handed Inga’s leash over to her new boy and I have to tell you that there is nothing (nothing!) in the world like that feeling. We were but a small part of a life changing event for this beautiful family. But that’s enough for me.
How do we give them up? With the end in mind, that’s how. With the hope that just maybe, in my small life, I can make a difference to someone.

CCI graduations are open to the public and free of charge. The celebrations are held four times a year in each of the five regions. Dates and locations are on CCI’s website www.cci.org . Don’t forget to bring tissues; you’ll need ‘em.

Is there anything that I missed that you care to tell us about?
Thank you again for letting me go on about CCI. I want to invite your readers to check out www.cci.org for more info on the different service dog programs. Of course, drop me an email at jagerhund@frontier.com with any questions about my personal experiences with these fuzzy yellow pups. I can talk about CCI dogs endlessly. Or until folk start to politely back away from me.

We want to thank Donna for taking the time to share her passion with us so that we could share it with you.  Do we have any readers who might be interested in being a puppy raiser?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Donna Sword, Puppy Raiser – Canine Companions for Independence, Part 1

Micron at two years old.
Hi Donna, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Thanks for inviting me to share my thoughts with your readers! I love talking with folk about my volunteer work with Canine Companions for Independence. CCI is a non-profit organization that provides highly trained assistance dogs to individuals with disabilities (other than blindness) – free of charge. I am a volunteer puppy raiser for this amazing organization.

When did you first hear of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI)?
My husband and I have close friends that have been CCI puppy raisers for as long as we’ve known them. This couple, Jerry and Jerri, are my heroes and mentors; they’re now raising their 17th puppy for CCI. But I will admit, as I’ve watched them work with these pups over the years, it was with a touch of envy. Puppy raising seemed like such an adventure, as well as a way to “give back” for the blessings in my life. I just wasn’t sure I was made of the right stuff to do this thing and I had to search internally for the strength to, well, kick myself into action.

And what made you want to become a puppy raiser? Did your job at Proctor & Gamble influence your decision to get involved with CCI? The husband and I we were going through some life changes; the tough loss of a beloved dog, then sending my favorite (and my only) kid off to college. It was a good time to take on some new challenges, I think. As soon as the kid was settled into campus life, I contacted CCI to start the application process. My son takes some kind of pleasure in telling everyone I replaced him with a dog, but in my defense, he wasn’t using his old room anyway. And it’s the perfect place to keep the dog crate.

P&G has been supportive of my volunteer work with CCI by allowing me to have the pups with me during the workday. I work in the Pet Care division - an incredible group of pet passionate folk, we are. We have four CCI volunteer puppy raisers at P&G Pet Care; individually we’ve raised twelve puppies for CCI. Truth be told, it’s our Pet Care co-workers that make things so much easier. We all work together to encourage good behavior out of the pups.

Our P&G Pet Care organization can boast of puppy raisers that volunteer for other service dog organizations, as well. And many are deeply involved in animal rescue work. We’ve got us some serious animal lovers here.

When did you start your blog?
Raising a Super Dog was a pretty humble affair in the beginning. I was a blogging novice and had created a rather vanilla website on Blogger in November 2009. Our second CCI puppy, Micron, was (and still is) ridiculously photogenic. He just can’t help himself, the poor guy. So, using the blogging platform, I started sharing photos and stories with the other CCI puppy raisers of his equally adorable littermates.

Then I found myself getting a motivation high from positive feedback from my friends, especially when they shared the blog with other folk to read. So now I’m hooked on it. I’m a Dog Blogger. But of course, I could probably kick the habit anytime I wanted to.

 What are your training tasks for each puppy while you have them?
We’re asked to introduce thirty commands and behaviors before we return the pup to CCI to matriculate into the Advanced Training program. We work with the basic behaviors you’d expect from any well-behaved pet (sit, down, bed), plus more specific commands to prepare them for Advanced Training. Such as Shake (pup’s paw to touch the flat of my palm), which is a target behavior that will be used later for flipping light switches.

But really critical is the socialization the puppy raiser provides. We want to introduce these fuzzies to new situations during their formative months, with the intention that the dog will be accepting of any environment. I’ve taken pups to museums, on doctor visits, grocery trips, restaurants and to the movies. Anywhere a person would want to go. The pup needs to strut into any situation with a been-there-done-that attitude that allows them to focus on their handler, not the food scraps on the floor.

How long do you have each puppy before they return for the continuation of their training with CCI?
Just a short 14 to 18 months. It goes by so fast.

After matriculation, the dog receives another six to nine months of Advanced Training by professional dog trainers at one of CCI’s regional centers. A fully trained assistance dog will be at least two years old.

Yaxley's first day.
You have other dogs; do they understand that Yaxley has a job that’s different than theirs?
Right, I have a minimum three dogs in my house most days. Along with Yaxley, we have Jager (an All-American mutt blend) and the mighty Micron (our CCI release dog). CCI puppy raisers have a great network and we are always ready support each other, especially with the fun stuff like dog sitting. So, many of us could have six or more at a time. But as we say, after four dogs it’s not worth counting anymore.

Our family dog, Jager is nothing less than a good sport and has resigned himself to sharing his life with new dogs. He does seem to understand the interlopers have a different role than he does. We do insist on good behavior out of the little spotted dog, but mostly we just shrug it off. Because Jager is a rescue, my story is that he just showed up with all his naughty behavior. Hard-wired in his little terrier head, so to speak. I think if you asked him, Jager would say all he really wants out of this puppy raising business is a bowl of water without the Labrador backwash.

But folks may also be relieved to hear that the CCI pups aren’t on the job every waking hour. When the cape is off, they get to be dogs. These guys can run around and dog wrestle to their little fuzzy hearts’ desire. I just have to call cool-down time when they start knocking over the furniture.

*Come back tomorrow for part two of this great interview.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Canine Companions For Independence - Lance's Story

Lance was in his early twenties when a diving accident left him paralyzed. He went from being an active and athletic Marine Corps Reservist to being trapped in bed. He remembers when a fly landed on his nose, and he couldn’t even move his arm to shoo it away. It was one of the lowest points of his life. He decided he had no choice but to stop feeling sorry for himself and do whatever he could to live life fully.

A few years later, Lance took a major stride forward in his emotional recovery when he was matched with a Service Dog from Canine Companions for Independence. Satine, a black Labrador/Golden Retriever cross, helped Lance more than he could have imagined. “Satine changed my life,” Lance explains. “She gave me responsibility, independence and the confidence to go out there and try things I didn’t think I could do.” When a staff position opened at Canine Companions, Lance moved out of his family home in Arkansas to Southern California to live on his own and support the organization that returned his independence.

Lance & Auggie
Today, Lance is a proud Canine Companions Southwest Regional board member after serving as a staff member for three years. Satine is now retired and living with a loving family and, earlier this year, Lance received a successor Service Dog named August II. “Auggie is a totally different dog, but I couldn’t ask for a better match!” Lance says. In addition to helping with everyday tasks like retrieving Lance’s keys or phone if he drops them and opening doors, Auggie just makes life fun! He plays fetch for as long as Lance throws the ball and he is always ready for a walk. Plus, when they’re out in public, he makes Lance more approachable because Auggie is the attention grabber rather than Lance’s wheelchair.

“Canine Companions is extremely important in my life,” says Lance. “I’m happy to be an example of how much independence a Service Dog can bring to someone with a disability. Canine Companions is a wonderful organization, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Lance and Auggie, like all Canine Companions graduate teams, completed an intense, residential, two-week Team Training course together at one of Canine Companions’ regional training facilities. During Team Training, students are strategically matched with assistance dogs and learn how to work with them safely and effectively. The dogs are trained for two years prior in up to 50 commands before they are ready to become someone’s 24/7 helper. Thanks to Canine Companions’ generous supporters, the dogs, their training and ongoing follow-up support are provided free of charge.

If you would like to get involved with Canine Companions, visit http://www.cci.org/ or call 800-572-BARK.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Help is a Four-Legged Word at Canine Companions for Independence

Opening Door
Canine Companions for Independence is a national nonprofit organization that provides assistance dogs for people with disabilities completely free of charge. Established in 1975, Canine Companions has five regional training centers across the country. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. Whether you’re an animal lover who would like to learn about service dogs, a charitable community member or a potential applicant, there are many ways to get involved in this life-changing cause.

Using a light switch.
 Canine Companions’ greatest need for volunteer assistance is in the puppy raising program. Volunteers foster future assistance dogs for the first year and a half of their lives. Thanks to the service of these volunteers and the financial support of generous donors, Canine Companions is able to provide highly trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities for free. Puppy raisers take the dogs into their hearts and homes when they are eight weeks of age. They provide basic training and ample socialization opportunities to the puppies, along with a lot of love. After 14-16 months, puppy raisers return the dogs to Canine Companions for six months of Professional Training with staff instructors. Before graduating, the dogs complete two weeks of training alongside their new human partners.

Retrieving keys.
Canine Companions assistance dogs are trained in up to 50 commands designed to make everyday life easier for adults and children with physical and developmental disabilities. They open and close doors, retrieve dropped objects, activate light switches and pull manual wheelchairs. Outside of practical tasks, Canine Companions assistance dogs provide immeasurable emotional support to their human partners. They are the best friends of children who are socially isolated because of their disabilities. They also encourage peer interaction when kids want to meet "the cool dog." In adults, Canine Companions assistance dogs inspire feelings of confidence and security, allowing them to live life to the fullest.

Come back tomorrow to hear the story of Lance & the dogs that changed his life, and on Wednesday we will have an interview with a Canine Companions puppy raiser.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Nathan's Journey With IVDD

March 26, 2011 is a day I will never forget. That was the day Nathan, my 5-yr old dachshund, ruptured a disk in his back. IVDD would become a permanent word in my vocabulary.  I've documented Nathan's journey from injury to recovery in his blog, Nathan's Journey.
In a nutshell, I learned a few valuable lessons:
  1. If you have a dachshund, research in your area who the IVDD experts are AHEAD of time.   After all this happened, we found out that one of the best spine surgeons in the state of Florida was only 1 hour away from us.  Instead, we went to the nearby emergency hospital and errors there led us to where we are today.
  2. Therapy, Therapy, Therapy.  There's no getting around this.  Speak to vets in your area and find out who the rehab experts are.  There are vets who are certified to be rehab vets.  They may specialize in water therapy, acupuncture, laser therapy or even stem cell therapy (don't panic - its platelets taken from your own dog's body).  Don't forget home therapy.  Nathan got his "Jane Fonda" at home 4 times a day, everyday.
  3. For acupuncture, find the teaching institute in your state (eg. Chi Institute in Florida).  Their website will likely have info on the experts in your area.  Some of their teachers are also practicing vets.  Who better to do your dog's acupuncture than someone who actually teaches and practices this?
  4. HOPE.  So many days seem hopeless during the recovery.  Do not focus on day-to-day improvements (or lack of).  Instead, look at improvements week over week.  Take videos to remind yourself of the improvements. 
Nathan may not be able to do all the things he used to be able to do, but he is as goofy and affectionate as ever. And, he is still improving after almost 7 months.

-Heidi Davis

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Barley & Ali Featured Blogger

Sean and I (Ali) live in Ottawa, Canada with our adopted dog, Barley. We write the blog to share our stories, tips and tricks in dog-ownership and to receive feedback and create a discussion with other dog owners. We found that owning a dog has led to pretty much every conversation relating back to our furry friend Barley, so we thought a blog might help get some of that off our chest so friends wouldn't be hearing about him all the time!

We also try to show the realities of owning and training an adopted adult dog, and how rewarding and beneficial it is. We both work full time, and enjoy hiking and exploring new places with Barley, canoeing, sewing (...Ali!) and watching the Ottawa Senators win hockey games. Now, enough about us.....

In July of 2011, we adopted a Lab/Shepherd/Mutt mix (who at the time was named "Casper") from Big Sky Animal Ranch in Kemptville, Ontario. He was found tired and hungry on the side of the road by Andy Parent (owner of Big Sky), and wasn't wearing any tags or identification. For two weeks, "Casper" was housed at the Ranch and enjoyed roaming the land and playing with the other animals. Big Sky Ranch resuces horses, pot belly pigs, llamas, goats and more, so there was lots of sniffing and running around to do! We made a call to the ranch to inquire about another dog, a border collie mix named Sally, but she had already been adopted... Andy very quickly, though, convinced us to come out to the Ranch and meet "Casper". Hearing all the great things Andy had to say, the next day we drove 30 minutes into the country, with the sun shining and the fresh air on our faces, to meet the dog who was "too awesome not to adopt", and it was all true. Instantly we knew that he was coming home with us. Since adopting him, we have changed his name to Barley, taught him a thing or two about manners, and we couldn't be more happy.

Favorite blog posts:

Ali Makes Barley a "Man-Cave"
A hike in Gatineau Park
The Humane Society Wiggle Waggle Walkathon
Barley Learns how to "Leave It"
Barley's Favorite Hand-Made Goodies
A Sunset Photoshoot

So PBU memebers, try to take some time this week to visit Barley & Ali, you won't be sorry.

If you're interested in having your blog featured on Pet Blogs United, drop us a line at PBU at Comcast dot net. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Foster Friday

Hopefully you remember my original post about sweet little Cobbie. Cobbie is now sporting a new name, Danica and is with the wonderful humans at Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, in Asheville, NC. Danica, as you may recall, is FIV+. She has a wonderful new friend in Angelica, another FIV+ kitten. They have become the best of friends and we would all love nothing more than to find them a Forever Together home. FIV is not an automatic death sentence. Lots of kittens and cats live long and healthy lives. They just need to be inside ONLY and get regular vet check ups, good food and lots of love.

We could not give these two any better gift than to find them a home together.  Please, please, please share this information far and wide, and often.  They truly are a very special pair of adorable little girls.

*We'd like to thank the always pawsome Brian for letting us share this post.

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