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October 2011
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December 2011

Holidays crafts and celebrating our dogs

"Cute as a button" is actually true for Bo, the First Dog. As a way to celebrate their love for Bo, and incorporate him into the holiday decor, the White House is creating several hand crafted versions of the First Family's dog. They will have Buttons Bo, Pom Pom Bo, Felt Bo and my favorite -- Marshmallow Bo.

If you are not that crafty, my favorite sources for creating cute Cleo gifts is Walgreens and Zazzle. I've uploaded photos to both online sites, and used their templates to make pretty ornaments and other Cleo-infused gifts. My husband still loves his #1 Dad mug with Cleo's "mug" on it. Have you done anything like that to celebrate your dog?

Here is a cute peek behind the scenes, as Heather Cooper, a floral designer, shares how she put together a mini Bo, made from buttons. (love, love, love, the heart button detail)

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Giveaway: Hartz Angry Birds Dog Toys Gift Pack

Our dog Cleo has always loved squeaky toys. Now that she is older and having trouble with her vision, she takes great pride when she finds one and makes it cry for mercy. While I was at BlogPaws, Hartz Pets gave me an advance selection of their new Angry Birds pet toys.

When I got home, Cleo picked one from the bag, and months later that green rubber squeaky pig ball is still one of her favorite toys. Because we like to share our good fortune with others, last month we took most of the other toys to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. It was a great experience.

Give Fearlessly. It is the season for sharing, and I wanted to offer a fun holiday giveaway for readers, one that lets you give fearlessly. Hartz very kindly put together two special sets of Hartz® Angry Birds® dog toys just for you!

Two lucky winners will receive four (4) Hartz® Angry Birds® dog toys, enough to keep and share - it's up to you, and your dog(s). Some of the toys include:

Yellow Plush Ball Red Plush Dog Toy

Green Pig Hard Head

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Shake it! How Dogs, Cats, Even Hummingbirds Keep Dry

Our dog loves to get a nice towel dry after a bath. However, when it rains on a walk, or even after we towel her off, she still shakes her money maker. As a big Shepher Husky dog, she shakes so hard, it looks like she is going to flip herself over. This interesting article shares new research about how and why dogs, cats, even hummingbirds stay dry.

Shake It! How Dogs, Cats, Even Hummingbirds Keep Dry

Via by Robert Krulwich

They don't have towels. So when they get wet, what do they do? They shake themselves into a frenzy and the water flies off like this:

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Vet Visit and Staying Positive

This morning I am at the vet with my senior dog Cleo. She is due for an annual exam, and recently seemed to be under the weather. Besides the check up, we are having her evaluated for possible new issues related to her current medications, and any extraordinary new developments. Is her vision worsening faster than expected? Is that hitch in her step the result of arthritis or something more serious internally? We hope her results will be normal for a Shepherd-Husky who is about 10 years old, and whose puppyhood wasn't the healthiest.


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When dogs get too confident

A joy this time of year is the chilly San Francisco air. The cold shady side of the street keeps us from overheating during our dog walks. We switch from sun to shade, from hill to flat street, to resting at the corner. My senior dog Cleo loves it.

What Cleo doesn't love, apparently, is my using a treat to take buddy photo. I explained to her before our walk that I wanted to take advantage of the fall weather and light to take a cute photo of us girls. I brought lots of treats to reward her each time she sat for me. 

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What a senior dog can teach you about life

I'm happy to be again contributing to the Pet 'Net Adoption Event 2011 sponsored by This is the fourth year Petside is linking bloggers together celebrating pets as part of the family, and encouraging adoption. This is the first year Petside is in a partnership with Iams on a social media donation campaign, but more on that later. 

This year the event follows a recent celebration of my dog Cleo's sixth year with us. She is now truly experiencing her golden years. And her obvious aging is cause for some adjustment on my part, because she is my first senior dog.

As a Baby Boomer, with my own signs of aging, I have been learning a lot about life with every passing year from my senior dog. As of this year, I am now the Editor-at-Large for LIFE+DOG magazine, writing on a monthly basis much longer pieces than my average blog post. Dogs played a part in my childhood development, and now an old dog is helping me at this later stage of adult life. All of these ingredients have me sitting at my computer, with Cleo nearby, contemplating our time together and what it has revealed. 

Last year I wrote about how adopting a dog can be a gift, and it is still true. Cleo is a treasure and rare dog. Adopting a dog opens your heart. I've found I'm now more receptive to the rollercoaster of life because of my experiences with Cleo. What is also true, is that a senior dog can teach you a lot about embracing the life we have, savoring the small accomplishments, and enjoying a good nap.

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Nov. 16 World Series Champ Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation Honored


Legendary Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals manager, Tony La Russa will make an exclusive appearance at AT&T’s flagship store in San Francisco, on November 16, for a Holiday Celebration in honor of his Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). 

People rescuing animals... Animals rescuing people.® Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) saves dogs and cats who have run out of time at public shelters and brings people and animals together to enrich each others lives. ARF strives to create a world where every loving dog and cat has a home, where every lonely person has a companion animal, and where children learn to care. 

Since 1991, ARF has been doing great rescue work in the Bay Area and will be given a check by AT&T at the end of today's event. 

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Disposal of Dog Waste: Bag it, Bury it, Flush it

When we take our dog Cleo out for a walk, we carry poop bags. It is a reflex to grab house keys, wallet, phone, hat and poop bags before heading out with her. Sometimes I might add hand sanitizer to a pocket. Poop bags are never optional, though the type of bag can fluctuate. We have used lavender-scented and biodegradable bags, a reused newspaper bag, and even reused fruit and vegetable bags from the store.


In addition to getting people to automatically pick up their dog's poop, disposing of the poop is hotly debated these days. Do you bag it? Flush it? Bury it? We don't like the idea of adding to landfill but in the city, when given the choice, leaving the poop to be stepped in or washed into the San Francisco Bay through a storm drain is a bad idea and our initial focus. However, if biodegradable bags create methane, a greenhouse gas, in a landfill, then what? Read more of the debate and share your ideas in the comments [...]

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Dogs Can Change Our Lives For The Better

Curiosity may cause trouble for a cat, but not for me.  My constant curiosity, about dogs and dog behavior, makes my days with my dog Cleo fly by. Her expressions, her behavior, has me so curious about what is going on insider her head. A friend of ours, Peggy Frezon, author of Dieting with my Dog, offered us a chance to ask her some questions, as part of the Dieting with my Dog "Weight Loss with a Wag" blog book tour.

Dieting with my dog cover 2 sm copy 2 for evitePeggy is the author of the new book Dieting With My Dog: One Busy Life, Two Full Figures, and Unconditional Love.

She and her dog, Kelly, are positively influencing each other towards their individual weight loss goals … Peggy’s lost 40 pounds, and Kelly’s lost six.

They are true inspirations about what it means to give fearlessly. 

And naturally, though she offered us five, we asked Peggy six questions, because we are just so curious about her life, with her dog Kelly:

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National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week: A Bear and His Ears

This is a guest post by Jennifer, an animal lover who has the uncanny ability to meet a dog and remember their name way better than she can remember the human’s name (which has led to some awkward moments at a party or two). Jennifer strives to influence positively each day and make a difference in a dog's life whether it’s by training and spending time with her four-legged family member or walking the dogs at the local animal adoption center.

When we saw his picture posted on, we were instantly drawn to him. And the name “Bear” described him perfectly: he had a thick, fuzzy black coat, big soulful amber-brown eyes (like the color of honey), and an adorable, cuddly pudgy-puppy physique. But the feature we were most drawn to…his ears! With his one ear standing straight up at attention, and the other ear all floppy like a Lab’s, Bear’s mismatched ears only added to his cuteness and barked volumes for his goofy personality.


We were encouraged to discover Bear was staying at a shelter right here in San Francisco, and we were even more excited to learn he was just around the corner from us at the Pets Unlimited Shelter & Adoption Center! (It was the wonderful folks at Pets Unlimited who named Bear so fittingly.) Once the adoption process was complete, we headed home with our new family member, filled with joy and excitement as any new parents would be. It was then about a week later when the bizarreness began…

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Best Friends Forever: Sharing Toys Sharing Good Fortune

Recently I had the chance to visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. Only after my visit is over and I am home again, do I fully appreciate why people feel compelled to return, and how their experiences at the sanctuary stay with them.


Out of gratitude for the joy I've had with my dog, Cleo, I wanted to share something with the animals while I was at the sanctuary. We didn't have time to volunteer with the animals, or even have one stay over in our cottage, but I wanted to do something meaningful somehow.

Fortunately during the pet blogging conference, BlogPaws, I was given some toys from Hartz Pets. Due to packing constraints, and a birthday girl deciding she had to have one of the Angry Birds toys, I did manage to bring four small toys to the sanctuary. 

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