How the human animal bond motivates us: Creating a lap bed

Readers and followers of Grouchy Puppy know that we celebrate how the human dog bond is demonstrated. The examples we find are a wonderful testament to the enduring positive influence dogs have on us. This inspiring story came out of wanting to soothe both her dog and cat while undergoing painful radiation treatment for breast cancer.

Five years ago, at one of the lowest points of her life, Tammy Olley came up with the idea for a unique pet bed.


Every day after work, I would go to my radiation treatment and then drive an hour and a half home. My days were long, and the radiation made me so tired and sore. My cat had always slept on or against my legs, but at that time I was so sleep deprived and achy that as much as I loved her, I just wanted her off of me.

While laying on the radiation table I came up with the MYLAP pet bed design method, which allowed adding scent to the bed. After I had my prototype made, I began testing it out on my cat and I noticed that my dog, who has every kind of anxiety including separation anxiety, was starting to steal the bed. I realized it calmed him as well, and I began finding him sleeping on it more and more...

This unique bed allows you to add your scent to the fabric of the bed while providing your little buddy with the comforting shape of a warm lap. 

Innovational Pet Product LLC is women-owned small business, with Tammy as the only employee at this time which means all of these beds are proudly assembled in the USA.

Learn more about how the love for her pets, even in her darkest hour, inspired Tammy, and where to buy this homey little bed > here <


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Want to feel good about helping give an older dog a second chance at a happy life?

Whenever I volunteer at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue there always seems to be Kodak moments with the dogs. These sweet adoptable dogs caught my eye last year with their loving manner, soft and welcoming expressions, and ability to make me laugh.

Do you need a dose of oxytocin, or a shot of endorphins? Want to feel good about helping give an older dog a second chance at a happy life? Have a few hours in your week to offer?


You’ll get love, when you give love (and a little elbow grease), each time you help Muttville mutts! 

Learn more here.

Foster. Adopt. Donate. Volunteer.

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Hey! It's National Grouchy Puppy Day!

November 9th is a big day around here! Today is the day one fluffy, large, adult, husky-shepherd dog changed our life forever. Thanks to her mere presence, Grouchy Puppy was conceived, slowly blossoming over the years into an incredible community of dog lovers!

In 2013 we threw a fun virtual party that is still whispered about. In 2014 our beautiful muse passed away and November 9th that year turned into a tribute.

This year, we invite you to celebrate with us again, in a way that embraces all the ways dogs give fearlessly and influence positively!! We invite everyone to share the spirit of Grouchy Puppy this weekend by contributing a six word story about dogs, a dog you know, a fictional dog, or your own dog(s). 


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Share Six Word Stories Celebrating the Dogs We Love All Weekend Long

Tell a story consisting of just six words. Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s famous challenge and first six word story, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

What: Share a six word story about dogs, a dog you know, a fictional dog, or your own dog(s).  

How to join in the fun? Email us at your stories and photos, we'll share them across our social media channels. Leave a comment below. Tweet us @grouchypuppy your photo and story, or message us on Facebook.

Giving Tree: November is Adopt a Senior Dog Month. We've had a soft spot for the oldsters for years, and since the passing of Cleo we've been spending hours every week helping the sugar faces at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. If you buy anything from our Zazzle store until the end of the year ALL proceeds will go to Muttville as our way of paying it forward

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Join us! It's easy! Above are two stories that are endearing and funny six word stories reflecting our grouchy puppy muse. We hope you'll contribute your own six word stories in celebration.

We'll close with our deepest thanks for sharing these years with us and for your steadfast support!

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When you have a dog what is your responsibility?

What is the number one responsibility when you have a dog? This can be answered with specifics but also with general notions such as setting them up for success. That was the mantra we heard when we adopted our dog from the San Francisco SPCA.


We posed this question to our Facebook community and their big concern was safety which I couldn't agree more with! When you choose to have a dog you're taking on the role of guardian. This means you guarding them, as much as they may be guarding you.

Keeping a dog safe includes have secure harnesses and leashes that don't break. It means being watchful and insuring your dog can't bolt out into a busy street or charge through an unsecured screen door. Good training as well as safe barriers protects everyone from tragedy.

Safety means watching out for chicken bones on walks, keeping toxic foods away from inquiring snouts, and making sure they get regular vet check ups. 

Setting a Dog up for Success

Keeping your dog safe is tops, because that includes their health and wellbeing for as long as you are their guardian. But we'd add to that the notion that it's your responsibility to set them up for success.

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Dogs who are perfect for introverts. That personality tho'

Endless belly rubs. Long bouts of toss the squeaky toy or playing keep away. Cuddling and tussling around with Rugby, the senior beagle, honestly was a little overwhelming at times.

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Why? Because he never tired of me. Even my own dog at home got tired of me at some point, and would walk away into another room. This dog seemed to have unlimited energy, plus a steady need and desire to engage with people. If you walked away at any time, he would just get up and trot over to someone else.

As an acknowledged introvert, I could see how this little guy would be perfect for my community. He radiated interest, affection, and an honest joy of just being with you. If you had the energy to play, he would too. If you wanted to sit next to him and snuggle for one minute, or ten, he would too. He sensed your rhythm and worked with it to his advantage, and ultimately mine.

Have you ever thought about how certain dogs might be perfect for introverts? 

I expect many people would believe all dogs are perfect for introverts but I think that is too simple. I would think that a dog's individual personality would have a lot to do with it too. For example. I don't think puppies are very good at all for introverts. Their energy is usually too manic and unfocused. Their sense of awareness is still unshaped.

If I was to use a broad brush, I'd say senior dogs are almost always perfect for introverts. All of the ones I have ever known have made sure I got outside, engaged with people, and generally focused my thoughts on the good that's out there. They calmly reminded me that it's worth it to keep giving fearlessly to the world. There are worthwhile people, causes, and dogs out there.

What do you think? Have you experienced a dog giving fearlessly like Rugby?

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Young readers will love the story of Gobi, the little stray dog with a big heart

When I think back to my childhood, I realize that after my stuffed Snoopy, my first real friend was our family dog. I think because of my young age and personality, I was willing and able to develop meaningful friendships with all of our family dogs over the years. Each of them had an important and positive influence over my development growing up in a remote area of a California county. They were my study buddies, cheerleaders, confidants, motivators, and moral compass. I know that is a lot but believe me, never underestimate the power of the human-dog bond.

The support, generosity, and kindness of strangers

This leads me to a wonder pair of books that I was given the chance to read before their official release August 29th, starting with Gobi: A Little Dog With a Big Heart. It's a picture book that offers a humane education for little ones, taking them on an adventure across the desert! They are introduced to a little stray dog whose positive influence has a remarkable impact on an ultra-marathon runner. Based on a true story, this picture book is a wonderful introduction to the idea of compassion for animals, courage and love for a little stray dog with a big heart.

Gobi Picture Book
Gobi: A Little Dog With a Big Heart [picture book, 4-8 years]


Both books are about teamwork and power of a dog's positive influence, but the young reader edition adds a lot more to the 'man meets dog' story...

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Greta howls her way into your heart, today's Muttville moment

Last week I met a new Muttville mutt named Greta. She is a german shepherd, all legs, and currently skin and bones. Given our immediate mutual affection, I have a feeling she'll be plumping up soon. I can still smell the after-breakfast chicken treats I gave her on my fingers.

Having had a large Shepherd-Husky dog, I was drawn to Greta as soon as I saw her fuzzy gangly body. She loped across the doggy loft as soon as the door opened and I wheeled in the yellow cleaning bucket. Her concerned brown eyes locked on my movements, tracking the mop to the bucket and back to the floor. I was glad to see she was not spooked by my morning cleaning of the loft.

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Patricia McConnell Gives Fearlessly in her New Book "The Education of Will"

Anyone familiar with my blog, or the Grouchy Puppy motto, will know that the central theme to the writing and social media posts is the broad positive influence of the human-dog bond. 

The Education of Will
When Dr. Patricia McConnell published her new book, The Education of Will, I was immediately interested because it spoke to what I hold dear, the positive influence of a dog. However, her stories of facing one fear after another pulled me through the book. Her self-effacing and humble style of sharing filled me with empathy. It isn't easy to face our fears even with the help of a special dog. 

"I knew Willie like I knew myself. I knew what it was like to be happy and friendly on the outside and yet spend much of your life in fear."

This mutual memoir is a story of injury and recovery, but in addition to the themes of trauma, fear and love, I felt forgiveness, empathy, and compassion were striking themes throughout the book. 

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Give your time to older dogs and get swamped by love!

Investing a few hours every week caring for older dogs at my local shelter is returning HUGE dividends. Senior dogs like Miller here, get straight to the point. 


He tracked my gaze, watched me walk over to one of the dog beds, and saw I wasn't faking my interest in offering a belly rub session.

It's reassuring to have such a clear call and response with the dogs. I always leave feeling good, and believing that I'm a good judge of character.

It also just feels nice to show these sugar faces some deserving love while they find a new family.

If you're wondering about how to add some positivity to your new year, I highly recommend investing your time volunteering at your local rescue or shelter.

And if you're looking to add some senior sweetheart loving into your home, you can find Miller at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco. 

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What does 'fospice' mean for dogs and for you?

When my dog reached her golden years she developed diabetes and slowly lost her vision. She developed dementia. Throughout her aging process we checked in with her veterinarian to make sure our dog was getting everything she needed for a comfortable final chapter. We created some wonderful lasting memories during those two years.

We had a conversation about palliative care once our dog's age, vision loss, and dementia all piled up on her. We couldn't turn back time or heal her, so we focused everything on making every day count so that she had her best day ever, every day. I can honestly say that making that conscious choice helped me from having any regrets after she passed.

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It was incredibly rewarding for me to spend my time with her knowing I was writing the final chapter in her life, and our life together. What I learned about the aging process had a positive impact on my relationships with both my parents before they passed away. I also have a little better appreciation for my own mortality.

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Helping older dogs live their final chapter knowing they are loved

Dogs enrich our lives in a million different ways, at every age of their life, and ours. When I decided to start volunteering at a senior dog rescue, my goal was to physically help older dogs live the last chapter of their life knowing that they were loved. What I didn't realize until recently is that they are reminding ME that I am still loved. How did that life lesson sneak in here?


Joy on the other end of our leash @muttvillesf with Miss Pepper #adoptdontshop #❤️

A photo posted by grouchypuppy (@grouchypuppy) on

Is it the compassion I have for older dogs that inspires me to step up, and to try and make a difference in the quality of their life? I certainly know that when I get discouraged by the news, my mood is lifted after spending a few hours with a wise old face.

Offering a discarded older dog simple affection can be rewarded with a happy expression, like Pepper has in this photo. Have you ever made any dog smile? I get a shot of electricity from it!

Getting involved in the welfare of older dogs in my community is a tonic. It's a reminder that we can do something close to home, that can have a positive tangible impact. When I come home from Muttville Senior Dog Rescue each week, I feel like I've helped add to the positive column, that my actions have cancelled out some of the negativity in the world.

My Emotional Enrichment Program

Ensuring that an older dog will know they are loved during their final chapter is my goal. Every time a Muttville dog is adopted or joins a foster home, I feel so much joy. My life is enriched from the experience, and knowing they will be loved the rest of their life. 

Learn more about Pepper, the adoptable cutie shown here. Throughout August, Muttville is waiving adoption fees to qualified adopters.

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SF SPCA Launches No Prong Educational Campaign

My view is that if you use a prong collar on a dog, you are sadly missing out on everything. Your relationship with your dog isn't based on love, trust, fellowship. If you want to experience the best of being with a dog, why would you use a tool that causes pain?

As you can see from the photo, it wasn't long after we adopted our big husky shepherd that we switched from a nylon collar to a harness, because it enhanced our relationship.


Once again, the San Francisco SPCA, where we found our wonderful dog, is taking the lead in helping dogs (Remember this video?) and our relationship with them with the launch of this educational campaign, What's Wrong With The Prong:

June 21, 2016 – The San Francisco SPCA has launched a campaign to educate the public about the harm caused by prong collars. Prong collars are designed to inflict pain and discomfort and can cause serious physical, behavioral, and emotional damage.

“We continue to regularly see prong collars on dogs throughout San Francisco,” said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, co-president at the San Francisco SPCA. “Most owners don’t want to hurt their dogs – they want to do the right thing. There’s a huge need for community education.”

The SF SPCA Veterinary Hospitals treat prong collar injuries, which range from skin irritation and punctures to spinal cord problems. Prongs can easily damage a dog’s delicate neck area. The protective layers of the skin on the under portion of a dog’s neck, where the prongs of the collar are designed to pinch, are 3x thinner than those of human skin.

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Guest Post: Our Senior Dog Journey is Destined to Continue

I can't seem to put my finger on the reason but I am profoundly touched by senior dogs, and the people who foster and adopt them. 

This is why I am sharing a series of guest posts from Karl and Jessica Schneider. They regularly share their stories and photos on the Grouchy Puppy Facebook wall. I had wanted to have one or two of their dogs be a featured reader of the monthly newsletter, but then Karl sent me the most wonderful story of their journey into the world of senior dog adoption.

Their story is perfect for anyone interested in fostering or adopting a senior dog. It joyfully demonstrates the positive influence of a dog many times over. Last week they introduced Bobo and Jameson to the family.

Today is the final part of the 3-part series, and I hope their story has resonated with you as it has with me. I look forward to your comments.


Our Senior Dog Journey is Destined to Continue

by Karl and Jessica Schneider

We learned a lot about how dog relationships develop having Jameson, Addie Maye and Schnapps.  Addie and Schnapps clearly deferred to Jameson, but he never abused his power. At that time, he was just happy to be with me whether I was in my office or working outside.  The three of them never really played together, and since they were all different shapes and sizes, we couldn’t take them all walking together, but they developed quite a special dynamic.  As you can see from this picture, Schnapps would curl up with Jameson, between his long legs.  We have several pictures like that.  Jameson was just such a kind and gentle soul.

Jameson and Schnapps

Jameson left us that August.  His body just couldn’t contain his spirit any longer, and I think he knew his family was in good hands with Addie Maye and Schnapps.

For a long time after that, it was just the two of them.  They were building their relationship.  They were also becoming the core of the family.  Schnapps is the boss, and Addie does his bidding.  When he barks in a certain way, she comes running.  Also during that time, Schnapps had several health issues which caused him to be away from home for many days.  Addie clearly missed her little buddy when he wasn’t around. 

Schnapps made it through all of those challenges and made friends wherever he went.  No matter what hospital he was at, he was always the most popular guy there.  One of surgeries caused him to lose part of his lower right mandible.  This causes his tongue to hang out all the time.  He also has only two teeth left.  Of course they’re the two lower front canines.  None of these challenges stops him from doing whatever he wants.  He eats and drinks just fine, although very sloppily. 

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Feb. 15-17, 2016 Helen Woodward Animal Center bringing Free Animal Welfare Workshops to Sydney, Australia

Four years ago I attended a mini-ACES workshop where effective tried and true ways to find families for orphaned pets. The session was led by Mike Arms, a man directly responsible for saving millions of animals. As President of the Helen Woodward Animal Center he is an inspiration because he was the first person I ever met in animal welfare who applied business principles to pet adoption practices, and how to raise compassionate children. 

Today, the Helen Woodward Animal Center, in partnership with Blue Buffalo, is very honored to bring The Business of Saving Lives, free of charge, to Sydney, Australia.

The Center has been providing brand new ways to look at animal welfare, marketing, social media, fundraising, humane education, and more through The Business of Saving Lives workshops for over 14 years with life-saving results. In mid-February this year, The Business of Saving Lives will travel abroad for the first time and Helen Woodward Animal Center has selected Maggie’s Rescue in Sydney, Australia to host the first internationally-located training.

“I’m very excited about the upcoming workshop and its potential to decrease euthanasia rates in Australia and enhance the outcomes for our Aussie companion animals,” explained Lisa Wright, Founder and Director of Maggie’s Rescue. “The workshop is bringing unique international perspectives on companion animal welfare and management issues that we feel will create progressive and forward-thinking dialogues amongst all levels of government and key stakeholders.”

Mike Arms

The Sydney, Australia-based The Business of Saving Lives Workshop will take place at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney between February 15th and February 17th, 2016.

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