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August 2010
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October 2010

Can dogs be happy?

Dogs look like they can smile and their tail wagging seems to say something too. For those of us dog owners who clearly love our pets, we focus a lot on trying to understand, to decipher, what Fido is "saying". 

We want the best for these members of our pack. I know that at the end of the day my knowledge of Cleo, my adult rescue dog, is limited to what I can uncover on my own.  And because I care, I want to know if she is happy. 

Ever since I adopted her, feeling that I am doing a good job - that I'm making her life better than what it was - is important to me as a responsible canine guardian.  Therefore, even debatable emotional indicators such as a smile, I will take this superfluous information and hold it close.

This guest post is from Deborah Flick, of Boulder Dog, and helps us put into context these notions of whether our dogs are really happy and she discusses the question, what is a normal dog?


You will never have a ‘normal’ dog no matter how much counter-conditioning and desensitization you do. No matter how many hours of training you invest. At least that’s how I condensed Dr. Nicholas Dodman’s lecture on fearfulness and fear aggression.

“You can rehabilitate, but there is no cure. And, there is a tendency to relapse.”

Thanks. I needed that.

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Dogs Need Our Minds

Sharon & Cleo on one of their San Francisco hills "Dogs already have our hearts, they need our minds". Mike Arms, president of the Helen Woodward Animal Center said this early in to his keynote address at BlogPaws West

He was speaking about the pet care industry and how the word "love" is overused. He said it is better to care than love animals, because to care is to make a difference. He's right.

Handle with care. Care for elderly. The care of a child. These phrases could all be directly tied to pet health. The words supervision, custody, protection, control, responsibility, guardianship, are associated with "care of a child", but I would argue that they all apply to a dog as well.

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Influence Positively Questionnaire - Robin A.F. Olson

Robin A.F. Olson
Robin A.F. Olson is author of Covered in Cat and the President & Founder of Kitten Associates, the New Breed of Cat Rescue. Robin is also a Graphic Designer and member of the Cat Writers’ Association. She lives in Connecticut with an unknown number of cats, but judging from her cat food bill, a good guess would be “more than a few.” is a 2010 Pettie Awards Finalist for Best Cause Related Blog.  You can follow Covered in Cat Hair on Facebook or follow Robin on Twitter: @KitschKat

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I have so many, but not any one is all that exotic. For me, I take joy in the little things: When my foster kittens are all lapping at their food, some even purring as they eat; their tummies are full and I know they’re safe. Or when I get the call that the cats I just pulled from a kill shelter are at the Vet and their snap tests are negative. Not only are those cats out of danger, their futures are bright. Lastly, being in bed covered with my cats on a weekend, with the snow gently falling outside, a good book in hand and a cup of tea works for me.

If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be and why?

I’d come back as dog because I’m not so sure I want to lick myself clean every day, as cats do. Also, I think it would be really fun to BARK, really loud—especially at inappropriate times!

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Pet Bloggers Influence Positively - BlogPaws Changes People

BlogPaws Co-Founder Caroline Golon Going to a gathering of pet bloggers, I expected to meet passionate pet people, which I did. I think I even met a real animal lover. His keynote address had people simultaneously weakly weeping and visibly agitated. I saw faces that could not hide their emotional response to his declaration, "the pet care industry is the only industry that asks you to destroy what you love".

Clearly Mike Arms, has a heart as big as a mountain but he shared a phrase that I will never forget, "a dog has our heart already, they need our minds".  Wow. If that motivation isn't what is behind development work for every form of animal center/shelter, it should be. I'm not surprised to learn he won the Most Admired CEO Award in 2007.

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Influence Positively Questionnaire - Shelah Barr

Shelah and Bunny web
Shelah Barr received the first of 3 certifications in Massage and Bodywork in 1993. Her specialization was structural and functional correction, working with people to help them recover from injuries and chronic illnesses, and create self-care programs for themselves. Her work literally went to the dogs in 2005, when suddenly it seemed that every dog within sight was asking for her help. She took the hint and started
Happy Hounds Massage, and has been using her skills and knowledge to help small animals ever since. Shelah lives in San Francisco and spends her free time bending to the will of her dog, Bunny.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Perfect happiness is relaxing with friends and our pets somewhere warm and lush, with no schedule, or demands, or responsibility.  Maybe not even a phone.  Some simple delicious food nearby and good music.

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PEDIGREE Adoption Drive - Pet Blogger Hop Special Edition

BlogPaws West is now over, the DogTime Pet Blog Awards "Petties" have all been given out and every animal loving inspirational speaker has returned home.  What's next?

You can write a post, help a dog!

Now through midnight ET September 19 for each blog that writes a post about the PEDIGREE adoption drive, PEDIGREE will donate a 20 lb. bag of their new Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs to a shelter.

One bag of dog food will be donated per participating blog. Just like the Saturday Pet Blogger Hops, you will want to make to add the URL of your PEDIGREE adoption drive post to be counted. 

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Influence Positively Questionnaire - Caroline Golon

Caroline Golon

Caroline Golon’s blog,, focuses on raising money and awareness for rescues across the U.S. Since February 2009, Caroline has raised more than $42,000 through her blog, Facebook and Twitter. Caroline’s work has been featured in USA Today,, The New York Times, The Associated Press, Animal Wellness, Woman’s World, and more. Caroline is also the co-founder of, an online community and resource for pet bloggers. Caroline lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and their very active (and fun!) 2-year-old daughter. The Golon’s are dedicated staff to Romeo and Pugsley, both rescued Persian cats who run the household!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A happy, healthy family. Pets to adore. Loving friends. A job that excites me. The opportunity to give back.  Waking each day full of full of inspiration about the possibilities out there.

Wow, I’d say I’m pretty darn happy right now!  I’m truly a lucky gal.

If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be & why?

A dog. They are so happy and blissful (in general). Being a cat wouldn’t be too bad but scheming and strategizing is pretty exhausting. No wonder they nap all the time!

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BlogPaws Thursday Opening Reception - Great Ideas in Pictures

Great Idea #1 - Help adoptable pets


Great idea #2 Any items from the conference swag bag can be dropped off at this table & they will be donated to local shelters.


Great Idea #3 Join in the Pedigree Adoption Drive, Write a Blog Post, Help a Dog.

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Pedigree Adoption Drive: Write a Blog Post Help a Dog!

In April Pedigree sponsored us to fly across country to attend the first ever BlogPaws in Columbus, Ohio. One of the reasons for our connection with Pedigree is that we both are involved in and care a lot about pet adoption. As I mentioned the other day, they are again sponsoring us. This morning I'm off to BlogPaws West, in Denver.

Getting Involved

Experiencing the joy of pet adoption and meeting all the amazing people directly involved in fostering, Breed Specific Legislation and senior dogs to name a few - has left an indelible mark on me and has compelled me to get involved.  And I love it. How can I look in my rescue dog's face, see all that gratitude and love and not want to do more? Cleo gives our family so much joy.


Write a Blog Post Help a Dog!

Each year, more than 4 million dogs end up in shelters and breed rescue organizations. Pedigree created The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive to help shine a spotlight on the plight of these homeless dogs.   This year the PEDIGREE Adoption Drive is raising awareness for homeless dogs by donating a bowl of food to shelter dogs for everyone who becomes a “Fan” or “Likes” The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive on Facebook. So far more than 1  million bowls have been donated.   Click on the yellow Adoption Rules badge >>>

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