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April 2011
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June 2011

Influence Positively Interview - Dr Tiffany Bierer

Tiffany Bierer Mars PEDIGREE

Tiffany Bierer is manager of health sciences and nutrition in the research and development group for Mars Petcare US, headquartered in Franklin, Tenn. In this position, she is responsible for providing nutritional expertise for all the pet food brands at the U.S. operations of the world’s largest petcare company.  

Dr. Bierer’s focus in her current role includes driving nutritional innovation for all of Mars Petcare US’ pet food brands, which include PEDIGREE® Brand Food for Dogs, CESAR® Brand Canine Cuisine, WHISKAS® Brand Food for Cats, THE GOODLIFE RECIPE® Brand and Exclusive Brands private label pet food. She also provides nutritional direction for Mars Petcare’s dog food brands globally, including PEDIGREE®, the number one dog food brand in the U.S. and the world.  

During her 15 years with the company, Dr. Bierer has produced several publications and presented many studies that include the use of diets containing green-lipped mussel to manage arthritis symptoms, the use of high protein diets to promote weight loss, and oral biometrics and the improvement of oral health through diet in dogs and cats.  She also holds several patents and has been a global internal Mars “Make the Difference” award winner.

Dr. Bierer received her bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana and doctorate degree in food sciences with an emphasis in nutritional biochemistry from there as well. Her thesis work focused on carotenoid metabolism.

Dr. Bierer lives in Nashville, Tenn. along with her two cats, Coconut and Cricket. 

What is your idea of perfect happiness? I have two cats at home and one of my cats, Coconut, loves to cuddle up to me every morning before I get up.  He comes running up to the head of my bed and plops down with his front legs around my neck and his cheek against mine and purrs and snoozes with me until it’s time to get up.  Just a little bit of perfect happiness for both of us to start each day!

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Dog Ambassador is always on duty

Dogs we love. Today is Memorial Day and we went to visit the San Francisco Presidio and it's National Cemetery. Spend five minutes there and your heart will beat a patriotic rhythm. Taking our dog with us, we walked one of the paths down to Fort Point, then made our way to Crissy Field. Along the way we were stopped several times by people curious about Cleo, her breed, size, sex and demeanor. I think one nice lady will be visiting the SF/SPCA later this week, because of our chat.

It was wonderful to see tourists and families enjoying the beautiful scenery. Many had their dogs with them while they walked or barbecued. Cleo looked longingly at both the hot dogs and wiener dogs (doxies)!

Thank you to all the people we saw picking up their dog poop. That grass was wet so we can imagine it wasn't easy. Shoot, Cleo had so much fun we picked up after her three (count 'em 3) times. That last one I think I left a bit of a divot, trying to get it all.

"Grazie" to the lovely older Italian couple whose Golden Gate Bridge snapshot includes Cleo's big nose, and who said "buon giorno" to Cleo in reaction.

image from

Thank you to my friends who went on the walk with us & thought to buy Cleo an all natural dog cookie in the Warming Hut, just because they looked good & because they love Cleo.

With summer officially here, we hope to see more of all of you online and in San Francisco. It is a great destination city and filled with dog lovers.


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5 Favorite Summer Travel Tips for People and Pets

Do you travel with your pet? Even in a big city, we see creative ways people like to travel with their dog. Besides the expected service dogs on the MUNI bus or BART train, we are seeing more people around town accompanied by their pooch, like this little guy riding in a bicycle basket.

Pooch in a Bicycle Basket
With Memorial Day brings the official launch of summer vacations and long weekends away. Traveling with family members takes a little planning to make sure everyone has a good time. If you take your four-legged best friend with you, be sure and consider these five tips:

  • Bring a water bowl that your dog is familiar with, besides extra water.
  • Pack a blanket that smells like your home and dog, it adds comfort emotionally and physically.
  • Call ahead to any place you plan to stay for their current pet policy: ask about a weight limit, extra fee and any restrictions.
  • Just like with people, plan pit stops for potty breaks along your route.
  • Bring healthy snacks for both human and dog: carrot sticks, apple slices and green beans can be a nice addition to cookies.

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Milk-Bone Healthy Favorites Product Review

Healthy dog snacks. We are always on the lookout for treats that our dog can eat. Since she has dietary restrictions, we can't grab just anything off the shelf. We need to look over the label closely.

Milk-Bone Healthy Favorites Chewy Treats

We're fortunate to live in the city of St. Francis. There are many pet centric businesses and services, from canine massage to homemade dog food. However for those who don't live here or even within driving distance, we just found a national and trusted brand of dog biscuits that now includes a healthy choice for your dog.

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Influence Positively Interview - Aimee Gilbreath

Aimee Gilbreath Found Animals and Rufus

Aimee Gilbreath received a full scholarship to attend the University of Arizona, where she earned her B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology, graduating summa cum laude in 1996. She began a career in biotechnology and was hired by Motorola Corporation’s R&D division; after spending four years in the laboratory researching single nucleotide polymorphisms, Aimee returned to school and earned her MBA at Stanford University.  Upon graduation in 2002 she was hired by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a management strategy consulting firm that works with Fortune 500 companies to solve complex business issues.

 In an effort to introduce balance and service into her busy business career, Aimee began volunteering for a local animal rescue group when she moved to Los Angeles in 2004. This was her introduction to the issues of pet overpopulation and shelter euthanasia. And, this was where Aimee fell in love with one of the most popular yet misunderstood breeds of dog, the pit bull.  She eventually adopted a “pittie” of her own – Rufus – who is now six years old.

Rufus inspired Aimee to return to her first love – animals – and led her to take the position she holds today.  In March 2008, Aimee joined Found Animals® as the Executive Director and first employee.  Now, rather than tackling post merger integrations, she is managing a social entrepreneurship startup and applying her business skills to the creation and development of sustainable business models within animal welfare.  

What is your idea of perfect happiness? My idea of perfect happiness is to always be working on a project that is meaningful and challenging, with a great team of collaborators, while surrounded by amazing friends and family.  And of course, there have to be at least a few dogs, cats, guinea pigs, or horses helping to “supervise” the whole operation.

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How do you save off-leash dog walking areas?

Peaceful protesting and a colorful, happy dog poop bag lady. Those certainly must be keys to saving off-leash dog walking areas in San Francisco!

This is what I love about the Bay Area. Even in the middle of a protest, people are awfully polite and considerate of the environment. No mêlée. No anarchy. Only once did I see a brief tiny scuffle, between tiny dogs.

May 21st was the Mighty Mutt March from Ocean Beach to Stern Grove and with the big turn out of people and dogs, it was great to see everything was thought of, including poop bags.

Sweet Dog Poop Bag Lady in Red

Besides this nice woman prepared to help out with an unexpected poop break along the route, we had a friendly police escort.

San Francisco Police

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Weekends go to the dog

Saturdays around here involve all things dog. Even if some say the apocalypse is scheduled to begin today, you will find us, in no particular order, doing the following:

  • Washing dog blankets
  • Playing with the dog
  • Walking the dog
  • Grooming the dog
  • Fixing dog toys
  • Making dog meals
  • Picking up dog poop
  • Reading dog blogs

We try to balance our indoor and outdoor dog activities so that we get a healthy dose of vitamins and exercise.

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Care2 Click and You May Help a Shelter Win Cash!

Vote for Your Favorite Shelter! If you have been watching the new TLC show Extreme Couponing, then you know everyone in America is looking for ways to stretch their dollar. 

With funds tight for animal non-profits too, wouldn't it make you feel good if you could make a difference for your favorite shelter? Here is a way you can help, without spending anything more than a little time online!

Care 2 Contest

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You Stuff It!! An Easy Dog Bed Project

Today I contemplated how many dog pounds per square inch Cleo was applying night after night on her dog bed. From where I stood, it looked pretty flat. For those who saw our post of the stylish pet bed we reviewed, the bed I am staring at, is not that bed but her older bed that she uses downstairs at night.

Big German Shepherd Booty!

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Influence Positively Interview - Zak George

We are coming up on the one year anniversary since I started the Influence Positively interviews. Where has the time gone? They have been a wonderful success. I am still amazed and impressed by the fascinating people highlighted every week.  If you have missed any, check out the interview archives.

I feel like a cross between Barbara Walters and a Pinkerton detective. Sometimes people find me and sometimes I need to dig around before I uncover the next fascinating person in the wide world of pets and animal welfare.

Our goal has been to inspire action in our readers, as well as simply share common motivations and traits we all have inside when it comes to pets.  Read my March post about what the interviews are all about and what prompted me to start them

Zak-george-venus Today we continue the interview series, with our first video interview, submitted [unedited] by Zak George. If you are into teaching your dog tricks, you may know him already from his successful stint on Animal Planet as the host of Super Fetch!

Zak George has always been intrigued by dogs, but his true talents for working with these amazing animals went undiscovered for more than 20 years. Little did he know that playing with his older brother’s German Shepherd, Levi, would change the course of his life and bring these skills to the surface. 

It all began during a hot summer in Georgia when Zak’s brother asked him to throw a Frisbee® to Levi. Years later, after the hours spent playing with Levi had sunk in, Zak had a dream where he saw a dog spring boarding off his back to catch a Frisbee®. This is when it all clicked together for Zak and inspired him to bring Venus, an energetic and intelligent border collie, into his life. With very little formal training, Zak used his instincts to guide him and developed a positive training method in which Venus excelled. Together, they won five extreme dogs competitions in their first five years! 

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First-Person Essay: Healing Joe

We have had enough behavioral and allergy issues with Cleo to be very empathetic to the unique needs of all dogs. We know many people who advocate raw food diets and all natural products for their dogs. With Cleo we read the labels closely on all her food as well as her shampoos.

Because she gets hot spots so easily, we are known for giving her the once over like an airport TSA agent. Lucky for us, she likes our subtle pat downs because she gets a massage out of it too. What I'm trying to say is that we love our dog and do our best to make sure we cover all our bases when it comes to her care.

Today we have a first-person essay about how the holistic, treat-the-whole-dog approach applied to their beloved Boston Terrier, inspired a mother and daughter.

This is a guest post by Mary Louise Shenk, Co-Founder of M&J Dog Essentials. She shares how one small dog, changed the course of their life, for the good.


The origin of my firm belief in the healing benefits of flower essences began with our Boston Terrier Joe (the ‘J’ in M&J). 

It thankfully wasn’t long before I realized the connection between the many scars Joe carried from his past, his sensitivity and his neurotic behavior and seizures. 

I had read about flower essences and was curious to see if Joe could possibly benefit from them. The effect flower essences have on the human system is subtle but extremely effective. A dog’s sensitivities can be just as subtle but just as powerful- our canine friends all too readily pick up on our worries, fears, and our happiness too (come home in an excited state and see how quickly your dog gets excited too).  So I began applying Bach’s Rescue Remedy.

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Unsung Heroes: Many Organize to Help Dogs

Since getting involved with Muttville, a rescue focusing its efforts solely on senior dogs, I've been paying closer attention to how animal nonprofits work in San Francisco. It has been a joy to support and help promote their fund-raising and placement efforts.

SF Supervisor Scott Weiner at Muttville Day
Some groups are terribly creative at how they go about sharing available dogs with the public.

I appreciate seeing local San Francisco businesses like The Wag Hotel and Doc's Clock regularly offering space for Yappy Hours. These clever opportunities give people a relaxed way to view a few dogs at a time, while they discover if they are meant to have a dog in their life. I imagine some people can get overwhelmed spending the same amount of time, visiting dogs at the Animal Care and Control. These short evening or afternoon events allow people to learn more about a specific rescue and their background, besides meeting some cute pups.

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