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June 2011
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August 2011

Influence Positively Interview - Annie Brody

Annie-Brody Annie Brody founded Camp Unleashed in 2004 after successful careers in book publishing and environmental education. She has a B.S. from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University where she studied initially with the goal of becoming a veterinarian.

Dogs have been her greatest passion since 1993 when she adopted her first dog from the NYC ASPCA--a lost golden retriever, whom she named Hero--and embarked on her ongoing journey to understand the extraordinary nature of the human-dog relationship.

In 1999 she moved from Manhattan to upstate New York so that Hero could live a more natural life including being able to run free off leash and so that Annie could invite more dogs to live with them. The delight she and Hero experienced inspired her to start Camp Unleashed so that other dogs and people would have a safe natural place to go to be together, without leashes!

What is your idea of perfect happiness? I love an early morning walk through the woods with my dogs, ending up in a pond for them to swim in. Perfection would be having someone else to wash them off afterwards.

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Our dog as a value proposition

Investing in a dog, is a risk. But I can tell you honestly, after more than five years with Cleo, our adopted dog, the rewards clearly far out-weigh any and all potential risks. For my former colleagues, you might say that our dog is a value proposition. Cleo is the benefit that stakeholders (my husband and I) are assured of receiving as a result of their relationship with the shelter or rescue (SF/SPCA).

Choosing to adopt our dog has proven that past performance is no indication of future results for a rescue dog. We found Cleo through the San Francisco SPCA, and every day since she came home with us, Cleo has shown us that we made a wise investment.

Are you ready to invest in a dog? While you weigh the risk and rewards, you can help Petfinder this weekend find homes in celebration of their milestone. This weekend, in honor of their 15th birthday, Petfinder and 1,500 shelters and rescue groups are holding what could be the largest adoption event in history. The goal: to find homes for 15,000 pets. And you can help!

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Wag & Go Outdoor Pack Product Review & Special Offer

Though we live in San Francisco, with it's famous foggy summer weather, our walks in the city still make us thirsty. The hills and urban landscape mean that when we take a break it will more likely be on a stoop rather than a trail head or under a shady tree.

Wag-Go-Outdoor-Pack-Product-Review With our concrete jungle in front of us, Cleo and I decided to test out a new product from, an online retailer of modern, upscale dog bedding, furniture and accessories. We don't do product reviews often but since San Francisco is a stylish city, and we love climbing our steep streets, we couldn't wait to try out the Wag & Go Outdoor Pack.

The kit includes a pack bowl and bottle, along with enhanced water for both of us! With the pace that Cleo takes on some of our hills, I loved that the bowl fastened tightly around the water bottle. And if you stop along the way for a water break, don't worry about a wet bowl. You can use the clip on the outside of the bowl to hang it off any loop (belt loop, back pack, leash) to dry in the sun while you finish your walk.

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The Return of Hadley: Dealing with feelings of failure

This is a new guest post from Elisa Leyva-Guerrero about pet fostering and pet adoption. Read her very first story "Nolan Teaches us about Faith"

My last foster Hadley was quite the looker (she was my Cleo look alike!), on top of that she was a sweet dog. The leader of St. Louis Senior Dog Project had gotten her out of a local county animal control and everyone in the group loved her. She was thought to be around 5-6 years old at the animal control facility however with her spunkiness and high energy she was most likely around 2-3 years old.

I have never seen a dog that could run so fast for so long and still have energy. When we would take Hadley  to the dog park she would out run each and every time a large standard size poodle that was a very good runner, my two own dogs could not keep up with her at all. Yes, I was in love with Hadley, she was not without a fault mind you, she was not the perfect little lady and she would benefit from some basic training. She wasn’t destructive but as many a stray dog she would reverse to her past life and go through the trash. She did have a lot of energy and was a little too much for my dachshund Moxie,  but she was the sweetest thing and a great dog that would make a wonderful pet.

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Why investing in Cleo has been worth the risk

IMG_6997 Steady Dividends. I'll tell you up front, investing in Cleo and the dog adoption process at the San Francisco SPCA has paid steady dividends. Every year that Cleo has been with us, our life has only been richer because of her influence. As a family, we looked at our lifestyle, our ability to love this dog we knew little about in the beginning, and we were realistic about our commitment to her once we signed on the dotted line.

When we decided to adopt our dog Cleo, I couldn't help but look at the experience with a slight investment perspective. We were taking on a lot of potential risk with the hope that we would be rewarded. It was important to be sure of our tolerance level and that we were ready for a long term commitment. Can you guess that at the time, I was working for the world's largest discount broker?

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Influence Positively Interview - Lisa Spector

Lisa_sanchez_pianist Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. By combining her passion for music with her love of dogs, she co-created Through a Dog’s Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to relieve anxiety issues in dogs. Lisa is the pianist on the Through a Dog’s Ear music series.

As a lifetime dog-lover, Lisa has served as a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind and is actively involved in agility and musical canine freestyle. A co-founder of BioAcoustic Research & Development, Lisa held a principal role in the groundbreaking music and canine research conducted with 150 dogs in 2004-06. She is a pet blogger for, an online community of over 16 million members making a difference in animal welfare and the lives of pets, and her blogs have been seen on the front page of Digg. She also is an expert guest blogger on and DogStarDaily. Expanding on her desire to improve the lives of dogs and their people, she recently took on a position of local director for Camp Unleashed in California. 

As a concert pianist, Lisa has won first prizes in prestigious national piano competitions and has performed in China, Poland, Spain, France, Italy and throughout the U.S. She shares her home and her heart with Sanchez and Gina, both career change Labradors from Guide Dogs for the Blind.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Any activity in which I am truly 100% in the present moment, enjoying life. Whether I’m dancing in a Zumba class, playing the piano, hiking with my dogs, in agility practice or a class, or attending a fabulous symphony concert, if I’m present, it is perfect happiness. That’s one of the things I continually learn from my dogs, as they are masters at living in the present moment.

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Past performance, dog adoption and wagging indicators

Past performance is no indication of future results for a dog.

When you decide to adopt a dog, it is highly likely they will come with a past. If they are a senior dog, that past could include an entire life of fun and games or incredible neglect. You decide to invest in this dog based on your instinct, a professionals guidance, and possibly past experiences. 

Wagging Indicators. 

When we adopted Cleo from the San Francisco SPCA, we had little information about her background. It was up to us to watch her closely, read a lot about German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies (I grew up only with Dobermans) in order to get an idea of what to expect. Managing expectations is important.

I soon discovered that Cleo's tail was a leading indicator of everything we did right. When we asked her if she wanted breakfast, her tail wagged. If we said it was time for a walk, her tail wagged. If we called her "Chloe", no response. For the first few months together, we both accidentally called her Chloe instead of Cleo, and both got the same reaction..silence.


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