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September 2011
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November 2011

Giveaway: Awkward Family Pet Photos Book


They say love is blind. Many of us with dogs, knows this is true. You might be shocked at how many photos I have of my dog Cleo, which are also out of focus. But, I keep them because I can still how cute she is in them.

Awkward Family Photos. Our Christmas card includes our dog - she is part of the family - and I plan to keep working on taking that perfect family picture, if it kills me. I'm grateful for digital photos, because you can imagine how many embarrasing photos are deleted.

But how about the photos that don't get deleted? How many of you have cringed yet couldn't look away from

These photos pop up in my Facebook stream from friends all the time. This hilarious site lead to a New York Times bestseller. The authors of both the site and book, Mike Bender and Doug Chernack, found that the pet photos quickly became the most popular and the most commented upon photos, so in June 2010 they naturally created

On November 1st, their new paperback book - a tribute to the unbreakable bond between people and their pets - goes on sale..just in time for the holidays!

And you can WIN your own FREE copy by entering our GIVEAWAY!

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Microchipping Pets, Implants and Reunions

When we adopted our dog, she came from the San Francisco SPCA, which has a policy of implanting a microchip in pets before they can be adopted. Before our dog adoption, we knew little about the procedure. However, living in an area prone to earthquakes, this added identification is appreciated.

We know it comes with possible health risks, like all implants, human included. But, for us, given our incredible bond and love for Cleo, the reward would be incalculable. We couldn't imagine losing track of her, and having her adopted to another family, because they didn't know about us, or how to find us. [Cue my childhood matinee weeping during Snoopy Come Home]

Reading this reunion story of Petey returning to his Tennessee home from Michigan, had us cuddling with Cleo after we doubled checked her microchip number and the contact information with HomeAgain.

Across the United States, 26% of dogs had implanted microchips in 2010 compared to 17% in 2009, according to an annual survey of pet owners by American Pet Products Association. 


(Veterinary technician Trevor Van Eeuwen uses a hand-held scanner to check for an implant, a rice-sized microchip, on Roxy a 7-year-old maltipoo, with the help of Veterinary technician Natalie Hartman.)

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Keeping Halloween safe and fun for dogs in the city

Trick-or-treating is fun for kids but not for many dogs, especially senior dogs. Our dog, she loves little ones when we are out walking, and we'll stop and have a happy moment. But, a strange looking shadowy shape that is waving its arms, in low light, is another story.

Our dog is older, and her eyesight is going. She goes bump in the night, every night. Dogs with limited vision, hearing or mobility, are probably happiest away from the action. We certainly run extra interference for our dog on Halloween. We don't want her to accidentally spook a child, nor do we want her to get scared so that she feels even more protective of us, and the house.

Daylight encounters between dogs and kids in costumes, can be safely handled by aware parents. We see that in our neighborhood, with one parent watching the stroller, while the other handles the toddler. However, here are the best five tips to consider that we have learned over the years:

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First Lady with Bo, the First Dog in the White House Kitchen Garden

Mrs. Obama recently took a photo with Bo in the White House kitchen garden, so that kids writing in about the garden or about Bo could get a letter back with a photo of the First Dog. This is such a sweet photo of the two of them, I wonder if I wrote a letter, I'd get a photo or instead, a visit from the Secret Service? Maybe I better stick to photos with Cleo...


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Don't be spooked from fostering a dog

Have you wanted to foster a dog but you're afraid? Are you afraid you will automatically adopt your foster dog, and you're not sure yet if you are ready for a dog?

For me, fostering a dog could have been a valuable boot camp experience. A few months ago, I wrote some of my thoughts about how lucky we have been with Cleo, and how fostering might have helped me.

Transformation. The experience of fostering a dog can transform you, so you will always want to foster. Why would you want to cut off the tide of dogs, you might save otherwise by adopting every dog you foster? Many foster parents have pets already. They would not dream of adopting another dog, because then that available spot they have would be filled. People who foster feel it is their duty, their responsibility, to keep this space in their life and home open to a needy animal.


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No longer the sheepish scamp, Mutts are now magnificent

After decades of being the odd dog out, the mutt is losing its reputation as social outcast. Animal welfare organizations everywhere show that the attitude has shifted for families, who are now more willing to adopt a blend or mixed breed than ever before.


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Dog nap'd - Senior dogs poop out like puppies

Senior dogs need big naps after a long walk. Our dog Cleo had a good drink of water after our walk this afternoon, now she'll be resting the rest of the day. However, it is sunny out & her thick fur had her panting extra hard.

With all dogs, watch closely for signs of heat exhaustion. Dogs sweat out heat through their foot pads and nose. Prevention is key to keeping your dog safe. Visit, "Dogs and Heat Stroke - Understanding and Preventing Heat Stroke in Dogs" to learn more.


Give Fearlessly. Influence Positively.

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Kimpton Hotels Hosts Fifth Annual Howl-o-Ween Yappy Hour and Pet Costume Contest Oct 30th



Join Kimpton Hotels, San Francisco’s pet-friendliest hotel collection, on the grass carpet as they play host to the city’s cutest and spookiest pups, dressed in their best Halloween costumes.

Bring your fabulous four-legged friend to the Argonaut Hotel dressed in their funniest or scariest costume, for a chance to win a variety of prizes, while you enjoy a relaxing yappy hour and views of the San Francisco Bay. 

Benefiting the San Francisco SPCA, Kimpton’s Howl-o-Ween party is October 30, 2011 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Costume contest starts at 3:30 pm. 

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7 New California State Laws Signed Protecting Animals

Governor Jerry Brown has just signed hundreds of bills into California law. Among the list are several that attempt to make California a safer place for animals. Before April 15th, one bill that I am going to look into further is Assembly Bill 564. It allows taxpayers, on their tax return, to transfer a certain amount of money to the local municipal animal shelter's spay/neuter fund.


On the City Brights Blog, Ken White, President of the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA wrote this recap of new California laws...

Assembly Bill (AB) 1117 expands the ability of judges to keep animals away from their convicted abusers. Obviously, this is a very good thing.

Senate Bill (SB) 917 makes it unlawful for any person to willfully sell, display for sale or offer for sale, or give away as part of a commercial transaction, a live animal on any street, highway, public right-of-way, parking lot, carnival, or boardwalk (with certain exceptions). Further, it increases the misdemeanor penalty from up to six months in county jail to up to one year in county jail for animal neglect.

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Ever After: First 30 days of dog adoption

When we adopted our dog, we had prepared, but only after we brought Cleo home did I realize how much I still didn't know. Part of my adoption theory was that at some point, you just have to do it. You can't know everything, nor can you plan for every contingency. You need to have an open heart, ready to set your new dog up for success in their new life with you. You can prepare your household and life for this new family member, but at some point in the planning process, you need to trust your instincts and open your home.

IMG_5060Our dog has become a family member, blossoming into a happy girl over the past six years with us. However, with that said, I wish I had known some of these great tips for creating a well adjusted dog. We had a few avoidable mishaps in those first days.  The first thirty days in a home are special and critical for a dog.

We got lucky with Cleo, and she is resilient. She knows that we love her unconditionally, and now if there is ever a question, she seems to give us the benefit of the doubt and pause before she reacts to a situation. In celebration of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, and to help you avoid some of our mistakes, I've shared a few highlights from Petfinder, followed by a link to the entire list. 

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New San Francisco SPCA class “Senior Scholars”

You can teach an older dog new tricks! Coming off of the success and enthusiasm of the Senior Dog Seminar, the San Francisco SPCA is offering a new class just for senior dogs. Starting October 29, the Senior Scholars class will teach you how to create comfortable ways, to physically and mentally stimulate and soothe your aging best friend.


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Halloween Candy for Dog Lovers

Impossibly cute dogs are my favorite kind of Halloween candy. And this Pink Costume + Skull & Crossbones = Awwww. 


Dog costume tip: check out end of season/holiday sales of kids clothes or costumes! You can find 50%-75% off bargains, and with little sewing skills, modify the outfit to fit your dog. Nice!!

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Ask the Dog Trainer!

We love dogs. All dogs. We were lucky when we adopted our dog Cleo, because she came with some basic training. In addition, the SPCA we adopted her from, made a basic eight-week beginner manners class, a condition of our adoption. Maybe you weren't so lucky with your dog. This is where Grouchy Puppy and our dog trainer friends come in.


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