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February 2012
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April 2012

Loving Old Dogs | Lily's Legacy


Puppies are adorable.
They are soft, often sleepy, bundles of awww. But, there is something extra special about senior dogs. Is it the white muzzle that makes them seem worldly? When I look at my senior dog, she either calmly returns my gaze with her Buddhist-like manner, or smiles and leans in for a quick sweet kiss. Since we have been together, my dog has shown me the human-animal bond is real, and since she moved into her elderly stage, our bond is as strong as ever. I'm forever grateful to her for giving me real world exposure to this debated topic.

Spending most of our days together, from sunrise to sunset, has proven to be the best education on all things dog. Now that our lessons together revolve around senior dog life, I'm extra appreciative. With aging parents who've never liked talking about themselves, my own elderly dog is helping me understand what they must be going through.

Senior dogs have so much to give us. It's why I support Muttville Senior Dog Rescue here in San Francisco. Recently another local group focused on senior dogs contacted me to help spread the word about their sanctuary.

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Pinups for Pitbulls Launches 2013 Calendar Model Search!



The deadline to submit an application is April 2, 2012 and more information on how to do so can be found here. Women of all ages, races and sizes are encouraged to apply and no previous modeling experience is necessary. The submission is fee is $50, and those chosen to be featured in the 2013 calendar will be photographed in Philadelphia, PA by the award winning pinup photographer Celeste Giuliano.

Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc., a national non-profit animal advocacy group, is currently accepting submissions for their 2013 calendar model search. The group’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the calendar will feature 12 pinup-inspired women posing with pit bull type dogs.

Pinups for Pitbulls raises funds throughout the calendar year to host, sponsor and participate in educational events and seminars across the country, where they present on a variety of topics – including responsible pet ownership, Breed Specific Legislation and the history of the American Pit Bull Terrier and pit bull type dogs.


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Soldier Dogs Book Review: Human-Animal Bond is Alive in the US Military

The Grouchy Puppy motto is "give fearlessly and influence positively" and comes from my own amazing experiences with dogs. The working dogs of my childhood were the first to teach me to believe in the human-animal bond. My adopted large blended dog from the San Francisco SPCA has continued what they started, with her devotion and influence. Dogs have shown me how they all fearlessly give of themselves and positively influence us humans -- asking for so little in return. The human-animal bond is real and it's spectacular.

Proving that the human-animal bond is alive in our military, is Maria Goodavage's new book Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes. She had me nodding my head with each story about these amazing military working dogs [MWD] and their handlers. The MWD demonstrate in a military setting: they know good people when they smell them, and they'll let you train them to do any task - if they trust you.

11_Norfolk - Lars entering submarine 2
Lars, the Jack Russell Terrier being handed down into a submarine to do his duty as a sniffer dog.   Photo credit: US Navy Photo by Petty Officer Second Class Paul D. Williams

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June 2 Muttville Fundraiser at Jordan Vineyard & Winery 40th Anniversary Bash



Jordan Vineyard & Winery is celebrating its 40th anniversary by hosting a fundraiser benefiting three Bay Area charities - including Muttville!

Muttville will be a beneficiary for Jordan Winery's 40th anniversary and annual benefit in beautiful Healdsburg.

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March 22 FLOR Inc. Carpet Tiles San Francisco Store Opening

Like lots of San Franciscans, we have hardwood floors in our home. We also have an older dog. While searching for creative solutions to give her traction, while protecting our floors, we found FLOR. Their pretty squares come in lots of colors, patterns and textures. They are easy to install too.


March 22 FLOR is opening a new store in San Francisco

Come to the Pacific Heights grand opening and see for yourself!

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April 3 Join P.L.A.Y. and Petfinder Foundation for #WarmBellies Twitter Party

April is National Pet Month and P.L.A.Y. Pet Beds in San Francisco is celebrating with a party -- a #WarmBellies Twitter Party!

Help P.L.A.Y. and the Petfinder Foundation Give Homeless Pets Warmer Bellies!

Because P.L.A.Y. believes that every dog deserves a warm place to sleep, they’ve partnered with The Petfinder Foundation for their Warm Bellies Initiative.


For every Artist or Original Collection pet bed purchased on their website (or at participating retailers) P.L.A.Y. will donate a Special Edition Chill Pad to a pup in need.

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Celebrate Our GrouchyPuppy Blog Anniversary

Want to know one of the best reasons to having a dog? She keeps you in the moment. So much of my focus is on her, that another year of the GrouchyPuppy blog went by, and I almost missed celebrating. Almost.

March Madness I have a great way to commemorate our time together on this blog. Here is a beautiful photo calendar, featuring 18 months of Cleo for one lucky reader. It begins with January, and continues to June 2013. Each month includes a photo of our beautiful GrouchyPuppy muse.


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Shamrock shaped dog treats & lucky charms on collars

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Are you wearing green? I've seen some cute dogs this rainy weekend wearing green coats. The closest Cleo got to green today, was eating some grass on our walk. My dog doesn't like to wear anything, so I made her a four leaf clover -- out of dog cookies.


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Cleo must be a wee bit Irish because I think she was hoping her liver cookie treats..would be Dublin! (Thank you, I'm here all week!)


image from

 My senior dog is my lucky charm, how about you?

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Therapy dog Coco lands new job at Hospice

Coco or "Coco Bean" went from a horrible start in life, to being discovered in a shelter by dog trainer Jo Brosius, who saw Coco's "loving heart". With training, Coco is now a helping families with their grief as a hospice care worker. Dogs never cease to amaze me with their ability to love.

Coco-Chocolate-Labrador-Dog-Hospice Plus Compassionate Care Center in Richmond


A ‘rags to riches’ story: Therapy dog Coco lands new job at Hospice

She gets lavished with affection all day, every day. She gets professional beauty care every other week. She has multiple beds in which she may rest from a long night of work.

Some call her “Coco Chanel” but some call her “Coco Bean.”

Whatever they call her, everyone at the Hospice Plus Compassionate Care Center in Richmond agrees it wouldn’t be the same place without her, said Brenna Wallhausser, Hospice community outreach coordinator.

The three-year old chocolate lab is the new therapy dog at the center. She replaced the now retired Annie, a golden retriever that had worked at the center since it opened in April 2008.

Coco’s typical work day includes greeting guests at the door, a job she can do from her usual position under the front desk at the feet of Kathy Bryant, patient care secretary.

“She’s got a pretty posh pad,” Bryant said of Coco’s nook, furnished with a sleeping pillow, stuffed animals and her favorite toy duck.

But Coco’s life was not always so “posh.”

The lab was found at a rescue shelter by dog trainer Jo Brosius of Berea. Authorities at the shelter said they had found Coco living in horrendous conditions.

Read the full story

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Finding Joy in Life With a Diabetic Dog

How do you find joy in life when you have a diabetic dog? For the past six years, my dog has taken me on a roller-coaster of emotions. Time with Cleo has been one continuous series of life lessons. It's a good thing that I've always loved learning.

One of our more recent challenges is her diabetes. We were shocked to learn of the diagnosis though apparently diabetes is increasing in family pets. 

Banfield State of Pet Health reports a 32% increase in diabetes in dogs and 16% increase in cats, comparing 2006 to 2010. [Source]

According to WebMD her diabetes should be tied to obesity, but for Cleo it isn't. She has maintained a healthy level weight since we adopted her over six years ago.

Even with diabetes, Cleo makes it easy for us to find joy with her

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Mixing Pinterest Photoshop Memes and Dog Faces

Blend Pinterest, Photoshop, memes and dogs together, what do you get? A lunch hour that flies by!

Who needs Photoshop when your dog lets you take a close up like this? One more reason why I love senior dogs. Calm and confident. A puppy would have licked the camera, if they had stayed still long enough to make the attempt.


Dog faces, Photoshopped or not, make us laugh every time..[...]

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New movie about the bond between man and dog

Dogs are very good at bringing people together, and bringing out the best in us. I've shared real life stories of volunteers working together to find a lost dog, and firefighters going above and beyond rescuing a stranger's dog. Remember the story a few days ago of Dooley, the Shetland sheepdog missing for 53 days in the Nevada desert? We love dogs.

Dog lovers get ready for a new movie. Darling Companion is Director Lawrence Kasdan's first independent production. The movie explores the bond between a rescued stray dog and his new family, as well as the closeness between family members and friends. "The hunt for the dog in the movie becomes the catalyst for some emotional reckoning among the searchers" Kasdan said.

Diane_Keaton Kevin_Kline
The stars of Darling Companion

The characters are fictional, but the story - co-written by his wife Meg Kasdan - is based on the true story of the Kasdan's own experience. On a family outing, their own rescue dog Mac was lost in the Rockies. Family, friends and people from the nearby town came together searching for Mac until he was found, three weeks later. Meg’s sister’s dog story was also woven in the movie – she saw a stray dog on a Detroit freeway and had to save him, scrambling up the embankment like Diane Keaton in the movie.  She named him "Freeway."

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Seven ways an older dog is your perfect match

Living with a senior dog has a lot of upside. My dog will still bark at noises outside as a warning signal to all, but she is more choosy about whether the noise is worthy of her getting up. When we go for a walk, she still gets hot and bothered at the sight or sound of the Fed Ex truck, but even if she begins breathing fire, her days of attempting to lunge into the street in pursuit are over.


Image 3

Even with her older dog ailments Cleo is still a big strong dog, which is why I would never hold her leash in my mouth. However, this image did get me thinking about the many benefits to having a senior dog, and I realized we had a lot more in common than when she was younger.

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