My Dogs' BLACK FRIDAY Shopping Spree!

Well, the  big day finally came.  The one day of the year where relatively sane individuals act like lunatics at the sight of any sign that says "50% OFF".  It could be 50% off a beautiful designer sweater or 50% off a one dollar item.  It doesn't matter because it's...

Did someone say BLACK FRIDAY!? Bargains abound, I gotta get up!

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: Adopt A Shelter Pet Month; Phoebe's Story

November is Adopt A Shelter Pet month, so I thought I'd share Phoebe's story with you.  I adopted Phoebe 3 years ago from the animal shelter I volunteer at.  She was 5 years old.

Poor Phoebe would not even eat if my husband was in the room!
I was so excited to bring Phoebe home, she was such a little darling!  My husband had not met her until I brought her home.  To my horror, we quickly realized she was terrified of men!  OMD. What was I going to do??

6 Ways To Prevent Your Dog's Inappropriate Chewing

Have you ever come home and been stopped dead in your tracks upon finding that your dog has ravaged a piece of furniture, your favorite shoes, a rug, or even his own bed?   Don’t get angry, get proactive!   Inappropriate chewing is easily curtailed if you take preventive measures.

Puppies need to chew when they’re teething, similar to the way human babies do.  It’s also a way for dogs to investigate unfamiliar objects in their environment.   A Dog’s need to chew is natural and instinctual; one of the reasons for chewing was to keep a dog’s jaws strong and clean their teeth and gums.    The urge to chew doesn’t end when your dog becomes an adult, it continues throughout his life.
Isis did the Walk of Shame after ripping up poor Phoebe's bed.  I neglected to spray it with Bitter Apple spray; shame on Mommy.
There’s good chewing and there’s bad chewing.  Bad chewing is when your dog chews inappropriately and destructively.  There are several reasons for destructive chewing.

UPDATE: Long Term Shelter Dogs Finally Adopted!

During October, Adopt A Shelter Pet month, I spotlighted some very special adoptable dogs.  Today, I'm happy to share that most of the dogs spotlighted on my blog have been adopted into loving homes!!  I'd like to thank each and every one of you who shared my posts and retweeted my tweets to help get these wonderful dogs the exposure they needed to find homes!  I can't say whether or not our efforts alone got them adopted, but I know how important it was for these dogs to be SEEN; to get out of the shadows and into the limelight!  

Khalua: ADOPTED!!
5 year old KHALUA was surrendered to the shelter by her owner 8 months ago. Although she doesn't do well with other animals, Khalua deserves a Happily Ever After.  She has that now after finally being adopted 2 weeks ago!

Adopt A Senior Dog Month: Seniors Adopting Seniors!

November is ADOPT A SENIOR PET MONTH!  I love when seniors (the human kind) come to the shelter to adopt senior dogs.  I think they understand and relate better to older dogs than many other people.  They understand the benefits of having an older dog, and they know the value of having a few more years under your belt!

Choosing an older dog rather than a puppy or a very young dog, and carefully considering the breed, will help you find a dog that is the right fit for your golden years.  Here are some tips for choosing a dog once your lifestyle has mellowed:

The sweet, mellow Japanese Chin.  Photo source: Wikipedia


During our last cross country road trip, we happened upon this rest stop in the Southwest and wanted to get our dogs out of the car for a potty break.

One of these signs is not like the other, one of the these signs just does NOT belong!
Barely 3 feet away from the Pet Exercise area is a sign that warns about scorpions and snakes!  Things that make ya go HUH?!  Needless to say, it was a really fast potty break.  If you're planning to travel with your dog, be aware of potentially dangerous areas for your pet, even at rest stops!



I hope everyone enjoyed Veteran's Day.  I am in awe of the brave men and women who serve.  They are far braver than I could ever aspire to be!

On this Veteran's Day I thank the men and women who served in all branches of the U.S. Military.  You make it possible for the rest of us to enjoy our precious freedom and for America to maintain it's strength.

I am filled with gratitude to all those who serve, but my heart was with one special Veteran today -   my Dad.  My Dad was a WWII Marine.  He received the Purple Heart following the battle of Tarawa.  He was always Marine tough, but he adored his family and would have moved Heaven and earth for us. 

My Dad passed away years ago, just shy of his 95th birthday.  I remember how he always encouraged me to be independent, to live life on my own terms, and not be afraid to take chances. When I was young and single I wanted to buy my first house.  My Mom was aghast!  Not many single women bought houses 20+ years ago, they waited until they were married.  She argued with me, saying it was too much responsibility and risk and tried to discourage me from buying the house.  

My Dad, a man of few words, pulled me aside out of Mom's earshot and said "You buy that house, it's a good investment.  I know you can do it".  He was right, it was the smartest investment I ever made!  There are so many stories of strength and encouragement from my Dad that I'm remembering today.  My only regret is that we never got to take him to see the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.  He would have loved it.  If there's a WWII survivor in your life, consider sending them on one of the free Honor Flights to see the monument dedicated to their service.

Happy VETERAN'S DAY everyone!  To all who have served, you have my eternal gratitude!

We can't all be heroes.  Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they go by. - Will Rogers

I didn't realize Remembrance Day is celebrated in Canada on the same day as Veteran's Day.  I'm wishing a belated Happy Remembrance Day to our Canadian friends!

My Dog The Therapist: Teaching Kids About Fitness

Icy and I have lots of fun participating in the Paws2Read program at our local library.  If you've read some of my previous My Dog The Therapist posts, you know that it's a reading program for children, where the kids read out loud to a Therapy Dog to help improve their reading skills.

Posters hanging in the library reading room encourage kids to READ!
The kids select a book of their choice, or bring their own book to read to Icy.  When we head to the library, I always bring a couple of books myself just in case.  Sometimes a child will select a book that is either too challenging for them to read or well below their reading level.  If the book is too challenging, the child struggles a lot and reading the book becomes an unpleasant chore for them.  If the book is too easy, the child gets through it really fast and it's boring for them.  Rather than send the child back out to search for another book, I offer them one of mine.  This saves time because each kid only gets 15 minutes to read to the dog.

Icy in the library reading room with the book Getting Healthy with Harley.
Recently, I added a wonderful book to my repertoire.  It's called Getting Healthy with Harley, by Dorothy Wills-Raftery, and beautifully illustrated by Michelle Littler.  I won the book in a contest sponsored by Dorothy on her blog, FIVESIBES.  Yes, Dorothy actually has 5 gorgeous Siberian Huskies!  One of her beautiful Huskies recently passed away, a very special dog named Gibson.  The book is the second in a series of children's stories based on the lives of her Huskies; Gibson, Wolf, Chloe, Bandit, and of course, Harley!   Getting Healthy With Harley is about Harley getting inspired by a visit to his veterinarian to motivate his Husky siblings to get fit and healthy too! 

Icy is showing you one of the pages from Getting Healthy with Harley
The story is both educational and delightful!  Several of the kids in our reading program got to read the story to Icy and really liked it.  One such child was an 11 year old boy who came in with his 5 year old brother, who was not able to read, and their Mom.  The older boy was a good reader and had gotten through his book quickly.  He still had some time so I asked if they would like to read Getting Healthy with Harley.  The younger boy asked his older brother to read the story to him.  Both brothers sat closely on either side of Icy to read the story. 

The boys really liked the book, especially because it's about Huskies and Icy is a Husky herself!  When they finished, I thanked them for reading the story to Icy and told them what a good job they had done.  They high-fived each other.  I then had Icy high-five both of them w/ her paw!  They got such a kick out of that!  The boys and their Mom all laughed and Mom took pictures of them with Icy!  As we said our goodbyes I asked if they liked the story.  They younger boy nodded vigorously and said YES he liked it a lot.  Although it was below his reading level, the older brother said he thought it was a good book too and clearly enjoyed reading it to his little brother.   Getting Healthy With Harley is available for purchase on the FIVE SIBES web site.

Note: I did not receive any compensation, monetary or otherwise, for writing about this book.

Does your public library have a Therapy Dog reading program?  If not, have you asked about it?  Leave us a comment, we always want to hear from you!


WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: What Does YOUR Dog Love Most About Fall?

Fall is such a beautiful time of year.  We moved from the East coast to the desert Southwest 8 years ago but we miss the change in seasons, especially Fall!  Both Isis and Phoebe are from Arizona, but when we take our frequent trips up North or back East they love to experience the different seasons!  Here's what they love about Fall.

LEAVES! When the leaves fall down & swirl around them, Icy & Phoebe are mesmerized!  This photo was taken during a visit to East coast, in October

EMPTY BEACHES!  The beach may be too chilly for us peeps but it's perfect for dogs!  Here's a pic of Icy during a romp on the beach in Southampton, NY.  See my post on 100 Places To See With Your Dog: The Hamptons, NY

HIKING!  Fall is the perfect time for a hike with your dog; the weather is cool and comfortable and in many parts of the country the Fall foliage is breathtaking!  We love to head North to Sedona for fabulous hiking!  See my post on 100 Places To See With Your Dog: Sedona, AZ

Fall is a great time to hike in Phoenix too!  The blistering hot Summer is over and temps are warm and comfortable.  Perfect hiking weather!  This photo of Icy was taken during one of our many hikes at Phoenix North Mountain.

What does YOUR dog love most about Fall?  Please leave us a comment, we love hearing from you!!

How Dogs Can Help Each Other Overcome Fears

At some point, most dog owners will encounter doggie fear.  Thunder storms, crowded streets, or people wearing hats can scare a dog.  We can manage these with treats and training to help calm their fear.  However, sometimes treats and training just don't work and we can't figure out what's triggering the fear.  In cases like these, enlisting the help of another dog just might be the best way to conquer the dog's fear!

Dogs learn important skills from each other from the time they are littermates.  They are keen observers, always learning from us and from each other.  They are also pack animals with a strong instinct to follow.  Dogs can use these instincts to help each other get over their fears.

Phoebe is tiny but mighty!  Hardly anything frightens her.
My two dogs, Isis and Phoebe are very different from one another and for the most part they are not fearful dogs.  However, Isis has a fear that we cannot figure out.  When we visit New York, we stay in a lovely town that has a quaint village as it's central focus.  We love walking into the village; window shopping, outdoor cafes, and just enjoying the vibe.  We want to take Isis and Phoebe on our walks into the village, but for some reason Isis is terrified!  We start our walk to head into the village but as soon as we hit a certain point she stops dead, refusing to go any further.  Is it the noise?  Too crowded? A weird smell?  We don't know!  We tried everything to calm her fear; treats, coaxing, pulling on her leash, taking a different street.  Nothing worked.  Phoebe on the other hand has no such fear.  She loves walking into the village and trots along with her head and tail held high.  We grappled with this issue all last Summer, but this year I decided to make a concerted effort to do something about it so we could all enjoy the village together.

Phoebe checks out a war memorial on our way into the village.  This is the point where Isis refused to go any further.
I remembered an episode of Cesar Milan's show The Dog Whisperer, where a St. Bernard puppy was terrified of stairs!  In the show, Cesar enlisted the help of another dog to help the St. Bernard get over his fear of stairs.  That got me thinking.  I wondered if I could use Phoebe to help Isis get over her fear of walking into the village!  I decided to try it.  Usually, Isis is out in front on our walks - she's a Husky so of course she always insists on being the "Lead Dog".  On this particular walk, however, as we approached the spot where Isis always shuts down, Phoebe and I pulled ahead of my husband and Isis.  I continued walking Phoebe briskly and with purpose.  We did not stop or look back.  As we forged ahead of them, it changed Isis' focus.  Suddenly, she was more focused on following Phoebe than on her fear of the village!  It was amazing, she didn't stop, didn't shut down, she just kept Phoebe in her sights and followed her.  She wasn't about to let Phoebe show her up!  The first day we kept the walk very short, then increased it each day for about 4 days.  Voila!  Just like that, Isis finally conquered her fear of walking into the village - with a little help from Phoebe!

Isis got over her fear of walking into town with a little help from her sister & BFF, Phoebe!
Have you struggled with a fearful or anxious dog?  Does your dog have a fear that another dog might be able to help you with?  Please leave a comment and tell us about it!  We love hearing from you!

Proof Positive that some dogs LOVE The Cold

This Youtube video cracked me up!  If there was ever any doubt that Siberian Huskies love the cold, let this video prove just how much they DO!!  Isis would love it if we just opened the fridge and let her jump right in, especially in the Summer!

BOL!!  How cute is this Husky pup?!?  Does your dog know how to open the fridge?