December 31, 2007 Resolutions

December 31, 2007


Who doesn’t resolve to start off the New Year fresh with a new attitude and goals to improve our life? Which made me start thinking what if our dogs made resolutions?

Resolution #1 Get the fat guy out of his recliner to walk me so I can get in shape.
Resolution #2 Chase the cat more to shape up.
Resolution #3 Leave my mark on the world, and the couch, and the table and all the trees in the neighborhood.

The wonderful thing about dogs is they change easily with new rules. They adapt to resolutions every day with ease. If today the rule is no more table scraps and you mean it, your dog make still give you those doggie eyes and beg, but if you IGNORE him, and in the end after all the whining and carrying on he gets nothing, no attention, no food, no acknowledgement for the bad behavior, the next day is much easier! They are so much like kids it’s not funny. You just have to be tough and resolve NOT to give in!

I’ll be the first to tell you I’m a fair weather walker. Therefore, my dogs don’t get enough exercise. Exercise is the key to fixing bad behavior, sort of like a kid with ADHD; you have to allow time to burn off the excess energy before you are asking the dog to do something. Throw the ball for your dog, play chase! Go on a long walk. Putting the dog outside in a fenced yard is NO substitute for interaction with you. You can’t just toss the dog out and expect him to exercise himself. It doesn’t work that way. You have to go out there with him and keep him busy chasing toys, or you.
If the weather is crummy, you can do most of this stuff inside the house. If you have a treadmill, teach your dog to walk on it. (Lord knows my treadmill makes a great place to hang clothes and collect dust!)
Okay, so maybe exercise isn’t MY thing! However, I am going to resolve to be more involved with my dogs in 2008. Maybe it will be trick training, working on a homemade agility course, and when the weather permits you may even find me walking the dogs this year. I expect to have a little more time. Who am I kidding? Okay, so I won’t have more time, but I WILL make more time.

I won’t bother making resolutions to lose weight and all the usual stuff, why disappoint myself? If it happens, great but I will not expect it. That’s the wonderful things about dogs; they have no expectations, therefore no regrets. They live in the moment! Life to a dog is all about what is going on at this very second. Which is why when you go out to get your mail and come back in your dog is so excited to see you! “You’re here! Hi Mom, long time no see!” I say live each day to its fullest. Enjoy every second. Eat dessert first! If it itches, scratch it! Lie in the sunshine and smile! Enjoy the wildlife around you, like your dog does, well maybe not quite as much as your dog does!

The point of all this is life is short. Dog’s lives are even shorter! They would never waste time brooding over something in the past, or not taking advantage of the fun in the present. Life is serious enough without worrying over silly things. So when the blues start to get you down, think like your dog. Live in the here and now, let go of the past. That’s one of our flaws as a human with such a complex brain, we think too much! Let it go, make time for today and enjoy it. I think that is going to be my next resolution for 2008, think like a dog and enjoy life. I hope you do too.

December 17, 2007 On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me....

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, an 8 week old puppy.
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 2 kinds of bowls for my 8 week old puppy.
On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 3 squeaky toys for my 8 week old puppy.
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 4 kinds of treats for my 8 week old puppy.
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 5 cute outfits for my 8 week old puppy.
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 6 paper towels to clean up after my 8 week old puppy
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 7 pick up bags for my now 9 week old puppy.
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 8 pair of shoes to replace mine from my 9 week old puppy.
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 9 rug doctor rentals for my 9 week old puppy.
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 10 computer cords to replace mine from the 9 week old puppy.
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 11 obedience lessons for my 9 week old puppy.
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 12 apologies for getting me an 8 week old puppy.

Christmas is a wonderful time for giving, but think before you give someone a living creature to take care of for the rest of its life. Not everyone appreciates a baby animal that requires lots of attention, training, and care. You can give lots of things if you are a pet lover, you can give money or donations to your local animal shelter for the animals there at Christmas. You can give your time to volunteer at a shelter or rescue. You can give a donation to a shelter in your friends name as a gift.
You can adopt an older dog that is already past the puppy stage that may not get a new home. Everyone wants puppies. Who can resist them? But they grow up, and like children they go through stages of disobedience, and bad behavior and housetraining can be a real issue. Sadly, many of those same adorable puppies end up at the animal shelter due to their owner’s inability to deal with their issues.
If you can’t adopt a pet, donate some treats, or toys or food. Donate your time and take a dog for a walk and get him out of that kennel for a while. Make a shelter dogs Christmas merry and bright, even if just for one day.
You can give all year long and not just at Christmas. Rescues are always searching for foster homes to house homeless dogs until they can find an adoptive home. Call your local animal shelter or rescue, or look some up on the internet. Do what you can to help out the homeless animals in your area.
Give gifts of your time to your neighbors by walking their dog for them, checking on them to make sure they have food for themselves and their pets when the weather doesn’t permit them to get out.
Time costs nothing and is easy to give.
On that note, I just found a poem I’d like to share, author unknown.

My dear canine friends, I've a story for you.
I beg you to listen: what I say is all true.
Your Humans are human and can't help their behavior,
They get all confused 'bout the birth of their Savior.
See, it's that time of the year, when the humans are hopping.
"No time for our walk today, gotta go shopping.
And tomorrow we have to put up all the lights.
You understand, don't you? You'll be all right?
"No time for your Frisbee, no time to throw balls.
Got to wrap all the boxes and deck all the halls.
"I'm sorry," they say as you're back in your crate,
"Office party tonight, we won't get home til late.
"So you sit in your crate for a very long time.
You're warm and you're safe and they know you'll be fine.
But you're bored and you're worried and you don't understand
Why this time of the year things get all out of hand.
As if rushing around like a nut's not enough,
They keep filling the house up with all kinds of stuff.
There's holly and candles for all to see,
Then to prove they've gone starker's THEY BRING IN A TREE!!!
Yep, fellow dogs, they bring a pine tree right in
They put glass things on the branches and plug the lights in.
You think "Hey! Indoor plumbing!" But they say, "Get away!!"
"This is Our Special Tree for Our Special Day."
And don't think for a moment those tree balls are for you.
Though they bounce on the branches and call you, they do!
You haven't been chasing your own ball for weeks,
Or played tug o' war with your toy that goes "squeak."
As their Big Day approaches, their tempers grow short.
They're tired and stressed out and all out of sorts.
They've spent way too much money, whatever that is.
On gifts, decorations, and on something called "status."
See, they're only humans, and they always forget
It's not about presents or getting in debt.
The Birthday they're celebrating is all about Love
About gifts of the Spirit, sent from up above.
And that same great Father who sent them his Son
To teach all the humans to love every one,
Sends us to remind them, my good fellow hounds:
We exemplify love with positively no bounds.
So when their Big Day is ending, their presents unwrapped,
And they've eaten their feast and settled down for a nap,
That's the time when we dogs can show by example
That it's just about love, and can give them a sample.
They will feel something’s lacking, will see something's missing.
This is the time you can teach with your kissing.
They've ignored you for weeks with their rushing around,
Still you shower them with Love - the True Love of a Hound.
Whisper quiet, Dear Dogs, "It is not about Things!"
"It's not about buying new cars or rings."
The True Gift of Christmas is Love, sweet and pure.
And at Love, none can out do a dog, that’s for sure.

December 3, 2007 Baby, it's COLD outside!

December 3, 2007

Baby, it’s COLD outside!

This time of year always bothers me, not just because I’m not a “winter” person, (if I had my druthers I’d be a snowbird heading to Florida or Hawaii for the winter), but because so many pets are kept outside all winter long without adequate shelter.
I know there are those who believe animals should live outside. But dogs with short coats really don’t have enough to keep them warm.
For example, I hate to admit this…but once upon a time, I was one of those people who left all the animals outside. Not because I wanted to, but because my parents didn’t believe in animals in the house, and gee, lucky me, I married a guy just like them! We used to have Dalmatians. One cold day, I’ll never forget, Dottie came up to the back door, looking in at us shivering. I told my husband, “Oh, let her in, she’s freezing!” He wouldn’t let her in. Gave me excuses of she has straw in her dog house, or she has a heat lamp in the barn, if you bring her in now she’ll get sick when she has to go back out., no dogs in the house! Like a fool, I actually listened to him and let him get by with that. It was so hard to watch my dog shiver, while I sat in my warm comfortable house. I felt like the world’s biggest heel. Today I am truly ashamed of myself that I allowed that to happen.
Well, growing up does wonderful things to a person, it made me a whole lot more confident, and I stopped “asking” permission to do stuff. I just did it. Soon our pets became house pets. Every complaint he had I learned to ignore. My backbone grew finally and I was able to stand up to him and do the right thing. Never again would I allow animals to suffer due to ignorance. Today we have 3 dogs, a cat, guinea pig, turtle, and fish as pets in the house, all cozy and warm, as it should be. The turtle even has a tank heater.
I know that some pets prefer to be outside, some have ultra thick coats that were made to endure harsh winter weather, but use common sense. If you are cold, your dog is bound to be cold too! If your dog is inside, you won’t have to worry about his water freezing either. If your husband is still bound and determined to complain and make life difficult, maybe you should put your hubby outside in the doghouse, and bring Fido in. Your dog won’t complain because you are everything to your dog. He loves you like no other. Don’t you wish your husband was as quiet and attentive? Meanwhile, your hubby can get used to breathing the crisp outdoor air and sleeping in an itchy, straw filled doghouse with frozen water to drink. Be sure and put a chain around his neck too, just to keep him out of trouble.
Now I can say I’ve “reformed” my husband. He’s learned that pets in the house are not a bad thing, and if he thinks they are, tough noogies. I’ve tried to compromise with him. I don’t let them in our bedroom at night to sleep with us, so my cold feet have to get warmed up on my husband instead of the dog. Of course, after he goes to work in the morning my dogs know the bed is fair game, and they are happy to snuggle in with me and keep me warm.
What’s not to love about pets in the house? They clean the floors; trust me there is not ONE crumb on my floor. They don’t complain about anything. They don’t leave their shoes where they don’t belong, and they don’t hog the remote!
He’s learned that when I bring a new pet into the house, all the complaining about “you don’t need another dog” is simply a waste of breath. I finally had to tell him this a few years ago, I said “You’d think after seventeen years you’d realize that I always get my way.” Well that must’ve had an impact on him, because he hasn’t said a word about any new critters since then. It’s good to grow older and speak your mind! Now I realize why the red hat society exists! Save me a hat girls, I’m coming to join you in a few years!

November 19, 2007 Grooming Shows

Grooming Shows

Well I finally made it to the Dallas, Texas U.S. Pet Pro Classic this year and competed in the creative invitational competition. Our theme was the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and we took Jasmine and Bogey. Bogey I turned into a football.Yes I know, this is Colts country and honestly my heart is with the Colts, but I was going to Dallas, and doing a Colts theme there could be deadly! My boys were even in on this, their first competition. They worked really hard with me to help me get some money ahead to make this trip. Drew helped me bathe dogs while Lane was busy helping me organize tools and clean up. I’ve never taken my kids with me before to grooming shows simply because for them it would be boring to listen to seminars and it would be too nerve wracking for me to watch them and try to learn stuff at the same time. It’s not exactly a place for children. This year however would be different. They were “props” so to speak for our entry. They were dressed as the Dallas Cowboys in full football gear. Big thanks to my clients David and Brenda Landes and Dave Huckleberry for supplying me with football gear!
The show manager told us to be downstairs for a meeting at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, the day of the show, no easy feat for me the “non-morning” person. We were informed on how the show was going to go, when we would go on our tour of Southfork ranch and when we would eat. We were told to have our dogs and displays there by 3:00 p.m. This cut into my prepping time considerably. I was planning on 5:00 p.m.
Prepping a dog for a contest like this has got to be the hardest thing any groomer has ever done considering you can’t dry the dog in a hotel room, and the drying room they set up for us could only accommodate one dryer at a time or the circuits would blow. I took a shortcut. I found a self-serve dog wash in the vicinity who gave me a generous discount since I was a contestant! Things were going just bit too smooth for my luck, so true to Sandy Blackburn fashion, as I was loading up the van to head to the dog wash my van was dead as a doornail. I left a map light on from the night before, that could be when my cell phone also was mysteriously lost, sigh. Luckily for me, I knew several people in the hotel at the trade show so I went up to one of my equipment suppliers Curtis Hanvey and begged him for a jump start! He was most gracious and dropped everything and got me going. What a guy! My oldest son Drew went with me to help get the dogs ready. While I was busy dyeing Bogey, Drew went to work bathing Jasmine. Even the guy that was working at “Dirty Dawgz” dog wash helped me wash and dry the dogs. Lane stayed with my mom at the hotel and went to the trade show with her and her dog Suzy who made a wonderful demo dog for some groomers and vets putting on seminars.
We finally had to leave the dog wash about 3:45 p.m. I knew it wouldn’t take us long to get there and set up and judging wouldn’t start until 5:00 p.m. so we made it to Southfork’s Oil Baron’s Ballroom to put up our display. Every one of the creative contestants did a fabulous job! I am proud of my entry even though I didn't have enough time to prep them as I would've liked.
My dog Jasmine did a great job jumping thru a hoop with streamers on it as her introduction and did a fine job jumping up and dancing, to the music as did my little football Bogey. As you can see he sits up and was ready to punt!
We may not have placed, but we did have the "cuteness" factor. Hey the football players weren't bad either!
The best parts of the trip were seeing my groomer pals again, and I met my late dog Katy's rescuer Debra Bryant. We cried together, I thanked her and gave her a copy of the book, Presents Second Chances, Katy's story is in it. She and her husband came by the hotel before we left so we could meet each other in person. That was great!

November 5, 2007 Matchmaker

November 5, 2007


I recently found myself in yet another service I’ve happily provided for my clients, “matchmaker”. Not the kind of matchmaker that sets up people, but the kind of matchmaker that finds the right dogs for the right people.
One of my clients who is at a young 97 years of age, asked me to find him a dog. His dog had passed away and he was lonely and needed a companion.
I set myself to work on the internet searching and of course found dozens that would be just right for him. The problem was of course, well he’s 97. The odds are good that the dog will outlive him, or at least have to live with someone else if he got sick or ended up in a nursing home.
I had to ask him a lot of questions, such as who will take care of the dog if you get sick? He assured me that he had “people” to step in. I asked about his daughter, if she would be willing to take the dog, he said he was sure she would but he hadn’t asked her. So I kept inquiring who his “people” were that would take care of the dog and he told me he had “housekeepers” (he lives in assisted living) that took his old dog in when needed and returned her when he was able. I asked him to have her call me so I could ask her a few questions, as I know the rescue groups were going to ask me. He said he would and she called me the next day.
I grilled her on her pet life at home, what kinds of pets she has, and if she would be willing to take on the responsibility of another dog should she have to and possibly it could be permanently one day. She assured me that yes, she would and I found a kindred spirit, she rescues lots of animals and has a farm full of them. She put my mind at ease and then I was confident I could speak with the rescue organizations and let them know that the dog would have a permanent home with someone who would care for it, and love it, and has a plan B should something happen to him.
It helps that I’m involved in rescue myself, and I know better than to match up a puppy with a 97 year old person, or a dog that is bound to be more headstrong and dart out the door as soon as it’s opened.
My client had Shelties in the past and it turns out that Shelties are the perfect breed not only for him, but also for his “housekeeper” and her menagerie of pets at home. I was not about to match him up with a dog that wouldn’t mesh with her life as well because it’s very likely that she will end up taking care of the dog at least temporarily at some point.
Well I found him the perfect little Sheltie online. She’s 5 years old, spayed, up to date on vaccines, heartworm medicine and flea prevention and calm and happy to be in someone’s lap! The rescue wants to meet my client in person naturally, so we go tomorrow to meet her and take her home. I told my client to be ready for a road trip; I was picking him up and taking him to Terre Haute to meet his new companion.
He was thrilled that I found him a buddy; I was thrilled that I did too, before he grabbed just anything out of the paper. Many times, when a person wants a dog, they get the first thing available, and it ends up being a nightmare and not the perfect match. I can temperament test dogs and I know the rescues do too, so I also grill them on what they know about the dog.
Good rescues foster dogs for a while before placement so they can temperament test them and match them up with the right homes. Being 97 isn’t a barrier to pet ownership, or at least it shouldn’t be, as long as there is a back up plan should something happen to you. Not every next of kin wants our pets; unfortunately that is how many of them come to be in rescue.
I believe there is a dog out there for everyone. There are rescues who have programs of “seniors for seniors” matching up older dogs with senior citizens. Face it, we could all die in a car crash tomorrow or get hit by a truck regardless of our age. We don’t know what tomorrow holds so it’s important to have a plan for your pets should something happen.
So before you adopt it’s important to know your breeds, their traits, and temperament of the individual dog and be aware of your own lifestyle and if you have the time commitment and the resources to really take care of a pet the right way and make sure you have a back-up plan to provide for them if you can’t.

October 12, 2007 It's Howloween!

October 12, 2007

It’s Howloween!

It’s that time of year again when the streets will be full of witches and goblins going door to door for candy! What fun! I love Halloween because it brings out my creative side. I try to make costumes rather than buy something for my kids they will only wear one time. Of course you realize my kids aren’t the only ones dressing up for Halloween. The dogs have to get into the action too! Don’t worry, it’s not torturing them, they seem to enjoy it and love the attention of course!

My dogs have gone trick or treating with us almost every year. One year I made my Collie into a scarecrow and my black Standard Poodle into a witch, complete with green face! I’m sure that’s how my interest in creative grooming began. Then one year I turned my Poodle into The Incredible Hulk, made her body green and put a pair of my son’s shorts on her, tattered the legs and wrote “The Hulk” across the rear. I made a hole for her tail to poke through and she loved the attention she got! The one thing I didn’t plan for was her having to go to the bathroom, and well let’s just say she had a couple “accidents” while we were out trick or treating! When we went downtown for the merchants trick or treat, she really stopped traffic…literally! She had people taking her picture; we kept getting stopped for photos. It was great! We made a theme that year, my youngest was Superman, and he was 3 at the time. My oldest son was Spiderman, he was 6 and Katy my dog, was The Hulk. The problem was everyone kept telling the kids to step aside so they could get a picture of the dog. I’m the only mother I know who can upstage the kids with the dog!

This year, if you’re downtown you’ll recognize us I’m sure. We are heading to Dallas, Texas in November for a creative grooming class, so I figure I’ll show off my entry for the hometown before we go…I’m turning my Poodle Jasmine into a “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader”. We have recently adopted a Bichon Frise, Bogey, and he will be coming to Dallas with us. He is going to be a “football”. I’m glad my dogs put up with me!
People ask me all the time, isn’t that torture to your dog? No! They actually enjoy it! Jasmine will jump up on my table by herself, ready for being fussed with. I can’t say she enjoys a bath; she doesn’t like it, and hides from me if she thinks one is coming. But she enjoys every other thing about grooming. The bath is just one of those things she has to put up with before the fun stuff comes.

If you are dressing up your dog for Halloween, remember a few things:

Make sure your dog is comfortable in the costume. Some dogs like to be dressed, and others don’t. I know Jasmine doesn’t like to wear hats, but Dreamer does. So dress them according to what they will tolerate. Make sure it fits well and you dog won’t step on it while walking.
Remember, not everyone loves your dog. We went trick or treating and some little girl was unfortunately going to every house we were and we kept running into her and she was terrified of dogs. Every time she saw Katy she screamed and cried. Stay clear of kids who are afraid of dogs.
Keep your dog under control! Keep your dog on a leash at all times and carry pick up bags with you! Your kids may get candy, your dog may get treats too, but if your dog leaves a gift on someone else’s lawn you will not be welcome there anymore, so pick up after your dog.
Remember dogs can be afraid of those scary costumes people wear too, and with all the extra attention, some dogs don’t tolerate it well and can get snappish. If your dog isn’t having a great time, don’t push it. Not all dogs enjoy kids reaching out for them quickly to pet them. If you have any doubts on how your dog will behave, don’t chance someone getting bitten, leave your dog at home in a safe place away from the door and trick or treaters.
If you make a costume for your dog that includes pants, remember to cut a space out for your dog to urinate! (See second paragraph above)
If you do get a few treats for your dog or share some of yours remember some very important things. Chocolate, especially the unsweetened bakers’ chocolate is dangerous for dogs to eat. If your dog has allergies to wheat, corn or soy and you get a few dog biscuits, it’s likely that at least one of those ingredients are in those…(you can come to my house at 1205 S. Brady St., I’ll have some dog treats that are ok for allergies to wheat, corn or soy.) Raisins are toxic to dogs! Do NOT feed your dog raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, and watch out for candy that is sugar-free because it may contain xylitol a sugar substitute that is toxic to dogs.

If you take your dog trick or treating with you, remember your camera, keep all of the above in mind, and have some fun!

P.S. Oh almost forgot! I did manage to get my own website up and running, visit me at Thanks! Sandy

September 19, 2007 I'm going "spa" in my salon now

I'm going "spa" in my salon now

I recently went to Chicago to a grooming show. These shows are held around the country and have seminars for groomers on all kinds of grooming subjects, business subject and offer demonstrations for grooming certain breeds of dogs. I’ve been attending this show in Chicago for the past 6 years. Every year no matter how much you think you know, you always come away with new tips and tricks and get that breath of life back into you so you can’t wait to get back to your own salon and use them. I’m sure hair shows for beauticians are similar.
The shopping for products at the shows is amazing! New products to try out, new shears to try on, grooming equipment, shampoos, conditioners, rinses, mousses, texturizers, volumizers, de-tangling products, tools, books, grooming clothes, as well as some fun gifts and things to sell in your salons. Well, all I can say is, I shopped ‘til I dropped. I always buy my shampoos and conditioner to last the entire year. Shows usually have specials and you don’t have to pay shipping when you can bring it all back in your car. It wasn’t until I added up my receipts that I realized how much money I spent! ACK! Guess I’ll be busy grooming dogs to make up for it.
I did discover a new product recently, and tried it out, and luckily, the company was at the show and had more of it for me to buy. It’s called “South Bark’s Blueberry Facial” for dogs. Oh my, the dogs turn into wet noodles when I use it on them. It works wonders on the nervous dogs, the blueberry aroma calms them down and I simply wash their face in it, and massage their faces and the dogs are in heaven. It has been a Godsend for the anxious dogs! I’m so impressed by the product I’m going “spa” in my salon now. Everyone gets a blueberry facial with their grooming. Dogs that hate baths seem to relax with this product, which makes me feel good too. That’s the entire point of grooming, not only to make the dogs look good, but feel good too! Happy dogs make happy owners and happy groomers. I’ve always kidded my clients about bringing their dogs to the doggy spa, but now, it’s not a joke. I only wish I could get the same treatment for me!
There are grooming competitions as well, and I can only dream of having a dog that looks that good, most are retired show dogs that the groomers use, which does give you an edge when grooming. After all I can’t make my poodle with her faults (albeit not noticeable to most people) look as good as a show dog. So while I can’t make her look perfect, (she’s perfect in my eyes anyway), I can enter her in creative grooming competitions. In the creative grooming class, you aren’t trying to make your dog look like the breed standard; you are trying to create something off the wall and unique! You get to use colors and dyes, and carve designs in the coat! You can even turn a standard poodle into an entirely different animal! I’m truly in awe of the creative groomers I’ve watched over the years. I’ve even entered a few contests myself, I turned a client’s standard poodle into a Clydesdale two years ago and won third place, and the year before that I won second place with my dog groomed to look like a tree with fall leaves, not an easy feat to color a black dog! Last year my dog Jasmine was turned into a “lobster,” complete with background of a restaurant, and I was dressed like a chef serving her up to the judge. Unfortunately, we didn’t place last year, but the competition was FIERCE! I would hate to be the judge of that class, because you are judging on the creative aspect, plus the execution of the design and the background or skit, and it’s an art. Art is in the eye of the beholder. In a regular class a judge is comparing the trim to the breed standard, did they show correct angulations of the rear legs, etc. However, creative grooming is an entirely different and fun class, and while I didn’t enter this year, because I’m saving my creative entry for Dallas, Texas in November, the entries were FABULOUS! The bad news is I will be competing against them in November and I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with something to top them. This is NOT going to be easy. They keep raising the bar and it gets harder and harder to compete! I’m enclosing a photo of two entrants in the creative class. These groomers are fabulous and wonderful people with a lot of talent!
On the left is “Wild, Wild West” a horse…and on the right is “Hoochie Poochie”…well the name speaks for itself!
And you thought groomers just scrubbed dogs….

September 5, 2007 Lost in Cyberspace

September 5, 2007

Lost in Cyberspace

I want to apologize to my readers who may have missed my column in the paper a few weeks ago. It seems when I emailed my column to the editor, it got lost in cyberspace, and she never received it. Sometimes I hate computers, although I really don’t know what I’d do without one now after using mine daily for the past several years. I’ve really become dependant on the internet for news and updates and it’s been an invaluable resource for researching information and looking up things. It has become the new library. My motto is, have a question? Look it up in the great big box of everything! Then internet has been my classroom, my encyclopedia, my teacher, my doctor at times, and has put me in touch with people all over the world that can share their life experiences with me at the click of a button.
I received a compliment the other day that I’ll never forget, a client told me that one of the things she loves about me is not that I’m local or convenient, or that I’m a nice person too, but that I will get the answer to a problem and not give up until I do. That was so touching to me, because that is how I work. I want to get to the root of the problem; I’m not satisfied until I do. A friend once told me that when I put my mind to something I’m a force of nature! Somehow, I never thought of it that way, but it describes me to a “T.”
I started grooming dogs 10 years ago. I volunteered at a vet clinic in Crawfordsville to learn it from their groomer. They thought I had a “knack” for it, and soon asked me if I’d like to work there so I did on my days off from my job at Bank One. I worked there until I was about 8 months pregnant and couldn’t reach the dogs anymore! That’s the problem with being “vertically challenged,” my arms are short too!
I opened up my own shop when my son was 5 months old, but I have to admit, I didn’t know much. It wasn’t until I discovered the “internet,” that I really began learning things about grooming I had never known until that point. I had avoided getting a computer because I didn’t want to “chat” with anyone; I just wanted to send email to my friends and family. Little did I know what was about to happen. I became hooked on finding information, and I found some online groomer groups that have put me in touch with seminars around the country, I’ve met some of these groomers at those events and we stay in touch. The wonderfully talented groomers who have shared their tips and tricks with me over the years have taught me more about grooming that I could ever have learned at a grooming school or by apprenticing with another groomer. They have been there for support when things go wrong, and they’ve given honest critiques. Through them, I’ve learned business strategies, marketing techniques, and a number of things you can’t learn on your own. I have the value of their years of experience, and luckily, they are generous enough to pass on their experience to me. I am truly blessed.
This is not to say that everything you read on the internet is the best advice or necessarily the truth, but I have enough sense to check out the rumors, ask others if something I read is feasible, and I usually find my way. This has allowed me to pass on important information on pet care to my clients, and to my readers, because you can’t hear everything you need to know on the 6 o’clock news.
The internet has opened up doors for me that I couldn’t have imagined! In fact, I was contacted by email in April by Adams Media to write a book! What are the odds of that? I wasn’t looking to write a book, it came to me, and so “The EVERYTHING Dog Grooming Book” will be published in August of 2008 and be for sale. To say I’m excited is an understatement; I have spent my summer writing this book and am currently in the revision stage. I get to leave my “mark” on the world! I’m sure without the internet that would never have been a possibility.
I’ve found some wonderful websites I’d like to share with you, I frequent these sites often, and I think you’ll find interesting information on pet care that you can use. This site has articles by Dr. T.J. Dunn D.V.M. that are important and helpful to anyone with a pet. I’ve actually spoken with Dr. Dunn on the phone, and found him to be well informed, open to new information and a very valuable resource. In fact, I recommended him to be the technical advisor of my upcoming book, which he graciously did.
One site that has kept me up to date on the dog food recalls, and it also has some great articles on it is I get daily updates from this site, and can keep up with the latest pet news.
I’m also in the process of developing my own website, so hopefully soon I’ll have that web address for you. Yes, the internet has opened up a completely new world for me, and my career in grooming, training, and writing. Even though sometimes things go wrong and get lost in cyberspace, it’s something I would rather not live without, and those of you who may be intimidated by the internet, trust me, take a chance, look up some information and you’ll soon find yourself hooked! Who knows what doors the internet could open up for you.

August 22, 2007 Dog Days of Summer

August 22, 2007

Dog Days of Summer

Yes, it’s that time of year; the dog days of summer are here. It’s hot and muggy, a typical Indiana August. Make sure you are treating your pooch to some cooling care to keep him comfortable during the hot summer. Here are some ideas.
Freeze some water in a plastic margarine tub or bowl, put this inside your dog’s water bowl and cover it with water, (you don’t want his tongue to get stuck on the ice!) this will keep your dogs water nice and cool all day.
Be sure to wash the water and food bowls thoroughly each day because flies are out and leftover food quickly turns bad. Besides, dogs tend to “backwash” into their water bowls so wash it out before refilling it.
If your dog likes water, get a kiddy pool and fill it with water for your dogs own personal pool. A shallow plastic container also works well for this purpose.
If you have a hairy dog, brush him thoroughly to get rid of the loose undercoat that is shedding heavily this time of year.
The easiest way to get the undercoat out is to bathe him thoroughly with a good degreasing shampoo; rinse and repeat of course . . . the reason you repeat is, the first shampoo gets rid of the dirt, the second shampoo gets rid of the oil that holds in the undercoat. Rinse well, then slather him in a good conditioner to soften up the coat and the undercoat will slide right out. You can use a wide toothed comb while the dog is in the tub marinating in the conditioner to help remove the hair. Wet hair combs out easier and it won’t pull on the dog’s skin as much. You want to try to comb the dog thoroughly while the conditioner is on the hair so it will slide out easy. Then rinse the dog well, and dry him off. Undercoat tends to shrink up as it dries, and it gets very tight and forms mats. This is why it is so important to comb out as much undercoat as you can while he’s in the bath. If you are blow-drying your dog, great, brush him out as you dry him and that will remove the undercoat and help him dry faster. If you have a very large dog or want to let him air dry, towel him off first. If he has long hair, don’t rub the coat with the towel, but squeeze it out instead so you aren’t rubbing the hair into mats. Periodically check on the dog, and brush him out as he is drying so he won’t develop mats.
If you bathe your dog outside, don’t use the cold hose on your dog please. There are fittings you can pick up at the local hardware store that you can put on your kitchen or bathroom faucet and hook the hose to it. Warm water always works better to shampoo dogs and it’s more humane. It doesn’t have to be hot, but cold water is shocking to the system and cruel. It’s one thing to play in the hose on a hot day, it’s quite another to be washed in cold water.
If you get your dog groomed or groom him at home, shave his tummy bare so he can lie down on the cool floor and get cool. If you have his hair cut, or cut it yourself, don’t cut it so short that you can see skin, that will put him at risk for sunburn. Removing the undercoat is more effective at keeping your dog cooler than shaving off all his hair. The reason being, shaving off the hair still leaves in the thick undercoat, only now it’s short. Undercoat has to be brushed and combed out, or you can use a tool like the Shed-Ender® available at CVS in the “as seen on TV” aisle. Just be careful not to apply pressure when you use any tool on your dog, he may think it’s a great back scratch, and you may think you are doing a great job at removing hair, until you look at his red, scratched up skin. Be gentle and take your time. It will be well worth it in the end.
Dog’s sweat through their paw pads, and by panting. If your dog is panting, make sure he has plenty of clean fresh cool water available at all times, and make sure his coat is well cared for. A matted coat is like wearing a heavy wool sweater outside in August. If your dog is matted, he will need to be professionally groomed.
A dog’s body temperature is higher than a human’s is also, normal for a dog is around 101 degrees, so you can imagine how uncomfortable they feel if they are left outside in the elements. If you are cool and comfortable in an air-conditioned house, make sure your best friend is too. If he’s tied up outside in the yard, in the heat with a heavy matted coat, and water that’s been sitting outside all day in the heat, my friend, you are being a cruel and neglectful owner.
Remember NEVER to leave your dog in the car even for just a couple of minutes in the summer. Cars get extremely hot in a very short time and your dog can suffer heatstroke, seizures, and death.

August 8, 2007 Animal Neglect and the Law

August 8, 2007

Animal Neglect and the Law

It’s summertime and it’s hot! If you are a responsible pet owner, your dog probably lives in your home with you, with food, water and, if he lives inside your home, you keep his coat up by regularly grooming the dog or having it done to prevent matting. However, there are plenty of instances everywhere of irresponsible dog owners. Look around your neighborhood, what do you see? Do you see dogs tied up on short chains with no water or knocked over water bowls? Is the water clean? Is the dog a matted wonder? If you see pets kept like this, it is against the law.

This information is from the website:

(Criminal Law & Procedure (Miscellaneous Offenses) 35-46-3-7 Abandonment or neglect of vertebrate animals

Summary: Prohibits recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally abandoning or neglecting a vertebrate animal in one's custody.

Penalty: Class B Misdemeanor (35-50-3-3) maximum 180 days confinement; maximum $1,000 fine. Any law enforcement officer or other person with authority to impound animals who has probable cause can take custody of the animal involved.
4) "Neglect" means to: (A) endanger an animal's health by failing to provide the animal with food or drink, if the animal is dependent upon the person for the provision of food or drink; or (B) restrain an animal for more than a brief period by the use of a rope, chain, or tether that: (i) is less than three (3) times the length of the animal; (ii) is too heavy to permit the animal to move freely; or (iii) causes the animal to choke.

In my opinion, if you own a dog, you need a fenced yard. If you don’t have a fenced yard, then your dog must be confined inside your home, and you need to walk the dog regularly. Fences will prevent dog bites to anyone off your property. Fences also keep your dogs safe from traffic. Fences will prevent dogs attacking other dogs or other animals. There have been reports of cats that have been attacked by loose dogs lately. A fenced yard gives a dog space to run, and they won’t be as bored as one tied up on a chain or confined to a small kennel. Bored dogs bark incessantly, dig and are destructive, and are generally out of control when you let them off their chain. If you don’t have a fenced yard, you work and have no time to deal with a dog, and you don’t have the money to care for the dog properly; meaning flea control, heartworm preventative, vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and coat care, keeping the dog free of matted hair, then you don’t need a dog. Dogs are meant to be companion animals and are dependant on humans. If you can’t commit to doing it right, don’t do it at all. Shelters and rescues are full of animals that came from that same situation. It’s time to stop the madness.

Okay neighbors, now you have the facts. The law is stated above. If you see animal neglect or cruelty, report it to the police or animal control to investigate. You can remain anonymous.

July 25, 2007 Summertime Flea ane Tick Tips

July 25, 2007

Summertime Flea and Tick Tips

Summer is a great time for dogs! More time outside, chasing squirrels and birds, running through the grass chasing the kids and it’s also bug season! Be sure to have your dog and cat on the best flea and tick prevention, my personal preference is Frontline Plus, but Advantage is also good. I stay away from the over the counter products because they contain permethrin or pyrethrins, which do kill fleas at least temporarily, but they are strong pesticides and you need to be aware that many pets have adverse reactions to such drugs.
Flea and tick dips used to be a popular way to rid your dog of the pests and many groomers used to use them, however, there is a lot of evidence now of those same groomers having autoimmune diseases that they think may be due to years of using those chemicals and having them absorbed into their skin. In addition, some animals have extreme adverse reactions to dips and frankly, it’s not worth it. There are much better products available now and you are crazy not to use them. Quit wasting your money on flea collars, powders, dips, and shampoos. You can get Frontline Plus, or Advantage from your vet or you can shop online for them. I’m even told that Rural King in Lafayette now carries Frontline.
Many groomers now will insist that pets be on some type of flea prevention such as Frontline Plus or Advantage so they don’t have fleas in their salons, or have fleas jumping onto other clients’ dogs. That really ruins a groomer’s reputation! Nobody wants to take their pet to a grooming salon and have it come home with fleas!
Just because you don’t see fleas jumping all over you or your house, doesn’t mean you don’t have them. I have a cat that NEVER goes outside, yet I’ve gotten lax in her flea prevention from time to time and noticed her scratching, and after combing through her hair with a flea comb, found one or two. How did she get fleas? Well, that’s simple, we brought them in the house on us, after kids playing in the yard, or mowing the grass, or the dogs brought them in from outside, and they jumped onto the cat due to them having Frontline Plus on them. Poor cats are flea magnets!
When you treat one of your pets for fleas, it’s important to remember to treat ALL of your pets at the same time and remember that even though it’s summertime and all bugs are out where we can see them, there really is no “flea season.” Indiana winters are not harsh enough to kill them all, and even when we do get killing frosts, your dog or cat will go outside briefly and the heat-seeking fleas will say “Hooray! Here comes a dog we are saved! Let’s hitch a ride on his back and get warm, oh and by the way, lets lay some eggs in the house so we can have our 2,000 babies.” I use Frontline Plus all year round. Just like heartworm prevention, if you get in the habit of doing it once a month, you won’t have to worry about heartworm, or fleas and ticks. The money you spend now for prevention is worth it so you don’t have to hire an exterminator, then deal with tapeworm from the fleas, the steroids and vet bills from all the scratching and allergic reactions to the fleas. Not to mention the hundreds of dollars it costs for heartworm treatment that your dog may or may not live through!
You wouldn’t let your children continue to carry head lice and not treat them, even though they got them innocently enough from another child, and you know what a pain that is to take care of, washing all the bedding, clothing, and everything in the house just to rid your home of those nasty louse!
Well, flea treatment is the same way. Too bad we don’t have Frontline for people; believe me I’ve considered putting some on my husband after he’s been mushroom hunting and finding ticks on him! Yuck!
Don’t forget that Lyme disease is also very prevalent in this area as well and I have several clients whose dogs have had to be treated for Lyme disease.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the saying goes, and believe me it’s true for your pets health! Get out your calendar; write down when you need to apply your flea and tick prevention and heartworm medications. Do it when you pay your mortgage or rent, so you won’t forget! Remember that Frontline Plus works best if you apply it when the dog or cat hasn’t had a bath within at least 72 hours because it works through their oil glands and if you just bathed them, there is no oil and it won’t be as effective. Schedule your pet’s grooming appointments around your flea prevention so you won’t have to worry about washing it off immediately after applying it or the dog being freshly groomed and you have to wait 3 days to apply it.
Once you get into the habit, it will become automatic and you won’t have to worry anymore about fleas, ticks, or heartworm. Your dog will thank you for it!

July 11, 2007 In Loving Memory of "Bob"

July 11, 2007

In Loving Memory of “Bob”

We had a death in the family this morning. Bob the goldfish died. I know what you are thinking, it was just a goldfish. Actually, he was a .28¢ goldfish from Wal-Mart to be exact. Nevertheless, he was a pet, and member of the family. He even had his own Christmas stocking!
Most people would simply flush the fish down the toilet, however in this family; fish go out with a little more pomp and circumstance. They get a full-blown pet funeral. Complete with tiny little box, and buried in the backyard, grave marked with a flower.
A few years ago, we lost “Ben” the Betta. I tried to convince my son to flush him, but he indignantly informed me that “Mom! God doesn’t live in the toilet!” Now you know why they get a funeral here.
Our pets aren’t the only ones that we do funerals for, if my kids find any dead creature, a dead bird, a baby bird that fell out of the nest or even butterflies, we have to have the ritual, get a box so the kids can bury it in the backyard. Once they found a dead hummingbird, it was so beautiful and to see it close up was amazing. I was fresh out of check boxes, (those work great for coffins) but I did happen to have a little box from McDonalds, actually it held Chicken McNuggets, so the bird was buried in a Chicken McNugget carton, Kleenex lined, of course.
I know this whole story sounds funny and silly, but truly, I’m glad my kids have hearts so big. At least I know they have empathy for animals of all sorts, with the exception of bugs, or wasps at least. A wasp stung my oldest son several years ago, and he has never forgotten it. We were at a store in Carmel once, and when I went to put the packages in the back of my van, they noticed a wasp. I swatted it and knocked it to the ground, sure that I had saved them from the attack of the killer wasp, but that wasn’t good enough. My son jumps up and down on the poor thing yelling, “DIE! DIE! DIE!”
Okay, maybe they aren’t THAT empathetic.
However, I do believe it’s important for children to understand death and dying, and funerals, at least for pets. They’ve yet to attend a human funeral, burying pets is traumatic enough. When your kids lose a pet, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you, have a heart, and let them grieve for it in their own way. Have a funeral for it if you can, and let them help prepare a final resting place. I’m reminded of the funeral scene in the movie “Cheaper by the dozen” when “Beans” the frog dies. Steve Martin gave a eulogy for him, “Beans was a good frog, he hipped and he hopped” . . . That still cracks me up! Let them work through their feelings; they may talk about it for a long time. Mine still talk about losing our pets from time to time. I think it makes them feel better to talk about them and I tell them how much I miss them too. It’s only natural.
While I don’t think Maus funeral home is in any danger of going out of business due to my sons’ pet “mortuary” service, maybe a pet cemetery isn’t a bad idea. I could see a line of children coming with their deceased pocket pets, and my kids making a coffin for them and providing a service. Guess I had better stock up on those disposable plastic containers for makeshift coffins; after all, God doesn’t live in the toilet.

June 27, 2007 A Nursing Home for Pets?

June 27, 2007

A Nursing Home for Pets?

The Associated Press had a story about Japan getting its first nursing home for dogs, which has round-the-clock monitoring by vets and some puppies to help the aging pooches feel younger. The dogs are fed a special fortified diet. Owners pay $800 a month to keep their pets at this nursing home. Truly, it sounds like a nice place to be, and the dogs will be fed good food, medication, and have socialization with puppies. I don’t know about your dog, but mine had little tolerance for puppies. Actually, that would work two ways, the old dog would be a teacher for the pups. The pups would be taught manners and “disciplined” by the old dogs; my old dogs were always awesome teachers of puppies.
Well this just brings all sorts of questions to my mind.
So the owners are tired of taking care of poor “Poopsie”, are they in effect, abandoning their dogs at this place? Is the $800 like a boarding fee? Could it be that poor old “Poopsie” has become incontinent and the owners don’t want to deal with the mess anymore? What happens when the family gets tired of visiting “Poopsie” in the doggie nursing home? Do they just stop coming, sort of like the relatives of residents in human nursing homes?
I’ve had dogs that I’ve groomed that were old and I wanted to adopt them, because I felt like I could take better care of them than their owners did.
Therefore, I do see the reasoning behind the nursing home idea. However, what about how the dog feels to be separated from his family? I know dogs adapt to new situations well, but that’s just the human in me feeling sorry for them being left. They would probably have a better situation, be regularly medicated, and I’m sure the staff would love them. I would think if someone were paying $800 a month for the dogs care, they would at least go visit.
Although, I do know of a couple of dogs that are in a posh kennel in Rockford, IL, that have an airline pilot for an owner, he pays the kennel extra to play with the dogs. At the time of my visit, it had been over a year and a half and he had never come to see them. He just sent checks. My heart broke for those dogs, thinking it would somehow be better for them to live in a real house, with people who loved them. However, not everyone thinks like me. So often, I see “the family dog” tied up in the backyard. No attention, just food, water and a dog house if it’s lucky. The law says that’s adequate care. You couldn’t do that to a human.
I would imagine that Poopsie’s quality of life would be enhanced at the nursing home, he would get pain relief medications and any other medications he would need. Which is more than most people do for their old dogs now anyway. Pets don’t even complain when they are in pain. You’ll never hear a dog whining about his troubles and expecting you to cater to him. Most dogs are stoic about pain. You have to really “KNOW” your dog, to see if he’s in pain.
If your dog has trouble rising or walking, or starts walking stiff-legged, especially on those rainy days, it could be arthritis. How many of you have arthritis? Don’t you take medication for your pain? Why wouldn’t you give your dog medication for his? Many senior citizens are on heart medications, and many senior dogs have the same heart ailments as people. In fact, one of my dogs is on heart medication now.
Pharmacies always act so surprised when you go there to pick up a prescription for your dog. Why? They take most of the same medications we do and the vets don’t always have a supply in their shops ready for us to buy. Is it so surprising that we give our pets medication?
Now if only dogs would draw Social Security and Medicare benefits to help pay for the nursing home fees and medications, that might make it worth it.
What do you mean dogs don’t work? Dogs do have jobs you know. They just aren’t paid. My dogs have the job of watching the house (home security system), barking when people come (doorbell), playing with the kids (physical education instructor), barking when the boys are roughhousing (referee), in effect, telling on them. They are all therapists, you can tell them anything, and they won’t tell a soul. You can cry on them, laugh at them, play with them, cuddle with them and you get unconditional love. They act as pillows or blankets on the bed or couch. They make great throw rugs on the floor, although you do have to step over them and not on them. They make good babysitters too, now if I could only get them to do laundry they’d be perfect. Dogs are worth so much more than $800 a month, but for all they do for me, I feel it’s MY job to take care of them when they age and begin to have difficulties. Luckily, I can.

June 13, 2007 Is the dog food recall over now?

June 13, 2007

Is the dog food recall over now?

Funny you should ask, with all the news about Paris Hilton going to jail, getting out of jail and going back to jail, there isn’t much on the news about more important issues such as our pets’ food supply, or our human food supply. The fact is it’s not over. Still daily, I get email updates on the latest recalls and as of today, Sunday, June 10th, there have been 588 different kinds of dog food recalled…that includes, canned, pouched, dry, and treats! In addition, 378 different kinds of cat food recalled! Including the same, canned, pouches, dry and treats!
June 6th - Ol'Roy has SalmonellaMay 17th - Recall of "Lick Your Chops"May 12th - Royal Canin adds 15 itemsMay 11th - Natural Ultramix recalledMay 4th - SmartPak extends recallMay 3rd - Over 200 items recalled by Menu FoodsApril 30th - Sierra Products/Harmony Farms listedApril 27th - Natural Balance recalledApril 27th - Chenango Valley Foods on listApril 27th - Diamond Pet Foods addedApril 26th - American Nutrition and Blue Buffalo addedApril 26th - SmartPak Canine RecalledApril 19th - Blue Buffalo and Royal Canin addedApril 18th - Wilbur-Ellis makes recallApril 17th - Natural Balance, Natural Life, and moreApril 12th - Science Diet extends listApril 10th - Menu Foods Recalls 9 more brandsApril 5th - Over 15 brands add more productsApril 2nd - Dingo recalledMarch 31st - Del Monte Dog treats addedMarch 30th - Alpo pet food recalled
This information is from; new updates are coming out every day. Subscribe to the "Recall Email Update List" to get additional recall information within the hour it is reported.
New Recalls Coming . . .
There is an investigation by the FDA going on now that has found acetaminophen in pet food, that is the active ingredient in Tylenol® that can be deadly to animals, especially cats. Here’s the interesting part, the FDA wont say which brands of food has acetaminophen in it. They aren’t “releasing” that information yet. Nice, huh?

According to the website, there are some private individuals who have had their pet food tested by a lab, and it has shown cyanuric acid, and acetaminophen (Tylenol®) were in the samples they had sent in.

And if that isn’t enough, even your pet Goldfish isn’t safe!
Sergeant’s Pet Care Products is recalling some production lots of Atlantis Goldfish Flake Food and Atlantis Tropical Fish Flake Food due to melamine being found in these specific products (approximately 20-80 parts per million). The fish food that is being recalled is for pet/ornamental fish and not used to feed fish intended for human consumption.
Here are the products that are being recalled:
Atlantis® Tropical Fish Flake Food, 0.88 oz.
Atlantis® Tropical Fish Flake Food, 2.25 oz.
Atlantis® Goldfish Flake Food, 0.75 oz.
Atlantis® Goldfish Flake Food, 2.15 oz.
Atlantis® Color Enhance Tropical Fish Flake Food, 0.88 oz.
Atlantis® Betta Food, 1.2 oz.
Atlantis® Tropical Fish Flake Food, 0.42 oz.
Atlantis® Goldfish Flake Food, 0.42 oz.

So, you thought you’d play it safe and give your dog some hamburger and rice to feed him, because the recalls of pet food have been scaring you. Guess what?
It has been announced the E.Coli has been found in ground beef, and over LOS ANGELES - Southern California meatpacker United Food Group LLC expanded a recall to include 5.7 million pounds of fresh and frozen beef that may be contaminated with the potentially deadly E. coli bacteria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Saturday.
Fourteen people in six Western states have fallen ill after eating the beef but all have recovered, the department said.
The beef was butchered and shipped in April, and is no longer on store shelves.

You can find that information on this recall on either of the previously listed websites as well.

Frankly, all these recalls are making my blood boil. What really “frosts my flakes” is that none of these recalls seems to be “news worthy.”
I keep talking to my clients, and none of them were aware the recall is still ongoing! I’ve had clients tell me “oh well I’m safe because I feed xyz brand…” then I pull out my fourteen page list of recalled dog food and my 12 page list of recalled cat food and show them that indeed their “xyz” brand is on it.
I know I don’t get to watch much television, or read any news, but I do hear about things from my clients, and my computer, and there just isn’t enough information out there. I’m still feeding my old faithful, mail order dog food brand that is made with human grade ingredients, and so far so good. People assume that because they feed an expensive brand of dog food, that they are safe. They couldn’t be more wrong.
This recall affects expensive brands, inexpensive brands, generics, popular brands, and the list grows and grows. You need to know, WHAT ingredients are in your pet’s food, WHERE it is manufactured, and IF it’s been recalled, or if it may be soon.
If your pet is showing ANY unusual symptoms, please don’t just assume that is because of old age. I have a client with a twenty-year-old toy poodle. They lost their other two dogs because they had been feeding them food that was recalled, but they didn’t know that at the time. When the twenty-year-old dog started going downhill, it was naturally assumed that it was because of his age. Luckily, they found out about the recalls, stopped feeding the dog pet food, and started cooking for him, the formerly lethargic, ancient dog that was dying, started to perk up. He runs around like a puppy now! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him looking or acting so good. In fact, he just turned twenty-one! She jokes that he can now go to a bar and have his first drink. Let’s just hope he doesn’t try to drive home and end up like Paris Hilton.

May 30, 2007 Do dogs go to Heaven?

May 30, 2007

Do Dogs go to Heaven?

Losing a beloved pet is an unfortunate part of life. When our animals pass away it seems so soon, so unfair and why can’t they live longer? For many people, myself included, our pets are part of our family. I can’t imagine a house without my pets. When you lose a pet, that emptiness surrounds you and even though you are sure you will never want another one, when you least expect it sometimes, another pet finds you, and you start all over again.
It’s never easy losing a pet. Facing the thought of euthanasia is daunting to most people. The guilt of playing executioner looms over us. Yet, it is humane and kind and ends suffering. I recently had the honor; yes, it was an honor, to help a friend who just could not take her dog on that last trip to the vet. I took him and stayed with him until the end. He was held gently and loved. He was kissed and spoken to softly, and told how much his family and I loved him. He passed quietly and peacefully. I know the pain of losing pets, and I know how hard it is to make that final trip. It was an act of love for him and for my friend. I gave her a card with “The Rainbow Bridge” poem on it. Rainbow Bridge is a place pets go to wait for their owners when they pass away. When the owner passes away, they are reunited with their beloved pets so long from our memory but never long from our hearts and they cross the bridge together into Heaven.

Do pets go to Heaven? There is no definitive answer in the Bible to say for sure, that is really up to us to decide. This is what I choose to believe:
A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years.
He wondered where the road was leading them. After a while, they came to a high, white, stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.
When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like Mother of Pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.
He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"
"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.
"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.
"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up."
The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.
"I'm sorry sir, but we don't accept pets."
The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog. After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road, which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed.
There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book. "Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?"
"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there." The man pointed to a place that couldn't be seen from outside the gate. "Come on in."
"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.
"There should be a bowl by the pump." They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.
The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, and then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them.
"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked. "This is Heaven," was the answer.
"Well, that's confusing,” the traveler said, "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too!"
"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's Hell."
"Well, doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?” the traveler asked.
"No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind."
Author Unknown

May 16, 2007 Dog Walking 101

May 16, 2007

Dog Walking 101

While taking my son to 4H dog obedience this year which is his second year in it, I was quietly observing the kids in the class and noticing some things about how they handled their dogs. At the end of the class a little girl was struggling with her large chow mix dog that was dragging her all over the place. Her mother told me how softly she speaks and she doesn’t want to hurt the dog, yet I couldn’t help myself and just had to jump in and show her a few tricks to help make her a better handler.

I began by placing the dog’s choke collar very high on his neck directly under his jaw so she would have more control and the dog wouldn’t choke himself literally by pulling so hard on the chain across his trachea. Next I didn’t say a word to the dog; I did all my speaking through the leash. We walked around the ring, the instructor gave commands and I simply followed along not having any problem whatsoever with this dog. When I halted, he sat as he was supposed to do. He didn’t whine and whimper and carry on with me like he did with her. He didn’t drag me. I gave a little tug on the leash to encourage him to sit, stay, heel or down and he listened immediately.

The little girl’s mother was in awe. Then I gave the little girl the lead and showed her where to put her hands. As she was walking along, I saw her hands riding up higher next to her waist. I told her to relax her arm and only give him a tug to correct him if he pulls ahead, otherwise relax. She did as I told her and she was surprised to get the very same results that I did with her dog. Her dog quit making noise as well. This was a two minute lesson! The trick I told her was do not talk to the dog with your voice, but only through the leash. When she saw how he responded she instantly gained confidence and I gave her some other hints that I swear by such as you go in and out of doors first, the dog must sit and stay until you say “ok” and then he is to come out. That little bit of body language puts you in the leadership role in your dog’s eyes. Her dog wasn’t a disobedient dog; he just did not view the little girl as a leader so he didn’t respect her. After she gained a bit more confidence, her attitude changed, and so did her dogs! She thanked me as if a miracle happened before her eyes.

It was really nothing more than being assertive and demanding respect. Learning how to properly walk any dog will change their attitude and behavior at home immensely! I have groomed some really large and obnoxious dogs that outweigh me and can definitely out muscle me and ended up soaking in a hot tub that night and waking up very sore the next day. Recently I decided that the next time I have an unruly dog that we would be teaching walking 101 for dogs before I groom them to save my aging body. Well I had the pleasure of doing some training for some really big dogs lately and it was a huge success! Within five minutes of walking the dog decided, “Oh, so you are the leader I get it now”. When we got back from our walk the dog calmly walked into my shop, I was leading of course, and the groom went off without any fight at all. Suddenly the dog respected me and realized that I was the leader and they couldn’t lead me and they became so cooperative! I wish I had time to do that with all the dogs that I groom! I may institute this new rule with new clients or old clients with unruly dogs. It sure made my life easier and of course when the owner came to pick up their dog they got a mini lesson in dog walking 101 so they could get the same results. You may have heard Cesar Millan, “The Dog Whisperer” refer to learning the walk on his show. I can honestly say that the walk is the foundation of everything you teach your dog. Walking your dog is leadership and once your dog understands that you are the leader, the rest is easy. So now that the weather is nicer, get your dog out of the house and take him for a nice long walk, with him by your side and not ahead of you. Lock those flexi-leads into a fixed position so they can’t keep pulling on them. Make sure your dogs collar is up high on his neck just under his jaw and take off with your head held high, chest out, looking ahead, don’t watch the dog, just look ahead and your four-legged companion will soon turn into the best walking buddy you have ever had!

P.S. Don’t forget the baggies to clean up after him just in case . . . be a good neighbor and a good walker!

May 2, 2007 It's SPRINGTIME!

May 2, 2007


Yes it’s that wonderful time of year, the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, everything is green and beautiful and we have our lovely spring rains. Our dogs are eager to play outside and go after all the new little bunnies, squirrels, and other creatures and some dogs love to DIG in the ground for them!

Well this means only ONE thing; you open your door to a dirty, wet, smelly dog! Most people can manage to wipe off Fido’s paws as he comes in the door or towel him off after his romp in the wet grass. In extreme cases Fido may need a bath, no problem, pop him into the tub and scrub him down. Unfortunately if Fido has a longer coat you may then discover something you hadn’t notice before this bath; matted hair.

You dig out your grooming tools, find the dog brush and brush away but you notice that those matts are not coming out or you have managed to brush the entire top coat OVER the matts so they are now less noticeable. Hmmm, better call the groomer you say to yourself. You dial your groomer and you get her answering machine, so you leave her a message. She calls you back but you aren’t home so she leaves you a message to call her back. This scenario goes on for a few days. Meanwhile, Fido continues to go outside and play in the mud and comes back inside and after toweling him off you notice something else. Tiny little ticks embedded in Fido’s skin! Uh oh! Well what did you expect? It IS mushroom season in Indiana now.

You head for your vet and pick up some Frontline Plus for fleas and ticks, you figured it was so cold out last week you wouldn’t need it before now. Au contraire! Haven’t you learned yet that there is one thing you can count on in Indiana that is the weather changing all year long, balmy and sunny one day, rainy and cold the next, snowing the next day, 74 degrees the next. When you do your laundry you discover shorts and tanks, sweaters, coveralls, mittens, hats and bathing suits.

Your groomer finally manages to reach you but she’s booked up for the next month! Wow! You didn’t have that much trouble getting an appointment in the winter, why is she so busy now? Why? She is busy because it is spring and all the dogs are shedding their winter coats, getting filthy and hot! You asked to be put on her cancellation list just in case she gets some time to squeeze you in. So you apply your Frontline Plus to Fido and a week later the phone rings and it’s your groomer calling to tell you that she had a cancellation for TODAY and she can get you in. Whew! What a relief, Fido’s odor was really beginning to get to you and all that hair to wipe off day after day was wearing you out washing all those towels. You look outside and it’s raining. If you get Fido all cleaned up today he’ll just go outside and mess himself all up again. You briefly consider not taking that open appointment, but then look at poor Fido and his long matted hair and decide that it’s the best thing for him, besides can you stand him another 3 weeks?

Fido gets groomed, looks great, smells great, and now thanks to you getting Frontline Plus he has no more ticks. The moral of this story is, we live in Indiana. If there is anything consistent about Indiana it’s the weathers inconsistency. So what’s a person to do? My advice is this: stay on a schedule all year round for grooming appointments, flea and tick control, (yes even in the winter!) and heartworm medication then you won’t be caught off guard by the sudden emergence of long matted hair, fleas and ticks, and groomers who are too busy to squeeze you in. If you pretend it’s spring all year round you’ll always have a clean, parasite-free pet, and it’s really time to put your New Year’s resolution into effect about getting organized. Get out your calendar now, make your appointments, stock up on your pets’ flea and tick control, and take Fido for a walk in the woods and start looking for mushrooms!

April 18, 2007 I Wouldn't Feed It To A Dog!

April 18, 2007

I Wouldn’t Feed It To A Dog!

I’m sure you have all heard of the massive recall of many pet foods that are believed to be poisoning our pets. I get emails daily of the growing list of foods it includes and honestly, I am not surprised. In my opinion this was a ticking time-bomb. We've heard of "mad cow disease" and I've been waiting to hear of "mad dog disease.” I know I'm going to touch some nerves with this article but this HAS to be written.
I will not profess to being an expert on pet foods or ingredients as I learn more every day but what I do know is this: Most pet foods use ingredients that are not for human consumption because they are inexpensive as they are a waste product of human foods. Why throw it out when the pet food industry will buy it? Pace Dairy in Crawfordsville cuts and shreds and wraps cheese for Kroger. They do a wonderful job. I love the cheese. Manufacturing cheese is a job like most factories. Floors get dirty and cheese gets on the floor. At night when the machines are cleaned out there is cheese residue that gets cleaned out. I took a tour of Pace Dairy and saw huge bins labeled "INEDIBLE.” I asked what that was and told that is the stuff that is swept off the floor and cleaned out of the machines and the dog food companies buy it.
Meat packing plants do similar things. Parts that we don't eat from a cow go to dog food companies. Remember there is NO waste. If we can't eat it, a pet food company can buy it pretty cheap. Then there is "rendered" meat. Dead livestock is picked up by a meat rendering truck. Those animals aren't buried or cremated. Think about it.
Last year Diamond dog food recalled its' food due to aflatoxin in the corn. Have you ever seen corn sitting outside in huge piles because the grain bins were full? What happens to grain that it outside in rain? Is it any wonder why pets died? West Points’ grain elevator several years ago had a similar incident when several horses died after eating grain purchased there. There was mold in it. I had horses and I know how careful you need to be to avoid any mold in the hay or grain. Mold doesn't need to be obvious in food in order for it to affect an animal.
For years I’ve fed a human-grade pet food that I became a distributor of after seeing the positive results on my own pets. I have recommended this food to my clients for their pets especially if their pets were having issues with itching, dry flaking skin or wheat allergies. My own dog Jasmine (in the photo above) has a wheat allergy and today I am thanking God for that! Wheat gluten seems to be the ingredient that is causing the kidney failure and killing pets around the world. Wheat gluten in itself isn’t a bad thing, but it’s tainted with melamine which is used as a pesticide. Honestly, they still are not 100% sure that is the entire issue. I don’t feed wheat or wheat gluten due to Jasmine’s allergies and I am relieved to have dodged this bullet!
I know that dogs eat nasty things. If you live in the country I’m sure your dog has found some really appetizing critters to bring home. I haven’t had to mop my floors since my sheltie arrived in October, I considered renaming him "Dyson" or "Kirby" or "Hoover" as there is not one crumb on my floor that gets by him! I know that if my cats’ litter box was lower my dogs would enjoy the "kitty crunchies" in it as treats! That being said, I would never purposely feed something to my pets that wasn’t fit for me to eat. I don’t eat dog kibble but after learning about ingredients in some pet foods compared to what I feed, and reading labels on human food, I know that it would be healthier for me to be pouring my milk on my dogs’ brand of food instead of the cereal I eat.
I don’t care if my pets are "just animals" and they can eat all kinds of things we humans can’t, or won’t. If I wouldn’t eat it, and would throw it away, I won’t give it to my dogs for garbage disposal. This is why it irks me to see the huge number of recalls from the big companies that spend big bucks on commercials to make the public THINK they are feeding nutritious food to their pets! Some are "Veterinarian Recommended." Normally that would make most people feel safe but the truth is the ingredients came from the same place! How can you trust pet food companies anymore?
You start by learning about what's in your pets food by reading the label and doing some research. There is a wealth of information on the internet about ingredients and where they come from. I have checked out several websites but the one that like is the Animal Protection Institute is a report on what’s really in pet food that is eye opening. Whole Dog Journal is a magazine with many informative articles on best and worst foods. I am in the process of making a binder with information I've received on pet nutrition and what is in pet food for my clients to read. Education is the best defense against potential poisoning of your pet.
Sadly, the more holistic pet foods that use human grade ingredients are not available in Attica. Buckles Feed Depot in Lafayette carries a few brands that I would recommend or approve of but I don’t drive to Lafayette that often, so it’s really inconvenient to buy those brands. This is why my pet food is delivered by UPS. I won’t give you the details of what brand I feed because I don’t want this to come off as a commercial for it, but feel free to contact me if you want information about it. My email is I wish there was a store in Attica that would stock only the best human grade foods available for pets. I sincerely hope that this tragedy will wake up consumers and the huge conglomerates that own pet food companies, such as Proctor & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, and Nestle who have the lions share of dog food brands on the shelf at every store, and the pet food industry as a whole will do a complete change and quit feeding cast off garbage to our pets and thinking of the bottom line money, to remembering that our pets are family to us and we only want to give them decent food to nourish their bodies and keep them healthy and happy.

Until then stay updated on the recalls and please read your pet food labels, and treats, and anything you feed your pets. I personally know dogs and cats who have been affected by this recall. One has died that I know of. Many more either died or got sick before the recall actually happened. How many pets were buried that we thought just got sick, or died of natural causes before anyone knew about this? There are alternatives to pet foods such as feeding a raw diet or cooking for your pet but this isn’t practical for me at this point in my life. I rely on pet foods as most of you do to feed my pets, besides I’m not that impressed with our own food supply with the peanut butter recalls, salmonella scares and e-coli outbreaks. I don’t know all the answers, I wish I did. I hope this article helps you make a more educated decision about what to feed your pet so you aren't swayed by the cute commercials, the "veterinarian recommended" tag lines or food that your pet really gobbles up because it's so tasty to him. Price isn't the only consideration. Many foods in the recall have a premium price. Be aware, be informed and be safe.

April 4, 2007 Time to Inspect Your Dog

April 4, 2007

Time to inspect your dog.

Ideally, you should be doing this monthly or more often.

Eyes...Some dogs have tear stains. The first thing you MUST do is figure out why the dogs eyes are tearing. Is there a lot of hair around the eyes? If so, it could be hair irritating the eye and causing it to tear. A little trim around the eye area is usually all that is needed. Sometimes dogs have eyelashes that are on the inside of the eyelids. These must be removed by a vet. It’s a common occurrence in many breeds especially breeds with wrinkles such as shar-peis and bulldogs. If there are no eyelashes rubbing the eye there are products to bleach out the tear stains, but it has to be done several times a day. I’ve recently discovered a product that you sprinkle on your pets food that works wonders on tear stains called “Angels Eyes” and it’s available online or at my shop.

Ears... Are the ears clean? Is there an odor or discharge? Does it look like coffee grounds? Is the ear puffy, itchy, raw? Ear infections are fairly common in dogs but when I see a dog that has had ear infections that are routinely treated but keep occurring the first thing I suspect is a food allergy. When I adopted my dog Jasmine, she had black discharge in her ears and itchy skin. I immediately switched her food to one with no wheat, no corn and cleaned her ears...I’ve never had a problem since. Ear mites usually cause a black coffee ground like discharge. Your vet can treat ear mites. Your vet or groomer can show you how to properly clean out your pets ears.

Mouth... If your dog has bad breath, red gums or tartar, all the teeth cleaning snacks in the world won’t fix it. He needs to see the vet and see if he has a gum infection, gingivitis or a bad tooth. This area is easily overlooked on pets. Many times the dogs teeth look fine, but look deeper. Lift up the lips and pull back and look at the molars, are the gums red? Is there tartar on the teeth? Sometimes a dog could have a bad tooth and it needs to see a vet for a dental cleaning and possibly a tooth extraction. Bad teeth or infections can cause excess drooling, difficulty eating that can be perceived as being “picky”. Check those teeth!

Nails. If you have hard floors in your house and you can hear your dogs nails tapping as he walks that’s a good indication of needing a nail trim. Some dogs wear their nails down naturally when they walk on concrete or dig outside but most dogs don’t and they need a “pawdicure” from time to time. Don’t forget the dew -claws, those are the “thumbs” on a dog and some dogs have dew- claws on the rear legs as well. If you have a hairy breed be sure to feel around and if your dog has dew claws those need clipped more often than the regular nails because they don’t touch the ground and never get wore down. Some dew claws can be a problem to some dogs due to having long hair and being hidden they are often missed when clipping nails and sometimes get snagged by clippers when being groomed. Ask your vet to remove any dew-claws that are a problem. I’ve seen dogs jump around in crates and break the dew-claws, it’s painful and easily re-injured by excitable dogs. It’s best to have them removed and eliminate the problem.

Belly...Who doesn’t rub their dogs belly? If you feel any lumps be sure and mention them to your vet as soon as possible. Hernia’s usually occur where the spay surgery stitches were and sometimes in the groin or the navel on puppies. Dogs get breast cancer too! Spaying before a dogs first heat cycle generally prevents it.

Rear...Yes I know, nobody likes to think about this area but it’s important. Lift up your dogs tail, there shouldn’t be anything stuck to the hair back there. If there is, gently clean it off or cut the hair around the rectum. I’ve seen dogs get “diaper rash” from having feces that has been stuck to the dog for days! Keep the area under your dogs tail CLEAN! Now that you have the tail up, do you notice anything that resembles grains of rice stuck in the hair? That could be tapeworm. Tapeworm is caused by fleas. Fleas are ingested and the tapeworm eggs grow inside your dog and parts of it come out the rectum. Groomers find tapeworms often in dogs. Once again a visit to your vet will take care of tapeworms, fleas or other parasites that are living on or in your dog.
Does your dog scoot on its’ rear? Lick under its’ tail? That could be an anal sac problem. Small dogs seem to have anal sac issues regularly. Your vet and some groomers will express the anal sacs for you and that should take care of the problem for a while. Many times a high fiber diet helps to prevent this problem.

Hair...Feel hair for matts. Matted hair pulls on the skin and hurts! If you can’t comb out the matts or remove them yourself, call your groomer or vet and make an appointment. Matted hair doesn’t dry well and traps bacteria under the hair and air can’t get to it. Hot spots, sores and ...gulp...even maggots have been found on matted dogs. Comb your dog out regularly to prevent matts. Your groomer will happily show you how to do it and what tools work best on your dog.
Grooming your dog keeps down shedding hair, keeps the skin and coat in good shape and makes for a cleaner, happier more pet-able pet!

March 21, 2007 I have a female Schnauzer and my new neighbor has a male Schnauzer, should we have a wedding?

March 21, 2007

I have a female Schnauzer and my new neighbor has a male Schnauzer, should we have a wedding?

Let me give you a few reasons why you should NOT.

Every spring, cats and dogs that have not been spayed or neutered give birth to countless puppies and kittens - overwhelming shelters all over the country with unwanted litters. As a result, there are always far more dogs and cats than there are homes. Each year in this country, more than 5,000,000 unwanted animals are euthanized. The only way to stop the needless deaths of 5,000,000 animals a year is to stop overpopulation. The only way to stop pet overpopulation is through spay/neuter.

On the North Shore Animal Leagues website,
there is a chart that shows how many animals would be born if none of the offspring were ever “fixed.”
1 year: more than 12
2 years: more than 66
3 years: more than 375
4 years: more than 2,000
5 years: more than 11,000
6 years: more than 66,000
7 years: more than 370,000
8 years: more than 2,000,000
The numbers are staggering!

Cats can start mating as early as six months.
Even indoor-only house cats often find ways to get outdoors when the sexual urge hits them. Whether they disappear for good (due to panic, accidents, or enemies) or they return home, kittens are the result.
An unaltered male cat can father hundreds of kittens a year.
Statistically speaking, even if a person finds good homes for a litter of kittens, some of the kittens will grow up and produce litters of kittens.
Spaying a female before her first heat protects her from risks of uterine, ovarian, and mammary cancers.
Spaying also protects her from the stresses of pregnancy.
Spaying reduces her frantic interest in the outdoors and reduces the chances that she'll wander far.
Spaying reduces the chances she'll mark your home with urine when she's in heat.
Unaltered cats have urges that make them irritable and anxious. They yowl or whine frequently, fight with other cats, and/or destroy objects in the house.
Neutering a male reduces his risk from numerous health problems.
Neutering lowers his urge to roam and to fight, and thus lowers chances of disease transmission and wounds.

Neutering also reduces his tendency to spray in the home.
And neutering eliminates the powerful odor of adult male cat urine.

It costs U.S. taxpayers an estimated $2 billion each year to round up, house, kill, and dispose of homeless animals.(From

A spayed or neutered animal will live a longer, healthier life with decreased risk of developing ovarian, uterine or breast cancer (females) and prostate cancer or testicular tumors (males).
A spayed or neutered animal is better behaved and less aggressive.
Spaying and neutering will reduce the desire to roam, fight, and "mark" territory.

Neutering will make males more reliable and easier to train.

If you watch Animal Planet and have ever seen an episode of “Animal Cops” you’ve probably seen episodes that show people who are “collectors” This is a mental illness similar to people who hoard “things” only these are living things and they reproduce two to four times per year. They become overwhelmed and animal welfare organizations end up removing hundreds of cats and dogs in ONE household! It all starts with one male and one female. Many people with good intentions take in animals to feed yet they don’t consider spaying or neutering and they quickly become overwhelmed at the number of animals that are produced.

“But I can’t afford to have my pet neutered.” The truth is, you can’t afford NOT to get your pet neutered.

There are low cost spay/ neuter organizations in Indiana.

1. North Central Indiana Spay and Neuter Clinic in Battleground
$40 for cats, $75 female dogs, $50 male dogs.
North Centrals phone number is 765-497-3141 for appointments to spay/neuter.


! FACE Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic1505 E. Massachusetts AveIndianapolis, IN 46201317-638-3223Web: www.facespayneuter.orgLow cost spay/neuter, vaccinations, testing, and heartworm and flea medications. FACE stands for Foundation Against Companion Animal Euthanasia. Services for ferals and pets.

! Spay/Neuter Services of IndianaIndianapolis and surrounding areas 317-788-6330Web:

! The Neuter Scooter
1-866-662-5838A clinic in a van visits various locations in Indiana and Ohio and performs low cost spay/neuter for cats.

! SPAY/USA, a national program whose mission is to end the suffering of innocent dogs and cats by reducing the number of unwanted births, is announcing its partnership with Pets ALIVE Spay/Neuter Clinic. Pets ALIVE began partnering with SPAY/USA in December 2006 to create Indiana Spay Neuter Alliance.Indiana Spay Neuter Alliance is a one stop referral service for low cost spay and neuter services throughout Indiana. Toll free number 1-866-957-7729

I also want to mention many local vets are willing to work with someone with financial need when it comes to spay and neuter. Call your vet and ask.
There is another website I highly encourage my readers to visit who may be thinking of breeding their pet. is an interactive site that shows you all the ins and outs of breeding your dog and things that can and do go wrong. It will make you think twice.

March 7, 2007 The Academy Award goes to....

March 7, 2007

The Academy Award goes to . . .

I have to say that most dogs that come into my shop are born actors. In fact I could mention several that would probably win an academy award for their performance. The owners are holding little "Foo Foo" in their arms and as they walk into the shop little Foo Foo turns into a quivering, cowering mass of jelly that doesn't want Mommy or Daddy to leave them.
This dramatic performance naturally makes Mommy or Daddy very upset because their baby never does that at home. In fact the poor owner feels so bad, they second guess themselves at whether little Foo Foo REALLY needs to be groomed at all! "Oh, Foo Foo, my poor baby! Why just look at you shake! Are you cold? Are you scared? No baby, Mommy has to leave now . . . sniff."
Meanwhile the groomer stands there, waiting for little Foo Foo to come to her outstretched arms, and the dog clings to Mommy like Saran Wrap, clutching her shoulder with tiny little sharp claws that are digging into Mommy's skin.
"Oh . . . could you make sure you trim his nails? ....Foo Foo! It's ok baby! ...really . . . Mommy loves you!" So the groomer pries the little dog away from Mommy . . . and Mommy goes out the door feeling really guilty and listening to the pitiful whines, as she heads for her car.
Once Mommy is out of earshot . . . Foo Foo suddenly perks up! No quivering, no shaking, and his tail is going a mile a minute! Now THAT is worthy of an academy award! Why do dogs do this? Is it to give the groomer a complex? To make their owners nuts? No, actually the answer is dogs are just like kids. Remember when you first left your child at a sitter or daycare? Remember the tears, (yours too) and the guilt. Your kids learned at an early age how to pull those heart strings and your dog is no different.
People who have never had children or empty nesters are the ones who fall for this act the worst. They either never had to deal with kids or don't remember the manipulation they had from their own children when they were young. In fact I know many people who treat their dog BETTER than they treated their own kids! They would NEVER have let their kids do some of the stuff their little Foo Foo is allowed to do! This may be why many adult children of empty nesters don't necessarily "like" their new furry little brother or sister.
Now I'm not complaining about folks who treat their dog like a kid. Heck I do it too, at times. I would rather see a dog spoiled than neglected for sure! But I just want to reassure the anxious Mom or Dad that Groomers and Vets do not abuse little Foo Foo after you leave. If parents stay and watch, then the dogs’ act continues and makes it nearly impossible to groom them. That is why many Groomers request that the owner leave the dog and come back later. Just like leaving a child at daycare, the crying stops after parents leave and they generally have a good day.
I wish I was being videotaped so mom or dad could actually see the transformation of Foo Foo's act from scared and whiney, to happy, wagging tail and cooperative. Don't get me wrong, some dogs don't care to be groomed at all. How many people have to spell B- A -T- H? How many dogs run and hide when they see you head for the sink with a towel in hand? My own dogs do that! Then I remind them that when it comes to necessary things such as baths, visits to the groomer or vet or any other less than pleasant procedure that our house is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship! The time comes when some things just need to be done. Dealing with reluctant dogs is no different than dealing with reluctant kids. How many 8-year-old boys like to take a bath? They don’t want to go in . . . then they won't come out! What if we said to our kids "ok honey, I can see you don’t want a bath, it’s ok . . . I won’t make you take one" Never mind it’s been weeks . . . and the stench is overwhelming to all. No, somehow when we deal with kids we put the foot down and just make it happen. Well the furry little 4-legged kid is the same. You just have to be tough and say, "This isn’t Burger King, you can’t have it your way!"
By the same token, I do have a few dogs that come RUNNING into my shop to greet me and joyfully jump into the shower or onto my table wagging their tails and do it right in front of their owners! I wish they all would love being groomed as much! Believe me it surprises me as much as it does their owners! Maybe if I had the time to play with them, feed them, walk them and snuggle with them on my lap as much as their owners I would get a better greeting but alas . . . I have to get to work so they can go home soon and show off their new look! So I’ll try not to take it personally when a dog sees me and turns the other direction looking for a way out, We all only want what’s best for your dog. Luckily, dogs are so forgiving. I’m sure they’ll forgive the owners for bringing them to us and paying us to groom them!