Monday, September 28, 2009

Meet Ling: The winner of Week 3's Show Us Your Happy Dog Contest Dog Contest

Many thanks and tail wags to everyone who entered their furry pals in this week's edition of our Show Us Your Happy Dog Contest. Meeting your pooches through the entries and photos is a true joy! All of the dogs are so cute and, fortunately for us, we choose the contest winner randomly. Otherwise, we'd never be able to choose just one.

Without further ado meet this week's winner: Ling, a three year old Chinese Crested from Florida.

The Chinese Crested come in two varieties, the Hairless, who like Ling, have hair only on the head, feet and and tail or the Powderpuff, who are covered all over in an extremely soft coat. According to the American Kennel Club:
It is believed that Chinese mariners sailed with this breed – believed to have evolved from African hairless dogs – on board. During the time of the Chinese plagues, hairless dogs were stowed aboard ships to hunt vermin. By the mid-nineteenth century, Cresteds began appearing in European art, and entries of the breed in American dog shows began in the late 1800s.
Ling, the runt of her litter, joined her family when she was 4 month old. Almost immediately, she became a loving family member. According to her Aunt Marjie, " When people hear that Ling is hairless, they think she'd be ugly, but everyone who meets her falls in love with her!"

"Ling is very gentle and loves to play," Marjie reports. She loves to snuggle, especially with her mom Jean. When held, "Ling loves to snuggle up under your neck."

Ling enjoying a snooze with Jean. If you look closely, Ling is smiling in her sleep!

Fetch is one of Ling's favorite games and she enjoys catching balls. Ling has a mischievous side too. Marjie notes that, although Ling "is a joy to have around, you have to keep everything out of reach just as you would with a three year old child."* Ling has been known to unroll multiple rolls of paper towels all over the kitchen floor.

Ling is a very happy and very loved dog!

Ling is a smart pooch too. Marjie said, "Ling loves to come to my back door and bark, knowing that she will get a treat." When she gets excited, Ling spins around in circles and makes everyone laugh.

Ling has several furry family members. She lives with her brother Taz (pictured to the left). Ling also has several furry cousins: Sheba, a sweet, black furry dog and three cats, Trinket, Jewel and KikiPoo.

Ling we hope you enjoy your prizes, but we have a funny feeling that your furry cousins will get a bit more use out of the Pledge Fabric Sweepers!

* Marjie makes an excellent point. Dog proofing your home is imperative for your pooch's health and safety and your sanity! We devote many pages to this topic in Happy Dog, Caring For Your Dog's Body, Mind and Spirit.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September 28th is World Rabies Day

Rabies is a serious problem across the globe for us 2-legged creatures and our four-legged friends. World Rabies Day raises awareness about the disease and it's impact on both humans and animals.

Rabies is 100% preventable, so please verify that your pooch's rabies vaccination is current. If you need more information, talk to your veterinarian and check out the World Rabies Day website.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Enter our Contest!

This is the last week of our Show Us Your Happy Dog Contest. Enter here and win great prizes!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Amazing Animals: Orangutan and Hound are Fast Friends

Suryia and Roscoe enjoy spending time together.

Check out this amazing story of cross breed love. A down on his luck hound wandered into The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, an animal sanctuary in Myrtle Beach and was adopted by a lonely Orangutan. They play and swim together and have been best friends for several years.

Here's the amazing video:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Facebook helps nab dog abuser

Check out this story. It seems that Facebook is good for more than just reconnecting with your first boyfriend, who, as it turn out, is incredibly creepy as an adult, yet you are reluctant to un-friend lest he find out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ready, Set, Go Adopt: October Is Adopt A Dog Month

We wanted to give everyone in Happy Dog Land time to gear up: The American Humane Association has designated October as "Adopt A Dog Month."

American Humane is asking everyone to be a superhero and find a "faithful companion" to share life's adventures at a local shelter or a breed rescue group. and are good resources too. If you can't adopt a new furry friend, then spread the word about adoption. American Humane has compiled a handy tip list to show you how.

So many dogs need homes right now due to poor economic conditions. In fact, many shelters have a plethora of purebred pooches. Over the weekend, we groomed dogs at Chicago Animal Care and Control. Among the pooches we made over were a Poodle, a beautiful black Lab and a Polish Lowland Sheepdog.

Jill adopted Shadow, a purebred Miniature Poodle from Small Dog Adoption in Plantation, Florida. Billy's dogs Zeke, A Portuguese Water Dog, and Arthur, a Cocker Spaniel, were re-homed from breeders. Our first two Show Us Your Happy Dog Contest winners, Chubee and Samuel were adopted from local shelters. There are so many ways to be a superhero to a homeless pet!

So, grab your cape and tights and go adopt!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Meet Samuel: The winner of Week 2's Show Us Your Happy Dog Contest

Thank you to everyone who entered their furry pals in this week's edition of our Show Us Your Happy Dog Contest. We enjoyed meeting your precious pooches through their photos. All of the dogs are so cute and, of course, very, very happy! Their stories are heartwarming and amazing too. Fortunately for us, we choose the contest winner randomly, otherwise, we'd have a tie all around!

Remember to enter again for the Week 3 and Week 4 drawings. And now, here's this week's winner:

We are pleased to introduce Samuel, a 22 month old Golden Retriever from Florida. Sam had a rough start in life as his first residence was not a happy place -- he was kept in a closet before he was rescued.

After her prior Golden Retriever died of cancer, Sam's mom Josie found him available for adoption on, a national clearinghouse for hundreds of thousands of adoptable pets. Josie requested photos of Sam and it was love at first sight. "There was something special about Sam even then and I connected with him from the pictures. A few days later I went to pick Sam up, he was ten weeks old then, " Josie remembers. Sam quickly overcame his rough start and "settled right in and make himself at home."

Sam is a born lover. According to Jose, Sam, "has always been a sweet gentle spirit who makes friends and fans every where he goes." Sam loves kids and is happiest when he's surrounded by children who are petting him. Of course, he loves doling out squishy puppy kisses too.

Sam shares his home with three kittens and they rule the roost. He doesn't mind and happily shares his bed with his feline siblings.
Sam and Smokie

In addition to being a handsome, friendly and loving friend, Sam is a therapy dog. Sam's calm nature and openness is perfect for his work with special needs children. Josie observes, "Sam has never noticed that [the children] have special needs, [he knows] only that they are children and he loves them all." She adds, "His heart is really in his work. It's a real honor to have Sam in my life and to be able to share him with these children."

Sam at work.

The llama is also a therapy pet and really took a liking to Sam. "Sam always knows what a child needs to be comforted," Josie notes. "He has even been known to comfort other animals." Perhaps that's why he hit it off with the llama.

Josie and Sam and the kitties are clearly a match made in heaven. Sam is just one example of the many wonderful dogs you can find when you adopt. In fact, Sam asked us to remind everyone in Happy Dog Land to, "please adopt, adopt, adopt, woof. Don't forget the cats, woof!"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kids And Dogs: A Natural Pair

To us, children and dogs are a natural fit. We both grew up surrounded by pets and learned early on about the joys, friendship and love they bring. The American Humane Association, the only national organization dedicated to protecting children and animals, has a plethora of information of its website about the human-animal bond.

Kids who grow up with dogs and pets learn empathy, responsibility and respect for nature. For many of us, helping care for the family dog is our first experience with chores and leaning to take care of others. A child who nurtures a dog, also learns to appreciate, not fear animals and nature and takes these important lessons into adulthood. In addition, your child will have a natural exercise partner. Having Sally and Tom running around and playing with a dog sure beats having them watch TV and gorge on junk food!

Moreover, kids who grow up with pets may have stronger immune systems and may be less likely to develop allergies, asthma and other problems. Here's another relevant article.

If you can't have a dog or cat, don't fret. Get creative and figure out ways to expose the kids in your life to animals. Although not as cuddly as a dog (or even a cat), a fish is a fine introduction to animals. Alternatively, take your kids to visit homes with pets and talk about the importance of respecting nature and being kind to animals.

Visit the dog park or stop someone walking a dog and ask if your child can pet the pooch. (Be sure to verify that the dog is child-friendly and teach the child to allow the dog to smell his/her hand before petting.) Read books about animals and watch movies staring our four-legged friends. Many animal welfare organizations have websites and educational programs specifically for kids, such as the ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society also has a site specifically aimed at teens.

Ask at a local shelter or animal rescue about programs for kids. Some may allow you to bring an older child along to walk dogs or volunteer in the shelter. A group of kids in Chicago have raised over $19,000 for animal shelters selling homemade jewelry and crafts. Many of these kids have dogs or other pets and some do not. But, all of them have learned that it feels good to help animals.

All this exposure to animals is a good thing. And who knows, your son or daughter may become a veterinarian or a top pet stylist or even write a particularly interesting, informative and well-written must-have future best seller about caring for a dog's body, mind and spirit.

Photo of Ian and Arthur by Michael Vistia, Vistia Designs

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Meet Chubee: The Winner of Week 1 of Our Contest

We are pleased to introduce Chubee, the dog drawn as our winner in Week 1 of our Show Us Your Happy Dog Contest. Be Sure to enter every week during the contest period.

Thrilled that Chubee won the contest, Chubee's mom Mary Jo explained why she entered, “It was a fluke I even sent the photo, a spur of the moment thing, but it felt very right. I think his spirit urged me so he could bring more joy even after he has gone. It would be so like him.”

Here's Chubee's happy (and bittersweet) "tail":

In the spring of 1998, Chubee arrived as a 3 month old pup suffering from neglect at the shelter where Mary Jo volunteered. Mary Jo plucked Chubee from death row and agreed to foster him. “Of course I fell in love and kept him! He was so sick it took a year to get him well,” she recounts.

According to Mary Jo, Chubee brought joy to everyone he met. “Even in a group of purebreds everyone wanted to know about him!” Chubee helped his community too. As a therapy dog, he visited hospitals and nursing homes and loved meeting people wherever he went. Indeed, “He always had a tail wag, paw and smile for anyone who needed it,” Mary Jo remembers.

Chubee loved Halloween and dressing up in costume.

Chubee’s best friends were his mom (of course) and his cat Monty Ali.

Chubee and his brother Henry, a rescued Doberman/Coonhound mix

Chubee with brother Rufus before he passed away

Sadly, Chubee passed away about 5 months ago. Mary Jo explained, “The week before Easter Chubee fell chasing after a squirrel, one of his favorite activities! He really tried to come back from it but his body failed him. He asked me to release him and how could I not honor his request.” Chubee has crossed the Rainbow Bridge and is romping with many of our dear furry friends, including Gabriel and Filbert (Billy and Jill's dogs). Chubee’s canine brother Henry will surely enjoy the contest prizes.

Thank you Mary Jo for sharing Chubee with us! We agree with you that having Chubee win our contest “shows his spirit is still alive.”

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11/01 Remember the Victims and the Heroes

As we pause to remember the events of September 11, 2001, we honor the victims and heroes of this tragedy.

Click here to view a gallery of the brave canines who assisted rescue workers at Ground Zero.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Guest Column: Canine Cancer Information

Today we are pleased to bring you a guest column by Jen Schneider, the President of The Great Good Heart Animal Cancer Foundation. Cancer affects many pets and knowledge is a good weapon in the fight against the disease. So, without further ado, here's Jen.

Animal cancer is a cause close to my heart, not only because it affects so many pets (and the numbers seem to be climbing year after year), but also because my own dog, Indiana, was diagnosed with cancer back in 2006. Though Indiana is still alive and well today (and cancer-free), our experience was life-altering, and my husband and I vowed to make something good out of something so awful. We created the Great Good Heart Animal Cancer Foundation to help educate others in hopes that just one dog could be saved from this disease.

Though no hard and fast numbers are known (so many cases of cancer go undiagnosed), some estimates say that cancer affects around 50% of all dogs. Some breeds, like golden retrievers, rottweilers, and boxers, have higher rates of specific cancers I’ve seen suggestions that up to 75% of all golden retrievers will be affected by lymphoma alone.

There is no one way to prevent cancer, and certainly genetics, which we can’t personally control, play a large role. However, we as parents can go a long way in helping to reduce our pets’ exposure to carcinogens.Some easy, but vital, ways to help prevent animal cancer include:
  • Forgoing the use of pesticides and fertilizers on your lawn.
  • These products are thought to be the number one cause of lymphoma, one of the most common types of cancer.
  • Using non-toxic cleaners in your home. Your pets walk around in bare feet all the time, they they lick their paws. I feel much more comfortable knowing they’re being exposed to vinegar and baking soda rather than synthetic cleaners.
  • Feeding a high quality diet--the best you can afford. This involves a lot of research, because commercial pet foods aren’t all as safe as we think. Humans thrive on a fresh diet, and it is no different for our pets.
  • Considering titers instead of automatically vaccinating every year. A simple blood test will tell you if your pet’s body contains enough of the vaccine antibodies to keep them safe for another year.
What do you do if your pet is diagnosed with cancer? First, make sure your pet is seen by an oncologist, who is highly trained and deals only with cancer. Second, do as much research as you can (though be careful about the internet--there’s a lot of bad information out there too--and it will just scare you!). Knowledge really is power, and you’ll be able to be confident in whatever decisions you make. There are a number of online support groups, with dog parents who have been or are still dealing with cancer. You’ll often learn little tricks your vet might not know. Plus, the emotional support is invaluable.

Every dog parent dreads a cancer diagnosis, but cancer is not an automatic death sentence. Cancer treatments have come so far. Many people live within an hour or two’s drive from a specialized [animal] cancer clinic, where they have access to top oncologists, high quality diagnostic equipment, and the latest knowledge on treatments and therapies.

We often hear, “I could never put my pet through chemotherapy. My cousin had chemo, and she lost her hair and was sick all the time.” This is one of the biggest misconceptions about animal cancer treatments--that our pets will have the same side effects as our human loved ones. The goal of human chemotherapy is to cure the cancer. The goal of animal chemotherapy is to prolong quality of life. (Though cures can occasionally be achieved.) The dosages are much smaller, and many dogs sail through chemotherapy with few, if any, side effects. That’s why it’s important to consult with an oncologist; you may have more options than you think.

Hopefully you will never be faced with a diagnosis of cancer in your pet. But if you are, there is hope, and there are resources out there to help you and your pet, from finances, to support, decisions, and knowledge. Becoming educated about cancer is perhaps the best thing you can do. Helping to prevent cancer will make a difference in your pet’s future. I’d give anything to have had the knowledge I have now 10 years ago. Perhaps Indiana could have avoided her cancer diagnosis. I’ll never know. But I do know that I learned the hard way and am trying my hardest to make sure you don’t have to.

In addition to Great Good Heart Animal Cancer Foundation, Jen recommends these websites to learn more about canine cancer:

The Perseus Foundation "a wonderful resource for all aspects of animal cancer."

Georgia's Legacy: Canine Cancer Information and Support Resource "My favorite website written by a fellow canine cancer parent."

Things I Learned From My Dog Jen's personal blog where "you can learn more about Indiana and live after cancer."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The American Humane Association: An Organization You Should Know

We are so excited to be partnering with the American Humane Association to help improve the care and well-being of dogs and the relationship between people and their pets. When you buy Happy Dog: Caring For Your Dog's Body, Mind and Spirit though our website, Barker and Meowsky will donate $1 per book to American Humane.

American Humane is the only national organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Its mission is to create a more humane and compassionate world by ending abuse and neglect of children and animals. To that end, American Humane advocates for legislation to protect children and animals, raises public awareness, develops and provides training programs to child- and animal-welfare professionals and community members, and performs direct services, such as animal emergency services and animal-assisted therapy.

For decades, American Humane has celebrated and promoted the special bond between people and animals, including establishing the annual observance of Be Kind to Animals Week® in 1915. American Humane helps people care for their dogs (and other pets) and spreads a message of compassion.

Headquartered in Denver, American Humane raises awareness about The Link® between violence to people and violence to animals, as well as the benefits derived from the human-animal bond. American Humane’s office in Los Angeles is the authority behind the “No Animals Were Harmed”® end-credit disclaimer on film and TV productions, and American Humane’s office in Washington, D.C. is an advocate for child and animal protection at the federal and state levels. In addition, the American Humane® Certified farm animal program is the nation’s original independent certification and labeling program for humanely raised food.

Check out American Humane's website, there's so much to see and learn!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ask Billy: Why Won't My Dog's Johnson Go Back In?

We've received an interesting, but potentially embarrassing question from a friend of a cute little white dog. We've changed the names of those involved to protect the pooch--we don't want to hurt the little guy's chances with the gals at the dog park. So let's just call him "Dog Doe."

"Puppysitter" writes: "I was recently babysitting the most adorable 1 year old dog for a couple of weeks and we encountered a small problem. This neutered pup became aroused after humping a teddy bear and his little pecker peeped out. Unfortunately, the hair down there was longer that it should have been, and got caught in the shaft, which prevented his lil' lipstick from going all the way back in. It was out for a day before we realized it, and he kept licking it. It was obvious he was irritated. When we took him into the vet's office- she gave him a shot for inflammation and lubricated him to remove the hair. After trimming the area, she gently tucked the unmentionable away in its place and put him on UTI medication in case he developed an infection. We were relieved when it was all over. "Dog Doe" is happy and carefree once again.

Is there a way to prevent this beyond simply puppy-scaping?"

Dear Puppysitter, thanks for asking a delicate question and thanks for taking Dog Doe to the vet right away! If you had waited, the poor guy could have developed a severe and painful infection.

Keeping the genital area clean and tidy on male and female dogs is extremely important. This true for all dogs, although dogs with coats that require trimming need some extra attention "down there." I mean, beyond the pooch's self-cleaning ability.

The coat on Hair dogs (such as Poodles, Doodles, Porties, Shih-Tzus, Yorkies, Beardies, Maltese, and mixes) keeps growing. That means, unless the hair is cut, it will get longer and bushier and then you risk retraction problems. If the hair is left uncut, it can wrap around the penis, which makes it too big (or wide) to retract. Left out, it will dry up and have no lubrication to help the retraction process. Occasionally, you'll see a dog with a coat that sheds when it reaches a genetically pre-determined length have a problem, but it's rare. Moreover, unkept genitals can cause a host of other unpleasant issues, such as mats, crusty debris--we could go on, but this is a family blog.

Regardless of your dog's coat type, you must keep his genitals neat and tidy. Whether Fido has a penis or a vagina, discharge is normal unless it becomes excessive. Moreover, if a male dog isn't neutered, you'll have lots of discharge, which contributes to the retraction danger. (Yes, another reason to neuter!) Keeping the genitals clean and tidy also prevents mats from developing and debris from hiding and exposes the area to air, which as we all know is a freeing feeling.

I recommend that the genital area be trimmed short or shaved on all dogs that have a lot of hair or fur there. Please, don’t attempt to cut or shave this area yourself. This is an extremely delicate area that requires the expert hand of a professional groomer--a good groomer with a gentle and steady touch and one without a caffeine addiction. If your dog has Hair that grows, he'll need to go in for a genital touch up about every 4-6 weeks. Otherwise, see the groomer when the fur gets long or thick.

And one more thing, Puppysitter: I recommend that you keep all your teddy bears on high shelves, especially those under age 16.

Enter our SHOW US YOUR HAPPY DOG Contest

Don't forget to enter our Show Us Your Happy Dog contest.

Every Friday from September 11 - October 2, 2009 we'll randomly pick a winner from the week's entrants. The photo of the winner's pooch will be posted on our website and we'll send the winner a fun and exciting prize package. If you don't win, please enter each week! Check out all the details here.

You can see some of the entrants on our website right now!

Photo by Sheri Berliner,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Art and Dogs: Meet Tamara Tsurkan

Here in Happy Dog Land, we are constantly searching the world and the world wide web to bring you fascinating dog information, introduce you to interesting dog people and make you laugh and think. Today, we are bringing you Tamara Tsurkan, an artist and photographer from Wisconsin by way of the Ukraine. Animals are often the subject of her artwork and photography. Plus, she has 3 cute Beagles and she uses her artwork and skills to help her community.

HDL: Why did you decide to become a professional artist?
TT: As a child, I liked to paint an animate cartoons. I attended an art school for several years, so I've had a formal background in painting. However, I didn't pursue a career as an artist. Instead, I opted for a college degree in math and computer science, and a teaching career after that. So, there was a rather long period of time when I wasn't painting at all.

I came to the United States from the Ukraine in 2001. For the first few years, I worked as a web and graphics designer. Though that brought me closer to my childhood dream of making cartoons, it didn't feel quite as satisfying and enjoyable as making art with my own hands. Then, I bought a house and I created a few pieces to hang on the walls. This transformed into a hobby, and in a few months, I found myself devoting most of my free time to creating and learning about art. That was almost four years ago. I feel like I am just at the beginning of a journey to becoming a full-time artist.

HDL: Why do you use animals in your art?
TT: I grew up in Ukraine where there were, and unfortunately still are, a lot of stray animals. When I was a child, in addition to having our own dogs and cats, I used to bring a lot of stray cats and dogs home, give them baths and treat them. I have been fascinated by the personalities of animals and by how frank and devoted they all are.

When I started creating my artwork, portraying animals was a natural choice since I believe that one can only create a worthy piece if it's dedicated to something that one really cares about, and animals are that "something" for me. Time spent with animals is always a joyous experience for me. I want my paintings to depict the emotions I've seen in animals -- all their frankness and devotion -- so other people can experience and share the same feelings.

HDL: Who are the dogs in your life?
TT: We have three Beagles: Lucky, Lady and Sunny. We adopted Lucky and she is five and a half years old now. She is actually the mom of the other two. Lady and Sunny are two and a half years old. They are all very happy together, playing a lot and also taking good care of each other (like cleaning each other's ears :)). Being Beagles, they are very active and vivacious dogs and require a lot of attention. It's a lot of fun (and also a lot of work) to tend to them.

HDL: Have you used your pets in your art?
TT: I've used my dogs in several of my art pieces. I've been using them in two ways. The dogs in several of my paintings look like my dogs to a certain extent although my paintings are not realistic paintings. More often, it's the situations that my dogs have been in or activities they've engaged in that give me ideas for new paintings.

HDL: Do you help animals with your art?
TT: Yes! I've donated art work to several fundraisers for Angel's Wish in Verona, WI. I've also done some logo and graphic design work for two local humane society shelters, as well as maintained websites for them (the latter is partially-paid and partially-volunteer position). Also, at a recent art show I met a very interesting disabled woman who is holding a fundraiser to help pay for training of her new service dog. I donated some artwork for the fundraiser.

HDL: How can people learn more about you and your artwork?
TT: The easiest and most reliable way is through my website. It contains photos most of my paintings and all the up-to-date information about my upcoming shows and exhibits.