Thursday, April 10, 2014

WayFounder and Nontrepreneurs with GREAT Pet Product or App Ideas

Damon D'Amore

Most of us sit at home and wonder how people can come up with great pet products, pet care, or apps for pet owners.  And then there are those who have the idea but don't know where to go next.  They aren't in a position to start a business, or wouldn't know where or how to begin to bring their idea to the marketplace.  Apparently, those people are called nontrepreneurs.  If you're one of those people, I have some very interesting news for you.  
Sandy's photo by James Stagg

WayFounder is a new company founded by Damon D'Amore.  Who's he, you may well be asking yourself.  You're not alone, I didn't know, either.  D'Amore is a former Wall Street Trader who was a broadcast producer for The Apprentice and Undercover Boss, two popular business-related television programs.  WayFounder has just - and I mean literally - just launched to help those of you who have the idea but not the means for making that dream come true. 

There will be a quarterly online competition and pet-related products are slated for the first quarter's competition.  WayFounder will provide the winner in each category (there are a  few in the quarter) with a cash prize of $10,000., a commitment to spend up to $50,000. to bring the product idea to market, and royalties.  If a product that's selected exhibits the promise of scaling up into a product line of its own or even spawning an entirely new category of its own, WayFounder commits $250,000. to hire an "Executive Entrepreneur" or a Founder/CEO with experience in that specific category, to take the business to the next level. 

Sam & Alana's Photo by Claire Clayton

TheWayFounder Team consists of an impressive Advisory Board:

  • Jeffrey Hayzlett: CEO of The Hayzlett Group, Contributing Editor and Host of Bloomberg TV, and former Fortune 100 CMO
  • Justin Lewis: Former President of the Global Retail Marketing Association and Fortune 500 CMO
  • Jamie O'Hara: Founder and Managing Partner of Grise Global Ventures
  • Jeff Pulver: Founder of #140 Conference, Co-founder of Vonage
  • Sasha Strauss: Founder and Managing Director of Innovation Protocol
  • Bill Wilson: Founder and President of ClickxChange (Not related to Ryan Wilson)
WayFounder is built on the idea that ideas come from everywhere.  Could a great one come from you?  This may well be your opportunity to find out.

Here's the link:  Follow it if you have a dream you hope will come true....

The competition is currently limited to residents of the United States.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Moving with Your Pet & Winners of "The Art of Purring," by David Michie

Alana - Photo by Claire Clayton

Moving can be exciting, exhilarating, exhausting and an adventure. If you're moving and you're reading this, then of course your taking your pet(s) with you. What would life be without our companions?!    

Moving with pets requires some special consideration because it will definitely interrupt their routine and they will be in an unfamiliar place. However, they will have you and that's what really counts!

Dogs and cats need to make the adjustment to a new home.  How you will go through this process depends upon some factors:  are you moving far away or in driving distance of your old home?  Closer is easier for you dog.  Easy move and cat takes a little more preparation because cats don't like change and really love their homes.

Neezie - Photo by Darlene Arden

if you're within driving distance of the new home, take your dog alone on a few casual visits to the new place.  Let him sniff around, get to see the outside and the inside, become familiar with it even though none of the furniture is there yet. Before you move in, bring something familiar for him to smell and/or play with so it doesn't all seem so strange.

Wherever you go, short or long distance, do not tranquilize your pet. It will only make travel that more difficult and suppress the animal.  Before you go anywhere your cat and/or dog should be familiar with their carrier.  Keep it out all the time and pop some treats in there and a comfy bedding as well as a toy or two. Make it the best, safest place. It will be easier to get your friend into the crate if it's familiar and feels safe and cozy.  

Before moving into the house, set up a separate room for your dog or your cat (or one for each, if possible).  With all of the hassle and noise of strangers bringing furniture and boxes, it can be very upsetting for your pet and there is always the chance for an inadvertent escape.  Be sure your pets re microchipped as well as having collar or harness and tag.  And register the tattoo. It won't help to reunite you with your lost pet if they can't find you to notify you!!

In that separate room, put a bed or the carrier with the door open, a litterbox or place to eliminate if you won't have time to walk your pup - wee wee pads, for example.  Scratching post for kitty, toys for either species, water, food and a radio or TV turned on to relaxing music or a familiar TV show. Don't forget to go into the room periodically to "visit" and reassure your pet.  You can slowly begin to let them have access to more of the house after the movers have gone.  Don't forget to use bottled water as water changes from place to place, and be sure to take along your pet's normal food. This is no time to upset the digestive tract!

Photo of Kitten by Darlene Arden

Try to keep things as normal as possible.  Put things in handy places for your pets - Cat tree near a window, for example.  Decide where they will be fed, where you want them to spend time with you at first. The family room?  Your bedroom?  The kitchen?  The choices are yours.  

Be sure everything seems normal to your pet.  Speak in a normal voice. Relax.  Soon your favorite companion(s) will, too!  

Before you move, don't forget to locate a good veterinarian.  And do make an appointment for a get-acquainted visit before you actually need to see the veterinarian to begin that relationship on a good footing.    

Remember to relax and enjoy your new life together with your pets!

And now for the announcement you've been waiting for.....  The 2 winners who will each receive a copy of "The Dalai Lama's Cat and The Art of Purring," by David Michie.  The copies provided by Hay House for our contest!  A big Thank You to the publisher!!

Drum Roll Please!  The Winners are:

Cary Hillman



To claim your book, please send me an e-mail via my website ( using the link to contact me.  Please include your name and mailing address.  Thank you!  You must claim your prize by this weekend or it will go to someone else via another drawing.  Thank you!!  And Congratulations!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

"The Dalai Lama's Cat and The Art of Purring," by David Michie. Book Review and Contest!

When I read The Dalai Lama's Cat, a novel by David Michie, I was beyond pleasantly surprised. I was moved.  I not only reviewed it here but told friends that they had to read the book. Why is this such a big deal?  Because I'm not a fan of books written from the animal's perspective since so few writers can really pull it off. it usually ends up treacly or "cutesy."  But in David Michie's hands it was something else, something wonderful. And then I heard that he was following it up with a sequel. Would it live up to its predecessor?  Would it stand on its own?  I finally got my hands on a copy of Michie's sequel.

The Dalai Lama's Cat and The Art of Purring picks up pretty much where The Dalai Lama's Cat left off and yet you can read it as a stand-alone book, although I don't recommend it. For the real experience, read both books in order to better appreciate all of the characters, including the cat who goes by many names, depending upon who is interacting with her. Mainly she's known as HHC for His Holyness's Cat.  

In this delightful sequel, the Dalai Lama is leaving for a teaching tour in the U.S. for several weeks and he leaves his cat with a assignment: discover the true cause of happiness.  This is no small feat and the delightful feline takes to it with a seriousness and aplomb worthy of her position.  

The cat is the observer of life in McLeod Ganj and her life becomes far more interesting as a result of her quest to find the answer to His Holyness's assignment. A race through the streets as she's chased by two boisterous dogs,encounters with all manner of people, especially during her daily visits to the Himalaya Book Store Cafe where she observes the comings and goings of the people who work there as well as the customers.  The Yoga Class, science Buddhism, and self-discovery all play into the novel which is written with a keen eye to observation that is, at times, almost lyrical.

Author David Michie

I highly recommend this book!  And wonder if Michie has planned another book starring this wonderfully insightful creature. There are messages here for each of us. And they're explored with wisdom and respect. 

And now, dear readers, I have a wonderful contest for you!  Thanks to the publisher, Hay House, I have two copies of the book to give away.  Just leave a message on this post to enter the contest!  The winners will be announced mid-week!

If you are anxious and can't await to read it, you can purchase a copy here:

Published by Hay House, The Dalai Lama's Cat and The Art of Purring is a paperback book, 208 pages.

NOTE:  Other than a review copy and two copies of the book to give away in a contest, I have received no compensation for this review. The review and all views expressed in it is completely mine.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Domestic Violence and Pets

Photo: URI

For years now it has been no secret that domestic violence victims stay with their abusive spouses because of the spouse's threat of violence against the family pet. Studies show that nearly 48% of victims of domestic violence stay because of this threat. It has not been a threat a victim was about to take lightly, having been the object of that person's abuse. How likely is it that the spouse would actually kill the dog or cat? I'd say the chances are pretty good. At the very least there would be a serious injury.  This threat has hung over far too many women and their pets as well as their children. The abusive spouse also tends to blame the victim for the abuse. 

There should be shelters where the family can bring the pet. It wouldn't be much of a leap for the abuser to go from abusing the pet to abusing the children. Such a shelter would make the family feel safe and certainly more intact with the pet very much welcome. And something new has been added.

This week in New York City the very first dog park in a domestic abuse shelter was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Hosted by Urban Resources Institute (URI) and Nestle Purina. Nestle Purina's generous support made it possible for URI to expand their URIPALS - People and Animals Living Safely.  It is New York's only shelter to allow families fleeing abuse to bring their pets with them. The program launched in 2013 as a pilot program. Originally, it allowed families to bring their cats and other small animals but with the opening of the Purina Play Haven and Dog Park, families can now bring dogs with them.

Sponsored by Purina, the company contributed funds for the design and construction of the dog park. It was so carefully thought out that overhead trellises allow for the privacy and security of the shelter residents. Purina is justifiably proud of their support of this worthy endeavor.  "At Purina we share the belief that when pets and people are together, life is truly better," said Lindsey Hogan, Brand Manager for the Purina Brand.

Photo: Jordan H. Star

The collaboration between URI and Purina will surely bring positive results.

"When my children and I found out that we could bring our dog, Sparky, with us into shelter we were overjoyed," said one domestic violence survivor who is currently in URI's shelter.  "Sparky has always been there with us to comfort and even protect us from the abuse, and having him there with us as we work to put our lives back together makes our recovery process so much better.  I'm so grateful to Purina and URI for helping me and other families with pets stay together."

Since launching URIPALS, we've seen how transformative it is for families in domestic violence situations to go through the healing process together with their pets," said Nathaniel Fields, President of URI.  "As we open our doors to families with dogs and celebrate this critical milestone for URIPALS, we hope to continue the momentum and inspire other organizations in major cities nationwide that this initiative is possible.  We are grateful to Purina for helping URI make this dog park a reality, and for their shared commitment to keeping people and pets together, especially in times of crisis."

This should certainly be an eye-opener for major cities across the country. 

Photo: Jordan H. Star

"I applaud URI, Purina and GEPPAUL ARCHITECTS for their unique and innovative collaboration to create the City's first-ever dog park in a domestic violence shelter and for appreciating that a pet is more than just an animal in your home," said Commissioner Rose Pierre-Louis of the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence.

Cecile Noel, Deputy Commissioner of HRA's Office of Emergency and Intervention Services said, "As providers of emergency shelter and other vital services to victims of abuse and their children we know quite well that those who fear for their own safety are often worried about leaving their pet family member to escape abuse, unless there's an opportunity to preserve the pet's welfare. With initiatives like this we are establishing effective models for domestic violence and animal protection programs not only in New York City but across the State and Nation."

As part of its sponsorship of URIPALS, in 2013 Purina also donated much-needed welcome kits tailored for cats that included food, toys, crates and other pet supplies as well as educational materials designed to guide families entering URI's largest domestic violence shelter in best practices for caring  for their pets.

Photo: Jordan H. Star

If you would like more information about URIPALS and tips for keeping the entire family together in domestic violence situations, please visit:

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Re: What You Should Know About Toys for Dogs and Cats & Contest Winner!

Who can resist buying toys for their pets? We love our dogs and cats; they're much-loved family members and we want to make them as happy as they make us.

Here's a quick run-down of some of the things you should know before you make that impulse buy.

If you think some toys for pets look like toys for babies there's a good reason: at least one company has hired designers who had previously worked for companies that designed toys for babies.  For some people their pets are child substitutes or one more child in the family so the appeal is understandable.

The industry has no watch-dog group (any pun intended)  unlike the groups that test toys for children. The industry is expected to police itself. What does this mean? It means that you will have to shop carefully to insure the toys you're buying are safe for your pet. Is it sturdy? Are there parts that can easily be removed and swallowed? Eyes sewn onto a toy are one such example.

Does your dog love to chew? Is he really tough on toys? Be sure that the toy is well-made and you may even see on the packaging that it's made for chewers who are hard on their toys. 


Be careful when choosing what size toy. Many pets will manage to swallow a toy that will need to be removed surgically.

If you're buying a wand toy for your cat, stay away from those with mylar.  That shiny silver might look attractive to you and your cat but did you know that when playing with a wand toy with mylar a cat can get the equivalent of a paper cut on his mouth? If the interactive toy has string, for example a feather toy, put it away between play sessions. Kitty might get tangled in the string or might find a way to chew through and swallow it, necessitating surgery to remove it.  And it's so much more fun when you make those interactive sessions special by announcing that it's time to play and then the game ends with the toy being put away.

Not all cats react to catnip. They have to have the catnip genes which isn't apparent in very young kittens and usually interest fades when cats are elderly. If your cat loves catnip you should know a few things about the toys. Do not buy the cheapest.  If you take those cheap toys apart they either don't have catnip in them or have a teeny amount. Look for a toy that's refillable so you can keep adding fresh catnip. As for the catnip bolster toys and little squares of fabric filled with catnip, as with any catnip, don't leave it out all the time and be sure to put it away before the cat gets too excited. They also don't need to play with it every day; it should remain special. The best way to store these toys between play sessions is in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer so it will remain fresh longer.

Laser toys aren't always safe. If you're going to play with one with your cat or dog, start the game with the light coming from inside your shoe and end it with the light returning to the inside of your shoe. Why?  Because dogs especially can develop behavior problems looking for that red dot. 

One final note: always supervise your pet with a  new toy to be sure of safety.

I hope you and your pets have a lifetime of fun together!

Now for the winner of the contest posted earlier this week.  

The winner of the dog poetry book, Throw the Damn Ball is:

Elaine Faber.

Elaine, please e-mail your address to me via my website:  There's a link to contact me.   Congratulations!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: "Throw the Damn Ball" and A Contest!

Every so often a book comes my way to review. Granted, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool book-a-holic and pet books are always of interest but I read a wide range of books and they don't necessarily have animals in them.  Frankly, if I didn't have a book to read (and I'm so backed up now I don't know how I'll find time to read them all!) I'd read the cereal box in the morning.  It's just who I am.

Waiting in my TBR (To Be Read) pile was the hardcover book, "Throw the Damn Ball, Classic Poetry by Dogs," written by R.D. Rosen, Harry Prichett, and Rob Battles, authors of the New York Times authors of "Bad Dog."  To be honest, I didn't read that one.  I don't think there are bad dogs, just uninformed owners who need to get help from a professional using positive reinforcement.

Obviously a book of dog poetry is aimed for the gift book market.  

I opened it thinking it would be full of cute little innocuous poems.  Well, some were cute and some are downright hilarious. Many are based upon classic poems, homages, if you will, to such notables as Dylan Thomas and Robert Frost. Each credited to a different dog whose name along with city and State, appears with the dog's picture and poem.  Some are odes to food and loss. Others, devoted to love, aren't necessarily of the, well, pure kind. Let's just say that this isn't a children's book.  I'm sure you get the point. And you'll be wondering if your dog is as literate.

Indeed, "Throw the Damn Ball" would make a wonderful gift, not just for the holidays but for any occasion.  Warning: if you give this book to a dog-loving friend who is in the hospital for surgery, be sure not to personally take the blame for any pain induced by laughter.  

"Throw the Damn Ball," by R.D. Rosen, Harry Prichett, and Rob Battles is published by Plume and retails for $15.00.  It's for sale wherever books are sold.  

Now for the contest.  I have a copy of this book, courtesy of the publisher, to give away to one lucky reader!  To enter the contest, open to U.S. Residents Only, just leave a comment.  The winter will be announced on Friday, February 28th.  Enter now and feel free to share this blog post with friends!

NOTE: No money was paid or received for this review.  The review is the sole responsibility of the reviewer, Darlene Arden.  All that was received was a copy for review and a copy to give away to a reader.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Dog Named Shadow Needs Your Help

If you follow this blog you know that a Guest Blogger is more than rare but we have one today. My colleague, Laura Nativo, alerted us to a heartbreaking story about a dog named Shadow and the help he needs. I'm going to leave it to Laura to tell the story:

A dog named SHADOW desperately needs YOUR HELP!!
by Laura Nativo

Found abandoned in a crate in the middle of the desert with her brother and deceased friend, surrounded by bullet casings, Shadow was recently rescued and rehabilitated by Marley's Mutts Dog Rescue... Her new family took her into the vet when she began coughing up blood, only to discover she has a bullet lodged in her lung.

 She has been flown LA for emergency surgery at VCA West this afternoon, and needs your help... please share her story?! Shadow needs prayers, positive vibes and any financial assistance you can spare to pay for her expensive, emergency surgery. This situation touched my heart. Read below for the full story from Zach Skow of MarleysMutts Dog Rescue:

"MUTT MILITIA, SHADOW AND I NEED YOUR HELP! Here is where we stand: Shadow has gotten progressively worse and is coughing up considerable amounts of blood. The bullet that is lodged in her lung (or near it) is navigating or abscessing which is very dangerous. She needs surgery by an expert ASAP! I've been on the phone with surgeons, techs and thoracic specialists all morning and we have developed a plan. Rick and Holly (our inestimable duo) are going to meet Robbie and Shadow at the airport in Kern Valley and fly her to near LA. I'm going to meet them at the airport and transfer he the rest of the way to VCA All-Care in West LA. To make matters worse, the 405 is closed so we have to take an alternate route. She has to be kept calm and as motionless as possible, therefore a flight will be much better than the windy road down from Isabella and them through the grapevine. We should have her there and ready for surgery ASAP! 

WHAT WE NEED FROM THE MUTT MILITIA: please reach out to any and all news outlets, media sources, periodicals, papers and bloggers to cover this! THIS WILL BE VERY EXPENSIVE but we have to act now. Most of you know her story but here is a quick recap: Shadow was found with her brother and a deceased dog in the middle of the desert, locked in a crate. Bullet casings surrounded the crate but it appeared that the deceased dog had died of hypothermia. Shadow rehabbed with me at my house for months and became an amazing running partner. She was adopted by Robbie and his mom a few weeks ago and Robbie and she have become insuperable, just like she was with me. This was important for Shadow but also for Robbie who was just released from prison after 12 years. Robbie is the only one that could love that girl like me and I'm more than blessed to have had them adopt our girl. Shadow began to cough up blood yesterday and X-rays revealed that she does indeed have a bullet lodged in get chest that is causing her to reverse aspirate blood. Her situation is critical and we need to spread the word to as many news outlets as possible. Get onto website, call news lines, phone newspapers and email anyone who may listen! Reach out to those you know would care like ELLEN AND RACHEL RAY... Please attack this with a vengeance, we need to tell her story and raise money for her surgery."

Thank you, Laura, for sharing this. For those of you who can contribute, that would be wonderful. Every little bit counts. Please share this with friends via e-mail and social networking. There are so many pets in need.  We may never hear all of their stories but here is one we now know.  I hope we can help!

Here's the website:

And here's the Facebook page where you can follow Shadow's story:
Thanks to Laura Nativo, and thanks to you, my readers, for caring.