Sunday, March 1, 2015

Raining Cats and Dogs?

Photo Courtesy of Claire Clayton

Perhaps it's because I'm a writer but I love to learn the origin of various phrases and words. Who knew that HooplaHa (www.HooplaHa.com) would have a series of videos devoted to that very thing?

How does that fit into my blog about dogs and cats? HooplaHa has a new video series called Everyday Phrases and the third entry is the origin of the expression It's Raining Cats and Dogs.  Portraying Professor Good N' Well in the series is comedian Eddie Brill. 

You can check out the series and other fun videos at HooplaHa's website. Meanwhile, I have their permission to share It's Raining Cats and Dogs with you for a little weekend fun!



Monday, February 23, 2015

Decoding Your Dog


If you're like me - and if you're reading this blog I think we can guess that you are - we are among the more than 90% of owners who consider their dog a member of the family. This is wonderful except it does come with a caveat: dogs are another species, speak a different language, and try very hard to learn our language. They are masters at learning our body language. The human animal has not been as proficient at learning theirs and in the past have trained them with choke collars, prong collars, electronic collars, pushing them around, hitting them, a veritable litany of what amounts to animal abuse. Many of us have long since moved forward to a kinder, gentler and certainly more effective world. As much as we know, there is always more to learn. Certainly there are things to learn about dogs before you bring one home. 

To facilitate this learning, Veterinary Behaviorists, the Board Certified members of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, have compiled a book for everyone who has, or plans to have, a dog. Whether you've had dogs all of your life or are about to acquire your first dog, there is something here for everyone, written by veterinary specialists in the field.

Mahalo and his Parrot friend, Gala, kissing. Photo courtesy
Loren Jensen-Carter

Editors Debra Horowitz, DVM DACVB and John Ciribassi, DVM DACVB and Steve Dale have compiled an easy-to-read volume of information and step-by-step ways to help you and your dog get through behavior problems such as separation anxiety, house training and much, much more in 14 chapters that you will read and read again.

Positive training plays a big part in this book. There is research to back up their information. 

It is appalling to think that more dogs die of behavior problems because they are relinquished to shelters, than any single disease. Go ahead, read that sentence again.  It's important. It's far better to work out the issues in a positive manner and build the human-animal bond rather than break it.

Karma in the Snow
Photo Courtesy: Veronique Schejtman


This book should be on every dog owner, or potential dog owner's shelf. 

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in January 2014, it is 384 pages filled with information you and your dog need.  It is reasonably priced in your choice of Hardcover, Paperback or e-book. Personally, I prefer to have a "real" book edition of a reference book so I can hold it in my hands and flip through the page or use the index to find what I need long after I've read it from cover-to-cover

If you can't wait another minute to read it, here's a link to the book on Amazon:

amzn.to/1zyAb9n

NOTE:  I received only a review copy of this book. I have NOT been monetarily compensated. The review is my own based upon reading the book.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Random Acts of Kindness Day!

Did you know that today was Random Acts of Kindness Day?  Frankly, I didn't! However, it's not too late to participate in the Random Act of Kindness of your choice.  Here's one that should appeal to many of you.

MARS Petcare SHEBA brand decided to show their kindness to cats in shelters across the country who are waiting for their forever homes.  To that end, SHEBA brand donated - wait for it - TWO MILLION CANS OF CAT FOOD to animal shelters across the nation. How cool is that!

Sheba Brand is encouraging cat lovers to join them by sharing the video below -  or just share this post  -  with the hashtags #ShebaGives and #RAK and Sheba will donate an additional can of cat food to shelter cats - up to 1 million additional cans!  

Here's the video. Now do your part!




NOTE: I received no compensation for posting this. It was completely my decision to help this campaign.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Homes for Dogs Project

Max, the Adopted Dog

Every pet deserves a warm, loving home. Unfortunately, not everyone has one. They often languish in shelters where they are killed (euthanized) if no one adopts them, or in rescue, waiting for that "forever home."

Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC (www.coldwellbanker.com) is aiming to find homes for 20,000 dogs this year. Yes, you read that correctly. This ambitious campaign will seek to match dogs with loving families. For those of us who believe that a house is not a home without a four-legged family member, this is a great idea. I'm sure the homeless dogs would agree.

Their 30-second ad spot which is premiering during the 87th Academy Awards, shows a real success story. Max was seen on Adopt-a-Pet.com and adopted. Coldwell Banker hopes to 20,000 more dogs will find their forever homes as a result of this campaign.

"Our previous spots have showcased the joy of coming home, so this year it made sense to portray who's on the other side of the door," said Sean Blankenship, chief marketing officer for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC

Coldwell Banker® is simultaneously announcing their first ever "Homes for Dogs Project" by teaming up with Adopt-a-Pet.com, the largest non-profit pet adoption website in North America, the campaign aims to find homes for 20,000 dogs in North America.

I have an advanced "peek" at the commercial for you that opens with an originally produced country song.  Enjoy you early-bird look at the commercial created by Siltanen & Partners. (http://siltanen.com)


video

Meet the Dogs of the Homes for Dogs Commercial!

I hope you'll enjoy this sneak preview as much as I have! I hope the right people will open their hearts and homes to the right dogs - and cats!  Yes, that's a hint!  I hope they will do a campaign for cats before too long!  Thanks, Coldwell Banker!!

Meanwhile, if you're interested in giving a forever home to a dog, follow this link:

Monday, February 9, 2015

9 Reasons Why Your Dog Should Be Your Valentine

Photo Courtesy of Veronique Schejtman


When it comes to Valentine's, I've yet to find a human who could match dogs and cats when it comes to real love. Those of you who know me, or have been reading this blog for awhile, know that I adore dogs and cats, puppies and kittens. They have made my life so much richer. There is nothing like the Human-Animal Bond. There's a good reason why I was invited to be one of the first layperson members of The American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians.


Photo Courtesy of Loren Jensen Carter

Usually, my blog is filled with helpful information for dog and cat owners, occasional reviews, and once in a very great while, something that's just plain fun.

With Valentine's Day a few days away, the nice people at HooplaHa (www.HooplaHa.com) have shared this compilation video. I don't know if there is also one for cat owners. Heaven knows, those of us who are owned by cats know all about the love, laughter and happiness they bring into our lives every single day.


Photo Courtesy of Claire Clayton


In celebration of Valentine's Day and the Human-Animal Bond, here's HooplaHa's video compilation of 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Should Be Your Valentine.  We can't give our four-legged companions chocolate but we can give them our love, attention and time. 




HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!

Friday, January 30, 2015

2015 Books & Barks contest

It's hard to be cuter than Benny
I've long been an advocate of children reading to dogs in the classroom. I have always been an avid reader; my mother taught me to read long before I started school. For me, reading was - and is - fun. It's not just for information but for a wonderful escape. Someone who can't read is missing out on a lot. There are, however, children who have reading problems. No one is perfect - don't ask me about math! Making that child read aloud in class can be a nightmare for the child.  All eyes are on him or her and it feels like a very judgmental situation for the young student.

Enter dogs. Reading programs that include dogs started many years ago with dogs brought into the classroom.  Dogs don't judge, don't criticize. They just sit there, or lie there, happy to have the attention. They provide amazing support to young people just learning to read or develop their reading skills. 
GuyNoir is apparently helping choose a book
This marks the second year of the Books &Barks contest, created by Pets Best (www.petsbest.com), a nationwide insurance agency.  They invite Therapy Dog handlers and organizations, students and educators to submit inspirational stories about the effects of therapy dogs in reading programs. 

The winning school or library associated with the program will receive $1000. from Pets Best. Additionally, Pets Best will offer a $500 donation to the therapy dog handler's favorite animal-related non-profit charity.



Entries can be submitted here: http://www.petsbest.com/forms/books-and-barks-contest

The submission deadline is February 15, 2015.

As an adult, I enjoy reading with a pet curled up near me. I can only imagine what it means to a child to have the comfort and encouragement that a Therapy Dog can provide.


Honey listens avidly as a child reads to her




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Watching Cat Videos and Saving Lives


Avi Photo Courtesy Eddie Pena

I'll bet you're wondering what watching videos and saving lives have in common. It's actually pretty simple, so simple that you'll wonder why you didn't think of it first. 

You're sitting at your computer. I know that because you're reading this. What are you going to do after you've read this blog post? Go back to work and wait for another break to surf the 'net again? Or are you going straight to surfing? If you're reading my blog it's a pretty good bet that somewhere along the way you're going to be watching cat videos. What would you think if every time you clicked on a site to watch a cute cat video, cat meme or cat photo it meant you were making a donation to cancer research, to help save lives? Pretty neat, isn't it? Here's the payoff (any pun intended), the site, Cats vs Cancer, exists. Point your browser to catsvscancer.org to find it.


Cinnamon Courtesy Jayne Lewis


I had an opportunity to interview Tom O'Connor, co-founder and CEO. His friend Eddie Pena, is co-founder and COO. 


Q. WHOSE IDEA WAS THE WEBSITE?  HOW LONG HAS IT BE UP?

We just launched about 7 weeks ago on December 1st, 2014.

I got the idea for the site two years ago when I realized how good the internet was getting at raising money for charity, after saw my wife, Amber, playing an app/game on her phone that donated money to fight world hunger for every few minutes you played. I instantly loved the idea of generating money for a good cause by simply entertaining someone for just a few minutes.

At the same time I'd been thinking about how adorable cat videos were really taking over the internet in such a funny way. Everyone was sharing them on social media, email, etc.

Then it hit me. Wouldn't be really great if you could raise money for a good cause simply by watching cat videos? 


Q. HOW IS IT FUNDED AND HOW DOES IT RAISE MONEY?

We are an all-volunteer operation at the moment, so for now it doesn't cost too much to run the site. Eddie and I initially funded it with our own money, and now we are raising money through the google ads placed on the site, as well as direct donations.

Once we have a big enough audience, we can sell ads directly to companies, just like any other site. This is a big step because selling our own ads would generate a lot more for our charity partners!

Cat Courtesy of Karin Bundy

Q. WHO IS INVOLVED IN SELECTING THE CHARITIES THAT ARE SPONSORED AND HOW OFTEN DO THE CHARITIES CHANGE?

Right now we are changing the charities monthly. We research them on our own, and have been relying on people from other organizations who have years of non-profit experience to guide us in making our charity choices.

Q. WHY DID YOU OPT TO FUND CANCER IN PEOPLE? WOULD YOU EVER FUND RESEARCH FOR CANCER IN PETS?

Nearly everyone I spoke to in the years leading up to our launch could tell me a story about how cancer had affected them in some way. Whether it was a close friend, or a family member, cancer wasn't something you I found people very far removed from. As far as funding research for cancer in pets, yes, we have discussed it and may do that at a later date.  

Q. IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY?

Thank you for the support. People always ask how they can help us....of course you can "donate meow" as we like to call it, and that really goes along way! But even more so we want you to come watch videos on the site, share content with friends, and come back often.

The more you visit, the more you help us in raising money for our charity partners.

Meet the co-founders here: bit.ly/1sXBCAA I promise that you'll love their video. The Charity of The Month is also posted on the site so you'll know where the money is going.

On New Year's Eve, Superior Digital Displays, donated a 13-story billboard in Times Square to support the cause. Really. Here it is:



Cats vs Cancer lets you do something good while you're having fun. Who can resist that?