Friday, November 27, 2015

The Life and Times of a Therapy Dog

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Our friends at HooplaHa! brought a new YouTube series to my attention. For everyone who has every wondered what life is like for a Therapy Dog, this series follows Sullivan, an adorable Golden Retriever, as she goes about her days, bringing love, happiness, stability and security to a wide range of people. 

The first episode, which is below, from HooplaHa! and Inclusion Films, finds Sullivan at a nursery school in California. Sage was trained as a puppy at Project Chance in Jacksonville, Florida. I found it a little jarring that a dog named Sullivan would be voiced by a woman but apparently he is a she. Further on in the video, Sullivan is seen having snacks with the children. It bothered me to see the Golden having popcorn which is not something most of us would recommend since the kernels can either get caught in the dog's throat or scratch the throat. I hope they'll pay more attention to such small details in the future.

In future episodes, of Sullivan's Travels, Sullivan will be seen with handicapped adults at work with his dad, Joey Travolta, at Inclusion Films a really wonderful company that deserves attention. Sullivan also visits nursing homes. 

I wrote one of the first article - if not the first - on therapy dogs. It's nice to see that their work can now be so easily understood through the use of video.  

If you enjoy this, you can click to subscribe to the series.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Safety & A Special Treat for You

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Happy Thanksgiving to you and those you love. It's time to stop and think about everything for which we are grateful, for the special people in our lives and the special people and pets who have graced our lives. I am very grateful for my sixteen year old Chartreux, Aimee, who makes every day special.

We love our companions and as the holiday season starts, we have to be aware of keeping them safe and healthy with so much food around. Some people food is definitely not good for pets! Even if you think it's out of reach, chances are it isn't. Never underestimate a clever and agile dog or cat.

There are things you must be sure they don't ingest. Be sure you warn your dinner guests not to give them any of the following:

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Caffeine
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Nuts like Pecan, Walnuts, almonds contain high amounts of fats causing vomiting and diarrhea
  • Alcohol - Some guests think it's amusing to let the pet drink alcohol. It's potentially lethal.
  • Citrus peels, leaves, fruit and seeds of plants 
  • Coconut and Coconut Oil
  • Coconut Water is high in potassium which is not good for pets
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Salt
  • Salty snack foods
  • Yeast Dough rises and can result in gastrointestinal problems including bloat among other issues and is potentially lethal
  • Xylitol is in sugarless chewing gum and is showing up in peanut butter. Read candy and gum labels carefully
Your pets may be consuming small amounts of some of the above but please be careful. Better safe than sorry. Avoid possible death and definite veterinary bills. There's a reason why veterinary hospitals are so busy during the holidays.

Obviously, keep trash sealed and put where your pets cannot possibly get into it.

Now, as a treat for you, here's a chance to watch a couple of Golden Retriever puppies eat and grow. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dogs on Deployment Donation Match

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If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that i've written about Dogs on Deployment. This post is a little late but, thankfully, not too late! Pet's Best Insurance is matching donation to Dogs on Deployment through the month of November. Why November? Simple. It's in honor of Veteran's Day. It's never too late to think about our veterans and our men and women still serving in our armed forces.

Pet's Best is a leading sponsor of Dogs on Deployment and will match donations this month up to $1000. 

Dogs on Deployment connects military members with volunteers who will take care of their pets while they are on deployment. This is so important for their peace of mind, knowing that their beloved companions will be cared for until they can return to them. 

This is the second year that Pet's Best has teamed with Dogs on Deployment.  If you've been reading my blog for awhile you may remember that the 2015 Dogs on Deployment Military Pet of The Year is Leonidas. He and his dad, Tim Johanssen, are both war veterans, having served time in Afghanistan. Leonidas is protected by Pets Best Insurance.

Friends of Dogs on Deployment save 5% on pet health insurance plans from Pets Best and $40. will be donated to the non-profit for every submitted pet insurance application.

Thank our veterans and donate!

For more information about Pets Best visit:

NOTE: I received no compensation for this post, nor am I a spokesperson for Pets Best. I wanted to pass along information that I think is important. Your choice to donate to any charity is, of course, your own.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

It's Always a Good Time to Take Your Dog To Work!

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I'm a huge fan of taking your dog to work. Dogs help us lower our blood pressure (and we lower theirs when we pet them), they help us smile and take the stress out of the day for everyone. As long as your dog is well-mannered, he or she should be a welcome addition to any office. 

This "Chicken Soup for The Soul" moment is a HooplaHa original.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thai Street Paws and Contest Winner

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Dogs in need of help are everywhere. It seems that every corner of the globe has a problem with homeless dogs. It's heartbreaking. Many people wonder why "someone" doesn't do something. We are, each of us, "someone." One woman who has changed her life in order to help street dogs in Thailand, is Tamara Johnston.

Tamara originally went to Thailand from her native Australia, to teach. A qualified primary school teacher, Tamara taught eleven years in Australia and five years in Thailand and Malaysia, bringing her teaching skills to children in other lands. This is her second time teaching in Thailand. While in Thailand the first time she began to see the problem with the Thai street dogs. Her "lightbulb" moment came when she found a puppy, a mere four weeks old, outside a Temple. The little one was in danger of being run over by cars. Tamara brought home the puppy she called Bella and they have been together ever since. This meant going through the work of getting Bella into Australia when she went home and back to Thailand when she made up her mind to sell everything and return to Thailand. Tamara's passion for helping the street dogs of Thailand began the day she rescued Bella. 

Tamara had continued to help the street dogs from Australia but she knew it would be easier to accomplish her goals if she were on the ground in the country. While there are a couple of big rescues in a major area, Tamara is in Songkahla where no one helped the dogs. No one but Tamara.When she moved back she moved to Bangkok but when she went back to visit Songkahla she knew that that was where he help was most needed. She started Thai Street Paws Rescue.

The problems are enormous. Veterinary bills can quickly add up. Even though it's less expensive in Thailand, she lives in Thailand, consequently, her life is also tied into their economy so it is just as expensive for her as for any other resident. 

Social media allowed her to show people the dogs, raise funds, arrange adoptions. Ah, but the devil is in the details. Raising funds puts her in competition with everyone else who wants money to help various causes. If you've been reading my blog for awhile you know that I advise against donating to organizations so big that they are on TV and promising gifts when you donate. Gifts? You're buying them. What about the payment to the various staff members from the Director on down? Better to donate to a grassroots organization. It doesn't matter if it's in your backyard or on the other side of the world, they are the ones who are truly in need and are usually functioning on a shoestring. Then there are the dogs who need veterinary care, those who need to stay in a foster home. Tamara fosters some herself and cares for about 30 dogs that are on the street near her residence. She obviously needs volunteers.

"The plan is to live here for many years," says Tamara. "I even moved my dogs from Austrlia to here and that was a big step." It was, indeed.

With homes lined up in various countries, the problem has become getting the dogs to their adopters. She needs volunteers who are flying out of Thailand. She will take care of all the paperwork. It costs them nothing. They just need to accompany a dog on the flight, otherwise, they can't leave.

When a friend in the U.S. wanted to send her beds and blankets for the dogs it was outrageously expensive and nearly impossible. She ultimately mailed them but the money that went to the post office could have gone to feed or vet the dogs. 

Tamara still works as a teacher. She teaches at a Thai university and she has her own tutoring centre. She would dearly love to work full-time with the dogs. She has three dogs of her own now, and she takes three foster dogs at a time, the rest are boarded out in private facilities. Her goal now is to open a safe house for the dogs, separate from her own home, where they will be able to recover and wait for their forever homes, off the streets and into loving arms.

Tamara knows she can't save every dog but each one is a victory. She is one woman in an adopted country, with a heart of gold who has the courage of her convictions and has put her life where her heart is: saving as many street dogs as she can.

For those who want to help, every little bit counts, it is put with the donations of others and it adds up.  You can donate through her You Caring fundraising site:

Here is the link for the YouCaring Site so that you can donate to this life-saving cause:

Thai Street Paws Fundraising

You can follow her on Twitter: @oztam76  


Facebook: Thai Street Paws Rescue

Contest Winner: The winner of last week's contest to win a copy of Simon Tofield's newest book, Simon's Cat Off to The Vet... and Other Cat-astrophes is Nancy Dionne!  Please contact me through my website:, with your name and address to send to Akashic Books. Congratulations, Nancy!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Simon's Cat Off to the Vet..And Other Cat-astrophes & A Contest

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The first time I saw Simon's Cat on YouTube I was hysterical and hooked. Here was a cartoon that utterly captured the feline personality without speaking a word. Whether waking his owner or trying to get one over on a kitten, it was obvious that Simon Tofield, the artist who created Simon's Cat, knows and loves cats. He doesn't need words to express his cat's feelings or moods, the cat makes tiny vocalizations just as a real cat would. He gets into mischief and romps through life leaving everything in his wake, and some of it still standing.

Since 2007, Simon and his team have created nearly 40 short videos much to the delight of cat people everywhere. To date, his YouTube channel has over 3 million subscribers and more than half a billion total views. It's mind-boggling but completely understandable. As a Certified Animal Behavior Consultant, Simon is as familiar to me as any cat I've been called to see. Simon's deceptively simple drawing of a cat come to life whether in animation or in a book.
Simon Tofield & his creation
His first book, Simon's Cat in Kitten Chaos was quickly followed by Simon's Cat vs. The World, released 6 months apart in 2013. Now, his vast audience can enjoy Tofield's newly released Simon's Cat Off to The Vet. It has been his most-requested topic which is not surprising. Every cat owner knows what it's like to take their cat to the vet, from wreaking chaos in the exam room to coming home wearing an Elizabethan Collar, better known as The Cone of Shame. Tofield, who is in the U.K.  hits just the right note with cat owners worldwide.

All three books are published in the United States by Akashic Books. Simon's Cat Off to the Vet retails for $27.95 in Hardcover and $16.95 in Trade Paperback.  

The nice people at Akashic Books have made a sneak preview available:

I suspect most cat owners will recognize this scene

Here's a preview in color:
In the Exam Room

Akashic Books is giving a copy of Simon's Cat Off to the Vet to one lucky reader of this column! Please leave a comment below telling us why you want to win. I'm sorry but it is restricted to U.S. Residents only. You can enter through Sunday. The winner will be announced next week so don't forget to check back.

This is bound to be a popular gift choice for the holidays whether for the cat owners in your life or for your veterinarian.

NOTE: I was given a review copy of this book. The review is mine. I received no monetary compensation.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Search for The "Real" Trix Rabbit

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Do you remember the Trix Rabbit, the cute cartoon bunny who has evolved over the years? I thought so.  I do, too.  General Mills, the company that makes Trix Cereal, has decided to reformulate the cereal to make it healthier.  It will still be tasty but you won't have to worry about eating something that really isn't exactly a health product or feeding it to your two-legged kids. After all, the cereal's slogan was, Trix are for kids! Yes, I remember that, too. You'll find the new one on shelves in January 2016.

To celebrate the introduction of the newly formulated Trix, General Mills is on a hunt for the Real Trix Rabbit. The contest has been going on for a couple of weeks but you still have time to enter before the November 6th closing date for entries. One real rabbit will be featured as the honorary face of Trix. Pet rabbits from across the U.S. could become the #RealTrixRabbit and appear on limited run boxes in the winner's hometown. Really. I know I usually talk about cats and dogs but plenty of people have pet bunnies!

Real rabbits to other pets in bunny costumes (I don't want to know) you can take pictures or videos and upload them to:  You can also check out the competition and, of course, you can follow #RealTrixRabbit on social media.

The animated Trix Rabbit will still be around. He has a long-term gig, after all!  But this is a chance to make your pet a star, at least in your hometown!

Check out the "B Roll" of the Casting Call:

Here's the Trix timeline for those of you who are feeling nostalgic for the Trix Rabbit you grew up with:

NOTE:  I received no compensation for this blog post other than a box of the new Trix to sample.