Dementia Dogs adi 2014

Assistance Dogs International (Or does the “I” Stand for Inspiring?)

If you're feeling a tad disheartened by the news, or maybe the view in the mirror when you went to buy new pants (okay, that's probably just my problem), I have a suggestion: Go out of your way to go to the Assistance Dogs International Conference, wherever it might be held in the years to come. I'm at the 2014 conference in Denver, as I write, having spoken yesterday about People, Trauma and Dogs (focusing primarily on identifying trauma in dogs and using what we know about healing from it in humans to apply to helping traumatized dogs). It's hard to imagine a more inspiring place. The rooms are full of awesome people doing wonderful things, many accompanied by equally awesome service dogs Read More

W & M Kong stick

Ouch: The dangers of sticks as dog toys.

Last week I spent a few hours in a veterinary emergency clinic, providing emotional support for a friend whose dog had gashed his throat on a stick. He's fine now, but it could have been much worse. One friend's dog almost died after impaling his chest on a stick. It missed his heart by millimeters. I don't write this to make anyone paranoid about playing fetch with their dog, but as a word of caution. I should say that I've tossed thousands of sticks to dogs in the past, and I still occasionally pull a stick out of the wood pile for Willie to run around with. People have been throwing sticks for dogs to retrieve for eons. But then, people have been giving dogs cooked bones for decades too. Read More

wwsda course close up 2014

Adopting Littermates… (Don’t)

The title of this post is a bit strong, but I do want to caution people from adopting two dogs from the same litter because "it's easier" to raise two at once (ask someone with twins if it's easier than having one child) or "we don't want our dog to be lonely." (Because you might be if the dogs are so enchanted with each other that they ignore you). I'm writing this now because we have gotten a number of questions about this issue lately: "Someone told me I shouldn't adopt dogs from the same litter, is that true?" Far be it from me to say what you should or shouldn't do, but there are a lot of red flags related to getting pups from the same batch. Before I say more, I should add that I've Read More