I am grateful for so much. I often spend time every morning thinking about what I am grateful for, but it seems especially meaningful at this time of the year. Here's just a few of the many things I have to be thankful for: I am grateful for Willie's smiling face and his pink tongue. I am grateful for the times when he sends his joy spinning out into the universe. I am grateful to have Lassie still in my life and to be anticipating her 16th birthday party. I am grateful for the black circle around her eye, and the little brush of black on her ear. I am grateful for Sushi's soft, creamy fur, her cat ears and her cat eyes and the fact that she is so very different from my dogs. I am thankful for every day that I get to spend with her. I am becoming more allergic to her every week, Read More

Lost Dogs

I'm inspired to write this after crying over the happy ending of a lost dog saga. A Golden bitch, who had been rescued from a hellish life in a puppy mill, had escaped from her new home and run into the woods. She was friendly and loving to everyone when she was in her foster home, but once she took off she became terrified of human contact. She was spotted numerous times, but ran off every time she saw someone, even from familiar dogs and her new, beloved human. The story reminds me of the time that I lost Tulip. It was only for nine hours, and it was one of the worst days of my life. She was old by then, with a severely weakened hindquarters, and I knew she'd never go running in the deep snow voluntarily. After hours of searching the woods in a snow storm, calling and stopping at Read More

Trouble Brewing, II

A few days ago I wrote a post on how to handle signs of impending trouble if you see it in someone else's dog (Please Believe Me, Trouble Brewing!) I asked for comments from other pro's on how they handle this situation, and from owners on how they would like it handled. The comments sent in response have been so helpful and interesting I thought this topic deserved another post. Here is an admittedly brief summary of how readers responded (see the original post for their complete comments and suggestions): PLEASE TELL US! Several people wrote in with sad stories of clear problems that trainers or vets never mentioned when the dog was younger. Many people wished that someone had said something to them sooner. The trick is how and when you say it (read on!) KINDNESS Oh please please Read More

Africa Talk at Black Earth Library

Just a quick post to let locals know that I'll be giving a talk on December 1st at the Black Earth Library on my animal-behavior focused trips to Africa. I'll combine the best of my and Jim's photographs and talk about the adventures of safaris in Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania and Rwanda. We'll talk about radio-collaring "Jones," the breeding male of an African Wild Dog pack, sitting with gorillas in Rwanda and the impact of the current drought on the people and animals of East Africa. If you're in the area, I hope you can come! 7 pm, December 1st, 2009 Black Earth Library, 1210 Mills Street, Black Earth, WI 608 767-2563, Ext. 3 If you can make it, come up and say hi. Here's my favorite photograph from the trip we took in August, on the Masai Mara. Read More

Please Believe Me! Trouble is Brewing!

A recent comment motivated this post. It was from a veterinarian who tries her hardest to alert clients to current and potential behavioral problems, and is a tad frustrated on occasion by how few of them seem to take her cautions seriously. I am sure that other vets, dog trainers and behaviorists are all sighing in sympathy as they read this. I sure am. It is such a common problem that I thought it might be worthwhile for us all to have a brain storming session about how to handle it. All of the pro's reading this blog know what I mean: a 3 month old puppy in puppy class who plays well with others, but growls at you as you approach. Growling at a person at 12 weeks of age? ALARM BELLS! RED FLAGS! DIVE DIVE (the submarine)!!! So, here's the question. If you are a pro, how do you Read More