Saturday, December 11, 2010

keep your pets safe during the holidays

Tis the season for emergency vet visits.

   That may not sound very merry but with all the festivities we often forget one of our most important guests, our pets. 

     With all the baking and all the decorating we expose our pets to many hazards of the holiday season. 
Read the following tips and you will be on your way to keeping your pets safe and enjoying the holiday season.

Especially with young animals such as puppies and kittens the new exposed wires and extension cords may be more temptation than they can resist.  Not only can they unleash their desires to chew on these cords but can easily become entangles in them and cause a mini disaster. So keep all electrical wiring and extension cords neat and hidden.

My mother makes a huge nativity scene along with a Christmas tree and bought fake fall leaves to put around the wall.  Well my pup snoopy garces (6years young) simply could not believe his luck that someone brought inside the leaves he loves to chomp on outside.  So he did the most logical thing and he ate every single one of my mothers plastic and cloth fake seasonal leaves.  Needless to say the aftermath was not fun to clean up, he pooped and I scooped very festive droppings. But incidents such as this can cause serious gastro problems so be wise to keep decorations away from your pets or rather your pets away from your decorations.

Nothing is more common during this time than a flurry of cooking.  It seems that everyday we are in the middle of cooking a grand feast.  Well our pets are just as excited awaiting eagerly a dropped bit of meat or an unattended treat.  But if your pet is not used to eating human food especially food high in grease and fat too much too quickly may upset their tummy.  There are of course some foods that should never be given to any animal such as chocolate items to dogs and raisins, grapes, and any sort of alcohol .  So be ware of your table surfer and prepare your pet its own feast that is appropriate for its breed. 

Now those beautiful holiday plants are great to look at but many are poisonous to animals.

poinsettia plant
mistletoe and holly
lilies and daffodils
and don't forget Christmas trees too

The level of toxicity varies and often depends on how much is consumed and size of animals
signs to look out for are vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and in extreme cases seizures and death. 

Always err on the side of caution and double check before you bring anything in your home if it will be dangerous to your pet as these are not the only things that pose a danger during the holiday season.

On behalf of the Just Pawfect family we wish you a happy and safe holiday season. Woof!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Finding alternatives to commercial pet food

    When I started looking up information on commercial pet food I expected to find out some less then tasty information but I did not expect to find such an incredibly dark and disgusting side to the industry. 

    With all the negative information out there on commercial pet food it is hard to figure out what to feed your beloved pets.  Yet as it turns out there are so many alternatives out there and even in the commercial pet food industry not all bags are the same. 

  If the major brands in commercial pet food won't listen to our demands to change their practice of churning out recycled garbage then we need to put our support into companies that will actually listen and will have our pets best interest in mind. 

   How can your go about hunting down your pets new menu? Aside from reading about it on the Internet read the labels of the products you're interested in. Often when reading the ingredient list on major pet food bags we can barely pronounce the words listed let alone understand what they mean.  And in the pet food industry even that which sounds familiar is very few times what it claims to be like "meat meal" not appetizing at all.  So look for companies that have ingredients that you can actually recognize as real such as those in Wellness pet food. 

   When you look at your own food would you trust an item that can last on a shelf 10, 15 or 20 years, probably not.  So look for items with no preservatives or with less chemicals which will be fresher.  Remember many of the preservatives used in pet food are suspected carcinogens.

   My husband has pointed out that my posts of pet food have been so dark and serious and suggested we take a look at a more positive aspect of the industry and show support for those who have gotten it right.  Companies that producing healthy pet food.  When I started my search I didn't expect to find such horrible information about the commercial pet food industry for example I didn't expect to have to worry about there being dead dog and cat meat in the pet food i fed my dog.  Pet food companies deny this being true but why should I even have to worry about that even being a possibility (and by the way its much more than a possibility).

   I came across some of the work by author Ann N. Martin and her work has been the resource for a lot of the information I have presented to you.  She was one of the first to bring forth the information on the truth behind the production of pet food in commercial industries.  In her book Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts about Pet food she not only exposes the truth behind commercial pet food but also offers a selection of natural home made recipes gathered from several sources over time. 

   Here's one of the simple recipes from Ann N. Martin's book I my self will be presenting to my pooch.  I have a feeling Tulip will really like this new part of my search for healthy pet food :)

Simple Recipe
3 cups cooked oatmeal or cream of wheat
2 cups cooked cooked ground beef
2 tbsp. plain yogurt
1 small apple cut or sliced into small pieces

mix together and serve. This meal can be served as breakfast lunch or dinner
From The Dog Menu page 116 Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts about Pet Food 2003 Ann N. Martin

Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables
2 cups of ground or chopped chicken, cooked
1 cup of cooked brown rice
1/4 cup grated carrots

cut chicken into small pieces. Run carrots through food processor.  Mix chicken and rice and if there is any fat from the chicken, pour about two teaspoons over the mix.  serve at room temperature. 
From The cat menu page 123 Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts about Pet Food 2003 Ann N. Martin

As always you are the expert on your pet before changing their diet or trying new foods take into consideration your pets medical history and possible allergies or deficiencies.  Be your pets food investigator and fight for their right to real food.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Learn what the ingredients in your pet food really mean?

    The key tool when trying to give your pets the best possible nutrition is not how much you spend or who recommends the product but rather how well you understand what the ingredients listed really mean.

   Animal Digest is the dry by product of rendered meat. It can also include intestines along with the waste inside.

  Bone meal is a mixture of crushed and coarsely ground bones which around the world is mostly used as fertilizer.

Animal by products can be anything from the hooves, brains, lungs, beaks, intestines, and body parts of diseased animals.

   Animal fat really means fat from rendered animals and rancid restaurant grease.  How do companies get this fat? They churn the animal body parts and then boil the remains what rises to the top is what is later used as fat content and sprayed on the final product to add a smell to it that will make your companion eat the food. 

   The chemical preservatives give the pet food an incredibly long shelf life.  The list often includes BHA, BHT, propyl gallate, propylene glycol and  ethoxquin.  Propylene glycol is also found in automotive anti-freeze and many of the other chemical preservatives have been suspected to be potential cancer agents. The companies claim that some of these preservatives are also found in human foods but can you consider the consequences of being exposed to possible cancer causing chemicals in your food every single day like our companions animals are?

    The pet food commercials would have you believe that meat or some sort of meat product are the primary source of nutrition in your pets food and that items listed highest on the ingredient list are the primary and most abundant ingredient.  However due to such loose regulations of the pet food industries companies have found ways to get around this notion. 

  The true most abundant and primary ingredient in pet food is low quality often moldy and of low nutritional value corn products.

    Corn meal, gluten, and grits, all which are cheap allergy causing fillers which are difficult to digest. 
Ground whole grain sorghum has the feed value of grain similar to corn and is used primarily to feed livestock.

The grain used is usually deemed unfit for human consumption because of mold and contaminants. Pet food companies split the type of corn product so that it appears several times in the ingredient list and not as the primary most abundant ingredient.  This then leads consumers to believe that meat is the primary product used.  Our pets are carnivorous, why is grain which they can't properly digest the most abundant ingredient in their food? 

   Beet pulp is also found on the list and it is a filler that also helps contribute to the sugar content of the food. 

Most of the current ingredients in major brand pet food even those in their "premium" lines are not serving their purpose of providing appropriate nutrition for our beloved animals.  What is worse is that it may be very well hurting our animals.

      The food which is compressed in its solid dry form expands when in the stomachs of our pets and further expands when they drink water.  In large breeds this leads to bloat and flipped stomachs which then lead to a painful death where veterinary intervention often can't help.   The food also sticks to their intestines and over a period of time lead to painful blockages and cancers.  The hormones in the animal by products survive the rendering process add on the chemicals that the pet industry adds on to pet food and this gets absorbed by your pet everyday leading large breeds to grow at a disproportionate rate leading to muscle and hip problems.

    So as always you are who your pets depends on, they cannot read labels and pick for themselves healthy food but you can.  Saving a couple of bucks now may seem like a good idea, all the choices may seem the same but this will lead to huge veterinary bills in the future and a lot of heart ache when your pet can't live to its full potential .  And do not be fooled a higher price tag does not always mean more quality.  Go ahead and learn for your self pick up your pet food bag and read the ingredients now that you know what they mean you know what they are really putting in your pets food and in your pets bowl. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What happens when you can't afford to feed your pets?

     In today's community who hasn't heard of the importance of adoption, of spaying and neutering and of helping animal shelters.  We all take this as common knowledge in the struggle to help our animal companions in need.  But have you ever stopped to think about those animals who have a home in which they can no longer be fed?

    With today's economy many people are facing very difficult financial decisions.  Yet so little attention is given to those who have to decide whether they should surrender their beloved animal companions to a shelter or let these animals go hungry because they simply cannot afford to feed themselves let alone another animal.  Every day thousands of people in the United States are losing their jobs, many  have been unemployed for many months and are depending on government aid to survive, yet government assistance programs do not give funds for the assistance in animal care.  People are facing hunger themselves and their pets are being surrendered to already over crowded shelters or suffer a slow and painful fate at the hands of starvation.  Even more amazing is that there are those who are going hungry but share the little they have with their pets and as touching as that may be neither are receiving the aid that they need.  

     In the BlogPaws conference of 2010 keynote speaker Mike Arms spoke of a program that is very much like the human program meals on wheels.  It is called Animeals, an organization that among other things brings food to those that are unable to provide food for their pet companions such as the elderly and the disabled.  Animeals also works as a food bank for animals in need and recently has taken on the task of offering shelter to animals in need as well. 

    Animal food pantry?   We have all heard of food pantries, either from your local church group, school or on the news .  Many community groups hold canned food drives to donate to food pantries and help the hungry.   But have we forgotten that animal companions need to eat too, they are being hit just as hard by our current recession.  Animal food pantries can be found around the country and may be only a click away in your own community.  If there are none in your area think of how many animals and people in need you could help by starting one.  Contact your schools, churches, pet supply stores any one that will listen and offer the possibility of starting a pet food drive to gather supplies that animals in need may have. 
Contact your local animal shelter for help when distributing items.  Determine how to get the materials to those who need it most. 

   Many times I have felt frustrated because I may not always have the time or the space to foster another animal, to save a companion from being held in a cage in a shelter.  But what a wonderful way to help, to spread the word about the need for pet food pantries. 

   We can not forget those in need, all of them.   every night there are animals in homes that go to sleep hungry, along side their human companions that are faced by a terrible decision.  By creating more food pantries or supporting those already around we help alleviate the pain of quite possibly our own neighbors.  
No one should have to face the decision of feeding themselves of feeding their pets.  contact your local senior citizen community center and find ways to help those seniors that need help feeding their pets.  Contact local pet businesses and ask them to allow you to hold pet food drives in their stores.  Have these stores provide a sort of drop off location for others to leave the food they want to donate. 

1. Contact local groups and shelter ask if they participate in a food pantry for pets
2. Search online for pet food pantries in your area
3. Team up with local senior citizen centers and hold pet food drives there to help bring food to seniors who can't afford it
4.  Spread the word that there are resources available to help those with low income care for their animal companions so they don't surrender their animals to already overcrowded shelters
5.  As said in BlogPaws be the change, your actions can help in the struggle for animal wellcare

Monday, October 11, 2010

Friends of Finn: Speaking out against puppy mills!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Is there a dark side to your pet's food?

Before we begin lets remember that the pet food industry is a 15 billion dollars a year industry with almost no real regulation and quality control with manufacturing facilities around the world in even worse regulatory control.

    When you read the label on your pets food package do you see the word Pentobarbital? Go ahead check , I'll wait. No? No its not there, not on the label any way but it is in your pets food. What is it? It is the chemical used to euthanize cats and dogs.

In the 1990's FDA's center for veterinary medicine began receiving reports that Pentobarbital was no longer being as effective on cats and dogs they were attempting to euthanize.  The FDA launched an investigation.

     Their research concluded that the drug Pentobarbital was indeed being found in pet food.
FDA Scientists report that the levels of exposure to the Pentobarbital through the food is unlikely to cause adverse health effects in cats and dogs. But the drug is there in the packaged food and the tests run by the FDA are all short term, so we cant really rest assured that in long term over 10 to 15 years of daily consumption the drug wont have "adverse effects" on your pets health.  Pentobarbital should not even be in your pets food to begin with.

The question remains how did it get there? Well the same way the contaminant melamine and other contaminants get into your pooches pet food. Through rendering. Lets review rendering is the process of turning animal tissue other wise inedible into consumable product sold as pet food. It is the garbage disposal that churns out what sits in your pets bowl.

The FDA states that Pentabarbital seems to be able to survive the rendering process and its not the only contaminant that can as so can other chemicals and toxins. In their studies in 1998 and in 2000 this contaminant was found in the dog food researchers purchased . Sorry for the dated material but the FDA has only conducted two studies on this topic.

In their most recent study in 2002 researchers tested for dog and cat DNA and concluded that there was none present and that it was possible the contaminant was coming from rendered cattle. Yet the researchers did not test all brands and they only conducted studies on products purchased in a retail store in Laurel, MD by their facility.  In the book Food Pets Die for: Shocking Facts about Pet food Ann Martin states that researchers informed her that DNA cannot survive the heating done in the rendering process.  How conclusive can the research of the FDA be then if it is done on the end product the pet food already in the bag at the store. Long gone is the dog and cat DNA.  There are reports that veterinary offices do indeed give the bodies of euthanized companions to rendering plants and some rendering plants have also admitted that they receive bodies of euthanized companions and this ends up in the product they sell to pet food companies.

    How long can DNA specific to a species survive, can it survive the destroying of the animals body and the boiling of the remains? I would categorize the FDA study as inconclusive at best, as if it were turning a blind eye since their responsibility truly ends at finding the presence of the drug in question and releasing a statement that it is not harmful. 

    Every day in the USA more than one hundred million pounds of dead animal and animal parts are shipped to rendering plants. In these plants these animals and parts are piled together then dumped into a giant sort of blender that churns and grinds everything together. How can the pet food industry prove what goes in there when there are no regulations to control what can go in there. The pet food industry can't even stop cancerous and infected body part from entering the mix and they cant stop plastic contaminants from entering either hence the 2007 recall which found melamine in the food which is a chemical used in plastic. So can I say to you dogs and cats are in your dogs food, perhaps not with my current level of research and only because I want to have the facts which cant be disputed. Yet pet food companies cant say its NOT there either.

To understand how this is possible it is crucial to understand what the rendering process even looks like. So imagine this: bodies, body parts, garbage, plastic wrapping, ear tags and anything that could have been on or in the pile  is dumped into a machine that grinds all the contents together until creating a sort of mush, solid bodies and parts go in and unidentifiable mush comes out. This mush is then boiled the fat that rises is collected and the solid dry material is processed.

    The point is that as consumers we have taken a passive role in the choosing of quality pet food for our faithful companions.  We trust these pet food companies and truly believe what they flash across the screen in their food commercials.  This is simply not a true portrayal of what is in our pets food.  Are cats and dogs in our pets food? Does it matter? To me its not even about whether cats and dogs are being put in our pets food, its about the ability of this industry to put what ever they want in the food and get away with it.  Cannibal pet food may cause a momentary sensation but its a bigger issue than this its about all the cancer causing chemicals, the very little nutrition that is actually in it. Pet food is the most synthetic product on the market for consumption, more dangerous than we have ever thought and the proof is in all the recent recalls.  So again STOP and READ.  investigate for your self so that your ideas are your own and then you decide if you can take the chance to continue feeding Fido this food.  Read the labels and learn how to protect your loyal companion.
Food Pets Die for: Shocking facts about pet food author Ann N Martin

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

what is meat and bone meal...really.

    By text book definition bone meal is a mixture of crushed and coarsely ground bones. 
World wide bone meal is mostly used as plant fertilizer and here home in the USA companies put it in your pets food.

     At one point bone meal was acceptable as a dietary calcium supplement.  That is until in the 1980's it was found that many bone meal preparations were contaminated with lead and other toxic metals.  Bone meal is no longer recommended as a calcium supplement fit for safe human consumption.

  In the 1990's bone meal was identified as possibly responsible spreading "mad cow disease" in live stock.
 In most parts of the world meat and bone meals are no longer being fed to stock.  However it is widely used in the USA as low cost meat in dog and cat food. 
Rendering is a process of turning waste animal tissue into stable materials

Now after reading that you can understand for yourself what the animal by products and bone and meat meal are. They are by law allowed to be rendered meat.  In simple words it is waste meat materials, and with very little if any nutritional value.

Meat and bone meal in its ingredient definition by the Association of American Feed Control is described as
    "rendered product from mammal tissue exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, hide, trimmings, manure, stomach, rumen contents except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices"

    Yet at a rendering plant slaughterhouse material, supermarket and restaurant refuse, dead stock and road kill are thrown in all together into giant containers then is ground up and cooked at any where between 220 degrees Fahrenheit to 270 for 20 minutes to an hour. The grease that rises is then used as the fat content in most pet foods.  The remaining raw material is compressed to take out the moisture and what is left is then labeled as Bone and meat meal in your pets food.

    Pet food companies have made their way around the loose and badly defined regulations set by the AAFC.  They will claim it is unavoidable and impossible to remove the hair and other inappropriate contents from 600,000 tons of rendered animals prior to cooking them.  The definitions of "meat and bone meal" and that of "good factory practices" must change for the sake of the health of our pets and not just the sake of good health but of their quality of life. 

    What does it all boil down to ? These companies are painting beautiful pictures of whole chickens and beef and whole grains and vegetables being used to make the finest pet food when in reality what they are doing is churning literal garbage together.  This is not just a matter of wanting to feed an animal a gourmet meal. It is about demanding that at the very least these pet food companies produce real food that is free of plastic, contaminated meats, diseased products intestinal contents.  The pet food industry is a $15 billion a year industry in the US alone. 

   Ann Martin is the author of best seller  "Food pets die for: Shocking facts about pet food" which was published in 1997 after she started her research on pet food industries in 1990 following her two dogs illness caused by the pet food she was giving them.  Ann Martin writes " Garbage, which would other wise be sent to landfills was being used in the foods they were feeding their animals"

   The more research I do the more I can not believe what is going on in the pet food industry.  Many companies claim that they use meat and bone meal to provide protein and calcium at a reasonable price but what is reasonable, perhaps 12 cents the pound? That is what can be seen as a price tag on the rendered meat by products.  These companies are run by ambition and your pets health is not as important as their profit.  Again read read and read.  Read the labels and learn to look for red flags do not be fooled into thinking that meat and bone meal are good sources of calcium and protein nor that these are good for your pets health.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Our day at the Strut Your mutt walk 2010

      The long awaited day is finally here.  The New York 2010 Best Friends Animal society Strut your Mutt walk took place today at Pier 84.  

      The walk was on a scenic rout by the Hudson River and right next to registration was the majestic Intrepid.   There were so many different organizations present.  So many beautiful dogs enjoying what dogs love most, walking!   All the volunteers cheered on as the walkers made their way around the 1.8 mile walk. 

    I must say most of the dogs if not all fell right into that instinct of walking with a pack and where very well behaved. Our very own Tulip was so friendly and social in a way I have not seen him be in a long time.  You could not help but get involved and get excited about the entire event.  The weather was perfect and the atmosphere was simply so pleasant.

     Our dog pack raised $430.00 which surpassed our goal of $300.00 , and it felt so good to take part of this event. We were ready to strut with our Bright yellow shirts representing Just Pawfect.  There were different organizations there such as Bully Breed Rescue, Kiss my Mutt, Long Island Bulldog Rescue, and  Rescue Chocolate.  The top fund raising organization was Friends of Animals with over $14,000 raised .  The crowd exploded in cheer when the group was announced as the top team.  The top individual raiser was no coincidence also with Friends of Animals and raised over $4,000.  It was great to see all the groups socializing, all the pups taking part of the fun events being held such as the belly rub and the kissing booth.  Rescue Ink was a big hit and were there representing their Rescue Ink Foundation. 

     Speaking about excellent fund raising lets talk about the newest sensation "Rescue Chocolate".  It is a company which is a true inspiration.  Sarah Gross who is only 25 years old has created a company combining her two passions, chocolate and animal rescues.  Her products are a 100% vegan and are absolutely delicious I tried her "Foster-ific mint" dark chocolate and it was just terrific, and it was my first time trying Vegan products I might just make the switch if its all as good tasting as Rescue Chocolates sweets.  Yet what is truly inspiring is that Rescue Chocolate donates 100% of its net profit to different rescue organizations, every month its a different group, it doesn't get sweeter than that.

     Its true that when you do one good deed you are filled with the desire to more good deeds.  We are bubbling with excitement to take part of more events like this. To bring awareness about all the shelter and homeless animals that are in dire need of a forever home.  Adoption is the option and I invite you all to go to your local shelter and open your heart to a furry friend.  I'm sure it wont be long before you find your perfect match. 

      Remember every year more that two million animals are sold through pet stores and these take the place of perfectly good animals awaiting a home in a shelter.  Say NO to puppy mills and cut their funding at the source never buy from a pet store.  Do not feel bad for that pup on the window feel bad for the pups in metal cages awaiting an unsure and dark fate.  Lets really work towards no more homeless pets. 

    So with that we look forward to taking part of Strut Your Mutt 2011 and continue supporting organizations like Animal Haven and Best Friends Animal Society.  Here are some helpful links to these groups and really these are just a few there are so many other groups that did an excellent job today.  Check back with us tomorrow for pictures of the event and the different groups.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

All For Animals - Rescue Chocolate!

To see other people take the step to make a difference, inspires our team!

Awesome work Rescue Chocolate!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Best Friends Animal Society's Strut Your Mutt LA-YouTube

Preparing for Strut Your mutt, 4 days and counting down!

      My familiy and I are very excited to be participating in the Best Friends Animal Society 2010 NYC Strut Your Mutt charity walk. This walk is raising money to help BFAS continue lifesaving adoptions, spay/neuter programs, to rescue at-risk animals and to find new homes for them. These types of events allow BFAS to continue to save animals from the misery of life in puppy mills, a world with no more homeless pets.  

       This has been a very interesting journey to prepare for our first charity event as the Just Pawfect team. It all began a month ago with rallying up the troops , making the commitment to pledge the funds, $30 to walk $20 to sponsor the team and take home an event t-shirt. It was the first time since high school that we did anything like this and really had no idea the entire world that is behind this kind of fundraising. Then we began spreading the word which involved our big jump into social media. You can now follow us on Twitter, which we have alot of fun connecting with all the active members in our industry and you can become a fan on Facebook. There is a wonderful community out there that is just so passionate about animal wellfare and we have felt right at home because of them.

        The making of our team T-shirt was an experience all on its own.  I could not imagine the work to make your own t-shirt. A handful of shirts took my husband several hours when your include the time it took to come up with a design graphic and the application. *Be on the look out for a group in bright yellow with puppy face and bone patches on their sleeves. By the way, because of this I owe one of our team members a new set of bedsheets, (Note to self: do not leave iron and husband unattended!)  It was all part of the experience of finding our voice and making our group a reality outside of the virtual world of the Strut your Mutt web page.

we will call these version 1.0 and 2.0 in hopes of future improvements :)

       The next step was printing up flyers with all the information of the event and taking some plays from the guerrilla advertising handbook. Talk about pounding the pavement! Our whole neighborhood now knows about our event. Local businesses, bulleting boards, co-workers no one escaped without flyer in hand. Hopefully we will see results from this work, as of today we have collected $190 , 63% of our $300 goal. We will be collecting donations up until the day of the walk.

     We ,and by we I mean the wonderful small group of friends and family I drafted for this event, really could not have imagined how much it would change our way of seeing what is important.  I recently saw a video of key note speaker Mike Arms at the 2010 BlogPaws west conference where he said it was "not enough to love animals"  he went on to say we need to "care about animals". I have always said I love animals and I now realize that was not enough, yet I stood up and did something which led to taking the second step and then the third, all leading towards making this world a better place for our beloved companions. Maybe I can not change the world but my world did change and I welcome you all to share in this experience and take your first step.

The breakdown: These are just a small number of examples of all the good things your contribution makes possible:

--$5 feeds 5 dogs a day

--$25 is enough to fix a dog or cat to prevent
unwanted litters

--$50 can provide five cats with microchip IDs
to help them find their families if lost

--$100 is enough to get a homeless dog or cat
out of a shelter and into a forever home

--$200 can provide bottle feedings and TLC
for two orphaned puppies

--$500 is enough to save 10 dogs from the misery
of life in a puppy mills

--$1,000 can provide shelter and care for 50 animals
displaced in a natural disaster

So if you are in the Tri-State area come out and walk with us, sponsor a walker or make a donation! We are looking forward to see you all!

For more information:
Follow us @JustPawfect on 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Animal by products...What are they really putting in our pet food?

      If a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, then animal by products would by any other name still be as disgusting. 

     When looking at the label of ingredients in your bag of pet food there will be many items listed which you have no idea what they mean and some which may not sound so bad.  When you get to "animal by products", "meat by products" and  " animal meal" I don't think any of us would imagine what it really means.

These by products are bits and pieces left over from slaughter animals,but not limited to,  that are stripped of their meat to the bone for human consumption. It is pieces and chunks of animal body parts that are deemed unqualified for human consumption.   Often this meat is coming from animals that are 4D: dead, dying, deformed, diseased.

    It might say beef, chicken, poultry by products, but by products are not even required to contain any actual meat.  And "rendered" meat on labels can refer to any "rendered" mammal meat.

    It means that they are taking what is left over from other food industries and churning out "pet food".    Beaks, hooves, bones, blood, brains, intestines, lungs, chicken heads, and even feathers and practically anything else that's of no real use.  When we imagine our companions food we imagine whole chickens, prime cut meats, whole grains, isn't that what was flying across the screen of those cutesy pet food commercials? 

     These by products often come from sick animals and are high in hormones,pesticides and dangerous even cancerous meat.  Our pets food has become a garbage disposal, dumping zone for waste which these companies find fit for consumption by your pets. 

     When these body parts are labeled unfit for human consumption it is because regulators have found it to be contaminated, diseased, filled with mold, poor quality, and in poor handling conditions. This includes cancer riddled body parts that are dangerous to humans as well as pets but end up in pet food regardless. 

     These companies take scraps that are beyond being edible by any means, grind it, repackage it, spray it with grease, dye it and mold it to appeal to consumers.  Slap the label of "premium" on it and advertise a completely different product then what you are truly getting. 

    Top pet food production companies have turned waste management into profit.  They use their different production plants to gather the garbage they need and put it in pet food.

     So what does it boil down to? 
When animals used for human consumption are stripped of meat to the bone, what is left, the blood the bones the brains and guts and beaks and heads are ground and end up in your pets food bowl. 

   We shouldn't even call it "animal " by products or even meat by products because not only are the body parts mostly lacking in any meat but sometimes aren't even part of the animal.  There can be plastic from packaging found in this mix, ear tags and what ever else was with the road kill which is often added to the mix. 

  If they put hooves, beaks and feathers in what else do they put in?
Companies put in:
  •         Left over restaurant grease, that is unattended and not tested for any quality control
  •         Hulled grains left over from other production
  •         Additives, preservatives and unnecessary vitamins that serve no purpose but to act as fillers
  •         Soy

This last one may sound healthy but it is actually indigestible for cats and dogs and has been found to lead to bloat which takes the lives of many dogs every year.  My 4 year old Bull Mastiff Rex Chex died of bloat and it is a horrible way to die.   A death no animal deserves ever.

       Corn syrup and corn gluten meal is often on the list of ingredient and several times at that.  Yet this binds with water molecules and sticks to the animals intestines causing a blockage.  This blockage then over time leads to colon and renal cancer. 

    Not only is having all this in food disgusting but it hurts our faithful companions.  It leads to painful and costly medical conditions, the hormones cause them to grow at an unnatural rate causing muscle and joint problems.   All the extra protein that the bag advertises is so cheap and degraded that it does more harm then good the harsh ingredients and improper handling leads to an overload on the kidneys and result in kidney disease. 

  How can this be on our shelves?  It can because it is a multi billion dollar business with lobbyists and strong influences and are marketing geniuses.  These pet food companies need only meet the bare minimum requirements set by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).  And they have developed many ways to get around these regulations.  

The recent pet food recalls really come as no surprise when you take all this into consideration;
In 2010 specific products by Iams and Eukanuba dog and cat food where recalled for "potential for salmonella contamination"

On March 16 2007 Menu Foods announced a nation wide recall of over 40 popular brands of pet food.  these included
  •     Iams
  •     Eukanuba
  •     Purina
  •     Science Diet
Just to name a few, more where added later on.  They were provoking sever even fatal kidney problems.
Melamine is found in plastics, cleaning products, laminates, foam and fertilizers.   The FDA confirmed its presence in wheat gluten samples taken from the contaminated lots.  On its own it is not highly toxic but it was found along with another  contaminate, Cyanuric acid .  When combined they may lead to renal failure in pets, often resulting in death.
You are your pets best protection.  It may seem overwhelming but little by little we learn ways to better distinguish the bad stuff from the good.  Don't fall for catch phrases and big promises.  Read, Read and Read.  Read the labels read reviews read blogs like this and understand everyone is trying to sell you something so be cautious on where you trust your pets life .  

This is just the tip of the iceberg stay tuned as I continue my quest for quality dog food.   And this information may seem overwhelming or even too horrific to be true.  And I encourage all of you to do the research for your selves.  To take a good hard look at the nutrition label on your pets food and compare to that of others on the shelves.  It may seem virtually impossible to find adequate food but there are many companies that are changing the way they prepare your pets food. There are more natural alternatives and plenty more information out there.  Happy hunting.


Friday, September 17, 2010

choosing the right dog food ...the search part 1

     It is now the 17th of September and my puppy is still in utero.  We decided to take the extra time Pumpkin has so generously given us to get together a few essentials for our puppy homecoming. Who would've thought something as essential as food could get so complicated.

          It is difficult for a pet parent and even more so for a new puppy parent to make the right decision. There is so much information out there that it is difficult to make out what is helpful and what can be misleading. This is the very beginning of my search for the right dog food and I can already see the information will be helpful to the pet parents of other animals too.

       What you feed your pet will be a major factor in his or her health and over all well being. There are many choices out there but unfortunately when it comes to do food you get what you pay for. The cheap dog food that can so easily be found in your local pet chain or supermarket is more often then not the wrong choice. In the long run what you feel you may be saving now will cost you a lot more in the future. Consider the thousands of dollars pet parents pet every year to in medical bills. A word of caution when I say cheap i dont just mean the store brand food but also that "premium" food that you are paying extra for, I wont go into brand names now but lets just say you see their commercials often and everywhere. 

    The type of food you choose will help your dog develop at the correct rate and this may help avoid future health proplems of the hips and joints.  Proper nutrition will help regulate their energy levels, sugar levels and a good meal will help them feel fuller longer and prevent incesant and unnecessary chewing of everything they can get their little paws on.
       Quality food will not only prolong the life of your pup but will make it a life they will enjoy living. Do not be fooled by the empty promises of many of these pet store cheaper brands of dog food, of natural feed, of premium puppy food. Read labels make a habit out of it, become and expert in your own way. learn what animal by products are, what chicken meal means, what corn meal is and what beet pulp. And research why exactly these companies are putting these things in your dog food, when you do you will realize why you dont want to put this in your dog.

       Quality dog food does not have to force you to buy expensive feed either, there is also a lot of information on feeding your dog a raw meat diet. As with everything do your research first. Ask others what they feed their dog, as your vet, others at your dog park and look into local independantly owned pet supply stores. these are usually run by owners that are conscious enough to actually know about their products. They might prove to be an essential tool.

       This is a complex topic. One on which the experts dont even agree with each other. But that is because there are many ways of feediing your pet correctly. There is however one wrong way and that is thinking that cheaper food is a bargain. Its not in the long run and it is not good for your pet.

     I will be posting soon with more information in the mean time remember to keep an open mind and to inform your self by reading lables so when you read something either here or somewhere else you will recognize it and remember which brands put this in their food. For starters look for things you DO recognize like chicken or lamb or any thing else that is meat. the closer to the top on the list that this is the better it should be at the very top if not first. Dont be fooled by high percentages of protein and low percent of fat. When take into consideration the quality of this protein more is not better. So stay tuned and please as always your comments are welcomed and appreciated. You might end up helping me on my search for quality pet food.

Pedigree is hosting a 'Write a Post, Help a Dog' project.  For every blog post written about the Pedigree adoption drive until September 19, the company will donate a twenty pound bag of their Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs to a shelter.

Also, for every "like" they get on their Facebook page, Pedigree will donate one bowl of food to a shelter dog.

Fellow bloggers, get writing and become a fan of Pedigree and feed shelter dogs!

Once you write you blog post the link to this site so Pedigree will see it and make sure that your blog accounted for.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11 Paying tribute to the canine heroes

      Another sun has set, another anniversary day has passed, yet that wound September 11, 2001 left behind is as raw and open as it was the day that great tragedy occurred.  Nine years have passed and our lives were forever changed that day.  It was a tragedy that today seems to need no introduction in great detail, the simple  text : 9/11 brings with it every image and  every piece of information that engulfed the public that day.  To the nation, to the world that day the public watched in horror as the details of the day unfolded.  But to New York, we watched every moment live as our citys' heart collapsed when the towers fell.  

      Today is a day of remembrance, to honor fallen heroes, survivors, families, to heal all our hearts to pay our respects. 
 Let us also take the day to honor the unsung heroes that stood side by side to those first response heroes, side by side to those relentless rescuers.  Let us also pay tribute to the canine heroes of September 11, 2001. 

As I searched for information on the heroes of 9/11 I came across an article at , Tribute to Canine Heroes of 9/11 by Stephanie Feldstein.  She writes of the tremendous courage showed by our canine companions on that day where they rose to the name of mans best friend.  On that day 10,000 men and women answered the call of duty, 300 of those heroes were dogs.  Search dogs, guide dogs, rescue dogs, K-9s , bomb dogs, therapy dogs all came to our rescue without a hesitant thought in their minds. 
Many of the human rescuers at ground zero describe it as hell on earth. Just being there in that surreal situation must have shook them to the very core.  But these dogs just moved forward stayed focused and helped the rescuers as much as they helped the survivors.  They went where humans could not have possibly gone and saved hundred that would have died otherwise.  They searched for survivors relentlessly and would not give up until every survivor was found.  When absolutely sure all had been found they aided in the heart wrenching search for victims remains.  They worked side by side their human handlers to bring peace and resignation to the hearts of the victims families.  They kept the spirits of those working at ground zero afloat, kept them from total despaire.  Offered constant and unconditional love, remaining true and obedient the entire time, even in the face of utter uncertainty. 

Two examples of these heroes are guide dog Roselle and bomb dog Sirius.  
Roselle guided her human companion Michael Hingson down from the 78th floor in tower one just minute before the tower collapsed.  While they made their way down 76 flights of stairs Roselle was pet by fire fighters making their way up the stairs,  she was perhaps the last bit of love and hope any of them would ever see again.  She was the last bit of comfort any of them would feel in the moments after their brief encounter in those stair wells in a burning building she guided her human to safety, in a situation where it seems impossible for an animal to remain calm and focused. 

Sirius the bomb detection dog bravely answered the call of duty on that day as well.  Sirius died when tower two collapsed.  His partner officer David Lim was found, alive, five hours later.  The bravery of this animal is not the only example of its kind.  Many gave their lives that day, and many of these fallen heroes were canine.

On a day where humanity seemed to have been turned on its head those dogs helped make sense of all the madness, all the chaos.   To this day they are helping us cope.  Therapy dogs are helping survivors rise above the horrors of that memory, they help families remember their loved ones with peace in their hearts.  As I pet my pup, Tulip he helps me as so many others help you, by the couch as I watch in awe all over again when each image flashes on what feels like every single channel. As I feel that familiar puppy warmth it fills my very soul.  Nothing can take away the pain of that day.  We cope through remembrance.  We cope through knowing we are not alone and that those at ground zero were not alone either.

 So let us remember all the heroes of that day, lets pay tribute to all the heroes of 9/11. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

preventing food aggression in dogs

       That cute little puppy may be all kisses and sunshine most of the day and suddenly become a flash of white fangs and low growls when he is around food.  This is unfortunately an all to common scenario and it is how the pet parent handles this situation before it becomes a problem that is crucial. It is important to understand it is not the growling that is the problem behavior, the real problem is what is causing the growling.  A growl is your dogs only way of warning you he will bite if you continue doing what you are doing.  Do not punish or reprimand a dog for growling because to a dog your yelling is translated to you growling right back at him.  If you successfully deal with what is causing the growling your pup will calm down and the growling will stop.

    You must step back and review the situation if food aggression has already reared its ugly head you may need to seek a professional such as an animal behaviorist or a professional trainer. You will need all the help you can get because a food aggressive dog WILL bite.  You need to take precautions especially if there are other pets in the home and especially if there are children.

    Once you have accessed the situation there are a few simple rules that can help you get on your way to preventing food aggression and even making it a thing of the past.

First always keep in mind you are your pack leader, every person in the home must represent themselves as the pack leaders.In a wolf pack the alpha male and female eat first.  In your home dinner time is for humans, do not give your dog table scraps.  This will establish pack order

Second in the wild food is not served to a wolf , the wolf must work for its every meal.   Use this primal need to work for their meals to your advantage.  only feed your dog when you know he is at his hungriest.  Feed him after taking him out for some exercise, a long walk.  So when he comes home he feels like he has worked for his meal. Also exercise puts a dogs mind in a calm submissive state where it will be easier for him to accept you as his pack leader and will be hungry and rid of anxious energy, enough to be more willing to obey your orders. Only feed a calm dog, a dog that patiently sits and awaits for his meal.  You wouldn't feed a screaming toddle who wont even sit still, same rules apply. anxiousness is like rudeness don't reward any unwanted behavior but reward a patient calm dog with a good meal.

Something I learned watching a training show and actually tried at home was to mix my pups food with my own hands to get my scent mixed in.  This way he knows he is getting this food because of me.  I am the packs provider.

Whatever your dog does not consume in say 20 30 minutes take away do not leave food around  for him to feed on at his hearts content.  Food is a reward and it is brought only by the pack leaders after hard work is done.  Establish a feeding ritual.  So that the dog knows what behavior will get him his meal and will be exhibiting this behavior quicker and quicker with every day that passes. Be consistent you cannot feed after a walk one day and then the next give your dog food simply because he whines.  Other wise your dog will not learn the desire behavior, dogs thrive off consistency.

From puppy hood or from the moment you get your dog you must let them know that every need he has will be fulfilled by you. Let him know you are in charge and he never needs to feel like he needs to take the position of pack leader to seek stability.  Dogs live in the moment so do not worry about the way you fed your dog before.  He will begin to respond to these changes from day one.  Food can throw your dog into a primal state where he might react in a way that he would never act during a walk or during leisure time, so execute extreme caution at all times. 
   Remember if there is already aggressive behavior present seek help in order to avoid further injury. But prevention is the best medicine:

*Establish yourself and the humans in the home as pack leaders they eat first at all times.

*Provide for an outlet to your dogs extra energy through proper exercise before feeding time.

*Feed only a calm pup and feed the calmest dog first if you have more than one.

*Make your dog wait patiently before setting the food down, any unwanted behavior will not be rewarded.

*If your dog does not finish his food right away take it away until he earns it again at next feeding time,
establish a routine and stick to it.

These tips will not only help prevent food aggression but they will help maintain a proper balance in your home. Take the steps and help your pup feel fulfilled and relaxed to know he has a pack leader. All your pup needs to do is follow his instinct to please you, this will make for a happy pup and for a happy home! 

Get more information of the feeding ritual at:

Monday, September 6, 2010

Strut your mutt charity walk

So on this new adventure that I have embarked I was inspired to take a more active role in helping homeless animals.  I was told that every small step makes a difference.  So we have teamed up with the Strut your Mutt charity walk, which will be held September 26 in NYC so far my husband and I have formed a "dog pack", a team, and will take part in the walk sooo if you want to show your support visit the  link below and join the pack. 100% of the donations will go to help a homeless animal, you can join our pack or you can create your own.

    Either way it is important to remember that the worst we can do is to do nothing at all.   We have all at some point felt that feeling of hopelessness that feeling that there is no real way of helping put an end to the neglect and abuse that animals are put through.  But we don't need to solve this problem on a huge scale to make a difference we can't save the world but to those we do help we have saved their world. 

     Don't let your sense of hopelessness stop you from taking a step in the right direction.  Every year thousands of homeless animals are euthanized because they don't have a forever home, a home of their own where they are safe loved and protected.  Thousands more live their lives in small cold cages, even the nicest of shelters at the end of the day must turn off their lights and leave behind an innocent animal alone in its cage staring out. 

       Donate, volunteer, spread the word every little bit makes a difference.  If you already have a furry companion remember the importance of spaying and neutering.  Fight the myths and do the responsible thing.  Your pet does not "need to have puppies" to feel fulfilled they will not feel betrayed as if you took something away from them. They will not become obese after the procedure or because of the procedure.  They will continue to be your beloved companion.  Help stop the epidemic which is created when we bring unwanted litters into the world.  There are thousands of thousands of wonderful animals awaiting a forever home. Young, older, pure bred, proud mutts open your heart to them and save a life, enrich your life.

I await the birth of my puppy anxiously, yet I am fully aware that there is an animal in need of a home in a shelter that could use my help.  For as long as I can I will be willing to foster and one day when space permits, bring into my life an adopted furry friend.  
I will always consider Adoption the best option.  This puppy made its way into my life and my heart when i needed it most and I will continue to do my best to deserve the unconditional love of my dogs. 

    So please take a look at the site and go on take the brave step of saying abuse ends with me today I will take a step to help another being.  There is a direct scientific connection between animal abuse and abuse of a human being.  When we make it clear that we will not stand for the neglect and abuse of animals we are also making it clear that those humans whos' voices have been silenced by abuse are not alone or forgotten. Lets work together for a better world for all living beings! The change begins with you, with me, with our decisions and actions.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Properly introducing your child to a dog

It is now September 5 and still no puppy.   Pumpkin was predicted to give birth between the first and the ninth of September and it seems to be she is holding out to the very end.  With all the excitement of awaiting a new puppy I feel like a first time dog owner.  Feels like there is still so much to get done. Where will this puppy sleep, what brand of dog food will I use.  And by the way nothing has changed since I last wrote, no name picked out yet.  I dont remember being this anxious when I was pregnant.

       This puppy is going to be big from the very beginning and it is important to establish the pack order from the very start.  What may seem cute and adorble now can quickly become dangerous as that 8 pound puppy rapidly grows to eighty pounds or more.  I have always loved big dogs. I have had Bull mastiffs and have a goofy pitbull german shepherd mix who lives with my younger siblings and my parents.  Big dogs have a scary reputation that often precedes them.  Yet many studies have showed that the majority of dog bites reported in the U.S are from small breeds. Several years in a row the popular Cocker Spaniel has been number one on those lists as most likely to bite!

 Yet it is crucial to know that there are no bad breeds.  whether your dog is big or small as an pet parent you have the responsibility to teach your dog proper "manners" and create an enviornment where your dog will look to you for direction rather than taking it upon themselves to attack someone around them.
            It may be easier to fear a big dog such as a pitbull over fearing a small chihuaha, but both animals deserve the same respect.  when approached the wrong way or made to feel threatened they may react instinctivly.  the important thing to remember is that given the right training and successfully establishing yourself and the humans in your pack as the leaders you greatly reduce the chance that your pet will opt to bite when in an uncomfortable situation.

         Yet not all the training should be done on the pet, most of the training should be directed on the humans in the pack.  If you have children teach them early to respect the animals in their household.  this lesson will stay with them and may help them learn to cope with others around them too. 
Children and especial very young children are fearless and may not know how to approach a dog in the first place.  There have been plenty of times where when walking my dog a young child will run up and attempt to pet him.  The parent who is already not even close enough to hold the child up if the encounter turns ugly simply smiles back.   We must think of dogs as furry energy readers.  They access their situations by reading the energy of those around them. And chidlren emit a lot of energy, out of control excitement kind of energy which can make some dogs nervous. 

 Steps to approaching a dog on the street:

Step one: First a child should always be supervised when playing with a dog

Step two: Always ask if the animal is friendly and ask for permission to approach the dog

Step three: once you have established it is ok with the owner to touch the animal make sure it is ok with the dog too

*Important* if the animals fur is standing up on its back, its ears down and its tail tucked within its legs DO NOT allow your child to continue to approach this animal

 Step four: if all seems well have your child hold her hand out slowly with her palm open and face up and have her wait patiently for the dog to appoach her, have her hold her hand lower than the dogs snout some dogs feel intimidated to be pet over their head.

Lastly enjoy as you have shown your child to be respectable and responsible and procative in preventing dog bites.

So you see these are the new challenges I face this time around as I become a puppy parent again. I will face the huge responsibility of introducing this new puppy to my still so new home consisting of a newly wed husband a scruffy jack russell and a toddling toddler . I can only sit back and wonder what adventures lie ahead. so Pick your favorite spot on the couch curl up to your favorite furry friend and continue reading and dont be shy any and all suggestions are welcome. Oh and dont forget I still have no name for this much anticipated puppy.

Here is a link to an article which I feel truly describes an appropriate way to teach your child how to approach an unkown dog. Hope you find it helpful

Friday, September 3, 2010

Vacationing With Your Pet

      My Family and I had the recent rarity of enjoying a four day weekend away from home. And had the even bigger experience...leaving to vacation without our dog Jimmy the tulip. Now tulip is a relatively small dog but requires a lot of care. The place we were staying had a strict no pets rule and charged a whopping $100 a day for violations. Now our mistake was leaving most of our trip planning for last minute. Never before had we had to leave any of our pets behind.

    It is crucial to make arrangements early! If you decided to leave your pet boarding take into consideration any special needs your pet has. Do they suffer from separation anxiety? One time our close friend volunteered to puppy-sit Tulip and we received a startling call at 1 am, no words were necessary to know what was happening we could hear Tulip crying in the background. Do they need a special diet? How will the place you board at handle an emergency?

       Good sources to find a reputable place to board can usually be found right in you neighborhood. Ask your veterinarian if they recommend a place and some vets do boarding in their clinics as well. It is important to find a place that is up to your standards because your furry loved one can be exposed to things such as fleas, kennel cough and exposed to other parasites that you wouldn't want to bring home. Now if your opting for leaving your pet in the care of a friend be sure that your friend understands the responsibility they are taking on. Tulip, as most small terriers, has an abundance of energy which he will invest in any activity that he deems worthy. If this energy isn't drained through proper exercise he will turn it into destructive energy and that couch you just got, white in the case of our friend, will be used as target practice or worse a giant chew toy.
       There are many options when you face having to leave your pet behind when going on vacation but it will all seem less complicated when you take the time to do the research. Now if you are at the early stages of your vacation planning check to see if the place you are interested in visiting allows pets. While reading an article in a Beneful sponsored magazine titled "Wag World" there was a list of hotels and resorts that allow you to take your pet with you such as:

Stanford inn by the sea in California (visit,
White gate court in Florida visit (
Hotel Teatro in Colorado (visit
Loews regency Hotel in New York (visit and
Kimpton's Hotel Monaco in Portland in Oregon (

 the article was written by Kristy Alpert.

Whether you take your pet with you or leave your pet boarding or with a friend it is important to pack for your furry friend appropriately. Make sure your pet has their collar, name tag, name of medication or special instructions for special care. As well as a list of emergency contacts and emergency instructions. If you have a pet that may not handle being away from you very well, ie Tulip :), consider leaving something with your pet that will remind him or her of home such as an old t-shirt that is fully loaded with your scent. Your pet and those left caring for them will greatly appreciate this. Best of luck on your vacations with or with out your furry loved ones!

This blog is in no way sponsored or linked by Beneful and referenced to its article in its WAGWORLD MAGAZINE "Fur-Friendly Five" by Kristy Alpert Dallas, TX 2010 for the purpose of providing a small list of places that allow pets.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jimmy the Tulip relaxing...

Jimmy T. Tulip 
6 year old wired haired Terrier
Meditating before his grooming session, stay tuned for the after picture

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

roxy ortiz loved the time we spent together

choosing the right pet

Now a days we can see all sorts of animals kept as pets. No longer is the occasional piglet such a rarity, the slithering snake has become a classic and the gold fish is an oldy but goldy . Yet perhaps more important than your desire for that animal companion is the important determination of whether or not that animal will make a perfect fit in its new home.
If you live alone the right pet boils down to space,time and willingness to put in the work it takes. If you live with others you must make clear who will have what responsibilities, does any one have allergies. If you're planning on getting a pet for your child sure it will teach them about life and responsibility but chances are you will get the bulk of the work and responsibility.
Now lets focus today on picking the right dog.
It is important to know that There truly are no "bad " dogs or "bad " breeds a dog does indeed have its own personality but a lot of their bad habits can be traced to something their owner is either doing wrong or not doing. This doesn't make them bad owners it just means that owning a dog is a lot of responsibility.
First I want to say right now that adoption truly is the best option.  I am fortunate enough to live near an individual who has dedicated his life to caring for dogs and will be having puppies within the next month.  before i received the news about the puppies I had begun my search for the perfect dog at several rescue centers.  I have made the committment that I will make a contribution to a local shelter to help ease the strain of caring for an animal that I could have helped. I am aware that taking in the new puppy takes away the opportunity from another dog to find a good home.  Yet I will not take away my support.  I have volunteered at an animal center before and nothing takes away the look in those animals eyes.  The look that says I just dont understand why I have been abandoned. 
With that being said again ADOPTION IS THE BEST OPTION.
Now once you determine where you will get said pet from you must decide if you want a puppy or an older dog.   Puppies are cute and cuddly but they are also full of energy and require constant time and attention.  That cute puppy who captures your heart with just one look of his honey filled eyes will also look at you with those huge eyes as he has your favorite most expensive shoes in his mouth , wagging his tail happily as he thinks "gee mom thanks for the great new chew toy".   An older dog will most likely already be house broken and in a stage in his or her life where they are more calm and ready to adapt to their new home.
This brings us to our next decision. Boy or girl.  This should be the easiest of all because it truly doesn't matter.  Both will love you equally both will protect you and both will dedicate their lives to loving you.
    There are several other considerations which we will discuss in depth later on but these are important basics as far as the dog comes.
The true importance is your readiness to adapt to your dogs needs.   Whether its a puppy or a senior, a girl or a boy you will need to commit to at the very minimum half hour walks several times a day. Play time and training time.  All dogs are pack animals and they will look to you to be the pack leader.  You never want to be in the situation where the dog feels there is no leadership and for the sake of the pack fills in the position themselves.  Dogs can sense energy and will be able to detect a true leader if you believe in your self and carry yourself like the pack leader,  think like the pack leader be the pack leader.  
Set a routine and stick to it.  See this as motivation to wake up in the morning and fit in that half hour speed walk you've been kicking yourself about for months.  
Now this is not ALL there is to picking the right pet more will come soon. But the most important part to understand is that this is a life long committment, you will have this animal in your life for 11 to 16 years possibly more.  Where will you be in five years three year? Will you still live in the same apartmant might you have to move someday to a place that won't allow pets and see it as a possibility to give up your pet? Will your loved one love to clean up that mess left in the hallway or will your child cry at the very thought of picking up poop? Food for thought

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The wait...

  "Guess who's pregnant?' asks my husband as giddy as a school girl, being the inquiring mind that I always am, I urged him to continue.  "Pumpkin" he yelled barely able to contain him self. Now allow me to paint a picture here my husband is 5'9 and 200 lbs the man is not one to squirm with excitement but there he was .  Pumpkin is our neighbors rotty and she was finally pregnant.  Fast forward a month we are as ever anxiously awaiting puppies, "we're expecting" again considering we have a one year old human son.  The last time I had a puppy was seven years ago. As the due date nears and the excitement grows so does the worry.  This will be a big dog a beautifully elegant mix between a gentle bull mastiff and a gorgeous rotty .  All the questions of early parent hood creep up, what is the best food what is new in the training world, what is new in leashes and leads, and most daunting of all what to name this gentle giant that will soon be entering our home.