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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Happy Gotcha Day!!

Wow!  Treasure is turning 8 years old and we are celebrating our 4th Gotcha Day with her!  The anniversary of the day when we Got her and she Got us!!  I remember as clear as it was yesterday that morning I opened my email to discover the girl I had been waiting for, was finally so close to being mine!  I remember the first time I saw her in person, the first time I held her, the first time she fell asleep in my arms.  It truly was love at first sight!
Treasure, July 2014, at the Corn Fest parade
My girl is just as beautiful as ever!  And I am amazed at just what we've accomplished together in the past four years!  Enjoy our new video highlighting some of Treasure's accomplishments, and just the wonderfulness that is her!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Craft for Shelters Month

If you like to craft, check out these great crafts to make and donate to help homeless animals at your local rescue or shelter.

Kuranda beds

Kuranda beds are essential to provide bedding up off the floor for shelter dogs.  Shelter floors get very cold in the winter time especially. 
Some handmade dog toys:

Treasure loves to give Fluffy's Blankets and beds! 
And, not to leave out our cat friends -
Cat hammocks

Cat hammocks give cats a place to perch and feel safe and cozy in their cages.

Cat T shirt beds


You can also make and donate homemade dog treats for the dogs, and other crafts for the rescue or shelter to sell at fundraisers and special events.  Most rescues and shelters rely on donations and fundraising at special events to be able to get much-needed funds to help the animals. 



Friday, July 11, 2014

Pet Photo Day

To celebrate Pet Photo Day, here are some tips from a Top Dog Model Finalist herself!
Treasure's tips for dog models:
  • Expect and demand a lot of special treats for your efforts!  Don't work for free! 
  • Be creative with the props!  Fluff the blankets, push props around, taste them, knock them over, lay on top of them, the sky's the limit!
  • Always show them your good side!  Top Dog Models never take a bad picture!
  • Good photographers enjoy a challenge!  Keep him/her guessing.  Be unpredictable.
Some of her favorites:
  • Turn your head in many different directions to provide a variety of shots and to show off your many expressions and moods.
  • Get up and spin as fast as you can when the flash goes off.  It's fun!
And finally,
  • Static electricity in long hair is the worst!  Take a spray bottle of conditioner spray to every photo shoot. 



Friday, July 4, 2014

Knocking out Boredom!

Let’s take a moment or two to focus on boredom.  How do you feel when you’re bored?  I often feel antsy, as if I have energy to do something, but I can’t figure out how to use that energy.  I fidget and I might pace or shift position frequently, trying to alleviate the feelings.  I suppose a dog feels the same way.  Energy and desire to do something, but nothing captures his interest to do at the moment.  Or perhaps he is kept confined to an area that prevents him from doing much. 
Why is boredom in our dogs a bad thing?  Boredom can lead to our dogs finding ways of entertaining themselves that we might not think are the greatest choices – chewing, tearing things up, stealing from counters, barking, digging, licking a paw for hours on end to create a sore, etc.  If we make it our mission to prevent our dogs from being bored, we can supply them with exciting choices that we do approve of.  What an easy way to encourage great behavior choices from our dogs!  We can give them lots of new experiences to choose from so they don’t have time to get bored!
There are many dog food puzzle toys on the market for this very reason.  Dogs love new challenges – especially when food is involved!  These puzzle toys stimulate their desire to hunt and problem solve.   Food is a great enrichment tool because it is easy to get and keep a dog’s attention with food.
What are some other games and activities that can prevent your dog from being bored?  Being outdoors is a great idea, but just being stuck in the same fenced yard day after day is not going to prevent boredom.  Getting your dog out somewhere new provides lots of sights, sounds, and smells that are new and exciting and sure to peak your dog’s interests.  How about a hike or a swim in the pond?  If you don’t have a pond, a kiddie pool will do.  Float various toys and treats in the pool for your dog to chase and bob after.  A block of ice made in a plastic container can have special treats and toys frozen into it and can be floated in the pool to provide gradual fun as it melts.
You can create an obstacle course in your yard using things you find around the house and garage.  Some cement blocks or bricks can hold a broomstick to create a low jump or several in a row can make cavalettis for your dog to practice stepping over.  Different surfaces and things for your dog to go over, under, and through, can be a fun game to play together. 
Playing hide and seek and find it games can be fun for both you and your dog.  Hide the toy or treat, or yourself, and then encourage your dog to search and find it.  As your dog gets better at the game, you can find harder and harder hiding spaces. 
Bringing out a new toy or bone can be exciting, just because it’s something new!  Rotate toys and bones by putting some away for a while in the closet, then bring them out and they will seem new for the day!  My dogs enjoy smelling new smells and will often spend a long time investigating what I’ve brought them to check out!
Use your imagination to give your dog new and different things to do every day to keep its mind and body active.  You will also be encouraging behavior choices that you like, and not giving him time to get bored and make his own choices that you might not agree with quite so much!  And you and your dog will enjoy investigating together and having fun!